Connect with us

COMMENTARY

Watch: Grilled by Congresswoman Over Controversial ‘Faith-Based Media Only’ Call Pompeo Turns Glib and Sarcastic

Published

on

‘I Am Confidant I Will Do So Again’

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo does not appear to be taking seriously the First Amendment concerns raised by his “faith-based media only” conference call that caused tremendous outrage last week. The Secretary banned all regular State Dept. press, all mainstream press, and invited only reporters from “faith-based” media outlets to attend.

Amid questioning from U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), not only did Secretary Pompeo defend his decision to exclude all reporters except those from “faith-based” outlets, he promised to do it again.

Pompeo also refused the Congresswoman’s request to release a transcript of the call, or even the names of the invited participants, both of which would be standard operating procedure in any other administration. In fact, Congresswoman Wild called the decision to not release a transcript, “highly unusual.”

“To me, this instance raises concerns about First Amendment violations,” Rep. Wild noted. “The administration should not be granting some media outlets access to briefings, while selectively excluding others based on the administration’s preferences.”

Almost mockingly, Sec. Pompeo told Rep. Wild he talks to the press frequently, “and when I do I don’t release transcripts of those conversations.”

“Those are interviews that I grant to individual reporters. They write certain pieces of it and certain other pieces they don’t,” Pompeo said, glibly. “This was, this was no different from that in any material respect.”

“I am confident I will do so again,” he said, smugly.

Asked point-blank, “Will you release a transcript of that briefing?” Pompeo smugly replied, “No.”

“Will you identify who the participants were in that briefing?”

“No,” he again responded, smugly.

Pompeo went on to defend his positions by claiming “every Secretary of State that I’m aware of has done so consistently.” He mentioned several, but not Sec. Hillary Clinton.

Later in her questioning Rep. Wild questioned Pompeo on his trips to Iowa, Texas, and Kansas – areas political candidates visit to advance their political ambitions. He is rumored to be considering a run for the governorship of his home state of Kansas.

Apparently feeling that the questioning was somehow beneath him, Pompeo sarcastically replied, “Look, it’s true: I did not visit Martha’s Vineyard.”

What the Secretary refuses to admit or even acknowledge about his concerning conference call is that this was a briefing on “international religious freedom,” which means policy – and the American people have a right to know about policy the administration is enacting. More so, because Pompeo limited the call to “faith-based” outlets only, the appearance of a potential First Amendment violation is apparent. Based on a reported list of which outlets asked questions on that call, it appears no reporters from Muslim-based outlets were invited.

Secretary Pompeo is an evangelical Christian who has discussed the Rapture while speaking to a group of CIA officers while serving as the head of CIA, and he has framed battles in the Middle East as religious wars.

Watch:

 

RELATED STORIES:

STATE DEPT. DOUBLES DOWN ON SECRECY AS POMPEO’S ‘FAITH-BASED MEDIA ONLY’ CONFERENCE CALL DRAWS CRITICISM

STATE DEPT. BARS CREDENTIALED REPORTERS FROM SPECIAL CONFERENCE CALL – ALLOWS ‘FAITH-BASED MEDIA ONLY’: REPORT

‘AS A CHRISTIAN, I BELIEVE IT’S POSSIBLE’: POMPEO STRONGLY SUGGESTS TRUMP WAS PUT ON EARTH TO SAVE THE JEWS

SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE MIKE POMPEO JUST TOLD THE SENATE HE OPPOSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE – WON’T TALK ABOUT GAY SEX

MIKE POMPEO TALKS ABOUT THE RAPTURE INSIDE THE CIA

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

COMMENTARY

‘Find a Spine’: State Farm Criticized After Celebrating Pride Then Dropping Program Supporting LGBTQ Books in Schools

Published

on

Over the past year, insurance giant State Farm has posted ten tweets supporting LGBTQ people, programs, and organizations, as recently as last week:

The $79 billion company will turn 100 years old next month, which coincidentally is LGBTQ Pride Month. It has made strong statements in support of LGBTQ equality and diversity. Just last June they tweeted: “We believe no one should be afraid to celebrate who they are. Let’s support our LGBTQ+ neighbors and show our Pride together!” They even tagged the tweet with their own corporate branding, using #GoodNeighbor and #PrideMonth hastags.

So many were left stunned when the Illinois-based corporation’s chief diversity officer sent an email to employees and agents, as The Daily Beast reports, stating it was dropping its “support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool,” saying it “has been the subject of news and customer inquiries.”

The program helps put LGBTQ-inclusive books into libraries and schools.

“This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity,” Victor Terry continued. “We will no longer support that program.”

And in an apparent bowing down to rising far right-wing extremism and anti-LGBTQ hate, the diversity expert declared, “conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents.”

The right-wing outlet Washington Examiner on Monday, as part of a series titled “Restoring America” published a report on State Farm’s support of LGBTQ students: “Backlash prompts State Farm to end program donating trans books to schools.” That article was a follow-up to one the very same day titled, “State Farm donating transgender books for 5-year-olds to schools in Florida.”

Here’s what those two pieces look like:

 

Outrage over State Farm’s “180” was immediate.

Well-known LGBTQ Activist and writer Charlotte Clymer explained via her Substack platform:

Parker Molloy, also a well-known LGBTQ activist and writer, blasted State Farm.

She adds: “One of the reasons this is getting to me so much has to do with the fact that my dad (who is great and accepting, etc.) is a State Farm agent. That company has been a part of my life for as long as I’ve been alive.”

Bobby Lewis, who writes for Media Matters, tweeted, “something as anodyne as a fucking insurance company buying kids books turned into another fascist outrage campaign, and the corporate cowards caved in a second. it’s pathetic.”

He wasn’t finished, adding: “corporate pride is all window dressing that will never save anyone, but goddamn find a spine you sniveling cowards.”

RELATED –
Far Right Activist Behind CRT Panic Brags About Attacks on Disney, State Farm for LGBTQ Support: Others ‘Will Be Next’

Veteran journalist Michelangelo Signorile, host of the SiriusXM Progress’ “Signorile Show” and writer of The Signorile Report newsletter calls State Farm’s actions “grotesque as LGBTQ rights are backsliding across the country. Now companies joining Ron DeSantis, MAGA and the ‘don’t say gay’ purge.”

More responses:

 

Image by State Farm via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading

COMMENTARY

‘Sordid, Corrupt, Lawless’: Experts Call New Ginni Thomas Revelations ‘Breathtaking’ and Ask ‘What Did Her Husband Know?’

Published

on

The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.

Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear.”

“Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.

It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.

Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.

Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.

“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.

He adds:

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning:

“Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”

Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:

Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:

“New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”

Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”

Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading

COMMENTARY

‘Y’all Don’t Give a Damn’: 192 ‘Heartless’ Republicans Just Voted Against a Bill to Help Ease the Baby Formula Shortage

Published

on

Republicans just voted against two bills to ease the baby formula shortage they have spent weeks falsely trying to pin on President Joe Biden.

In tweets and in floor speeches, Republicans have been attacking President Biden for the nationwide baby formula shortage caused by one manufacturer’s recall and closure of its plant for bacterial infection after two infants died. The shortage has been exacerbated by a trade agreement signed by then-President Donald Trump that makes it extremely difficult and expensive to import formula from other countries, and the fact that 90 percent of baby formula in the U.S. is manufactured by just four companies. Also, hoarding, and price-gouging.

Last week President Biden sat down with manufacturers and retailers to map out a plan to get more formula onto store shelves immediately and directed the Food and Drug Administration to help get the plant reopened. This week he went two steps further: he invoked the Defense Production Act to force manufacturers to produce more formula and produce it ahead of other products and created a program to use federal planes to import baby formula from other countries.

House Democrats last week also opened an investigation into the baby formula shortage.

On Wednesday the House voted on two emergency bills to further ease the shortage.

One example of Republicans falsely attacking President Biden and the left is House GOP Caucus chair Elise Stefanik‘s now-infamous tweet accusing Democrats of having “no plan” as she labeled them “pedo grifters.”

One bill would give FDA $28 million to add staff, work to help get more formula to consumers, and create a long-term strategy, including increased safety inspections so this cannot happen again. The second would dramatically increase supply from foreign sources to consumers using the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.

192 House Republicans voted against giving FDA $28 million to help fix the crisis and ensure it does not happen again.

Nine House Republicans voted against making it easier for WIC customers to get access to baby formula.

Many Americans are becoming outraged as the news from last night’s votes is spreading online.

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.