CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, is an event held annually by a group of American right-wing conservativeÂ extremists, hell-bent on taking down Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, instilling fear in America, “taking their country back” to the stone age, and propagating so-called “American values” of selfishness, ignorance, and Christian bible-centric governing.
The hallmark culmination of each CPAC are the results of the straw poll, in which the CPAC attendees vote for whom they want the Republican presidential nominee to be, andÂ the closing speech.
Read: “Who Will CPAC Nominate As GOP 2012 Presidential Nominee?” for a full list of this year’s straw poll nominees.
Winners of the CPAC straw poll in years past have rarely won the GOP presidential nomination, much less the presidency. Last year’s winner was Ron Paul, who interrupted Mitt Romney’s three-year streak. George W. Bush did win in 2000, and Ronald Reagan won in 1976, 1980, and 1984.
CPAC closing speakers of recent years past have included right wing extremist icons such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and Newt Gingrich. Often, the speakers mention the Republican deity, Ronald Reagan, who himself spoke at CPAC a dozen times.
Waning Importance Of CPAC
Despite the fact that this year’s CPAC has drawn its largest crowd ever, an estimated 11,000 attendees, an obvious indicator of the waning importance of CPAC, organized by the American Conservative Union, the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the country, is this year’s closing speaker, Rep. Allen West. An extreme right-wing freshman Republican politician, West is best known for falsely claiming, “I have a clearance that even the president of the United States cannot obtain because of my background.â€ The closing speaker, by comparison, last year was Glenn Beck, and the year prior, Rush Limbaugh.
This year’s CPAC, which began today and runs through Saturday evening, boasts the following list of confirmed speakers, most of whom represent the GOP of the 20th Century. A few notable exeptions are the Tea Party favorites, such as fraudulent journalist Andrew Breitbart and Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Another obvious indicator of the waning importance of CPAC is that the most-well-known GOP member, Sarah Palin, along with Marco Rubio, Senator Jim DeMint, will not be attending this year’s CPAC. (The Atlantic asks today, “CPAC Begins, but Does It Still Matter?“)
This year’s confirmed speakers include:
Rep. Michele Bachmann
Gov. Haley Barbour
Hon. John Bolton
Gov. Mitch Daniels
Hon. Newt Gingrich
Sen. Mike Lee
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Rep. Ron Paul
Sen. Rand Paul
Hon. Tim Pawlenty
Gov. Rick Perry
Hon. Mitt Romney
Hon. Donald Rumsfeld
Rep. Paul Ryan
Hon. Rick Santorum
Sen. John Thune
Rep. Allen West
Events, Panel Discussion, Speeches
Some of the events during this year’s CPAC include panel discussions and presentations, such as, “The Leftâ€™s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary,” “How Political Correctness is Harming Americaâ€™s Military,” “Why The Conservative Party Is The Next Step For The Tea Party,” “Lawlessness, Racialism and Terror at Obamaâ€™s Department of Justice,” “Reagan at 100: Role Model for the Next Generation,” “Repealing Obamacare: In The States, In Courts, and In Congress,” and “Traditional Marriage and Society.”
Controversaries: God and The Gays
Several large controversies have plagued this year’s event. First, Muslims. As you know, Islamophobia is a big social issue gripping Fox News-based Americans. So, a panel discussion, “The Importance of Faith & Religious Liberty in the US & Abroad,” sponsored by Muslims for America, surely will draw strong reactions, especially as there is another presentation, “The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks,” sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. This event features bigot extraordinaire Pamela Geller, and is the worldwide “special screening” of a trailer for the new AFDI documentary, “The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11.” Talk about a conflict!
But wait, there’s more!
Another Islamophobia event, “The Sharia Challenge in the West,” takes place on Saturday.
Hopefully there’s strong security at these events.
Then there’s the “problem” of “the gays.”
GOProud, a gay Republican organization, is attending this year’s event, and as a result, many right-wing bigots and their organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council, Senator Jim DeMint, and other Republican heavyweights decided to not attend.
Erick Erickson, possibly America’s least self-aware citizen, and a CNN contributor and founder of RedState, a right-wing blog, today wrote, “GOProud is not a conservative organization.”
He adds, “GOProud has taken one of the favorite leftist bullet points and brought it straight into CPAC. You oppose affirmative action? Youâ€™re a racist. You oppose gay marriage? Youâ€™re a bigot.”
“Those groups and people who have sat out CPAC this year have done so not because they hate the gays, as Grover Norquist and GOProud would have you believe, but because GOProud is not a conservative organization and its agenda is not a conservative agenda.”
More anti-gay controversary at CPAC: Politico reports, “A POLITICO reporter just got handed a flier telling parents and young people that “radical homosexual front groups and their supporters will be in attendance to push their perversion on you.” This comes as some social conservative groups are boycotting CPAC in protest of the gay Republican group GOProud’s attendance.
So, does CPAC matter? Yes and no. Yes, because it propagates and celebrates anti-American extremism, and no, because it propagates and celebrates anti-American extremism.
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Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticket via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is pushing baseless conspiracy theories about the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon floating over the United States – currently, over Montana – that the Pentagon is tracking, and he’s being widely mocked for his unfounded fear-mongering.
Fox News host Harris Faulkner set the stage perfectly for the far-right Republican from Kentucky, declaring the balloon is “the size of three buses” and that “China says was taken by wind – wind that we can’t substantiate.”
The Kentucky congressman who has falsely described President Biden as “compromised,” and stated he is going to target and investigate him, told Faulkner, “I have concern this is going to be another example of the Biden administration’s weakness on the national scale.”
Comer, 50, a former agriculture commissioner, lamented about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming it hurt the reputation of America’s military and Commander in Chief.
The balloon, he said, should “never have been allowed” to cross over into the United States.
“My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” he asked, pushing unfounded theories while echoing the far-right’s false claims the COVID-19 virus was developed as a bioweapon and escaped the lab in Wuhan, China.
After suggesting it might have bioweapons, he then said it was “very concerning” the balloon was not shot down before reaching the U.S. – which could have spread the alleged bioweapon.
Faulkner, seen by some as a propagandist, then jumped in to exhibit her surprise that “people on Capitol Hill were not briefed” about the balloon.
“Calling for the president to ‘shoot down’ the craft,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona adds, “some in the GOP called the president ‘Beijing Biden’ while claiming this is further proof that ‘Communist China’ doesn’t ‘fear or respect’ Biden.”
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer to Fox News: “My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” pic.twitter.com/0r9JmBl4zo
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 3, 2023
“Honestly,” communications strategist Doug Gordon noted, “just surprised he didn’t find a way to include Hunter’s laptop into that conspiracy theory.”
“Actually, he did later on,” Baragona replied.
National security expert Denver Riggleman, the Republican former U.S. Congressman from Virginia who assisted the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, tweeted: “Bioweapons? FFS”
Referring to Comer’s unfounded bioweapons claim, one Twitter user observed, “Isn’t that more reason not to shoot at it? I’m not saying I know what to do, but logic would dictate ‘don’t shoot at balloons full of bioweapons.’ Right?”
Another noted that the Oversight Chairman should have been listening to the Pentagon’s briefing “taking place now instead of running to get on Fox to talk about something he has no expertise in.”
Another, mocking Comer, noted: “If they were sending a bio weapon, why would they park it over sparsely populated Montana? *rolls eyes*”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches
Donald Trump laid the groundwork early in the 2020 election for his possible defeat by attacking voting by mail and ballot drop boxes, insisting they should be illegal while making clear if he lost the White House those proven safe and effective means of voting would be to blame.
But now, with a flailing 2024 campaign the failed ex-president who is under multiple investigations is demanding ballot drop boxes be deployed – but only in churches.
“Some states use ‘drop boxes’ for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots,” Trump tweeted in August of 2020. “So who is going to ‘collect’ the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!”
That was just one of his many attacks on drop boxes.
“So now the Democrats are using Mail Drop Boxes, which are a voter security disaster,” Trump tweeted just days later. “Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times. Also, who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas? They are not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!”
The tweet was so false Twitter appended a warning label to it that reads: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.”
Fast forward to now.
On his social media platform Trump reposted a “truth” (the word Truth Social uses instead of “tweet”) from far-right activist, conspiracy theorist, and provocateur Jack Posobiec. Posobiec was “one of the most prominent promoters of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, that held that the Washington D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong was really a front for a child sex dungeon run by Hillary Clinton. He even went to the restaurant to find out ‘what’s really going on’ there,” according to The Daily Beast.
“In 2017, BuzzFeed reported text messages suggesting that Posobiec held a ‘Rape Melania’ sign during an anti-Trump protest in an apparent attempt to discredit the protesters as insidious and deranged.”
Thursday, on Trump’s Truth Social platform, Posobiec wrote: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches in every state where it’s legal.”
Hours later Trump was all over the idea, demanding the Republican National Committee implement it.
“Best idea I’ve heard in a long time,” Trump wrote in all-caps, “put them all over the place. RNC, every Republican, get to work on this now!!!”
Democratic voting rights attorney Marc Elias’ Democracy Docket platform just last week reported that in 2020, “Trump first attacked mail-in voting itself, then tried to undermine the postal service’s ability to handle the volume of ballots. Soon after, he began to target drop boxes as well.”
As Trump learned, making it more difficult to vote is not a winning strategy, unless you’re highly unpopular and can block a significant number of your opponents’ votes while retaining your own, which he did not.
But the GOP sure tried.
“Republicans in many states soon followed Trump’s lead and began restricting the deployment of drop boxes even if the state had previously used them without controversy. [Ohio] Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) limited each county to a single drop box no matter how populous. Similarly, the Texas Supreme Court upheld Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) order limiting every county to a single ballot drop-off location — from Loving County (population of 64 people) to Harris County (population of 4.7 million people). In other states, Republicans moved to ban drop boxes entirely, and Missouri officials decided against deploying 80 boxes the state had already purchased,” Democrat Docket adds.
Meanwhile, Trump’s – or rather, Posobiec’s – strategy is clear: “Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches,” because Trump thinks he still owns the Christian vote, despite attacking “disloyal” evangelical leaders just weeks ago.
But drop boxes are largely the purview of state election officials, and there would be a strong case to make again putting drop boxes only in churches. What about other houses of worship? And why just houses of worship – are they more secure than other areas?
Some might think it’s difficult to flip-flop on such a basic idea as drop boxes, especially if you went to court to void voters’ ballots that were deposited in them.
“In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign sued to invalidate the use of drop boxes in the primary election and prevent their use in the general election,” Democracy Docket adds. “Then after the election, Republicans pointed to drop boxes as a reason to question the results in a lawsuit filed in Michigan.”
Now that Trump has succeeded in ensuring Ronna McDaniel remains head of the RNC, this will be a test of his strength, or lack thereof.
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