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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Republicans Push New $25 Billion Bill to Fund Trump’s Wall – by Tightening Access to Programs Like Food Stamps

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Four Republican Senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, are introducing the WALL Act, a new bill that would authorize $25 billion to fully-fund President Trump’s border wall. There are no direct offsets – known as “PAYGO” – in the legislation to pay for a wall many consider both unnecessary and racist. But the bill would attempt to squeeze $25 billion from  immigrant and low-income parents and workers, including those who receive federal benefits like food stamps.

Instead of taking the funds directly from elsewhere in the federal budget, according to a statement from Senator Cruz, the wall would be funded by tightening requirements of government programs for low-income workers. Among them, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Other federal programs, like food stamps, would require recipients to prove citizenship.

Those who cannot prove they meet the new standards, namely, that they are U.S. citizens or legally permitted to receive benefits, would be kicked out of the programs. Others who are eligible but fearful of the new regulations may also neglect to collect them. And some may not learn they need to produce proof.

Cruz says additional funding would come by increasing “the minimum fines on illegal border crossers” and establishing a “minimum penalty for visa overstays.”

Senator Cruz provided no proof these federal welfare programs are being abused by non-citizens or ineligible workers, or that increasing fines would net $25 billion.

“Currently only the child needs a SSN, not the parent benefiting from the refundable child tax credit. The WALL Act would require the parent to have a valid work-eligible social security number,” Cruz says. “Before 2003, the Social Security Agency did not distinguish between work-eligible and non-work eligible SSNs. Therefore, there are individuals benefiting from the EITC they are not authorized to receive because they are non-work eligible.”

Cruz’s bill could prevent legal child citizens from being able to access government programs like food stamps.

HuffPost reports the claim that undocumented immigrants are “are stealing benefits from Americans” is “divorced from reality.”

But legal immigrants who are eligible for programs like food stamps are refusing to sign up, for fear they will be deported. That means some children are not getting the food they need. The WALL Act feeds those fears, not the children who need help the most.

“I have long called for building a wall as a necessary step in defending our border and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into our country,” Cruz says in his statement. “The overwhelming majority of Texans and Americans want to see the border secured.”

But polling makes clear the majority of Americans do not want a border wall.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement announcing the WALL Act, Senator Inhofe took the opportunity to advocate for his bill, the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act. Sen. Inhofe’s statement is riddled with falsehoods.

“Currently, migrants who cross the border illegally and declare asylum are released pending credible fear screenings and other legal procedures, but rarely show up for proceedings – never completing the asylum process,” he claims.

Inhofe also claims, “most migrants don’t show up for their court date.”

Both claims are 100% false.

According to PunditFact, a fact-checking offshoot of PolitiFact, an Obama-era program for asylum seekers that President Trump has since killed, boasted a 100% attendance record at court hearings. It also had a 99% show rate of check-ins and appointments with ICE.

“Around 60-75 percent of non-detained migrants have attended their immigration court proceedings, according to Justice Department data from the last five available years,” PunditFact reports, expanding their review to all migrants. “Some limited data suggests rates may be higher for asylum-seekers.”

Inhofe’s bill would also turn local police departments and court systems into arms of ICE, forcing them to issue “a criminal bench warrant for immigrants that have failed to appear for immigration court.”

Legally, that’s at best problematic, and possibly unconstitutional.

The other two GOP Senators introducing the bill are Mike Rounds of South Dakota and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

President Trump for over a year promised voters Mexico would pay for the wall. He then said it would be paid for by some sort of tariff system, and ultimately insisted U.S. taxpayers fund it so he could keep his campaign promise.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Conservative SCOTUS Justices Show Open Hostility to LGBTQ People Being Parents in ‘Religious Liberty’ Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments against the City of Philadelphia in a case brought by Catholic Social Services. By all accounts the six-justice conservative majority was not merely dismissive of equality and LGBTQ rights in favor of special rights for Christian-based organizations, but openly-hostile to the very idea that LGBTQ people and same-sex couples could be good parents.

Catholic Social Services (CSS) lost in a unanimous 2018 lower court ruling when it sued the City of Philadelphia for refusing to send children to it for foster placement because the religious organization reneged on its agreement to place children with LGBTQ parents and same-sex couples.

Far right wing Justice Clarence Thomas used a thinly-veiled analogy of a swimming pool to argue what’s in the “best interest” of a child.

“Don’t you think it’s in the best interest of the the child to also have a pool, that is, that is beneficial to the child?” Thomas asked, as The Washington Blade reports. “I don’t understand why that isn’t also in the best interest of the child.”

Justice Samuel Alito decided to push false animus in what sounded like a conspiracy theory.

Related: SCOTUS to Hear Major LGBTQ Case, With Barrett – Designed to Give Christians Special Rights to Discriminate

“If we are honest about what’s really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents,” Alito claimed. “It’s the fact that the city can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh insisted the City of Philadelphia was somehow attacking the Catholic group. He called Philadelphia’s position, that LGBTQ people cannot be excluded, “extreme.”

“It seems like Philadelphia created a clash, it seems, and was looking for a fight, and brought that serious controversy all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Philadelphia did not bring the case to the Supreme Court. Philadelphia won the case. Catholic Social Services brought the case tot he Supreme Court.

(Kavanaugh was recently criticized for making a serious error in an opinion last week so dire it had to be corrected.)

And then there’s the Court’s newest, and most extreme Justice, Amy Coney Barrett.

Here’s how the ACLU’s Josh Block characterized her questioning:

“Barrett asks what would happen if an agency had a religious objection to serving couples in interracial marriages? CSS says government has a compelling interest in eradicating racial discrimination, but not discrimination against same-sex couples. Very scary response.”

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Despite Ban Joe Rogan Hosts His ‘Friend’ – Conspiracy-Monger Alex Jones – on Flagship Spotify Show

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Joe Rogan—host of popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast and the biggest podcast star on Spotify—interviewed radical right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on a recent episode of his show despite the fact that Jones himself has been banned by the Spotify platform.

Rogan, who hosted Jones on two previous occasions on his show, conducted a three-hour discussion with Jones and podcast host Tim Dillon on topics ranging from climate change, Hunter Biden, vaccine concerns, globalists, and the influence of tech companies on freedom of speech.

At the top of the show, Rogan addressed his friendship with Jones, explaining that he does not believe in de-platforming people.

“People have criticized me for being friends with you, for talking to you, and they have also criticized me for not supporting a lot of these people that were banned and deplatformed,” Rogan said to Jones near the start of the episode. “My take on it has always been the best way to counter wrong speech is correct speech. When someone says something that’s wrong or a conspiracy theory that’s not accurate, the best way to counter that is to do better speech…and to let the truth rise to the top.”

Jones has long been banned from all major platforms, including Spotify, which canceled ‘The Alex Jones Show’ in 2018 “due to repeated violations of Spotify’s prohibited content policies.” (Author note: Jones was banned, in part, due to reporting by Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt.)

Jones has peddled conspiracies about white genocidevaccines, 9/11, and climate change. He claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018 were false flag operations, which led to parents of victims and survivors being harassed and threatened.

Over the past decade, Rogan has hosted a wide range of controversial and far-right figures on his show, including Jordan Peterson, Candace Owens, Steven Crowder, Gavin McInnes, Milo Yianoppoulos, Bret Weinstein, Roseanne Barr, Mel Gibson, and Ted Nugent, among others. Interestingly, he has also hosted renowned figures like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, athletes like Mike Tyson, and progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang.

While Rogan prides himself on his “question everything” mentality, his podcast has proven to be dangerous in its ability to convey false information to impressionable followers who already question the legitimacy of mainstream science and media. He has been guilty of spreading false information several times in 2020 alone, including information relating to Obamagate, an unfounded conspiracy theory based on President Donald Trump’s claims that former president Barack Obama broke a law during his transition out of office. He also claimed that left-wing people started the wildfires in Oregon, a statement for which he later apologized.

In an attempt to provide some sort of balance to the three-hour interview, Rogan tried to factcheck Jones’ various claims. Along with his producer Young Jamie, Rogan sought out relevant news articles surrounding some of Jones’ claims. He even asked Jones to avoid discussing topics like 9/11, and urged him to tread carefully with some of his accusations. At one point, Rogan warned him: “We’re gonna go down another rabbit hole, you son of a bitch.”

Despite the lengths Rogan went to fact-check Jones, he also celebrated the conspiracy-monger for “getting so many things right.”

“We all know that you’ve fucked some things up,” Rogan said.

“Your biggest fuck-up was Sandy Hook,” Rogan added, referring to Jones’ claims that the massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., never happened. “But you’ve gotten so many things right. This is why I keep talking to you about these things and why I defend you, and why I think it is fucking dangerous to censor you.” Rogan, notably, did not mention a single thing that Jones has supposedly gotten “right.”

As for Spotify, the popular platform is unlikely to take any editorial action against Rogan for Jones’ appearance. An internal email from Spotify’s chief legal officer and head of global affairs Horacio Gutierrez which was leaked to Buzzfeed framed the matter as a question of context, and stated that “we are not going to ban specific individuals from being guests on other people’s shows, as the episode/show complies with our content policies.”

“It’s all too common that things are taken out of context,” Gutierrez added.

This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

Image: Screenshot via YouTube

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

In Strange Move Clarence Thomas – Not Chief Justice Roberts – to Administer Oath to Amy Coney Barrett

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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will not officiate the swearing in of soon-to-be confirmed Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett Monday night. Instead, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife is a close Trump ally, will do the honors.

The event is set to take place between 8 and 9 PM Monday night, according the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and media reports.

It’s unclear why the Chief Justice will not be administering the oath, but Justice Thomas and especially his wife, far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas (photo) are close to the Trump White House.

Developing …

 

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