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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

America’s Conservatives Adore​ Vladimir Putin’s Far Right Christian Nationalism – More Than Freedom and Democracy

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Lauren Witzke, the Republican Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate from Delaware in 2020, gushed with praise for Vladimir Putin this week after the Russian dictator unleashed a military invasion against Ukraine. While somewhat shocking given the timing, Witzke’s admiration of Putin’s “Christian nationalism” has a long precedent among U.S. Christian ​right leaders, who embraced Putin as a “savior of Christian civilization” during the Obama administration.

Shortly after Donald Trump became president, far-right activist Pat Buchanan praised Putin as “a God-and-country Russian patriot” and champion of Christianity “against the Western progressive vision of what mankind’s future ought to be.”

In 2018, prominent Trump-aligned dominionist Lance Wallnau brushed aside Putin’s tendency to kill journalists and run the country “like a mafia state​,” ​and praised Putin’s anti-LGBTQ policies as having been “shaped by Christians​,” ​adding, “I fear more liberals in America than I fear Putin in Russia.”

At an infamous 2018 press conference with Putin and Trump, the U.S. president said he was more inclined to believe Putin than U.S. intelligence agencies that ​had concluded the Russian government had interfered with the 2016 election. Far-right figures like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones were thrilled when Putin mentioned philanthropist George Soros, who many on the far-right portray as the embodiment of sinister globalism. InfoWars’ Jerome Corsi declared Trump and Putin were working together in a “fight to death with the deep state.”

Christian nationalists in the U.S. cry “religious persecution” over business owners being required to abide by anti-discrimination laws, but they don’t spend much time decrying Putin’s actual assaults on the religious freedom of non-Russian Orthodox Christians and other religious minorities in Russia—and in Russian-occupied Eastern Ukraine.

Putin’s government has been a key ally of American Christian​ right groups who happily partner with the world’s most repressive regimes in order to promote “traditional” views of family, sexuality, and gender, as well as to try to prevent and reverse international recognition of reproductive rights or the equality of LGBTQ people.

The alliance between U.S. and Russian promoters of “traditional values” goes back further​ than the Trump administration to the creation of the World Congress of Families. When the WCF’s parent organization was rebranded as the International Organization for Families with anti-marriage-equality crusader Brian Brown at the helm, he made a trip to Russia to seek funding from oligarchs and political operatives aligned with Putin. Indeed, Brown spends enough time in Russia to have a favorite restaurant at Moscow’s airport. In 2013, Brown joined far-right European activists on a trip to Russia where he praised pending legislation to ban adoption by same-sex couples. In 2014, when the WCF announced plans for a Moscow summit, WCF leaders defended Putin from Western critics.

A major funder of the World Congress of Families is Putin-aligned billionaire Konstantin Malofeev, known as “God’s Oligarch” for his close ties to the Russian Orthodox Church. Malofeev wants to bring back the Russian monarchy, with Putin himself as a possible ​tsar. At WCF’s global summit in 2013, Malofeev reportedly told the “traditional values” activists that “Christian Russia can help liberate the West from the new liberal anti-Christian totalitarianism of political correctness, gender ideology, mass-media censorship and neo-Marxist dogma.”

Right Wing Watch​ reported on the adoration showered on Putin by the U.S. Christian right in 2015:

Evangelist Franklin Graham hailed Putin as a hero for taking “a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” even as “America’s own morality has fallen so far on this issue”; Bryan Fischer called Putin a “lion of Christianity” and called upon U.S. lawmakers to adopt similar speech prohibitions; Matt Barber marveled that Putin was able to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation”; Sam Rohrer called Putin “the moral leader of the world”; Scott Lively lavished praise on Putin for “championing traditional marriage and Christian values”; and Rush Limbaugh applauded Putin for stopping “a full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy.” 

That same year, ​radical conspiracy theorist Alex Jones​ praised Putin for promoting “masculine men” and homeschooling.

 

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

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Arsonist’ Trump Criticized for Ratcheting Up Anger in Fox News Interview as He Claims He ‘Will Do Whatever’ to Help

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Donald Trump and Fox News are both being criticized for a Monday interview in which the right wing media outlet quotes the former president repeatedly ratcheting up the anger in his base over the FBI’s lawful execution of a search warrant while claiming he will do whatever he can to help the country.

“Interesting … stenographic choices in the morning’s lead story,” notes Wayne State journalism professor Fred Vultee, pointing out Fox News’ uncritical copying of whatever the former President told them despite appearing to be under criminal investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act and other federal laws. Vultee, who teaches news editing, political communication, and content analysis, according to his bio, also notes Fox News incorrectly spelled dangerous as “dangrous.”

Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz described it as: “Arsonist tells accomplice that the fire has gotten out of hand.”

Attorney and former Republican Ron Filipkowski made a similar observation: “Arsonist Offers To Help Put Out Fire.”

READ MORE: Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama

In its “exclusive” article Fox News writes, “Former President Trump said he ‘will do whatever’ he can ‘to help the country,’ after the FBI’s raid of his Mar-a-Lago home last week, telling Fox News Digital that the ‘temperature has to be brought down,’ while stressing that the American people are ‘not going to stand for another scam.'”

Rather than trying to bring the temperature of his supporters down, Trump appeared to stoke the fire.

“The country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger, like I’ve never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one—years of scams and witch hunts, and now this,” Trump told Fox News. “There has never been a time like this where law enforcement has been used to break into the house of a former president of the United States, and there is tremendous anger in the country—at a level that has never been seen before, other than during very perilous times.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Trump continued. “It is a very dangerous time for our country.”

Visiting Georgetown University professor Thomas Zimmer observes: “Unity; avoiding tensions; lowering the temperature – It all sounds fine in a vacuum. But in the concrete context of the current political conflict, it all basically means the same thing: Impunity for Trump, surrendering to the Right; sacrificing democracy and the rule of law.

READ MORE: Suspect Who Shot Up FBI Office Days After Mar-a-Lago Raid Was Trump Supporter Who Called to Kill FBI ‘On Sight’: Report

Fox News also reports “Trump said he had his representatives reach out to the Justice Department to offer to help amid outrage over the FBI’s unprecedented raid on his private residence last week,” and he “told Fox News that his team ‘has not heard yet’ from the Justice Department on whether they will accept his offer for help.”

“People are so angry at what is taking place,” Trump added. “Whatever we can do to help—because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”

Trump re-upped the claim that the FBI could have planted evidence, even after falsely declaring all documents were legally declassified.

“They could take anything they want, and put anything they want in,” Trump said, adding, baselessly, they “could have planted anything they wanted.”

Fox News did not appear to offer any clarification or push back against anything Trump said. It also offered no balance, including any quotes from legal experts or political experts, nor did the Fox News article offer any reaction from the left, where there too is tremendous anger over Trump allegedly taking and refusing to return 35 cartons of materials from the White House, including highly classified documents, according to the federal warrant and news reports.

The Fox News article ends by saying, “sources close to Trump told Fox News that the former president will soon be making an announcement about a potential presidential run in 2024.”

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

New Analysis Breaks Down GOP’s Flawed Response to the Mar-a-Lago Search

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Republican lawmakers are reportedly at an impasse on whether or not they should be defending former President Donald Trump amid his latest flurry of legal woes. The party is also facing challenges with navigating some lawmakers’ critical assessments of law enforcement over the Trump investigation.

A new analysis is breaking down Republicans’ seemingly flawed response and how it underscores the cracks in the political party’s foundation.

According to Axios, the analysis comes shortly after documents released on Friday, August 12, offered details about the search which reportedly involved “highly classified materials believed stored in violation of the law at the ex-president’s private residence.”

Prior to the release of those documents, Republicans serving on the House Intelligence Committee participated in a press conference where they continued to criticize the investigation, describing it as being politically motivated.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) scrutinized the investigation deeming it a “complete abuse” of authority as she suggested it was being conducted because the former president is considered to be “Joe Biden’s most likeliest political opponent in 2024.”

However, some Republicans on the committee have offered a more leveled approach to the situation. Per The New York Times, “Trump allies have told top Republicans to tone down their criticism of the Justice Department ‘because it is possible that more damaging information related to the search will become public.'”

“It’s incumbent upon everybody to act in a way that’s becoming of the office they hold,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent, “And that’s not casting judgment on anything until you know all the facts.”

Others have attempted to defend the former president. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said, “You can say nuclear weapons, but there are things that are highly, highly classified, there are things that are not extremely classified.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is now selling merchandise on her website in support of a call to “defund the FBI” while Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI.”

 

Image: Elise Stefanik with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago via Facebook

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Boebert’s Mic Cut After Going Over Time and Refusing to End Lie-Filled Rant

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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) refused to end her remarks attacking popular Democratic legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act, and after being repeatedly warned – four times – she was over time as she ranted and delivered falsehoods on the House floor her microphone was finally cut.

Congresswoman Boebert, part of the far-right fringe that has taken over the Republican Party, yelled and wagged her finger as she spread misinformation.

In an ironic twist the pro-gun activist and former owner of Shooters Grill angrily – and falsely – claimed the bill mandates the hiring of 87,000 armed IRS agents.

“What are we doing here? What are we passing this so-called Inflation Reduction Act if inflation is at zero percent?” she asked.

READ MORE: Here’s How Lauren Boebert Is Defending Screaming at Biden as He Addressed Veterans With Burn-Pit Cancer

Inflation in fact for the month of July was flat, coming in at zero percent, which brought the annual inflation rate down from 9.1% to 8.5%.

“Well in fact it’s the inflation enhancement act,” Boebert, a spreader of conspiracy theories falsely argued, calling it “just another con game by the Democrats,” which also is false.

She then went on to claim the IRS would have more “armed agents” than the Defense Dept.

READ MORE: ‘It’s So Gross’: NY Times Blasted for Negative Reporting on Biden by ‘Blindered Horse-Race Analysts’

After being warned four times she had gone over time her mic was cut, but she was subsequently granted additional time.

The Colorado Congresswoman, a pro-gun extremist, went on to lie that the Inflation Reduction Act “hires 87,000 IRS agents and they are armed and the job description tells them that they need to be required to carry a firearm and expect to use deadly force if necessary,” she shouted, calling it “armed robbery.”

The bill will enable the IRS to hire new employees, but nowhere near 87,000. Only a tiny fraction, about 300, would be armed, and not for nefarious purposes like “armed robbery.”

“Though the job is really about sniffing out income and accounting irregularities to build legal cases,” CBS News reports, “one of the potential duties is ‘conduct[ing] or participat[ing] in surveillance, armed escorts, dignitary protection, undercover operations, execution of search and arrest warrants, seizures, etc.,’ the job listing states.”

Boebert began by calling “supporters of this legislation insane,” falsely implied the Inflation Reduction Act increases taxes on ordinary middle-class Americans, while mocking “Green New Deal initiatives.”

Seconds after her “armed robbery” remarks Boebert again ran into overtime. Her mic was cut after the second warning.

Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who spoke immediately after her, blasted the Colorado Congresswoman.

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