Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did an excellent job of revealing he has absolutely no understanding of the human condition.Â
Clarence ThomasÂ is one of the most conservative and one of the most controversial justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia gets a lot of attention, in part because his dissents of late have been hyperbolic and bombastic, but Justice Thomas rarely gets much attention.Â
He deserves a lot more, and not in a good way.
The 67-year old Georgia-born jurist who replaced â€“Â of all people, Thurgood Marshall â€“Â on the bench, offered a stunning statement in his dissent of the same-sex marriage case.
“Perhaps recognizing that these cases do not actually involve liberty as it has been understood, the majority goes to great lengths to assert that its decision will advance the ‘dignity’ of same-sex couples,” Justice Thomas writes. “The flaw in that reasoning, of course, is that the Constitution contains no ‘dignity’ Clause, and even if it did, the government would be incapable of bestowing dignity.”
“Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,’ they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.”
OK, you’re probably thinking, this is nuts, and insensitive, but wait, there’s more.
“The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.”
Let’s do that again.
“Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved.”
Is he serious?
Being property, being owned by another person, with absolutely no rights, subjected to violence and rape and starvation and whipping and all sorts of other indignities does not cause one to lose their dignity nor their humanity?
Speaking personally, I have never been a slave, nor confinedÂ in an internmentÂ camp, but I can imagine how horrific that was.
How is it possible that Justice Thomas cannot?
And, as a gay man who married two years ago, almost to this day, I can without qualification state that my personal dignity was greatly affectedÂ â€“ positivelyÂ â€“ upon becoming a legally married man.Â
The exact moment my husband and I were pronounced married I was a changed person. My world changed, and yes, it had to do with legal acceptance and validation, and dignity.
Something Justice Thomas, sadly, must not know anything about.
Justice Thomas’ dissent is so vile and offensive, he’s actually right now the number two trending topic, right under #LoveWins:
More responses via Twitter:
Clarence Thomas is so racist he forces Klansmen to say, “I really gotta up my game.”
â€” W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) June 26, 2015
Clarence Thomas’s marriage to a white woman was once illegal but he wants to lecture others on legitimate marriages. pic.twitter.com/gZydSB1zAv
â€” Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 26, 2015
Clarence Thomas is an embarrassment to America, and his opinions on race are deficient and dull, like those of someone who has never lived.
â€” Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) June 26, 2015
But I would like to take this opportunity to say Clarence Thomas really is the worst person in the world. Holy shit, y’all.
â€” Joshua Yu Burnett (@joshuayuburnett) June 26, 2015
â€” Bryan Tucker (@BTuckertime) June 26, 2015
Clarence Thomas’ twisted dissent to LGBT Equality ruling defines him once and for all as a sociopath completely… http://t.co/rn5GSlTWwj
â€” Steven Leser (@stevenleser) June 26, 2015
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FDA Chief Cornered on CNN Over Trump’s False Claim That ’99 Percent of COVID Cases Are Completely Harmless’
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday morning, fill-in host Dana Bash put FDA head Dr. Stephen Hahn on the hot seat as she confronted him with Donald Trump’s claim on Saturday night that 99 percent of the COVID-19 cases are harmless, telling the administration official that it was a provable lie.
The CNN host cut right to the chase in her interview, asking about Tump’s dismissive assertion that there is nothing for people to fear about getting the coronavirus.
Referring to the president’s claim, Bash asked, “99 percent of coronavirus cases are, quote, ‘completely harmless.’ No health expert that we have found can back that up, can you?”
“So, we know that cases are surging in the country, we’ve all seen the graphs associated with that. It’s too early and I’m not going to speculate on what the causation is there,” Hahn replied before moving on to telling Americans to follow CDC guidelines of health safety.
“Dr. Hahn, I think it’s important to stick to the question about the 99 percent that the president threw out there. I can tell you it’s not true, and that’s obviously not my opinion. It is fact-based on CDC estimates. Only a third of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic. the WHO, World Health Organization says 20 percent of people who die of coronavirus need oxygen or hospital care,” the CNN host lectured. “This is really important, probably one of the most important misclaims or, frankly, lies the president has put out there. It really affects people’s health if they hear the president saying 99 percent of people are fine. They’re going to change their behavior, potentially get sick and infect other people. how does that make you feel as a member of his own task force?”
“I totally support the CDC and the information that they’re putting out with respect to this pandemic,” the doctor demurred. “I think it’s, again, really important. the guidelines that we’ve emphasized, the data that we have — again, it’s a rapidly evolving situation and we’re going to have more data.”
“Dr. Hahn, I realize this is not easy for you. You are working really hard to protect Americans. I have to ask you flatly to that end, to protect Americans, is the president wrong?” Bash pressed.
“So, I’m not going to get into who is right and who is wrong,” Hahn replied. “What I’ve going to say, Dana, is what I’ve said before. It’s a serious problem that we have, we’ve seen the surge in cases, we must do something to stem the tied tide, and we have this in our power to do this by following the guidance from the task force and the CDC.”
U.S. government vividly shows the danger of fireworks in literally mind-blowing video
It’s the Fourth of July, American Independence Day, a holiday where Americans buy nearly $1 billion worth of fireworks (literally tens of thousands of tons of explosive material) to light up the night sky in a celebration-slash-commemoration of the firearms our colonizers gleefully discharged in open revolt against the Brits who first sent them there.
While our resentments against the British have (mostly) receded, the danger of explosives hasn’t entirely. That’s why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released this literally head-exploding video demonstrating the numerous ways that fireworks can blow your brain, children and limbs to bits.
Luckily, the video uses mannequins, but it gets its message across quite vividly.
They’ve even published this following list of helpful firework safety tips:
– Never allow young children to play with, or ignite, fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
– Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
– Light fireworks one at a time, then move away quickly.
– Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
– Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
– Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
– After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
– Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
Happy Fourth, everyone!
Trump is making a move to endanger LGBTQ and civil rights activists around the world
The Open Technology Fund (OTF), “a U.S. government-funded nonprofit that provides encryption technologies to journalists and activists living under repressive regimes,” is under threat from Michael Pack, an appointee of President Donald Trump who now heads the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the group that oversees the OTF.
Pack is pressuring the OTF to change its funding allocation in a way that could endanger LGBTQ activists and others strategizing for civil rights in countries like China, Russia, Iran and Turkey, leaving them subject harassment, arrest, violence, and death.
According to Vice News, Pack has packed USAGM’s board with Trump loyalists who are working to funnel tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to closed-source technologies. Closed-source technologies are privately developed apps that could contain backdoor and security vulnerabilities allowing repressive regimes to track users and monitor their online communications.
Pack’s shift to closed-source technology is a fundamental change to the OTF’s long-running investment in “open-source technology,” tech whose publicly available source code can be studied and tested to ensure others can’t access user data.
Pack’s USAGM is currently pushing for OTF to invest in Freegate and Ultrasurf, two closed-source apps that purport to get around the Great Firewall of China, a censorious and domestically controlled internet that blocks activists from any sites critical of the Chinese government.
Open-source software experts that spoke to Vice said, “[Ultrasurf’s] code is out of date, dangerously vulnerable to compromise, and lacks the user base to allow it to effectively scale even if they secured government funding.”
Laura Cunningham and Libby Liu, who very recently served as OTF’s president and CEO respectively, told Vice News that in March 2020 (shortly after Trump installed Pack), Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation Human Rights and Justice (one of the groups pushing Ultrasurf) threatened them to fund the app or else risk being ousted by Pack and his board.
On June 13, 2020, Michael Horowitz, former director of the Project for International Religious Liberty (another group pushing Ultrasurf), then went on the radio show of white supremacist-enabler and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and called for Pack to fire Liu — four days later, he did. A day later, Pack fired Cunningham without providing any reason whatsoever.
Current and former OTF staff members told Vice they’re worried about the OTF’s direction under Pack. Longtime open-source technology advocate Cory Doctorow summed up the worry in a Twitter thread that linked to a petition urging Congress to intervene:
The Trump admin wants to nuke the OTF and give all its money to a bunch of grifty, closed-source privacy and firewall-circumvention tools. These tools are NOT auditable, and the companied that make them stand to make BANK from the move… If i was a Uyghur in Xinjiang or a dissident in Tehran, I would NOT trust my life to these tools. No goddamned way.
OTF’s ironclad rule of funding open, free code isn’t just a way to allay suspicions about the tools’ true purpose – it’s also a preventative against corruption, because the projects OTF funds CAN’T insert spy code without being caught right away… Based on this administration’s track record, I’m about 70-30 that this is just a bro deal that lets some cronies suck up millions in corporate welfare while hanging out tools used by vulnerable people around the world to dry.
Remember, Congress allocated this money for the OTF, not as pork for a bunch of connected insiders. This money built the tools that #BlackLivesMatter protesters use, to say nothing of the #HongKongProtests and many other movements around the world.
It will be a genuine, deep, widespread tragedy if this move isn’t stopped.
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