The Special Forces of Liberty is My USO Tour Cover Band Name! MAGA-Dopes on Patrol Edition

As we make our way through this long Friday afternoon waiting to see what, if anything, comes from the sealed documents/indictments that the Special Counsel’s Office filed yesterday and trying to make sense of why the President thinks the Federal government can negotiate “cash on hand” contracts (Narrator: the Federal government cannot negotiate cash on hand contracts), we should check in on the MAGA-Dopes and their ongoing, low intensity warfare campaign of terrorism across the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Let’s start with the snark…

We interrupt this snark for the actual factual information, from Courthouse News (emphasis mine):

HOUSTON (CN) — Christian activists who tried to stop Houston libraries from hosting “Drag Queen Storytime” because it allegedly promotes the LGBT community’s “secular humanist” religion lack standing, a federal judge ruled Thursday, dismissing the lawsuit.

Three Christian men, including a pastor, sued Houston Public Library Executive Director Rhea Lawson and Mayor Sylvester Turner in October 2018 after an online petition and a protest outside a city library did not persuade Lawson to cancel the events that the library advertised as “an imaginative storytelling experience.”

“Picture books and songs shared by vibrant performers will excite and instill a love for reading for the entire family,” the library said on its website for the story hours it hosted once a month from August to December 2018.

Lead plaintiff Tex Christopher said in the lawsuit that “‘gay marriage’ is ‘fake marriage’” and that, as a Houston taxpayer and library cardholder, he has standing because the library specially ordered books for the story hours and made flyers for them.

“The plaintiffs believe that LGBTQ ideology is immoral, obscene and subversive to human flourishing and that the LGBTQ ideology is inseparably linked to the religion of Secular Humanism,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs said in the complaint that the library was “brainwashing the children of Houston” while denying Christian groups’ requests to host Christian-related events.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal dismissed their lawsuit Thursday for lack of standing and failure to state a viable First Amendment Establishment Clause claim.

Rosenthal said the men could not prove the threshold issue that they had been injured by the story hour because it’s unclear from their pleadings that any of them attended the events.

“The plaintiffs assert the very opposite: they purposefully avoided ‘Drag Queen Storytime’ because of its alleged immorality and potential to harm their children. Instead of witnessing the event, the plaintiffs ‘researched [it] online,’” Rosenthal wrote in a 19-page order.

Rosenthal said their allegations of injuries are much broader than “Drag Queen Storytime” in Houston libraries, and that shutting down the events here would not redress their grievances.

She said they are using the litigation to “protest the gay-rights movement and the legal rights federal courts have recognized for members of the LGBTQ community.”

Plaintiff Chris Sevier is also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit in Lafayette, La., that led that city’s library director in October 2018 to “stand down on planning a Drag Queen Story Hour” while the litigation is pending, court records show.

Rosenthal also rejected the plaintiff’s claim that they have standing because they pay sales and property taxes in Houston that were used to fund the story hours.

“The plaintiffs allege the purchase of children’s books and creation of a flyer but fail to allege that either were ‘a measurable appropriation’ of the Library’s $40,000,000 budget, or both cost more than a de minimis amount. These costs, individually or in the aggregate, do not confer standing,” wrote Rosenthal, chief judge of the Southern District of Texas.

She refused to credit the Christians’ claims that because the LGBT community practices the religion of secular humanism, “Drag Queen Storytime” violates the Establishment Clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

The judge found that even if she accepted that secular humanism is a religion under the Establishment Clause, there is no evidence that any drag queens discussed it at the events.

“Because the plaintiffs do not allege facts that do or could show that the event is a religious activity, there is no issue of establishment of religion,” she wrote.  

In his original complaint, Christopher said he sued “in his capacity as a community leader,” and that he and his co-plaintiffs, including De Factor Attorney Generals and Special Forces of Liberty, “have been violently and/or viciously persecuted by the LGBTQ church and devout members of the Secular Humanist religion for refusing to respect and endorse a worldview that is objectively immoral, obscene, and subversive to human flourishing.”

We now return you to the regularly scheduled snark.

I really do not want to know what evidence that Christopher submitted in support of his claim that he’s be violently and/or viciously persecuted by the LGBTQ church and devout members of the Secular Humanist religion.

Unfortunately one of the Special Forces of Liberty, or was it one of the De Factor Attorney Generals – who can keep them straight without a program? – decided to take his 2nd Amendment rights out for some exercise…

From The Independent (emphasis mine):

Donald Trump supporter reportedly armed with a gun barged into a Texas library in an attempt to stop a drag queen reading books to children.

James Greene was arrested on suspicion of trespassing after refusing to leave Houston’s Freed-Montrose Library, but claimed he was detained for being a “white Christian” and accused staff of satanism.

He had entered the building to protest against Drag Queen Storytime, a programme of events in which performers read children’s stories to families.

The conservative radio host has previously been banned from the library for filming children during similar demonstrations.

Footage filmed by Mr Greene and posted on YouTube shows him remonstrating with police officers as they ask him to leave the building. Another clip shows him being handcuffed in the libary’s car park.

He added: “He was previously banned for filming children at the library, and has been known to cause disturbances. Several officers had to escort him out.”

Mr Greene later recounted the incident in a Facebook video, wearing a Make America Great Again hat in front of a cardboard cut-out of Mr Trump. He claimed he was “arrested for being a white Christian” and accused a librarian at Freed-Montrose of being a “satanist”

Of course he did…

Bless his heart!

Remember, the only thing that can stop a bad MAGA hat wearing guy with a gun is a Drag Queen with a children’s story book.

Alright children are we ready? Good! See James be creepy at the library. See library officials ask the strange men who likes to act out in front of children in public to leave. See James threaten the nice library officials. See the library officials call 911. See the police officer ask James to leave. See James refuse because he’s a white, Christian man and this is Texas by God! See James get taken into custody and not shot because he’s a white, Christian man and this is Texas by God! And every one lived happily ever after. Now who’s ready for another story?

While I wish it wasn’t the case, this kind of stupid behavior will eventually stop when one of these morons pulls this stuff on a financially well off, professional ethnic and/or religious minority who both conceal carries and lives in a Stand Your Ground state. At that point they will learn the hard way that the old maxim that “God made man, Samuel Colt made all men equal” doesn’t just apply to white guys. And then things are going to get really exciting.

Open thread!



The Supreme Court Lifts the Nationwide Injunctions Preventing the President’s Ban on Transgender People from Serving in the US Military

Amid all the other hullabaloo today, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to lift the nationwide injunctions that were preventing the President’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military.

From The Associated Press:

The Trump administration can go ahead with its plan to restrict military service by transgender men and women while court challenges continue, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

The high court split 5-4 in allowing the plan to take effect, with the court’s five conservatives greenlighting it and its four liberal members saying they would not have. The order from the court was brief and procedural, with no elaboration from the justices.

The court’s decision clears the way for the Pentagon to bar enlistment by people who have undergone a gender transition. It will also allow the administration to require that military personnel serve as members of their biological gender unless they began a gender transition under less restrictive Obama administration rules.

The Trump administration has sought for more than a year to change the Obama-era rules and had urged the justices to take up cases about its transgender troop policy immediately, but the court declined for now.

Those cases will continue to move through lower courts and could eventually reach the Supreme Court again. The fact that five justices were willing to allow the policy to take effect for now, however, makes it more likely the Trump administration’s policy will ultimately be upheld.

Both the Justice and Defense departments released statements saying they were pleased by the Supreme Court’s action. The Pentagon said its policy on transgender troops is based on professional military judgment and necessary to “ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force.” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said lower court rulings had forced the military to “maintain a prior policy that poses a risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

Before beginning to implement its policy the administration is expected to need to make a procedural filing in one case in Maryland challenging the plan. That request could be made this week.

Groups that sued over the Trump administration’s policy said they ultimately hoped to win their lawsuits over the policy. Jennifer Levi, an attorney for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, said in a statement that the “Trump administration’s cruel obsession with ridding our military of dedicated and capable service members because they happen to be transgender defies reason and cannot survive legal review.”

More at the link.

Today’s lifting of the nationwide stay on the President’s policy is frustrating, but it is not the end of the case. The Supreme Court majority – its five conservative/GOP appointed justices – were willing to lift the nation wide stay, but not consolidate and fast track the separate cases wending through the Federal court system. This means that these separate suits to overturn the policy will continue through the courts and it is possible that as they proceed through the appellate phase that new injunctions will be implemented. As disturbing and discouraging as today’s ruling is, it is not the last word on this issue. It is entirely possible that the various suits take so long to get through the Federal courts, which will largely close on Monday because of the partial government shutdown, that a Democratic administration will come into office and reverse the ruling. That is small comfort, but the fight isn’t over.

And it is very important to continue this fight. Especially because the President’s decision to do this was not driving by a request from then Secretary of Defense Mattis. This was a completely unnecessary policy change. It will actually have real negative effects on readiness by making it harder to make recruiting quotas and by driving Americans who feel called, for whatever reason, to serve in the military away from that service. There’s no way to know for sure, but the President’s decision to change this policy on the fly was likely driven by the Vice President and his senior policy advisor Stephen Miller. This type of pointlessly cruel policy is just their speed.

It is also important to know that important, high visibility veterans, both cis and transgender, are planning to fight on.

Here’s Senator Duckworth’s response:

DUCKWORTH STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT ORDER ON MILITARY TRANSGENDER BAN

 

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — In response to the Supreme Court’s order this morning allowing Donald Trump’s discriminatory ban on transgender servicemembers to take effect, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement:

“When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter on that dusty field in Iraq, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, male or female. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind. If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve—no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Today’s decision is disheartening not only because it will help the Trump Administration discriminate against an ever-shrinking portion of our population who are willing to serve in uniform, but also because it enables the Administration to further disrupt to our military and weaken our national security.

“I hope the Court takes up this case and loudly and clearly tells the Administration that this sort of discrimination has no place in our military, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress will send the same message and show our servicemembers that we have their backs.”

And here’s retired Senior Chief Special Warfare Officer and former member of Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) Kristin Beck’s response:

Senator Duckworth and Chief Beck are fighting, in the words of the DEVGRU motto, For Something Greater.

Open thread!

 



A Little Good News: Colorado’s New Governor

When MLK said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This is what he meant.

Twenty-seven years ago, Colorado passed one of the ugliest anti-LGBT laws in the country (it was quickly overturned) and today, we swore in Jared Polis. Father, partner, Jewish and gay. Congratulations to all of us in Colorado, we are all better for it.

From the Denver Post:

Colorado entered a new era of Democratic political dominance Tuesday as Jared Polis was sworn in as the state’s 43rd governor, promising to make the state’s booming economy fairer and health care more affordable.

“Our mission now is to make Colorado a place for all families to have a chance to thrive today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” he said after taking the oath of office. “I believe there is nothing that Colorado needs to do that Colorodans can’t get done. There is nothing wrong with Colorado that what is right with Colorado can’t fix.”

Polis’ longtime partner, Marlon Reis, and their two children stood with him for the ceremony on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol. He took the oath at precisely noon, his left hand on a siddur, a Jewish prayer book.

In his first speech as governor, Polis celebrated the diversity of the state and recognized the historic moment: Polis is the first openly gay governor ever elected to lead a state. He is also Colorado’s first Jewish governor.

“I am very conscious of the fact that there were many brave people over the years who made it possible for someone like me to be standing here giving a speech like this,” he said. “I am grateful and forever indebted to those who came before me — who struggled for equal rights, who stepped up for public service in all its forms, who made difficult sacrifices and worked faithfully toward a brighter future for our state, our nation and our world.”

Invocations were done by the Spiritual Leader of Ute Mountain Tribe, the Head Priest of a Sikh Temple, and a Baptist minister.  Tonight, Cyndi Lauper will lead the musical guests at the Blue Sneaker Ball (in honor of Gov. Polis’ comfy blue sneakers).

Carry that with you as you face the orange circus peanut tonight…

 

 

 



Thursday Evening Open Thread: Still Good Stuff Happening!

Also…


Seriously.

And finaly…



Local Voting Open Thread: Good for Taylor Swift

I was told Swift’s real profit base is pre-teen and young-teen girls (and their parents), and it’s my impression that those girls are a lot more LGBGTQ-friendly than their Tennessee elders… Per the Tennessean:

The 28-year-old superstar took to Instagram on Sunday night to weigh in on Tennessee’s closely contested U.S. Senate race, endorsing Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen as she offered a harsh rebuke of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican nominee.

Her endorsement of Bredesen marks the first time Swift has spoken publicly about politics.

“As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn,” Swift wrote, elaborating that “her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.”

Swift specifically noted Blackburn’s vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, versions of which Blackburn has opposed in recent years. She also condemned Blackburn’s stance against marriage equality

“These are not MY Tennessee values,” Swift wrote…

In her Instagram post, Swift said she has been “reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”

“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country,” she wrote. “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”…

And if she’s just broken a few Nazi hearts, well…