History and political experts are issuing warnings after Donald Trump repeatedly called Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi an “animal” at a campaign rally during which he strongly suggested he will announce another run for president next week.
Marietje Schaake, the former President of the CyberPeace Institute (CPI), which advocates “for respect of laws and norms in cyberspace to ensure people’s rights and fundamental freedoms,” issued a strong warning.
“Dehumanizing and political violence are close neighbors,” said Schaake, columnist and former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Netherlands. “Trump is playing with fire and knows it, still chooses to call Pelosi (and gang members) an animal. It is appalling and should not be normalized.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough delivered a heartfelt yet stern warning, calling those who can’t find any sympathy for Pelosi after her 82-year old husband of nearly 60 years was “bashed in the brains” by an attacker who has spouted far right wing conspiracy theories and ideologies “sick.”
Scarborough also likened the dehumanization of Pelosi to “how Nazis turn people into, they dehumanize them.”
“People have been lying about Nancy Pelosi and have been spreading, spreading just the most vile attacks against Nancy Pelosi for so long that she’s been turned – again, she’s been, you look at what I just said about how Nazis turn people into, they dehumanize them, and they dehumanize this woman who actually is a woman of great faith,” Scarborough said Tuesday on “Morning Joe.”
“And if you don’t like that, tough, I really want to say another word. I’ll just say ‘tough luck,’ because she has anybody that’s talked to her for more than five minutes knows. She is a Catholic of deep faith and and a kind warm and you may not like it may not like politics, it’s that we’re supposed to be a nation where Jefferson and Hamilton can hate each other’s politics, right? But she’s been dehumanized to such a point that I know you. I know you people. I know. I won’t say your names of course. But I know you’ve dehumanized Nancy Pelosi. You’re a good person. You live in a good, good neighborhood. You got a good family. You go to a good church, but you’ve dehumanized Nancy Pelosi so much that you can’t even feel sympathy. You can’t even relate to her having an 82-year old husband, who was beaten up, bashed in the brains, had to be rushed to emergency surgery in the middle of the night. And you have allowed politics to dehumanize her so much that you don’t feel any emotion for that.”
“And I just ask that you, you, you I ask it. However you got to that point. If you’re Christian, just you know, we should pray about that today. If you’re not that’s fine. I hope you can meditate on it. I hope you can think about it. Because that’s a real sickness. And that’s your sickness. Nancy Pelosi is not the one who’s sick. You’re the one who’s sick. If you don’t feel pain for her and her family.”
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) November 8, 2022
“While this interview was airing, with Speaker Pelosi sharing her heartbreak after an intruder looking for her broke into her house and attacked her husband, prompting a national conversation about dehumanizing rhetoric, Donald Trump called her an ‘animal’ to an Ohio rally.”
Political scientist Brian Klaas, an associate professor in global politics at University College London, warned: “Trump, just tonight, has called Pelosi ‘an animal,’ days after she was targeted in an assassination attempt and has suggested journalists who don’t reveal sources should be jailed, where, he implies, they will be raped. Do not vote for his disciples. This is a very dark path.”
(Klass is correct on Trump calling for journalists to be jailed, specifically, journalists involved in the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision striking down Roe v. Wade.)
Immediately after Trump’s speech Monday night MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan tweeted, “This morning on CNN, Kevin McCarthy said the best way to avoid violence is for *Biden* to tone down his language.”
“Tonight, Trump called Nancy Pelosi, whose husband was attacked 10 days ago, an ‘animal.’ Yes, an ‘animal.’ And it won’t even be a headline tomorrow morning.”
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, speaking on CNN Tuesday morning told viewers that calling Speaker Pelosi an “animal” is “a dehumanizing thing to say about somebody who is third in line for the presidency and whose husband was just attacked in in in a break-in attempt where she was the target. So, you know, highly motivated.”
“Yeah. Donald Trump has a very long history of demanding to be treated with some level of humanity while dehumanizing others,” Haberman continued, as Mediaite reported. “And this was no exception. But this was pretty striking given everything that we know that’s going on right now.”
Haberman added, “Trump’s idea of strength is violence.”
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‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban
A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”
Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”
Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”
Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.
“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.
“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”
West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.
Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”
Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”
Gaetz Praises GOP Congressman Who Echoes His Call for Change ‘Through Force’
U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL). largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that appear to suggest the use of violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.
“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”
Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.
“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”
Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.
Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”
“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”
“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”
“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”
In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”
“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”
“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.
“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle
Legal and political experts are expressing outrage and disgust after ProPublica’s latest investigation into the alleged unethical and unlawful actions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, with some demanding his resignation and others calling it “corruption of the highest level,” “Pay. To. Play.,” and one simply saying, “This sickens me.”
“Is Clarence Thomas the most corrupt Supreme Court justice in our history? One of the most corrupt senior officials in our history? There is no doubt any more,” writes David Rothkopf, the foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator.
ProPublica is the nonprofit journalism organization that has exposed multiple instances of what experts have said is Justice Thomas’ corruption, abuse of ethics, contributions to the destruction of the high court’s reputation, and actual violations of federal law. Justice Thomas has either not commented or denied any wrongdoing.
“Clarence Thomas Secretly Participated in Koch Network Donor Events,” is the headline on Friday’s installment from ProPublica, which reveals: “Thomas has attended at least two Koch donor summits, putting him in the extraordinary position of having helped a political network that has brought multiple cases before the Supreme Court.”
The Koch network is a right-wing group of political organizations founded by “the Koch Brothers,” Charles and his late brother David.
“One of the Koch network’s most powerful allies,” is how ProPublica’s latest, lengthy investigation describes Justice Thomas The report begins with his arrival in Palm Springs International Airport to attend a “long weekend” that for Koch network members and supporters would include “strategizing, relaxation in the California sun and high-dollar fundraising.”
“The justice was brought in to speak, staffers said, in the hopes that such access would encourage donors to continue giving.”
“That puts Thomas in the extraordinary position of having served as a fundraising draw for a network that has brought cases before the Supreme Court, including one of the most closely watched of the upcoming term.”
That case, ProPublica reports, is one that could greatly benefit Koch and America’s ultra-wealthy.
“The Koch network is among the largest and most influential political organizations of the last half century, and it’s underwritten a far-reaching campaign to influence the course of American law. In a case the Supreme Court will hear this coming term, the justices could give the network a historic victory: limiting federal agencies’ power to issue regulations in areas ranging from the environment to labor rights to consumer protection. After shepherding the case to the court, Koch network staff attorneys are now asking the justices to overturn a decades-old precedent. (Thomas used to support the precedent but flipped his position in recent years.)”
As with most of ProPublica’s investigations, this report includes both allegations of illegal actions and unethical behaviors.
Experts are voicing concern.
“Clarence Thomas might not be the finest Justice money can buy, but he’s definitely bought,” charges Moe Davis, the well-known retired U.S. Air Force colonel, attorney, educator, politician, and former administrative law judge.
Former federal prosecutor and legal commentator Mimi Rocah, who is now the elected District Attorney for Westchester County, New York expressed disgust.
“As a public servant who sacrifices donor $ (I don’t take donations from elected officials, PBAs, or attorneys with cases before my office), b/c I believe the justice system should be free from even the appearance of political influence, this sickens me.”
“Thomas and his billionaire pals have trashed the court’s reputation,” observed author Mark Jacob, a former Chicago Tribune editor.
“Corruption of the highest order,” is how Heather Cox Richardson, the well-known historian, author and professor of history described Justice Thomas’ alleged actions. “Personally, I’d go right to resign. It’s long overdue. And I’d revisit the cases he’s decided—including Citizens United and Shelby v Holder, which together handed our democracy to the rich—while we’re at it.”
“Does Justice go better with Koch?” mocked Jane Mayer, the award-winning author and investigative reporter at The New Yorker. “Clarence Thomas will judge a momentous case this term affecting all federal regulations after secretly partying for years with involved polluters.”
Journalist and conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild wrote: “Clarence Thomas hanging out with the Kochs and Harlan Crow at Bohemian Grove. No human sacrifice, no devil worship, just some old rich dudes scheming to take rights away from the rest of us. The conspiracy is in plain sight, and it doesn’t bother hiding.”
New York Times bestselling author, legal expert and senior editor at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick summed it up: “Pay. To. Play.”
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