U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday apparently tried to make a soundbite speech for Fox News while falsely characterizing the LGBTQ Equality Act and its impact on “religious freedom.” Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) was not going to allow Cruz’s political grandstanding get in the way of an important confirmation hearing.
Cruz, under fire for months now over various scandals, including his role in the January 6 insurrection, has gone as far as doing a photo op showing him holding a case of bottled water after his Cancun excursion when he left millions of his constituents in the middle of a sub-freezing winter storm without power or water.
On Tuesday Cruz tried the “religious liberty” approach, attacking civil rights attorney and champion Vanita Gupta.
Gupta, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, is President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Associate Attorney General. Cruz falsely framed his question, trying to back Gupta into a difficult position while not letting her complete her answer.
“Do you agree with the provisions stripping RFRA’s religious liberty protections from Americans?” an argumentative Cruz asked Gupta.
The LGBTQ Equality Act does not “strip” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s religious liberty protections from Americans. What it does is say the law cannot be used as the basis for anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Cruz has attacked LGBTQ activists in year past, claiming they are waging “jihad” on Christians.
Gupta tried to answer and present her position. She did not get far.
“Senator, let me begin by saying that religious liberty is incredibly important to me. I am a person of faith. My family is one of deep and abiding faith. And this country’s founding freedom was rooted in religious liberty. I have defended religious freedom throughout my career when I was at the Justice Department I launched an interagency effort to protect religious liberty –”
“I appreciate that but our time is limited –” said Cruz, not wanting Gupta’s background to be advertised, and cutting her off.
“Senator, Senator, it is only fair to allow her to complete her answer,” Chairman Durbin told the Texas Tea Party Senator.
Cruz was not about to let Durbin set the rules.
“Mr. Chairman, I understand that she has things she wants to say but I asked if she supports the repeal of RFRA,” Cruz said, admitting that he’s lying about the LGBTQ equality Act, which does not repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Senator, if you want to make a speech you may make a speech,” Durbin replied before Cruz cut him off too.
“I’m asking a question, I’m asking a question and I understand that you support her nomination so you’re giving a speech too but but I’m asking a question,” Cruz repeated.
“I’m asking you allow her to answer,” Durbin again stated.
“She was not answering,” Cruz claimed, unfairly. “She’s welcome to answer the question. The question is, do you support the Equality Act’s repealing RFRA’s protection of religious liberty for Americans?” Cruz said, again falsely stating what the LGBTQ Equality Act does.
“Senator, I support RFRA,” Gupta replied. “I have enforced provisions of RFRA, and the Justice Department must enforce the law. The Justice Department enforces religious liberty and protects it. It also enforces our nation’s anti discrimination laws.”
Cruz again was not satisfied and interrupted Gupta again.
“Let me try again for a third time. Do you support the Equality Act’s repeal of RFRA’s religious liberty protections?” he asked, again lying about what the legislation does.
“Senator, if confirmed as Associate Attorney General, my duty will be to enforce laws to protect religious liberty and the anti discrimination laws that the Justice Department –”
And once again, Cruz interrupted Gupta.
Okay so you’re declining to answer that as well.”
Sen. Dick Durbin to Sen. Ted Cruz: “Senator if you want to make a speech you may make a speech, but if you’re asking a question allow her to answer.” pic.twitter.com/KXJxeFnKVV
— The Hill (@thehill) March 9, 2021
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DeSantis Administration Blows Off Court Ruling – Strips Funding From Schools Defying Unlawful Mask Mandate Ban
The administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is going ahead with plans to financially punish schools that defy his ban on mask mandates for students.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran withheld funds from the Alachua and Broward county school districts that are equivalent to the salaries paid to school board members’ salaries.
Both counties had defied DeSantis by implementing mask mandates and refused to back down in the face of the governor’s threats.
However, there is some question of whether the decision to withhold the funding from the schools will hold up in court.
“Corcoran’s announcement Monday came after Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper on Friday ruled that DeSantis’ overstepped his constitutional authority in issuing the executive order,” reports the Tampa Bay Times. “Cooper issued an injunction barring Corcoran, the Department of Education and the State Board of Education from enforcing DeSantis’ order. It was not clear Monday evening whether the announcement about withholding funds from the Alachua and Broward districts conflicts with Cooper’s ruling.”
Despite this, the Florida Department of Education released a statement Monday saying that “the withholding of funds will continue monthly until each school board complies with state law and rule.”
Madison Cawthorn Attacks Dr. Fauci: ‘We Want to Prosecute This Guy to the Full Ability of the Law’
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying House Republicans will “prosecute” the esteemed immunologist and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as a “pawn of the Chinese Communist Party” and for lying to Congress.
There is no evidence either of those claims are true.
Speaking to former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, the host of “Just the Truth” on the Real America’s Voice website, Cawthorn falsely claimed Dr. Fauci has “directly lied to Congress,” echoing a claim made by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday. Ellis, who claims to be a “constitutional law attorney,” did not mention to Cawthorn that the House of Representatives does not have the power to criminally prosecute.
“I’ll tell you when we take the majority back in 2022, I’ll make sure consequences are doled out,” Cawthorn promised. “But we want to prosecute this guy to the full ability of the law because I’ll tell you to lie to the American people just to get your name in the news just to see your face on the cover of books just to get fame or fortune, I’ll tell you, Dr. Anthony Fauci does not deserve either fame or fortune.”
On Wednesday Cawthorn told Newsmax, “I think we should indict Jill Biden.”
Rep. Madison Cawthorn vows that if the GOP gains control of the House in 2022, he will “make sure that consequences are doled out” to Dr. Anthony Fauci: “We want to prosecute this guy to the full ability of the law.” pic.twitter.com/kFN0rGOCGJ
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) July 22, 2021
Guns for Hire?: GOP Governor Accused of ‘Renting’ Out South Dakota’s National Guard Troops as For-Profit ‘Mercenaries’
It may be called South Dakota but the “Mount Rushmore State” is pretty far up in the northern United States. And yet Governor Kristi Noem, a Trump-loving far right Republican, is sending her National Guard troops to patrol the border: the Southern Border, in Texas.
The capitol of South Dakota, Pierre, is over 1100 miles from Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s capital city of Austin, about a 17 hour drive according to Google, if you don’t stop to eat or sleep.
Gov. Noem is sending her National Guard troops down to the Lone Star State to help out Gov. Abbott with the “ongoing violations of state and federal law by illegal aliens crossing the unsecured border,” she has just announced.
Who’s paying for these soldiers?
In a statement Noem says “private donations,” the source of which she does not disclose. Nor does she say where the funds are going.
“The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” Governor Noem’s statement reads.. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide. We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve. My message to Texas is this: help is on the way.”
“The deployment will be paid for by a private donation.”
Many are furious that the governor has turned U.S. troops into “a mercenary force.”
Paid for by a private donation?
So she is turning the SD National Guard into kind of a mercenary force? https://t.co/P9dQi7uMR4
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) June 29, 2021
As a fmr director of the MO National Guard it’s concerning that this “deployment is being paid for by a private donation”.
The Guard isnt designed to be “for rent”.
If not activated by the Feds & operating in another state who is picking up the cost & what is the scope? https://t.co/SuP4ph2iUH
— Gregg Favre (@GreggFavre) June 29, 2021
“Paid for by private donation” is another way of saying mercenary https://t.co/TnDdnEaAzZ
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) June 29, 2021
So Gov. Noem is renting out South Dakota’s National Guard to private donors now?
“The deployment is to be paid for by a private donation, Noem’s office said …”
— Kaili Joy Gray (@KailiJoy) June 29, 2021
“The deployment will be paid for by a private donation.”
Kristi Noem just turned her state’s citizen into a private, for-hire security force, which she will then send out of state over the summer. https://t.co/0oAnz2NN0G
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) June 29, 2021
Ah the Mexican border crisis of South Dakota. Good to know Gov. Kristi Noem will accept private donations to use troops for political pageantry. pic.twitter.com/CrHzd55jWL
— 💀DeathMetalViking💀 (@DeathMetalV) June 29, 2021
Private donations to fund sham AZ audit, run border wall scams ala Steve Bannon, and now deploy troops? Do I see a trend here? Really, what’s going on?
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) June 29, 2021
Anonymous private donations paying for domestic military deployments. What could go wrong? https://t.co/iBQZnvxHjF
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) June 29, 2021
Guns for hire? Then I guess they can be used against us….. https://t.co/3IYolKsxGO
— Debi in NC 🌊😷🦋 (@ncdeb6) June 29, 2021
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