Attorney General Sessions made an announcement Monday that he has a new gig: head of his own “Religious Liberty” Task Force. The announcement was made during the Department of Justice’s Religious Liberty Summit.
Sessions said the group’s purpose will be to ensure that the Justice Department upholds the administration’s guidance for religious exemptions, which he released in October.
That’s a lot of fake power for a tiny little man.
“Though freedom of religion is a core American value, religious exemptions from adhering to non-discrimination protections are not,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD.
“Sessions’ announcement today is yet another example of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ agenda as they seek to weave protections for those seeking anti-LGBTQ religious exemptions into the government,” Kate Ellis added.
Sessions claimed that the goal of this task force is to accommodate people of faith, but his explanation of its purpose and his extensive anti-LGBTQ record suggest otherwise.
Sessions has a long history of defending the use of “religious exemptions” to discriminate against LGBTQ people and opposing non-discrimination protections for the community.
In his announcement, Sessions called attention to legal battles such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which lawyers from the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom argued that Jack Phillips had the right to discriminate against two men who were seeking a wedding cake based on their sexual orientation.
“We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a ‘hate group’ on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs,” Sessions shared.
Well, that’s one way to change the civil rights narrative.
“This President and this Department of Justice are determined to protect and even advance this magnificent heritage,” Sessions said.
Monday’s Religious Liberty Summit featured a number of panelists, each boasting a lengthy anti-LGBTQ record.
Among those honored in Sessions’ speech were Kerri Kupec, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Jack Phillips, Senator Lankford, and Emilie Kao.
Probably the best line from his speech was this one:
“Many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack,” he said. “And it’s easy to see why. We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives.”
Right. Nuns. Ordered to buy contraceptives…
Because that’s our goal, folks. You’ve figured the left out once and for all.
“As our nation grows order, we must not let it depart from this magnificent tradition,” Sessions said.
Enter The Handmaid’s Tale.
Because we have to save the nuns.
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Trump ‘Honors’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. By Visiting His DC Memorial – for 30 Seconds
President Donald Trump decided to “honor” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. late Monday afternoon by dragging his vice president to Washington, D.C.’s MLK Memorial. The two top executives spent all of 30 seconds there, on Martin Luther King Day, without saying a word. They then left. Both were back in the White House ten minutes later.
CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins documented the curious event:
President Trump and Vice President Pence just made an unannounced trip to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington. They stood in front of it for approximately 30 seconds with their heads bowed before turning and leaving without making remarks.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 20, 2020
Reuters’ Steve Holland posted this photo of Trump and Pence:
President Trump and Vice President Pence at the MLK Memorial pic.twitter.com/lH4vzsKTOg
— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) January 20, 2020
The Hill posted video of Trump and Pence getting booed and cheered.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 20, 2020
By any standard Monday’s visit was astonishingly short. Last year Trump and Pence made the same visit – and stayed just 94 seconds.
Trump and Pence spent a whopping 94 seconds at the MLK memorial on MLK day in 2019 — and never uttered his name pic.twitter.com/GqOVbqcIHn
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 20, 2020
Earlier Monday Trump “honored” the civil rights icon by posting a tweet making the holiday all about himself. Trump suggested his own inauguration was a more important event than the celebration of Dr. King’s life, while Kellyanne Conway claimed his impeachment was akin to the battles Dr. King fought.
‘Martyrdom for Snowflakes’: CNN Analyst Knocks Republicans Who Desperately Wanted to Be Arrested at SCIF Protest
CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.
Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told “there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse.”
6) Fox is told there was never any chance mbrs who barged into SCIF would be arrested by USCP wBut some mbrs members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 24, 2019
Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of “martyrdom for snowflakes.”
“We laugh, I laugh, but we have to realize that we are looking at a Republican Party beholden to Trump which is not beholden to democracy, the rule of law, process or ethics,” Ali continued. “It’s going to get a lot worse because Donald Trump — they got him dead to right on the Ukraine crisis. They got the quid pro quo. Ambassador Bill Taylor’s opening statement is devastating. The phone call transcript is devastating. I just want to remind people that Donald Trump released that transcript thinking that would exonerate him. Just pause for a moment and reflect upon that.”
He predicted that in the next year, Americans would see more obstruction of justice and more pundits willing to say whatever it takes to defend Trump.
“We are going to see people like [former acting Attorney General] Matthew Whitaker come out and say that people like him can’t abuse power,” Ali continued. “And we’re going to see his attorney come out and say something like, ‘Oh yeah, Donald Trump can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue because he is president and above the law,’ which is by the way what Donald Trump said in 2016. That’s what’s scary.”
He went on to call the Republican Party an “extremist minority party leaning authoritarian” and predicted that it would ultimately sink “everything” for the president. He also predicted things would get a lot worse.
Opinion columnist Catherine Rampell explained that a full quarter of “the boneheads” that stormed the secure room are members of the committee and have access to participate in the depositions.
“They didn’t need to bust down the door figuratively or otherwise. They were allowed into this hearing,” she said.
“Republicans are basically turning into sort of a funhouse-mirror caricature of the left-wing cancel-culture college student that they love to make fun of,” she continued. “They claim to be all about not only free speech but also law and order and stand for all of these principles. And they condemn the snowflakes who can’t take criticism of whatever their precious ideas are or their heroes are. And yet they are the ones who when the law isn’t on their side and facts aren’t on their side just shout down the opposition.”
Trump Administration Did Not Understand ‘Scope’ of What Government Does Before President Shut It Down: Report
The Trump administration did not anticipate a lengthy shutdown of the federal government, nor did it grasp what the federal government actually does before President Donald Trump shut it down December 22.
Now hours away from entering the third week of the shutdown, administration officials are scrambling to understand what they’ve done, according to a scathing report in The Washington Post Friday evening.
“The Trump administration, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact, several senior administration officials said. The officials said they were focused now on understanding the scope of the consequences and determining whether there is anything they can do to intervene.”
Conservative commentator David Frum summed up the article in the Post by tweeting that “Team Trump was so ready to shut down” the government because “they had no idea” what the government does.
The Washington Post also explains that “Food stamps for 38 million low-income Americans would face severe reductions and more than $140 billion in tax refunds are at risk of being frozen or delayed if the government shutdown stretches into February.”
One far right wing GOP Congressman who serves as the chairman of the extremist Freedom Caucus was also reportedly unaware that food stamps would run out and Americans will literally go hungry in the dead of winter.
“Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a top House conservative who had cheered Trump’s approach in the political confrontation, said he was unaware that there would be any impact on SNAP benefits,” the Post reports.
“He said he was convinced this money was automatically appropriated by Congress: ‘Food stamps go on regardless,’ he said.”
That is incorrect.
Read the entire report here.
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