Michele Bachmann (allegedly) is palling around with terrorists. At least, Bachmann is palling around with a Republican Evangelical who was arrested for terrorism, and spent 37 days in a Ugandan jail until the George W. Bush administration pulled some strings to get him out. That was in 2006. He now is “a staffer for Bachmann and responsible for her faith-based organizing both in Iowa and South Carolina,” according to a report.
Let’s be fair and acknowledge that absolutely, in America, no one is guilty until convicted, so an arrest, at least here, doesn’t engender guilt. But the man arrested,Â Peter E. Waldron, not only does not deny the arrest, he’s making a film about it. So, what does that say?
As you read the story below, ask yourself, what does this say about Michele Bachmann’s decision-making abilities, vetting processes, and even personal judgment?
â€œWhere do you stand on the Constitution? Are you competent? And do you share my views? Thatâ€™s my criteria,â€ Bachmann said onÂ Meet the Press this Sunday, about whether or not she would hired someone. The question, albeit one about gays, is absolutely valid and applicable to everyone else — or certainly should be, unless Bachmann is going to have double-standards for gay and straight people. â€œI am not out asking any other questions,” Bachmann added. Proof positive, right there.
As you read the comment from Bachmann’s press secretaryÂ Â in the email mentioned below, note how God, or one’s purported relationship with God, evidently is all the vetting Michele Bachmann requires.
If this story were about Barack Obama instead of Michele Bachmann, how would the Right view it?
After all, if not defending DOMA is an “impeachable offense,” according to GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, what is this?
Via Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor atÂ The Atlantic:
“The evangelical organizer who helped Michele Bachmann win the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa Saturday was previously charged with terrorism in Uganda after being arrested for possession of assault rifles and ammunition in February 2006, just days before Uganda’s first multi-party elections in 20 years.
“Peter E. WaldronÂ spent 37 days in the Luriza Prison outside Kampala, where he says he was tortured, after being arrested along with six Congolese and Ugandan nationals for the weapons, which were described variously in news reports as having been found in his bedroom or a closet in his home. The charges, which could have led to life in prison, were dropped in March 2006 after a pressure campaign by Waldron’s friends and colleagues and what Waldron says was the intervention of the Bush administration. He was released and deported from the east African nation, along with the Congolese. On Saturday, Waldron toldÂ The AtlanticÂ in Ames that he was a staffer for Bachmann and responsible for her faith-based organizing both in Iowa and South Carolina. But he also declined repeatedly to give his name.
“Asked about Waldron’s role and background, Alice Stewart, the press secretary for the Bachmann for President campaign, replied in an email: “Michele’s faith is an important part of her life and Peter did a tremendous job with our faith outreach in Iowa. We are fortunate to have him on our team and look forward to having him expanding his efforts in several states.”
By the way, Waldron has written a book, “Â “Rebuilding the Walls: A Biblical Strategy for Restoring America’s Greatness.” Big surprise. Dominionism, anyone?
But wait, there’s more!
Franke-Ruta adds that “theÂ Kampala MonitorÂ reported that the inspector general of police “told a news conference Waldron was suspected of links to a group in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and ‘planned to set up a political party here based on Christian principles.'”
“On his website, Waldron says he was “falsely accused of being a spy by the Uganda government’s secret police,” leading to his arrest. One man who knew Waldron in 2004 toldÂ The St. Petersburg TimesÂ in 2006 that Waldron had told him he used to work for the CIA, and the question of whether or not Waldron has worked as a spy is prominently teased in the trailer for the movie based on his life now being promoted on his personal website.
“At the time of his arrest, Waldron was hailed on one right-wing blog as being “an arms dealer of the Lord” and “the latest victim of Christian persecution in Africa.” But his allies seeking to free himÂ said he was being persecutedÂ for his reports in the “Africa Dispatch” newsletter about Ugandan opposition activities, and that he denied that he owned or was storing weapons.
“Waldron has been described at times as a leader of a wide variety of organizations, includingÂ Advancing American FreedomÂ (co-founder);Â Christians Restoring America’s GreatnessÂ (founder and president); Cities of Faith Ministries (founder); the Contact America Group, Inc. (president); and The Save The Family Foundation (president).
“From 1995 to 1999 he ran the Rising Stars Education and Sports Foundation in Florida, according toÂ The St. Petersburg Times, taking in $600,000 from state and local governments, and he later had an affiliation with “the Rocky Mountain Technology Group, a Montana software development company,” according to the paper.”
Any questions, now?
No doubt, Bachmann will rush to answer all the questions this story asks, just as she has been so open and transparent about her and her husband’s ex-gay Christian counseling business practices.
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RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.
Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.
McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.
“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.
Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.
He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.
“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.
Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.
Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.
Questions Swirl Around Herschel Walker as New Report Shows His Georgia Residence Was Rented Out for Over a Decade
Where Herschel Walker lives has been a question since before he officially announced his candidacy as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Numerous reports have looked into claims he lives in Texas and not the Peach State, which some Georgia voters might find problematic, but new reporting exposes what could lead to tax or voting fraud investigations.
Walker’s Georgia home, according to reporting from The Daily Beast‘s Roger Sollenberger, is owned by his wife, who for years has rented it out.
When Walker announced his candidacy, after a strong push from Donald Trump, it “was widely known at the time that the Republican hopeful had been living in Texas for decades, though he has claimed to maintain a residence in Atlanta for ’17 years.’ Less widely known, however, was that Walker’s wife collected tens of thousands of dollars in rental income for that residence, according to his 2021 financial disclosure forms.”
While it is unclear if the home was rented out when Walker officially launched his Senate run, the “house doubled as the Walker campaign’s first official address when he launched his bid in August 2021. Fulton County tax and property records show the home is solely owned by Walker’s wife, Julie Blanchard, who also collected rental income from 2020 and 2021 ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, according to the disclosure—defining the asset as ‘Georgia residence.'”
CNN last week reported that “Republican Herschel Walker is getting a tax break intended only for a primary residence this year on his home in the Dallas, Texas, area, despite running for Senate in Georgia.”
“In Texas, homeowner regulations say you can only take the exemption on your ‘principal residence,'” CNN’s K-File reported. “Walker is listed to get a homestead tax exemption in Texas in 2022, saving the Senate candidate approximately $1,500 and potentially running afoul of both Texas tax rules and some Georgia rules on establishing residency for the purpose of voting or running for office.”
Even after he launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate Walker still filed for the Texas tax exemption.
The complaint alleges “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony in August 2021 when he registered to vote in Georgia,” and “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony when he voted in the 2022 Georgia primary and general elections.” These are allegations and have not been investigated by authorities.
When he announced is candidacy, “Walker’s main GOP rival challenged him to ‘move here, pay taxes here, register and vote in some elections’ before running,” The Journal-Constitution notes. “Warnock’s allies have taken a similar line of attack, framing the Republican as an out-of-state charlatan.”
Trumps Latest Tactic? Attacking Special Counsel’s Sister-in-Law
Donald Trump is going all-in on attacks against the family of special counsel Jack Smith. Instead of mounting a defense for his actions, Trump deployed one of his top tactics: attacking anyone trying to hold him accountable.
One of Trump’s right-wing allies posted a claim that Smith’s sister-in-law, who is allegedly a psychologist and whose patients were “crying” and “sobbing” over Trump’s 2016 election.
“And I’m supposed to get a fair shake from this person, who’s under tremendous pressure from his family, but he is actually worse than they are?” Trump rambled on his personal social media site. “Can Republicans, and fair-minded people, generally, allow this to happen? Jack Smith is nothing less than a hit man for Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder, and Andrew Weissmann. Weaponization. Our Country is in big trouble, a real mess!”
Smith was hired by Trump’s administration to serve as an acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee during Trump’s first year in office, his biography states. During this same time, the new Trump Justice Department was firing most of the U.S. Attorneys hired under President Barack Obama’s administration. One of those biggest names was Preet Bharara, who helped Trump with the transition while serving as the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York. He was fired the same month that Trump hired Smith in 2017.
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