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‘Flying Monkeys on a Mission for the Wicked Witch’: Raskin Rips Republicans Over Impeachment ‘Inquiry’

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U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, blasted members of the House GOP at the opening of their first, televised, impeachment “inquiry” into President Joe Biden Thursday morning, declaring, “If the Republicans had a smoking gun or even a dripping water pistol, they would be presenting it today but they’ve got nothing on Joe Biden.”

Ranking Member Raskin noted the full House did not vote to hold an official impeachment inquiry, which he said violates the ruling of the Dept. of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

Congressman Raskin, a former constitutional law professor who served as the lead prosecutor for the second impeachment of Donald Trump, told the Committee, “like flying monkeys on a mission for the Wicked Witch of the West, Trump’s followers in the House now carry his messages out to the world: shut down the government, shutdown the prosecutions. But the cultmaster has another command for his followers, which brings us here today.”

Raskin added that Republicans “don’t have the votes because dozens of Republicans recognize what a futile and absurd process this is. Now, the title of the hearing is ‘The basis for impeachment inquiry of President Joseph Biden,’ and yet they present us no basis at all today. Even after eight months of investigation.”

READ MORE: Poll Finds Majority Oppose Impeachment Inquiry as House GOP Kicks Off Hearings Two Days Before Likely Shutdown

“They’ve invited three witnesses to testify. Not one of them is an eyewitness to a presidential crime of any kind. Not one of them is a direct fact witness about any of the events related to Ukraine, and Burisma. Not one of them has participated in the eight months of investigation, in which our distinguished Chairman has publicly boasted that he received 100% of everything he asked for, and I quote, ‘every subpoena that I’ve signed as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, over the last five months, we’ve gotten 100% of what we’ve requested, whether it’s with the FBI, or with the banks, or with Treasury.'”

Raskin kicked off his remarks with remarks of Republicans attacking other Republicans for holding an “impeachment drive.”

“So let’s get it straight,” Raskin began. “We’re 62 hours away from shutting down the government of the United States of America. And Republicans are launching an impeachment drive based on a long debunked and discredited lie. No foreign enemy’s ever been able to shut down the government of the United States but now MAGA Republicans are about to do just that. But they don’t want to cut off public services to people and tonight, paychecks to more than a million service members, without first launching impeachment drive, even when they don’t have a shred of evidence against President Biden for an impeachable offense. You think I’m being harsh? Here’s what some Republicans have had to say over the last week about the actions of the Republicans, as they watch up close ‘the dysfunction caucus at work,’ in the words of our GOP colleague from Nebraska, Don Bacon, ‘clown show,’ ‘foolishness,’ ‘terribly misguided,’ ‘stupidity,’ ‘failure to lead,’ ‘lunatics,’ ‘disgraceful,’ .new low,’ ‘pathetic,’ ‘enabling Chairman Xi,’ ‘people that have serious issues,’ ‘those folks don’t have a plan,’ ‘show just how broken they are, and ‘individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.'”

“Now, if I said any of these things, they’d probably take my words down, but these are Republicans talking about Republicans. So let’s be clear. This isn’t partisan warfare America’s seeing today, it is chaotic infighting between Republicans vs. Republicans. It’s MAGA versus extreme MAGA, as if anybody in the real world could tell the difference between the two.”

“What a staggering failure of leadership. Speaker McCarthy’s invertebrate appeasement of the most fanatical elements of his conference now threatens the well-being of every American. Now some people think the members of the GOP caucus aren’t interested in anything logical. They just want to see the world burn, as Alfred Pennyworth put it in ‘The Dark Knight,’ but I see a method in the madness.”

READ MORE: ‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air

“A week ago Donald Trump posted a comment saying that a government shutdown ‘is the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other patriots.’ You get it? To delay justice Donald Trump would cut off paychecks to a couple million service members and federal workers and furlough more than a million workers and pay them later for having not worked. They would halt food assistance to millions of moms and kids and keep NIH in my district from enrolling any more patients in life and death clinical research trials. Trump’s convinced if you shut the government down his criminal prosecutions on 91 different felony and misdemeanor charges will be defunded in delayed long enough to keep him from having to go before a jury of his peers before the 2024 election.”

“On August 27, he posted this edict: ‘Either impeach the bum or fade into oblivion. They did it to us.’ Of course the standard for impeachment is not whether ‘they did it to us,’ but whether the President committed treason or bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. But the Constitution is irrelevant to them. What counts is what Donald Trump wants. As Republican Representative Ken Buck, a Freedom Caucus member, told CNN the other day, President Trump has gone on his social media accounts and said we should be impeaching President Biden. Kevin McCarthy said we have an impeachment inquiry. You draw the conclusion directly or indirectly. This impeachment inquiry was a result of President Trump’s pressure.”

“So we move from a Trump-ordered government shutdown to a Trump-ordered impeachment process, and yet back into reality-based world the majority sits completely empty-handed with no evidence of any presidential wrongdoing. No smoking gun, no gun, no smoke. In fact, we have had to slide awkwardly into a House impeachment process without the benefit of the floor vote that Speaker McCarthy insisted was absolutely imperative and necessary when Donald Trump was impeached.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘I Feel a Little Bit Dumber for What You Say’: The Nine Worst Moments of the GOP Presidential Debate

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Ten Commandments Governor Declares No Church-State Separation in Rough Fox News Interview

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Louisiana Republican Governor Jeff Landry appeared surprised in a Friday Fox News interview when asked to defend his newly-signed law requiring the Bible’s Ten Commandments to be posted in every public school classroom throughout the state, which critics say is unconstitutional.

Speaking about the First Amendment principle of separation of church and state, which the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed at least a half-dozen times, Landry declared: “I challenge anyone who says that to go find me those words in the First Amendment. They don’t exist.”

He went on to claim those who want to “extract” what he claims are America’s Judeo-Christian principles “out of the foundation of this country…really and truly want to create the chaos that ultimately is the demise of this nation.”

On Thursday in a signing ceremony Landry declared the Bible’s Moses is the “original lawgiver,” a claim some challenged as a cultural choice and not an accurate one, given there are others that date back earlier, to ancient Greece, Babylon,  and India.

READ MORE: ‘Ominous Opinion’: Same-Sex Marriage Targeted Again in Latest SCOTUS Ruling, Expert Warns

“You’ve heard the criticism, it seems to be pouring in. Was it still the right thing to do?” Governor Landry was asked Friday afternoon.

“I mean, I didn’t know that living the Ten Commandments is a bad way to live life,” Landry replied, not touching the obvious and likely unconstitutional nature of the legislation he proudly signed 24 hours earlier. “I didn’t know that it was so vile to obey the Ten Commandments. I think that that speaks volumes about how eroded this country has become. I mean, look, this country was, was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and every time we steer away from that we have problems in our nation. I mean, right now schools teach, basically treat kids like critters and get the Ten Commandments is something bad to put in schools? It just it’s amazing.”

The founders clearly intended to create a secular, not religious government and took great care, including in the First Amendment, to ensure no religion was favored and individuals had the right to observe any faith, multiple faiths, or none at all.

RELATED: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

“For those listening right now, they’re wondering, what’s the goal?” Fox News host Sandra Smith continued. “Because it’s not as if this is going to be taught in every school and classroom. This is just being displayed on the walls. So my question to you is, how is this going to improve the school environment and the performance of kids in those schools? When Governor, I pull up the report cards of these public schools and Louisiana is struggling, I mean, it is at the bottom of the country. The education system is failing these kids. I mean, Louisiana is 43, 44th in math and reading. So is this gonna help what is a very big problem in Louisiana?”

“Look, I think it’s part and parcel for helping kids anywhere around the country, if other states followed our suits, but at the same time that we signed that bill into law, we signed a string of others assign 20 bills, including this one, to reform Louisiana schools.”

Experts note that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law in 1980.

Sandra Smith’s remarks about Louisiana failing are accurate. According to U.S. News and World Report, Louisiana ranks 47th in education, 50th in crime, 49th in the economy, 46th in health care, and overall, it ranks last, at number 50.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

RELATED: ‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms

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‘Ominous Opinion’: Same-Sex Marriage Targeted Again in Latest SCOTUS Ruling, Expert Warns

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In a 6-3 decision along partisan lines the right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court once again targeted the landmark 2015 Obergefell same-sex marriage decision, leading liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor to sound “alarm bells” on marriage equality in her dissent a legal expert says, warning that they may try to “roll it back.”

The case involves Sandra Muñoz, a U.S. citizen who argued that the federal government’s denial of a visa for her husband, who lives in El Salvador, deprives her of her constitutionally protected right to liberty.

The right-wing majority in a decision written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett ruled: “A citizen does not have a fundamental liberty interest in her noncitizen spouse being admitted to the country.”

Friday’s ruling “undermines same-sex marriage,” Bloomberg Law reports Justice Sotomayor’s dissent warns.

Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern has covered the courts since 2013, and is the author of a 2019 book on the Roberts Supreme Court.

“Justice Sotomayor, in dissent, accuses the conservative supermajority of cutting back the rights guaranteed in Obergefell—the same-sex marriage decision—and of repeating ‘the same fatal error’ it made in Dobbs,” Stern writes. “A very ominous opinion.”

READ MORE: ‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms

The “fatal error” in Dobbs was ignoring precedent.

“Justice Sotomayor says the burden of today’s decision will ‘fall most heavily’ on same-sex couples, many of whom cannot safely reside in the non-citizen’s home country,” Stern adds. “Her dissent is littered with alarm bells about Obergefell.”

He points to this from Sotomayor’s dissent, a citation from the Obergefell decision:

“A traveler to the United States two centuries ago reported that ‘‘[t]here is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is so much respected as in America.’ ‘ ”

“Today,” Sotomayor continued, “the majority fails to live up to that centuries-old promise. Muñoz may be able to live with her husband in El Salvador, but it will mean raising her U. S.-citizen child outside the United States. Others will be less fortunate. The burden will fall most heavily on same-sex couples and others who lack the ability, for legal or financial reasons, to make a home in the noncitizen spouse’s country of origin.”

Again quoting Obergefell, she adds, “For those couples, this Court’s vision of marriage as the ‘assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other’ rings hollow.”

Stern warns: “I think Justice Sotomayor is clearly correct that the Supreme Court’s gratuitous attack on the constitutional rights of married couples in Muñoz—especially same-sex couples—suggests that the conservative justices hate Obergefell and may roll it back.”

Sotomayor began her dissent also with a quote from Obergefell: “The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition.”

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

She warns that the right-wing majority could have appropriately issued a narrow ruling but instead chose to hand down a broad decision:

“The majority could have resolved this case on narrow grounds under longstanding precedent,” she writes. “Instead, the majority today chooses a broad holding on marriage over a narrow one on procedure.”

Justice Sotomayor again points to same-sex marriage:

“Muñoz may be able to live in El Salvador alongside her husband or at least visit him there, but not everyone is sovereign lucky. The majority’s holding will also extend to those couples who, like the Lovings and the Obergefells, depend on American law for their marriages’ validity. Same-sex couples may be forced to relocate to countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage, or even those that criminalize homosexuality.”

She also noted, “The constitutional right to marriage has deep roots,” and “The constitutional right to marriage is not so flimsy,” while warning “the majority departs from longstanding precedent and gravely undervalues the right to marriage in the immigration context.”

Two years ago almost to the day, when the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade and stripping away the constitutional right to abortion, Stern warned the Court, especially Justice Thomas, would come for contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage:

Two years before Dobbs, Stern also warned Justice Thomas was targeting same-sex marriage, writing that “Thomas (joined by Alito) wrote a jaw-dropping rant taking direct aim at Obergefell and suggesting that SCOTUS must overturn the right to marriage equality in order to protect free exercise.”

READ MORE: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

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‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms

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Jumping on Louisiana’s controversial and likely unconstitutional new law mandating posters of a specific version of the Bible’s Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom, Donald Trump overnight declared the nation “desperately” needs a religious “revival” and called for the religious text to be placed in classrooms across America.

Critics point out that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 found a similar law unconstitutional.

“The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose,” the Associated Press reports.

And while some lawmakers are insisting it is a historical document, remarks by Republican Governor Jeff Landry and the bill’s co-author, Republican state Rep. Lauren Ventrella, would appear to undermine that defense.

RELATED: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

“I love the Ten Commandments in public schools, private schools, and many other places, for that matter. Read it — how can we, as a nation, go wrong??? This may be, in fact, the first major step in the revival of religion, which is desperately needed, in our country. bring back TTC!!! MAGA2024” Trump wrote on Truth Social in his all-caps post.

Some critics have been noting Trump has violated many if not most of the Ten Commandments. Some have listed the Ten Commandments and what they say are Trump’s actions in comparison to them.

MSNBC‘s Steve Bennen observed, “Trump is touting the Ten Commandments, despite the fact that he’s broken most of them. No graven images? Check. Honoring the Sabbath? Check. No adultery? Check. No stealing? Check. No bearing false witness? Big ol’ check. No coveting a neighbor’s wife? Check.”

Retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Judge Bob Orr wrote: “The GOP and Trump want parents controlling the books that are in schools NOT educators…but their ok with educators being responsible for teaching children to follow the Ten Commandments – a responsibility that belongs at home with the parents and the church.”

Earlier this week, before Trump’s declaration, The Lincoln Project posted a video on Trump’s relationship to the religious document.

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

 

 

 

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