Another One for the “Ivanka Privately Opposed” File

Trump — a leering, thrice-married degenerate who used to invade dressing rooms to ogle underage beauty pageant contestants and is on tape bragging about sexually assaulting random women — is addressing the Values Voter Summit today. But let’s beg Irony to come down from the ledge because the organization running this shindig, the Family Research Council, is actually a hate group, so it all makes perfect sense.

Via BuzzFeed’s David Mack, here’s a sample of the swag the “Values Voters” receive before hearing the orange shart-cannon’s remarks:

The pamphlet makes the case that hordes of promiscuous gay people are endangering public health by spreading STDs. This may be the one topic Trump could address with authority since he once said STD avoidance was his “personal Vietnam.”

Walking Jack T. Chick tract Roy Moore is also addressing the assembled hypocrites. That the event won’t end with a precision meteor strike is further proof of an amoral universe, in my book. Open thread!

The Crackpottery Barn Rule

Beltway media outlets have settled on “conservative firebrand” to describe Alabama GOP nominee Roy Moore. I like Charlie Pierce’s formulation better: “theocratic crackpot.” “Lawless zealot” would also work, as would “Talibangelical” or “Bible-humping, dainty-pistol-waving crazypants.”

Longtime GOP operative and WaPo columnist Ed Rogers is dismayed this morning:

Roy Moore’s win is bad for Alabama, and even worse for the GOP

To liberals, having Moore in the Senate will be the gift that keeps on giving. He will be the mainstream media’s favorite Republican senator. They will count on Moore to embody every negative stereotype that a conservative from Alabama and an elected Republican can have… Finally, there is a truly anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Muslim, anti-everything elected Republican for all the world to see… Alabama specifically and Republicans everywhere will suffer as a result of Moore’s presence in Washington.

Emphasis mine, and from your keyboard to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s delicate al dente orrecchiette, Ed; Republicans everywhere deserve to suffer.

He goes on:

Trump’s support for appointed Sen. Luther Strange (whom I contributed to) was right in every way. Trump needs more poised, experienced allies in Congress. He should do all he can to populate the Republican caucus with serious leaders who have a good sense of reality and what is achievable.

How on earth is Trump, a permanent resident of a delusional narcissistic fantasy world, supposed to identify Republicans who are “serious leaders who have a good sense of reality and what is achievable,” Ed?

He meeps some more:

Political predictions are foolish. It is a mistake to take today’s headlines and extrapolate to the next election. But Republicans are doing nothing to discourage Democrats about their prospects for 2018 by electing the likes of Moore. The idea that Moore’s victory was some kind of Bannonite strategy to strengthen Trump by diluting rational Republicans in the Senate with incapable crackpots is demented.

You know who’s “demented,” Ed? The “incapable crackpot” your party put in the Oval Office. And while the walking canker sore Steve Bannon may have selected that particular piece of crackpottery as a vessel, the lunacy contained therein is an artisanal GOP product in production since at least the 1970s.

Ed sadly concludes:

The bottom line for Republicans is, in Congress, within the White House and among the electorate, things are perilously close to being out of control. Our leaders, while discouraged, certainly don’t need to capitulate. But real Republicans need to start winning.

The “real Republicans” have already won, Ed — last November and last night. You broke it, you bought it; Crackpottery Barn Rule.

We Have a Winner in the GOP Senatorial Runoff in Alabama

Here he is:

Ooops, sorry, that’s Mike TeaVee from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Here he is:

Your Alabama GOP senatorial runoff winner is cowboy cosplayer and teeny weeny wheel gun aficionado Judge Roy Moore – the Last Law West of Ashkelon.


Open thread!

Nutcases, Every Last One of Them

Jim Newell captures this gem:

One day after President Donald Trump shocked the Capitol by accepting Democrats’ three-month debt ceiling extension over the strenuous objections of both Republican leaders and his treasury secretary, most congressional Republicans are saying they’re not panicking. Yet.

“I don’t think it’s the last deal he’ll cut with Schumer and Pelosi,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told me on Thursday, “but I don’t think it sets a precedent necessarily, that it’s going to happen all the time.” His fellow Freedom Caucuser, Virginia Rep. Dave Brat, also isn’t worried, telling reporters that he’s not sweating over Trump’s sudden buddy-buddy relationship with Democratic leaders.

“I’m a Calvinist,” he said. “I don’t panic.”

That last line pretty much sums up the Freedumb Caca.

If the name seems familiar, Brat is the asshole who out-assholed Eric Cantor in the 2014 primary to win that seat.

A Setback For Hobby Lobby’s Bible Museum

Hobby Lobby today agreed to forfeit thousands (yes, thousands) of cuneiform tablets and clay seals (bullae), along with 144 cylinder seals and $3 million dollars to the United States Government in a civil suit. The artifacts most likely were looted from Iraq and smuggled into the US as “tile samples” via the UAE. Removing artifacts from archaelogical sites removes them from their historical context and makes them largely unusable for understanding the past. The money from their sales often goes to organizations like ISIS.

According to the complaint and stipulated statement of facts filed with the court, in or around 2009, Hobby Lobby began to assemble a collection of historically significant manuscripts, antiquities and other cultural materials. In connection with this effort, Hobby Lobby’s president and a consultant traveled to the UAE in July 2010 to inspect a large number of cuneiform tablets and other antiquities being offered for sale (the “Artifacts”). Cuneiform is an ancient system of writing on clay tablets that was used in ancient Mesopotamia thousands of years ago.

In October 2010, an expert on cultural property law retained by Hobby Lobby warned the company that the acquisition of cultural property likely from Iraq, including cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals, carries a risk that such objects may have been looted from archaeological sites in Iraq. The expert also advised Hobby Lobby to review its collection of antiquities for any objects of Iraqi origin and to verify that their country of origin was properly declared at the time of importation into the United States. The expert warned Hobby Lobby that an improper declaration of country of origin for cultural property could lead to seizure and forfeiture of the artifacts by CBP.

Notwithstanding these warnings, in December 2010, Hobby Lobby executed an agreement to purchase over 5,500 Artifacts, comprised of cuneiform tablets and bricks, clay bullae and cylinder seals, for $1.6 million. The acquisition of the Artifacts was fraught with red flags. For example, Hobby Lobby received conflicting information where the Artifacts had been stored prior to the inspection in the UAE. Further, when the Artifacts were presented for inspection to Hobby Lobby’s president and consultant in July 2010, they were displayed informally. In addition, Hobby Lobby representatives had not met or communicated with the dealer who purportedly owned the Artifacts, nor did they pay him for the Artifacts. Rather, following instructions from another dealer, Hobby Lobby wired payment for the Artifacts to seven personal bank accounts held in the names of other individuals.

Hobby Lobby’s religion is so strong, though, that they can’t pay for insurance that would allow women to have contraceptives.


Thieves in the Temple

Because everyone in the Trump administration is a garbage human being, it’s no surprise that Jay Sekulow is even worse than I previously thought, and I previously thought he was a fucking human petri dish:

More than 15,000 Americans were losing their jobs each day in June 2009, as the US struggled to climb out of a painful recession following its worst financial crisis in decades.

But Jay Sekulow, who is now an attorney to Donald Trump, had a private jet to finance. His law firm was expecting a $3m payday. And six-figure contracts for members of his family needed to be taken care of.

Documents obtained by the Guardian show Sekulow that month approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.

Telemarketers for the nonprofit, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case), were instructed in contracts signed by Sekulow to urge people who pleaded poverty or said they were out of work to dig deep for a “sacrificial gift”.

“I can certainly understand how that would make it difficult for you to share a gift like that right now,” they told retirees who said they were on fixed incomes and had “no extra money” – before asking if they could spare “even $20 within the next three weeks”.

In addition to using tens of millions of dollars in donations to pay Sekulow, his wife, his sons, his brother, his sister-in-law, his niece and nephew and their firms, Case has also been used to provide a series of unusual loans and property deals to the Sekulow family.

I hate these people:

He founded Case in 1988 to build on a successful appearance at the US supreme court on behalf of the group Jews For Jesus, after an earlier career as a real estate attorney ended in bankruptcy and legal disputes. Sekulow has gone on to use Case as a platform for legal action to defend Christians against perceived encroachments on their rights.

Case raises tens of millions of dollars a year, much of it in small amounts from Christians who receive direct appeals for money over the telephone or in the mail. The telemarketing contracts obtained by the Guardian show how fundraisers were instructed by Sekulow to deliver bleak warnings about topics including abortion, Sharia law and Barack Obama.

“It’s time to let the president know that his vision of America is obscured and represents a dangerous threat to the Judea-Christian [sic] values that have been the cornerstone of our republic,” one script from 2015 said.

If there is a hell I hope these people rot in it.

The American Taliban Marches

These fucking wankers:

An anti-Muslim activist group is rallying in numerous cities across the country, marching in opposition to Islamic law, which the group believes is a threat to American society.

ACT for America, a lobbyist organization with close ties to the Trump administration that has helped pass state-level bills targeting Islamic law and refugees, organized the protests as a nationwide “March Against Sharia.”

While demonstrators argue they are protecting free speech and defending traditional American values, counterprotesters say the marchers underscore a larger trend of intolerance that is increasingly evident across a politically divided country.

Here’s a background on these nutters from the SPLC, who is also live-blogging this nationwide douchebag cosplay.