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Maddow Urges Viewers To Read Texas Press About The Case.

From the 08.21.2014 edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:

H/T: Hunter at Daily Kos

crooksandliars:

Ben Carson: Creating Ebola Hysteria While Considering A 2016 Run

Claiming the “benefit to risk ratio” was surely enough to disincentivize the return of the two Americans with Ebola from Liberia, presidential wannabe and virulent anti-welfare advocate, Dr. Ben Carson, derides the thought of the two Ebola-ridden Americans entering this country under any precautions. Since an Ebola fatality occurred in Nigeria, it is a fait accompli that bringing these two Americans home to treat them in a thoroughly quarantined facility potentially exposes the whole nation. Carson claims Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol could very well have been treated outside the United States. The neurosurgeon and hater of all things Obamacare blames who else: President Obama.

read more

Mike Huckabee told a gathering of anti-gay activists that the United States is becoming like communist China and defended his recent claim that President Obama deserves to be impeached.

Huckabee was speaking at the third annual Family Leadership Summit, hosted by The Family Leader and sponsored by anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage and FRC Action. The event was held in Ames, Iowa, and was attended by potential 2016 Republican candidates including Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Rick Perry, and Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Speaking on August 9 about his recent China trip, Huckabee noted the country’s policies regarding trade, human rights, one child and forced abortions, and observed: "After we came back, I assessed that what was most disturbing was that China was becoming a lot more like the United States used to be, and America was becoming a whole lot more like China used to be." Huckabee added that America, like China whitewashing the Tiananmen Square massacre, has “completely rewritten our history” to remove God from textbooks. The Fox News host has made similar pronouncements on his show and elsewhere in the right-wing media.

During a media availability, Huckabee defended his recent declaration that President Obama has committed impeachable offenses. Huckabee began by claiming “I don’t think we’re going to have an impeachment, don’t think we even should because there’s no point and it’s not gonna go through.” However, Huckabee still argued President Obama is worthy of impeachment because of his alleged abuse of “the basic constitutional powers,” citing Obamacare and the DREAM Act.  

The Family Leader is an anti-gay group headed by the virulently homophobic activist Bob Vander Plaats. The Iowa group gained notoriety during the 2012 presidential election when it asked candidates to sign a homophobic “marriage vow.” The pledge attacked same-sex relationships as a choice and threat to “individual and public health.” The vow also suggested African-American children were better when they were slaves (the group later retracted that language). 

Vander Plaats has said gays are a “public health risk” similar to smoking, and claimed of marriage quality: “[W]hat we know is it goes against the law of nature, and the law of nature’s God, which means, again, it’s against the Constitution.” He warned against attending an anti-bullying conference, claiming that doing so “is exchanging truth for acceptance and tolerance of harmful behavior.”

Huckabee is a longtime ally of Vander Plaats, who served as Iowa chair for the former Arkansas governor’s presidential campaign in 2008. He endorsed and fundraised for Vander Plaats’ unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Huckabee regularly speaks at gatherings of anti-gay groups. The pairing is natural, as Huckabee has said he opposes marriage equality because of “the ick factor,” labeled same-sex relationships an “aberration” and once called for AIDS patients to be quarantined.

h/t: Eric Hananoki at MMFA

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Many may have forgotten, but Tea Party Congresswoman Michele Bachmann got her start in politics by being one of Minnesota’s most anti-gay activists. Like many, the school board was her stomping ground, and Bachmann quickly gained a strong base among the radical religious right. 

Bachmann claimed “the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.”  She insisted it is “child abuse” to even discuss homosexuality with children. And she’s called being gay “the very real issue of sexual dysfunction.”

LOOK: Michele Bachmann’s Top Ten Anti-Gay Quotes

After Rep. Bachmann’s disastrous 2012 presidential campaign, for which she, her husband, and her campaign have been the target of several ethics investigations by several entities, including the Office of Congressional Ethics, the nation heard less and less from the four-term, 58-year old, Evangelical Christian Congresswoman, who announced last year she will not be seeking a fifth term.

Less and less, until now.

This week Bachmann announced, “there’s a chance I could run" for President.

And on Wednesday, Rep. Bachmann gave an interview with the conservative radio show, “Faith & Victory,” and harkened back to her extremist anti-gay roots.

Calling it “the rise of tyranny,” Bachmann claims there is “legislation being pushed all across the United States to punish people who don’t agree with” LGBT equality.

"It’s the basis for hate speech laws across the United States," Bachmann said. "This is an effort to have government coerce, force, speech and behavior, and it’s being pushed and advocated by the gay community."

Bachmann, who has spent decades railing against the LGBT community, same-sex marriage, and even gay people raising children, now claims that she supports a “diversity of opinion,” but the LGBT community does not.

"Today," Bachmann continued, "the big push is on transgender."

"I believe we’re going to see coming an effort for multiple in marriage. Not just tow, but multiple in marriage. I think they want to legalize that."

"Also, they want to abolish age of consent laws. We would do away with statutory rape laws, so adults would be able to freely prey on little children sexually. That’s the deviance that we’re seeing embraced in our culture today.”

Listen:

Editor’s note: This is the first in a short series of excerpts from Bachmann’s interview — stay tuned for more later in the day.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Hat tip and audio: Right Wing Watch

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

A secret criminal investigation made national news with the disclosure that prosecutors had alleged Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and others.

But the next day, the Republican governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate said the John Doe probe had been resolved and that two judges had said it was “over.”

Here is part of the June 20, 2014 interview of Walker by Steve Doocy, host of the network TV talk show “Fox & Friends”:

Doocy: ”So, over the last couple of years, there’s been some legal action out in Wisconsin. And some of the documents were unsealed yesterday. We’ve got to point out, you were never charged with anything. But at one point, they allege that you had a central role in a criminal fund-raising scheme. OK, tell us what you did.”

Walker: ”Well, don’t just take my word for it. Look at the facts. The facts are pretty clear.

"You’ve had not one but two judges — a state judge and a federal judge; a state judge (who is) a well-respected court of appeals judge, and a federal judge more recently — have both looked at this argument. And in the past, not just recently — remember this is not new news, it’s just newly released yesterday because documents were opened — but no charges, case over.

"Both judges said they didn’t buy the argument. They didn’t think that anything was done that was illegal, and so they’ve gone forward and not only said, we don’t buy it, they actually shut the case down, both at the state and at the federal level.

"So, many in the national media and even some here in Wisconsin are looking at this (case) backwards. This is a case that’s been resolved, that not one but two judges have said is over. And we’re just learning about it because it became open in a document yesterday. But there is no argument there."

Is that it?

Is Walker right that the Doe case has been “resolved” and two judges have said it is “over”?

Experts say no. After all, one of the key court rulings that has stalled the investigation is a “preliminary injunction.” And that is on appeal.

What’s the case about?

Under Wisconsin law, a John Doe is “intended as an independent, investigatory tool to ascertain whether a crime has been committed and, if so, by whom.”

Unlike standard criminal investigations, law enforcement officials in a John Doe have special powers, including the power to compel the testimony of reluctant witnesses under oath and to issue subpoenas requiring witnesses to turn over documents.

Another key difference is that the judge overseeing a Doe can — and typically does — order that the proceedings be done in secret, unlike the vast majority of court proceedings.

Walker has been connected to two John Doe investigations.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, conducted a wide-ranging probe of aides and associates to Walker going back to Walker’s time as Milwaukee County executive. That investigation, sometimes known as John Doe I, led to six convictions, ranging from misconduct in office for campaigning on county time to stealing from a veterans fund.Walker was not charged, and that investigation was shut down in March 2013.

Before closing that probe, however, Chisholm launched a separate investigation in the summer of 2012 based on information learned in the first one. To get what has been termed John Doe II off the ground, Chisholm worked with district attorneys from four counties — members of both parties — and the state Government Accountability Board, which administers the state’s elections and ethics laws. Francis Schmitz, a former assistant U.S. attorney and self-described Republican, was named special prosecutor in the case.

Walker’s evidence

Alleigh Marre, spokeswoman for Walker’s campaign, cited two court documents to back Walker’s claim. It’s not clear what she was referring to in the first document, a December 2013 court filing by Schmitz, and she didn’t respond to our request to elaborate.

The second document was a court order that John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson issued on Jan. 10, 2014. It quashed subpoenas that had been issued to Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups. And it ordered the return of any property seized with those subpoenas or with search warrants served on two officials of the groups.

But the order did not resolve the case.

Indeed, in his order, Peterson made reference to the possibility of his ruling be appealed. And the order has been challenged and is awaiting a ruling from the state Court of Appeals.

Other legal action

Another key ruling was made in federal court, by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa.

In February 2014, the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of its directors, Eric O’Keefe sued in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee in an attempt to stop the Doe investigation, saying it violated their rights to free speech, free association and equal protection under the law.

Three months later, Randa issued a preliminary injunction halting the probe while he considered the lawsuit. He said it appeared prosecutors were violating the First Amendment rights of Club for Growth and O’Keefe. And he ordered prosecutors to return any material they had gathered in the investigation and destroy whatever copies of it they had made.

But as the term “preliminary injunction” would indicate, that did not mean the case had been resolved or was over.

Indeed, Randa’s ruling has been appealed and the parties are awaiting a decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Experts weigh in

We consulted five attorneys who have represented multiple clients in criminal John Doe investigations — Madison defense attorneys Marcus Berghahn and Stephen Morgan (Morgan is a former state and federal prosecutor); Milwaukee defense attorneys Jeremy Levinson, who also handles campaign finance cases for Democrats, and Raymond Dall’Osto; and Marquette University Law School professor and former state prosecutor Daniel Blinka.

Bottom line: The John Doe investigation case has been stopped for the time being, but it has not been resolved. The rulings by judges Peterson and Randa are not final and are being appealed. The appellate rulings could also be appealed.

And if the Chicago appeals panel overrules Randa, the investigation can resume.

"Once the Court of Appeals decides the merits of the case and if no party appeals the Court of Appeals’ decision, then it may be possible to say that the cases are over — unless the case is returned to the trial court or John Doe Judge for further litigation," said Berghahn.

Said Blinka: “The governor’s remark overlooks the role of the appellate courts. The final resolution is up to the appellate courts, and only when the appellate process has run its course will we have a final resolution.”

It’s notable that at times during his governorship, Walker has been in the position of supporting appeals when a lower-court ruling has gone against him.

In 2012, when judges struck down parts of Walker’s Act 10 — the law ending most collective bargaining for most public employees — the state appealed, and higher courts so far have upheld the law.

And on same-sex marriage, which Walker opposes, he didn’t concede that a ban on gay marriages was dead when a federal judge found Wisconsin’s ban unconstitutional. Indeed, he’s backing the state’s appeal of the judge’s ruling.

Similarly, the status of the Doe case is being hammered out in the appeals process.

Our rating

Walker said the secret John Doe criminal investigation of his campaign has been “resolved” and two judges have said it is “over.”

His characterization is misleading at best. The investigation has been stopped, for now, under one judge’s ruling.

But the second ruling, while a serious blow, did not end the probe, and in any event prosecutors have appealed the two rulings Walker mentioned.

We rate Walker’s statement False.

h/t: PolitiFact Wisconsin

dailykos:

And he wants to be president!

He’s getting coal from Santa this Christmas. 

Gov. Rick Perry, your endorsement of medically inaccurate and dangerous ex-gay conversion therapy renders you unfit to be a Christian and an upstanding citizen of our Nation. During his tenure as Governor there, he has destroyed the Lone Star State, and if he is elected President in 2016, he’ll wreck our Nation into the ground further than fellow Texas Bush 43 ever did. 

h/t: Zack Ford at Think Progress

h/t: Tim Murphy at Mother Jones

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Are you there, God? It’s Herman Cain—and the rest of The GOP is likely coming, too.

The Tea Party’s favorite pizza-preneur hit the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans on Saturday with a message for conservatives, but more importantly, for Jesus Christ: If called, he’s ready for another run at the presidency in 2016.

“I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and that’s God Almighty,” Cain said. “And in case someone is wondering, I don’t trust in government, I trust in God.”

He’s not the only one waiting for God’s go-ahead. “I believe God will make it clear to me if that’s something I’m supposed to do,” said Ben Carson on Fox News in August. The neurosurgeon earned plaudits from conservatives last year (the Wall Street Journal ran a “Ben Carson for President” editorial) following his scalding speech at the White House prayer breakfast.

But sadly for both, God has been known to endorse multiple candidates, and a push from the man upstairs doesn’t always add up to votes.

It’s no surprise that many GOP candidates invoke God in stump speeches; after Mormons, evangelicals are the most Republican religion and just one in 10 consider themselves liberal. But only a select few belong to the divine endorsement club.

Members include former Indiana State Sen. William Costas, who credited a “message from God” delivered by his wife for his ultimately unsuccessful 1986 Congressional run. That same year Richard Stokes lost a bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, along with his wife, when he quit his job as a middle school teacher after hearing the “very deep, very plain” voice of God at 3 a.m. telling him to launch a campaign that focused on abortion, homosexuality and Communism. And Jim Bob Duggar—hero of the Quiverfull movement and star of the reality series 19 Kids and Counting—said he was “called by God,” but didn’t make it past the Republican primary in his 2002 U.S. Senate attempt. Even Ronald Reagan heard the voice of God, according to his son, Michael, who wrote in his book, Hand of Providence, “He believed God had called him to run for president. He believed God had things for him to do.”

God has been known to endorse multiple candidates, and a push from the man upstairs doesn’t always add up to votes.

In 2012, at least five candidates claimed God had called them all the run.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity it would be “up to God and the American people,” whether he would seek the nomination.

Herman Cain is just awaiting a sign like the one handed down to him in 2011. Before throwing his hat in the ring, he said, “I felt like Moses when God said, ‘I want you to go into Egypt and lead my people out.’ Moses resisted. I resisted.… But you shouldn’t question God.”

Though Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen, told him, “God cannot possibly want you to do this,” he ultimately convinced her with prayer that God was leading him onto the presidential path.  “After a while she saw the same thing I did.”

In 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a reporter, “I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do. This is what America needs.” And after a string of bad luck pushed him into third place—offensive campaign ads, and laughable debate performances helped—his wife, Anita, likened him to Moses, and described his decision to run as heeding signs from above, relayed by her to her chosen husband. “He didn’t want to hear a thing about running for president,” she said. “He felt like he needed to see the burning bush. I said ‘Look, let me tell you something. You may not see that burning bush, but there are people seeing that burning bush for you.’”

And you can thank God for Michele Bachmann, too. In 2006, the Almighty ordered the mother of five to run for Congress. But He wasn’t finished, so in 2011 God urged her to run for the highest office. “Every decision that I make I pray about, as does my husband,” the Congresswoman explained.  “And I can tell you, yes, I’ve had that calling and that tugging on my heart that this is the right thing to do…”

These candidates all claimed that God was the impetus and continuing force behind their campaigns. And every one, save Rick Santorum, claims they never wanted to do it in the first place. According to their own admissions, they had to be convinced by God to do his will.

And they all lost.

But then again, God never mentioned anything about winning.

God’s favorite candidates can all take heart in the words of another famous loser, Pat Robertson, who claimed the White House was as good as his in the 1988 election. The televangelist was another who initially resisted God’s call to run, but eventually relented. “I heard the Lord,” Robertson whispered in front of a New Hampshire church congregation along the campaign trail, “saying ‘I have something else for you to do. I want you to run for president of the United States.’” He went on, “I assure you that I am going to be the next president of the United States.”

After finishing a distant third, Robertson says in his book, The Plan, that he questioned his faith. “I’ve been asked the question a hundred times: ‘Did you miss God?’ I asked over and over, ‘Did I miss Your leading, Father? … Did I hear You? … Why didn’t I win?’”

Robertson’s soul searching led him to draw a comparison between his loss and Jesus Christ himself, whom, he writes, “failed by human standards but was part of God’s perfect plan. Was He hurt? Of course he was. Will He be vindicated? Gloriously so.”

“I followed God’s plan for me, so in His eyes I did win.”

Amen.

crooksandliars:

Scott Walker Angers Conservative Activists By Wanting To Settle John Doe Case

As Digby notes in Salon, Scott Walker is the latest Midwest governor to be anointed a hero by conservatives when he beat the teacher’s union and he’s seen as a formidable presidential candidate for 2016, but that was before the John Doe case came along.

After some early success with the case, Activists like Club For Growth and the WSJ are now freaking out that he may want to settle the case. They can’t have that.

Scott Walker is falling apart: The little corruption problem he just can’t shake

And then they broke into a rousing rendition of “We shall overcome.” The affiliated big money right-wing groups like Club for Growth and American Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity were undoubtedly very pleased at that outcome. And they were also undoubtedly very pleased with one Scott Walker who was standing up nicely to the pressure and getting their backs when they had so generously padded his campaign coffers. That’s how it’s supposed to work. And then the bottom fell out

read more

thepoliticalfreakshow:

HIAWATHA, Iowa (AP) — Behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s visit to Iowa this week to campaign for local politicians is a careful effort to remake his image from the 2012 Republican presidential candidate who couldn’t remember a key message during a debate, to a more polished and prepared contender.

While he denies it is a dress rehearsal for a second presidential run, Perry is studying policy, traveling and meeting with key activists as he campaigns for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and U.S. Senate candidate Matt Whitaker in the state expected to host the first presidential caucus of 2016.

"This hasn’t got anything to do with preparation. This has everything do to with Matt Whitaker," Perry told reporters Wednesday after touring a Cedar Rapids-area manufacturer.

But the appearance with Whitaker, among five candidates for U.S. Senate, was the start of Perry’s third trip to Iowa since last year. It also includes a fundraiser for Branstad in Ames and three stops in Republican-heavy northwest Iowa on Thursday.

Aides say Perry, who dropped from the 2012 race after finishing fourth in Iowa, was not ready then.

"He’s been brutally honest that he was unprepared," said senior adviser Jeff Miller. "Now, he spends every week talking with people."

He is tapping policy experts and influential political activists, such as the New Hampshire Republicans he entertained in Austin Tuesday, Miller said. New Hampshire hosts the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

Perry plans to visit Eastern Europe in late summer or early fall, aides said, all with the aim of being in a better position to decide to run than he was in 2011.

Three years ago, Perry was simultaneously wrapping up a Texas legislative session, undergoing back surgery and preparing to enter a Republican race already underway. The combination, they say, was responsible for the gaffe that badly damaged his campaign and became the subject of late night television ridicule. At a November, 2011 Republican debate Perry could not remember one government agency he would abolish as president.

Wednesday, he seemed every bit the gregarious politician who entered the 2012 race to great fanfare, only to fall short of expectations.

The message Wednesday was the same: Promoting Texas’ rapid job growth as the national model, and castigating the Obama administration as “micromanaging.”

"Get out of the way and let the private sector do what the private sector does best, which is create some of the most innovative products in the world," he told the plants employees.

The words rang true to Mike Bitterman, vice president and co-owner of Master Tool and Manufacturing Inc. The plant makes a range of products from car parts to toothbrush molds.

"Thank you for making conservatism work," Bitterman said, shaking Perry’s hand.

Perry said he’ll decide about 2016 after he leaves office in Texas next year. But he said he’d return to Iowa this year.

"I will be coming up here, I would suggest to you, multiple times between now and the 4th of November," he said. "After that, I’ll let you know."

h/t: Catalina Camia at USA Today's On Politics

Speaking at Liberty University’s 2014 Commencement yesterday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) attacked “elite” liberals who, he claimed, have launched “an assault on the freedom of expression in all areas of life.”

“Today the American people, whether they know it or not, are mired in a silent war,” Jindal began. “It is a war — a silent war — against religious liberty.” He claimed that Obama Administration’s argument against Hobby Lobby “strikes at the core of our understanding of the free exercise of religion.”

“Under the Obama regime,” he continued, “you have protection under the First Amendment as an individual, but the instant you start a business, you lose those protections. And that brings us to the second front in this silent war: the attack on our freedom of association as people of faith.”

Jindal claimed that the Obama Administration would prevent religious groups from selecting “their own ministers or rabbis.” “Thankfully,” he said, the Supreme Court decided to shoot down the administration, “so for the time being, at least, the federal government doesn’t get to decide who can preach the Gospel.”

“Make no mistake — the war over religious liberty is a war over free speech. Without the first, there is no such thing as the second.”

He then discussed the Duck Dynasty controversy. “You may think that I was defending the Robertsons simply because I am the governor of their home state, the great state of Louisiana,” he said. “You would be wrong about that. I defended them because they have every right to speak their minds.”

The real issue is that “liberals” are doing everything in their power to “silence debate.” The new left in America is completely intolerant of people of faith,” Jindal said. “The left no longer wants to debate. They simply want to silence us.”

“As you well know,” he continued, “the same thing happened again this week, with another demonstration of intolerance from the entertainment industry. HGTV was working on a new show featuring the Benham brothers — twin brothers who graduated from right here at Liberty University in 1998.”

“I know they’ve already been recognized,” Jindal said, “but I’d like to ask them to stand so we can give them another round of applause for their courage and grace. HGTV cancelled the show this week, allegedly, because they learned that one of the brothers protested at the Democratic Party convention, and the other had protested at an abortion clinic.”

“If these guys had protested at the Republican Party convention or here at Liberty University,” he concluded, “instead of cancelling their show HGTV probably would’ve given them a raise.”

h/t: Scott Kaufman at The Raw Story