Slavery in the United States? This year?

By whom? Dateline Knoxville, TN:

“Two local ministers face felony charges for seeking sex with underage girls during an undercover sting targeting human trafficking and prostitution this week, authorities said Friday.”

Jason Evan Kennedy, 46, head of the children’s ministry at Grace Baptist Church of Knoxville, was one of two men charged with felony human trafficking and patronizing prostitution after they answered online advertisements specifically offering sex with an underage girl, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced during a news conference.

Also charged with felony trafficking is Zubin Percy Parakh, 32, of Oak Ridge, who serves as creative pastor with Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge, according to the church’s website.

Ministers. Earlier it was the priesthood in the Catholic Church. Somehow none of the 30 people arrested in this seem to have been transgendered, but don’t worry — these ministers’ cohorts and their bishops and deacons and friends will keep trying to tell you the pedophiles are gays and trans people, not the straight authority figures that this sting caught.

Requiem

If this isn’t the end for the Republican Party, it’ll be a shame. They dominated American political life for 50 years and were never anything but monsters. They bred in their voters the incredible attitude that Republicans were the only people within our borders who raised children, loved their country, died in battle or paid taxes. They even sullied the word “American” by insisting they were the only real ones. They preferred Lubbock to Paris, and their idea of an intellectual was Newt Gingrich. Their leaders, from Ralph Reed to Bill Frist to Tom DeLay to Rick Santorum to Romney and Ryan, were an interminable assembly line of shrieking, witch-hunting celibates, all with the same haircut – the kind of people who thought Iran-Contra was nothing, but would grind the affairs of state to a halt over a blow job or Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube.

That’s Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone.

If you’re a Democrat, read it and enjoy it. There’s plenty more where that came from. I think we’re entitled to a little schadenfreude, or at least some wishful thinking.

But then stop. Don’t get complacent. Taibbi has some words for the corporate part of the Democratic Party as well.

Miscellany

Trump lies. Is it compulsive?

Bernie disappoints.

Kentucky, Oregon split for Clinton, Sanders.

70 dead in Baghdad bombing.

First openly-gay person confirmed to job as Secretary of the Army. Why now? Because that nice Senator Pat Roberts dropped his “hold” on the nomination after blackmailing the Administration into promising it wouldn’t move any Guantanamo prisoners to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, the state Roberts serves so admirably.

John McCain (it’s always good news for John McCain!) re-election bid in trouble? Primary challengers and a reasonably strong Democratic candidate for the general say yes.

Leave VA Health Care Alone!

Please pass this article along to any vets you know. It’s infuriating that the privatizers in the Republican party and its supporters (Spit! Kochs!) want to undermine one of the best health systems in this country and they want to do so in the name of their putrid ideology. They may try to dress up their motives in mealy-mouthed “Our veterans deserve better than this” talk, but they really just hate the thought of government-provided services, be it health care or anything else.

I can speak as a vet and say that I’ve had excellent care from the local VA clinic. I’ve been referred to and treated by the major military hospital here in a very timely manner when more care than the clinic could offer was required. I’ve had to wait a few weeks for an appointment, but no more than anyone needs to wait to get an appointment in the private health care “system.” When I had a more urgent need recently I was able to talk to a nurse immediately and was inserted into my doc’s schedule the next day.

I’ve also been referred to an outside doctor through the new VA Choice program. I have a feeling I was a guinea pig, used by my doctor to see how it would work. I had no complaints (I had the recent colonoscopy that way), but I didn’t understand then and don’t understand now why I couldn’t have been sent up the hill to Tripler, where I’d previously had two cancer surgeries through the VA.

Don’t let anyone tell you the VA Health Care system is broken. It isn’t. It has its glitches and flaws as does any large organization, but it works and nearly all of us who use it are happy with it. The Kochs and their allies will trot out people who claim to be vets who’ll whine about how badly they were treated by the VA; be very skeptical.

Harsh, but…

Over at the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog D.B. Tucker has some harsh words for those people who say “they can’t vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump; they’re both equally awful.”

I wouldn’t call those folks “miserable figures” as he does, but I would question their judgment. I remember being astonished at Ralph Nader’s complaint that there was no difference between the Democrats and Republicans in 2000. I looked at Al Gore and saw a highly-competent politician with a lot of brainpower. I looked at George W. Bush and saw a guy who had skated through most of his business career on the backs of his father and his father’s friends and one whose economic and tax plans were the same warmed-over “coddle the rich” ideas that his party always proposed.

The idea that Hillary Clinton, a former Senator, former Secretary of State and former advocate for health care and for children can’t be distinguished from a serial womanizer and serial debt-defaulter whose speech is full of vulgarity and whose only known skills are as a marketer of his name on real estate properties, a man who has never held public office or shown any interest in or knowledge of public service is preposterous. Anyone who says otherwise is making excuses for him or herself.

War on WaPo?

Donald Trump, Republican Party nominee for President of the United States, threatened the owner of the Washington Post newspaper with retaliation for the paper’s publication of articles critical of Trump.

Aside from the obvious First Amendment protections the press is guaranteed which Mr. Trump seems to know nothing about, there’s also the minor problem that most of the things he accused the paper’s owner of doing while wearing his other hat as chairman of Amazon.com he’s gotten entirely wrong. No one should be surprised that Trump is mistaken about anything; he’s gotten away with being incorrect his entire campaign.

I don’t want to excerpt from the Vox article because I’d have to quote so much I’d violate Fair Use doctrine. Go over there and read for yourself. Suffice to say Trump is talking through his hairpiece. Again.