Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

Crossfire Explodes over AZ Bill: ‘Wrapping Your Homophobia Around the Bible!’

Mediaite

Crossfire got really heated up Tuesday over the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT individuals. Van Jones posed a provocative question to former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: “What is the difference between a business owner saying no blacks are allowed here versus no gays are allowed here?” Cuccinelli dismissed the comparison, but CNN columnist LZ Granderson insisted the principle is the same because the bill is just “straight-up, plain nothing but discrimination!”

He told Cuccinelli that it’s not a matter of religious principle, it’s always about protecting the Christian faith, and called him and others out for pushing what he deemed institutionalized homophobia.

“Where in the Bible does Jesus say no to people? He’s always bringing people in! So are you really using this as––you brought up your religious faith, or are you wrapping your homophobia around the Bible and trying to find scriptures that justify your homophobia?”

Cuccinelli scolded Granderson for resorting to a personal attack, but Granderson stood on that point, telling Cuccinelli that he’s made “several remarks over the years that I would classify as homophobic, so I would say that you personally are probably a homophobe.”

Newt Gingrich asked if Catholic priests should be “coerced” into performing gay marriages. Granderson said no, because there’s a difference between churches doing what they want and a public businesses “that’s actually utilizing taxpayer dollars to help sustain itself” discriminating against people.

Cuccinelli insisted, “They undercut a fundamental precept of this country and that is religious freedom.”

Watch the video below, via CNN:

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Filed under CNN, LGBT Rights

There was nothing high-minded about the budget deal

Smiles before the debt storm.

Smiles before the debt storm. Photo: (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

The WeekTaegan Goddard

Many recent articles have trumpeted the “bipartisan breakthrough” that led to a federal budget deal. Don’t believe any of them. Partisan warfare is very much alive.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a key broker of the budget deal, signaled that a standoff over the debt ceiling is coming soon.

Said Ryan: “We, as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit. We don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”

The comments show how broken our legislative system has become. Just days ago, Ryan agreed to a budget deal that increases the federal debt — and hailed it in a series of interviews — but now he won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling mandated by the very same budget deal.

In the last fiscal standoff in October, the Obama administration held firm and refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling. Expect the same reaction this time.

Of course, the real reason there was a budget deal is that Republicans felt it was politically advantageous. With the White House on the defensive for nearly two months over the ObamaCare implementation, Republicans don’t want to do anything to distract from their woes.

Newt Gingrich said it best: “I think this is mediocre policy and brilliant politics. It doesn’t get them what they want on policy terms, but it strips away the danger that people will notice anything but ObamaCare. And the longer the country watches ObamaCare, the more likely the Democrats are to lose the Senate.”

He’s right. The budget deal probably is good politics — at least in the very short term.

So as both sides move the country to the edge of the fiscal brink early next year, remember it’s all about politics. But will the politics still be good for either side?

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Jon Stewart Schooled Tea Partiers For Racist Reactions To Nelson Mandela’s Death

The Huffington Post

Jon Stewart kicked off this week’s “Daily Show” by shedding light on some truly odd reactions that some folks had about the passing of Nelson Mandela — including at least one prominent Republican.

Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz, to their credit, offered sincere notes of gratitude for the South African leader’s life work on their respective Facebook pages. What they did not expect, however, were the swift and racist reactions they saw from several of their fans. Example: “This clench-first gorilla [sic] warrior does not deserve respect from informed Americans,” one user wrote on Gingrich’s Facebook.

Stewart was hardly surprised by the outpouring of bile. “Of course, that’s why the Internet was invented,” he said. “To say hateful things with greater efficiency, reach and freedom to keep people from finding out how truly disgusting you are in your home. ‘I would never say those things, it was Dr. Awesomeballs69!’”

Racist Facebook fans are one thing, but Stewart could not let an actual Republican leader off the hook so easily. Rick Santorum, appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor,” somehow equated apartheid, South Africa’s former system of segregation that Mandela helped end, to the Affordable Care Act.

“The systemic subjugation of a race of people is different than the establishment of subsidized insurance exchanges,” Stewart helpfully explained before channeling his inner Julie Andrews with a “Sound of Music” parody: “Obamacaaare is not apartheeeeeid!”

Check out the clip above to see Stewart lay into the reactions to Mandela’s death.

 

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Newt Gingrich To Conservatives: ‘What Would You Have Done?’

newt gingrich nelson mandela

I don’t often view Newt Gingrich in a favorable light, but this time is an exception…

The AtlanticTa-Nehisi Coates

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Sunday he was “very surprised” at people who were critical of his decision to praise Nelson Mandela this week, standing by his admiration for Mandela’s “very long, deep commitment to freedom.”

On Thursday, upon hearing of the former South African president’s death, Gingrich put up a post on Facebook, expressing his condolences.

“President Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime,” he wrote. “When he visited the Congress I was deeply impressed with the charisma and the calmness with which he could dominate a room. It was as if the rest of us grew smaller and he grew stronger and more dominant the longer the meeting continued.”

Gingrich’s statement, however, was met with backlash from many of his followers.

“Newt, I was rooting for you to win the primaries and become the next president; please tell me your joking!! Mandela was a commie murderer!!” read one comment that was popular with other users.

“You’re forgetting Mandela’s extreme racism! There are YouTubes of Mandela singing songs about murdering the white man. I spit on his grave….,” read another.

When asked about the criticism in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Gingrich replied, “I was very surprised by it. [My wife] Callista posted my statement on her Facebook page and was amazed at some of the intensity — some of whom came back three, four and five times repeating how angry they were.”

In response, on Saturday, Gingrich put out a new statement and video to his supporters, challenging critics to put themselves in Mandela’s shoes.

“I was surprised by the hostility and vehemence of some of the people who reacted to me saying a kind word about a unique historic figure,” he said. “So let me say to those conservatives who don’t want to honor Nelson Mandela, what would you have done?”

Responding to conservatives who dismiss Mandela as a communist, Gingrich added, “Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by anextraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks.”

As Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic pointed out, Gingrich’s support for Mandela is not new or an attempt to rewrite history.

“Newt Gingrich was among a cadre of conservatives who opposed the mainstream conservative stance on Apartheid and ultimately helped override Reagan’s unconscionable veto of sanctions,” he wrote, adding, “When Gingrich compliments Mandela on his presidency he doesn’t do so within the context of alleged African pathologies, but within the context of countries throughout the world. It’s a textbook lessons in ‘How not to be racist,’ which is to say it is a textbook lesson in how to talk about Nelson Mandela as though he were a human being.”

Watch Gingrich’s video:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also encountered a fair amount of vitriol last week when he honored Mandela in a Facebook post, writing, “Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe… Because of his epic fight against injustice, an entire nation is now free.”

When CNN host Candy Crowley asked Gingrich if he believed his and Cruz’s critics were fellow conservatives, the former House speaker said they were people who bought into “a rationale that defined everybody who was in any way in rebellion against the established system in the third world as anti-American.”

 

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‘Worse than Watergate’

The Watergate Hotel Washington, D.C., June 11, 2012.

The Watergate Hotel Washington, D.C., June 11, 2012.  JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Steve Benen, a contributor on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC website makes a few salient points about the GOP comparing every perceived left-wing failure to the Nixon Administration’s Watergate scandal.

The Rachel Maddow Show

On his Fox News show yesterday, Howard Kurtz sat down with Bob Woodward and raised a question that caught me a little off guard. “Some of the president’s detractors compare every scandal to Watergate, with which you are famously associated,” Kurtz said. “And so Benghazi is worse than Watergate. IRS was worse than Watergate. Bill Kristol said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate in its impact on the country. What do you make of those comparisons?”

Woodward, who’s had some unfortunate missteps this year, didn’t fully answer, but the question itself gave me pause. Bill Kristol actually said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate?
As it turns out, yes, he really said that.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich this week compared the Affordable Care Act to the Watergate Scandal, but Kristol believes the healthcare law is far worse. “Obamacare, honestly, will do more damage to the country than Watergate ever could’ve done,” he said.
“Watergate was stupid, petty, partisan politics and [President Richard] Nixon did misuse the Oval Office and then did lie to the country about it, probably. But, here, we have a legislative takeover of a huge percentage of the economy and an area that’s so important to everyone’s lives.”
Remember, as far as the Beltway is concerned, Bill Kristol is an establishment figure in good standing. He also thinks Nixon “probably” lied about the criminal conspiracy the disgraced president ran out of the Oval Office.
But it’s the comparison to the Affordable Care Act that’s uniquely incomprehensible. “Obamacare” critics are on safe ground complaining about a dysfunctional website, but to suggest that the law itself – a Republican-friendly reform system, which focuses on private insurers, cost-saving measures, and deficit reduction – is worse than the constitutional crisis posed by the Nixon White House becoming a criminal enterprise is plainly silly , even for contemporary Republicans.
That said, I suppose it’s time to updating a post from last year. Republicans are on record arguing:
* Benghazi is “worse than Watergate.” [Update: this argument comes up quite a bit.]
* The IRS story carries “echoes of Watergate.”
* National security leaks are “worse than Watergate.”
* A job offer for former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* “Fast and Furious” might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* The White House’s relationship with Media Matters might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* NSA surveillance is one of “Obamas Watergates.”
* The James Rosen controverys is “becoming Watergate.”
In May, Peggy Noonan was so overwhelmed by her contempt for the president, she wrote in her column, “We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate,” and then neglected to mention which perceived “scandal” she was even referring to.
If you’re thinking this overheated nonsense is hard to take seriously, you’re not the only one.

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Kos’ Sunday Talk Lineup: Shut Happens

Daily Kos

Thanks to President Obama stubbornly refusing to negotiate with terrorists (his negotiations with Iran notwithstanding),House Republicans were forced to shut down the federal government for the first time since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich was relegated to the back of Air Force One in 1995.

Without a doubt, the most visible and devastating consequence of this latest game of brinkmanship is the closure of America’s national parks—which has enraged a lot of vacationersnewbies and veterans alike.

However, there have also been a number of less conspicuous (and clearly less important) negative consequencessuch as: 800,000 “non-essential” workers being furloughedHead Start programs being suspended; and millions of Americans’ health and safety being endangered.

But that’s not to say it’s been all bad; on the bright side, the shutdown has had a slimming effect on Fox News. 

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Roundtable: Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Republican Strategist Mike MurphySteve Inskeep (NPR) and Rich Lowry (National Review).Face the Nation: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuRoundtableGwen Ifill (PBS), Dana Milbank(Washington Post), Jim VandeHei (Politico) and John Dickerson (CBS News).

This Week: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH); Sen.Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC); RoundtableCokie Roberts (ABC News), Paul Gigot (Wall Street Journal), Soledad O’Brien (Starfish Media Group), Former “Car Czar” Steve Rattner and Jonathan Karl (ABC News).

Fox News Sunday: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Rep. Pete King (R-NY); Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA); RoundtableBrit Hume (Fox News), Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN),Kimberley Strassel (Wall Street Journal) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); Roundtable: Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Steve king (R-IA), Democratic Strategist Stephanie Cutter and Ross Douthat (New York Times).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report the alarming state of the federal disability program, which has exploded in size in the last six years and could become the first federal benefits program to run out of money (preview); never-before-seen footage of America’s first battle against al Qaeda 20 years ago (preview); and, a report on the large number of asteroids in space big enough to destroy a city, of which scientists only know where one percent of them are (preview).

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Why The Tea Party Really Hates Obamacare

The National MemoGene Lyons

First they lie to you, and then they ask you for money.

That’s the essence of the great Tea Party/Ted Cruz crusade to “defund” Obamacare, a political and constitutional impossibility. The question was settled, probably for good, when President Obama won re-election in 2012 and Democrats kept control of the Senate.

Instead, it’s about TV face-time and harvesting donations from gullible voters misled both about the Affordable Care Act itself and Sen. Cruz’s nonexistent chances of ending it.

Amid all the melodramatic TV chatter, the estimable blogger Digby puts it in terms everybody should understand. She has a friend in the insurance industry whose company has been getting thousands of calls from frightened policyholders who fear that the hullabaloo in Washington could result in their losing health coverage.

“I asked her what calmed people down,” Digby writes “and she says she tells everyone to think about their high school civics class and remember that laws have to be passed by both houses and signed into law by the president. Without proselytizing at all, everyone immediately realizes what an absurd exercise in futility all this nonsense really is.”

A narrow Republican majority in the House can’t void the Affordable Care Act any more than 54 Senate Democrats can force everybody in Oklahoma to eat broccoli. Anybody who tells you differently is a flim-flam artist.

Such as Newt Gingrich. The presiding genius of the 1996 GOP government shutdown went on ABC’s This Week to deliver pseudo-historical profundity: “Under our constitutional system going all the way back to Magna Carta in 1215, the people’s house is allowed to say to the king we ain’t giving you money.”

Actually, the U.S. Constitution of 1789 makes no provision for a king. Neither, as former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich has reminded Gingrich, does it “allow a majority of the House of Representatives to repeal the law of the land by defunding it. If that were the case, no law [would be] safe.”

No federal court could rule otherwise. It’s a separation of powers issue. These principles are so fundamental to American governance that even the Wall Street Journal reminds GOP hotheads that for all the three-ring thrills provided by Sen. Cruz and his allies, “the only real way to repeal the law is to win elections.”

Continue reading on Page 2

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From Fox News to Rush: Secrets of the right’s lie machine

From Fox News to Rush: Secrets of the right's lie machine

Salon

Conservative media plays by its rules, and bends truth to back whatever argument they’ve decided to make that day

Excerpted from “Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America” 

One key factor that has altered campaign coverage comes from the corporate right in the form of “conservative” media. If there has been a vacuum created by the downsizing of newsrooms, conservative media have filled it with an insistent partisanship unseen in commercial news media for nearly a century. The conservative media program has been a cornerstone of the Dollarocracy’s — the big money and corporate media election complex — political program since at least Lewis Powell’s 1971 memo. Initially, the work was largely about criticizing the news media for being unfair to conservative Republicans and having a liberal Democratic bias. Although the actual research to support these claims was, to be generous, thin—one major book edited by Brent Bozell actually claimed corporations such as General Electric were “liberal” companies with an interest in anti-business journalism because they had made small donations to groups like the NAACP and the Audubon Society—the point was not to win academic arguments. The point of bashing the “liberal media,” as Republican National Committee chairman Rich Bond conceded in 1992, was to “work the refs” like a basketball coach does so that “maybe the ref will cut you a little slack” on the next play.

The ultimate aim of Dollarocracy was, as James Brian McPherson put it, “to destroy the professionalism that has defined journalism since the mid-twentieth century.” The core problem was that professional journalism, to the extent it allowed editors and reporters some autonomy from the political and commercial values of owners, opened space for the legitimate presentation of news and perspectives beyond the range preferred by conservatives. That professional journalism basically conveyed the debates and consensus of official sources and remained steadfastly within the ideological range of the leadership of the two main political parties—it never was sympathetic to the political left—was of no concern. It still gave coverage to policy positions on issues such as unions, public education, civil rights, progressive taxation, social security, and the environment that were thoroughly mainstream but anathema to the right. Key to moving the political center of gravity to the right was getting the news media on the train, and that meant getting them to have a worldview more decidedly sympathetic to the needs of society’s owners. Newt Gingrich was blunt when he told media owners in 1995 that they needed to crack the whip on their newsrooms and have the news support the corporation’s politics. “Get your children to behave,” he demanded in a private meeting with media CEOs.

In the late 1980s, conservatives moved from criticism to participation with the aggressive creation of right-wing partisan media. The first decisive move came with AM talk radio. The elimination of the Fairness Doctrine (which required that a broadcaster provide two sides to controversial political issues) and the relaxation of ownership rules such that a handful of companies established vast empires opened the door to a tidal wave of hard-core right-wing talk-show hosts. By the first decade of the century, the 257 talk stations owned by the five largest companies were airing over 2,500 hours of political talk weekly and well over 90 percent was decidedly right wing.

The undisputed heavyweight champion was and is Rush Limbaugh, who emerged as a national radio force by 1990 and who by 1993 was already recognized by the bible of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review magazine, as an unmatched political power in Republican circles; the Review dubbed him the “Leader of the Opposition.” Limbaugh and his cohorts have the power to make or break Republican politicians, and all who wish successful national careers have to pray at his far-right altar or suffer the consequences. As Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Joseph Cappella put it, in many respects Limbaugh came to play the role party leaders had played in earlier times.

Read the complete article here

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Rachel Maddow Rips Conservative Media For Scamming Donors

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow has no qualms about exposing the underbelly of the Right-Wing Super PAC scamming business and the Right-Wing media’s compliance.  This woman is awesome.  No wonder she’s beating brain dead Hannity in the ratings.

The Huffington Post

Rachel Maddow tore into members of the conservative media on her Monday MSNBC show for what she called “scamming” gullible members of their own party who donate to various Super PACs.

Maddow discussed how watchdog group Media Matters recently looked into conservative pundit Dick Morris’ Super PAC and found that some of his key expenditures included renting his own email list, which is operated by Newsmax Media.

“So your money … goes to Dick Morris, who apparently then pays it to Newsmax to send emails, and then Newsmax maybe just pays it back to Dick Morris to pay for the email addresses to which they just sent all of his emails,” Maddow said. “What these financial reports seems to indiciate is that donations to Dick Morris’ Super PAC substantially end up just going to Dick Morris.” She added that Morris’ Super PAC has been around for a couple of years “so maybe it doesn’t always look like a scam,” but that more and more “scammy-looking” arrangements have been coming to light — as in the case of the well funded Tea Party group Freedom Works.

Dick Armey, the man who helped build the conservative group, recently left and arranged an $8 million golden parachute for himself upon his departure, which raised some eyebrows. Then news broke that Freedom Works president Matt Kibbe allegedly used the group’s staff and funds to write part of his book. “So if you think about it, anyone donating to Freedom Works was effectively paying for the staff time and the resources to produce a project that just personally profited one of the people who works there,” Maddow said. “A scam.”

Maddow likened the situation to what she called Newt Gingrich’s “direct mail scam,” where he would give businesses fake awards, which gave them the opportunity to donate $5,000 to meet him. “Congratulations to you!” Maddow quipped. “Where is your check to me?”

She also compared the situation to what she called the “scammy campaign” where Mike Huckabee asked supporters to donate $2,500 to “help fund the battle” against Obamacare, which also went towards helping to keep Huckabee on TV to repeal Obamacare.

“Will having Mike Huckabee on TV repeal Obamacare? I’m checking with the constitution, but I don’t think so,” Maddow said. She later added, “If you are a person who has long been fascinated by how similar the conservative ‘be afraid’ direct mail that asks for money looks to the kind of direct mail that tries to scam your grandmother out of her savings … it is amazing to see, if you have been watching this over time … is how persistent this is.”

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Filed under GOP PAC Scams, Right Wing Internet Scams, Right-wing disinformation campaign

Sheldon Adelson Spent Far More On Campaign Than Previously Known

Sheldon Adelson

Although casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson probably makes 150 million a day in casino revenues, to the average person, that is a huge sum of money to spend supporting a candidate…

The Huffington Post

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson vowed to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama and help the GOP take control of Congress. According to two GOP fundraisers with close ties to the Las Vegas billionaire, he made good on that promise — and then some. Adelson ultimately upped the ante, spending closer to a previously unreported $150 million, the fundraisers said.

Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring “vilification of people that were against him.” As that second term begins, Adelson’s international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business.

This coming week, Adelson plans to visit Washington, according to three separate GOP sources familiar with his travel schedule. While here, he’s arranged Hill meetings with at least one House GOP leader in which he is expected to discuss key issues, including possible changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law that undergirds one federal probe into his casino network, according to a Republican attorney with knowledge of his plans.

During the election, Adelson told Politico that the Justice Department investigation, and the way he felt treated by prosecutors, was a primary motivation for his investment in Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates. He put his money where his mouth was. The two GOP fundraisers, both with strong ties to Adelson, said that the casino mogul dished out close to $150 million, including between $30 million and $40 million to the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS and at least $15 million to grassroots efforts with financial links to Charles and David Koch. Among other major beneficiaries of Adelson’s largess were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which received almost $5 million from Adelson, and the Republican Jewish Coalition, which got the bulk of its $6.5 million budget from him, the fundraisers said.

All of these are non-profit groups, which — unlike the super PACs that raked in $54 million in funds from Adelson and his wife — are not currently required to disclose their donors. Adelson’s public spending spree, larger than any other donor’s in the last election, was made possible by two high court rulings in early 2010 that allowed corporations, unions and individuals to write unlimited checks to outside groups for political ads and other activities backing candidates

The two fundraisers who provided information to The Huffington Post represented separate groups that each received seven-figure checks this year from Adelson. The fundraisers learned details of Adelson’s spending plans about a month prior to the election: one heard of them in a talk with the casino owner himself, while the other didn’t indicate if his information came from Adelson or a top aide to the billionaire. Both requested anonymity to protect their ties to Adelson and because they were not authorized to speak publicly about his giving.

Continue reading here

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