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Will senators ask Trump’s Attorney General nominee about his anti-gay and religious extremism?

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- Commentary

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the man who served as Attorney General in the early 1990’s under President George H.W. Bush would have written an anti-gay and religious call to action, lamenting the civil rights advancements of the 30 years prior, and modern culture which he saw as far too sexually permissive.

He did.

Former Attorney General William Barr, who served under the first President Bush, penned a wildly anti-equality, anti-First Amendment, 5000 word treatise published by a Catholic University in 1995 that sounds exactly like it was written by a far right wing religious conservative.

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Because it was.

In it, he rails against what he sees as the “increasingly militant, secular age,” the “bigotry” of “a growing hostility toward religion,” and “efforts to marginalize or ‘ghettoize’ orthodox religion.”

He derided the “the steady erosion of the traditional Judeo-Christian moral system,” and “traditional morality.”

Barr is not a fan of the 1960’s.

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“It is undeniable that, since the mid-1960s, there has been a steady and mounting assault on traditional values. We have lived through thirty years of permissiveness, the sexual revolution, and the drug culture,” he laments.

All this is leading up to “the most significant feature of contemporary society,” which Barr claims is “the battering that the family has taken.”

Not, say, computers, space travel, modern medicine, greater access to education, or, freedom in general.

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In fact, Barr sees “the immense power of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, academia, and so forth as “barriers to the return of traditional morality.”

“The power and pervasiveness of our high-tech popular culture … fuels the collapse of morality,” he says.

And then there’s this, which should concern every American who cares about the First Amendment and the separation of church and state: “The state no longer sees itself as a moral institution, but a secular one.”

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Imagine an Attorney General who would like to “repair” that, and have the federal government act as a moral, or religious institution. We saw a glimpse of that under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. William Barr is Jeff Sessions on steroids, coupled with decades more experience.

Barr continues, attacking what Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern identifies as “DC’s gay nondiscrimination law.”

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“Another example was the effort to apply District of Columbia law to compel Georgetown University to treat homosexual activist groups like any other student group,” Barr writes. “This kind of law dissolves any form of moral consensus in society. There can be no consensus based on moral views in the country, only enforced neutrality.”

Just before that, Barr writes that a “way in which secularists use law as a weapon is to pass laws that affirmatively promote the moral relativist viewpoint. Such laws seek to ratify, or put on an equal plane, conduct that previously was considered immoral.”

Will U.S. Senators on the Judiciary Committee ask Barr this week about his views on marriage, and the rights of minorities, including LGBTQ people?

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Barr also cites laws that “are proposed that treat a cohabitating couple exactly as one would a married couple.”

While he doesn’t say it, he clearly could be referring to same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

Barr also talks about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, and throws this bible-based bombshell: “Self-government did not mean the mechanism by which one elected representatives to a legislative body. Self-government referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

He concludes with a call to action, asking, “how can we be confident that the pendulum will swing back?” In other words, how can we take the civil rights advances from the ’60’s on and push them back?

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“The real message is that we are going to have to do more than joust around the margins. We must re-enter the fray in an effective way; take the battlefield and enter the struggle, rather than just retire in good order. The key is a return to basics-in a sense, to reassemble the flock,” Barr decides.

And he also calls for “vouchers at the state level and ultimately at the federal level to support parental choice in education,” meaning religious, and especially Catholic education. “We should press at every turn for the inclusion of religious institutions. We need to fight those cases in the states up to the Supreme Court.”

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, now chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will begin hearings on the nomination of William Barr to become the next Attorney General on Tuesday.


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Hypocrisy or stupidity? Trump’s utterly clueless sons rail against Hunter Biden’s nepotism

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Former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, and when asked if he thought foreign companies and investment banks would have hired him if his name wasn't Biden he said, "Probably not." He is correct. The younger Biden had little to no experience in the businesses for which he was paid big salaries. He was hired because he is the son of a powerful person, clearly in hopes that they would have some influence with the father and impress their customers with the fact that they were so close to someone with influence.

That reeks of class privilege and it is incredibly common in American business and politics. I don't think I have ever worked anywhere in my life where cronyism, nepotism and influence-peddling weren't present in some form or another. Hiring some ne'er-do-well relative is one of the ways rich and powerful people scratch each other's backs — and, not incidentally, ensure that the quasi-aristocracy of the one percent is perpetuated. If anything, what's uncommon is for some scion of the powerful to openly admit he only got the job was because of his name. Usually, they fatuously insist their "success" is due to their own unique brilliance and talent.

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Here are 5 ways to restore the legitimacy of the Supreme Court

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In recent years the legitimacy of the Supreme Court has come under question as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans have bent the nomination process for their own political gain.

At the same time, the Court has rewritten the rules of our democracy. In just the last few years, it has rolled back the Voting Rights Act, given corporations even greater power over their workers and consumers, and given the green light to partisan gerrymandering.

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Trump and the end of the American myth of meritocracy

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The following is chock-a-block with spoilers for "Succession" Season 2, including the finale, so proceed with caution.For understandable reasons, the internet is all a-chatter about the final scenes of Season 2 of "Succession." On Sunday's finale, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), who spent most of this season looking like a whipped puppy, finally stuck it to his old man, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), throwing the patriarch under the bus during a live press conference, during which Kendall was supposed to offer himself up as the fall guy for Waystar Royco's criminal behavior. It was a moment of Kendall showing spine and competence, and understandably, audiences cheered him on.
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