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Republicans hand lifetime federal bench appointment to lawyer who says gay judges can’t decide cases objectively

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Senate Republicans have just confirmed Howard Nielson to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. A longtime conservative activist, Nielson has argued against same-sex marriage, against same-sex couples being allowed to raise children, and against the decision to declare California’s Prop 8 unconstitutional, claiming the judge in that case could not objectively rule because he is gay.

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The vote late Wednesday afternoon was 51-47, along party lines, with only Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins voting no.

Nielson, who opposes same-sex marriage on the grounds same-sex couples cannot reproduce without assistance, has also argued against the Affordable Care Act, and against equal opportunity and affirmative action. He has also argued to uphold laws designed to make it even harder for women to obtain abortions, and argued against common-sense gun laws designed to increase public safety.

But Nielson may be best-known for working on the team at DOJ that produced the “torture memos” which President George W. Bush used to order the infliction of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, which is an international war crime. His remarks, (and his own “torture memo,”) in defense of his then-colleague were in support of the argument allowing torture.

Nielson will be sworn in as U.S. District Judge for the District of Utah.

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GOP lawmakers melt down after Maryland AP history class teacher uses illustration to compare Trump to Nazis

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According to a report from the Washington Times, Maryland Republicans are up in arms after an AP history teacher at a local high school used a slide to illustrate similarities between Donald Trump's policies and those of the Nazis.

The report states, "A slide used in an Advanced Placement history class at Loch Raven High School in Towson shows a picture of Trump above pictures of a Nazi swastika and a flag of the Soviet Union. Two captions read 'wants to round up a group of people and build a giant wall' and 'oh, THAT is why it sounds so familiar!'"

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Stop praising anti-Trump evangelicals: Their embrace of authoritarianism is a big part of the problem

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At this critical moment for American democracy our media landscape is doing a poor job in its coverage of conservative white evangelicals. Coverage of this relatively large segment of the population is characterized by, on the one hand, effusive praise for the slightest milquetoast criticism of Donald Trump, and on the other, by a periodic parade of nearly interchangeable unfounded predictions about how evangelical youth are going to change America’s most radically right-wing demographic for the better—any day now. In the words of the great sage Bullwinkle J. Moose, “This time for sure!”

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2020 Election

Intel official who briefed lawmakers on latest Russian meddling targeted for ouster by Trump White House: CNN

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During a discussion on the war on the intelligence community being waged by the Donald Trump's White House, CNN host Victor Blackwell stated that sources speaking with the network stated that the intel official who briefed lawmakers for both parties on new efforts by Russia to meddle in U.S. elections could be on the way out.

Speaking with contributor Lynn Sweet, Blackwell asked about the so-called "purge" being conducted by the White House.

"It sends the signal once again that President Trump is not a respecter of the United States intelligence services with the bigger issue that a permanent director has not been in that office since last summer when Dan Coates was forced out," Sweet explained. "This is a key position, subject to Senate confirmation and Trump hasn't seen fit to have a permanent director for months now."

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