Wisconsin

Trump Invites Anti-Government Extremist Sheriff To Speak At GOP Convention

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here

The Republican National Convention released a partial list today of the politicians, activists, C-list celebrities and Donald Trump family members who will be speaking at next week’s convention. What the speakers’ list lacks in establishment GOP leaders it makes up for in fringe activists. One name especially stands out: Sheriff David Clarke, the Milwaukee law enforcement officer who has made a name for himself hurling anti-Obama vitriol on Fox News and elsewhere while quietly cozying up to anti-government extremist groups.

Clarke, who is African American, has built a conservative following by enthusiastically bashing President Obama, his Justice Department, Hillary Clinton and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “ pitchforks and torches ,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

Rep. Glenn Grothman: 'Race Relations Were Very Good' Until Obama Took Office

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., said yesterday that while “race relations were very good” when President Obama took office, the president has made things worse by meeting with Al Sharpton and praising Black Lives Matter, claiming that Obama could help make things better by discouraging “black America” from having “anything to do” with either.

Wisconsin talk radio host Charlie Sykes asked Grothman to discuss the assassination of five police officers in Dallas and why the nation is “as divided and on edge as it has been in a long time.”

“I don’t think it’s surprising given the leadership we have in this country,” Grothman said. “You know, a lot of people felt, not me, but a lot of people felt that it was a good thing to elect Barack Obama, I think race relations were pretty good when he took office, but [those people were] saying, well, if there were any problems left, Barack Obama would solve these problems.”

“Instead,” he said, “we have a president who’s met with Al Sharpton over 100 times. And if he met with Al Sharpton 100 times, what does that tell you about how Barack Obama views race relations or how he should weigh in? And there’s your problem. Hillary Clinton has tried to get Al Sharpton’s endorsement; Barack Obama has praised Black Lives Matter.”

“See, the situation with race relations were very good eight years ago,” he continued, “but it seems as though both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — I mean, would you even be caught on stage with Al Sharpton?”

Sykes, seemingly missing the fact that Obama had forcefully condemned the violence against police officers, wondered when Obama would have a “Sister Souljah moment” and “call out the elements of that movement who are now condoning or even encouraging violence against police officers.”

“Well, right, he has the moral standing to take on Al Sharpton,” Grothman responded. “And the fact that Al Sharpton’s been in the White House over 100 times, and Black Lives Matter … to say, ‘Look, you are not a leader of black America, we discourage black America from having anything to do with you,’ he could fulfill some of the promise that some people had when he was elected two [sic] years ago.”

David Clarke: Trump Slamming 'Mexican' Judge Just Like Saying Obama Is The First Black President

On his radio show June 11, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke defended Donald Trump for accusing Gonzalo Curiel, the U.S.-born judge presiding over the Trump University case, of being biased because he is “Mexican.”

“We do it every day with Barack Obama, the first African-American president,” Clarke said. “We’re pointing out his ethnicity.”

“To me, Barack Obama is the 44th  president of the United States,” Clarke said. “I mean, I look at myself. I refer to myself as an American first, and I happen to be black.” To further defend Trump, Clarke pointed out Mexican is a nationality, not a race.

“What we’ve done in this society, in this hyphenated society that we live in today, everybody is something-hyphen-American,” Clarke said. “German-American, French-American, Asian-American, African-American, Mexican-American. And it’s fine, I’m not against it. But don’t tell me that it’s okay if people wanna use it to their advantage when it suits them, and then when someone else points out, ‘Hey, you’re a Mexican-American, oh, you’re a Mexican,’ that they’re going to get offended by it, that it now becomes a slur? You must be kidding me.”

WI Latino & Community Leaders Speak Out Against Trump’s Racist Attack on Judge Curiel, Continued WI GOP Support for Trump

MILWAUKEE – During a press conference today, Wisconsin Latino leaders spoke out against Donald Trump’s racist attacks against Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel and challenged Sen. Ron Johnson’s decision to hold open the Supreme Court vacancy for Trump to fill.

Responding to Trump’s statements that a federal judge couldn’t be fair based simply on his Mexican-American heritage, Sen. Johnson and House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized Trump, yet the two are backing Trump’s presidential bid and Johnson continues to hold the Supreme Court seat open for Trump to fill by refusing to give fair consideration to Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland.   Ryan continues to ignore the ongoing bigotry of Trump’s campaign by categorizing Trump’s latest racist attacks as “out of left field.”

Key statements:

Wisconsin State House Representative JoCasta Zamarripa:

“As a legislator, I work on issues critical to the community I represent, whether that’s working to combat discrimination, support immigrant families, protect voting rights. Donald Trump stands against everything that we stand for.

“Ron Johnson has said that he won’t support Trump if he “crossed a line.” How is it possible that launching racist attacks against a federal judge doesn’t cross the line? And how can Johnson justify holding open the Supreme Court vacancy for someone who shows such disregard to our courts and the Constitution?”

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera:

“Trump’s racist comments against Judge Curiel exposes the true character of the man.  He is both a bully and a fraud.  He is a bully because he uses personal attacks and threats to try to get his way, and he is a fraud because he is a swindler through projects like Trump fake University, his string of bankruptcies, and his made-in-China products.

“The failure of Senator Johnson and US Speaker Paul Ryan or Governor Walker to pull their support, is dangerous.  Their own policy proposals are a dressed up version of Trump’s, but Trump’s appeal to growing a white supremacist movement through hate and violence, is a threat that extends beyond an election, and should be aggressively condemned and marginalized.”

Freya Neumann, Citizenship Coordinator at Voces de la Frontera:

“I came to this country almost 40 years ago from Mexico, and I became a naturalized citizen to challenge stereotypes and combat the racism I experienced and witnessed far too often in Milwaukee. Sadly, in 2016, racism has increased because of Trump’s hate campaign.

“I am though so happy to see many people who are becoming US citizens because like me, they understand that they must stand up to racism by education, voting, speaking out, and demonstrating. Shame on our Wisconsin Republican leaders who disagree with Trump’s message but continue to support him as president; for the US constitution, the founding document of this nation, upholds the ideal that all people are created equal.”

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way:

“We now know that Trump has no problem launching racist attacks against judges, and we know that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland is superbly qualified and has earned significant praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. So why is Ron Johnson holding open the Supreme Court vacancy for a Trump nominee instead of calling for hearings and a vote for Judge Garland?

“It’s time to call the question: Senator Johnson needs to support a fair process for Judge Garland, or else he stands in solidarity with Trump’s racist attacks on our judiciary. He can’t do both.”

For follow-up questions or interviews, please email media@pfaw.org.

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Wisconsin Anti-Choice Activists To Hold 'Vigils' Mourning The Legalization Of Birth Control

In an email to members yesterday, the anti-abortion group Pro-Life Wisconsin announced the latest round of its annual “prayer vigils at local birth control centers” marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down laws banning married women from accessing birth control.

Pro-Life Wisconsin, which advocates for a fetal “personhood” amendment in the state that would ban abortion with no exceptions, boasts that in contrast to the state’s National Right to Life Committee affiliate, it “opposes all forms of artificial birth control.”

David Clarke: Department of Justice Hates Cops, Supports Criminals

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a rising conservative media star and Fox News regular, said on his radio show on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network on Saturday that President Obama is “a straight-up cop hater” and accused the Department of Justice’s civil rights division of being “jack-booted goons” who are lying in wait to go after police officers.

Clarke reminisced about the pre-Obama days when, he said, the DOJ was on the side of the police officers, not the criminals. Today, Clarke said several times, the DOJ hates cops.

Claiming that the DOJ is leading an “ongoing witch-hunt” against police officers, Clarke called Obama “a straight-up cop hater” and referred to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her predecessor, Eric Holder, as “race-obsessed.”

Clarke specifically criticized the civil rights division of the DOJ, comparing it to “some alligator in a swamp, just looking for some law enforcement officer to snag for some minor transgression.” He lamented that politicians “lynched” Darren Wilson, the officer who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Clarke then called employees of the DOJ’s civil rights division “jack-booted goons” who should “get their boot off the neck of the American police officer.”
 

GOP Congressman Cites 'M*A*S*H' Character In Opposing Transgender Rights

In a speech at the Wisconsin Republican convention over the weekend, Rep. Glenn Grothman — no stranger to bizarre and offensive remarks — mocked Democratic support for transgender rights by citing a character in the T.V. show “M*A*S*H” who often dressed in women’s clothing in an attempt to be discharged from the Army.

Grothman closed his convention remarks by discussing “what is becoming of America right now” because “a lot of us see America changing a lot.” He read an excerpt from Charles Murray’s book “Coming Apart” that discusses a 1962 poll in which 86 percent of women said that they would not have premarital sex with someone they were going to marry.

This led him to transgender rights issues.

“Remember there was a show ‘M*A*S*H’ a while ago in which some, you know, one of the comedy guys was wearing a dress?” he said. “Hillary Clinton says one of the goals is to get the transgenders into the military. That’s one of the goals.”

Grothman concluded that “we do have a moral decline in our country,” adding that he prayed that the U.S. would “regain the moral bearings that we should have so that God continues to bless our great country.”

Sorry You Missed Sen. Johnson’s Party!

Milwaukee, WI – To celebrate Sen. Johnson’s birthday, Wisconsin activists with People For the American Way, Organizing for Action, Voces de la Frontera, One Wisconsin Now, and Emerge Wisconsin gathered at Sen. Johnson’s Milwaukee office to throw him a birthday party – and send the message that while everyone, even Sen. Johnson, deserves a great birthday party, it’s time for him to end his partisan obstruction and give fair consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Activists tried to deliver Sen. Johnson and his staff a birthday cake with the message, “Happy Birthday Ron Johnson! Now, #DoYourJob” (pictures are below and attached). Unfortunately, Sen. Johnson and his staff didn’t choose to join in the celebration.

PFAW Regional Political Coordinator Scott Foval stated:

“We hoped to celebrate our senator’s birthday with him, but it seems like just as he doesn’t have time to do his job and give fair consideration to Supreme Court nominee Judge Garland, he doesn’t have time to enjoy some delicious cake with his constituents!

“Now that the party’s over, it’s high time for Sen. Johnson to follow the Constitution and push for hearings and a vote for Judge Garland.”

Pictures from today’s birthday party:

  

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Glenn Grothman Joins Other Republicans In Admitting Voter ID Laws Are About Suppressing Democratic Voters

Wisconsin Rep. Glenn Grothman has always stood out, even within the GOP, for his extreme views and statements, so it only makes sense that Sen. Ted Cruz touted the congressman’s endorsement prior to last night’s Wisconsin presidential primary.

At Cruz’s victory party, a Milwaukee television reporter asked Grothman why he thinks the GOP has a chance to win Wisconsin in the general election, since no Republican has won the state since 1984. Grothman replied by arguing that “Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up and now we have voter ID and I think voter ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”

Grothman’s claim confirmed yet again what voter ID opponents have been saying all along: that GOP lawmakers throughout the country have tried to pass laws making it more difficult to vote in order to reduce the voting share of young people and people of color, who studies have consistently found are less likely to have the required identification documents. In Wisconsin alone, approximately 300,000 voters could be impacted by a new voter ID law, and many observers blamed the law for the long lines seen at the polls on Tuesday.

All of these restrictions, however, are ostensibly to solve the problem of in-person voter fraud, a crime so rare that one study found just 31 possible cases of it out of over a billion ballots cast in primary and general elections since 2000. Conservatives have often pointed to discredited and debunked claims about widespread voter fraud to justify their support for these voter suppression measures.

While serving in the Wisconsin legislature, Grothman was a vocal supporter of voting restrictions, even going so far as to say that such measures would help Mitt Romney carry the state in 2012:

Grothman was the chief sponsor of a bill to limit early voting and prohibit weekend voting in Wisconsin, a direct assault on turnout efforts in Democratic-leaning districts. Grothman also proposed a measure to weaken campaign finance reporting requirements and another to make it more difficult for the elderly to seek assistance in voting, and even tried to end same-day voter registration in the state, which in 2012 had the nation’s second-highest turnout rate.

Last year, Grothman co-sponsored a bill that would weaken local courts that had ruled against voter suppression measures. He supported a state voter ID law in 2012, which he admitted he thought would help Romney “in a close race” and implied that voters without ID probably didn’t want to vote anyway. After the election, he claimed that President Obama and Sen. Tammy Baldwin both won their elections due to fraud.

Grothman isn’t the only conservative who has inadvertently revealed the true purpose of voter ID laws and other restrictive voting measures, such as efforts to limit early voting.

Mike Turzai

Mike Turzai, who is now the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, confidently predicted at a GOP gathering in 2012 that a new restrictive voter ID law would secure Romney’s victory in the swing state.

“Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done,” he said.

John Fund

John Fund, a conservative commentator who has frequently warned of the scourge of voter fraud, once admitted that voter ID laws do little to stop absentee ballot fraud, which he called “the tool of choice amongst fraudsters,” since voter ID laws only impact in-person voting.

“I think it is a fair argument of some liberals that there are some people who emphasize the voter ID part more than the absentee ballot part because supposedly Republicans like absentee ballots more and they don’t want to restrict that,” he admitted, before adding: “But the bottom line is, on good government grounds, we have to have both voter ID laws and absentee ballot laws.” (Indeed, while all types of voter fraud are extremely rare, PBS notes that “election law experts say it happens more often through mail-in ballots than people impersonating eligible voters at the polls.”)

Fund once pointed to 19 possible cases of voter fraud out of 421,997 ballots cast in one Ohio county as proof that voter ID laws are necessary. Out of the already small number of cases that authorities were investigating, just two involved alleged in-person voter fraud and neither involved someone impersonating someone else, the supposed target of voter ID laws.

Phyllis Schlafly

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly cheered on another way the GOP has tried to suppress the vote: by reducing voting hours.

Schlafly said in 2014 that Republican lawmakers must restrict early voting opportunities because high voter turnout helps Democrats:

Democrats promote early voting for the same reason they oppose voter ID: because they view early voting as helping their side. In the absurdly long 35-day period of early voting in Ohio in 2012, Democrats racked up perhaps a million-vote advantage over Republicans before Election Day was ever reached. Republicans have been slow to realize how early voting helps the Democrats.

Fran Millar

Georgia state Sen. Fran Millar, like Schlafly, has condemned attempts to increase voter turnout. He was particularly critical of an effort in DeKalb County, the state’s third largest, to open an early voting center in a mall near a predominantly black megachurch and “dominated by African American shoppers.” Millar wrote in 2014:

Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election. Per Jim Galloway of the [Atlanta Journal-Constitution], this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist . Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea – what a surprise. I’m sure Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb.

Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will open when the mall opens? If this happens, so much for the accepted principle of separation of church and state.

He later added: “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”

Doug Preisse

Doug Preisse, the chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County, Ohio, the home of Columbus, plainly admitted in the run-up to the 2012 election why he believed the state should curb early voting hours: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter turnout machine.”

The state party chairman later defended Preisse by explaining that his statement wasn’t meant to be on the record.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is currently running for president, signed legislation in 2014 that cut early voting and eliminated same-day registration in his state.”

Jim Greer

In 2012, after stepping down as chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Jim Greer told the Palm Beach Post that GOP strategists are committed to restricting voting access in order to hurt Democrats and simply use the menace of voter fraud as “a marketing ploy.”

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.

“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told The Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only. … ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’ ” Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants.

“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”

Another Republican leader in the state, Wayne Bertsch, told the newspaper that Republicans used voting curbs to undercut the Democratic vote .

Don Yelton

One GOP official in North Carolina, Don Yelton, was quite candid about why he thought the state should enact voter restrictions.

“This law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt,” he said. “If it hurts a bunch of college kids that’s too lazy to get up off their bohunkus and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.”

As captured in 2013 in an incredible interview with The Daily Show:

While Yelton eventually resigned from his position while still standing behind his remarks, that wasn’t much of a comfort to the thousands of North Carolina voters who could lose their ability to vote thanks to recent voting restrictions, despite the fact that “North Carolina officials made just two referrals of cases of voter impersonation fraud out of 35 million votes cast in primary and general federal elections between 2000 and 2014.”

But hey, at least he’s honest.

Coulter: Trump The Only Candidate Who Will Stop Changes In The 'Demographics Of The Country'

Prominent Donald Trump supporter Ann Coulter joined conservative Wisconsin radio host and Trump critic Charlie Sykes yesterday to discuss the GOP frontrunner in advance of the state’s presidential primary.

Coulter dismissed Sykes’ criticisms of Trump, saying that the candidate’s interview with Chris Matthews in which he called for punishing women who have abortions was “fabulous”; brushing off Trump’s frequent interactions with racists on Twitter as “one dumb retweet”; and saying that the $1.9 billion in free media that Trump has gotten isn’t actually helping him because “this alleged free media has been free attack ads on him.”

When Sykes implored her to convince Trump to talk more about policy, Coulter insisted that “they” — presumably the media — don’t want to talk about Trump’s policies because his central policy is “not changing the entire demographics of the country so that no Republican or conservative can ever be elected again.”

“No, they will not talk about his policy,” she said, “because his policies, which is what I’d like to talk about, there’s no one else who has these policies. I think the most important issue now is not changing the entire demographics of the country so that no Republican or conservative can ever be elected again.”

Ron Johnson Is Taking His SCOTUS Talking Points Straight From Right-Wing Groups

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of the Republican senators who is under considerable pressure in his home state to break from his party leadership and consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

So far, Johnson has toed the party line and says that he supports blocking any nominee to the Supreme Court for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. In defending this position, he has turned to a number of stock talking points cooked up by right-wing groups seeking to keep an Obama nominee off the Supreme Court.

As soon as President Obama announced his nomination of Garland, Johnson turned to the talking point that the conservative Judicial Crisis Network has been promoting since soon after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

Johnson’s appeal to let the American people “decide” and give them a “voice” by discounting President Obama’s entire last year in office, comes straight out of the messaging that JCN started hammering in early ads urging obstruction. In JCN’s first ad, a narrator says:

It’s ‘We the People.’ Sometimes the politicians forget that. The Supreme Court has a vacancy and your vote in November is your only voice. Sen. Chuck Grassley agrees: the American people should decide. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about your voice. You choose the next president, the next president chooses the next justice. Call Sen. Chuck Grassley. Thank him for letting the people decide.

Of course, the people already did have a voice in choosing who would pick the next Supreme Court justice when they reelected President Obama for a second four-year term in 2012.

The New York Times reported yesterday on an event in Wisconsin at which Johnson attempted to justify the Senate GOP’s obstructionism by implying that the Constitution’s requirement of “advice and consent” can mean the Senate advising the president not to make any judicial nomination at all:

“Yeah, I am hearing the drumbeat, ‘Do your job! Do your job!’ ” Mr. Johnson said, invoking the Democrats’ battle cry in their quest to get Judge Garland a hearing. “We’re doing our job,” Mr. Johnson declared, to shouts of “yes.”

“Our job as a coequal branch in the nomination process is advise and consent,” he said. “Well, President Obama — surprise — didn’t heed our advice. So now we are doing the second part of that advice and consent: We’re withholding our consent. Completely appropriate.”

This is a talking point that Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, a longtime right-wing player in judicial fights, pioneered very soon after the death of Justice Scalia, when he told televangelist Pat Robertson, “The Senate has a role in this, the Constitution says ‘advice and consent.’ The advice here is, ‘Don’t put up a nominee when you’re only going to be the president, you’re a lame duck and you’re only going to be the president for 11 months.’”

We don’t think that refusing to even consider a Supreme Court nominee is what the founders had in mind when they gave the Senate the power of “advice and consent," which is why the GOP leadership’s decision to have the Senate do absolutely nothing in response to a Supreme Court nomination is unprecedented.

According to the Times article, Johnson has also taken to saying that Garland is “hostile” to the Second Amendment:

“Judge Merrick is hostile to your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Mr. Johnson said in Pewaukee, using the judge’s first name. “So I am doing my job to protect the Second Amendment rights of Wisconsinites.”

Johnson’s use of the word “hostile” is no accident. The phrase “hostile to the Second Amendment” is what right-wing groups have settled on to describe Garland’s utterly benign record on gun rights. That’s the exact phrase that the National Rifle Association has been using in its effort to stir up opposition to Garland’s nomination. The “hostile” term seems to have come from an opposition research package put together by the Judicial Crisis Network, which in turn seems to have borrowed the phrase from a 2007 article in the NRA’s magazine.

We outlined last week why the Second Amendment “hostility” argument is bunk.

Senate Republicans seem to have ceded not only their governing, but the very words that come out of their mouths, to right-wing obstructionist groups.

Ron Johnson's Revisionist History

Johnson's explanation for why he wanted to delay work on filling the 7th Circuit vacancy isn't consistent with the historical record.
PFAW

Unlike Senate GOP, Obama Continues to Do His Job on Judges

The White House continues to make judicial nominations that Senate Republicans should responsibly consider and vote on.
PFAW

Martin Sheen Calls Out Ron Johnson For Putting Partisanship Ahead of the Constitution

In a robocall released today by People For the American Way, Wisconsinites are hearing from Martin Sheen about Senator Ron Johnson’s obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominees. The recording, which is being delivered to activists in Wisconsin, asks voters to contact Senator Johnson and demand that he fulfill his constitutional duty to give fair consideration to President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

“There’s no question that Senator Johnson is putting partisanship above the Constitution,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way. “The Supreme Court shouldn’t be held hostage to the same partisan gridlock that’s brought Congress to a halt. Ron Johnson should stop playing politics with the law and make clear that he’ll push for the Senate to give fair consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. We’re thrilled that Martin Sheen is willing to lend his voice to this campaign, and we’re looking forward to working with our activists to hold GOP senators accountable for their obstruction.”

You can listen to the call here:

A transcript of the recording reads:

Hi, I’m Martin Sheen, calling on behalf of People For the American Way.

Our Constitution is very clear about what happens when a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court. It says the President shall nominate a new judge, and that the Senate will give that nominee fair consideration.

As you’ve heard, Republicans are playing politics with our Constitution and with the Supreme Court. Senator Ron Johnson has said he doesn’t think that Congress should even give a fair hearing to anyone nominated by President Obama.

That’s irresponsible, and it puts partisanship above the law.

Call Senator Johnson at (202) 224-5323, and tell him you expect him to put his Constitutional duties first—and give fair consideration to President Obama’s nominee.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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Latinos Vote! Dolores Huerta’s Four-State Tour with PFAW

Over a two-week span, People For the American Way (PFAW) staff and volunteers joined PFAW board member Dolores Huerta for a four-state tour to get out the vote in Latino communities and push back against anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric and policies of Republican presidential candidates.

Huerta attended the last two Republican debates, spreading the message that all of the Republican candidates stand firmly against the priorities of working families and Latino communities. At the start of our tour, leading up to the debate in Colorado at the end of October, Huerta joined Colorado Latino leaders and voters to discuss how the Republican candidates are out of line with Colorado Latinos.

latin life denver

latin life denver

Huerta also spoke at a rally that thousands attended. As Suzanne Gamboa at NBC News reported:

“Huerta planned to participate in an event with other Latino leaders Wednesday afternoon to launch a voter registration campaign and protest rhetoric of the campaign and some proposals she considered to be anti-Latino.

[…]"The Republican candidates are not really reflecting or even addressing the needs of the Latino community or American families," Huerta said in an phone interview with NBC News.

After Colorado, Huerta traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to get out the vote leading up to municipal elections and to call out North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for signing the severely anti-immigrant HB 318.

After her third radio interview of the morning – which also happened to be the day before Halloween – Huerta posed with the radio hosts of Charlotte’s La Raza 106.1.

la raza

Huerta joined Charlotte voters and activists to deliver an “award” to Gov. McCrory for his ability to disguise himself as a friend of immigrants and then to turn his back on the community.

charlotte

After Charlotte, Huerta joined PFAW staff and volunteers to get out the vote in Virginia. PFAW had already begun laying the groundwork in Virginia with Spanish-language ads encouraging voters to head to the polls on Election Day.

The Washington Post’s write-up of the ad included this explanation from PFAW’s Carlos A. Sanchez:

“By highlighting in Spanish how local and national Republican politicians from [former Virginia gubernatorial candidate] Ken Cuccinelli to Donald Trump have demonized immigrants, our ad urges voters to stand up against them by going to the polls."

While on the ground, Huerta mobilized voters and volunteers in State Senate District 29 to support Democrat Jeremy McPike.

Our efforts paid off, as McPike won his race!

To wrap up our four-state tour, Huerta traveled to Wisconsin leading up to the Republican debate there. PFAW joined with Voces de la Frontera Action to shed light on the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino policies of all the Republican candidates.

dolores press conf

Huerta also joined with allies for a Fight for $15 rally urging politicians to support a $15 minimum wage. Watch Huerta discuss her efforts on local CBS.

The 4-state tour is a part of PFAW’s Latinos Vote! program. Stay tuned for more updates on our work!

PFAW

Dolores Huerta, Wisconsin Latino Leaders and Community Members Speak Out Against GOP Candidates’ Dangerous Agenda

Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) board member and civil rights legend Dolores Huerta joined Voces de la Frontera Action leaders and members for a press conference to address how the Republican candidates onstage tonight are driving an extreme agenda that’s out of line with Wisconsin families and Latino communities across the country.

People For the American Way board member and civil rights legend Dolores Huerta stated:

“When we think of people like Rubio and Cruz, they may have a Spanish last name, but they're attacking immigrants, working people, and our communities.

“The Republican candidates are going down the wrong path with all of these attacks they’re making on our community. They’re against raising the minimum wage, against fighting climate change, even though families are struggling and global warming is going to affect every one of us.”

Voces de la Frontera Action Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz stated:

“Who sits in the presidency will either expand President Obama’s executive actions that protect families or promote policies of hatred. We’re committed to exposing Republicans’ mass deportation policies. We condemn not just Trump, but candidates such as Marco Rubio who affirmed once again that he would repeal DACA and deport DREAMers. The Republican candidates are appealing to voters based on bigotry.

“We’re also celebrating a local victory today: [Immigrants and all people in Milwaukee] can apply for a Milwaukee County ID, helping them feel more welcome in our communities. This victory is thanks to Latinos and other voters who elected progressives. And it reflects a shift in public support for immigrant rights,  that’s not reflected in this Republican presidential primary. The Republicans are on the wrong side of history.

“We’re committed to getting out the Latino vote, as it’ll be decisive in Wisconsin elections. Latinos vote for those who are denied the right to vote, for keeping families united, for economic justice.”

Dolores Huerta is available for follow-up interviews throughout the day. To schedule one, please contact Laura Epstein (lepstein@pfaw.org).

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David Clarke Calls Obama A 'Heartless, Soulless Bastard' For Sticking Up For 'Goons' Like Freddie Gray And Eric Garner

David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County and a rising media star on the Right, claimed yesterday that President Obama is a “heartless, soulless bastard” because he has spoken out about “goons” and “criminal creep[s]” who have been killed by law enforcement officers, falsely claiming that the president had not spoken out about the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer.

Clarke launched into the rant on his weekly program on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze radio network, declaring that “black-on-black crime is a human rights abuse and should be investigated as such by the United Nations” and that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States,” not police brutality.

He lit into a New York judge who had sentenced the police officer’s killer to rehab rather than prison time for a recent drug crime, calling her a “criminal-coddling, criminal-advocating, empathy-for-the-criminal, despicable human being.”

“By the way, we still have not heard from President Obama, that heartless, soulless bastard who wastes no time taking to the microphone to stick up for a criminal creep like Mike Brown, like Eric Garner, like Freddie Gray, like Trayvon Martin and communicating empathy for those goons and yet he has to be prodded, he has to be prodded to say something when a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty,” Clarke continued. In fact, Obama spoke about the slain officer, Randolph Holder, to a gathering of police chiefs last week.

GOP Congressman: Planned Parenthood Unnecessary Because 'As A Guy' I Have Plenty Of Options

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., perhaps best encapsulated today’s House hearing grilling Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards when he told Richards that her organization’s services aren’t necessary because “as a guy” he has plenty of health care options in his home state.

Grothman, who presumably receives very good health insurance through his job as a member of Congress, told Richards that “when I look at cities around me that have a Planned Parenthood clinic … usually in those cities, as a guy, I could go to many clinics locally that have all the machines that one would need, all these clinics as far as I know take Medicaid dollars, so you could go to any of those clinics to get any medical service you could.”

“I guess what I’m getting at is if Planned Parenthood disappeared tomorrow in those towns, there would still be three or four or five clinics or hospitals providing all the … medical care you would want,” he said.

Grothman then claimed that Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income people, is “superior care” to private insurance because “without the deductibles and copays it’s usually better insurance than other people have.” Grothman has previously claimed that people who use the public safety net are fleecing taxpayers by living luxuriously.

Richards reminded Grothman that Planned Parenthood’s 22 health centers in Wisconsin serve 65,000 people a year. The claim that other health care providers could easily absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients if it was forced to stop providing care is simply false, especially since many of the supposed “replacement” clinics Planned Parenthood’s critics point to don’t have reproductive health care expertise.

Sensenbrenner: If We Fund Planned Parenthood, How Will We Feed Starving Children?

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, used his time at today’s House hearing on Planned Parenthood to demand that the single pro-choice witness at the hearing choose between federal funding of Planned Parenthood’s preventative health care services for low-income women and “feeding starving children.”

“Could you please tell us why Planned Parenthood needs to get over half a billion dollars of federal funding every year when there are other pressing needs, such as feeding hungry children, that maybe we should put that money into?” Sensenbrenner asked Yale Law School’s Priscilla Smith.

“I’d like to know what your priority is,” he repeated, “Planned Parenthood or feeding hungry children?”

When Smith noted that Planned Parenthood’s services, such as affordable contraception, STI testing and cancer screenings, help the “mothers of those children,” Sensenbrenner was baffled.

“How can they be the mothers of the children when children are aborted through Planned Parenthood?” he asked.

Scott Walker's Black Lives Matter Adviser Calls Movement 'Black Slime'

At the first Republican presidential debate last month, the Fox News moderators asked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker about the Black Lives Matter movement. As we noted at the time, Walker’s answer seemed bland but contained a coded message for regular Fox News viewers : that he had discussed the issue “many times” with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a frequent Fox News guest who specializes in denying racial disparities in the criminal justice system and in criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clarke took his criticism of Black Lives Matter to a new low this weekend when, as a guest on Fox News, he blamed the movement for the recent shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Houston, saying, “I’m tired of hearing people call these people black activists, they’re not activists, this is black slime and it needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture.”

He urged viewers to push back “against this slime, this filth” and “these ugly people.”

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