Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/tbrnew5/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

TBR News August 2, 2020

Aug 02 2020

The Voice of the White House
Comments, August 2, 2020:

The Table of Contents The Covic-19 nonsense is creating social and economic havoc across the globe but in reality it is as dangerous as the common cold, which it closely represents. One only need to look at the official figures to realize that the Facemask Farce is nothing to be concerned about:

August 1, 2020

TOTAL COVID-19 CASES WORLDWIDE

17.71 million

TOTAL COVID-19 DEATHS WORLDWIDE

680,146

The medical profession is well aware of this but, for some unknown reason, the print media and the government are not. Either they are up to something serious or have collective brains the size of a chicken’s.

 

 The Table of Contents

 

  • Congressional Democrats, White House still at impasse over coronavirus bill
  • Is Trump’s top cop, attorney general William Barr, a danger to democracy
  • Millions of Americans will fall off an ‘income cliff’ when extra $600 in unemployment benefits ends
  • Anger with GOP growing as $600 unemployment benefit ends
  • Blood in the water
  • The Encyclopedia of American Loons

 

 

Congressional Democrats, White House still at impasse over coronavirus bill

August 1, 2020

by Diane Bartz and Jan Wolfe

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Democrats in Congress are not close to a deal with the White House to pump more money into the U.S. economy to ease the coronavirus’ heavy toll, both sides said on Saturday, after an essential lifeline for millions of unemployed Americans expired.

“This was the longest meeting we had and it was more productive than the other meetings,” Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “There are many issues that are still very much outstanding.”

Schumer made the remarks after he and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi concluded a three-hour meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the Capitol on Saturday.

Mnuchin told reporters the talks were constructive but had reached an “impasse” over whether to come to a short-term agreement or a more comprehensive deal.

The officials will meet again on Monday, after their staff meet on Sunday, Schumer said.

Congress for the past several months has been unable to reach an accord for a next round of economic relief from a pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 Americans and triggered the sharpest economic collapse since the Great Depression.

In a meeting late Thursday between top White House officials and congressional Democratic leaders, negotiations focused on an extension of the $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits that Americans who lost jobs due to the pandemic have been receiving in addition to state jobless payments.

Pelosi said on Friday that she rejected an offer by Republican President Donald Trump’s administration to continue the $600 payments for one more week.

Congressional Democrats want to see the weekly payments extended into next year as part of a broader package.

Senate Republicans have said the $600 payments are an incentive to stay home rather than return to work. Their proposal would provide a much-reduced weekly payment of $200 until states create a system to provide a 70% wage replacement for laid-off workers.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Saturday slammed Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for letting the Senate go home for the weekend without a deal to extend the unemployment benefits or protect renters facing eviction.

“Because Donald Trump is abdicating his responsibility to lead us out of the pandemic crisis and the economic crisis, we now face a potential housing crisis across the country,” Biden said in a statement.

Pelosi told House Democrats in a letter late on Saturday that “all parties must understand the gravity of the situation in order to reach an agreement that protects Americans’ lives, livelihoods and the life of our democracy.”

Reporting by Diane Bartz and Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, David Shepardson, Susan Heavey and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Ross Colvin and Daniel Wallis

 

Is Trump’s top cop, attorney general William Barr, a danger to democracy

The attorney general’s many critics saw his combative display on Capitol Hill as proof of his willingness to enable Trump’s darkest impulses

August 2, 2020

by David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

William Barr was hungry. “Mr Chairman, could we take a five-minute break?” the attorney general asked Jerry Nadler of the House of Representatives’ judiciary committee. “No,” retorted Nadler, his hearing almost done. Barr responded sardonically: “You’re a real class act.”

It was pure Barr: a proud, combative, unflappable and unapologetic partisan warrior in the loyal service of the White House.

During the five-hour session on Capitol Hill in Washington this week, Barr made clear why he has been dubbed Donald Trump’s faithful protector and personal henchman. He defended using federal forces in US cities, denied giving Trump’s allies favorable treatment and demurred on issues such as foreign election interference or whether November’s poll can be postponed.

For critics, it was proof positive that Barr’s unswerving loyalty to the president has torn down the wall that separates the White House and justice department and ensures law enforcement operates independent of politics. Some believe he now poses an existential threat to democracy itself.

“Because of his position as the attorney general, he has control over a lot of what’s acceptable and what isn’t under the law up until the point where the federal judiciary can stop him. It makes him very dangerous, especially when you’re dealing with a president who has no regard for the constitution or the rule of law,” said Tara Setmayer, a former Republican communications director on Capitol Hill.

During his 18 months in office, Barr, 70, has backed Trump even as he defies norms, stokes division and is buffeted by the coronavirus pandemic, economic slump and tumbling poll numbers. Democrats have demanded his impeachment, accused him of politicizing the justice department and enabling an “imperial presidency” like no other.

Democrat Joe Biden, Trump’s election opponent, tweeted on Thursday: “Bill Barr is the Attorney General of the United States – not the president’s private attorney.”

Barr, a devout Catholic and keen bagpiper, previously served as attorney general under President George HW Bush from 1991 to 1993. This raised hopes that he would be an establishment Republican who could check Trump’s impulses, maintain the department’s independence and offer normality in an era that is anything but.

Those hopes were badly misplaced.

In reality he had always been an advocate of expansive presidential power and a hard line on fighting crime. He is therefore seen as a perfect fit for Trump, who has repeatedly tested the limits of executive authority and is now pushing a “law and order” theme for his election campaign against Biden.

Weeks after his Senate confirmation Barr cleared Trump of obstruction of justice allegations even when Robert Mueller, the special counsel, did no such thing, and produced a summary of Mueller’s Russia investigation that set an unduly rosy narrative for the president.

Barr has since made good on Trump’s rallying cry to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation in what Democrats see as a politically motivated attempt to damage Biden, the former vice-president, ahead of the election.

He has also been sharply criticized for a decision to drop the prosecution of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and urging a more lenient sentence for Trump’s ally Roger Stone, a move that prompted the entire trial team’s departure. The Flynn dismissal will be reviewed by a federal appeals court but Trump commuted Stone’s sentence altogether.

In addition, Barr claimed that Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, New York, had agreed to “step down”, only for Berman to explicitly deny this. Such actions have prompted open letters signed by thousands of justice department alumni demanding Barr’s resignation.

On Tuesday, Barr faced grandstanding Democrats and conspiracy theorist Republicans in his first appearance before the House judiciary committee. Nadler accused him of waging “persistent war” against the justice department’s independence “in an apparent effort to secure favors” for Trump. “Shame on you,” the chairman said.

The attorney general defended the aggressive federal law enforcement response to civil unrest in Portland and other cities. “What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest,” he said. “It is, by any objective measure, an assault on the government of the United States.”

Although some protesters in Portland have been violent, most have been peaceful and have included military veterans, off-duty lawyers, school pupils and rows of women known as the “Wall of Moms”. Law enforcement officers have responded with teargas, pepper balls and flash bangs.

Setmayer said: “By sending federal law enforcement officers into places like Portland and other cities, all it’s doing is offering propaganda for the Trump campaign to use to push the law-and-order scare tactics of his campaign. They don’t have anything else to run on. So this is the crux now of the fear campaign that Donald Trump plans to use and Bill Barr is a willing accomplice.”

Paul Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and veteran of the George W Bush administration, added: “Weaponising the Department of Justice is bad but basically your troops are lawyers with pens. Weaponising the Department of Homeland Security’s law enforcement is worse because your troops are armed with guns.”

The Capitol Hill hearing raised further concerns about the fast-approaching election. Asked whether it would be appropriate for the president to accept foreign help, Barr parried that it “depends what kind of assistance”. Only when pressed did he clarify: “No, it’s not appropriate.”

While Barr testified that he has “no reason to think” the election will be rigged, he said there could be a “high risk” of voter fraud due to “the wholesale conversion of election to mail-in voting”. Asked whether a sitting US president can move the election date, he replied: “Actually, I haven’t looked into that question under the constitution.”

Two days later, Trump tweeted that widespread mail balloting would be a “catastrophic disaster” and floated the idea of changing the election date, which he has no power to do. Election experts point out that all forms of voter fraud are extremely rare and note that Trump himself voted by mail in the last Florida Republican primary.

Stuart Stevens, a Republican political consultant and author of the upcoming book It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump, tweeted on Thursday: “Trump can’t cancel an election? Ummm. Ponder this: Trump orders DHS to impound ballots in Dade County on Nov. 1 after ‘reports’ of ‘irregularities.’ Who stops them? Courts order return. But ballots now declared invalid. Chaos. Florida re-vote? What would Barr do? Republicans?”

What Barr would do remains a critical question.

Once regarded as a conservative stalwart, he has proved less bulwark than bully in the Trump administration, critics allege. Rosenzweig said: “I was one who thought that his appointment as attorney general would be good for the department because 30 years ago he was within the bounds and norms of establishment Republican behavior, perhaps a little more conservative than many but an institutionalist who would restore the department’s independence and stand up to Trump in asserting that.

“I have been both shocked and surprised to see that this is not the case any more. I don’t know whether the person 30 years ago was hiding all of this or if he’s changed, but it is clear that the man who 30 years ago was the attorney general for George Bush is not the same person as the man today.”

In that sense, Barr is far from alone. Matthew Miller, a former director of the justice department’s public affairs office, said: “Bill Barr has gone off the deep end like the entire Republican party. His journey is just the same journey the rest of the Republican party has gone on which is very conservative, but also he’s had his brain pickled by years of Fox News.”

Miller added: “I think he has all of Trump’s bad intentions but with little of Trump’s incompetence. You combine Trump’s bad intentions with someone who is actually competent and mastering the levers of government and it’s fairly dangerous.”

 

Millions of Americans will fall off an ‘income cliff’ when extra $600 in unemployment benefits ends

July 23 2020

by Alicia Adamczy

CNBC

Tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic have been able to collect an extra $600 in weekly federal unemployment benefits over the past few months on top of the standard amount given by their state. For many households, the enhanced benefits have been a financial lifeline amidst record job loss and a burgeoning recession.

But on July 31, that enhanced benefit will end — and that could have dire consequences for millions of households.

Coupled with other coronavirus relief measures, the extra $600 in enhanced benefits has helped many Americans stay afloat — and even save more than usual — throughout the pandemic, with some economists calling it the “best” part of the economic response to the coronavirus. The $600 increase has been “one of the most effective parts of the CARES Act on both humanitarian and economic grounds,” writes Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

Ending the benefits now would be a “terrible idea,” Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in a tweet. Many households have already spent the one-time stimulus check they received and unemployment is expected to remain high through 2021. Without the extra $600, benefits will revert to the standard state amount, which averaged $378 per week in March. That’s a sudden income reduction of 60%, without another stimulus check to fall back on.

“It would cause pain among millions of families, drive down economic activity and impede our recovery,” writes Dube.

Vulnerable people, including people of color, younger and lower income workers and women, would be impacted most.

Renters, who tend to be lower income and have lost a disproportionate number of jobs during the pandemic compared to homeowners, will also be hit particularly hard. When the supplemental benefits run out and tenants who are out of work receive only the base unemployment benefits, they will face an “income cliff,” with many “unable to cover food, clothing and other living expenses,” according to an analysis from the Urban Institute.

Should the enhanced benefits be extended?

Critics of extending the $600 a week federal benefit say that the system is easily susceptible to fraud and that the amount is so high — around 40% of workers could potentially earn more while unemployed than going back to work, according to a recent analysis — it discourages the unemployed from going back to work. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently released a report that concluded “the extension of the additional $600 per week would probably reduce employment in the second half of 2020, and it would reduce employment in calendar year 2021.”

 

Anger with GOP growing as $600 unemployment benefit ends

August 1st, 2020

by Eoin Higgins, staff writer

Common Dreams

Americans angry with inaction from Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump on extending $600 a week unemployment benefits are accusing the government of not living up to its responsibility to care for the public during the Covid-19 pandemic as the boost in aid expired Friday.

“In the middle of this pandemic they’re playing with us,” said Candida Kevorkian, a 53-year-old California woman relying on the payments to survive, told the Washington Post Saturday.

The benefits are credited with keeping the economy from a complete collapse due to the ongoing nationwide Covid-19 outbreak and staving off a wave of evictions many advocates fear is coming now that the weekly infusion is gone. But the initial program, passed in the CARES Act in late March, only ran until the end of July.

House Democrats approved the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion stimulus package which included an extension of the unemployment benefit boost, in late May, but GOP lawmakers in the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), took no action on the bill, instead presenting a competing bill known as the HEALS Act last month that cut the payment to $200 a week. That legislation was dead on arrival, however, not even generating necessary support within the caucus due to the level of spending.

The White House and the GOP Senate leadership floated a one-week extension for the benefits, but that fix—such as it is—was rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Thursday evening.

“We recognize the gravity of the situation,” Pelosi told reporters Friday. “They don’t.”

Negotiations are, reportedly, ongoing—but the Republican-led Senate nonetheless adjourned for the weekend on Thursday.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told MSNBC Friday night the choice to leave town was “inexplicable” and urged his GOP colleagues to negotiate a workable solution to the ongoing crisis with House Democrats.

“I hear senators making $175,000 a year complaining that these ‘lazy workers are getting so much money,’” said Brown. “People haven’t sunk into poverty in significant numbers at all during this pandemic because of the $600 a week.”

The fix is simple, 38-year-old New Haven single mom Raven Holmes told the Post.

“Money is not a resource that can be depleted. It’s a man-made thing,” said Holmes. “If you need more make more.”

“There are other countries—their citizens are fine, nobody is suffering, and everybody is healthy,” she added. “All our government wants is money in their pockets, while the people are poor and starving and scrounging.”

 

Blood in the water

Disregarding the Virus and Victims’ Families, Trump Rushes to Execute as Many People as Possible

August 2, 2020

by Liliana Segura

The Intercept

It was getting close to midnight at the Ford dealership on Route 41 in Terre Haute, Indiana, and there was no word yet on the execution. Half a dozen people sat hunched over their cellphones next to a hulking gray pickup truck, awash in the fluorescent lights flooding the lot. It was Monday night, July 13, and Daniel Lewis Lee had been scheduled to die at 4 p.m.

It would be the first federal execution in 17 years. The last time the U.S. government restarted executions after a long pause — killing Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in a newly constructed death chamber in 2001 — throngs of protesters and national press overwhelmed the city of 60,000. But this was a significantly smaller event. Some 20 protesters had gathered at the intersection in front of the dealership earlier that day. The street that cuts across Route 41, Springhill Drive, leads straight to the entrance of USP Terre Haute, a sprawling supermax prison across from a Dollar General. The demonstration included a contingent of Catholic nuns, Sisters of Providence, from the nearby Saint Mary-of-the-Woods congregation. They held signs, prompting honks, waves, and the occasional expletive from passing cars. “What about the victims?” one woman yelled.

But nearly eight hours later, the intersection was quiet. Most of the protesters had gone home. Around 11 p.m., the son of the owner stopped by the lot; he’d gotten a call about vandals, which proved unfounded. “The dealership people have been really cool,” said Abe Bonowitz of Death Penalty Action as the man drove off. “The nuns buy their cars here,” he added.

In a cloth face mask that read “Abolish the Death Penalty,” Bonowitz refreshed the docket on the website of the U.S. Supreme Court. Following a flurry of litigation, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan had ordered a temporary stay earlier in the day based on evidence that the government’s execution protocol could cause a tortuous death in violation of the Eighth Amendment. “Eyewitness accounts of executions using pentobarbital describe inmates repeatedly gasping for breath or showing other signs of respiratory distress,” she wrote. The temporary injunction was intended to give the courts a chance to review this evidence, but the Department of Justice had appealed the ruling. With prison officials set to kill Lee as soon as they got a green light, there was nothing to do now but wait.

Adam Pinsker, a reporter for the Bloomington-based public broadcasting station WTIU, sat with the activists in the parking lot. In a suit, tie, and blue surgical mask, he was supposed to be witnessing the execution — one of eight journalists chosen for the task. After reporting to a makeshift media room at the FCC Terre Haute Training Center around mid-afternoon, he’d been driven in a white van to the penitentiary grounds, where he went through security and waited to be taken to the death house. Around 6 p.m., prison staff briefly let the reporters out to get something to eat at a nearby shopping mall. By 10 p.m., they were told they could leave again. Officials would notify them when it was time to come back.

Like the protesters, Pinsker was anxious for updates. Lee’s execution was the first of three scheduled to take place that week — and Pinsker was supposed to witness all of them. From the parking lot, he called a federal public defender to ask a question on everyone’s mind. In most states, a death warrant expires at midnight on the day of a scheduled execution. After that, a new date must be set. The lawyer told Pinsker that the same should be true here. The closer it got to 12 a.m., the less likely Lee would die that night.

Around 11:40 p.m., news finally reached the parking lot: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had ruled against the Trump administration, leaving the preliminary injunction in place. The court set an expedited briefing schedule to resolve questions over the execution protocol toward the end of the month — it appeared that all three executions would remain on hold. By midnight, Bonowitz had posted a celebratory video on Facebook and started driving back home.

But at 2 a.m., an unexpected ruling came from the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the justices vacated the stay. “Please make your way back to the Media Center,” a Bureau of Prisons staffer texted a reporter with the Indianapolis Star, who was at a motel near the prison. “We will be resuming the execution at approximately 4 a.m.”

As the sun came up over the prison, lawyers on both sides were still fighting over Lee’s life. In a small, cramped room, the media witnesses sat for hours in plastic chairs facing two windows covered with shades. “We could hear birds chirping outside and occasionally muffled bits of conversation from other rooms in the building built specifically to carry out executions,” the Star reporter wrote. At 7:46 a.m., the shades finally opened, revealing Lee on the gurney, lying under a blue sheet.

I was on my way to the training center when Lee was pronounced dead at 8:07 a.m. on Tuesday morning. In the parking lot, a local journalist told me what had happened. The hours inside the prison had been long and disorienting, with very little information about what was going on, she said. But the wait was the longest for Lee. “He was strapped to the gurney for like four hours.”

Politics and the Pandemic

From the moment Donald Trump was elected in 2016, the question regarding federal executions was not whether they would return, but when. “We’ve been prepared for this since the beginning of the administration,” one veteran death penalty lawyer told me last summer, after Attorney General William Barr announced that the government would kill five men between December 2019 and January 2020.

Capital defense attorneys were able to beat back the plans for a while. Last November, Chutkan, the D.C. federal judge, blocked the first round of executions, ruling that they would violate the Federal Death Penalty Act, which says that federal executions must be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed.” The execution protocol adopted by the Trump DOJ — a one-drug method using pentobarbital — did not exist when the law was passed. In December, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the appeals court, while signaling that it was merely a temporary delay. “I see no reason why the Court of Appeals should not be able to decide this case, one way or the other, within the next 60 days,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a statement joined by Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Then came the coronavirus. For most people, the looming return of federal executions was far from a central concern; by the time the appellate court vacated Chutkan’s preliminary injunction on April 7, the pandemic had killed more than 12,000 Americans. But if there were good reasons not to revive executions amid the pandemic, the Trump administration did not seem to care. On June 15, Barr announced new execution dates for four men: Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, and Keith Dwayne Nelson. The first three would take place in the same week, beginning July 13.

There was never much doubt that Trump’s executions were driven by politics, part of his law-and-order posture entering an election year. The original dates had been announced at the height of the Russia investigation, prompting accusations that the president was seeking to distract Americans from his own malfeasance. Of course, capital punishment has always been weaponized by politicians of both parties. Bill Clinton, who vastly expanded the federal crimes punishable by death when he signed the Federal Death Penalty Act, famously witnessed the execution of Ricky Ray Rector in Arkansas as part of his 1992 reelection campaign.

Yet as Trump’s killing spree unfolded, it was chilling for its ruthlessness as much as its timing. “If you’re interested in carrying out the law, you don’t rush executions while a court is still determining whether your process is legal,” said Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center. “If you are interested in the orderly administration of the law, you don’t set three executions for five days after not having done it for 17 years.” Although the news out of Terre Haute would soon be eclipsed by images of camouflaged Customs and Border Protection officers descending on Portland, Oregon, the executions were yet another show of state violence staged to bolster the president’s image.

With a fourth execution already scheduled for late August, the DOJ last week announced three additional execution dates. More are rumored to be on the way. The next man set to die is Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on federal death row. As in Lee’s case, the family members of Mitchell’s victims have long opposed his execution, as does the Navajo Nation, where his crime took place. And as in Lee’s case, in which federal prosecutors were overruled by Washington when they sought to take the death penalty off the table, the U.S. attorney in Mitchell’s case declined to seek death only to be overruled by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The insistence on capital prosecutions in jurisdictions without the death penalty generated controversy at the time — a precursor to the federal government’s intrusion on states in the name of justice. But Trump’s push to execute as many people as possible amid a global pandemic is unprecedented. Attorneys for the men executed last month have decried the government’s conduct as lawless and cruel. It is bad enough that a ban on visitation forced sensitive legal discussions to take place over the phone rather than in person. In Lee’s case, attorneys working remotely were kept in the dark as the DOJ immediately issued a new execution notice after the original one expired at midnight.

Lee’s lawyer, Ruth Friedman, had planned to be in Terre Haute when he was given his original execution date last year. But the pandemic kept her at home. There was not enough information about the BOP’s planned precautions — one colleague had been told that they would not be allowed to bring their own N95 masks. The BOP did not respond to my questions about its Covid-19 protocol.

“We were on the phone with Danny when he was taken out of his cell” in the early morning hours of July 14, Friedman said of Lee. She did not know his execution was imminent. It was only later that she learned he was lying on the gurney while his lawyers scrambled to stop prison officials from executing him before an order lifting a separate stay had been finalized. They were not even informed before the execution began. “I learned that he was executed from a tweet,” Friedman said.

But perhaps the most callous disregard was toward the very people the Trump administration claimed to be championing: the families of the victims. When Barr first announced that federal executions would resume, he said that “we owe it to the victims and their families.” But in Lee’s case, not only did numerous relatives of the victims oppose his execution from the start, they filed a lawsuit arguing that traveling to witness the execution posed a risk to their lives. Barr “paraded our pain and tragedy around by saying he was doing this for the ‘families of the victims,’” said Monica Veillette following Lee’s execution. Her 81-year-old grandmother, Earlene Peterson, a Trump supporter, said she felt betrayed.

Even for those families who support the executions, forcing them to come to Terre Haute amid a deadly pandemic belies claims that the federal government has their best interests at heart. With the Trump administration’s use of force under scrutiny during Barr’s appearance before Congress last week, it would have been a good opportunity to ask why the government is pushing so hard to carry out killings that could put more innocent lives at risk. As the Trump administration keeps setting new dates while virus cases in Indiana continue to rise, the question remains: Who are these executions for?

Nobody Knows What’s Coming

I arrived in Terre Haute on Saturday, two days before Lee was set to die. Apart from the intense summer heat, the city did not feel all that different from my last visit in December. The governor had not yet implemented a mask mandate, and gatherings as large as 250 people were allowed. Around Route 41, gyms were full, restaurants advertised dine-in service, and a scaled-back version of the Vigo County Fair was underway. Up the street from the penitentiary, a sign in front of Honey Creek Plaza read, “WE HAVE ALL REOPENED.”

Coronavirus cases were rising across Indiana in mid-July. The week after the executions, Vigo County recorded its highest single-week increase to date, which the local health department attributed to sleepovers, pool parties, and other gatherings. The 11 deaths to date include a 41-year-old firefighter and a man in his 50s incarcerated on a probation violation at the federal penitentiary.

With countless BOP personnel, U.S. Marshals, reporters, lawyers, and witnesses set to travel to Terre Haute from around the country for the executions, the risks were plain to see. That weekend, the local Tribune-Star published an editorial opposing the planned executions. “Most reasonable people, whether for or against capital punishment, would agree that postponing these executions until after the pandemic has ended makes sense. … The health of the families and workers involved, as well as the Terre Haute community, matters.” The Vigo County Health Department did not answer my emails inquiring about the potential impact of the federal executions.

On Sunday, I got a phone call from a man on federal death row. Billie Allen, 43, was convicted of a St. Louis bank robbery and murder in 1998, which he swears he didn’t commit. He lived through the last round of federal executions, beginning with McVeigh in 2001 and culminating with Louis Jones, a Gulf War veteran executed on the eve of the Iraq War in 2003. In an email on July 9, Allen described what it was like when someone was taken to the death watch range. “They show up at the cell door, without notice, and no warning,” he wrote. “They tell you to cuff up, and when you ask where you are going, you are met with no answer. But their no response says everything. You are going to see the Warden so that he can read you your death Warrant. That is what happened when they came to get my neighbor, and I haven’t seen him since.”

The neighbor was Wesley Purkey, the second man scheduled to die, on July 15. Allen was not close to him. But he echoed what the Trump administration itself has emphasized: that all the men being executed were convicted of murdering children. The point, Allen said, was to advance a narrative about everyone on death row. “Like we’re all child-killers.”

As our phone time ran out, Allen said the whole prison would soon go on lockdown. “Nobody knows what’s coming next,” he said. But “if this goes through, we believe it’s gonna be a slaughterhouse. They’re just gonna try to clear this place out.”

After I hung up, news broke that a prison staffer involved in preparations for the executions had tested positive for Covid-19. In a legal filing, the BOP admitted that the staffer had not always worn a mask during planning meetings but maintained that no one directly involved in carrying out the executions had been exposed. The killings would move forward as planned.

Even before the pandemic raised serious questions about the executions, seeking basic information from the federal government was an exercise in futility. When I first inquired about the selection of media witnesses in September 2019, I was assured that information would be “forthcoming.” When I followed up in November, I was told “we are working on the plans for this and will be back with you as soon as possible.” With the execution dates a week away and no word from the BOP, I wrote back in December and was told that media witnesses had already been selected — “we are not able to accommodate additional media on institution property.”

This time around, I filled out a short online form to be a media witness. In an email a few weeks later, the BOP said it could not accommodate my request but would allow me to report to the FCC Training Center just north of the prison to cover the executions. Temperature checks would be required, and face masks would be issued, to be worn at all times. “Additionally, to the extent practical, social distancing of 6 feet should be exercised.” When I asked if we would be indoors or outdoors, I was told “you will be outside.”

There was no outdoor media area when I arrived at the training center. The small white building was marked by a sign commemorating the penitentiary’s 75th anniversary, with pink and red petunias planted at the doorway. After a woman in a face shield took my temperature, BOP spokesperson Jenna Epplin introduced herself to the handful of nonwitnessing press. “It is critical that we ensure the order and integrity of the process,” she said, then paused. “We’re not recording right now at all, are we?”

Epplin laid out where we were allowed to go. A pair of fenced enclosures had been reserved for the demonstrators, she said, and there were a couple of other outdoor areas designated for press. “All other areas are not authorized.” Confusingly, this included the press room set up in a ballroom a few feet away. Only witnessing reporters had access to the space. When I asked where we would get updates on the executions, Epplin said that the BOP would not be giving updates. When I asked how media witnesses had been chosen, I was told to email the question to the BOP.

If the aim was to dissuade all but a handful of reporters from attending by sending them to stand in a field with no access to information, the guidelines for protesters were designed to do the same. With all three executions originally scheduled for 8 a.m., the BOP initially instructed demonstrators on either side to report to one of two local parks between 4 and 5:30 a.m., after which buses would transport them to a field outside the prison. No phones or electronics would be allowed. After the executions were moved to 4 in the afternoon, demonstrators were told to report to the parks beginning at noon. Nobody came.

“He Took My Daughter’s Last Breath”

On Wednesday morning, an email arrived from the BOP with the subject, “Time Change — TODAY Scheduled Federal Execution.” Wesley Purkey would now be killed at 7 p.m., it said. “Please check your email periodically for any additional updates or changes.”

Of all the executions, Purkey’s was the one that seemed most likely to be blocked. That morning, Chutkan had granted a preliminary injunction based on substantial evidence that the 68-year-old had dementia, Alzheimer’s, and schizophrenia, which would render him incompetent for execution. That same day, attorneys filed an emergency motion opposing the DOJ’s attempts to lift the stay after discovering that the federal government had additional evidence of Purkey’s brain abnormalities but had not disclosed it to his legal team.

There were other, more familiar problems with Purkey’s case. Although there was no question of his guilt for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 16-year-old girl named Jennifer Long, Purkey’s childhood had been marked by extreme trauma, which is common among people sent to death row. One forensic psychiatrist reported that Purkey had disclosed that his mother molested him when he was a child — “and it did not end until he was 22 years old.” At trial, prosecutors successfully dismissed these claims as a “fairytale,” even though a number of family members could have corroborated the allegations. A longtime friend named Peggy Noe also told attorneys later on that Purkey had divulged the abuse in a tearful conversation they had as teenagers.

Noe could have been a powerful witness for the defense at his trial. But she was never called. Purkey’s trial lawyer was a Kansas City defense attorney named Frederick Duchardt. A lengthy 2016 profile in the Guardian revealed Duchardt’s apparent hostility toward mitigation, the crucial and painstaking process of investigating a client’s history for any evidence that might be used to spare their life. In Purkey’s case, rather than hire a mitigation specialist, Duchardt took it upon himself to interview witnesses alongside an investigator who was a personal friend. In one affidavit, Purkey’s daughter described how the two had shown up unannounced to interview her on her wedding day.

Duchardt has defended his conduct in Purkey’s case. In an email, he wrote that the Guardian article “totally misrepresented my perspectives about the work” while relying on “accusations in post-conviction petitions” to which he has provided extensive answers. Indeed, Duchardt submitted a 117-page affidavit aggressively defending his conduct at trial. The move was not only unheard of among capital defense lawyers, who rely on ineffective assistance of counsel claims, but it undermined efforts to save his former client’s life.

Noe died in 2014, but her daughter, Evette, remained in touch with Purkey. In a phone call last year, she said he was like a member of the family; he used to take care of her when she was little, even though he was always in and out of trouble. “I just wrote to him on and off all my life. He’s always encouraged me with everything I ever went through.” Evette Noe remembered her mother discussing the abuse Purkey had endured as a child. It did not excuse his horrific crimes — before being convicted for murdering Long, he’d confessed to murdering an 80-year-old woman. But the trauma and years of subsequent drug use had set him on a violent path.

In recent years, Noe sent Purkey books and Bibles, and he told her that he had become a Buddhist. As his execution date neared, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Trump administration on behalf of Purkey’s spiritual adviser, a Buddhist priest who had been ministering to Purkey for 11 years. The priest had lung problems; he sought a stay due to the risks posed by the coronavirus. But the lawsuit was rejected.

Despite the time change, Purkey’s execution went almost exactly like Lee’s. At 2:45 a.m., the Supreme Court again voted 5-4 to vacate the preliminary injunction, which had been upheld by the appellate court. His attorneys, working remotely, saw media witnesses tweeting that the execution would proceed, then rushed to file court challenges to keep officials from killing their client. In Terre Haute, four reporters who had watched Lee die just 24 hours earlier spent the whole night on the prison grounds alongside other media witnesses. This time, they were not allowed to leave for dinner. Prison staff provided peanuts and Lunchables.

Purkey was declared dead at 8:19 a.m. In his last statement, he apologized to Long’s family. “I deeply regret the pain and suffering I’ve caused Jennifer’s family,” he said, but added, “This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever.”

Shortly after the execution, three members of Long’s family entered the media center. They wore blue T-shirts with her picture on them. They were angry over Purkey’s final appeals, and the long wait for his execution. One relative said they had sat in a van for four hours while waiting on news from the courts.

“There’s monsters out there that need to be gotten rid of,” Long’s father said. “They need to be put down like the dogs they are. There’s no excuse for it.” He did not accept Purkey’s apology. To him, the statement was perfectly lucid, proof that Purkey’s supposed mental health issues were merely a delaying tactic. “He needed to take his last breath because he took my daughter’s last breath. There is no closure. There never will be because I won’t get my daughter back.”

“That Execution Did Nothing for Me”

Later that day, I met up with a Terre Haute resident named Lorie Kindred in Voorhees Park, the designated gathering spot for pro-death penalty demonstrators. Sitting on a park bench and wearing a blue face mask, she shared her own experience with the death penalty, which she does not talk about very often.

Kindred’s younger sister, Delores Wells, was abducted, tortured, and brutally murdered in 1987. It was one of Vigo County’s most famous crimes; the perpetrator, Bill Benefiel, was sentenced to death and executed in 2005 — one of 20 people executed in the state of Indiana since 1981.

“That execution did nothing for me,” Kindred said. “I didn’t feel one way or another about it.” But she became emotional talking about her mother, Marge Hagan, who died in 2016. The last time anti-death penalty activists descended on Terre Haute, Hagan and her husband had repeatedly faced off against the abolitionists, becoming the face of the pro-death penalty side. As Kindred recalled it, her mother was not a fervent believer in capital punishment, but she wanted to ensure that Benefiel and men like him could never hurt another person again. By the time his execution was carried out, Kindred said, “she had a lot of hate in her heart. And it changed her. But you know, the end result was she felt justice had been served. And that’s really all that mattered.”

Kindred still has survivor’s guilt over the death of her sister. “The last time I saw her was on my 25th birthday,” she said. “We were at my mom’s house and having cake and then she disappeared. She was abducted the next day.” When the trial came around, Kindred was struggling with drugs and alcohol; by the time Benefiel was set to be executed, she was sitting in a county jail, preparing to go to prison for the first time. But her public defender was able to get her a furlough to go with her family to Michigan City, where the execution would take place.

It was years later, while serving another prison sentence, that Kindred realized she needed to work through her trauma. In a counseling program, she confronted her feelings about her sister’s murderer. “I had to humanize him. I had to forgive him,” she said. “I never told my mom I did that. I felt like I’d be betraying her.”

Kindred doesn’t take sides on the death penalty now, although it bothers her that her sister’s grisly death is brought up every time capital punishment is back in the public eye. “I’m a proponent of second chances. And third chances,” she said. But “it’s not up to me to decide what anybody’s fate is. I wouldn’t want that task. I wouldn’t want to sit on a jury that had to decide that.”

Today, Kindred works as an addiction counselor in a prison 45 minutes outside Terre Haute. “I have my clients write an autobiography so that I can get to know them a little bit,” she said. “And I read three today that would just break your heart.” The cycles of violence, trauma, and addiction are so clear to her now. If she could redirect the resources poured into the executions that week, she said, she would spend them on mental health.

“This county is really not any different probably than any other county,” she said. “The opiate crisis is here, people are dying. We need to help the people that are still trying to fight to live.”

The Sharks Keep Coming

On my last day in Terre Haute, the protesters returned to the Ford dealership around 3 p.m., an hour before Dustin Honken was set to die. There was a sense of weariness, if not defeat. They were already planning to return in August for the next federal execution, including veteran abolitionist and Indiana native Bill Pelke, who had traveled from Alaska. “Sometimes all you can do is stand up and say it’s wrong,” he said.

Of the three men executed that week, Honken had the most blood on his hands. He was serving a 27-year prison sentence when he was tried and convicted for the death of five people, including two children, as part of a drug ring in Iowa in 2004. Although Iowa has not had the death penalty since 1965, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft brought federal charges, winning the first death sentence in the state in 40 years. Honken’s girlfriend, Angela Johnson, was also sentenced to death, but her sentence was later commuted to life without parole.

With few remaining legal avenues to pursue, Honken was executed on schedule. After he was declared dead at 4:36 p.m., the families of his victims released statements via the BOP. “Finally, justice is being done,” wrote the relatives of Lori, Kandace, and Amber Duncan. “It will bring a sense of closure but we will continue to live with their loss.”

Before leaving town, I spoke to Sister Betty Donoghue, who visited Honken on death row for 10 years. Donoghue never planned to befriend someone on death row. It was only after one of her fellow Sisters of Providence, Rita Clare Gerardot, had been a long-time visitor to another condemned man that Honken asked if there might be a sister who could visit him too. “And I was the lucky one,” Donoghue chuckled.

Despite Honken’s horrific crime, Donoghue described him as a blessing in her life. In the years she got to know him, Donoghue saw Honken develop empathy for the other men on death row. The realization that so many had experienced trauma of some kind early in life was a profound discovery for him, she said. “One time he said to me, ‘You know, every man up here is a broken person.’”

Donoghue got to know Honken’s mother, as well as his daughter, Marvea Johnson, who was just a child when both her parents were sentenced to die. As Johnson grew older, she continued to visit her father on death row while spending time with the sisters at the Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods campus, a lush and peaceful place that used to host death-row families on the grounds. It was there that Johnson spent her father’s last moments.

When they said their goodbyes on the phone earlier that week, Honken told Donoghue how much it bothered him that Daniel Lewis Lee had been strapped to the gurney for hours before his death. “Danny and Dustin were very, very good friends,” Donoghue said. Like Honken’s loved ones, Lee’s family also visited him in Terre Haute over the years and got to know the Sisters of Providence. Before he died, Lee sent a letter to Gerardot, which she received after his execution. “I wanted to express my gratitude to you,” he wrote. “I still think of you ladies as beacons of light. In the coming days I have several visits with my family. I hope they have a chance to see you again.”

After returning home from Terre Haute, I got an email from Allen, Purkey’s neighbor on death row. The execution lockdown had been lifted. But the events were seared in his mind. “We all sat in our cells, many watching every news station that would report any and everything about the executions,” he wrote about the first night. The local news stations had the most detail, he said. “They made sure that with every segment, they highlighted the cases, and especially the crime’s details. But that’s to be expected when they are trying to tell people that it’s OK to kill another human being. They need people to feel that the human being isn’t a human being anymore.”

As the night wore on inside the prison, no one seemed to know what was happening, Allen wrote. “Even the officers could be overheard asking what was going on. It felt like a Black Ops operation, where they wanted to keep everything quiet. … I didn’t stay up all through the night to see what happened, but when I woke up the next morning, that’s when I learned that they had followed through with their first killing. We too learned that they kept Danny strapped to the gurney from the time they gave him his date until several hours until they executed him! Yes, he had to stay strapped down that entire time with a needle in his arm, people in the room waiting, looking at a clock, waiting to see if he was going to be killed! It then created a wave of conversations that made people really wonder who would be next and if they would have to go through the same thing. Because as they say. Once there’s blood in the water, the sharks keep coming.”

 

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Steven Myers

 

Deranged, home-made theories defended with motivated reasoning by “independent scholars” are a dime a dozen, and the Giza pyramid is a common target. Edward J. Kunkel, for instance, argued – in his book The Pharaoh’s Pump – that the great pyramid in the desert at Giza was a water pump. The idea is silly for an impressive range of reasons, but silliness hasn’t stopped independent scholars before and probably won’t in the foreseeable future.

Now, Kunkel is long dead, but his ideas are still ardently promoted by one Steven Myers, who runs a website and a foundation devoted to the idea, The Pharaoh’s Pump Foundation, which, Myers claims, is going to build a pump using ancient Egyptian technology. It’s been going for a while, but we haven’t seen much by way of goal accomplishments. Now, whywould Myers want to build a pyramid pump, you may wonder? Apparently because the “ancient pumping technology is nonpolluting and does not require fossil fuels or electricity to operate.”And now you may wonder precisely how they did operate. Well, according to Myers, the pyramid pump was fueled by fire. It must be a novel type of non-polluting fire, then, presumably fed by the renewable, lush and fertile forests of the Giza area. There seem to be some gaps still in the Kunkel-Myers hypothesis.

Perhaps he has given up on it. Apparently the project was motivated in part by the doomsday rants of Richard Noone, and the pumps ostensibly needed to be built with some urgency to pump away the water from melting polar ice caps following the cataclysmic events of May 5, 2000, when Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were aligned with Earth, a date that came and passed with no notable weather events (or pumps).

Of course, Myers is not without his critics. Christopher Dunn, for instance, has argued that the Giza pyramid is a power plant working “by responding harmonically with the seismic energy contained within the Earth.” As Lakatos pointed out, competing research programs are important to good scientific progress.

Diagnosis: At least he’s harmless. Which is more than can be said of many of the loons covered here recently.

 

Richard Moskowitz

 

Richard Moskowitz is a homeopath and antivaccine advocate. Apparently Moskowitz was trained as an MD some 50 years ago, but his more recent activities show in the strongest possible way that you should turn elsewhere for medical advice.

As an antivaccine activist (given his background he did make it onto this sorry list of purported anti-vaccine doctors), Moskowitz thinks immunization is an act against God (in “Vaccination: A Sacrament of Modern Medicine” – no link provided). His main idea, though, is that vaccine-preventable diseases are not that bad – a 1/1000 chance of dying from measles is something he thinks you should be willing to deal with, since suffering and death is nothing to worry about as long as it is relatively uncommon – and that if they occur they should be treated with homeopathic nostrums, which don’t do anything and would increase the mortality rate only some (not Moskowitz’s own words). In his article “Unvaccinated Children”, published in the dubious journal (website, really) Medical Voices and discussed here, he even suggests that at least “any child whose sibling or parent previously contracted poliomyelitis, or a severe or complicated case of measles or whooping cough or any of the other diseases listed, should not receive the vaccine prepared against that illness.” A moment’s reflection should reveal that this is not good advice. As for tetanus, Moskowitz recommendation is that“Hypericum can reputedly treat as well as prevent tetanus, but I would recommend giving human antitoxin at the first sign of the disease, since it is far less effective later on.” This piece of advice is actually rather likely to kill you if you ever contracted tetanus. His advice on anthrax (no link provided) would be hilarious if it wasn’t so scary, displaying an almost perfect lack of understanding of the disease.

Moskowitz’s defense of homeopathy reveals an understanding of science and evidence to match his understanding of anthrax, and consists primarily of tirades against Big Pharma (the pharma is shit therefore my magic beans cure cancer-gambit), delusional attacks on real medicine, claiming that clinical trials are not adequate to study homeopathy, since such trials consistently show that it doesn’t work, contrary to Moskowitz’s powers of intuition – how else would he know that homeopathy works, insofar as there can be no proper trials? Besides, modern medicine doesn’t take into account “the energy field of the patient as a whole” – the life force, if you want. He also argues that since homeopathy works in animals and in newborns it can’t be placebo, which is seriously misunderstanding what the placebo effect is and completely missing that part about evaluator bias. It would be interesting to hear Moskowitz try to answer the question of why medical trials use double blinding, but then again it probably wouldn’t.

Diagnosis: Crackpot, pseudoscientist and genuinely dangerous lunatic. He’s apparently viewed as something of an authority in certain anti-vaccine circles, which tells you quite a bit both about them and about him.

 

 Jennifer Roback Morse

 

Jennifer Roback Morse is a religious fundamentalist and President and Founder of the Ruth Institute, a radical anti-gay group that for a while was an arm of the extreme anti-marriage-equality organization NOM. The institute has correctly been designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Roback Morse rose to prominence – she’s pretty influential – in wingnut circles for a couple of books, as a radio show host, and as “an official spokesman for” and vocal defender of California’s Proposition 8 back in 2008. She is also a signatory to the 2017 Nashville Statement, affirming a complementarian view of gender and a traditionalist view of sexuality.

Morse’s opposition to gay marriage is to a large extent fueled by her commitment to archaic stereotypes about gay people, for instance the thought that “neither permanence nor sexual exclusivity plays the same significant role” for them; officially, of course, her main argument against gay marriage is that legalizing gay marriage would be “removing biology as the basis for parenthood and replacing it with legal constructions,” but that assumption has little to do with her actual motivation. It is worth pointing out that Morse and her husband themselves adopted a child because they couldn’t have children of their own, which apparently didn’t in their eyes invalidate their marriage. Now, Morse has published a list of 77 non-religious reasons to support Man/Woman marriage. It is, of course, actually a list attacking gay marriage; Morse, who blames Hollywood for the SCOTUS decision on marriage equality, seems to be under the delusion that supporting same-sex marriage is the same as opposing opposite-sex marriages, and is demonstrably not particularly good at seeing rather obvious connections. Most of the points on that list are just vague rewordings of the single aforementioned point about biological foundations for marriage that she doesn’t, in fact, accept herself. If you are interested, the list is discussed in some detail here. Apparently, legalizing gay marriage will also let people with “drug problems, who are mentally unstable,” or who aren’t sure whether they are gay, get married, which is a novel change compared to previous legal restrictions that clearly prevented unstable people and drug users from marrying.

In 2013, she (and her group) was also behind an insane doomsday list of bizarre projected consequences of legalizing gay marriage delivered before the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee. Morse called the rant the “New Gettysburg Address of the Marriage Movement”, which is about as reasonable as the contents of the rant. Morse is also the kind of person that compares opposition to marriage equality to the position of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, claiming that “the parallels” between Nazi Germany and contemporary America “are really quite chilling” and that what happened in Nazi Germany “is happening to us”. One wonders what she thinks did happen in Nazi Germany. (She relied on Eric Metaxas’s revisionist Bonhoeffer biography, of course.) She has also been promoting ex-gay therapy, arguing that leaving “the gay lifestyle” takes more courage than coming out.

Morse has declared that anyone who “buys sperm” in order to conceive a child should be in jail. This is apparently because of God, though the details of the reasoning process is a bit fuzzy (“The child is now a product, manufactured by adults, and therefore the child cannot be fully the equal of its parent. The object cannot be the equal of its producer or its maker, you know. And so the further we go down this path, the further away we are going from the true ideal of equality before God, of equality before one another, of treating one another with dignity. And the child becomes a kind of chattel. So the legal complications and the sort of ick factor of all of this, it’s important to sort all that out and look at it, but let’s not take our eye off that ball, which is that we have defaced the creator’s plan and intention here by this behavior.” These are not the coherent thought processes of a rational mind).

In 2012 she suggested that young people should refrain from having gay friends. There is a fine (though somewhat dated) list of other moronic things Morse has said about homosexuality here.

Gender equality

Morse has also weighed in on other social issues. In 2012 she was deeply offended by Obama’s health care mandate, claiming that it was part of a war weighed against women’s fertility. In general, according to Morse, there is no “war on women” but rather a “war on women’s fertility”, where enemy forces are making contraception easily available and encouraging women to enter the workforce after college rather than getting married, staying home, cleaning the house and having children.

The underlying source of all evils is, according to Morse, the sexual revolution, a “totalitarian” movement pushed by “hipsters” and “radical feminists” that victimizes professional women who build their lives “around the lies.” As an example of such totalitarianism is apparently the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, which she claims is a government effort to “control people’s behavior and even people’s thoughts.” By requiring that insurance plans cover contraception, Morse argues, the government is “stifling dissent by essentially saying: ‘This society will be built around contraception, and there will be no dissent from that.’” Of course, by the same token anymeasure ever passed is by definition a totalitarian one that stifles dissent.

The sexual revolution has ostensibly been promoted by “population controllers (who think there are too many poor people); hipsters (who just want to be libertines); radical feminists who think babies are keeping women from being ‘equal.’” And yes: of course there is a conspiracy behind it all: “All these groups have one thing in common: They’re controlled by elites, people who want to re-create the world in their own image,” rather than hers.

Apparently the sexual revolution, and especially LGBT equality, are bringing back slavery. In a statement that reveals a lack of knowledge of history to match her delusions about the present, Morse argues that “all of these issues – divorce and remarriage, abortion and infanticide, slavery, the buying and selling of human beings – all of these things, the Christian religion put a stop to. But they’re all on their way back because of the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution is bringing back all of these points.” Indeed, the sexual revolution is “a pagan ideology” that Christians should refuse to compromise with – “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism” (conservatives were “tricked” into accepting contraception). Her comments on the Hobby Lobby ruling are no less idiotic.

At least she’s not worried about being on the wrong side of history.

Diagnosis: Incoherent, stupid and evil monster. She fits right in – and has accordingly become a rather influential and prominent voice in – fundie wingnut circles.

 

 

 

No responses yet

Leave a Reply