New York Times · Sen. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz: New York Times a ‘leftist rag’

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

How very “civil” of Senator Cruz…

Politico – Dylan Byers

Disparaging the New York Times is fast becoming a rite of passage for Republican presidential candidates.

In an interview with St. Louis’s FM News Talk 97.1 on Tuesday, Ted Cruz argued that Republicans shouldn’t listen to “The New York Times and other leftist rags” when picking their presidential nominee.

Cruz’s remark comes one week after former Florida governor Jeb Bush told Fox News Radio that he didn’t read the Times — despite the fact that he once told Esquire he read the paper every day.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie similarly lashed out at America’s paper of record during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. “I don’t care what they write about me in The New York Times, they can keep it,” he said. “I don’t subscribe.”

CPAC 2015

The Most Anti-Women Assertions At This Year’s Conservative Political Gathering

Carly Fiorina

Think Progress

As the Republican party struggles to rebrand itself to win back women voters, HP executive and rumored presidential candidate Carly Fiorina told attendees this week that the concept of a Republican “war on women” is “a lie.”

“Women are not single issue voters, and we’re not a special interest group,” she said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “No one would expect that all men agree or care about only one issue, but somehow Democrats think all women do or should.”

The “one issue” she referred to was reproductive rights, and even as she argued this was not an important topic for women voters, she called on Republicans to pass further restrictions on access to health care, including a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and a ban on taxpayer subsidies to help low-income women access abortion. She also called for banning abortions based on the sex of the fetus — a policy largely based on racial stereotypes that has been promoted by conservatives despite a lack of evidence that such abortions take place.

“Too many women are influenced by the rhetoric of the ‘War on Women’ and don’t know how to push back,” Fiorina said. “So I took on the war on women and tried to lay out the facts.”

But Fiorina’s facts often missed the mark. She told the audience that the Supreme Court ruling last year that allowed employers to deny insurance coverage for contraception was no big deal, saying, “Women had plenty of access to birth control both before and after the decision.” Like many in her party, Fiorina focused on the legal right to purchase birth control, a right that means nothing if women workers can’t afford it without insurance.

Fiorina then claimed that “women are disengaged from the political process because they don’t like the vitriol. They feel marginalized by both parties.” Yet in recent years, women have turned out to vote at higher rates than men. And a poll last year found that women overwhelmingly believe Republicans are out of touch with their interests.

Turning to economic issues, Fiorina hit Democrats for framing their push to raise the minimum wage as a women’s issue — though at least two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. Fiorina asserted — incorrectly — that 62 percent of minimum wage workers are still in high school, when the real number is closer to a third. “The real war on women is being waged by liberal policies in communities across America,” she argued.

Other CPAC speakers with presidential aspirations joined Fiorina in dismissing the need to raise the minimum wage. “No parents are sitting around a kitchen table saying if our child could get a higher minimum wage, my gosh, every one of our aspirations for them would be realized,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said.

Both Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also used their stage time at CPAC to tout their records of cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, which has cut off access to cancer screenings, abortion care, prenatal care, and STD testing for thousands of women in those states.

Jokes with sexist overtones also surfaced repeatedly over the multi-day conference.

Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham suggested Jeb Bush would win lots of female votes because he allowed his wife to drop tens of thousands of dollars on jewelry.

“Jeb could really explode the gender gap. Women could really turn out in droves for Jeb Bush,” she said. “What woman doesn’t like a man who gives her a blank check at Tiffany’s? Diamonds are a girl’s best friend — that would be a great theme song for Jeb Bush.”

Later on Saturday, Fox News host Sean Hannity — in a rambling joke about Democrats continuing to blame everything on George W. Bush — told the audience:

“I kinda have Fox X-ray vision, and I can see that some of you women, you don’t even know it yet, but you’re pregnant. It’s not your fault. It’s not his fault.”

The comment drew little laughter and audible discomfort from the audience.

Later, CPAC presented Phil Robertson from the show Duck Dynasty with their “First Amendment” award, and the bearded reality TV personality gave a long speech that included some unsolicited advice to 2016 hopefuls: “In case one of you gets to be president of the United States, make sure you carry your Bible and your woman,” he said. “I’m just saying, safety. Safety.”

For the 99 percent of attendees not running for President, he counseled: “You marry, you keep your sex right there. You won’t get sick from a sexually transmitted disease.”

Conservative Bloopers · CPAC

Top Conservative: There Will Be No Major Economic Consequences To Shutdown Or Default

CPAC head Al Cardenas

Those selfish idiots in congress haven’t got a clue about how government works.  How did they ever get elected?  By even more clueless voters, no doubt.  

The guy in question is not a politician but he is very influential.  He heads up the conservative CPAC convention.

Think Progress

The Chairman of the one of the most influential right-wing organizations in the country suggested there’d be no serious economic harm done by a government shutdown or failure to raise the debt ceiling — despite a consensus among economists to the contrary.

Al Cardenas heads up the American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and produces an influential system for rating members of Congress’ ideological purity.

Cardenas expressed support for Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX)’s campaign to defund Obamacare, even at expense of shutting down the government or failing to raise the debt ceiling. ThinkProgress asked Cardenas what the costs of this strategy might be, and he suggested they’d be non-existent:

BEAUCHAMP: What would the consequences be either, first, of shutting down the government or, second, of potentially defaulting on the U.S. debt during the Obamacare fight?

CARDENAS: Well let’s make sure we keep this in historical perspective. We have shut down the government 17 times in the last 50 years. It sounds like it’s a radical idea and it’s the first time we’re contemplating it. It’s actually happened 17 times in America and nobody’s ever spoken about it in such radical terms as Democrats are. […] If you hit the mark on October 1st, that doesn’t mean government shuts down. Usually you can pay all the bills for 12 or 13 more days. The only time you go into default is if you don’t pay the interest which is about $18 billion a month. We’ve got plenty of money to pay that. […]

BEAUCHAMP: So you don’t believe there’d be any major economic consequences for a government shutdown or a default?

CARDENAS: I’m convinced there won’t be.

Cardenas is right that shutdowns have happened in the past, but he’s wrong that they’ve been costless. The two shutdowns during the Clinton Administration cost us 0.5 percent of GDP worth of economic growth, and the costs of a shutdown this year are estimated to be roughly three times that($240 billion relative to the U.S.’ GDP in 2012). If the shutdown went on for around two months, it could “precipitate another recession.”

A default would, without question, be much worse. Though Cardenas suggested we’d be able to pay interest on the debt and avoid default, that’s flatly untrue: default means failing to pay someone you owe, and failing the debt ceiling would force us to do that. The potential consequences range from “destroy[ing] the market as we know it” to freezing “the central nervous system of the banking system.”

Cardenas is ideologically simpatico with Cruz and Lee and has professional ties with both. Cardenas and Cruz worked together on George W. Bush’s Florida recount legal team and Cardenas’ ACU was a strong supporter of Cruz’s insurgent primary campaign for Senate. Lee came to speak at the Missouri CPAC instead of remaining in DC to navigate the shutdown.

The ACU chairman isn’t the only prominent conservative to deny economic reality of late. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) told reporters to ignore economists’ warnings about the disastrous consequences of reaching the debt limit.


GOP Radicalism

Is the GOP Sincere in Denouncing its Bigots?

Good question…


There has been an outcry from some GOP members concerning GOP bigotry. But the sea change may be much less than meets the eye.

In a week’s time the wide range of what was once considered routine GOP bigotry was on full display. Dave Agema, a former West Michigan state representative, and Republican National Committeeman called gays “filthy homosexuals.” Next, Alaska Rep. Don Young blurted out the epitaph “wetbacks” in discussing the immigration issue. Then 23 members of the so-called White Student Union attended the Conservative Political Action Conference where its leader tacitly endorsed segregation and even slavery.

In times past, the silence from the GOP officials and rank and file would have been deafening. It would have reconfirmed the standard knock against the GOP as a party of Kooks, cranks misanthropes, and, of course, bigots. But in each of the three cases, there was an outcry from local GOP officials, bloggers, and GOP campus groups. They publicly denounced the bigotry, and in the case of Young, House Speaker John Boehner, Arizona and Texas Senators John McCain, and John Cornyn, and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus blasted Young’s remarks.

At first glance, this seems a signal that the GOP recognizes that it’s widely considered the party of bigotry, and that it’s willing to do something about it. But the sea change may be much less than meets the eye. Many top GOP officials are still mute on its party’s bigots. The official record still stands that no top GOP official aggressively and consistently denounces the bigoted remarks or acts by a GOP operative, representative, or senator.

The RNC in its near 100 page blueprint for reaching out to minorities, gays and young people did raise faint hope that the GOP may indeed have finally woke up that America is changing, and it can’t win national offices anymore solely with conservative white male Heartland and Deep South voters, or through the use of the crude race baiting. But this hope ignores the GOP’s horrible history of dealing with its blatant bigots and bigotry. The pattern was on ugly display in 2002 when then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott touched off a furor seemingly touting the one time pro-segregation battles fought by South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. It took nearly a week for then President George W. Bush to make a stumbling, tepid disavowal of Lott.

In the next decade, a legion of Republican state and local officials, conservative talk show jocks and even some Republican bigwigs made foot-in-mouth racist cracks that invariably got them in hot water. Their response when called on the carpet was always the same: They make a duck and dodge denial, claim that they were misquoted or issue a weak, half-hearted apology. Each time, the response from top Republicans was either silence, or if the firestorm was great enough, to give the offender a much-delayed mild verbal hand slap. Lott was dumped from his Senate Majority Leader post, but soon got a top post back as Senate Minority Whip after a kind of, sort of mea culpa.

The bigger dilemma for the GOP when the bigots of their party pop off is that they remain prisoners of their party’s racist past. It’s a past in which Republican presidents set the tone with their own verbal race bashing. President Eisenhower never got out of the Old South habit of calling blacks “nigras.”

In an infamous and well-documented outburst at a White House dinner party in 1954, Ike winked, nodded and whispered to Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren that he understood why white Southerners wouldn’t want to “see their sweet little girls required to sit in school alongside some big black buck.”

Continue reading…

Tea Party Agenda

Slick, Paranoid Tea Party Video Aims for Violent Insurrection


Fear walks the land, and the Tea Party Patriots are here to package and sell it.

Attendees at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were reportedly thrilled by a short sci-fi video depicting a dictatorial near-future government and the underground “Movement on Fire” that springs up to resist it. The video, a thinly veiled advertisement for violent insurrection from the “Tea Party Patriots” group, boasts professional acting and Hollywood production values. But underneath its bright, professional sheen lurk dark overtones of End Times paranoia that will resonate with millions of American fundamentalists. Its apocalyptic imagery is as ancient as Revelations, its glossy look as modern as a Revlon ad, and its near-subliminal barrage of rapid-cut imagery rings with the terror-fueled sermons of 1,000 preachers.

Here’s the video:

It stands on its own as agitprop-cum-entertainment for the far right, which is filled with armchair revolutionaries whose favorite fantasies involve the same elements used in this video: attractive people, video-game-like locations, nightmarish bureaucracies and the world-changing power of their own oratory. “Let our lives be the spark that ignites the fire of liberty,” the protagonist shouts at one point. His words resonate with memories of historical heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice rather than yield to tyranny.

“I would so totally do that,” a right-wing fantasy rebel might mutter in response.

“We are a movement on fire!” the video’s hero shouts as a crowd cheers. “Will you take up the torch?” Absolutely, our viewer mumbles to himself … “Hey, I hear they’re serving free hors d’ouevres at the Pajamas Media booth….”

But this video’s imagery will have special resonance for American evangelicals who believe the End Times are near. “Movement on Fire” draws heavily on the so-called “Tribulation” films of the 1970s and 1980s. Among the earliest and best-known of these films are A Thief in the NightDistant ThunderImage of the Beast and The Prodigal Planet, all of which were made by Iowa-based Russell S. Doughten Jr.

Doughten’s previous film credits were limited to an associate producer credit forThe Blob (the original Steve McQueen version) and production duties for grindhouse productions The Hostage and Fever Heat. But Christian filmmaking proved to be his forte. Doughten’s website claims that “over six million have come to Christ through our motion pictures,” and while the figure can’t be independently verified, many Christians in their 30s and 40s recall being terrified by the films when they were young.

All but unknown outside evangelical circles, Doughten’s films became required viewing in many homes, religious schools, and churches. Other filmmakers soon followed in Doughten’s footsteps with films like Mark of the Beast and Years of the Beast.

Continue here…

Hate Groups · Racism

Racist Hate Group To Conduct Nighttime Patrols On College Campus

Think Progress

White Student Union founder Matthew “Commander” Heimbach

A racist hate group at Towson University has announced plans to conduct its own nighttime police patrols on campus.

Founded last year, the White Student Union has stirred significant controversy already. The organization has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition, its founder, Matthew Heimbach (who goes by the title “Commander Heimbach”), and fellow organizer Scott Terry interrupted a minority outreach panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference this month in order to defend slavery, noting that slaveholders provided blacks with food and shelter. Terry later told ThinkProgress that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa” and he’d be “fine” living in a society where blacks are permanently subservient to whites.

The Towerlight has more on the vigilante plan:

The controversial White Student Union has resurfaced on Towson’s campus with plans to conduct random nighttime patrols, which members say are for students’ protection.

Some members of the group, equipped with flashlights, will conduct on-campus safety walks, and female members will carry pepper spray in an attempt to protect students from various crimes like sexual assaults and robberies, WSU President Matthew Heimbach said. […]

Heimbach said female members have also been enrolling in self-defense classes, and members have been going to local gun ranges as a group, but not in a “military way,” Heimbach said.

He said group members would carry no weapons on the nighttime walks.

One need look no further than the White Student Union’s blog to see why their vigilante operations could turn problematic. In a blog post last month entitled “Black Crime Wave Continues!“, the group writes:

The frequent robberies, sexual assaults, and acts of vandalism at Towson University are not often reported in the local media. For those who are not Towson students it seems hard to fathom that every single day black predators prey upon the majority white Towson University student body. White Southern men have long been called to defend their communities when law enforcement and the State seem unwilling to protect our people.

As a result, the post reads, “The WSU executive board has unanimously approved to make it mandatory for all female WSU members to begin taking some form of unarmed self defense training over the next month.”

Though no Towson faculty would sign on as a sponsor for the WSU, the administration allows the group to use university resources. As the group bragged in September 2012, it is “excited to report that it has taken one step closer toward becoming recognized by Towson University,” pointing to its profile on a university website.


U.S. Politics

Thursday Blog Roundup – 3-21-2013

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), 03/07/13

I’ll be busy with some appointments today and tomorrow, so I’ll be posting the Blog Roundup today and Friday…

This is Pretty Epic
Rand Paul seems to have engineered the unconditional surrender of the Tea Party anti..

Stimulus Derangement Syndrome
An economists’ affliction.

An Introduction to American Politics
Just published: American Politics: A Very Short Introduction by Richard M. Valelly. “..

Video: The amazing disappearing tea party
Rachel Maddow reports that the Tea Party Caucus in the House has been idle since las..

Obama in Ramallah for talks with Palestinians
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — President Barack Obama is in the West Bank for brief meet..

Colo. Corrections Dept. chief shot, killed at home
MONUMENT, Colo. (AP) — In the weeks before Colorado’s top prisons official was fatal..

What The Media Need To Know About CPAC 2013
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event co..

RNC and friends: Let’s hide our crazy from American people
Can’t blame the liberal media for this motley crew. The RNC’s autopsy report noted t..

Right-Wing Media Downplay Spending Cuts, Then Blast Obama For Inflicti..
After downplaying the effects of the government spending cuts known as seq..

REPORT: Kids Ingest Potentially Poisonous Medication 500,000 Times Per..
According to a new report by the children’s medical safety advocacy group Safe Kids ..



Michele Bachmann

Bachmann Accuses Obama Of Living A Life Of Excess

Michelle Bachmann at CPAC 2013

What color is the sky on Michele Bachmann’s planet?  She is trying so hard to be relevant but fails at every attempt.

In the following clip she talks about the Obamas’ excessive spending (to the tune of $1.8 billion a year) overlooking the fact that each president is allowed a personal budget for himself and his family every year.

Think Progress

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) criticized President Obama’s so-called life of excess at the White House, arguing that the first family is living rich on the taxpayer’s dime as the nation faces sequestration and large deficits.

In one of her first major addresses since winning a close re-election bid in November, the Tea Party favorite conceded during her address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday that Obama and his family “deserve to live in the White House,” before listing “the perks and the excess of the $1.4 billion presidency that we’re paying for”:

BACHMANN: And this is a lifestyle that is one of excess. Now we find out that there are five chefs on Air Force One. There are two projectionists who operate the White House movie theater. They regularly sleep in the White House in order to be readily available in case the first family wants a really really late show. And I don’t mean to be petty here, but can’t they just push the play button? We are also the ones who are paying to walk the president’s dog. Paying for someone to walk the president’s dog. Now why are we doing that when we can’t even get a disabled veteran into the White House for a White House tour?

Watch it:

Obama has actually one of the lowest net worths of any American president, and has less wealth than Republicans like George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Bachmann and her husband Marcus have also done well for themselves and have an estimated net worth of between $1.3 million and $2.8 million.

Bachmann, meanwhile, has faced criticism for refusing to pay $5,000 to five staffers from her failed presidential bid, even though she has more than $2 million in her campaign account.

U.S. Politics

Rick Perry: Immigrant Release Is A ‘Federally Sponsored Jailbreak’

Texas Governor Rick Perry at CPAC 2013

CPAC has begun its annual parade of Tea Party fanatics bashing President Obama and his policies…

TPM LiveWire

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington on Thursday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry decried immigration authorities for releasing several hundred detainees in response to sequester cuts.

President Obama’s handling of the sequester “would be laughable if he hadn’t taken it one step too far, dangerously releasing criminals onto our streets to make a political point,” he said. “When you have a federally sponsored jailbreak, –and don’t get confused that’s exactly what this is, a federally sponsored jailbreak — you cross the line from politics as spin to politics as a craven form of cynicism where everything goes.”

White House officials say the decision was made by ICE independently. Many detainees are not held on criminal grounds and Immigration officials say they only released low risk individuals, not anyone who was required to be held for serious charges.


Gov. Chris Christie

Is Chris Christie finished in the GOP?

Chris Christie: Persona non grata at CPAC.

If one defines the Tea Party as the GOP, then there’s a sure bet that Chris Christie is in fact toast.  However, if the less severe conservative members of Congress and the Senate were to embrace Governor Christie and his policies, then the Governor doesn’t have a problem.

The Week

The popular New Jersey governor angers conservatives — again — by announcing he’ll go along with ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, still in the GOP dog house for saying nice things about President Obama’s handling of Super-storm Sandy mere days before the November election, angered conservative critics once again this week by announcing that he would expand Medicaid under ObamaCare. The news came as the organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual enclave of the nation’s conservatives, said they didn’t invite Christie to this year’s gathering because he has a “limited future” in the Republican Party, in part because of his backing of gun-control legislation, which is toxic to many conservatives.

Christie had criticized Obama’s expansion of Medicaid, but his reversal “was a political no-brainer for a politician running for re-election in a blue state,” say Maggie Haberman and David Nather at Politico. Christie may find it to be a pyrrhic victory, though, as this could make CPAC’s prediction more likely to come true. Last year, Christie was a featured speaker at CPAC and a rising GOP star widely considered to have presidential potential. Even if he coasts to another term in his home state, as expected, his warming to this key provision of ObamaCare could sabotage his chances of becoming one of the party’s national standard bearers.

CPAC, for its part, says Christie just isn’t a real conservative. And that kind of assessment often spells defeat for many primary candidates in today’s GOP. Much of the right sees Christie’s Medicaid maneuver as “just one more deal breaker in a series,” says Jill Lawrence at National Journal. He praised Obama after Hurricane Sandy. “He thinks climate change is real. Also he has a man crush on Bruce Springsteen, the Democrats’ go-to entertainer to fire up crowds before elections.” Still, Republicans should think twice before tossing him aside.

Christie, saddled with his Northeastern pragmatism and — the horror — extending health insurance to tens of thousands, will be a non-starter in 2016 if the political climate is the same then as it is now.

The irony is that Christie has a record 74 percent approval rating in his blue state, and 71 percent of his constituents think he deserves to be re-elected. That suggests broad appeal and a national future — but only if his party figures out how to embrace rather than shun people like him. [National Journal]

With all the flak Christie is taking, it’s tough to argue with CPAC’s assessment of his future, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Then again, this feuding might not hurt him in the long run. One of the biggest beefs fiscal conservatives have with Christie was his “cheap, demagogic” battle with the House GOP over uncorking Sandy relief funds. Conservatives think they’re going to chasten him by keeping him at arm’s length over this, but they’re probably really just “doing him an incredible political favor.”

Sandy relief is the biggest reason why his approval rating in Jersey is upwards of 75 percent; it’s likely also the biggest reason he polls well nationally even with Democrats at the moment. His whole post-Sandy nonpartisan brand is built on the idea that he’s less ideological and just more goshdarned caring than those heartless conservatives in the GOP congressional caucus. And now here’s CPAC proclaiming that, indeed, his Sandy relief support is cause for (temporary) banishment from conservatism. He’ll be crowing about it for weeks. It’s practically an in-kind contribution to his gubernatorial campaign. [Hot Air]

And when it comes to Medicaid expansion, Christie is not the only Republican rolling the dice. He’s joining seven other Republican governors — so far — who have chosen to go along with the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion to get health-care coverage for many of their uninsured constituents. How that plays out for them politically depends on how many other governors go along, says Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post.

The remaining question is: Will Republican governors pay any price in national politics for accepting Medicaid expansion? For any governor who has national ambitions, the hope has to be that the expansion rapidly shifts from a betrayal of Republican principles to something that almost all the states are doing. Otherwise, it’s almost certainly going to be a weapon used against them. [Washington Post]