Brian Tashman's blog

Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee And The GOP's Phony Populism

Although former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has built a career on a folksy brand of Christian conservatism, it wasn’t all that surprising that he was quick to get behind the presidential candidacy of thrice-married New York billionaire Donald Trump.

While many Religious Right leaders have expressed concerns about Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican Party, Huckabee was quick to embrace his former presidential rival, particularly after Trump vanquished Ted Cruz, whom Huckabee had repeatedly attacked as a phony Christian.

Despite appearances, Huckabee and Trump have plenty in common.

Like Trump, Huckabee is a huckster. And it couldn’t have hurt that the presumptive GOP nominee hired Huckabee’s daughter on his campaign staff.

The two also have a similar pitch to voters. While both claim that they are standing up for the working man against a corporate, ultra-wealthy elite, both of their main economic proposals include deep tax cuts for the super-rich.

Huckabee told the Guardian today that before Trump’s rise, the GOP was on the verge of becoming “a wholly owned subsidiary of the financial community and globalists/neocons,” when the party really needed “to refocus on the American worker, the American infrastructure and rebuilding America.”

“They have created favors for the donor class at the expense of the working class,” he said.

Huckabee, however, has for years promoted an extremely regressive “Fair Tax” proposal to replace the progressive income tax with a national sales tax.

Former Reagan administration adviser Bruce Bartlett has said that under Huckabee’s proposal, “there would be an enormous shift in the tax burden from the wealthy to those with lower and middle incomes.”

Richard Phillips, senior policy analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice, wrote last year:

A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that under the 'Fair Tax,' the top 1 percent of taxpayers would receive an average annual tax cut of $225,000. Meanwhile, the plan would increase taxes by about $3,200 on average on the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers. In other words, Huckabee’s tax plan would significantly increase taxes on the overwhelming majority of Americans to pay for huge tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.

Since “very high-income households spend only a fraction of their income, while low- and middle-income people spend all or most of what they make,” wrote Leonard E. Burman of the Tax Policy Center, under Huckabee’s plan, “tax burdens on middle-income households would surely rise while high-income families would get a big tax cut.”

Despite such a radical proposal, Huckabee still markets himself as the defender of the working class against the wealthy elite, even as he promises to raise taxes on the working class and deliver a massive tax cut the rich.

Trump is no different.

Trump claims that he wants to raise taxes on the rich, when in fact his tax plan does the exact opposite.

Under Trump’s massive $12 trillion tax plan, “the top 1 percent of Americans will receive an average tax break of $227,000 per year while the bottom 20 percent will receive an average tax cut of only $250,” according to Citizens for Tax Justice, which found that “the majority of Trump’s tax cut would go to the top five percent of taxpayers.”

But the biggest winners of Trump’s tax cut won’t be the top five percent. They won’t even be the top one percent.

“[T]he benefits would be overwhelmingly skewed to the highest-income taxpayers, with those in the top 0.1 percent (who make $3.7 million or more) getting an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million,” says Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center.



The supposedly populist candidate also promises to pay off the entire $19 trillion national debt in just eight years — “very easy” — but one estimate found that his huge tax cut for the rich alone will grow the debt by almost 80 percent.

Just fulfilling his pledge to balance the budget would be mathematically impossible under the proposal he has laid out to do so.

Trump also boasts that he is boycotting Apple, Ford and Nabisco for building factories outside of the U.S., often bragging that he will never eat an Oreo ever again. And yet Trump has personally invested in all of those companies.

Huckabee and Trump, nonetheless, continue to claim the “populist” mantle. 

It may be their greatest swindle yet.

Donald Trump Wants Justice Who Repeatedly Mocked Him On The Supreme Court

In an apparent attempt to stave off conservative fears that he may not appoint an ultraconservative jurist to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump released a list today of 11 people he said he would consider naming to the court.

But Trump may have wanted to vet the list before releasing it.

One of the potential Supreme Court nominees Trump mentions, Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court, has relentlessly taunted Trump on his Twitter page, where he has said he cried at the prospect of Trump picking Supreme Court justices, mocked the candidate’s policies and statements and even joked that the GOP presidential candidate may be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in disguise.

Sandy Rios: Possible Lesbian Hillary Clinton 'Embraces Every Sexual Deviancy You Can Imagine'

After spending months promoting the presidential candidacy of Ted Cruz, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios appears to be finally ready to get behind Donald Trump, telling listeners on her radio program today that they must unite to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.

“Hillary Clinton embraces every sexual deviancy you can imagine,” she said, before once again suggesting that the former secretary of state is a lesbian because “there have been more than rumors swirling about her own sexual proclivities since before she became first lady.”

“She’s an advocate of gay marriage, and I mean a strong advocate,” she said. “She’s been endorsed by every radical homosexual activist group in the country, all the major ones, Human Rights Campaign and others, especially in New York. She gets that endorsement for a reason, you know, she gets it for a reason.”

Rios went on to praise Trump for coming out against marriage equality, claiming that it was a “gutsy” thing to do for someone who lives in New York.

Rick Wiles: Obama And Satan Will 'Rape Your Children'

“Trunews” host Rick Wiles lit into the Obama administration (or, as he calls it, “the command center of the Obama homosexual revolution”) on Monday over its letter on facility access for transgender students in public schools.

Wiles predicted that most parents and school officials will “cave” and “sacrifice their children at the altar of sexual perversion,” while those who protest will be “beaten in the streets with batons” and “hosed down with firehoses.”

“I’m going to tell you where I think we’re going: civil war,” he said. “I believe this is the opening shot from Obama for civil war.”

He added: “I’m not calling for violence. I’m calling for massive civil disobedience. Shut down the system. My God, what do we have to do? They’re coming after your innocent children! Just when do you get off of your fat rear end and do something? I’m so sick and tired of these cowards in the churches. Lazy, worthless cowards! They’re coming for your children! They’re coming right into your schools to pervert your children!”

This led Wiles to go on a birther-tinged rant about how President Obama (and Satan) intend to “rape your children”:

We’re living in a funhouse. In a house of horrors. The president — the fake president, he’s a fake president, he’s not a legitimate American president, he’s a fake and he’s been allowed to do these wicked things for eight years because there’s been no resistance to him, and now he’s going for it, he’s got the pedal to the metal. He’s coming into the schools to rape your children. Let’s be honest about it. Satan wants to rape your children. I’m telling you, there’s going to be confrontation in the country. There will be a group of people who just say, 'This is it, I’m done, at this point, we resist and we’re pushing back.'

The End Times broadcaster said that Americans should take a page from our colonial ancestors and rise up and “abolish the federal government, completely abolish it and to start over.”

Wiles said that parents who don’t withdraw their children from public schools are jeopardizing their salvation and don’t truly love them: “You are abusing your child by forcing that little child to go to a school that is that perverse and wicked. That argument ended decades ago. There is no justification as of today to have a Christian child in a public school. Satan is in the school system now. The federal government took God out decades ago; Satan is now inside the school system.”

God, according to Wiles, is now preparing to judge America … possibly through nuclear destruction.

“An economic crash in America is the best thing that could happen in this country,” he said, “it is the best thing that could happen right now short of nuclear war. An economic crash would be God’s mercy to us, giving us a chance to throw off this wickedness because that would be the last stage before a nuclear war that burns this filth off the face of the earth.”

'Donald J. Trump Will Be Ushered Into The White House' By 'The Hand Of The Almighty'

Zack Drew, the co-host of “The Jim Bakker Show,” hosts his own program called “Revelation In The News,” where this week he read a prophecy from 2011 in which God told a man named Mark Taylor about His plans to bring Donald Trump into the White House.

Taylor has told far-right radio host Rick Wiles that God will sicken and even kill people who may get in the way of Trump’s presidential bid. Trump seriously considered running for president in the 2012 election cycle, when Taylor claims that God spoke to him about the prophecy.

While Drew and his co-hosts didn’t necessarily accept the prophecy, they found it quite compelling. But Taylor’s prophecy, as read by Drew, included a message that wasn’t, well, exactly accurate: “The spirit of God says that in this next election, they will spend billions to keep this president in. It will be like flushing their money down the toilet. Let them waste their money for it comes from and it is being used by evil forces at work, but they will not succeed, for this next election will be a clean sweep for the man I have chosen.”

Obviously, Trump did not run for president in 2012, and President Obama was re-elected.

Far-Right Pundit: 'God Is Using Donald Trump' To 'Show The Political Sins Of This Country'

Last week, televangelist Jim Bakker chatted with survivalist Steve Quayle as part of an End-Times-themed program called “The Days of Noah are Almost Upon Us,” and asked Quayle why he believes Donald Trump has been so successful in the GOP presidential contest.

Quayle declared that God is using Trump to reveal the sins of America, and that the Bible may even speak about the business mogul when it mentions the word “trumpet.”

“I believe God is using Donald Trump, whether you like him or hate him, I believe God is using him to trumpet the nature of what America believes and, in essence, we believe a lie,” he said. “Trump’ [sic] is in two times in the New Testament, ‘the last trump [sic] of God.’ The thing that’s fascinating for me is that God has used him as a prosecuting attorney to show the political sins of this country.”

Connecting The Dots With Frank Gaffney

For years, we have been covering the attacks that anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney has been leveling against Grover Norquist, a fellow conservative activist who has referred to Gaffney as his “stalker.”

Indeed, Gaffney has launched a very personal battle against Norquist, accusing the Americans for Tax Reform leader of helping the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist terrorist groups infiltrate the conservative movement. These attacks, which often invoke the fact that Norquist is married to a Muslim-American woman, have been demonstrated to be completely unfounded.

Gaffney has recruited other conservative leaders into his fight, including commentator Glenn Beck and Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin, and was involved in a campaign to get Norquist thrown off the board of the National Rifle Association.

Gaffney claims that he “saw terrorists in [Norquist’s] office space” and uses guilt-by-association logic to tie Norquist to all sorts of unsavory figures through the anti-tax activists outreach to Muslim voters on behalf of conservative causes. Recently, Beck tweeted a scandalous photo of Norquist and his wife “palling around with Keith Ellison,” a Muslim Democratic congressman from Minnesota who, according to the Beck’s tweet, is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and wants to “put thousands of prison converts to jihad on the streets.” Naturally, as one source of this “information,” Beck cited Gaffney’s group, the Center for Security Policy.

However, the recall vote against Norquist failed, representing a major rebuke to Gaffney’s efforts.

“The recall was simply the most recent nonsense from Frank Gaffney—my stalker of the last 17 years. The NRA membership defeated his effort last April and again this year,” Norquist said.

Now that the NRA members have kept Norquist on its board and rejected the message from Gaffney and others, it is clear that Gaffney, using his own connect-the-dots/guilt-by-association logic, is involved in the Muslim Brotherhood:

  • Frank Gaffney was a senior adviser to Ted Cruz
  • Ted Cruz has spoken several times at NRA events and praised the group.
  • The NRA board includes Grover Norquist.
  • Norquist is, according to Gaffney, a Muslim Brotherhood agent.
  • Therefore, Gaffney is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood!

While obviously it is patently absurd to suggest that Gaffney (or Norquist, for that matter) is a Muslim Brotherhood agent, his connect-the-dots logic works both ways, and can even be used against Gaffney himself.

Alex Jones: 'Michelle Obama Is A Man' Who Murdered Joan Rivers To Cover It Up

InfoWars broadcaster and Donald Trump ally Alex Jones is back to claiming that First Lady Michelle Obama is secretly a transgender woman, but this time he’s adding a new twist to his conspiracy theory: that Obama had comedienne Joan Rivers killed after she joked about the first lady being trans.

Jones told his listeners yesterday that he’s seen enough videos on the internet to substantiate the rumor.

“The national media takes it when I talk about this and acts like I’m crazy,” he said. “Listen, there’s hundreds of millions views on YouTube.” (There are also millions of views on videos claiming that Obama and other leaders are shapeshifting reptilian humanoids, another conspiracy promoted by Jones.)

He went on to say that the first lady acts like she’s “god” and that the president wants schools to “teach five-year-olds how to be trannies.”

“Don’t forget,” Jones said, “the famous comedienne Joan Rivers said, ‘Of course everyone knows she’s a tranny.’ She’s dead serious, ‘She’s a man.’ Deader than a doornail in a routine operation where basically she had fire poured down her throat and was a fire-breathing goblin. Dead on arrival. Shoot your mouth off, honey, you will die.”

Jones didn’t stop there.

“I really think — her daughters don’t look like her — I really think this is some weird hoax they did again,” he said, “just like he didn’t get sworn in on the Bible, it was the Quran. All this weirdness, I mean, I used to laugh at this stuff, but man, it’s all about rubbing our noses in it. I think it’s all an arranged marriage, it’s all completely fake and it’s this big sick joke because he’s obsessed with transgender, just like some weird cult or something. I think Michelle Obama is a man. I really do. I really do. I believe it.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/16/16

  • Elliot Mincberg @ PFAW: Supreme Court Punts in Zubik Case – and Shows Again the Crucial Importance of a Fully-Staffed Supreme Court. 
  • Sara Jerde @ TPM: Ted Cruz Flirts With Running Again In Emotional Campaign Closer. 

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 5/16/16

  • Donald Trump once admitted to posing as his own spokesman, “John Miller,” but is now denying it. 
  • We hope Ben Carson is right and that Trump is seriously considering Sarah Palin to be his running mate. 
  • Arizona taxpayers “have already fronted more than $41 million in [a] class-action suit against” Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently held in civil contempt, and may need to contribute “$13 million more toward the legal costs in the racial profiling case against” him. 
  • David and Jason Benham lament that America is experiencing “total lawlessness and a meltdown of civil society.”
  • Chuck Norris says Harriet Tubman was not “some secular progressive or liberal Democrat waiting for her entitlements” but a symbol of “freedom from all forms of oppression and tyranny by the federal government, including the ginormous national debt that is suppressing future generations and us.”
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