Keith Ellison

Keith Ellison smacks down George Will with his own words from 2006 on NSA spying

Keith Ellison speaks to ABC News

Keith Ellison speaks to ABC News

The Raw Story

When conservative columnist George Will suggested on Sunday that a recent National Security Agency (NSA) scandal was made worse because President Barack Obama could not be trusted, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) was ready with column Will had written in 2006 to make the point that it was not just an “Obama problem.”

During a panel discussion on ABC News, Will linked the NSA’s practice of collecting the phone records of millions of Americans with a so-called “scandal” involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups.

“This is where the IRS scandal metastasizes into a national security scandal,” Will opined. “Because I’m sure I’m not the only American saying — looking at the NSA information gathering and saying, ‘Well, this would really be a problem if we had the kind of government that, say, unleashes the IRS on political opponents. Oh, come to think about it, we do have that kind of government.’ And, therefore, the willingness to trust the executive branch is today minimal and should be.”

At that point, Ellison reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out Will’s 2006 columnexcoriating President George W. Bush’s administration for using the NSA to spy on Americans’ phone calls without a warrant and without congressional oversight.

“Besides, terrorism is not the only new danger of this era,” Will wrote. “Another is the administration’s argument that because the president is commander-in-chief, he is the ‘sole organ for the nation in foreign affairs.’”

“You were talking about George Bush as that time,” Ellison pointed out. “You know, George, I actually don’t disagree with much you said. My only problem is, you can’t make this an Obama problem. This is an executive problem.”

Watch this ABC’s This Week, broadcast June 9, 2013.

 

Sean Hannity Launches Islamophobic Attack Against Keith Ellison

It appears Rep. Keith Ellison was right about Sean Hannity.

Hannity’s behavior and attack on Ellison, a few days after a heated exchange between the two is just like Ellison’s description of Hannity’s on-air dramatics.

Think Progress

Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity launched an Islampophobic attack against Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) during his Fox News show on Thursday night, implying that the Muslim Congressman is a racist and an anti-Semite. The segment came just days after Ellison and Hannity engaged in a  confrontational interview on Tuesday night. “We decided to take a closer look at the man who called me immoral and a liar,” Hannity began. “Now it didn’t take long to prove his hypocrisy, as his past reveals a host of radical connections primarily to Louis Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam.”

The Fox host dug up attacks from Ellison’s 2006 Congressional campaign, criticizing the Minnesota lawmaker for defending Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in his law school newspaper from charges of anti-Semitism and appearing on stage with Farrakhan aide Khalid Muhammad.

Watch it:

In the late 1990s, Ellison worked with the group to organize the Million Man March, but apologized for failing to “adequately scrutinize the positions and statements” of the Nation of Islam and Farrakhan six years ago in a letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

“I wrongly dismissed concerns that they were anti-Semitic,” he wrote, adding, “They were and are anti-Semitic and I should have come to that conclusion earlier than I did.” “I have long since distanced myself from and rejected the Nation of Islam due to its propagation of bigoted and anti-Semitic ideas and statements, as well as other issues.”

After the accusations first surfaced in 2006, Ellison’s Jewish law school colleagues said that “they never got the impression that Ellison himself was anti-Semitic” and American Jewish World, the newspaper for Minnesota’s Jewish community, endorsed him.

The Jewish Community Relations Council has since defended him from anti-Muslim attacks. “Representative Ellison is a friend to the Jewish community and we have enjoyed a strong working relationship with him since he assumed office in 2007,” the group said in a statement released last year.

UPDATE 

At one point during the segment, while discussing Khalid Muhammad, Hannity asked, “What is the difference, I mean, do we have somebody then in Congress that is the equivalent of one side of what the Klan is?”

UPDATE 

After Ellison was sworn in on the Quran in 2006, Hannity compared it to Mein Kampf: “[Y]ou know, would you have allowed him to choose, you know, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible? In other words, where does this stop? Is there any limitations whatsoever?”

UPDATE 

Religious leaders are coming to Ellison’s defense. Here is Rabbi Marc Schneier, president and Co-founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding: “Congressman Ellison has been a valued friend to the American Jewish community. He has been a partner in strengthening Muslim Jewish relations. As an example, he was responsible for organizing the letter by Muslim Americans to Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas, in demanding the release of Gilad Shalit.”

10 Examples Of Sean Hannity Saying Things That Aren’t True

Media Matters

Fox News’ Sean Hannity brushed aside Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) assertion that Hannity was “immoral” for “saying things that aren’t true.” Yet Hannity has a long history of using his Fox News program to push false and misleading claims.

Hannity Dismisses Claim That He Says “Things That Aren’t True”

Hannity Dismisses Ellison’s Claim That He Is “Immoral” For “Saying Things That Aren’t True.” On the February 27 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity replayed part of his February 26 interview with Ellison. During the exchange, Ellison responded to Hannity’s question about the federal debt being “immoral” by saying, “You are immoral for telling lies.” Hannity asked, “I’m immoral? What did I do that’s immoral?” Ellison responded, “You tell mistruths. You say things that aren’t true.” Speaking before the clip was aired, Hannity said Ellison “at times, seemed incoherent” and “really started grasping at straws.” After the clip was aired, Hannity said to guest J.C. Watts, “I just gave him the rope and said, go. Here you go, rant away.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/27/13]

Hannity Has A History Of Pushing False And Misleading Reports

10. Hannity Hyped RNC’s Doctored Audio Of Supreme Court Arguments. Hannity uncritically aired a Republican National Committee (RNC) ad that used audio from Supreme Court oral arguments to attack health care reform — but the audio used in the ad was dishonestly edited. [Media Matters3/30/12]

9. Hannity Distorted CBO Data To Attack Obama. Hannity claimed that a January 2012 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showed that if Obama were to win a second term, taxes would “go up 30 percent.” In fact, the report only stated that taxes would increase at such a rate if all the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire. [Media Matters2/2/12]

8. Hannity Falsely Claimed A White House Adviser “Advocated Compulsory Abortion.” Hannity claimed that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren “advocated compulsory abortion” and sterilization. PolitiFact had previously rated a similar claim — made months earlier by Fox News’ Glenn Beck — “pants on fire” false. [Media Matters9/9/09]

7. Hannity Falsely Claimed Obama Called The Death Of Four Americans “Just A Bump In The Road.” Hannity claimed that Obama referred to the death of four Americans in the September 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi as “just a bump in the road.” In fact, Obama was referring to the difficulties Arab countries were facing in transitioning from autocratic rule to democracy. [Media Matters9/25/12]

6. Hannity Spread False Report That Egypt Was Considering Necrophilia Bill. Hannity hyped a thinly-sourced report from an Egyptian newspaper to claim that the Egyptian government was considering a law that would allow a husband to have sex with his dead wife. The Christian Science Monitor called the story “utter hooey,” and multiple sources later debunked the claim. [Media Matters4/30/12; Huffington Post, 4/26/12]

5. Hannity’s Special On “Liberal Bias” Featured Wildly Distorted And Out-Of-Context Quotes. Hannity’s “Behind the Bias” special, in which he purported to investigate the “bias” of “the mainstream media,” featured multiple deceptively cropped quotes. For example, he played a clip purporting to show that Katie Couric called President Ronald Reagan “an airhead”; in fact, Couric was citing a conclusion from a biography of Reagan. [Media Matters4/24/11]

4. Hannity Cast Doubt On Scientific Consensus About Climate Change. Even though the overwhelming majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and is likely caused or exacerbated by human activity, Hannity has repeatedly denied or cast doubt on the existence of climate change. [Media Matters12/4/091/13/108/27/1011/19/106/24/11]

3. Hannity Fueled Myth That Obama Is A Muslim. During a segment in March 2011 in which he fueled the smear that Obama was not born in the U.S., Hannity claimed that Obama “went to a Muslim school.” In March 2012, while claiming that he was “not doubting [Obama's] faith,” Hannity said, “[L]ook, he did write about his early years, that he did study the Quran, that one of the most beautiful moments in life was prayer at sunset. So, I mean, he does have that background.” [Media Matters3/24/113/21/12]

2. Hannity Fed The Birther Movement. Hannity repeatedly fed the long-standing smear that Obama was not born in the United States, even after Obama released his birth certificate and multiple fact-checkers debunked the smear. Hannity denied that Obama had shown his birth certificate and once falsely claimed that Obama “grew up in Kenya.” [Media Matters3/28/114/20/12]

1. Hannity Ignored Overwhelming Evidence To Repeatedly Claim Obama‘s Policies Have Not HelpedImprove The Economy. Hannity has repeatedly claimed that President Obama’s policies have not improved the economy. In fact, numerous economists and independent analysts have noted that many of Obama’s policy achievements, such as the stimulus, have benefited the economy: GDP is growing rather than contracting as it was at the end of 2008, and the economy has added millions of jobs. [Media Matters1/13/107/14/112/2/12]

 

Democratic Congressman Destroys GOP Hypocrisy On Looming Budget Cuts

Think Progress

On ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) called out Tom Cole (R-OK) for his claim that President Obama is responsible for the automatic budget cuts set to go into effect if Congress cannot reach a budget deal by March. The so-called “sequester” includes steep defense cuts intended to motivate Republicans who refused to agree to any deal that included a tax increase in 2011.

When Cole tried to pin the cuts on Obama, Ellison reminded him that Cole himself voted for the Budget Control Act that created the sequester:

COLE: I think it is inevitable. This was a presidential suggestion back in 2011, an idea. And yet the president himself hasn’t put out any alternatives.Republicans twice in the House have passed legislation to deal with it, once as early as last May and again after the election in December. Senate never picked up either of those bills, never offered their own thing. Now we’re three weeks out, and folks are worried. They ought to be worried. On the other hand, these cuts are going to occur. [...]

ELLISON: Well, Tom, the problem with saying this is the president’s idea is that you voted for the Budget Control Act. I voted against it. We wouldn’t have ever been talking about the Budget Control Act but for your party refused to negotiate on the debt ceiling something that has been routinely increased as the country needed it. You used that occasion in 2011 August to basically say we are going to default on the country’s obligations or you’re going to give us dramatic spending cuts. That’s how we got to the Budget Control Act.

Watch it:

As Ellison points out, Republican lawmakers brought the country to the brink of default while trying to extract devastating spending cuts from Democrats. The Budget Control Act was an eleventh hour deal to avoid an economic shutdown. Even so, the debt ceiling fight resulted in the nation’s first ever credit downgrade and $18.9 billion in wasted taxpayer dollars.

Essential government programs are already feeling the effects of the Budget Control Act; domestic spending in food safety, education, Social Security, and poverty assistance programs has plummeted to historic lows thanks to the act’s future spending caps. If Congress cannot come to an agreement by March, even more cuts will further cripple these already vulnerable programs.

 

Replacing Hillary Clinton: 5 top Secretary of State candidates

The Week

The former first lady insists she’s stepping down next year, no matter who wins in November. Who should succeed her as America’s most prominent diplomat?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promises to leave at the end of President Obama's term, and Sen. John Kerry and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice are among the top candidates to replace her.

Hillary Clinton is stepping down as Secretary of State next January, regardless of whether President Obama is sworn in for a second term or Mitt Romney is inaugurated for a first. And it looks like Clinton is going out on a high note, says David Graham inThe Atlantic. She boasts “sky-high” approval ratings, was the subject of a flattering “Texts from Hillary” meme (which she very cooly dipped her own toe in), and set the internet abuzz by dancing and drinking beer at a late-night club in Colombia. Really, Graham says, the blazing hot “secretary of cool” will be a hard act to follow. But someone will have to take over at State. Who exactly? A look at five possibilities, if President Obama wins a second term:

1. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman had hoped to be Secretary of State in Obama’s first term, but “lost out to Hillary Clinton and Obama’s ‘team of rivals’,” says Joan Vennochi in The Boston Globe. He’s now waging an unofficial but “artful” campaign to get the nod in Obama’s second term. As Secretary of State, Kerry would be powerful enough to “stake out personal turf” and bring his own informed viewpoint to the table. He’s definitely on Obama’s short list, says Leslie Gelb at The Daily Beast. And among the frontrunners, Obama believes “Kerry would travel a lot and successfully, and interfere least with policymaking.”

2. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice
Rice is “perhaps Clinton’s likeliest successor,” says The Daily Beast‘s Gelb. Her “blend of soft and hard line sits well in the Oval Office,” and she’s close to Obama. Rice is also “a rising star in the U.S. political firmament,” says Obadiah Mailafia in Nigeria’sBusinessDay.  And as a Rhodes Scholar from a family of prominent economists, she would fit right in at Foggy Bottom. Rice is “not shy in playing a role in foreign policy,” says Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy. And if Obama taps her, it “would signal a redoubling of the effort toward engagement and international diplomacy.”

3. National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon
“Donilon is regarded as the wisest policy and political head” on the short list, says Gelb at The Daily Beast. And he appears to want the job. Sticking to the “carefully established informal rules” of jockeying to win the Secretary of State nod, Donlion is said to have suggested Rice for World Bank president — a “justifiable” recommendation, but also one that would remove a top rival from contention.

4. NSC official Samantha Power
The Irish-born Power first went to work for Obama in 2005, when he was a U.S. Senator. Now a human rights and multilateral affairs director in Obama’s National Security Council, Power “could be his next Secretary of State or National Security Adviser,” says Cathy Hayes at Irish Central. Power is an expert on, and staunch critic, of genocide, and she is considered a key architect of Obama’s Libya intervention. But remember, some conservatives and Israel proponents don’t like Power because they consider her pro-Palestinian.

5. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
Our favorite dark horse candidate is Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress and the first black congressman from Minnesota, says Global Grind. He hasn’t been in Congress all that long — since 2007 — but “Ellison would be an excellent choice, [and] his passion alone warrants him worthy of a candidacy.”

Allen West says many Dems in Congress are communists

So, what has Rep. West been smoking lately?

Also, why do Tea Party types say the craziest things imaginable, almost all the time?

The Miami Herald

This just goes to show that there is no such thing as a boring town hall when Republican Congressman Allen West is speaking. At a town hall in Jensen Beach Tuesday covered by TCPalm, a man asked West this question (this is the best we could make out in the video) “what percentage of the American Legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists (something garbled) Socialists?”

West’s reply: “That’s a good question. I believe its about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party are members of the Communist Party.”

PolitiFact asked West’s spkeswoman Angela Melvin for an explanation today: “The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren’t proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.”

We read that response to Jennifer Gore, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep.Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota who co-chairs the caucus. Here’s a snapshot of what she said: “all of that is false.”

We also contacted the Communist Party USA. Vice president Libero Della Piana said that none of the less than 5,000 members are members of Congress.

“Trust me – if a member of Congress applied to join the Communist Party we would know about it. It would set up some red flags — pardon the pun.”

PolitiFact will be fact-checking West’s claim about how many — if any — Democrats in Congress are Communists.

Peter King blocks Keith Ellison from testifying at Islamic radicalization hearing

Peter King’s motives are so transparent.

It’s quite evident that he’s only looking to grandstand and appease people who are anti-Muslim like he is.  Facts only get in the way of his “show” hearing.

Hence, his reason for not wanting Rep. Ellison to testify again.

Daily Kos

Via Think Progress, Rep. Keith Ellison has been denied a request to testify at a House Homeland Security hearing chaired by Rep. Peter King.

Ellison, a Democrat who is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, sent King a letter Monday asking if he could testify at a hearing on the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization operating in Somalia. The hearing is the third in a series of controversial meetings on the matter of radical Islam in America.

King responded that Wednesday’s hearing is an extension of the first couple the committee has held, and since Ellison testified at the first hearing on the issue, in March, he would not be permitted to testify Wednesday.[...]

Minneapolis has the largest Somali community in the United States. A Minneapolis man pleaded guilty this month to helping Al-Shabaab recruit men to travel to Somalia and fight in various conflicts in the country.

King’s excuse? Ellison already testified at one of his hearings, so even though he might have special insight into this issue, since the community involved is in his own state, he’s had his say. It’s enough to make one suspect King is more interested in fear-mongering than fact-finding in his hearing.

This, by the way, is the hearing King is having instead of focusing on right-wing domestic terror, a topic that would be much more timely and important in the wake of the Norway attacks.

Here’s part of Ellison’s powerful testimony at the previous hearing.

Related articles

Ellison Stumps Republican On House Floor By Asking Him When Paul Ryan’s Plan Would Balance The Budget

Keith Ellison American, raised Catholic, Repre...

Image via Wikipedia

Kudos to Rep. Keith Ellison…

Think Progress

This morning, the House debated the budget proposal put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a response to the budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). During the debate, CPC member Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) asked Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) when the Ryan budget would balance and create a surplus. After hemming and hawing for a few seconds, Rokita ultimately couldn’t come up with an answer:

ELLISON: When does the Ryan budget create a surplus?

ROKITA: The budget proposed and voted on by the committee — [...]

ROKITA: With responsible, gradual reforms to the drivers of our debt, like Medicare and Social Security, this budget will balance

ELLISON: I asked the gentlemen when the Ryan budget created a surplus. He could have given me a year. He didn’t. That’s because he’s probably embarrassed about when that is. Let me tell you when the Progressive Caucus comes to surplus: 2021. That is known as a responsible budget.

Watch it:

The answer to the question is that the “courageous” and “innovative” Ryan budget would create a surplus for the first time in 2040, according to the Congressional Budget Office. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, meanwhile, determined that the CPC budget would indeed turn a $30.7 billion surplus in 2021, nearly two full decades ahead of Ryan’s “bold” plan.

After Congressional Progressives Ask ‘Where Are The Jobs?,’ GOP Rep. Biggert Says ‘Stop Talking About Jobs’

Think Progress

One of the mantras of congressional Republicans over the past two years has been to ask, “Where are the jobs?” House GOP leader John Boehner (OH) made this into a theme of the campaign last fall. As then-GOP chairman Michael Steele summarized the argument: “Americans are still asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ … Washington Democrats still have no answers.”

This afternoon, Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and other progressives took to the floor of the House of Representatives to turn this question back on their Republican colleagues. Ellison and the others asked where all the jobs-creation legislation was, excoriating their conservative colleagues for focusing on legislation like terminating the HAMP program, which would do nothing to create jobs:

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN): “The Republicans’ no-jobs agenda has been exposed, Mr. Chair. The majority has done nothing to create jobs or protect homes. All they do is criticize programs that could use some improvement. Rather, they would get rid of them altogether.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): “[The Republicans] have no plans of their own to address the foreclosure crisis that is hurting neighborhoods and disrupting lives throughout their country. Like the jobs bills they said they would have. We have yet to see them.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX): “Your cities have been impacted positively by the HAMP program. Job growth is picking up. Investing and growing jobs should be the mindset of the American Congress for that’s what we were sent back to Washington to do.”

At one point, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) took to the floor to respond to the progressives. She attacked the HAMP program, urging her colleagues to end it, and signaled that she would oppose progressive amendments to the GOP’s bill for ending the mortgage modification program. Then, she incredulously told her colleagues to stop talking about jobs and focus rather on the substance of the amendments:

BIGGERT: I would urge my colleagues to support — oppose this amendment. And stop talking about jobs, let’s focus on the substance of these amendments.

Watch it:

One would have to wonder what a certain congresswoman who asked at a hearing — on February 25, 2010 — “Where are the jobs?” would think about Biggert’s statement. That congresswoman was Biggert herself. Watch it:

King Hearing Casts Muslim Americans as Clueless, ‘Not Intellectually Equipped’

The fact is, it is Rep. King who is clueless and not intellectually equipped!

The Nation

When Representative Keith Ellison, one of just two Muslim members of Congress, broke down during Representative Peter King’s hearing on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response,” you could feel the entire room holding its breath. “He’s crying,” whispered Haris Tarin, director of the Washington, DC, office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), who was sitting next to me. Ellison began sobbing as he recounted the heroism and patriotism of Muhammad Salman Hamdani, a first responder and a Muslim, who died on 9/11 attempting to rescue his fellow Americans in the World Trade Center.

If King felt moved to weep or mourn or possibly salute, he neither said anything about it nor showed any reaction to his colleague. King has no problem with exploiting the emotional potency of 9/11; in fact the hearing room had been adorned with framed photographs, including a poster-sized photograph of the Twin Towers in flames. But King wasn’t going to let the heroism of a Muslim in the face of terrorism get in the way of a good witch hunt. He’s on a mission to establish that Muslims aren’t patriotic, that they don’t engage with law enforcement and that Muslim “radicalization” poses a risk to the homeland and our way of life.

Before his testimony, Ellison made his presence felt in the hearing room, greeting members of the public, grinning and saying “shalom” to Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Schneier is a member of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Steering Committee, an interfaith group that has condemned the hearings, accusing King of “bearing false witness” against America’s Muslims by asserting “that Muslims as a broad group are not deeply devoted to America’s safety and the peaceful interaction of its entire citizenry.”      More…