U.S. Senator John Cornyn, the long-serving 70-year old Texas born, bred, and educated Republican who has been in government since 1985, on Monday doubled down on his attack on the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which found the U.S. Constitution requires same-sex couples to be afforded the same rights and responsibilities of marriage as their different-sex peers.
He falsely claimed the ruling “mandated” same-sex marriages, which would literally mean Americans have been forced to marry someone of the same gender. Two weeks ago he labeled the ruling an “edict,” with the same effect.
“Over our nation’s history there’s been something for everyone to love, or hate, from Plessy v. Ferguson, which established the shameful ‘separate but equal’ doctrine for public schools – ultimately overruled in Brown v. Board of Education, to Obergefell, which mandated same-sex marriages,” Cornyn declared Monday during the Senate confirmation vote of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the next Supreme Court Justice.
Cornyn was wrong in his remarks but not because he was confused. The former Senate Minority and Majority Whip who has also been a judge and an attorney general knows the law better than most.
“When the Supreme Court creates a right that is not even mentioned in the Constitution, the independence and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court itself is called into question,” Cornyn claimed, “because consent is discarded.”
As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern writes, same-sex marriage is the next target for Republicans after they kill the constitutional right to abortion.
“Today, Sen. John Cornyn put Obergefell (the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision) in the same category as Plessy v. Ferguson,” Stern writes. “How much clearer do Republicans need to be that they’re gunning for Obergefell?”
Oberlin political science professor Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD offered a similar observation:
In case there was any doubt that Republicans are aiming at reversing same-sex marriage law, John Cornyn mentioned Plessy v. Ferguson and then connected it to Obergefell v. Hodges.
— Miranda Yaver, PhD (@mirandayaver) April 4, 2022
Two weeks ago during Judge Jackson’s SCOTUS confirmation hearing, Stern wrote at Slate: “Loathing for Obergefell emerged early on Tuesday, when Republican Sen. John Cornyn launched a frontal assault on the ruling, then sought Jackson’s reaction.”
“He began by criticizing ‘substantive due process,’ which holds that the ‘liberty’ protected by the due process clause protects substantive rights, not just procedural ones. The Supreme Court has used this theory to enforce ‘unenumerated rights’ that it deems fundamental, including the right to marry, raise children, use contraception, and terminate a pregnancy. Along with equal protection, it served as the basis of Obergefell. According to Cornyn, however, this doctrine is ‘just another form of judicial policymaking’ that can be used ‘to justify basically any result.'”
He called Obergefell “a new right,” “an act of judicial policymaking,” and an “edict,” rather than a landmark ruling, similar to his false claim on Monday that it “mandated” same-sex marriage. He also called the ruling “a dramatic departure from previous laws” that contradicted “234 years” of history, as Stern reported.
Cornyn wasn’t done yet.
The Texas Republican “also dismissed Obergefell as ‘court-made law that we’re all supposed to salute smartly and follow because nine people who are unelected, who have lifetime tenure, whose salary cannot be reduced while they serve in office—five of them decide that this is the way the world should be.'”
Watch Cornyn from Monday’s vote:
Republican Senator John Cornyn attacks the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision—
which guarantees the right to marry—
saying it undermines the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/UOxrsPUSl6
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) April 4, 2022
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Arizona GOP Nominee Caught Red-Handed Using Footage of Russian Troops Marching in a Victory Parade in Her Campaign Ad
The ad opens showing Lake and says she will “stand with Arizona’s border sheriffs,” a plea to anti-immigration voters. It immediately cuts to footage of marching troops. Those troops are Russian soldiers, not Arizona National Guardsmen.
Heartland Signal reports, “this footage can be found in its original form on the stock footage website Shutterstock, which shows that the troops are, in fact, Russian soldiers marching in a victory parade.”
“Another website called Russian Army Shop sells the very same uniforms shown in the footage, which is the desert camouflage version of Russian Army fatigues. These are very different from the Arizona National Guard uniforms.”
NEW: Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake uses footage of Russian soldiers marching in her campaign ad, claiming (incorrectly) that they are the Arizona National Guard. https://t.co/EmaoWstXtG pic.twitter.com/txTb4K8zZb
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) October 6, 2022
Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, blasted Lake.
“If Kari Lake can’t identify a uniformed member of the Arizona National Guard from a Russian soldier, she has no business leading our brave men and women as governor,” Hobbs told Heartland Signal.
Lake is considered by some to be a Christian nationalist. Her recent endorsement of Jarrin Jackson, an virulently antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist extremist who tells his supporters being LGBTQ is a “gateway to pedophilia,”and that “Jews will go to hell,” received wide condemnation. Lake, a former journalist, responded by stating it’s “impossible to dig into everything someone has said in their life. If his reported comments are true, I obviously rescind my endorsement.”
She did not condemn Jackson, but stated: “I respect Jarrin’s service to our Nation, but clearly denounce that kind of derogatory language. Let me be clear: Our great movement welcomes anyone and everyone who wants to fight for a better future,” as Axios Phoenix reported.
Lake is far from the only Republican who uses Russian video and photos in their work.
House Republicans led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago “unveiled their ‘Commitment to America’ agenda for 2023 ― and with it, an inspirational video chock full of scenes presented as exceptional imagery of America but that are actually stock footage from Russia and Ukraine,” HuffPost reported.
“Serg Grbanoff, a filmmaker based in Russia…told HuffPost that he filmed” a scene used in the GOP’s video “in Russia’s Volgograd region.”
“In another scene,” HuffPost reports, “a boy is seen smiling and running in a field with a toy airplane. The words ‘Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ appear on the screen, a reference to the Declaration of Independence.”
That “clip was also created by Grbanoff, and also filmed in the Volgograd region of Russia.”
That’s not the first time McCarthy has used Russian footage.
In 2019, as NCRM reported, McCarthy released an ad defending then-President Donald Trump which included footage from Russia.
The ad itself was widely mocked, but that CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski identified the stock footage was from Russia. Several years ago McCarthy was caught saying he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is paying Trump.
In 2020 Trump’s Make America Great Again Committee asked Americans to “support our troops” in an ad that ran on 9/11. It featured Russian fighter jets and a soldier carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
“According to a review by American Ledger,” that website, published by the progressive super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, reported in 2020, “a political advertisement featuring several Texas Republican congressional candidates used stock footage of a Russian warship and an Israeli military helicopter to promote their campaigns.”
“Cut by Representative Dan Crenshaw’s campaign, the ad is inspired by a range of action and spy films and features a slate of candidates running for the House of Representatives in Texas: Wesley Hunt (TX-7), August Pfluger (TX-11), Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Genevieve Collins (TX-32), and Crenshaw (TX-2) himself.”
It’s been going on for years.
In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump released an ad decrying the treatment of American vets.
“Our great veterans are being treated terribly,” Trump said in a video. “The corruption in the Veteran’s administration, the incompetence is beyond. We will stop that.”
Gawker at the time reported “it was pulled down before most anyone could see it after commenters pointed out that the footage clearly depicted Russian veterans wearing the distinctive St. George ribbon and pins with the Communist hammer and sickle.”
For reasons unknown the accidental usage of Russian imagery appears to have only occurred in ads by Republicans and only Russian footage. Footage from any other country, for instance, Canada, Australia, or Mexico, does not appear to have ever mistakenly been used.
See Lake’s ad above or at this link.
Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano to Speak to Radical Conspiracy Theorists Ahead of Election
In April 2021, business consultant and right-wing podcast host Clay Clark organized a conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, aimed at defying national and local restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. A radical right-wing conspiracy theorist, Clark filled the event with a variety of like-minded COVID-19, election, and QAnon conspiracy theorists such as Michael Flynn, Greg Locke, Scott McKay, Ann Vandersteel, Mark Sherwood, Gene Ho, Patrick Byrne, Stella Immanuel, Jackson Lahmeyer, Leon Benjamin, Mark Burns, and Mike Lindell.
The event was such a success among the MAGA crowd that Clark decided to launch a nationwide “ReAwaken America” tour to bring his carnival of misinformation to churches all across the country. Later this month, the tour will be stopping in Manheim, Pennsylvania, and listed among the speakers is Doug Mastriano, the election-denying, Christian nationalism-promoting Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania (Mastriano can be seen in the lower right-hand corner of the promotional image below).
Mastriano already has deep ties to the far-right fringes of the conservative movement, having appeared earlier this year at a QAnon conference that was rife with wild conspiracy theories. Organizers of that conference even presented him with a “Sword of David” because, they said, “you are fighting for our religious rights in Christ Jesus.”
After speaking at the “Patriots Arise” event last weekend, Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano was awarded a “Sword of David” by QAnon conspiracy theorist hosts Alan and Francine Fosdick: “You are fighting for our religious rights in Christ Jesus.” pic.twitter.com/FWc5F1A5Sh
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) April 26, 2022
Clark’s “ReAwaken America” events have likewise been overflowing with conspiracy theories, Christian nationalism, Trump cultism, and violent rhetoric. Mastriano is set to be on hand October 21 and 22, courting attendees just weeks before the midterm elections.
Right-wing anti-vaccine “expert” Stella Immanuel claims that Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Bill Gates and others are dead and have had their brains downloaded to the internet while their bodies have been replaced by demonic clones. pic.twitter.com/WcC5TWbp2j
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) May 23, 2022
Eric Trump spoke at the ReAwaken America Conference in Dallas last weekend. Just before he took the stage, Leigh Dundas was up there ranting that COVID vaccines are genocide. pic.twitter.com/9FGZljcWBV
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) December 13, 2021
Sherri Tenpenny, one of the right’s leading anti-vaccine “experts,” claims that COVID vaccines are creating “quantum entanglement” between those who take them and “the Google credit scores and the dematrix and all of those things.” pic.twitter.com/1Hft5GXZMu
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) January 27, 2022
During the last ReAwaken America event, anti-vax activist Jim Meehan uncorked an unhinged rant urging right-wingers to seize power & punish their enemies: “I’ve got a message to the Luciferian cabal, to the overlords: We’re coming for you … We’re gonna knock you into the dirt.” pic.twitter.com/gNdQOvJ6JA
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 7, 2022
MAGA pastor and GOP congressional candidate Mark Burns riled up a crowd gathered for a right-wing conspiracy theory conference at John Hagee’s church, encouraging them as they chanted “Let’s Go, Brandon” and demanded that Trump to return to office “now!” https://t.co/zZvGqysoAA pic.twitter.com/aYRWCY3uyi
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 15, 2021
QAnon conspiracy theorist Scott McKay (aka “Patriot Streetfighter”) keeps threatening to kill people and the ReAwaken America tour keeps putting him on stage to do so: “I’m gonna rain this shitstorm down on all these scumbags until they are dead.” https://t.co/yI12BMzd7e pic.twitter.com/n7i4rYIyxR
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 21, 2022
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This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
‘Nothing to Be Ashamed of’: Herschel Walker Says if He Paid for an Abortion He Would ‘Be Forgiven’
Georgia GOP senatorial nominee Herschel Walker is doubling down on his denials he paid a girlfriend to have an abortion, emphatically insisting he knows “nothing” about it – after saying, “why in the world would I not be forgiven of something like that?” and insisting it’s “nothing to be ashamed of” – despite wanting to criminalize and ban all abortion.
Walker Thursday morning spoke with right wing propagandist Hugh Hewitt and suggested he’s been “forgiven,” in the biblical sense, of paying his girlfriend to have an abortion, only to backtrack moments later.
“The Daily Beast has updated the story about your paying for a woman’s abortion,” Hewitt began. “The anonymous woman has now also alleged that she had a child by you. Your response?”
“I say the same thing I said, that you know, I know this is untrue. I know it’s untrue, and they keep telling me things like that, and it’s totally, totally untrue. And I’m not sure why that would be told. I know nothing about any woman having an abortion,” Walker insisted. “And they can keep coming at me like that, and they’re doing it because they want to distract people.”
“I know that, because you know, I’ve already been forgiven,” Walker said, in a nod to Christianity. “And if I’ve been forgiven, why in the world would I not be forgiven of something like that?”
Hewitt, appearing to help Walker along, asked, “Is there anything you need to be forgiven for vis-à-vis a woman whose name we do not know? Do you know who this woman is? And do you need to be forgiven?”
“No,” Walker again insisted. “And I’m saying I’ve been forgiven because of all of the things I did when I went to my, the thing with my ex-wife and all that, and things I did I don’t know how many years ago that I wrote in my book. I forgot. I wasn’t perfect. I had my problem with mental health,” he said once again describing it as something in the past.
But Walker, who is campaigning as a candidate who is against all abortion for any reason, including rape, incest, health or life of the mother, says abortion is “nothing to be ashamed of.”
“And I was, I’ve been, I hate to say I’ve been born again, but I have a new life. And I’ve been moving forward, and had that happened, I would have said it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of there. You know, people have done that, but I know nothing about it. And if I knew about it, I would be honest and talk about it, but I know nothing about that.”
In May The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported “Walker promised to ‘protect the unborn with my life … because I believe from the womb to the tomb.'”
Wednesday night The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger published a second piece on Walker paying for his girlfriend’s abortion, this time with the woman revealing she is the mother of one of Walker’s four known children. She told The Daily beast she was angry that Walker lied about paying for her aborton, saying he “urged” her to have it.
“Sure, I was stunned, but I guess it also doesn’t shock me, that maybe there are just so many of us that he truly doesn’t remember,” the woman told The Daily Beast. “But then again, if he really forgot about it, that says something, too.”
“I’ve been very civil thus far. I keep my mouth shut. I don’t cause any trouble. I stay in the background. But I’m also not gonna get run over time and time again,” she added. “That’s crazy.”
The woman, who is keeping her name out of the press for obvious family reasons, “said Walker frequently talked about being a Christian, but never once expressed any misgivings about abortion generally—or any regret about the one that they had. When she got pregnant again years later, the woman says she made a different choice, even though Walker said it still wasn’t ‘a convenient time’ for him.”
She says Walker “didn’t express any regret” about her having had the abortion.
“He seemed pretty pro-choice to me. He was pro-choice, obviously,” she said.
She also “said even though Walker often talked about Christianity, he uses it ‘when it works for him.'”
It worked for him Wednesday evening, when Walker’s campaign posted a new ad in which Walker does not address the abortion allegations at all, but rather talks about his mental health issues, claiming “by the grave of God” he has “overcome” them.
Watch a clip of Walker’s interview with Hewitt below or at this link.
“Why in the world would I not be forgiven of something like that?” Herschel Walker asks about allegations he paid a woman to obtain an abortion.
That comes closest imo to what people want to explore in re his advocacy for a nationwide abortion ban. pic.twitter.com/xj9bGuNK3q
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) October 6, 2022
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