What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 30, 2019

Pittsburgh's Abortifacient History

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this:
Between 1800 and 1900, the birthrate of white native-born women in American declined by almost half, due in some part to the increased use of birth control. The amount of printed literature providing information about contraception, from medical texts to classified advertisements, indicates the popular demand for knowledge, products, and services beginning in the 1840s. Contraception allowed women a degree of freedom and control over their own bodies; abortions enabled them to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or not, whether they were prostitutes selling sex for a living or “ordinary” working women struggling to support the children they already had.
At the bottom of the page were some examples of advertisements found in the New York Herald - like this one from 1841:


It might be difficult to read but the important words are in the title:

FEMALE MONTHLY PILLS
And in the text:
These Pills are acknowledged by the first Physicians in the United States as the very best medicine that ladies laboring under a suppression of their natural illness can take, and they very seldom fail to relieve when taken according to the directions.
And so on. What do you think "a suppression of their natural illness" could possibly mean?

I think you can figure it out when you see this other add for Madame Costello:


Were you to take a close look at the second paragraph:
Suppression, irregularity, obstruction &c, by whatever case produced, can be removed by Madam C, in a very short time.
And then the end of the third, how Madame can see:
...those who wish to be treated for obstruction of their monthly period.
"Obstruction of their monthly period"?? I'm not a doctor but what could possibly "obstruct" menstruation but a pregnancy?

So we're talking, at the very least, about pills to trigger miscarriages, if not actual abortion procedures, advertised in New York City newspapers.

The coded language for pregnancy back then was amazing:
  • suppression of [the ladies'] natural illness
  • obstruction of the monthly period
As were the code words used for treatment:
  • "female tonic"
  • "female pills"
  • "female remedies"
  • "regulators"
As well as the names of the medicines themselves:
  • English Remedy
  • French Remedy
And so on. The combination of these terms ("female tonic to regulate the monthly period" or "English Remedy for the removal of any obstruction") could only point to one thing - ending an unwanted pregnancy.

Take as an example an ad touting the above mentioned "French Remedy" from the Brandon Mail May 5, 1887:


The code words are there - Dr LeDuc's "periodic pills" are a  "cure for suppressed menstruation" along with the necessary warning that they "must not be taken during the first five months of pregnancy."

What do you think a woman in 1841, scared that she might be pregnant, would think reading the above ad?

Exactly.

Got me to thinking - did any of these ads show up in any Pittsburgh newspaper in the 19th century/early 20th century?

We've gotten this far down the blog post so I think you know the answer to this.

Take a look at this from The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, August 2, 1841:


It's ostensibly an announcement regarding a set of medicines previously sold at "41 and 19 St Clair Street" will now be sold by a "Mr. SAMUEL FREW, corner of Wood and Liberty, downtown.

Look about a quarter of the way down:
DR LEROY'S FEMALE PILLS, for diseases peculiar to the sex.
 Any woman in need of those pills in 1841 would know exactly what they were for.

70 years later the story was the same. Take a look at this from the Pittsburgh Press of August 10, 1910:


No longer Dr LeRoy, now we're on to Dr Martell's "Female Pills" sold at May Drug stores.

But May Drug stores (and I guess there were 7 in 1910) wasn't the only place to go. Along with the sales of the "female pills" or the "French Remedy" or the various products promising "regulation of the menstrual period" there were ads selling "female tonic."  Like this one from the Pittsburg Press September 29, 1912:


The amazing part of this is that it's a recipe for the tonic. The tonic is for "toning up the system and restoring the female organs to their normal conditions...." And there's that word "regulator" in there as well.  The clue for it's use is the first ingredient, "black cohosh."

What is it? What is it used for?

Well, there's this from WebMd:
Black cohosh is most often used to control the symptoms of menopause, such as:

Some studies have found evidence that black cohosh does help with these symptoms. However, many experts consider the evidence unclear and say more research is needed.

Other uses of black cohosh have less scientific support. Women sometimes take it to regulate periods, ease PMS symptoms, and cause women to go into labor.
So, let me ask - as it's a recipe for a tonic intended to end a pregnancy, is it illegal for me to repost? For you to read? How about for a woman in Georgia or any of those other "heartbeat bill" states?

Let me put in a caveat here: I am not a doctor or expert in biochemistry in any way. I have no idea whether any of these remedies actually work or even if they're safe. Given that 19th century America was drenched in snake oil cures for many maladies known (or imagined), it would not be wrong to think that some or all of these "cures" are hokum - perhaps even dangerous hokum.

But that doesn't matter - what matters is that the women of 19th century Pittsburgh believed that taking the "periodic pills" (or the tonic or the various remedies) would end an unwanted pregnancy and they were willing to take the pills to end those pregnancies.

Women have been doing this for centuries.

Legislating it away won't legislate it away.

June 26, 2019

Donald Trump Is LYING About The Children Held In Detention Centers

This from FOX NEWS:


They're just little kids and the Trump Administration made them sleep in deplorable unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

Donald Trump is lying.

June 25, 2019

My HUNDRED AND FOURTEENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

We have to talk about the children in the concentration camp Clint Border Protection facility near El Paso, Texas.

You've read about the conditions there, haven't you? I know you tweeted a few days ago about how June is "National Candy Month" but I'm thinking that children being held in unsafe and unsanitary conditions as a matter of the president's immigration policy is somewhat more important than the Senate's candy bowl. I trust we can at least agree on that.

So here's my question: How do you reconcile your support of Donald Trump when one of his administration's policies is this cruel treatment of children? You already disagree with his policy on tariffs, why not his policy regarding detained children being denied soap, toothbrushes, and showers?

Please explain to your constituents how any of this is OK with you.

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

June 24, 2019

Meanwhile, Outside...

From the climate scientists at NOAA:
The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for May 2019 was the fourth highest for the month of May in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The March–May temperature was second highest, and the January–May temperature was the third highest such period on record.
Specifically:
The May temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.53°F above the 20th century average of 58.6°F and was the fourth highest for May in the 1880–2019 record. The last five years (2015–2019) are the five warmest Mays on record, with May 2016 the warmest with a global land and ocean temperature at 1.67°F above average.
And from a non-scientist very high up in the Trump administration, we get this:
Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday wouldn't say if he views the global climate crisis as a threat to the United States.

Pence repeatedly dodged when asked multiple times on CNN's "State of the Union" whether the human-induced crisis is a threat to the country, telling host Jake Tapper: "Well, what I will tell you is that we'll always follow the science on that in this administration."
Specifically:
When pressed again on whether he believes the climate crisis is a threat, Pence said, "I think the answer to that is going to be based upon the science."

"Well the science says yes," Tapper said. "I'm asking you what you think."

"Well, there's many in the science that debate that," Pence said.
Define "many" please.

Especially in the context of this from NASA:
Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.
That footnote leads here. Where you can find this paragraph:
The number of papers rejecting AGW [Anthropogenic, or human-caused, Global Warming] is a miniscule proportion of the published research, with the percentage slightly decreasing over time. Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.
So "many" needs to be explained. 

I suppose of you surveyed a thousand climate scientists and found that only 97% said they agreed with the science, that would leave 30 dissenting scientists, And I further suppose that you could say that 30 = "many".  I mean ask a kindergarten teacher of 30 five year olds constitute "many" or "few" and you'll see what I mean.

It still ignores (willfully, of course) the 97% who agree.

It's getting warmer outside no matter what Trump and his GOP say.

June 22, 2019

Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18) On IMPEACHMENT

From Facebook:
It was deeply unsettling to read Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. It made clear that Russia repeatedly interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the intention of electing President Trump. The Mueller report also presented substantial evidence that President Trump welcomed that interference and, as we all saw, even publicly encouraged it.

Special Counsel Mueller also presented substantial evidence that the President obstructed justice on multiple occasions during the course of the investigation. Under long standing policy by the Department of Justice the Special Counsel was not permitted to indict or prosecute the President for any potential criminal acts. However, the Special Counsel said that if he had confidence that President did not obstruct justice, he would have stated so in the report. The report clearly says that the Special Counsels office did not believe that they could exonerate the President based upon the facts they had uncovered. He concluded that it was the duty of Congress to investigate the findings of his report and to make a determination about whether to impeach the President.

Congress has been conducting investigations into the underlying facts and evidence within the Mueller Report in the face of opposition by the Administration. Congress has the authority to subpoena any information necessary to carry out its Constitutional oversight responsibilities. Nevertheless, the Administration continues to prevent witnesses from testifying and refuses to comply with subpoenas.

No American comes before the Constitution.

Consequently, I feel that Congress should initiate an impeachment inquiry.
Have you read the Mueller Report?

No? Doncha think ya oughta?

June 21, 2019

News From Trump's CONCENTRATION CAMP SYSTEM

From the AP:
A 2-year-old boy locked in detention wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, say they've been doing their best to feed and soothe the clingy toddler who was handed to them by a guard days ago. Lawyers warn that kids are taking care of kids, and there's inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station.

The bleak portrait emerged Thursday after a legal team interviewed 60 children at the facility near El Paso that has become the latest place where attorneys say young migrants are describing neglect and mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. government.
And:
Three girls told attorneys they were trying to take care of the 2-year-old boy, who had wet his pants and no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt when the legal team encountered him.
And so on. And then there's this:
The Trump administration argued in front of a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells, despite a settlement agreement that requires detainees be kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities.

All three judges appeared incredulous during the hearing in San Francisco, in which the Trump administration challenged previous legal findings that it is violating a landmark class action settlement by mistreating undocumented immigrant children at U.S. detention facilities.
Same story, different source:
The Trump administration’s defense of conditions at its shelters for immigrant minors — it argues it is not legally required to provide all of them with such items as soap, toothbrushes and sleeping accommodations — drew an incredulous response from federal appeals court judges Tuesday at a hearing in San Francisco.
Large numbers of people held in camps without trial in harsh, sometimes life-threatening conditions -  yea that's a fucking concentration camp.

How do I know?

This:

And this.

Say it after me: Trump's concentration camp system.

June 19, 2019

The Central Park Five - THEY DIDN'T DO IT (And Trump Refuses To Admit He Was Wrong)

And yet for the orange vulgarity things haven't changed.

From The New York Times:
President Trump said on Tuesday that he would not apologize for his harsh comments in 1989 about the Central Park Five, the five black and Latino men who as teenagers were wrongly convicted of the brutal rape of a jogger in New York City.

Mr. Trump was asked about newspaper advertisements he bought back then calling for New York State to adopt the death penalty after the attack. (The ads never explicitly called for the death penalty for the five defendants.)

“You have people on both sides of that,” he said at the White House. “They admitted their guilt.”
No Donnie, there's aren't "both sides of that."

There's just the truth:
In 2002, [Matias] Reyes confessed in prison that he had assaulted and raped Meili back in 1989, and that he had acted alone. At the time, the 17-year-old was working at a convenience store in East Harlem and living in a van on the street.

DNA evidence confirmed his participation in the rape, identifying him as the sole contributor of the semen found both in and on the victim.
And those confessions?

False and forced:
The confessions of the Central Park Five were wildly contradictory and at odds with what was thought to be the known timeline of events relating to the rape that night.

The confessions used against them at trial were coerced by NYPD detectives using a combination of lies, false promises and occasionally even physical force to frighten the young defendants into admitting to crimes they never committed.
The five went to jail for a crime they did not commit and Donald Trump refuses to say that he was wrong about it.

June 18, 2019

My HUNDRED AND THIRTEENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

As you probably know by now, Senator, the leader of your party said in this past week that he'd take a look at "oppo research" offered from a foreign government - something that triggered a fierce rebuke from the FEC chair (saying that it's "100% illegal" to accept anything from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election) and Fox News' Andrew Napolitano (who said that it was evidence that Trump was "prepared to commit a felony to get reelected.")

This is very serious, Senator. Don't you think?

So far, however, you've remained silent on this matter.

Why?

Don't you think it's serious when the president talks about breaking the law so blatantly?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

June 17, 2019

Trump vs The NY Times. Trump Loses. Again

From a NYTimes article describing the DoD's cyberwars against Putin's Russia:
Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place “implants” — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.

Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.
And The Orange Vulgarity tweeted in response:
Wait. So which one is the traitor?

June 15, 2019

NO PG WITHOUT THE NEWSPAPER GUILD OF PITTSBURGH

https://pghguild.com/

From the guild's website:
What does the Guild want? A fair and equitable contract. The dedicated journalists who put out the news around the clock every single day for the greater Pittsburgh community have not had a raise in 13 years. Meanwhile our members have given back millions of dollars in concessions — part of the tens of millions of dollars the Blocks have received from all of the PG’S unions — as part of years-long pay cuts to help keep the Post-Gazette afloat.

To add insult to injury, the Blocks have violated federal labor law by refusing to properly fund our health insurance in 2018 despite an administrative law judge’s order to do so — and the PG has said it won’t comply with the judge’s order in 2019 either. That means our health insurance benefits, which already got worse this year thanks to the Blocks, will suffer again next year. Asked whether the company couldn’t afford the premium increase, Lowe said recently at the bargaining table that the PG “is not claiming an inability to pay.”
They won a Pulitzer this year, they deserve a new contract and a goddamn raise. 

Sign the petition.

June 14, 2019

And Now A Word From The FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION

FEC head Ellen Weintraub tweeted:
Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about 'foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence.' They knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America's. Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation. Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Note to Donald Trump (and his enablers in his party): "Oppo research" is something of value and it would be illegal to accept it from a foreign national.

Andrew Napolitano (from Fox News) said that it shows that Trump is "prepared to commit a felony to get reelected."

Silence on this matter from Trump's party is complicity in that corruption.

June 13, 2019

Donald Trump's Treasoning And The GOP's Enabling

From The NYTimes:
President Trump said on Wednesday that there would be nothing wrong with accepting incriminating information about an election opponent from Russia or other foreign governments and that he saw no reason to call the F.B.I. if it were to happen again.

“It’s not an interference,” he said in an interview with ABC News, describing it as “opposition research.” “They have information — I think I’d take it.” He would call the F.B.I. only “if I thought there was something wrong.”
Isn't that collusion? If it isn't, then what is?

As this former federal prosecutor tweeted:

The GOP's silence is enabling Trump's dismantling of our nation.

June 12, 2019

House Oversight Vote Yesterday

Let's get a few things straight:

The Congress is a co-equal branch of government (in fact, it's Article I in the Constitution) that acts as a check on Executive power:
Throughout its history, Congress has engaged in oversight—broadly defined as the review, monitoring, and supervision of the implementation of public policy—of the executive branch. The first several Congresses inaugurated such important oversight techniques as special investigations, reporting requirements, resolutions of inquiry, and use of the appropriations process to review executive activity. Contemporary developments, have only increased Congress’s capacity and capabilities to check on and check the Executive. Public laws and congressional rules have measurably enhanced Congress’s implied power under the Constitution to conduct oversight.[Emphasis in original.]
It's has the right to subpoena government officials, especially in the Executive Branch, as it sees fit.

Yesterday, The House voted to authorize the Judiciary Committee the authority:
...to seek declaratory judgments and any and all ancillary relief, including injunctive relief, affirming the duty of:
(A) William P. Barr, Attorney General, to comply with the subpoena that is the subject of the resolution accompanying House Report 116-105; and

(B) Donald F. McGahn, II, former White House Counsel, to comply with the subpoena issued to him on April 22, 2019
It's congressional oversight. It's voting to enforce a subpoena (two, actually) necessary to ensure that oversight. It's the constitutionally mandated check and balance on executive power.

And instead 191 House republicans voted to protect the Trump Administration.

June 11, 2019

My HUNDRED AND TWELFTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Recently the Congressional Research Service released a report seems to debunk many of the claims that you frequently raise regarding the 2017 tax cut. In fact the report itself says that there was little, if any "first year effect" on the economy.

The cuts did not pay for themselves as claimed. And it certainly looks as if they benefited large corporations, who saw the corporate tax rate nearly halved while (and I am quoting the report here to make sure I get it right) "individual income taxes as a percentage of personal income fell slightly from 9.6% to 9.2%."

Yet your statement on the tax cut said "we lowered the tax burden on hardworking individuals and families." But the CRS certainly says otherwise.

Will you be offering Pennsylvania's tax payers an apology anytime soon? Or how about an explanation as to why and how you got it so wrong? Just tell me: Was delivering large tax cuts for large corporations while not delivering on promises given to individual taxpayers the plan all along?

Your thoughts?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

June 10, 2019

Peduto Derangement Syndrome

For those of you watching from outside of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the "Peduto" in the blog title is Bill Peduto, is the mayor of the city of Pittsburgh.

He's a democrat who supports LGBT rights:
While all three candidates have earned strong marks for their stance on LGBT issues in recent years, Peduto has received the most love in return. His mayoral bid has been endorsed by three LGBT-advocacy groups: statewide advocacy group Equality Pennsylvania, as well as the Steel City Stonewall Democrats and the Gertrude Stein Political Club.

He supported efforts to create a citywide domestic-partner registry, which allows same-sex couples to formally declare a committed relationship. (The registry has no legal authority, but can be used by employers as a basis for providing domestic-partner benefits to employees.) And at an April 18 forum hosted by Planned Parenthood, he suggested constructing new buildings with bathrooms designated for transgender occupants. "[T]here has to be accessibility for all," he said.
And is pro-choice:
Peduto, whose mayoral run has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, backed a 2005 "Medical Safety Zone Ordinance," which set up a 15-foot buffer zone around women's health clinics — and an 8-foot "bubble zone" around patients entering or leaving. That measure, supported by pro-choice groups, was later overturned when a judge ruled it infringed on the free speech of abortion opponents. (Currently only the buffer zone remains.) But at the April 18 forum, Peduto said his support for access hadn't changed: "If it does require an officer to be there to remind [observers of] the rights of all individuals, I'll certainly have an officer there."
He also recently signed some common sense gun control:
The ordinances, which council approved 6-3 last week, ban the use of assault-style weapons and accessories in public places and grant authority to the courts to temporarily seize weapons from people in the throes of mental health crises.
He also tweets from time to time - mostly about the city, sometimes about Pittsburgh politics, sometimes about Pittsburgh hockey.

If you follow his twitter feed (as I do) you'll notice one general thread from those who aren't supporters:
No matter what he tweets they demand his resignation and/or incarceration.
No real reason given. It's the grown up version of the school yard taunt: No body likes you and your mother dresses you funny. Nyah-nyah.

Call it the PEDUTO DERANGEMENT SYNDROME.

He can tweet a "good morning" and within a few minutes someone (who may or may not even live in the city) will condemn him for not filling in the city's potholes - and demand his impeachment for it.

PEDUTO DERANGEMENT SYNDROME.

June 5, 2019

A Trump Fact Check

From The AP:
TRUMP: “There were thousands of people (Monday) on the streets cheering. And even coming over today, there were thousands of people cheering and then I heard that there were protests. I said: ‘Where are the protests? I don’t see any protests.’ I did see a small protest today when I came, very small, so a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say. ... There was great love. ... And I didn’t see the protesters until just a little while ago and it was a very, very small group of people.” — news conference Tuesday.

THE FACTS: The protests over Trump’s visit were more than just “very, very small.”

Thousands of protesters crowded London’s government district, shouting angry chants as he met May nearby. While police erected barricades to stop protesters from marching past the gates of Downing Street, they could be heard as Trump and May emerged from the prime minister’s official residence for a photo op and before their news conference.
Then there was this:


The AP continued:
The protests included a giant Trump baby balloon and a robotic likeness of Trump sitting on a golden toilet, cellphone in hand, dubbed “Dump Trump.” The robot made flatulent sounds and recited familiar Trump phrases like “No collusion” and “You are fake news.”
Yea, London luvs Trump!

June 4, 2019

My HUNDRED AND ELEVENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I've written to you a number of times about the Supreme Court. Your party derailed Merrick Garland's confirmation to the court by simply refusing to allow it to come to a vote. The idea, we were told, was that it was it was too close to the 2016 presidential election.

This past week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked what the Senate would do were it in a similar situation during the 2020 presidential election

"Oh, we'd fill [the seat]," he said.

This week's question: Do you agree with your Majority Leader's obvious double standard? It seems to be indicative of how completely your political party has reversed itself regarding presidential authority. What it would never agree to with a Democratic president, it's more than happy to deliver to this current Republican one.

Your thoughts?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.


Follow-up:

June 3, 2019

Yea, Maybe Bishop Tobin Should Just Not Say Anything

This happened this weekend:
Rhode Island bishop is facing backlash for publicly declaring that devout citizens "should not support" LGBTQ Pride Month events because they "promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals."

Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin tweeted the message on Saturday, the first day of June 2019 and start of the LGBTQ Pride Month. "A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ 'Pride Month' events held in June," he wrote. "They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children."
You'll note the last sentence. We'll get to that in a minute. I promise.

The good bishop has since apologized (?) for his previous bigotry with this:
By Sunday afternoon, after statements of support for the LGBTQ community from the governor and mayor and rebukes from entertainment figures, and with plans underway for a protest in Providence, Tobin issued a statement.

“I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community. That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense. I also acknowledge and appreciate the widespread support I have received on this matter,” he said. “The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.”

He added, “As the gay community gathers for a rally this evening, I hope that the event will be a safe, positive and productive experience for all. As they gather I will be praying for a rebirth of mutual understanding and respect in our very diverse community.”
You'll note, of course, that he doesn't actually come out and say that Catholics can now support Pride events  - just that he regrets offending people.  His hope (and prayer?) is that that rally (where all those LGBTQ protesters will be protesting him) will be a "safe, positive and productive experience" for everyone.

Look at the last sentence. He's praying for "a rebirth of mutual understanding and respect." [Emphasis added.]

Sorry, LGBTQ folks, but while you're protesting him, he's praying that you'll have a little more understanding and respect for his bigotry.

As a side note, he was auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh a few decades ago.

You know where this is leading, right?

From the Providence Journal, last August:
During his earlier years in Pittsburgh, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin acknowledges he “became aware of incidents of sexual abuse when they were reported to the diocese.”

But in response Tuesday to questions posed earlier about what he knew, when he knew it — and what he did about it, the Providence-based bishop says these allegations were outside his realm of responsibility.

Between 1992 and 1996, Tobin served as auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh, one of six Pennsylvania dioceses covered in a scathing grand jury report on the cover-up by Catholic Church officials in Pennsylvania of decades of child abuse by more than 300 priests. The grand jury found more than 1,000 identifiable victims of sexual abuse by priests.

“My responsibilities as Vicar General and General Secretary of the diocese did not include clergy assignments or clergy misconduct, but rather other administrative duties such as budgets, property, diocesan staff, working with consultative groups, etc. Even as an auxiliary bishop, I was not primarily responsible for clergy issues,″ Tobin said in an email to The Providence Journal.
So he knew about the abuse but since it wasn't his job, well. No harm no foul.

So perhaps the Most Reverend Thomas Tobin, Bishop of Rhode Island, shouldn't be spending any time warning Catholics about Pride events and how those events "support a culture" that's contrary to Catholic morals when he himself is part of an organization that abused so many young men and women and then worked real real hard to cover it up.

Shame.

June 2, 2019

Evidently, The P-G's Keith Burris Didn't Read The Mueller Report

Or perhaps he did - but that's not any better.

As the man said Keith, I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you.

What am I talking about?

This editorial from the usually and completely rational, totally even-tempered, and faithfully fair and balanced Keith Burris of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

My buddy Keith just doesn't see the point of impeaching Donald Trump as he says there's just no reason for it. Nope. None at all. Trump's the stand up guy it's his detractors are the crazy ones bent on overturning the rule of law.

How do we know Sir Keith has lost his once strong claim to living in the real world?

He begins with the idea that we have to accept the results of our elections even if they might have been, well, a a bit little shady.  A Burris example:
Even though he knew there was a good chance John F. Kennedy stole the election in 1960, Richard Nixon chose not to challenge the outcome.
I suppose Keith, in his usually bottomless research for his usually well thought out editorials, missed this 2000 piece by David Greenburg from Slate.

Perhaps he missed it in a google search as it was titled "Was Nixon Robbed?"

Greenburg wrote, as to whether Nixon "chose not to challenge the outcome"  of the 1960 election:
First, Eisenhower quickly withdrew his support for a challenge, making it hard for Nixon to go forward. According to Nixon’s friend Ralph De Toledano, a conservative journalist, Nixon knew Ike’s position yet claimed anyway that he, not the president, was the one advocating restraint. “This was the first time I ever caught Nixon in a lie,” Toledano recalled.

More to the point, while Nixon publicly pooh-poohed a challenge, his allies did dispute the results—aggressively. The New York Herald Tribune’s Earl Mazo, a friend and biographer of Nixon’s, recounted a dozen-odd fishy incidents alleged by Republicans in Illinois and Texas. Largely due to Mazo’s reporting, the charges gained wide acceptance. [Emphasis in original.]
And then the next two paragraphs:
But it wasn’t just Mazo who made a stink. The press went into a brief frenzy in the weeks after the election. Most important, the Republican Party made a veritable crusade of undoing the results. Even if they ultimately failed, party leaders figured, they could taint Kennedy’s victory, claim he had no mandate for his agenda, galvanize the rank and file, and have a winning issue for upcoming elections.

Three days after the election, party Chairman Sen. Thruston Morton launched bids for recounts and investigations in 11 states—an action that Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson attacked as a “fishing expedition.” Eight days later, close Nixon aides, including Bob Finch and Len Hall, sent agents to conduct “field checks” in eight of those states. Peter Flanigan, another aide, encouraged the creation of a Nixon Recount Committee in Chicago. All the while, everyone claimed that Nixon knew nothing of these efforts—an implausible assertion that could only have been designed to help Nixon dodge the dreaded “sore loser” label.
Of course Keith Burris asserted in his editorial that neither Nixon nor his party spent the next four years calling Kennedy's presidency illegitimate. Only true if you hold fast to the "next four years" part. Otherwise it's false according to Greenburg at Slate.

Keith also says this about the 2000 election:
Even though the Supreme Court unnecessarily and unconstitutionally short-circuited the 2000 election, Al Gore accepted the result.
So Bush v Gore was unnecessary and unconstitutional? Good thing a Republican benefited, I guess.

But let's get back to the stormy present.  Burris writes:
The plan for Mr. Trump was that the special counsel would find evidence of high crimes and this would queue up impeachment.

But after more than two years of extensive and bottomless investigation, of a kind that few politicians could withstand, there is no such evidence.
This is where I have to wonder if newsman Keith Burris has actually read The Mueller Report.

Burris writes:
Robert Mueller’s report cleared the president himself of collusion with the Russian government — a charge many Americans found far-fetched from the start. (It found ample evidence of Russian dirty tricks, however.)
And yet the report itself says:
In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of "collusion." In so doing, the Office recognized that the word "collud[ e ]" was used in communications with the Acting Attorney General confirming certain aspects of the investigation's scope and that the term has frequently been invoked in public reporting about the investigation. But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law (pg 2).
As the office wasn't looking for "collusion", stating that the report "cleared" Trump of it is essentially meaningless.

Burris must know this. If he knows, he's lying to the P-G's readership.  If he doesn't, well he's simply an incompetent thinker. Not a good choice, if you ask me.

The report did find multiple acts of obstruction of justice. Like this one:
On June 14, 20 I 7, when the Washington Post reported that the Special Counsel was investigating the President for obstruction of justice, the President was facing what he had wanted to avoid: a criminal investigation into his own conduct that was the subject of widespread media attention. The evidence indicates that news of the obstruction investigation prompted the President to call McGahn and seek to have the Special Counsel removed. By mid-June, the Department of Justice had already cleared the Special Counsel's service and the President's advisors had told him that the claimed conflicts of interest were "silly" and did not provide a basis to remove the Special Counsel. On June 13, 2017, the Acting Attorney General testified before Congress that no good cause for removing the Special Counsel existed, and the President dictated a press statement to Sanders saying he had no intention of firing the Special Counsel. But the next day, the media reported that the President was under investigation for obstruction of justice and the Special Counsel was interviewing witnesses about events related to possible obstruction-spurring the President to write critical tweets about the Special Counsel's investigation. The President called McGahn at home that night and then called him on Saturday from Camp David. The evidence accordingly indicates that news that an obstruction investigation had been opened is what led the President to call McGahn to have the Special Counsel terminated.

There also is evidence that the President knew that he should not have made those calls to McGahn. The President made the calls to McGahn after McGahn had specifically told the President that the White House Counsel's Office-and McGahn himself-could not be involved in pressing conflicts claims and that the President should consult with his personal counsel if he wished to raise conflicts. Instead of relying on his personal counsel to submit the conflicts claims, the President sought to use his official powers to remove the Special Counsel. And after the media reported on the President's actions, he denied that he ever ordered McGahn to have the Special Counsel terminated and made repeated efforts to have McGahn deny the story, as discussed in Volume II, Section II.I, infra. Those denials are contrary to the evidence and suggest the President's awareness that the direction to McGahn could be seen as improper (Vol II, pg 89).
Trump lied about ordering McGahn to terminate the Special Counsel and then ordered McGahn to lie on his behalf in order to cover it up - all contrary to the evidence.

Didja miss that part, Keith?

Burris then goes into how, while Mueller clearly stated that his report is not an "exoneration" that somehow it is exactly that - an exoneration, simply because The Special Counsel didn't bring charges.

However, Mueller was limited by a DOJ policy. As he stated publicly:
The Department’s written opinion explaining the policy against charging a President makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report. And I will describe two of them:

First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting President because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents are available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could now be charged.

And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.
So Keith, it's not as if there's no evidence. It's just that Mueller felt that he wasn't the guy to bring charges as "the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing."

And who would that be, Keith? Have you looked at the Constitution, Keith? He's talking about The Congress, Keith. Precisely the folks you say should not be impeaching.

Did you do any research for this editorial, Keith?

Any?

June 1, 2019

And Now A Word From Republicans For The Rule of Law

Yes, that's an actual group:
Republicans for the Rule of Law is a group of life-long Republicans dedicated to defending the institutions of our republic and upholding the rule of law. We are fighting to make sure that the laws apply equally to everyone, from the average citizen to the president of the United States. We believe in fidelity to the Constitution, transparency, and the independence of prosecutors from politics.
They released this video recently:


The video ends with this call to Republicans:
Now is the time to put your principles first. It's not a time to sit silent.
Senator Toomey?