Miranda Blue's blog

Jeff Sessions: My Immigration Position Is the 'Biblical' One

Speaking today at the Road to Majority conference, an annual event hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a fierce immigration opponent in Congress who helped craft Donald Trump’s immigration policy, referred to a handful of Bible stories to declare that immigration reform advocates’ position, which he characterized as that nations can’t “establish who can and can’t enter,” is “not biblical.”

Sessions spoke of the biblical figure of Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls in Jerusalem after obtaining traveling papers from the king of Persia, and referred to another story, which although Sessions seems to have gotten the details mixed up, seems to be the tale of the Israelites being barred by the king of Edom from crossing his land.

“So the idea that nations don’t set laws, establish who can and can’t enter, is not biblical in my opinion. Nations do that and they’ve done it since time immemorial and there’s nothing wrong with it,” he said.

 

Pat Buchanan: Trump Just Saying 'What He Believes To Be True' About Mexican-American Judge

Pat Buchanan, who wrote a column earlier this week decrying the “lynching” of Donald Trump over his racist remarks about a federal judge, discussed the issue further in an interview yesterday with talk radio host Mike Gallagher.

Gallagher asked Buchanan if he found “any merit” in criticism of Trump for saying that the judge hearing a fraud suit against his Trump University is biased because he’s Mexican-American.

“I really don’t,” Buchanan said. “I mean, I can I understand why they would say that Donald Trump shouldn’t have suggested that it’s because he’s a Mexican-American that he’s biased against him, but I think that’s Trump’s point.”

“Look, let me just say this,” he said. “Donald has a perfect reason to believe he might be having this thing stuck to him right in the middle of a campaign, this guy dropping all these documents, etc. Secondly, and it might well be because the judge is a Mexican-American that he really does not like Donald Trump. There’s an awful lot of Mexican-Americans and, indeed, former presidents of Mexico who have said that they can’t stand the guy. But the basic point is, if Trump believes this, and it may be true, what is he supposed to do if he said what he believes to be true and now everybody wants him to apologize for a statement he believes to be true?”

Buchanan made a similar argument in his column today, adding that because “Hispanic rioters” have protested outside Trump rallies, Trump is right to be suspicious of a Mexican American judge.

He also favorably compared Trump’s stand against “political correctness” to Barry Goldwater’s refusal to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

Assume, as we must, that Trump believes what he said.

Why, then, should he apologize for speaking the truth, as he sees it?

To do so would be to submit to extortion, to recant, to confess to a sin he does not believe he committed. It would be to capitulate to pressure, to tell a lie to stop the beating, to grovel before the Inquisition of Political Correctness.

Contrast Trump with Paul Ryan, who has buckled pathetically.

The speaker says Trump's remark about Judge Gonzalo Curiel being hostile to him, probably because the judge is Mexican-American, is the "textbook definition of a racist comment."

But Ryan's remark raises fewer questions about Trump's beliefs than it does about the depth of Ryan's mind.

We have seen a former president of Mexico curse Trump. We have heard Mexican-American journalists and politicians savage him. We have watched Hispanic rioters burn the American flag and flaunt the Mexican flag outside Trump rallies.

We are told Trump "provoked" these folks, to such a degree they are not entirely to blame for their actions.

Yet the simple suggestion that a Mexican-American judge might also be affected is "the textbook definition of a racist comment"?

The most depressing aspect of this episode is to witness the Republican Party in full panic, trashing Trump to mollify the media who detest them.

To see how far the party has come, consider:

After he had locked up his nomination, Barry Goldwater rose on the floor of the Senate in June of 1964 and voted "No" on the Civil Rights Act. The senator believed that the federal government was usurping the power of the states. He could not countenance this, no matter how noble the cause.

Say what you will about him, Barry Goldwater would never be found among this cut-and-run crowd that is deserting Trump to appease an angry elite.

These Republicans seem to believe that, if or when Trump goes down, this whole unfortunate affair will be over, and they can go back to business as usual.

Sorry, but there is no going back.

The nationalist resistance to the invasion across our Southern border and the will to preserve the unique character of America are surging, and they have their counterparts all across Europe. People sense that the fate and future of the West are in the balance.

Larry Pratt: Gun Owners Keeping Hillary Clinton From Imposing Tyranny

Larry Pratt, the former executive director of Gun Owners of America, added Hillary Clinton this week to the list of public officials who he has warned will face violence from gun owners if they impose regulations on guns.

Pratt, who said last month that if conservatives lose at the “ballot box” they might “have to resort to the bullet box,” said in an interview on the “Crosstalk” radio program on Tuesday that Clinton’s support for some gun regulations may be an attempt to disarm civilians so that she can impose tyranny.

The Second Amendment means, he told Clinton, that “if you even try to go off in a tyrannical direction, the Constitution protects the people’s right to protect the people themselves against people like you.”

What she’s telling me is that she may understand the meaning of the Second Amendment, which is even scarier, because the Second Amendment is meant to tell people like her that might be thinking about going off in a tyrannical direction: ‘Don’t even think about it.’ Because the Second Amendment has recognized the right people have to possess the kind of firearms that your protectors have, Mrs. Clinton, and if you even think, if you even try to go off in a tyrannical direction, the Constitution protects the people’s right to protect the people themselves against people like you.

Pratt has made similar comments about other public officials including President ObamaRep. Carolyn Maloney and Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

House GOPer: Investigate Planned Parenthood Just Because They Provide Abortions

Rep. Dianne Black, R-Tenn., spoke today at the Family Research Council about her work on the House’s “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives” that House Republicans convened in response to the Center for Medical Progress’ smear of Planned Parenthood but that has a broad mandate to investigate basically anything involving abortion providers.

In her opening remarks, Black acknowledged that she saw the panel as an extension of her efforts to “go after” Planned Parenthood that began even before the Center for Medical Progress released its videos that claimed, falsely, that the women’s health organization illegally profits from the small amount of fetal tissue it donates to medical research. In fact, she said, the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortion is evidence enough that “we must expose them.”

“Even before last summer’s videos were exposing Planned Parenthood and their role in the trafficking of aborted baby body parts,” she said, “their own annual report told us in black and white why we must expose them and go after what they stood for: They’re the largest abortion provider in this nation. They perform more than 320,000 abortions annually while they receive over $500 million of taxpayer dollars to perform these abortions.” (This last figure is incorrect: Planned Parenthood is barred by federal law from using taxpayer funding on abortions except in very limited cases.)

Black recalled how the very first law she introduced in Congress was a 2011 measure to cut funding from Planned Parenthood in a short-term spending bill but that her project met with “tepid” reception on Capitol Hill until David Daleiden’s videos provided an “opportunity” to further that goal.

Earlier this year, President Obama vetoed legislation that would have cut all federal funds from Planned Parenthood, which Black said means “if we had a willing partner in the White House, this is possible, so we cannot give up.”

She said that the select panel was designed as an alternative to this legislation: “We wanted to focus, since this didn’t become law, on the first steps that we can take to hold the abortion industry accountable that don’t require the signature of a president. And that was the genesis, really, of the [committee.]”

Remarkably, after explicitly saying that the panel grew out of her years-long fight against Planned Parenthood, Black said that the panel is not actually meant to target Planned Parenthood.

“They’ve called us a witch hunt against Planned Parenthood, though Planned Parenthood is never named anywhere in the resolution that authorizes the panel’s formation and was not called to testify at either one of our two public hearings that we have head to this point,” she said.

Later in the speech, when asked by an audience member what medical providers can do to help prevent abortion, Black responded that doctors should “help to educate young women with prevention first, using healthy practices to prevent pregnancies before they’re ready for that family” — which is, incidentally, the exact kind of medical care that much of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding goes toward.

Black’s full presentation is here:

James Dobson: Trans-Inclusive Bathroom Policies Violate Levitical Prohibition On Prostituting Your Daughter

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson invited Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porters on to his “Family Talk” radio program this week to discuss transgender-inclusive facilities policies in schools and stores like Target, which Dobson said violate the Levitical prohibition against selling your daughter into prostitution.

“Let me share a Scripture with you all that I came across that speaks to this issue,” he said. “It’s addressed directly to parents, I think. It’s Leviticus 19:29. Listen to this: ‘Do not degrade your daughters by making them a prostitute or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.’ That comes right to the heart of this. It sort of feels like that’s where we are. We’re taking our little, vulnerable kids and we’re saying in the name of political correctness, ‘Here are our children. Do with them what you want.’ And I’m here to say that I’m going to fight that as long as I have breath in my body.”

He added that he was worried not only about children but also about his wife, Shirley, “being in a bathroom where some grungy guy comes in there and zips down the zipper and does things that she will remember the rest of her life.”

“I mean, where is manhood that we don’t stand up and defend our own families?” he asked. “And I think that we’re going to be responsible before the Lord if we don’t do it.”

Porter heartily agreed, saying that while some are staying out of the issue because they’re “afraid of being called a mean name,” it’s time for “men of courage” to “stand and fight.”

Dobson’s cohost, Meg Meeker, chimed in to say, “Woe to us who do not intervene on behalf of our kids, that’s all I can say.”

“They’re sitting ducks,” said Dobson.

Porter then invoked another Bible verse, the passage in Luke where Jesus tells his disciples that "it would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

“You know, the Bible says it’s better to have a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble,” she said. “And I think … that this applies not just to those in the schools that are doing this, those in the White House and the Target corporation, but I think it applies to parents. Because if you don’t vigilantly watch what they’re teaching your children, if you don’t stand now, school administrators, if you don’t stand now and fight this, then this verse, I believe, applies to you. Because these children are being led astray, they’re being harmed, they’re being violated and the only thing that can protect them is for those adults in authority to stand now and fight.”

Grassley Revives 'Wise Latina' Canard To Defend Trump's Racism

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has taken the lead in the Senate GOP’s effort to block Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination in the hope that a President Donald Trump will be the one to name the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement.

Grassley’s blockade became even more problematic this week when Trump launched a racist assault against a federal judge who is hearing a fraud case involving his Trump University. Trump claimed that the judge, who was born in Indiana to parents who emigrated from Mexico, had an “inherent conflict of interest” in the case because he is “Mexican” and Trump is “building a wall.” The presumptive GOP presidential nominee later acknowledged that using the same logic, it was “possible” that a Muslim judge should also be disqualified from hearing a case involving him.

Trump’s comments drew widespread condemnation, including from some of his fellow Republicans, but Grassley, apparently, didn’t see the problem. In a conference call with Iowa reporters today, Grassley equated Trump’s comments with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s famous “wise Latina” remark that became a right-wing flashpoint during her 2009 confirmation hearings:

“I think that you don’t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that — when she was found saying in speeches that, quote, ‘A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,’” he said. “I don’t hear any criticism of that sort of comment by a justice of the Supreme Court.”

Grassley didn’t pull this comparison out of thin air: The same comparison has been popping up all over the right-wing media.

It’s a flashback to 2009, when conservatives latched on to a speech Sotomayor had given in 2001 in which she disagreed with the idea that a judge isn’t influenced by his or her personal background:

Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. … I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, … there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

What Sotomayor’s critics often chose to ignore was that she went on to say that while a judge’s personal experience can’t help but influence how they see the world, a good judge tries to look beyond the myopia of personal experience to understand the lives of others:

I … believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. … [Nine] white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

Sotomayor later clarified in the face of right-wing criticism: “I want to state upfront, unequivocally and without doubt: I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging. I do believe every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experience."

It shouldn’t be surprising that Grassley and some of his allies on the Right are reviving the “wise Latina” attack on Sotomayor as they attempt to defend Trump. In fact, Trump’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel are not that different from how the Right attacked Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings, claiming that simply because she had spoken proudly of her Latina heritage and acknowledged that a person’s background can shape how they see the world she would be driven by “identity politics” rather than the law.

Some claimed explicitly, and many others implicitly, that Sotomayor, who had graduated from Princeton and Yale and had served for many years as a federal judge, was not as qualified as a white judge with a similar record. Pat Buchanan, who is now an enthusiastic cheerleader for Trump, was one of those who made the claim explicitly when he wrote that white Americans “pay the price of affirmative action when their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors.”

We wrote in a report after her confirmation:

Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remarks were taken out of context to imply that she was some kind of ethnic supremacist, and her ruling in the Ricci affirmative action case was wildly distorted to suggest that she was a judicial activist who lived to use the law as a club against white men. Pundits like Rush Limbaugh and elected officials like Tom Tancredo called her a racist. Pat Buchanan charged her with having a “race-based” approach to justice and having demonstrated “a lifelong resolve to discriminate against white males.”

On the first day of Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, columnist Eugene Robinson observed:

Republicans' outrage, both real and feigned, at Sotomayor's musings about how her identity as a "wise Latina" might affect her judicial decisions is based on a flawed assumption: that whiteness and maleness are not themselves facets of a distinct identity. Being white and male is seen instead as a neutral condition, the natural order of things. Any "identity" — black, brown, female, gay, whatever —has to be judged against this supposedly "objective" standard.


Thus it is irrelevant if Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. talks about the impact of his background as the son of Italian immigrants on his rulings — as he did at his confirmation hearings — but unforgivable for Sotomayor to mention that her Puerto Rican family history might be relevant to her work.

This seems to be the attitude of the Trump campaign, whose top operative has said that picking a woman or person of color as a vice presidential nominee would amount to “pandering” and whose list of potential Supreme Court picks were all white and mostly men. According to Trump, it seems, only white men can be unbiased and qualified. And Grassley seems to think that’s just fine.

Stephen Moore: Climate Change 'One Of the Greatest Propaganda Campaigns In World History'

Stephen Moore, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation who was formerly the conservative organization’s chief economist, told radio host Janet Mefferd last week that the “dingbat” idea of climate change is “one of the greatest propaganda campaigns in world history.”

He told Mefferd:

… I have to tip my hat to the left, this has been one of the greatest propaganda campaigns in world history that the left has pulled off. I mean, they’ve taken this dingbat idea of global climate change and they’ve put it in the schools, they’ve put it in the movies, they’ve put it in the media and the churches — you know, I’m Catholic, even the pope talks about climate change. So it’s very alarming how this propaganda campaign, that they made this stuff out of, almost completely out of thin air and they’ve convinced millions and millions of thought leaders that this stuff is real.

Moore added that the idea of climate change is “very Stalinistic” and is “a religion,” adding, “They’d put me in jail if they could.”

Moore, unsurprisingly, is advising Donald Trump, who thinks climate change is a hoax “created by and for the Chinese,” on economic policy.

Former Tea Party Darling Defeated As Anti-Choice & Tea Party Groups Turn Against Her

Back in 2010, after the Tea Party sweep helped Republicans regain control of the House, we profiled the “10 scariest Republicans heading to Congress,” most of them Tea Party crusaders. One of these was Renee Ellmers, a former nurse who based her campaign on opposing the Affordable Care Act and ran a campaign ad calling an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan a “victory mosque” built in celebration of 9/11.

Ellmers credited her start in politics to Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch-backed group that rallied opposition to Obamacare, and won the support of anti-choice groups including the Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America.

Then things changed. Yesterday, Ellmers lost a Republican primary in part thanks to redistricting that pitted her against another GOP incumbent and in part due to the $1.1 million that her former conservative allies spent to defeat her.

AFP spent six figures on ads opposing Ellmers and dropped in dozens of field workers to knock on doors in her district, condemning her for straying from the Tea Party line and working with GOP leadership to support compromise spending bills and the Export-Import Bank. Other conservatives were troubled by her bucking of hardliners on a few immigration votes.

But what was the most stunning was Ellmers’ fall from grace in the anti-abortion movement. Ellmersopposes abortion rights and has a 100 percent rating on the National Right to Life Committee’s congressional scorecard. But she angered her former anti-choice allies last year when she led a group of Republican women and some moderates who derailed a planned vote on a 20-week abortion ban — the anti-choice movement’s premier legislation — when, at the last minute, they expressed concerns about a provision that would have exempted rape survivors only if they reported the crime to the police. The bill was later reintroduced with modified language, but the anti-choice movement had lost its chance to hold a vote on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as activists flooded Washington for the March for Life.

National Right to Life sent an email to its members last week calling Ellmers a “pro-life traitor” and boasting of its efforts to defeat her in the primary. “Nothing has the potential to do more damage to pro-life efforts than people who run as pro-life candidates back home in their pro-life districts and then stab the babies in the back when they come to DC and work against pro-life efforts,” the group wrote.

In an interview with the conservative website The Pulse last week, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, citing her group’s early support of Ellmers, said, “Well, we brought her into the political process, and we intend to take her out.” She acknowledged that Ellmers has “a 100 percent record” on her group’s issues, but her sabotage of the 20-week bill “totally trumped every single thing else that we were looking for in a candidate.”

While Tea Party funders were angered by Ellmers’ cozying up to her party’s leadership and anti-choice groups were angered by her derailing of an important symbolic vote (even though she agreed with the substance of that vote), Ellmers hardly became a moderate. After all, she was the first congressional candidate to earn an endorsement from Donald Trump, thanks to her early support for his presidential candidacy.

Yesterday, in a bizarre ending to a strange tale of shifting Republican allegiances, Ellmers, maybe feeling that she had nothing left to lose, told a North Carolina Republican activist who had abandoned her to support one of her primary rivals that she had gained weight, all in front of rolling news cameras:

Pat Robertson: Marriage Equality Makes It Harder To Fight 'Radical Islam And The Other Forces Of Secularism'

In August of last year, shortly after the Supreme Court handed down the landmark Obergefell marriage equality ruling, televangelist Pat Robertson discussed the ruling with Steve Strang, the founder of the Pentecostal magazine Charisma, on his podcast.

Robertson warned that “the homosexuals don’t want equality, they don’t want equal treatment, what they want is to destroy everybody who disagrees with them.” He predicted that there will be “a vendetta” against “any organization that disagrees with homosexuality,” saying that “what was done to Bob Jones University, that’s just a warm-up of what’s going to happen unless there’s something dramatic that takes place.” (Bob Jones University lost its tax exempt status in the 1980s because of its rules barring interracial dating.)

Robertson told Strang that with rulings like Obergefell, the Supreme Court has broken down America’s defenses against “radical Islam and the other forces of secularism trying to destroy us”:

The Supreme Court, to think that we’ve got five men and women, five unelected people who are controlling of the moral destiny of this nation and they’re stripping us of the defenses that we have to have against radical Islam and the other forces of secularism trying to destroy us. The Supreme Court is making it more and more difficult to assert these foundational values.

Diamond & Silk: Trump Facing Mexican-American Judge Like Black Defendant Facing All-White Jury

Diamond & Silk, the YouTube duo who have become outspoken Donald Trump supporters and have spoken at a number of his campaign events, defended Trump’s criticism of the judge hearing a fraud case against Trump University yesterday, saying that Trump appearing before a Mexican-American judge is just like a black defendant facing an all-white jury.

“Well, first of all, you know the judge is biased,” Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway told Newsmax’s J.D. Hayworth. “You know, he’s Mexican, he’s of Mexican descent, or his heritage is Mexican. And here’s the deal. It’s just like when you walk into a courtroom [as a] defendant and the jury is all white or vice versa, or when a defense team is defending a black client with an all-white jury.”

Avid Donald Trump fan Ann Coulter made a similar argument on Twitter last week:

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