C4

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/19/16

  • Paul Gordon @ PFAW: Senate Republicans, Exhausted From Not Doing Their Jobs, Take a 7-Week Vacation, the Longest in 60 Years. 
  • Adele Stan @ AlterNet: Dirty Trickster and Trump Adviser Roger Stone Speaks at Conspiracist 'America First' Rally at RNC. 
  • Sara Jerde @ TPM: Carson Takes Time At RNC To Share Thoughts On Transgender ‘Absurdity.’
  • Josh Feldman @ Mediaite: RNC Spox Invokes ‘Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony‘ to Dismiss Melania Plagiarism. 

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/19/16

  • There are conflicting reports on whether Fox News chairman Roger Ailes has been fired. 
  • Franklin Graham warns that “our country is beginning to implode” as we are “on the precipice of anarchy.” 
  • Jason Benham is thrilled with the GOP platform: “What God wants is for us to join his side, and when we looked at the Republican Party platform, you know it’s getting closer to being on God’s side.” 
  • Eric Metaxas hails Donald Trump: “I think he loves America and I don’t think he wants to line his own pockets.” 
  • Dan Popp, on the other hand, says that “we’ll know by the end of July whether God has finally abandoned us to our own devices. If it’s between Hillary and Trump, we’ll know that divine patience has run out.”

A Professional Obituary For Roger Ailes

Amid multiple accusations of sexual harassment, Roger Ailes is reportedly in talks to depart his position as chairman and CEO of Fox News. 

To those of us who observed Ailes from the outside, this comes as a shock, despite multiple reports that Rupert Murdoch and his sons wanted the network chief out. He was a skilled infighter who over the years had survived numerous internal fights against powerful foes in the News Corp/21st Century Fox universe.

Fox host Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment allegation brought about the end of his career. (It should be noted that accusations of sexual harassment have floated around Ailes for decades.)

The impact of this moment cannot be overstated. In 2010, at a meeting with progressive donors, I watched a very senior Democratic media consultant tell the audience, “Roger Ailes is a Republican operative with a news network. Give me $100 million and I can build the same thing.”

This was not true.

The operative underestimated the raw talent and ability Ailes brought to the task.

He didn't just create the behemoth of Fox News, running the network outside of Murdoch’s control. Ailes shaped the way we consumed cable news, sometimes at a granular level. The ubiquitous news crawl at the bottom of your television screen? That was a September 11, 2001, Fox News innovation.

Ponder this for a moment: What is the longest-running show on MSNBC?

Answer: Hardball.

It was Ailes who put the show and it’s host Chris Matthews on air when he ran America’s Talking, the precursor network to MSNBC.

In the early 1990s, Ailes built CNBC into the dominant business cable television network.

In the 1960s, Ailes rose from production assistant on the Mike Douglas Show to become its executive producer, as it bloomed from a local variety show to one of the most watched shows in America.

The Mike Douglas Show green room was where he met Richard Nixon and launched his political career.

It is this combination of talents that has led to the incredible power of Fox News and the damage Roger Ailes has wreaked on our country for nearly 50 years. His late friend Joe McGinniss, author of "Selling the President," a book about the 1968 campaign, said of Ailes in 2014: “From Richard Nixon to Rupert Murdoch, I think everyone he’s ever worked for has harmed this country in some way. I also think Fox News is an excrescence. And Roger knows that.”

Ailes’ most common tactic has been to use race as a weapon to divide the American people. In 1968 McGinniss himself quoted Ailes musing before a televised Nixon event, “You know what I’d like? As long as we’ve got this extra spot open. A good, mean, Wallaceite cab driver. Wouldn’t that be great? Some guy to sit there and say, ‘Alwright mac, what about these n**gers.’”

During George H.W. Bush’s 1988 campaign, he remarked to a reporter, “The only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it.”

And while denying he had anything to do with the infamous ad, Ailes’ testimony before the FECrevealed how he thinks about race and politics:

Q: Did the Bush committee have any policy about not using Mr. Horton's photograph?

A: I have no knowledge of that. I personally rejected the use of Mr. Horton in the advertisement.

Q: How is that?

A: A young researcher brought me a picture of him sometime and I tore it up and threw it in the wastebasket and said we’re not going to do that.

Q And why is that?

A: I knew the issue would backlash because of the liberal media.

Q: And what was that about?

A: When Republicans see Willie Horton they see a criminal, and when Democrats see Willie Horton they see a black.

Later, running Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign, he used similar tactics in an attempt to pit the black and Jewish communities of New York against each other.

During the Obama administration, Fox News never missed a chance to use minorities to scare its predominantly elderly, white audience. Bill O’Reilly mused openly on air that Rev. Jeremiah Write was Willie Horton “times a thousand.” As I’ve previously written, “That was the beginning of an almost endless list of divisive racial controversies stoked by Fox – Shirley Sherrod, the New Black Panther Party, and Glenn Beck’s statement that Obama was a racist. Each of these was designed specifically to scare white voters away from the President.”

Roger Ailes also represented the paranoid streak that infests the Right, from the Trump campaign to Glenn Beck. As I reported in the book I coauthored with David Brock, "The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned A Network Into A Propoganda Machine":

From the paranoid rants about the creeping threats of communism to odd comparisons between mainstream political leaders and Nazis, Glenn Beck gave voice to some of Ailes’s deepest fears about the Obama presidency. In October 2009, Obama adviser David Axelrod was interviewed during the First Draft of History conference, hosted by The Atlantic magazine. Addressing the polarization that was infecting political discourse, Axelrod mentioned a conversation he had once with a “significant figure on the right”—later revealed to be Roger Ailes—who tried to explain to him why conservatives were suspicious of the president.

Ailes told Axelrod he believed Obama wanted to form a national police force, based on a twenty-one-second clip from a speech where the president proposed a civilian force that would complement the military in providing humanitarian aid around the world. Axelrod quoted Ailes telling him, “You can understand why that has people very nervous. This has shades of Nazism.”

For the last three decades Roger Ailes has been a central force in our media. His departure from Fox News won’t change the network overnight, but the absence of Ailes will have an immeasurable impact, not just on Fox News but the entire media landscape.

Roger Ailes will go down in history as one of the most talented television producers ever, but his entire career has been an excrescence.

Roger Stone Wants To End 'Petulant Child' John Kasich's Political Career, Boot Mike Lee From GOP Caucus

Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone joined conservative talk show host Steve Malzberg on his show Monday to discuss Republicans who have held back from supporting Trump, calling Ohio Gov. John Kasich “a petulant child” for his refusal to back the presumptive GOP nominee and expressing his desire to “end [Kasich’s] political career.”

“[John Kasich] is the governor here of Ohio, the host state [of the Republican National Convention],” Stone said. “He is not coming to the convention. He pledged to support the nominee, he signed a pledge on national television. He is not honoring that pledge, so he’s acting like a petulant child, he’s acting like a sore loser, and as far as I’m concerned, this exempts him from any future role in the leadership of the Republican Party. In all honesty, I hope he runs again so I can go out there in the post-Trump presidency and end his political career. In all honesty, I think he’s acting like a misfit, and the people around him, you know, they’re losers and they should bow to the will of the voters.”

Stone also criticized Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and claimed that Lee will face competition in a Republican primary despite the fact that there will be no primary since Lee has already clinched the Republican nomination.
 
“Look, I think Sen. Lee has guaranteed himself both a Republican primary in his own reelection, and I guarantee you, Steve, a conservative challenger in the fall if he wins that primary,” Stone said. “He’s part of the old establishment, he obviously likes the status quo, he likes the way things are in America. He thinks maybe jobs are plentiful, maybe he thinks that ISIS isn’t really a threat or maybe he thinks that the current state of our trade situation where we’re being taken to the cleaners by the Japanese, by the Mexicans, by the Canadians, by all of our trade partners, perhaps he thinks that’s great. This guy’s a disgrace to the United States Senate. In all honesty, under the rules of the party, he should be booted from the U.S. Senate caucus.”

Colorado's Demon-Hunting State Legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt Loves Mike Pence

One person who is unambiguously thrilled with Donald Trump's choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate is Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, the demon-hunting Religious Right activist who is currently serving out the end of his term as Republican member of Colorado's state legislature.

Klingenschmitt's activist career is grounded in his claim that he was fired from a post as a military chaplain because he prayed "in Jesus' name." In reality his lost the job because he violated military rules in appearing at a political event in uniform. When Klingenschmitt sued, a federal judge found that he had never been ordered not to pray in the name of Jesus and that along with defying orders by appearing in an official capacity at the political event he had been found to have an "unsatisfactory" job performance.

But those facts didn't stop Klingenschmitt from sending out an email to his followers on Sunday recalling how Pence, when he was the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee in Congress, had met Klingenschmitt in a "divine appointment" in the halls of Congress and championed his cause.

Klingenschmitt credits Pence with spearheading a letter from a few dozen conservative members of Congress objecting to a Bush administration Pentagon policy that The Hill described at the time as calling for "nonsectarian prayers" after the emergence of "allegations that evangelical Christians wielded so much influence at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment had become pervasive."

Not surprisingly, Klingenschmitt was also a big fan of the RFRA bill that Pence signed in Indiana that was meant to enable anti-gay discrimination.

From Klingenschmitt's email:

If you remember my story, you know in 2005 the U.S. Navy punished my chapel sermons in writing, then wrote a policy that banned praying "in Jesus' name" which cost my career.

That year I walked the halls of Congress, meeting any Members who'd defend religious freedom for Chaplains.  Friends told me "go see Mike Pence" the Congressman from Indiana who was then chairman of the powerful Republican Study Committee, composed of the 70 most conservative Congressmen. 

So I went to Congressman Pence's office.  I had just missed him, but I glanced at his official photo to get a visual impression of his face, (something I never did otherwise), and a half-hour later I turned a hallway corner, and literally bumped into him.  It was a divine appointment.

"You're Mike Pence!"  I said, immediately recognizing his face from the photo.

"Yes I am!" he smiled.

He was very attentive, and although he was on the way to another meeting Congressman Pence said to me, "walk with me and tell me your story."  We walked and talked for 10 minutes together.

I told Pence how 65 Chaplains were suing the Navy, all denied promotion for praying and preaching "in Jesus' name."  I showed him documents how they punished me for quoting the Bible in chapel.

He looked me in the eye and said "OK, I get it.  I'm with you 100%." 

Pence kept his word.  The next week every member of his committee, all 70 members led by Mike Pence and Walter Jones, signed a letter to the President on my behalf, demanding he let Chaplains pray "in Jesus' name." 

One year later Congress ordered the Navy to reverse their bad prayer policy and we won.

I know from personal experience, Mike Pence is a Christian, Conservative, Republican, as he freely admits "in that order" and I've seen him stand up for chaplains' rights.

GOP's Record-Breaking SCOTUS Obstruction

GOP senators don't seem to care about the damage their record-breaking obstruction of Merrick Garland does to the country. But perhaps self-interest will move them.
PFAW

Asian Americans for Trump Rep: We're The Minority 'You Can Trust'

Monday’s “America First Unity Rally” sponsored by Alex Jones and Roger Stone included representatives from what Rep. Steve King might call subgroups, including Bikers for Trump, Christians for Trump and Asian-Americans for Trump.

Paul Jhin, introduced as a senior adviser for Asian-Americans for Trump, dedicated much of his remarks to Trump campaign talking points about making America great again, putting America first, Benghazi, terrorism and more, before talking about his hopes for Asian American voters. Some excerpts from his rally comments:

Ladies and gentlemen, there are 25 million Asian Americans in this country and we are growing. When Ronald Reagan ran for president, 67 percent of the Asian Americans supported Reagan. Guess what? I’m going to do everything I can so that more than 67 percent of Asian Americans will vote for Donald J. Trump!

Let me tell you something. They talk about minorities. I can tell you one thing: Asian American minority is the one you can trust. And we’re going to vote for Donald J. Trump, OK? God bless America, and God bless Donald J. Trump.

In reality, Trump has been polling miserably among Asian Americans. But the Asian-Americans for Trump Facebook page has plenty of love for him and harsh rhetoric for others:

 

RNC Foreign Policy Night Fails To Mention Donald Trump's Foreign Policies

Last night, Republicans gathered in Cleveland for the first night of the Republican National Convention. The evening's theme was supposed to be “Make America Safe Again," so speaker after speaker charged that the Obama administration is doing little, if anything, to fight radical Islamists.

Many presenters repeated the claims, frequently put forward by Donald Trump, that the U.S. would be able to finish off the terrorists if only the president stopped being “politically correct, ” uttered the words “radical Islam,” which Trump and others believe will have a miraculous effect in destroying terrorist groups, and channeled a “winning” spirit.

Not mentioned were Trump’s actual policies or, at least, the ones he isn’t keeping a secret.

We didn’t hear a single speaker echo Trump’s views that the U.S. should:

  • Let Syria become “a free zone for ISIS” to “let them fight and then you pick up the remnants.”
  • Expand and broaden rules on torture and implement torture ID who wrote this quote “techniques ‘a hell of a lot worse’ than waterboarding and use them regardless of effectiveness on terrorist organizations like ISIS because they ‘deserve it.’”
  • Ignore global climate change because it is a hoax manufactured by China.

Maybe there’s a reason Trump’s own supporters aren’t championing these ideas….

Alex Jones Rally Perfect Accompaniment to RNC's Ugly First Day

Alex Jones, the radio personality who consistently promotes the most reckless, paranoid, and utterly ridiculous conspiracy theories, has embraced and been embraced by Donald Trump. Yesterday, Jones teamed up with Trump adviser and legendary political dirty trickster Roger Stone to host the “America First Unity Rally” in Cleveland’s riverfront Settlers Landing Park on the first day of the Republican National Convention. The rally was a perfect fit for the Republican National Convention’s chaotic and divisive first day.

The big names at the rally were Jones and Stone, who were both greeted as rock stars. While Stone denounced Hillary Clinton, someone in the crowd repeatedly shouted, “She’s a reptile!” – a reference to one of the more, uh, colorful theories Jones has promoted.

Some of the other notable speakers:

  • Kelli Ward, GOP primary challenger to Arizona Senator John McCain, mocked him while people in the crowd shouted “traitor!”
  • Ed Martin, president of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, who has been embroiled in a power struggle between Ted Cruz-supporting board members and Trump backers Martin and Schlafly.
  • Diamond and Silk, who entertained the audience with a rendition of their “we’re proud black Trump-supporting women” shtick, calling Hillary Clinton a "bitch," denouncing the media, and telling black voters to “get off that Democratic plantation.”
  • Jan Morgan, extreme gun rights advocate, sounded like one with her seeming suggestion that any regulation of firearms violates the 2nd Amendment
  • Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart senior editor whose public persona is a performance of the self-described “dangerous faggot” and whose flamboyant raunchiness makes some conservatives squirm even while they love him for his far-right politics.

Joining them on the podium were Tea Party activists, political candidates and leaders of Bikers for Trump, Christians for Trump and Asian Americans for Trump. We were told that God had anointed Trump and he would bring God back into American life.

In addition to Trump campaign talking points and hard-edged attacks on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a number of speakers attacked Republicans. While the event highlighted the participation of veterans, several speakers denounced former prisoner of war McCain, drawing shouts of “traitor” from the crowd. One Tea Party leader said it’s important to get rid of House Speaker Paul Ryan. Another speaker went after Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

These and other attacks on Trump doubters and the Republican establishment were made while the speakers were standing in front of a banner proclaiming “unity.”

We will post more information on some rally speakers in separate posts.

 

 

 

Ann Coulter: At Least Jim Crow-Era Schools Didn't Teach 'On How Bad Black People Are'

On “The Eric Metaxas Show” yesterday, Ann Coulter criticized public schools for supposedly “teaching classes to white children on how bad white people are,” while insisting that segregated schools during Jim Crow “were not teaching classes in the white schools on how bad black people are.”

“[America] is the last Christian country on earth, it is one of the least sinning countries and far more sinned against, and all we do is wallow in every tiny little thing, not we, but you know, it’s forced on us from every media outlet,” Coulter said. “‘Oh, let’s talk about the bad things.’ I mean, you see the analogy with what’s done to policemen in America, keeping us safe, risking their lives, risking their lives to keep people who hate their guts safe, and 99 percent of them are fabulous and unbelievable. I would say it’s less than one percent, and all we have to hear about is, ‘Oh that one percent, and yes, there are some bad apples.’ Why don’t we say that about any other profession? How about hedge fund managers? How about campaign consultants? Any bad apples in there? How about newspaper editors?”

Coulter continued, “With them, it would be shocking to even begin a sentence with, ‘Well, there are some bad apples.’ It’s the same thing with America. We have, you know, the most magnificent country, should be fighting to protect it and instead, I mean, look at these course curriculums.”

“Even, you know, in the worst days of Jim Crow, when – true, black people could not go to school with white people because of the Democrats, but in the worst days, they were not teaching classes in the white schools on how bad black people are,” Coulter said. “Today, right here, within a half mile of where this studio is, they are teaching classes to white children on how bad white people are.”

Metaxas said, “This started in the ‘60s, and basically, we have been teaching young people – we’ve not been teaching them about the greatness of America and the heroes of America, the people who have died for liberty. And we have not been teaching that.” He accused universities of “teaching against the greatness of America.”

David Duke Inspired By Trump To Run For Congress To Stop 'Ethnic Cleansing' Of White People

On Saturday, white nationalist leader and Donald Trump booster David Duke promoted his potential run for Congress on “The Political Cesspool,” the “pro-White” radio program that once hosted Donald Trump Jr.

Duke said that if he decides to run for Congress in Louisiana, it will be to warn people that “European-Americans” are “headed toward an ethnic cleansing, and that’s the only way to put it, in the nation that our forefathers created” and to combat policies that are “destroying our people.”

He repeated his belief that Trump, who has notoriously shared the Twitter messages of white supremacists, include one with the handle @WhiteGenocideTM, has given white nationalists an opportunity to go “on the offensive.”

I love what Trump’s doing. I think that Trump is a breath of fresh air. I don’t know exactly what he’s going to do when he’s in but I think it’s great what he’s doing. But I tell you something, we have got to continue to take this another step, we have got to continue to go on the offensive in this battle. As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to vote for Trump, I said I supported Trump, I’ve been aligned with Trump from very early in this campaign, as you have, but there’s no question in my mind that we need at least one guy in the United States Congress, whether in the House of Representatives or the Senate, at least one guy that will openly stand up for the rights and the heritage of European-Americans and I believe that the time is right.

Duke went on to say that he is proud of his past leadership role in the Ku Klux Klan: “I’m not ashamed of that. I was in a nonviolent Klan organization. I always promoted nonviolence. I took a different path later on but I’m not ashamed of the fact that I stood up because at that time, as a young man, I realized that we were headed towards disaster.”

Far-Right Pundit: What If ISIS Uses Pokémon Go?

BarbWire columnist Chris Mills is just asking the question: What if ISIS uses Pokémon Go “to gather people to specified locations at certain times where there just so happened to be a bomb, or snipers?”

In a column today, Mills accused President Obama of fanning “the flames of a Civil War in America, shielding American thugs and Muslims around the world from criticism while the death toll rises” and “crushing any attempts to rebel against his agenda.”

This lawless and violent environment that Obama has created, he said, will pave the way for ISIS to kill people using the game.

Our president has fed the flames of a Civil War in America, shielding American thugs and Muslims around the world from criticism while the death toll rises. Hundreds dead, hundreds wounded and exactly zero of these heinous acts were committed by law abiding, white, Christian conservatives. Yet, we seem to bear the blame for everything. Even a Jihadi maniac driving a truck through a crowd of innocent families in Nice, France will be the fault of Americas NRA, even though it has been revealed that one of the weapons used in the previous terrorist attack in France was a weapon “lost” by Obama’s ATF in the botched Fast and Furious sting.



The pro-Islam Prime Minister of Turkey put down a “coup” that would have overthrown his regime, which is reportedly sympathetic to ISIS. Some say he created the coup himself as a ruse to increase his own power and arrest those within the Government that opposed him. He manipulated the emotions of a frightened citizenry, under the guise of religious “tolerance”, for his own gain. President Obama backed the Turkish Prime Ministers pro-ISIS actions.

Isn’t Barack Obama doing exactly the same thing in America? Creating unrest within his own nation in the name of tolerance? Placing propagandist blame on those who oppose him? Ultimately crushing any attempts to rebel against his agenda; increasing the global perception of his personal piety and party’s power over the populace, concurrently?



Speaking of which, is anyone else creeped out by the ramifications of PokemonGo’s technology falling into the wrong hands? As it stands, our children are being led through the streets on a virtual scavenger hunt by a computer generated algorithm designed by Nintendo. It uses GPS technology to make real people go to real world locations to gather imaginary monsters.

What if this technology was used by ISIS to gather people to specified locations at certain times where there just so happened to be a bomb, or snipers?

It would only take one person on Nintendo’s staff and one person on the outside to place the bomb.

If you see a middle-aged man (we’ll call him Chester) walking down the street swiping his finger rapidly across his i-phone wearing three-weeks-dirty sweatpants, he has probably ventured forth from his mom’s basement for the first time in months looking for Pokemon. Your kids may meet up with him in the park, looking for the same digital monster. Remember kids, don’t talk to strangers, unless he can tell you when the next Charizard will “spawn”.

Chester the Pokemon Trainer may even end up in a women’s bathroom looking for the same creature. If he happens to identify as a woman that day. Don’t worry, if Hillary wins there will be pedophile pride parades soon enough. Chester shouldn’t have to be ashamed of his desires for Pokemon or your daughter, right?

Ann Coulter: Hillary Clinton Will 'Overwhelm' America 'With The Third World'

On Saturday’s edition of “The Eric Metaxas Show,” Ann Coulter attacked the immigration reform plan championed by Hillary Clinton and agreed with Metaxas that Clinton’s appointment of “activist” Supreme Court justices would result in “the end of America.”

“Hillary Clinton is going to elect people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court,” Metaxas said. “That’s the end of America. You’re gonna have an activist judiciary.”

“I think it will be the end because she will work directly with Paul Ryan, unless the great primary opponent Paul Nehlen takes him out on August 9, which I hope he does,” Coulter said. “But we know that Paul Ryan is 100 percent for amnesty, 100 percent for transforming America into a different country more like France has been experiencing. You can see the new country they’re foisting on us. Well, that’s 100 percent Paul Ryan, and Hillary already said the first thing she wants to do is reach out to the Republicans and pass amnesty.”

“The country will be overwhelmed, more than it already is, with the third world,” Coulter said. “We’ll never win anything again. Look to France, look to California to your future.”

“Have they already overwhelmed the country with so many ringers coming in, collecting welfare and bloc voting for the Democrats?” Coulter asked. “Maybe we already are California.”

Steve King: A History Of Racism

Last night, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, defended his party's relative homogeneity by arguing that white people have "contributed more to civilization" than "any other subgroup of people."

The comment was particularly fitting coming during the convention at which the Republican Party is set to nominate Donald Trump, who has fueled his presidential campaign with appeals to racial animus. And it fit in with a long pattern from King, who is a leader in shaping the GOP's immigration policy and who once said that a "good amount" of Trump's policy plans are "a copy-and-paste from things that I've done."

King made plenty of headlines back in 2013 when he argued against the DREAM Act by claiming that most of the young undocumented immigrants whom the bill would help “weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

In a very Trumpian move, King later tried to claim that his remark was accurate and even complimentary.

Like Trump, King makes racial dog-whistles a centerpiece of his anti-immigrant politics. He has repeatedly warned of the changing “demographics” produced by immigration, saying last year, “I like the America we had.”

This style of rhetoric also comes out when King is discussing non-immigration issues. During the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014,King said that racial profiling wasn’t a concern there because the small segment of people who had been rioting and looting were all of the same “continental origin.” King recently raised eyebrows when he filed a bill to defund the plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, insisting that it would be “racist” to add Tubman to the currency. Just last week, King defended keeping a Confederate flag on his office desk, saying that his critics don’t understand the “real history of the Civil War” and the fact that only a “small part of it was about slavery.” He once falsely claimed that President Obama had “apologized to Africa for slavery” when in fact “there’s nothing for us to apologize for,” and promoted the racist birther conspiracy theory.

While King endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz in the presidential primary, Trump has shown himself to be a fan of King. At one memorable press conference in Iowa in 2014, Trump, who had traveled to the state to campaign for King, stood behind the congressman smirking and nodding as King warned that the U.S. was becoming a “third-world country” thanks to immigration.

Edit Memo: Senate Republicans, Exhausted From Not Doing Their Jobs, Take a 7-Week Vacation, the Longest in 60 Years

To: Interested Parties
From: Paul Gordon, Senior Legislative Counsel, People For the American Way
Date: July 19, 2016
Re: Senate Republicans, Exhausted From Not Doing Their Jobs, Take a 7-Week Vacation, the Longest in 60 Years

Last week, the GOP-controlled Senate explained why there supposedly wasn’t enough time before an extensive summer recess, the longest in 60 years, to confirm numerous long-standing consensus judicial nominees. In fact, they spent more time making excuses than it would have taken to actually confirm the nominees.

The exchange revealed new depths to which Senate Republicans will sink in order to avoid doing their jobs and voting on the president’s nominees to our lower federal courts, in addition to their unprecedented refusal to even consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, July 13, Democrats sought votes on many of the nominees waiting for Senate action. First, Sen. Chuck Schumer asked for votes on the 13 longest-stalled district court nominees, all of whom had been approved by the Judiciary Committee with unanimous or near-unanimous support, as well as seven nominees for the Court of International Trade and Federal Claims Court (six of whom had been approved by the Committee in 2014, then again in 2015). On behalf of the GOP leadership, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis blocked the vote because, among other things, the Senate had confirmed one judge the previous week and one judge the week before that.

Then Sen. Elizabeth Warren sought a vote just on the 13 district court nominees. Tillis again objected, complaining that instead of debating drug abuse:

What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs. I'm doing my job today and objecting to these measures so that we can actually get back to pressing matters … [emphasis added]

In fact, vetting and confirming judges so that the United States judicial system can function and provide a forum to protect people’s rights is among the most important responsibilities the Constitution gives to the Senate, and to the Senate alone.

There was apparently no number low enough or waiting period long enough that Republicans would accept. Sen. Mazie Hirono sought a vote only on the eight longest-stalled district court nominees, who would fill vacancies in Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, California, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. All were approved by the Judiciary Committee without opposition. Half had been approved in the fall of 2015, three back in January, and one had been waiting for “only” three months. Yet again, Tillis objected, urging the Senate not to waste time on this issue but to address other issues.

Actually, the waste of time came from Sen. Tillis, who spent far more time blocking votes on qualified consensus nominees than it would have taken to actually confirm them. Mitch McConnell’s Senate is a far different place than it was on September 26, 2008, an election year, when the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed ten of President Bush’s consensus district court nominees in less than a minute, nominees who had been waiting for a vote for only three days.

As Tillis carried out McConnell’s obstruction directives last week, Republican senators who claim to support the nominees from their home states were nowhere to be found. Tennessee’s Edward Stanton III has languished on the Senate floor since October of last year, but Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker were nowhere to be found to offer them support when Tillis blocked a vote on him three separate times. Similarly, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey allowed two nominees he had recommended to the White House to be denied votes three times that day, even though they were approved by the Judiciary Committee six months ago.

Rather than being an aberration, Republican efforts to block confirmation votes for President Obama’s judicial nominees have been the norm. While their refusal to even hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland has grabbed the headlines, the GOP’s deliberate sabotage of the rest of the federal judiciary is nothing new. Since Republicans have taken control of the Senate, the pace at which they’ve chosen to process all judicial nominations has fallen far short of what precedent would dictate.

Failing to confirm judges has never been the norm even when the Senate and the White House are held by different parties. A useful basis of comparison is George W. Bush’s final two years in office, when Democrats took over the Senate after the 2006 midterms. In 2007, the first year as the majority, the Democratic Senate confirmed 40 of President Bush’s circuit and district court nominees (with a total of 68 by the end of 2008). In stark contrast, the McConnell Senate has confirmed only 20 circuit and district court judges during this Congress (along with two Court of International Trade nominees). Just as the number of confirmations last year (11) was the lowest since 1960 (also 11), the total for this two-year Congress appears on track to be the lowest since the Eisenhower era, when there were hundreds fewer judgeships than today.

The figure below shows the stark difference in the pace of circuit and district judicial confirmations under today’s Republican-controlled Senate as compared to the Democratic-controlled Senate of Bush’s last two years.

image 1

Another way of contrasting how seriously Senate Democrats took their job in 2007-2008 versus the attitude of Republicans today is to track the number of vacancies. Judicial vacancies open regularly and predictably, since judges usually announce their intent to retire or go into semi-retirement up to a year in advance. Just to keep the number of vacancies at an even level requires that several new judges be confirmed each month.

At the beginning of 2007, there were 56 circuit and district court vacancies. Throughout the next two years, the number of vacancies generally remained at 50 or fewer, getting as low as 34 in the early fall of 2008. Because an unusually high number of vacancies opened up after Election Day, that number climbed back to 55 by Inauguration Day, but even with that increase, the number of vacancies ended up at about what it had been two years earlier.

Today, in stark contrast, the number of circuit and district court vacancies is climbing, more than doubling from 40 at the beginning of the year to 81 today.

image 2

We see the same thing with judicial emergencies, a formal designation assigned by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts for vacancies where the caseload per judge is so high that it endangers access to justice. Judicial emergencies have skyrocketed from 12 at the beginning of the new congress to 29 as of July 15 of this year*. As the chart below shows, Democrats in the Senate during Bush’s last two years did not allow the number of judicial emergencies to increase in a similar fashion, and in fact the number generally remained steady or decreased during most of those two years.

image 3

There is work to be done, but Sen. McConnell is having the Senate take an extended seven-week summer vacation, the longest in at least 60 years. As Democratic leader Harry Reid has accurately noted:

The American people expect their elected officials to try to solve problems. At the very least, the American people demand their senators to at least show up to work on a regular basis. But Senate Republicans have done neither. Instead, they are setting dubious records for the fewest working days and the fewest judges confirmed. Republicans have denigrated this institution with their obstruction. I hope they will consider the consequences of their inaction over this seven-week vacation.

Courts are the infrastructure of justice, just as important to our constitutional rights as roads and bridges are to transportation. Either in spite of this or because of this, Senate Republicans have abused their position in the majority to stymie President Obama’s efforts to put qualified people on our nation’s federal courts. In so doing, they are weakening the entire third branch of the United States government.

 

* - Judicial emergencies are based on caseloads, which are weighted to reflect the wide variations in time and resources generally associated with different types of cases. On April 15, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts list of emergency vacancies began to incorporate a new weighting system adopted a month earlier by the Judicial Conference of the United States. As a result, the number of officially designated judicial emergencies dropped from 34 on April 14 to 28 the next day, a drop that had nothing to do with Senate action.

###

The Five Most Absurd Defenses Of Melania Trump's Plagiarism Of Michelle Obama

For months, Donald Trump surrogates have come up with outlandish explanations to justify the presumptive GOP nominee’s wild statements, from defending his racist remarks about a federal judge to insisting that he never really proposed a ban on Muslims from entering the country.

So it was no surprise to see Trump backers twist themselves into knots defending Melania Trump’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention after parts were found to have been clearly plagiarized from a 2008 convention addressed delivered by Michelle Obama.

1) What About The 93% That Wasn’t Plagiarized?

While Trump didn’t select New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as his running mate, Christie is still acting as a loyal surrogate, this time denying the obvious fact that a portion of Melania Trump’s speech was plagiarized.

Christie made the absurd claim that Melania Trump didn’t plagiarize her remarks since “93% of the speech is completely different than Michelle Obama’s speech.”

Christie later told CNN that he simply knows in his gut that she didn’t plagiarize part of her speech: “If we’re talking about 7% of a speech, that was really, universally considered to be a good performance by Melania. I know her. There’s no way that Melania Trump was plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech.”

2) It’s Hillary Clinton’s Fault!

In an interview with CNN, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort denied the “crazy” allegation that Melania Trump was “cribbing Michelle Obama’s speech,” arguing that it was just another “example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she will try to demean her and take her down.”

Manafort later held a press conference at which he said that the controversy proves that “when Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy that person.”

3) ‘Fragments Of Words’

In an interview with CBS, Manafort said that Melania Trump only used “fragments of words” that were similar to Michelle Obama's.

“We’re talking about words like compassion, love of family, respect,” he said. “These are not words that are unique words, that belong to the Obamas.”

Earlier today, campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson told The Hill: “This concept that Michelle Obama invented the English language is absurd.”

4) Who Cares — It Was A Great Speech!

Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody rose to Melania Trump’s defense while speaking today with “700 Club” host Pat Robertson.

Brody applauded her “great” speech and dismissed the “quote ‘plagiarism’ charges,” saying that “the long-term story here, Pat, is that the reality is that Melania Trump gave a very good speech last night. She was poised, smart, articulate on that stage on Monday night and what that means, Pat, going forward is that Melania Trump needs to get out on the stump.”

“Cleary, she is articulate, doing a very good job — and they need help among women voters and she can be a key part of that,” he added.

Robertson noted that Melania Trump was “absolutely gorgeous” and “Mr. Trump has a good eye for beauty.”

Starts 5:30 in:

5) It Was A Good Thing!

Admitted plagiarist Ben Carson said he didn’t see any plagiarism in Melania Trump's remarks, but that even if she did plagiarize, it was a good thing:

“If Melania’s speech is similar to Michelle Obama’s speech, that should make us all very happy because we should be saying, whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we share the same values,” he told reporters after addressing a Florida GOP delegation breakfast at a hotel here 20 minutes outside of Cleveland, where the RNC is taking place.

“If we happen to share values, we should celebrate that, not try to make it into a controversy,” he added.



“I don’t think they were plagiarized. I think there are general principles that are very valuable to Americans, and of course to express those principles you’re going to use similar language,” Carson said.

Operation Save America To Police: End Violence By Outlawing Abortion

Operation Save America, the organization that grew out of the abortion protest group Operation Rescue, is in Wichita, Kansas, this week commemorating the 25th anniversary of Operation Rescue’s 1991 Summer of Mercy, in which thousands of people were arrested blockading abortion clinics. (The group that is now called Operation Rescue, which has long been in a bitter feud with OSA about its name, has tried to distance itself from the event.)
 
This week’s event has drawn a few hundred people, about half of them from out of state — a sizable group but a far cry from the phenomenon that was the Summer of Mercy. The activists are meeting up to protest in front of clinics and throughout the city in the morning and attending rallies in the evening, where they’re hearing a series of lectures on what OSA leader Rusty Thomas calls the need for a “paradigm shift” in how the anti-abortion movement approaches its cause.
 
Last night, attendees heard from Matt Trewhella, a pastor who runs a group called Missionaries to the Pre-born out of Milwaukee. Trewhella has written a book called “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates,” which argues that “lesser magistrates,” meaning everyone from state governors to county clerks, have the duty to “interpose” to stop unjust laws being enforced by a higher authority. (Marriage equality and abortion rights are two examples; Trewhella also believes that adultery should be a criminal offense.)
 
Thomas riffed off this concept yesterday when he released an “open letter to the police in America” in which he urged police officers to demand that their legislatures call special sessions to “immediately outlaw abortion, grant the police the authority to shut down any death camp in their jurisdiction, and arrest those who participate in the barbaric act of abortion.”
 
The “violence, carnage, terrorism, and massacres” in America, Thomas wrote, are the result of the nation’s “blood guilt” stemming from Roe v. Wade. Also displeasing God, he wrote, is the willingness of law enforcement to be neutral on “sodomy, gay marriage, transgendered bathrooms etc.”
 
“Peace will never come to America as long as our country protects violence in the womb,” he wrote.
 
The swearing of the oath of every police officer ends with these words, “So help me God.” Thus, the oath of office taken by police officers does not just merely acknowledge God, but also implores His help to fulfill this ministry of good for our nation. Ultimately, police officers are called to be faithful to God from whom their lawful authority is established. Again, civil government is a delegated authority under God. Tragically, in recent decades, this oath has been greatly challenged by those who practice evil, (abortion, sodomy, gay marriage, transgendered bathrooms etc.). These subversive entities expect law enforcement to be “neutral” despite the fact that their activities are not only sinful, but criminal according to God. The federal government through immoral, unjust, and unconstitutional decrees has decriminalized their crimes.
 
 
 
The thin blue line that separates the criminal element from society is fading fast. Anarchy runs rampant while government tyranny grows. O ur nation stands in awkward amazement as violence, carnage, terrorism, and massacres are becoming a common everyday experience in our nation. To our horror, this violence has now targeted our law enforcement agencies. Why is this happening? There is only one answer from God’s Word, Blood guilt!
 
America has made a covenant of death with those who seek to murder innocent babies in the womb for blood money. Roe vs. Wade violated the sacred trust of law enforcement, which is to protect life and stop the shedding of innocent blood. Our nation has been defending the indefensible ever since.
 
Law enforcement officers, whom God has appointed to protect the most innocent amongst us are being used to protect those who would harm them. We call upon law enforcement to come out of the shadows of neutrality and join the Church of Jesus Christ to break this covenant with death. We charge them to lend their voice and influence to help end the violence that is not only savaging our nation, but our brave police officers as well.
 
We beseech police departments throughout America to rise up and demand the governor of their perspective states to call a special session. Police officers need to insist their states immediately outlaw abortion, grant the police the authority to shut down any death camp in their jurisdiction, and arrest those who participate in the barbaric act of abortion. Peace will never return to America as long as our country protects violence in the womb. We can shout black lives matter, blue lives matter, or all lives matter till the cows come home, but until preborn lives matter, no lives matter, including the police.

 

At Committee Meeting, PFAW & Allies Urge Senators to #DoYourJob

Thursday, July 14, marked the 120th day since Chief Judge Merrick Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court. July 14 was also the Senate Judiciary Committee’s final markup before the August recess. In order to highlight Republican senators’ irresponsible obstruction on  judicial vacancies, People For the American Way staff members attended and stood in solidarity with activists from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Americans United for Change at the markup.

We wore buttons that read “#DoYourJob” and some advocates silently held signs when the meeting concluded. Our presence put additional pressure on Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley and his Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee to give Garland fair consideration and to fill the growing number of other judicial vacancies.

On the agenda for the markup meeting were four judicial nominees: Jennifer Puhl, Don Coggins, David Nye, and Kathleen Sweet. Puhl, Coggins, and Nye were unanimously approved by the committee on a voice vote, but they join a long list of nearly 20 other nominees who are still waiting for consideration from the full Senate. They are unlikely to receive a vote before the fall.

During the committee proceedings, ranking member Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) gave voice to our frustrations, and the frustrations of so many Americans, by directly addressing the rising number of judicial vacancies across the United States and the failure of Republican senators to fulfill their job requirements by adequately processing judicial nominees:

“The sharply rising number of judicial vacancies across the country is the direct consequence of Republican leadership neglecting the Senate’s duty to ensure the federal judiciary can function. When Senate Republicans took over the majority last year, there were 43 judicial vacancies, 12 of which were emergency vacancies. Because of the Republicans’ refusal to do their jobs, vacancies have nearly doubled to 83, and emergency vacancies have nearly tripled to 30.”

Astoundingly, at the last markup session before the congressional recess, and 120 days since Merrick Garland’s nomination, Sen. Chuck Grassley did not even speak about the most pressing judicial vacancy: the open ninth seat on the Supreme Court. Sen. Leahy, however, did, saying:

"Republicans are failing our justice system and the American people by continuing their unprecedented blockade of Chief Justice Merrick Garland’s nomination for the Supreme Court.”

We agree with Sen. Leahy and so many Americans. The American people deserve a fully-functioning judicial system, including a Supreme Court with nine justices. Republican Senators’ refusal to adequately process judicial nominees is disgraceful. Tell Sen. Grassley to stop playing politics with our justice system, and tell GOP senators to do their jobs. 

PFAW

Beyond the plagiarism: 9 more important stories from Day 1 of the convention

By now, it’s likely that you’ve seen the reports that last night’s featured speaker Melania Trump, in a move that would seem typical of her husband, PLAGIARIZED Michelle Obama, from the First Lady’s convention speech in 2008.

But while the media today remains distracted by Mrs. Trump’s ironic theft of a Michelle Obama passage about family and community values, it’s vitally important that we try to keep some attention on the truly shocking and frightening -- things that happened yesterday both on- and off-stage at the convention.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the other biggest stories from Day 1 of the GOP Convention.

Anti-Trump delegates attempted a brief but chaotic revolt on the floor of the convention hall -- seemingly more as a show than an actual attempt to seek a different nominee.

The protest, while offering a bit of early drama, was quickly scuttled by Trump loyalists, giving us the day’s first concrete demonstration of the GOP now being, definitively, the Party of Donald Trump -- but just the first example of many.

One of the more high profile offsite events of the day was the “America First Unity Rally,” hosted by unhinged radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a hate radio talker who has been embraced by Trump, and Trump adviser and legendary political dirty trickster Roger Stone. PFAW’s Right Wing Watch was on the ground to cover the event, which definitely did not shy away from inflammatory speakers or topics.

During one of the many media discussions with Republican leaders from the convention hall, Rep. Steve King of Iowa -- one of the GOP’s loudest xenophobic voices -- defended the politics of racial resentment that is driving much of Trump’s movement by insisting that white people have contributed more to civilization than “any other subgroup of people.”

Then it was time for the evening program of speakers…

Grieving family members of people who lost their lives in Benghazi and to crimes involving undocumented immigrants were trotted out as sympathetic and relatable figures to rally viewers against the people the GOP says are responsible for all of those tragedies: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and all 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the US.

Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr. were among the first “celebrities” to take the stage and speak on behalf of their friend Donald Trump. They both gave subsequent interviews in which the former defended his posting of a meme referring to Hillary Clinton as a “cunt” and the latter said he "absolutely" believes President Obama is a Muslim.

An anti-government extremist sheriff gave a taunting speech in which he called Black Lives Matter “anarchy” and celebrated the latest acquittal of one of the Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray as a victory over “malicious prosecution.”

Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani gave characteristically bombastic speeches.

Then, Donald Trump took the stage -- to Queen’s We Are the Champions, a song that the band’s guitarist Brian May was outraged to hear Trump was using on the campaign trail before he specifically asked Trump not to use it months ago. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that Queen’s singer, Freddie Mercury, was a gay man who died of AIDS, and Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, once advocated that money for HIV/AIDS care be reallocated to groups conducting gay conversion therapy (something that is also, incidentally, promoted in this year’s official Republican Party Platform).

During one of the evening’s earlier speeches, Donald Trump had called into Fox News to bash his former primary rival Gov. John Kasich and claim credit for the idea of holding the Republican Convention in Ohio -- a demonstrable outright lie.

It’s going to be an interesting week.

Continue to check PFAW’s Right Wing Watch at rightwingwatch.org for ongoing convention coverage.


 

Will you donate to help PFAW fight -- and defeat -- the Far Right?

donate:

 

PFAW

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/18/16

  • McKay Coppins @ BuzzFeed: Confessions Of A Dishonest Slob: How The Haters And Losers Got Trump This Close To The White House. 
  • Alan Colmes: Trump: I don’t need to read much because I make decisions ‘with very little knowledge.’
Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious