Team Sauron Shoots, Scores

Bad news from the Supreme Court, via WaPo:

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to allow a limited version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, and will consider in the fall the president’s broad powers in immigration matters in a case that raised fundamental issues of national security and religious discrimination.

The court made an important exception: it said the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The court also said in the ruling that it would consider whether the case will be moot by the time it hears it; the ban is supposed to be a temporary one while the government reviews its vetting procedures.

The action means that the administration may impose a 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States, with the exceptions noted by the court.

Team Trump said the 90-day ban was necessary to allow the administration to put its “extreme vetting” policies in place. At this point, 156 days have elapsed since the shitgibbon was sworn in, so it makes no sense logically to impose the ban now.

But this was never about logic or sound security policy; it was about codifying anti-Muslim bigotry to please Trump and his xenophobic, anti-Muslim base. Mission accomplished.

The Supreme Court will also hear a public accommodation case in the fall. Again, WaPo:

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider next term whether a Denver baker unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake.

Lower courts had ruled that Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, had violated Colorado’s public accommodations law, which prohibits refusing service to customers based on factors such as race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

There are similar lawsuits from florists, calligraphers and others who say their religious beliefs won’t allow them to provide services for same-sex weddings. But they have found little success in the courts, which have ruled that public businesses must comply with state anti-discrimination laws.

I’m not a lawyer, but the fact that the Supreme Court will hear this case at all strikes me as ominous. It’s an opportunity for people who use religion to justify their bigotry to get cover of law to exercise their prejudice. Of course, in the best case scenario, gay folks’ full equality could be upheld, but why is it in question?

Interested to hear from our legal beagles on these issues.








Monday Morning Open Thread: Once More Unto the Breach

Any readers in the DC area know about this?

Apart from #Resisting, what’s on the agenda as we start the new week?
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On The Road

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Balloon Juicers who are on the road, travelling, etc. and wish to share notes, links, pictures, stories, etc. from their escapades. As the US mainland begins the end of the Earth day as we measure it, many of us rise to read about our friends and their transient locales.

So, please, speak up and share some of your adventures, observations, and sights as you explore, no matter where you are. By concentrating travel updates here, it’s easier for all to keep up-to-date on the adventures of our fellow Commentariat. And it makes finding some travel tips or ideas from 6 months ago so much easier to find…

Have at ’em, and have a safe day of travels!

 

Should you have any pictures (tasteful, relevant, etc….) you can email them to picstopost@balloon-juice.com or just use this nifty link to start an email: Start an Email to send a Picture to Post on Balloon Juice

 

 

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Late Night Open Thread: Ambassador Kislyak — So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye…

Not exactly unexpected — his cover’s been irrevocably blown — but one more tick on the timeline:

Ending one the most turbulent tenures of a Washington-based ambassador in recent memory, the Kremlin has decided to recall its ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, three individuals familiar with the decision tell BuzzFeed News.

The decision to bring Kislyak back to Russia rather than appoint him to a senior position at the United Nations in New York, as several outlets previously reported, comes amid investigations by the FBI and Congress into the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with President Donald Trump’s top aides during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“He could use some time away,” said a US-based diplomat.

Though Kislyak’s departure has long been expected, Moscow would not confirm his departure date. The US-Russia Business Council, however, is hosting a going away party for the ambassador on July 11 at the St. Regis Hotel

Kislyak was reportedly under consideration to lead a new UN counterterrorism office based in New York. However, that position has since been offered to veteran Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov, a UN official announced last week…

In Kislyak’s place, the Kremlin is expected to send Russian deputy foreign minister, Anatoly Antonov, according to Russian media reports. Antonov, a tough negotiator who is on the EU’s sanctions list, will need final approval by Russia’s parliament.

Waiting with interest to see how this story develops.



Open Thread: VULGAR! (As in, ‘of the common people’)

To the fainting couches, gentlemen!…


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Clutching-pearls and elbow patches at the ready!


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Because TONE is more important than FACTS!


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(The facts, after all, are almost never on the side of the Republicans.)



Open Thread: It’s A Million-to-One Chance, But It Just Might Work!

But srsly, Alex Pareene’s got an eye for the Next Big Trend, which gives me hope:

The American right is awash in money. A huge amount of right-wing donor money—much more than many reputable liberal activist and advocacy groups ever see—goes to grifters solely out to enrich themselves, and the movement still always has more than enough left over to fund campaigns at every level of government. The right has more money to spend on electing conservatives than it can efficiently spend. You don’t raise and spend thousands of dollars on college student government campaigns unless you don’t have a more urgent use for that money…

Here’s a fun question to ask the internet if you want to start an endless argument: What should we want Hillary Clinton to do with herself now, exactly? Regardless of whether you voted for her enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all, we must all acknowledge that she will continue to exist in this world for the foreseeable future, and, hence, will have do do something.

One thing rich people love to do is give the Clintons money. Rich people enjoy giving the Clintons money almost as much as they enjoy eating expensive versions of traditional street foods, and causing measles outbreaks. The liberal donor class and the not-that-liberal-but-likes-to-donate class love writing checks to Bill and Hillary Clinton, and increasingly also Chelsea too. The Clinton Foundation was the ultimate proof of that fact.

The good news is, this seems to be what Hillary Clinton has decided to do. Last month, she launched “Onward Together,” her new political nonprofit that will reportedly act not as a launching pad for a future Clinton campaign but as a group dedicated to aiding existing activist groups. The Politico reported just prior to the group’s launch: “The new organization is not expected to have a large staff, but will instead focus on sending money to other organizations at a time that Democratic donors are largely unsure about how they should be spending their cash.”

If accurate, this is exactly what we (pretty broadly defined) should want from Clinton in the Trump era.

The Clintons are a safe “brand” for wealthy donors who don’t want to get their hands dirty doing liberal politics. Donors who do want to do liberal politics are frequently attracted to big shiny races—the presidency, Virginia governor—and neglect state legislatures, House races in far-flung districts, and groups doing on-the-ground organizing throughout the country. A Clinton organization that can act as a clearinghouse for big donor money, and that distributes that money to organizations doing good work, is an eminently sensible idea. With the exception of a handful of mega-donors who determine the course of the movement, conservatives largely have experienced political operatives steer their donors’ money wherever it’s most needed (while taking a hefty cut for themselves and their friends, obviously). It has been, as we can all see, a successful model…

The nice thing is, letting rich donors give their money to the Clintons, to give away as they see fit, doesn’t have to come with any downside for anyone. It does not preclude other fundraising strategies: There is room for the individual, small donor-funded grassroots campaign as well as the giant hose of dark money aimed at every conceivably winnable race. The Democrats will clearly need both…



Ignorance Is Strength

Day #155: the childish outburst continues:

The most interesting thing about this comparison is that Trump equates Clinton’s “collusion” with the Democratic Party to his campaign’s collusion with a hostile foreign power. Unintentionally revealing!

Shortly after that tweet, Trump sat for a tuggie an interview with Fox & Friends’ Pete Hegseth and elaborated on his bizarre complaint yesterday that President Obama didn’t stop the Russians from sleazing him (Trump) into office:

Note that Trump, who has received the most highly classified intel for many months now, claims he just learned this from the Washington Post story published last week. As Stelter rightly points out, the WaPo story inspired debate about whether PBO should have done more to counter Russian interference, not whether he addressed it at all.

As Stelter says, everyone has known for months — before the vote — that the Russians interfered with the election; only Trump and his surrogates have consistently denied it. PBO took action against the Russians for it, and we know Trump knows that too, since he has removed or attempted to remove every sanction placed on the Russians. Trump even kissed Putin’s ass shortly before the inauguration, praising the Russians for demurring on a response to PBO’s sanctions and providing a wink-wink signal that the sanctions would be short-lived:

Fox Friend Hegseth didn’t follow up because that’s not the role of the state propaganda organ’s presenter. Trump is counting on brazen lies and the inversion of observed reality at every turn to carry the day. Why not? It’s worked so far.