No one is funnier when calling out crazy Marjorie Taylor Greene than Chelsea Handler. Well, one person. Marjorie herself. She's such a joke, she doesn't even realize it. Now her own side is turning on her:
On Wednesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was removed from the pro-Donald Trump Freedom Caucus, marking the first time the conservative group has ousted one of its own members.
What Happened: Greene’s removal from the Freedom Caucus follows a series of clashes with the group, including her support for Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s contentious bid for the speakership and his debt deal with President Joe Biden, Politico reports.
The decision to remove her reflects the group’s growing frustration with Greene, who has been a controversial figure within the Republican Party.
According to Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Greene’s recent public comments about a fellow member were the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Since that June 23 Freedom Caucus meeting, Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Greene have had multiple conservations. But a Republican source familiar with those conversations said Perry has not directly notified Greene that she has been kicked out of the caucus.
Another Republican source, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Perry has not brought up the subject because he wants to sit down and talk to Greene about it in person, which likely will happen next week.
Poor Marjorie! She learns about it from the media. That is priceless. It's all over the news. She must be embarrassed -- even she must realize how sad and pathetic this makes her look. Oh well, she's still got that weather toy boy, right? As long she keeps paying the bills, she's got him. He's got no career or prospects but she apparently left her husband just so she could become a sugar mama.
On the crazy front, there is some good news:
The Democrat who almost beat U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has just set a multi-million dollar fundraising record after announcing he will again challenge the Colorado GOP congresswoman in 2024.
Businessman Adam Frisch, who lost to Boebert last year by a mere 546 votes, says he has raised over $2.6 million in the second quarter alone, “shattering the record for the largest quarterly fundraising for a U.S. House challenger in the year before an election, excluding special elections and self-funded campaigns.”
In a press release Frisch thanked his supporters: “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to every single person who has donated to this campaign to give the people of Southern and Western Colorado a representative who will take the job seriously and work across the aisle to find solutions to the problems facing this district.”
Wouldn't it be great if Laruen was sent packing? It would be so wonderful.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
It has been two years since CME Consulting employees, Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan, were lured to #Iraq, unlawfully arrested and sentenced to five years in #prison on fabricated charges. Here’s the truth about their arrest ⬇️https://t.co/twN50tRF06— CBI Transgression (@CBItransgress) July 5, 2023
He then offered a telling anecdote about what this meant. Kennedy recalled how he’d accompanied his father’s body by train from New York to Washington, D.C., after his assassination, and was met on the tracks by thousands of supporters—Black Americans in cities such as Trenton and Baltimore, and white Americans in the countryside. “There were hippies, there were people in uniform, there were Boy Scouts,” Kennedy recounted. “Many people, white men and women, holding signs that said Goodbye, Bobby, holding American flags, holding up children.”
But four years later, the younger Kennedy had a rude awakening about these same people. Examining demographic data from the 1972 presidential campaign, he discovered that “the predominant numbers of white people” who had supported his father had not voted for George McGovern, “who was aligned with my father on almost every issue,” but rather “ended up supporting George Wallace, who was antithetical to my father in every way—he was a fierce, rampant segregationist and racist.”
In the interview, Kennedy casts this about-face as an illustration of how populist energy can be channeled for good or ill. But he can’t quite bring himself to acknowledge the obvious implication: For backers of Kennedy Sr., as for those of Kennedy Jr., the choice was never about policies but about a posture, which is why the same voters were willing to support outsider candidates with seemingly opposite ideals.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
And we’re going to turn right now to another Supreme Court decision. In another setback for equal rights, the conservative-majority Supreme Court also ruled 6 to 3 Friday in favor of a Christian Colorado web designer who refused to create websites for same-sex couples even though the state, Colorado, bans such discrimination. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the dissent decision that the decision was “heartbreaking” and a “reactionary exclusion.”
Democracy Now! spoke to The New Republic reporter Melissa Gira Grant Friday, who reported that part of the lawsuit that the Alliance Defending Freedom filed on behalf of Lorie Smith of Colorado was fake.
MELISSA GIRA GRANT: So, in 2016, this website designer named Lorie Smith, whose business is called 303 Creative, she believed that a Colorado anti-discrimination ordinance that protects people from discrimination — among other things, from discrimination based on sexual orientation — she believed that that precluded her from entering into the wedding website business. Now, she has never created a wedding website for anybody, and including a same-sex couple.
So, in the course of making this argument, she claimed two things: one, that this law meant that she couldn’t post an announcement on her website saying that she wouldn’t make these websites for any couple that wasn’t in a biblical marriage that she approved of, and, additionally, in a later filing in the original case in 2016, she claimed that an actual same-sex couple sought to have her build a website for them, that an inquiry — it doesn’t seem that it was a legitimate inquiry, but it remained in the case. It came up in the district court ruling that ruled against her. It came up in their appeal. It’s even been included in filings to the Supreme Court and was referenced by her attorneys, Alliance Defending Freedom, who are a Christian nationalist law project. They said, “Hey, she’s had an actual inquiry, so this is a case that, you know, has some relevance.”
But before this inquiry became a subject of debate — it hadn’t really been reported out until I was able to reach the person who allegedly made the inquiry.
AMY GOODMAN: To see our full interview with Melissa Gira Grant, go to democracynow.org.
We’re joined right now by Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush. He’s president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance, which, along with 30 other faith-based and civil rights groups, filed an amicus brief in Supreme Court case, 303 v. Elenis.
Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, thanks so much for being with us. Can you talk about what this means? If a private company can discriminate against, oh, the LGBTQ community, can they put a sign in a window of a store that says, “We don’t serve gays”? Can they put a sign in the window of a store, “We don’t serve Jews. We don’t serve Blacks. We don’t serve Latinos”? What does this decision mean?
REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, thank you for having me on. I’m delighted, and frustrated that this is the reason we’re talking.
We’re entering into a terrible moment where a Pandora’s box has been opened, and we’re not sure exactly what it means. But what it does mean for sure is that permission has been granted to use religion as a way to discriminate against your fellow people, and we’re going to see how this happens. It’s not in a vacuum. This is happening already, when LGBTQ people are under attack with religion as a pretext. And this gives permission for a lot of bad behavior.
And what we have to just say is we are in a situation which — where what is legal cannot be considered moral, and what the law is cannot be considered just. And so, you know, we have a Supreme Court that has basically put down an adverse decision, which is bad for religion, and it’s also bad for discriminated areas. Like, it could be race. It could be other protected groups. And we just have to see how this plays out. But it’s bad news for America.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Reverend, could you talk about the Alliance Defending Freedom that backed this suit? What do we know about it? And how was it able to get this case all the way up to the Supreme Court?
REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, this is, essentially, a group that works with Christians using Christianity as a bludgeon to discriminate. They use religious freedom in a way that it was never intended. And, you know, they have had other cases that they have brought, and they have been successful. And so, we’re in a moment where they saw the Supreme Court opportunity, and they took it all the way up.
And, you know, unfortunately, there was very little that the dissenting justices could do, aside from pointing out the obvious, that we are now in a moment — I’ll quote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said, “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.” I mean, that’s what this law group has done, and that’s what the Supreme Court went along with.
AMY GOODMAN: So, Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, you are a gay Baptist minister. Talk about the religious community’s response. And also, you supported the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. How does this decision affect that?
REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, I think this shows why the Respect for Marriage Act was so important, is that it codifies the ability for families like my own to be protected against discrimination and that our marriages are not to be dissolved. By the way, the Respect for Marriage Act protects also interracial marriages, which this photographer, with her fake case, could also say, “I don’t to photograph interracial marriages.”
So, you know, for me, this hits me on a lot of levels. One, it hits me as a gay man with a husband and two children, who, of course, we — you know, this now opens up the possibility that we could go into an establishment, and they can say, “Oh, well, we don’t want to do your portrait.” You know, who knows to what extent people will be able to discriminate against my family?
But it’s also really bad for religion. I have to say that, because people might think, “Oh, this is a victory for freedom of religion.” Actually, you know, one of the main — I’ll put on my pastor hat here — like, one of the main reasons that people are leaving the church, especially young people, they cite the antagonism that they perceive the church has against LGBTQ people. And this is just — you know, this is just going to make more and more people say, “Ech, who wants to have anything to do with religion or Christianity?” And that’s — you know, I think, for me, that’s terrible, because it’s a terrible understanding of what Christianity is and who Jesus was.
It also just does not reflect the fact that the majority of religious people in America support anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people. That’s the fact. They don’t want — this is not just the American people at large, but also the majority of almost every religious community rejects the idea that there should be discrimination against LGBTQ people in just such a way as the court has decided. And so, basically, the court is representing a very small and diminishing part of the public in this decision. And it’s just bad for religion, it’s bad for freedom, and it’s bad for America. It’s bad for the fabric of America. It disintegrates the fabric of America.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Reverend, we just have about 20 seconds left, but what should faith groups that are opposed to this decision — what recourse, what next steps would you recommend?
REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, you know, we need to be rallying all over the country, and we need to be standing up, and we need to be very loud to insist that religion should be a cause for celebration, not discrimination, a cause for liberation, not subjugation, a cause for a bridge, not a bludgeon. And we have to say that just because this law is now the — is the law doesn’t mean it’s moral. And we have to stand up and say, “If you’re doing this, you are not representing a good religion. You’re representing bad religion.” It’s very important that everyone stand up and be very clear about where they stand on this law.
AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, we thank you so much for being with us, joining us from Massachusetts, president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance. And that does it for our show. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Our website is democracynow.org. Thanks so much for joining us.
A court in the Kurdistan region of Iraq dealt independent civil society a blow on May 31, 2023, by ordering the closure of Rasan Organization over “its activities in the field of homosexuality,” Human Rights Watch said today. Rasan is the only human rights organization willing to vocally support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), in addition to its work on women’s rights and domestic violence.
“Shuttering Rasan is not only an attack on civil society in Kurdistan but is also a direct threat to the lives and wellbeing of the vulnerable people they support,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “By closing Rasan, the government has sent a clear message that it does not respect freedom of association.”
Tanya Kamal Darwish, CEO of Rasan Organization, told Human Rights Watch that the purported reason for closing the group down was not because of its activities, but because the judge took issue with its logo, which contains the colors of the rainbow. The court order states that “the expert committee confirmed that the logo of the organization is a complete expression of its activities in the field of homosexuality.”
Rasan has appealed but is unable to continue operating while the appeal is pending.
The closure of Rasan is part of a broader pattern of oppression and targeting of LGBT people and activists by local Kurdish authorities in recent years. Human Rights Watch has previously documented the targeting of LGBT people online and violence against LGBT people by armed groups in Iraq, including the regional government.
The closure is the result of a lawsuit filed against Rasan in February 2021 by Omar Kolbi, a member of the Kurdistan Parliament, who accused Rasan of “promoting homosexuality,” and “engaging in activities that defy social norms, traditions, and public morality.” Kolbi also submitted a complaint to Barzan Akram Mantiq, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Department of Non-Governmental Organizations, an official body responsible for registering, organizing, and monitoring all nongovernmental organizations in the region.
After the suit was filed, local police issued arrest warrants for 11 LGBT rights activists who were either current or former employees at Rasan based on article 401 of the penal code, which criminalizes “public indecency.”
“The Department of Non-Governmental Organizations is supporting MP Kolbi’s complaint against us, but that is backward,” Darwish said. “The department should have been supporting us, not standing against us.”
Darwish said that the trial, which took place last year, focused on the activities of Rasan and never mentioned any issues with the group’s logo. “They were asking about our activities, and we told them what we do,” Darwish said. “We focus on human rights. Anyone who comes to us with a problem we help without any discrimination.”
Rasan found out about the issue with the logo only when the court decision was published. “We weren't expecting them to take any action against us, since we weren't doing anything illegal. They used the logo as an excuse because they couldn't find anything illegal in our activities,” Darwish said.
Rasan, which has operated in Sulaimaniya, a city in the Kurdistan region, for nearly two decades, has faced increasing threats and official retaliation for its activism and work. The group provides legal, psychological, and social support for women and LGBT clients, raises awareness of LGBT and women’s rights, and collects and compiles data relevant to LGBT people and gender-based violence.
In September 2022, members of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament introduced the “Bill on the Prohibition of Promoting Homosexuality,” which would punish any individual or group that advocates for the rights of LGBT people. Under the bill, the vague provision against “promoting homosexuality” would be a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to five million dinars (US$3,430). The bill would also suspend, for up to one month, the licenses of media companies and civil society organizations that “promote homosexuality.”
Momentum for adopting the bill appears to have stalled, but in the context of repeated targeting of LGBT people, local LGBT rights activists fear it could be quickly revived and passed at the whim of local authorities.
“By going after Rasan, authorities are effectively scapegoating activists working to protect among the most vulnerable members of society, who should not fear reprisals for speaking up about abuses,” Coogle said. “The Kurdistan Regional Government should take immediate steps to ensure that organizations like Rasan are permitted to operate freely and cease harassment and targeting of LGBT advocates.”