RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Critics Blast Top US Conservative Think Tank President for Applauding Italy’s Election of ‘Neo-Fascist’ Prime Minister
The Heritage Foundation is ranked as the third most influential think tank – left or right – in the U.S. A right-wing D.C. organization, it’s where Donald Trump went to deliver a speech in April when he was trying to reposition himself as someone who was getting ready to run for president again, this time with “policies.”
Policies are what once made the Heritage Foundation the jewel of the conservative movement. It provided Ronald Reagan with the backbone of his body of work that transformed the American right into what it was until Trump took it over. It’s now home to at least four former top Trump administration officials, including former Vice President Mike Pence.
Critics on both sides of the aisle overnight were stunned and outraged when the new head of the Heritage Foundation, Dr. Kevin Roberts, applauded Italy’s election this weekend of a fascist, Giorgia Meloni, to be its new prime minister.
READ MORE: How Trump’s Big Lie Is Threatening the Future of Elections
“Italy’s far-right coalition led by Meloni wins election, exit polls say,” is the headline at European news agency France 24, calling her a “neo-fascist.”
Here in the U.S., ABC News’ headline reads: “How a party of neo-fascist roots won big in Italy.”
“A century after Benito Mussolini’s 1922 March on Rome, which brought the fascist dictator to power, Meloni is poised to lead Italy’s first far-right-led government since World War II and Italy’s first woman premier,” the article, from the Associated Press makes clear.
It also makes clear Meloni’s fascist focus: “Yes to the natural family. No to the LGBT lobby. Yes to sexual identity. No to gender ideology,” the AP says she “thundered” at a rally.
The Heritage Foundation has assets of around $400 million. Its latest annual report, 2021, is titled, “Always on Offense.” The cover boasts a flattering quote praising the organization from former Trump Secretary of State and possible 2024 presidential hopeful Mike Pompeo.
Dr. Kevin Roberts leads Heritage. He’s the former CEO of the far-right wing Texas Public Policy Foundation, based in Austin, Texas.
READ MORE: Critics Blast Top US Conservative Think Tank President for Applauding Italy’s Election of a ‘Neo-Fascist’ Prime Minister
TPPF has received funding from Koch Industries, is a big supporter of school vouchers, and an even bigger supporter of climate change denialism.
Its Fueling Freedom Project, it says, is working to “Explain the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels.”
Back in 2016 Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott proposed nine major changes to the U.S. Constitution. He chose to make his announcement at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Those proposals could have led to the elimination of many federal LGBTQ protections, including same-sex marriage.
Dr. Roberts is a former president of Wyoming Catholic College. In 2015 he decided to opt out of accepting federal financial aid, citing the school’s religious beliefs against LGBTQ people as part of the reason.
“Roberts said that his university loves all people and has charity towards all, but they would have problems with the admissions and employment of transgender individuals or people with a same-sex sexual orientation,” Fox News reported at the time.
So perhaps it’s unsurprising that Roberts celebrated Italy’s election of a fascist leader with a strong anti-LGBTQ agenda Sunday evening – urging conservatives to fuel more elections of people like Meloni.
“If exit polls are right, then conservatives will come to power in Italy, just weeks after conservatives in Sweden won,” he tweeted, glossing over the fascistic aspects of their conservatism.
“This can be a trend,” he urged, “conservatives everywhere need to define the choice as what it is—US vs THEM, everyday people vs globalist elites, who’ve shown they hate us.”
If exit polls are right, then conservatives will come to power in Italy, just weeks after conservatives in Sweden won. This can be a trend: conservatives everywhere need to define the choice as what it is—US vs THEM, everyday people vs globalist elites, who’ve shown they hate us.
— Kevin Roberts (@KevinRobertsTX) September 25, 2022
Roberts was highly criticized, even by fellow conservatives.
Tom Nichols, a staff writer at The Atlantic who is the popular and now retired U.S. Naval War College professor and an expert on Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security, blasted Roberts.
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“The president of a DC think tank explains how he’s just a regular guy helping the little people against the globalists, and not all aligned with a political movement that trades in hateful rhetoric,” tweeted Nichols, a Never Trump conservative.
Former Bloomberg Opinion columnist Noah Smith who writes about economics at Substack mocked Roberts.
“‘Globalist elites’? Man, you have a PhD and you’re the president of a think tank that fights for free trade. Who do you think you’re kidding??” he tweeted.
Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the right wing Manhattan Institute, slammed Roberts’ remarks.
“I’d just like a party that stands for free markets, less government, originalist judges, strong defense, and against woke excess. Count me out with this Pat Buchanan-style tinfoil hat populism,” he tweeted, referring to the far-right anti-immigration former Nixon-Ford-Reagan advisor.
A former editor for the right wing Cato Institute also criticized Roberts.
“When the president of your think tank is cheering on the electoral victories of actual fascism, that’s probably a sign it’s time to resign from the organization if you’re an employee, or pull your dollars if you’re a donor. American conservatism mustn’t continue down this path,” warned Aaron Ross Powell.
“Recovering libertarian” writer and editor Jay Stooksberry also mocked Roberts.
“Careful, Kev. If I saw somebody with the title ‘Ph.D. and CEO of one of the largest, most influential think tanks in D.C.’, I’d assume they were one of the ‘global elite’. Us-versus-them populism is some raunchy, anti-intellectual, and dangerous thinking, my dude.”
Conservatives weren’t the only ones criticizing the Heritage Foundation head, with some seeing his “globalist elites” remarks as antisemitic.
“American fascists, crawling out of their holes,” wrote Jay Bookman, author and award-winning journalist.
“We see you and your cutesy code words. You want to embrace fascism? We will stop you and your ilk. Our democracy will destroy your fascism,” David Sugarman, an Oregon attorney, wrote.
Writer and director David Avallone did not mince words in response to Roberts’ remarks.
“L’Shanah Tovah, you absolute fucking Nazi scumbag,” he tweeted. “Stop being a pants shitting coward. Just say ‘Jews’ when you mean Jews.”
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’
The Republican-majority U.S. House of Representatives Friday morning passed HR 5, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” legislation similar to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ laws that have led to book bans and targeting of LGBTQ children.
The bill passed 213-208, with 14 Members not voting. All yes votes were from Republicans only. Five Republicans joined Democrats to vote no.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of California warned the legislation “pits parents against parents.”
“The extreme MAGA H.R. 5 bill will let other parents dictate what books your child gets to read. It’ll make it easier for other parents to know if your child has an eating disorder, or is experiencing a mental health crisis,” Lieu warned.
READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
The extreme MAGA H.R. 5 bill will let other parents dictate what books your child gets to read. It’ll make it easier for other parents to know if your child has an eating disorder, or is experiencing a mental health crisis.
This bill pits parents against parents. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/T02sluBAzB
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) March 24, 2023
U.S> Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) warned, “H.R. 5 would codify Republican book bans all over the country. Stories of Holocaust survivors, enslaved Americans, and over 1,600 other stories have already been pulled from shelves.”
U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) said HR5 is “a vehicle for hate and political nonsense.”
.@RepMaxwellFrost on H.R. 5: “This bill is just a vehicle for hate and political nonsense…It's not about policy, it's about politics. It's not about freedom and liberty, it's about the fear of a problem that doesn't exist.”
The civil rights community opposes this legislation. pic.twitter.com/5eNd5MCNDa
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) March 23, 2023
Congressman Greg Murphy, Republican of North Carolina, in a recorded statement falsely claimed the bill was needed because “Children are being taught to hate our country,” and “parents are labeled as domestic terrorists.”
In his speech before the bill passed, Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared, “We believe parents should know what your children is [sic] learning.”
CNN reports the bill would also “require elementary and middle schools that receive federal funding to obtain parental consent before ‘changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on any school form; or allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.'”
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the legislation “Orwellian to the core,” and promised it “will not see the light of day.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Far Right Christian Nationalist Brags His ‘Biblical Worldview’ Group Is Behind Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Anti-Trans Law
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation Tuesday prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. Later that same day, Jason Rapert, a former Arkansas state senator and founder of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, posted a video crediting his organization for the legislation.
Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist, bragged that this piece of legislation was first proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting, endorsed by the organization, and finally brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.
“The NACL has seven working committees,” Rapert said. “Those committees actually debate and discuss every major policy issue in this country, all from a biblical worldview.”
“We make model laws,” he continued. “Do you know that just recently Rep. Mary Bentley of Arkansas passed a model law that the NACL adopted at their last meeting in the state of Texas?”
“Rep. Mary Bentley, [who] is our chair of the National Legislative Council, she went to the Arkansas legislature, took that concept that came from Dr. David Naylor that was then adopted by the full body of the NACL, and guess what? It’s already been placed into law in the state of Arkansas,” Rapert crowed. “That’s the difference the NACL can make in your community.”
“This is what the NACL does every day all across this country,” Rapert bellowed later in the video. “We are fighting for the lives of little babies. We are fighting against the people that are putting the queer books into your school libraries and trying to groom these children into homosexuality. We’re standing up. We’re pursuing school board policies to save the nation. We are standing up and have our members running bills in the halls of the state legislatures to stand up against this woke ideology, to push back against the things of the devil in our country.”
In December, Rapert declared that right-wing Christians must rise up and “take authority” over everything from their local school boards to the federal government. The National Association for Christian Lawmakers seeks do just that, advancing legislation that fits their narrow conservative biblical worldview in statehouses throughout the country. The group’s advisory board includes politicians like Mike Huckabee and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as well as influential religious-right activists like Tony Perkins of Family Research Council and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.
“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”
“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.
After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”
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Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”
Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.
“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) on gun reform protests: “Is this an insurrection? Will they be held to the same —”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but … they’re trying to express their frustrations.” pic.twitter.com/SFrMId1fh3
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.
“You took my son away from me!”
— Parkland parents Patricia and Manuel Oliver are removed after interrupting a House hearing on Second Amendment protections pic.twitter.com/Bjjoq9k93W
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”
Video of Manuel and Patrica Oliver being removed from the hearing at direction of GOP Chair Rep. Pat Fallon
Both appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers: https://t.co/ZebugeU98Z pic.twitter.com/zdpfPGHjDn
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) March 23, 2023
“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.
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On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.
“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.
According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.
Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”
And one called Fallon “feckless.”
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