“I have wasted 40 years of my life” if Trump’s lies represent “who we are”

❝ Retired U.S. Air Force four-star general Michael Hayden didn’t mince words when it comes to Donald Trump’s “outrageous assault on truth, the free press and the first amendment.”

❝ Trump petulantly lashed out at CNN International Saturday night, calling it “a major source of (Fake) news,” and saying that “they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

Hayden’s response was chilling:

Hayden has given over 40 years of his life in service to the nation, through multiple administrations both Republican and Democratic.

Trump has spent less than one year of his life in ostensible service to the country, which he has used as little more than a massive ego-boosting, self-aggrandizing — though failing — business opportunity.

He fails even more as our Fake President. Not as troubling as the number of ignorant, ill-informed, directionless chumps who voted for him.

Trump gives up on forcing TWITTER to turn over names of anti-Trump opposition users

❝ The U.S. government has dropped its request for Twitter to produce records that could identify users behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump…

As a result, Twitter is withdrawing a federal lawsuit that challenged the government’s request. On Thursday, Twitter charged that efforts by the government to “unmask” the people behind the account violated the First Amendment

❝ “The speed with which the government buckled shows just how blatantly unconstitutional its demand was in the first place,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Esha Bhandari said in a statement. Bhandari represents the unidentified person or people behind the Twitter account.

❝ The account in question is @ALT_uscis, a reference to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. In the two months of its existence, the account has been critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The account described its users to The Associated Press in February as employees and former employees of the agency.

The account is one of dozens of rogue Twitter accounts that have sprung up since Trump took office, purporting to represent current or former federal employees at various agencies who oppose the administration’s policies. Other such “alternative” — or “alt” — accounts include @Alt_CDC for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and @AltUSEPA for the Environmental Protection Agency…

I think someone must have explained the First Amendment to Trump. Not that he’d agree with most of the Bill of Rights. He’s just stuck with it.

Fed court orders Idaho to pay $250K attorney fees in ‘ag-gag’ case — First Amendment still rules


Click to enlarge

A federal court has ordered the state of Idaho to pay $249,875 in attorney fees and costs to the groups that sued over the state’s “ag-gag” law, the law passed by the state Legislature making it a crime to surreptitiously videotape agricultural operations. Idaho lawmakers approved the law in 2014 after the state’s $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that videos of cows being abused at a southern Idaho dairy filmed in 2012 unfairly hurt their business. The Los Angeles-based animal rights group Mercy For Animals released the videos, which showed workers at Bettencourt Dairy beating, stomping and otherwise abusing cows in 2012.

A federal judge overturned the law, ruling that it violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill found that the law’s “primary purpose is to protect agricultural facility owners by, in effect, suppressing speech critical of animal-agriculture practices.” He ruled that evidence indicated the law was “intended to silence animal welfare activists, or other whistleblowers who seek to publish speech critical of the agricultural production industry.”

The state appealed, but lost.

Over and over again, elected officials – federal, state and local – waste time and taxpayer dollar$ defending corporate interests. Not on the basis of legitimate needs; but, profits and protectionism.

Always nice to see a victory that defends the rights of the people over corporate/political corruption.

Air Force clinic fires technician accused of being a witch

Groucho got it right

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is representing a former Air Force contractor who says she was fired from a dental clinic at Fort Meade, Maryland, after complaining that her co-workers discriminated against her because she was Hindu. She claims they then accused her of being a witch.

Group founder and president Mikey Weinstein wrote in a letter to officials: “We have spoken with witnesses at the clinic under your command who have universally confirmed that, not only did this horrid harassment take place, but ever since the execution of her punishment for failing the religious test imposed by the leadership of Epes Dental Clinic, a particular offending party has effusively celebrated her replacement by a Catholic woman by saying publicly that ‘It’s good to see we got an angel, since last time we had the devil.’”

The alleged harassment violates a “vast sea” of Defense Department and Air Force directives as well as the U.S. Constitution, Weinstein writes.

“The No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of our nation’s Constitution absolutely forbids the exact same type of practices which are so commonplace under your command in the brazen establishment of evangelical Christianity as the only approved solution for religious belief in the 579th D[ental] S[quadron] of the Epes Dental Clinic at Fort Meade…”

Reached by Air Force Times, Deborah Schoenfeld said that her co-workers at the Epes Dental Clinic harassed her over her Hindu faith, claiming she was satanic for wanting to practice yoga and meditating.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, two of her former co-workers confirmed Schoenfeld’s account to Air Force Times and said that other employees at the dental clinic are devoutly Christian and deeply suspicious of Hinduism. One of them confirmed that she was referred to as a “Hindu witch.”

One co-worker, who Schoenfeld said prayed for her to find Jesus, told her that meditation summons demons, adding that “all the soldiers who are doing meditation and yoga to help their PTSD, they are getting infected also,” Schoenfeld said.

When her requests for help through the chain of command went nowhere, she filed a formal complaint on Sept. 2, Schoenfeld said. That day, she was fired for allegedly using profanity against a co-worker, although she was not allowed to know who had accused her of doing so…

As it is so often in the United States, “defending religious liberty” means supporting only the advocacy of Christianity, evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity to the exclusion of all other belief systems religious or secular.

Hypocrisy and bigotry come along for the ride.

Republican “ag-gag” law simply ignored the First Amendment

The so-called ag-gag law, which passed in Idaho in 2014, is a sorry example of a special interest overreach that embraced the cries of lobbyists over First Amendment concerns and the state’s reputation as a transparent food producer.

That U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill would rule it unconstitutional this week should come as no surprise to anyone outside of the Idaho Legislature and the governor’s office. There is a long list of lawmakers who thought it a grand idea to protect agricultural producers at the expense of those who have a legitimate role in scrutinizing their practices. Not only did these lawmakers want to discourage any and all attempts at whistleblowing, they also wanted such “terrorists” to be threatened with punishment.

We hope the Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter will take Winmill’s ruling to heart and resist any urge or expense to appeal it, and also hope they will learn from it — though we have doubts.

What is especially troubling is the tone-deafness of the 20-some senators and 50-some representatives who voted to pass the law and saw only one side of the issue: the dairy lobby view that, by golly, barns should be like Vegas — what happens there, stays there.

The highly regulated agriculture industry is not a private matter, as Winmill pointed out in a ruling that references Upton Sinclair’s novel “The Jungle,” for which the author misrepresented himself to Chicago slaughterhouses in order to research his exposé on the meatpacking industry. Winmill counters a perception that Idaho agricultural machinations deserve some special level of privacy when “food production and safety are matters of the utmost public concern.”…

There were warnings issued against this bill on its way to becoming law. Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, whom Otter negotiated with to lure the company to Idaho, urged the governor to veto the bill. Stalwart Republicans such as former Sen. Russ Fulcher, who knows his way around a dairy farm, and Rep. Lynn Luker had the sense to vote against it.

It’s time that some members of our Legislature put as much effort into all of our laws as they do focusing on a few favorites. They might wake up on the right side of a lawsuit someday.

Add to the list Republican governors, Republican-controlled legislatures that stand in line to ban women’s reproductive rights, labor’s right to organize, the right of all citizens to vote.

Some of their sleaziness is native bigotry. The rest can be chalked up to special interests buying their votes. Either road leads to lawsuits and taxpayer dollar$ wasted in the defense of fools who think they miss the 19th Century.

Supremes say ministers can’t sue churches for discrimination


Funny who supports what – when it’s convenient

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday for the first time in an important church-state separation issue that ministers cannot sue their churches claiming they had been fired in violation of employment discrimination laws.

The justices unanimously overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that the job of a former teacher and minister at a church school was secular rather than religious and she could pursue her claim that she was improperly fired in violation of federal law…

The justices for the first time adopted a rule used for decades by some U.S. appeals courts that the government generally cannot delve into church affairs and religious beliefs in employment cases involving ministers or other clergy members. The high court accepted what is known as a “ministerial exception” to the employment discrimination laws. It generally bars the federal government from examining employment decisions by religious groups for employees with religious duties, such as ministers.

The case involved the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Redford, Michigan, and former teacher Cheryl Perich, who was also a minister. She taught secular and religious classes…

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against her.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion that the First Amendment of the Constitution barred such lawsuits, that Perich was a minister and her employment discrimination lawsuit must be dismissed.

He said delving into a church’s employment decisions involving a minister would improperly interfere with its internal affairs and infringe on a religious group’s constitutional right to shape its own faith and mission.

Anyone think Roberts and the rest of his flock will be so industrious when it comes considering the question of religions paying taxes to the nation which so vigorously protects their civil rights?

Federal court wipes FCC’s Bush Era cursing rule

A federal appeals court has tossed out a government policy that can lead to broadcasters being fined for allowing even a single curse word on live television, concluding that the rule was unconstitutionally vague and had a chilling effect on broadcasters.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan struck down the 2004 Federal Communications Commission policy, which said that profanity referring to sex or excrement is always indecent…

“To place any discussion of these vast topics at the broadcaster’s peril has the effect of promoting wide self-censorship of valuable material which should be completely protected under the First Amendment,” it added…

The score for today’s game is First Amendment one, censorship zero,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, policy director of Media Access Project, which joined the case on behalf of musicians, producers, writers and directors.

Carter Phillips, a Washington lawyer who argued the case for Fox Television Stations, called the decision satisfying. He said the court had “sent the FCC back to square one to start over” by not only tossing the FCC’s fleeting expletive policy but also a broader indecency policy as unconstitutionally vague.

The FCC fleeting expletive policy was put in place after a January 2003 NBC broadcast of the Golden Globes awards show, in which U2 lead singer Bono uttered the phrase “f—— brilliant.” The FCC said the F-word in any context “inherently has a sexual connotation” and can lead to enforcement.

The Right-Wing high priests of the Supreme Court previously upheld the ruling – and policy.

19th Century minds still work very hard at preserving the family values of the 14th Century.

Principal Went on Anti-Homosexuality “Crusade”, “Witch Hunt”, Says Judge


He’s the guy on the right, holding the
whatever-it-is.

Holmes County,Florida– Principal David Davis led a “relentless crusade” against homosexuality at Ponce de Leon High School, a federal judge said in court documents filed Thursday….

“Davis embarked on what can only be characterized as a witch hunt,” wrote U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak, who blasted him for his “morality assemblies” and misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

The opinion came more than two months after Heather Gillman and the American Civil Liberties Union won a free-speech lawsuit against the Holmes County School Board – which actually was Davis’ complicit “alter ego,” Smoak wrote….

Students had begun showing support following the taunting of a gay student at school.

In response to the taunting incident, Davis told the gay student it wasn’t right for her to be homosexual and held a morality assembly, according to testimony.

Then, after an investigation into the “secret society” of gay pride at school, Davis suspended several students for supporting the girl. He told one suspended student’s mother “he could secretly send her daughter off to a private Christian school” and said “if there was a man in your house … you wouldn’t be having any of these gay issues,” according to the court.

Davis banned rainbows, pink triangles and a number of what he called sexually suggestive slogans. The slogans included “I Support Gays” and “God Loves Me Just the Way I Am.”

According to another source [here], this jerk, who is no longer serving as Principal, is teaching American Government at the same school.  Poor kids!