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COMMENTARY

Ted Cruz Defends Clarence Thomas by Co-Opting Controversial Covers From a Black-Owned 1990s Magazine That Attacked Him

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In 1996, the nation’s most respected Black-owned magazine called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “a person who has done so much to turn back the clock on civil rights, all the way back to the pre-Civil War lawn jockey days.”

It published several highly-controversial, racist covers to pound home that point.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) unethically co-opted those images, falsely implied they were recent, and stated that they represent how Democrats and “the left” view Clarence Thomas today.

Given all the facts, the average American listening to Senator Cruz speak (video below) at Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing on Supreme Court ethics would be forced to believe that Democrats from today traveled decades back in time to work with Emerge, that highly-respected Black-owned magazine in the 1990’s to create racist covers attacking Justice Thomas so they, along with their “lapdogs in the media,” could conspire to “smear” the far-right jurist today.

It’s a theory akin to the Republicans’ “birther” conspiracy about Barack Obama, whose mother, some conservatives apparently believed, had a birth announcement printed in a Hawaii newspaper in 1961 to allow her son, allegedly born in Kenya, to be deemed eligible to become President of the United States in 2008.

A casual viewer who might see Senator Cruz’s Tuesday attack on Democrats in defense of Justice Thomas would reasonably assume the magazine covers he showed during Tuesday’s hearing on Supreme Court ethics were published this year.

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In fact, they were published three decades ago, from 1993 to 1996.

Senator Cruz conveniently left that fact out of his afternoon diatribe, and he attempted to conceal the magazine’s publication date from the start of his rant, by leading with a magazine article that was published this year.

“Senate Democrats and their lapdogs in the media are engaged in a two-fold political campaign, number one to delegitimize the Supreme Court of the United States because they are angry that there are a majority of constitutionalists on the court,” Cruz said, referring to the 6-3 majority far-right justices hold. (Last year a study found the Supreme Court “is now more conservative than about 75% of Americans.”)

“But number two,” Cruz continued, “very directly this is a political campaign designed to smear Justice Clarence Thomas. And the reason is simple: the left despises Clarence Thomas, and they do not despise him because he’s a conservative. The left despises Clarence Thomas because he is a conservative, African American.”

“Here’s what Clarence Thomas said at [his] confirmation hearing. He said, ‘If you are a free thinking African American, ‘you will be lynched, destroyed and caricature by a committee of the US Senate.'”

“Well, in three decades, that hasn’t changed,” Cruz claimed. “It’s gotten worse. And to be clear, here’s the left’s view. I point to one article just three weeks ago: ‘The Democrats need to destroy Clarence Thomas’s reputation.'”

That article, an opinion piece in The New Republic, by its editor Michael Tomasky, followed one he had written in July of last year: “Sure, Impeach Clarence Thomas—but That’s Just for Starters.”

READ MORE: ‘Platforming an Insurrectionist’: CNN Smacked Down After Announcing Trump to Appear in ‘Presidential Town Hall’

“The story is much larger than a potential conflict in one Supreme Court case,” Tomasky wrote, referring to “Thomas’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, his vow in his concurring opinion that other privacy rights are next in his gunsights, and his refusal to recuse himself when he was the lone dissenter in the recent case in which the Supreme Court ordered Donald Trump to turn over certain documents to the National Archives, even as Thomas’s right-wing extremist wife was coordinating with the Trump White House to plot a coup.”

“All six conservative justices lied in their confirmation hearings,” Tomasky wrote. “What will Democrats do about that?”

Unlike on the right, where Fox News, Newsmax, or OAN are the generally accepted thought leaders, The New Republic does not speak for “the left,” nor does any publication or media outlet.

“I will tell you,” Cruz continued, “if you look at the next, that next poster board, the left has repeatedly attacked Clarence Thomas with a racism,” Cruz declared, now pointing to a magazine cover from 1996 – without once stating it was from the mid-1990’s. “This is a magazine cover that showed Justice Scalia every bit as conservative as Clarence Thomas, but he’s portrayed as the master and Clarence Thomas in a bigoted attack is portrayed as shining his shoes.”

“I’ll show you another one. To give you a sense of the racist vitriol from the left,” Cruz declared, implying that magazine cover as well was from 2023, despite also being from 1996. “Here’s a racist caricature of, ‘Clarence Thomas Lawn Jockey for the Far Right.’ This is the bigoted contempt the left has.”

“I’ll show you another, another magazine cover,” Cruz said, this time showing a 1993 cover that depicts Clarence Thomas “with an Aunt Jemima-like handkerchief on his head,” as the magazine’s editor wrote later, in 1996.

“Offensively, this is how the left views Clarence Thomas,” Cruz claimed, which most people on the left would state is false.

“Now it’s important for people at home to understand this is not about judicial ethics,” Cruz insisted, again, falsely. “This is not about judicial ethics. This is not about rules that should apply to judges across the board. We could have a reasonable discussion about that. This is about applying a double standard to Clarence Thomas and only Clarence Thomas.”

READ MORE: ‘Moral Rot’: Abbott’s ‘Illegal Immigrants’ Attack on Five Murder Victims Called ‘Dehumanizing’ – It Also May Be False

Senator Cruz, to put it generously, is fibbing.

First, as Chairman Durbin noted in his opening remarks and several times throughout the hearing, Senate Democrats, including Durbin, since at least 2011 have been trying to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to fix its ethics problems.

Second, Justice Thomas is not the only Justice Democrats have been criticizing for what some would say is a lack of transparency and even possible corruption.

Justice Neil Gorsuch‘s sale of property, on the market for two years but sold just nine days after he was confirmed, to the head of a law firm, a law firm that argues before the Supreme Court. That sale is under public scrutiny, especially because the name of the head of the law firm was hidden via an LLC. Also under public scrutiny is Chief Justice John Roberts’ wife’s $10 million income from recruiting and placing lawyers in firms, some of which have business before the Supreme Court.

Now, about those racist magazine covers.

(NCRM takes no position on the covers.)

They were published 27 years ago by Emerge magazine, which ceased publication in 2000. It was considered the nation’s most respected Black-owned magazine.

The New York Times, in its 2016 obituary of Emerge’s editor in chief, George Curry called it, “a provocative, must-read newsmagazine for black readers.”

“The magazine caused an uproar in 1993 when it depicted Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court justice, on the cover wearing an Aunt Jemima-style kerchief on his head,” The Times wrote. “Unrepentant, Mr. Curry returned to the same subject in 1996, this time showing Justice Thomas on the cover as a lawn jockey and, on an inside page, shining the shoes of Justice Antonin Scalia. In an editor’s note, he accused Justice Thomas of turning back the clock on civil rights.”

To be clear, Sen. Cruz told the American people that Democrats’ racism caused those images to be published.

In fact, it was Justice Thomas’ attacks on Black civil rights that did, according to Curry, who wrote in Emerge in 1996: “I apologize. Exactly three years ago, shortly after I took over as editor of Emerge, we ran a cover illustration of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, resplendent with an Aunt Jemima-like handkerchief on his head. In retrospect we were far too benevolent. Hence, this month’s cover with Clarence appropriately attired as a lawn jockey. Even our last depiction is too compassionate for a person who has done so much to turn back the clock on civil rights, all the way back to the pre-Civil War lawn jockey days.”

Senator Cruz did not share the truth about those images with America, but he did manage to use them for his own purposes.

Watch Senator Cruz below or at this link.

 

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COMMENTARY

‘We Need to Turn Mickey Mouse Into a Nazi’: How the Far Right Openly Plots to Attack the Left

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“Mickey Mouse has to become a Nazi.”

That was the astounding clarion call by far-right host Michael Knowles at The Daily Wire on Wednesday.

We’ve entered the era of right-wing agitators, activists, influencers, and provocateurs setting the agenda for America’s national conversation. They’ve upstaged and supplanted the GOP politicians, political strategists, and pundits who conspire behind closed doors, or in smoke-filled back rooms, targeting their political opponents – like Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor did on January 20, 2009, just hours after Barack Obama was sworn into office.

“On the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, a group of top GOP luminaries quietly gathered in a Washington steakhouse to lick their wounds and ultimately create the outline of a plan for how to deal with the incoming administration,” PBS’s “Frontline” reported a decade ago, in 2013. “After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything. The new president had no idea what the Republicans were planning.”

Now, it’s being done out in the open. On camera. On social media. On right-wing websites. And they’re bragging about it.

READ MORE: CNN Host Debunks Mike Johnson’s False Hundreds of ‘Known Terrorists’ Claim in Real Time

Why does Mickey Mouse have to “become a Nazi”?

Mickey Mouse, of course, is the iconic, now 95-year old cartoon character, the beloved brainchild of animators Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks.

And a top influencer of America’s far-right, a “culture war” commentator who wrote the Ted Cruz-endorsed book, “Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds,” now wants his supporters to change the American public’s perception of the anthropomorphic mouse, from a playful, kind-hearted hero to a “Nazi.”

The description of Michael Knowles’ book reads: “A New Strategy: We Win, They Lose,” “The Culture War is over, and the culture lost,” and, “The Left’s assault on liberty, virtue, decency, the Republic of the Founders, and Western civilization has succeeded,” which may help explain why he wants Mickey Mouse turned into “a Nazi.”

“Mickey Mouse has to become a Nazi. He has to. Because Disney is a very, very evil corporation that wants to trans your kids and fill their heads with all sorts of crazy ideas, and Disney’s gotta go,” Knowles declared (video below) Wednesday, which Media Matters first reported. It was not just an attack on Disney, but on the left, LGBTQ people, and especially transgender people, who are now being used as a verb and a slur: “trans” and “transing.”

“Disney’s gotta go, guys. You heard all the Disney executives talking about their not-so-secret LGBTLMNOP agenda. You’ve seen what Disney has done in recent years, so much so that the governor of Florida had to take political action against them to stop Disney from trying to interfere in the democratic process in Florida to stop the libs from transing your kids. OK?” Knowles told his supporters.

Disney was legally (and pretty quietly) exercising its constitutional right to free speech by opposing Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law. The company is now suing the governor in a First Amendment lawsuit.

“Disney is really, really bad,” Knowles continued. “And so, one of the best things that we can do right now is make the Disney characters toxic. And coincidentally, call it providentially, whatever it is, the Disney character is now in the public domain.”

The original, 95-year old version of Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain and no longer protected by copyright.

“And what this means is we need to turn Mickey into a Nazi because Nazis are bad. We’re not gonna turn Mickey into a Nazi because the Nazis are good. You see, I’m quite anti-Nazi. I assume you are as well. In fact, being a Nazi is the worst thing you can possibly be today and for a very long time. So, we need to turn Disney into the worst thing it can possibly be, and it can be done.”

READ MORE: ‘The South Is Very Comfortable With Our History’: Nikki Haley Defends Damning Slavery Gaffe

“In fact, I’m shocked that the mischievous people on places like 4chan and other internet boards haven’t done this already,” Knowles continued, in an apparent call to action. “Mickey Mouse has to become the most odious kind of symbol in the entire world. And we have the ability to do it, not using any major institutional power, just through the power of memes by pseudonymous accounts on random internet boards. That’s what’s gotta happen because Disney’s bad, and Disney’s gotta go down.”

This is, of course, merely the far-right’s latest attack on America, on American ideals of equality, dignity, kindness, and respect. Not to mention what turning Mickey Mouse into a “Nazi” would do to the countless innocent children who adore him.

It’s being done, out in the open, and it’s been done before.

Remember right-wing outrage at “CRT,” something most conservatives had little to no understanding of yet insisted it was evil, racist, and destroying America? Remember all the wild, sometimes violent, school board meetings, where parents claimed their kids were being taught “CRT,” and that being white is bad?

You may remember Christopher Rufo, the far-right activist who intentionally engineered Critical Race Theory (CRT), a college-level school of thought designed to examine social structures for systemic racism, into a fear-mongering right-wing nationwide panic. Rufo, a messaging maven and senior fellow at the conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute who’s been called an “avowed propagandist,” publicly schemed to create his CRT frenzy.

He’s proudly said he wants to “have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’” and “put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.”

For a while, it worked, until the frenzy wore down and conservatives turned their focus to other non-issue “issues,” like DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), drag queen story hours, “wokeness,” and LGBTQ children.

“Mr. Rufo has taken aim at opponents of a new Florida law that prohibits teachers in some grades from discussing L.G.B.T.Q. issues and that critics call ‘Don’t Say Gay,’” The New York Times reported in 2022. “He declared ‘moral war’ against the statute’s most prominent adversary, the Walt Disney Company. And he has used the same playbook that proved effective in his crusade on racial issues: a leak of insider documents.”

RELATED: Far Right Activist Behind CRT Panic Brags About Attacks on Disney, State Farm for LGBTQ Support: Others ‘Will Be Next’

Rufo also bragged about being behind the movement to oust Harvard President Claudine Gay, the university’s first Black woman in that role. He openly admitted to Politico it was his “goal…to topple the president of Harvard University.”

And he openly discussed his plans on social media

He then bragged about his “playbook” to Politico.

“It shows a successful strategy for the political right,” Rufo told Politico’s Ian Ward. “How we have to work the media, how we have to exert pressure and how we have to sequence our campaigns in order to be successful.”

“I’ve stolen some of the earlier tactics from previous generations of the American left and weaponize them against the current regime,” Rufo continued, openly admitting and explaining how he “is teaching conservatives how to hack that system.”

Rufo openly bragged about this in his Wednesday op-ed at The Wall Street Journal, “How We Squeezed Harvard to Push Claudine Gay Out.”

This is now the far-right’s playbook: openly strategize on how to attack and “topple” American icons and institutions, liberal policies and beliefs, some of the very foundations of what makes modern-day America America. And they’re not just targeting programs designed to expose and combat racism, or programs designed to improve diversity, or university presidents, and not just iconic American institutions like Disney and Mickey Mouse.

They’re targeting truth itself.

Watch Knowles’ “Nazi” remarks below or at this link.

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COMMENTARY

Jim Jordan, a ‘Significant Player’ in Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Election Results, Running for Speaker of the House

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House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan unexpectedly announced Wednesday morning he will run for Speaker of the House after several far-right Republicans ousted Kevin McCarthy Tuesday. Jordan, a far-right Republican who supported McCarthy, reportedly was “deeply involved” with, and a “significant player” in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Chairman Jordan, who created and also chairs the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, has used both platforms to further Republicans’ false claims on a wide range of issues.

Just two weeks ago, CNN reported, “Jordan made false claims in his opening remarks at a Wednesday hearing at which Jordan and other Republicans pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Justice Department’s handling of investigations into former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.”

In his Wednesday “Dear Colleague” letter announcing his run for the Speakership (below), Jordan made clear his positions, while claiming the Republican House “majority has had success in the first nine months of the 118th Congress. We should be proud of what we have achieved together in these divided times.”

READ MORE: Pelosi Strikes Back After New House GOP Leadership, in Act of ‘Revenge’ Immediately Targets Top Democrats

According to Legiscan, which tracks all legislation across the country at the state and federal level, the Republican House this year has had just eight bills signed into law.

One suspended the debt ceiling for a specified period of time. One, passed and signed into law on Saturday, avoided a shutdown of the federal government.

Others, for example, “require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps,” and “establish a task force on improvements for notices to air missions.” One focused on “Trade between the United States of America and Taiwan.” One will “designate the clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Indian River, Michigan, as the ‘Pfc. Justin T. Paton Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic,'” and one will “take certain land located in San Diego County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and for other purposes.”

In his letter Jordan also railed against “Far-left progressive policies” which, he says, “are destroying our communities, our security, and our future,” followed by a list of regular GOP claims like “soaring crime across the country,” and “an administration with open-border policies.”

But if Jordan is elected, the nation would have as second in the line of succession to the presidency a Speaker who The New York Times has reported, “was deeply involved in President Donald J. Trump’s effort to challenge the 2020 election outcome.”

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In May of last year, the Associated Press reported on Jordan’s efforts to help Trump overturn the election:

“Rioters who smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, succeeded — at least temporarily — in delaying the certification of Joe Biden’s election to the White House,” the AP wrote. “Hours before, Rep. Jim Jordan had been trying to achieve the same thing.”

On January 6 of this year, exactly two years after the 2021 insurrection, David Corn at Mother Jones warned: “House Speaker Fight Shows Election Deniers Who Tried to Overthrow Democracy Still Control GOP.”

That Speaker fight ultimately ended with Kevin McCarthy being handed the gavel after fifteen attempts, and ended Tuesday afternoon when eight of his own House Republicans, led by Matt Gaetz, essentially fired him.

“Trump coup accomplices Jim Jordan and Scott Perry have become two of the GOP’s biggest powerbrokers,” Corn wrote, adding: “Perry and Jordan stand out for their significant participation in Trump’s anti-constitutional and arguably criminal caper.”

As Corn and others have noted, the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack deemed Jim Jordan “a significant player in President Trump’s efforts.”

Jordan, the January 6 Committee wrote, according to Mother Jones, “participated in numerous post-election meetings in which senior White House officials, Rudolph Giuliani, and others, discussed strategies for challenging the election, chief among them claims that the election had been tainted by fraud. On January 2, 2021, Representative Jordan led a conference call in which he, President Trump, and other Members of Congress discussed strategies for delaying the January 6th joint session. During that call, the group also discussed issuing social media posts encouraging President Trump’s supporters to ‘march to the Capitol’ on the 6th.”

In February of 2022 CNN reported, “Newly obtained records show Trump and Jim Jordan spoke at length on [the] morning of January 6.”

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

“Two sources who have reviewed the call records tell CNN that Trump spoke on the phone at the White House residence with Jordan for 10 minutes on the morning of January 6. That afternoon, Jordan took to the House floor to object to the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, and pro-Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol.”

Jordan also refused to obey a subpoena lawfully-issued by the House January 6 Committee. He was unanimously referred to the House Ethics Committee in December of 2022, which Republicans gutted when the officially took the majority in January.

Read Jordan’s letter below or at this link.

 

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COMMENTARY

‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’

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Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.

Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.

Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”

When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”

“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.

“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.

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But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.

He refused to answer.

Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.

“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”

At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.

Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.

But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”

The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.

At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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