Miranda Blue's blog

Right-Wing Pundit: Ferguson Not About Racism In US Because Africa Had Slavery Too

The right-wing media has begun stoking outrage about a speech that Vanita Gupta, acting head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, gave in Denver this week, in which she pointed out that the mistrust of police seen in places like Ferguson and Baltimore is “in part the product of historical awareness about the role that police have played in enforcing and perpetuating slavery, the Black Codes, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.”

Hans von Spakovsky, the Bush-era Justice Department attorney who now uses his post at the Heritage Foundation to raise the alarm about supposed widespread “voter fraud,” is among those who were terribly offended by Gupta’s remarks. In an interview with Indiana talk radio host Greg Garrison yesterday, von Spakovsky said Gupta’s comments were ridiculous because slavery ended 150 years ago and in any case the United States abolished slavery “long before it disappeared in Africa.”

“Yeah, the people who intentionally and knowingly went out and lit fires and broke windows and looted, they’re doing that because of a practice that ended, what, 150 years ago, slavery, something they’ve never experienced. No, that’s the reasons for that, not intentional wrong behavior,” he said sarcastically, falsely implying that Gupta was excusing violence and arson.

“But you can get a liberal to buy that stuff because it puts them where they want to be, it gives them a reason to be mad at the white guy, to be mad at the country,” Garrison interjected, adding that liberals love “besmirching the founding fathers” even though “most of them got rid of [their slaves] and it was over in 70 years.”

“Of course, you realize what they don’t ever want to talk about, the fact that slavery was an institution in Africa,” von Spakovsky continued. “Tribes there enslaved other tribes, tribes there actually made huge amounts of money in the slave trade, and we actually, I think, got rid of it long before it disappeared in Africa.”

“It was the United States [that] declared slavery and fought a war to stop it,” Garrison agreed. “Nobody else did that. I didn’t see Africa doing that!”

“Wouldn’t it be fun to be a liberal, where you didn’t have to have any connection, where you didn’t have to have any historical perspective and you could just sort of make stuff up as you went along?” Garrison added.

Far-Right Tea Party Candidate Poised To Win GOP Gubernatorial Nomination In Kentucky

Matt Bevin, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully challenged Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary, is now leading in a tight race for the Republican nomination for governor. An early count has Bevin ahead by 83 votes after Tuesday's primary election, making it possible that he will become the newest GOP standard-bearer in the state.

While this is great news for the Tea Party, whom Bevin calls the new abolitionists and civil rights leaders, and for Glenn Beck, who thinks Bevin is a “founder quality” candidate, who has been “ called by God” for public office, it’s less good news for everyone else. One McConnell aide said that if Bevin, a political novice, were to become governor, “his only agenda would be the commissioning of his portrait.” But his record shows that he might have quite a bit more on his plate:

Far-Right Allegiances Bevin likes to boast that in 2004 he was so “fed up” with the Republican Party that he backed the presidential candidacy of Michael Peroutka, who was running on the Constitution Party ticket. Peroutka is a Christian Reconstructionist and southern secessionist who later served on the board of the racist League of the South. While campaigning for president in 2004, Peroutka said that he was “still angry” that his home state of Maryland didn’t join the Confederacy.

Gay Marriage Panic While campaigning against McConnell in 2014, Bevin warned that legalizing marriage for gay couples could lead to parent-child marriage, comments his campaign tried, somewhat unconvincingly, to walk back.

Anti-Contraception Stance Bevin won the endorsement of the extreme anti-choice group Northern Kentucky Right to Life last year after he said in a questionnaire that he would support a “personhood” amendment to the Constitution — which would ban all abortion and even some common forms of birth control — and work to prohibit Medicaid funding for birth control pills.

Health Care Extremism Bevin is such an opponent of the Affordable Care Act that he has vowed to reverse Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid under the law, a move that would take away the health insurance of 400,000 people. Kentucky has been one of the greatest success stories of Obamacare, experiencing what NPR calls “second-steepest drop in uninsured of any state.”

Cockfighting Bevin got plenty of negative publicity in his last campaign when it came to light that he had once spoken at a rally organized in support of legalizing cockfighting. Bevin later explained that while he opposes “animal cruelty” he supports “states’ rights” more. A Republican strategist told the New York Times that he expects the cockfighting issue to come up a lot in the general election should Bevin secure the nomination.

Ted Cruz Panders To Assassination-Threatening, Race-Baiting Gun Lobbyist Larry Pratt

Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.

The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.

While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.

GOA promotes an extreme, “no compromise” ideology that has helped to pull the NRA to the right and to sink any attempts at bipartisan gun law reform. But what is even more troubling is Pratt’s long history of pushing dangerous paranoia to the far right, encouraging firearms ownership as a way to stave off race riots and government takeovers and making frequent references to assassinating political leaders.

Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”

A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”

Pratt continues to promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.

On his radio show in March, Pratt said that he hoped President Obama would learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason in 1649:

In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “foolish” and having “a hissy fit.” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”

Pratt also pushes all manner of conspiracy theories regarding President Obama. He has claimed that Obama is building up a private security force within the Department of Homeland Security to use for his own purposes “if he can’t actually commandeer the military”; warned that Obama will enlist undocumented immigrants into a private “Praetorian guard” and advise police officers to go after people with conservative bumper stickers; said Obamacare will ultimately “take away your guns”; feared Obama is stockpiling “anti-personnel rounds” because he “seems to view the American people as the enemy”; claimed that Obama “had to steal” the 2012 presidential election and even buys into the fringe birther theory that holds that the president’s “real father” was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis.

Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.

In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.

Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”

And Pratt’s reprehensible politics don’t stop there. In the 1980s, he called for a quarantine of people with AIDS, saying, “We don’t think AIDS should have civil rights.” He opposes immigration reform because he says it will bring in people who will be “sitting around drawing welfare and voting Democrat” and who will support firearms restrictions.

Despite all this, Ted Cruz and apparently other Republican presidential candidates are choosing to pander to Pratt and his group’s members.

CWA Goes After 'Ruth Traitor Ginsburg' For Officiating Gay Couple's Wedding

We can now count Concerned Women for America among the groups that wants Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from the marriage cases at the Supreme Court because she has officiated weddings for gay couples.

CWA's president, Penny Nance, sent out a fundraising email this morning with the subject line “Ruth Traitor Ginsburg,” the treason in question apparently being Ginsburg’s officiating at a gay couple’s wedding this weekend.

Huckabee: Better To Have A Gun You Don't Know How To Use Than No Gun At All

At a campaign stop at an Iowa gun range yesterday, Mike Huckabee dismissed concerns about lax state requirements for gun permits, saying he wasn’t very worried about a permit-holder “not being as trained as they could be” because “a good guy armed is still better than a good guy unarmed.”

A reporter attending the event at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, asked Huckabee to comment on laws in Iowa that make it “relatively easy to get your permit to carry” without “actual hands-on training.”

“You know, I leave that to the states,” Huckabee said. “[I have] less worry about someone not being as trained as they could be, because I think ultimately a citizen who is going to arm themselves is going to want to avail themselves of significant training to become proficient. I mean, that just makes sense, for their own sake. But if they don’t, a good guy armed is still better than a good guy unarmed.”

He told the audience that he would hope permit holders would pursue extensive firearms training, “but that’s an individual responsibility, so I wouldn’t try to get in the way of what the state thinks is the right way to go about that.”

At the same event, Huckabee told another questioner that the government shouldn't restrict the ability of people to acquire military-grade weaponsThe comments were caught on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts.  

 

 

Gohmert: Bush Wouldn't Have Invaded Iraq Had He Known Obama Would Succeed Him And Fight For 'The Wrong Side'

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said yesterday that President Bush would have thought twice about invading Iraq if he had known that his successor would be “such a total incompetent leader” who is on “the wrong side” in the fight against terrorism.

In an interview with Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks, Gohmert said he opposed an effort led by Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia to pass a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the fight against ISIS, saying that “the president has all the authority he could possibly need” in the broad AUMF passed in 2001 and that the proposed new AUMF would “help tie his hands in ways a good president would not need.”

He added that the new AUMF, in addition to giving the president too little authority, would give the president too much authority. “I don’t trust this administration, I don’t want to give them any additional authority that Bush didn’t have,” he said.

“So, thank you very much, Mr. Kaine, but you need to tell your buddy in the Democratic Party to actually start fighting our enemies and quit helping our enemies and help our friends instead and quit worrying about a new AUMF,” Gohmert added. “He would be able to defeat ISIS if he just starts helping our friends and stops helping the enemies.”

“That AUMF, it’s a red herring, it’s a crock,” he continued. “The problem is the president’s on the wrong side. That’s the real problem.”

As Fredericks repeatedly tried to break in with a question, Gohmert continued his train of thought.

“I mean, seriously, John, you think a new AUMF is all of a sudden going to give us a president that will fight with the right people over there and win over there, really?

“Everybody else wants to ask that question of, ‘Gee, would you have gone into Iraq if you’d known what you know now?’ And I think if President Bush had known that he would have a total incompetent follow him that would not even be able to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq and start helping our enemies and just totally put the Middle East in chaos, then he would have to think twice about doing anything if he had known he would have such a total incompetent leader take over after him. That should be the question.”

Scott Walker To Anti-Choice Leaders: I Didn't Mean What I Said About Abortion Being Between 'A Woman And Her Doctor'

Last night, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker met with a few dozen social conservative leaders in Washington, including representatives of the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the National Organization for Marriage, attempting to win them to his side if he decides to run for president.

According to people who attended the meeting, one subject that came up was a TV ad Walker ran last year in which he promoted his efforts to chip away at abortion access in his state, which, he said, would still leave “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List, told the Weekly Standard that Walker explained to her that in the ad he was “using the language of the other side to support our own position” and that people who said he was trying to paint himself as more pro-choice than he was were quoting him “out of context”:

Walker's pro-life credentials have been questioned by one Republican rival because of a 2014 Walker TV ad in which the governor defended laws regulating abortion as “legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

According to Dannenfelser, Walker brought up the ad during Tuesday's meeting and "explained his perspective on that — that using the language of the other side to support our own position is a good thing, but you can only do it if people aren't trying to call you out and quoting you out of context. And I actually liked the way he formulated this in general."

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Dannenfelser said that it’s just this sort of evasiveness on abortion rights that she’d like to see from other anti-choice GOP candidates:

Dannenfelser said Walker brought up his 2014 abortion ad before being asked.

“He felt very quoted out of context, very misunderstood,” she said. “He said there was a snippet of the ad used that did not convey the full meaning, and his communication was using the other side’s language but with the idea of forging common ground on ultrasound, because he’s a true believer on that.”

Walker signed legislation in 2013 requiring both that women seeking abortions get ultrasounds first and that the doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Dannenfelser said he defended his use of the phrase “leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor” as a way of co-opting pro-choice rhetoric for the pro-life cause.

“To the extent that we use the other side’s rhetoric to undermine their positions, we’re better off,” Dannenfelser added.

She said she was impressed with Walker’s way of talking about abortion.

“It’s the whole style of communication and content of communication that you want to see moving into a presidential cycle that will make it different from 2012,” she said.

Here's Walker's "Decision" ad:

Jindal: Protecting LGBT Rights Will Hurt Businesses In The Long Run

Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins yesterday that the corporations that oppose his recent anti-LGBT executive action “are making a big mistake” by abandoning their “traditional alliance” with social conservatives and “teaming up with the left’s radical social agenda” on LGBT rights.

After a Louisiana House committee voted down a proposed “religious liberty” bill that would have given for-profit corporations the right to discriminate against same-sex couples, Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order yesterday protecting such discrimination. As has been the case in similar fights around the country, some of the staunchest opponents of Louisiana’s “religious liberty” bill were corporations that feared it would hurt their ability to recruit employees.

In an interview with Perkins on his “Washington Watch” program, Jindal said that Republican presidential candidates need to make promoting the freedom to discriminate a priority “because the left has made their assault on religious liberty a priority” and if they succeed, America is “going to lose the freedoms that are so fundamental,” including the freedom of speech and of association.

Jindal told Perkins that Republicans should avoid being “the party of big business,” but at the same time told pro-LGBT corporations that Republicans would do their bidding on issues such as environmental regulations and labor laws.

“One of the things, Tony, we’ve got to be on guard against, sometimes big business has allied itself with the radical left — you saw it in Indiana, you saw it in Arkansas, you saw a little bit of it here in Louisiana — against religious liberty,” he said. “They’re making a big mistake. The radical left, they want to tax and regulate businesses out of existence, they’re not for profit. So these businesses need to be careful. Economic liberty is the other side of the coin of religious liberty, two sides of the same coin.”

Perkins agreed, saying, “the left is not going to help them when it comes to the environmental blockades when they try to expand, or the labor laws and issues that they deal with. In many ways, I see big business, by teaming up with the left’s radical social agenda, they’re cutting the path of expansion and prosperity out from underneath themselves.”

“Absolutely, it’s very short-sighted, these politically correct, these short-term alliances,” Jindal responded. “And then you wake up. Because you’re exactly right, the same radical left that doesn’t want Keystone, doesn’t want to lower the corporate tax rates, the same radical left that wants the EPA to strangle our economy, that also wants to pursue radical environmental agendas that will make energy more expensive, more scarce at home, this is the same left that corporate America has gotten into bed with.

“It’s an unholy, unnatural alliance, is what I’ve argued. They should remember they need to go back to fighting for liberty and freedom and understand that the two of them always go together. And that has been the traditional alliance, and I think that’s what we need to get back to.”

Earlier in the interview, Jindal claimed that LGBT rights proponents are at war with religion, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution:

One of the greatest threats to our freedom is the area of religious liberty. The left clearly wants to erode the right to religious liberty guaranteed in the First Amendment, and that’s the basis of our freedom of speech and freedom of association rights. The left wants to erase these firmly held religious beliefs they don’t agree with. Their battle’s not just with us, it’s with the Bill of Rights, it’s with the United States Constitution.

Anti-Choice Leader Admits Rape Exceptions Are 'Political,' Goal Is To Outlaw All Abortion 'From Conception'

A long-simmering debate within the anti-choice movement about whether anti-choice bills should contain exceptions for survivors of rape and incest emerged yet again in the recent debate over a House bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, had been bogged down twice in the past two years with internal disputes over a rape exception, and finally passed last week with a limited rape exception that included a 48-hour waiting period.

The bill’s rape exception split the anti-choice movement, which has been divided between “incrementalists” who want to ban abortion by gradually chipping away at access and legal protections and “immediatists” who want to swiftly declare that fertilized eggs and fetuses have the full rights of “personhood” under the 14th Amendment.

While some personhood leaders opposed the bill because of the rape exception, the main incrementalist groups, which oppose rape exceptions in principle but not necessarily in practice, lobbied behind the scenes to limit the rape exception while publicly supporting the final bill.

One of those groups was the Susan B. Anthony List, whose president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, spoke candidly about the political calculations behind rape exceptions in an interview Saturday with the Iowa conservative radio program Caffeinated Thoughts.

“Regrettably, there is a rape and incest exception” in the bill, she said. “It is the only way it was going to be allowed onto the floor by the leadership. I mean, I say regrettable, I really mean it. Any child at any stage should be protected from conception, and certainly at 20 weeks excepting anyone is just wrong.”

Host Shane Vander Hart told her that while he’d “love to see abortion completely outlawed and see some sort of a personhood amendment or a human life amendment,” he thought the 20-week ban did “move the ball forward.”

“Well, that’s why this is big,” Dannenfelser responded, adding that the 20-week bill shifted the debate to “talking about the child and his or her rights.”

Later in the interview, the program’s cohost Brian Myers asked Dannenfelser what it would take to make the GOP leadership realize that rape exceptions are “intellectually…inconsistent with the pro-life position.”

“It’s going to take winning,” she responded, citing anti-choice victories in the 2014 elections where “we had unapologetic pro-life people who didn’t talk about rape and incest.”

“I believe that it’s going to take winning the presidency for there to be a little more injection of courage, which will be required to understand the consistency of life that you’re describing,” she said.

“Do you think that at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about for a lot of those politicians, that they realize [rape exceptions are] an inconsistent position to take but they take it because they think it’s a political reality?” Myers asked.

“Yes. I think that’s why,” Dannenfelser agreed. “I think that they think they can’t get, that they will lose if they don’t. Most of them don’t believe in it in principle. Some do, which, as you say, is completely intellectually dishonest, but most of them don’t. And I think that sometimes, especially when you’re in that insular world on Capitol Hill that’s not in touch with reality, you make sacrifices that you don’t need to make.”

“I think you’re right,” she added. “It’s a political judgement. It’s not a principled judgement. And I think they made the wrong judgement, but we would have no bill at all and no 15,000 children saved if we had not allowed it to move forward with the exception.”

Interestingly, Dannenfelser held up Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as an example of “a joyful warrior going in there and boldly arguing” on the issue. Graham has said he’s “always had exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest,” even while acknowledging that opponents of exceptions are being “intellectually consistent.” She also recently wrote a glowing profile of presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who favors such exceptions.

Trent Franks: 20-Week Abortion Ban Will Make Americans Realize Legal Abortion Is Like Slavery

In an interview with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins this weekend, Rep. Trent Franks acknowledged that his 20-week abortion ban, which passed in the House last week, is meant to “completely undermine” Roe v. Wade, and hoped that it would help Americans “realize that as a country, we’ve been here before,” when “African Americans were considered property.”

Franks, an Arizona Republican, lamented that the bill that passed last week included a limited exception for survivors of rape and incest. The exception was first added to the bill in 2013 after Franks implied in a hearing that rape rarely results in pregnancy; a planned vote on the bill in January was scuttled after a group of Republican women raised concerns that the rape exception required women to report assaults to the police. After months of negotiations, the reporting requirement was removed from the bill but a 48-hour waiting period and other hurdles were restored in its place.

“Now, many of your listeners, including this one, Tony, would do everything that we could to protect all unborn children, and the only thing that we would ever say should be an exception to taking the life of a child would be to save another life, which is, you know, a very, very unusual situation,” Franks told Perkins.

But, he added, including the exceptions was all in service of the larger goal of launching a legal attack to undermine Roe v. Wade and making Americans realize that legal abortion is like slavery.

“But the point is, if we protect these children, now we begin to really examine, once again, the development and the humanity and the pain-capable nature of these children to where I think it gives us a chance to completely undermine the Roe v. Wade structure and to realize that as a country, we’ve been here before,” he said.

“We were here, African Americans were considered property, and somehow we rose up as a nation and turned back that evil. And now by the grace of God we’re going to turn back the evil of killing little children before they’re born.”

Franks has previously insisted that African Americans were better off under slavery than with legal abortion.
 

Syndicate content