Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kris Kobach's Doing His Part For Romney's Latino Outreach

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Hey, I was wondering the other day how the Republicans' outreach efforts to Latinos were going. So who should pop back up in the news but our old nativist guru, the author of SB1070 himself, Kris Kobach. Seems he's having an outsize role on the shape of the Republican platform -- and not only is he reliably nativist, but he's also anti-black and a paleo-wingnut on abortion, too. A perfect Republican.

Most of all, he's pushing the Republican immigration platform as far to the right as possible (without hitting Joe the Dumber Plumber territory). As Elise Foley reports:
During a meeting of the GOP platform committee in Tampa, Fla., Kobach called for the party to officially back increased border fencing and the E-Verify employment verification system, and to go after two immigrant-friendly initiatives: in-state tuition for some undocumented young people and so-called sanctuary cities. Those measures were in the 2008 Republican platform but had been dropped from the draft this year, Politico reported.

"These positions are consistent with the Romney campaign," Kobach said. "As you all remember, one of the primary reasons that Governor Romney rose past Governor Perry when Mr. Perry was achieving first place in the polls was because of his opposition to in-state tuition for illegal aliens."
Now, why exactly would the GOP be taking Kobach's advice? Especially considering that he just lost another big round in the federal courts regarding the SB1070 clones he had successfully promoted in Georgia and Alabama:
An appeals court on Monday sided with the federal government in blocking several provisions in Alabama and Georgia's controversial anti-illegal immigration laws, while allowing other key parts of those laws to stand.

Advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center applauded the decisions, with National Immigration Law Center executive director Marielena Hincapie saying in a statement they "should send a strong message that state attempts to criminalize immigrants and their loved ones will not be tolerated."

Still, while three judges from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did strike down more challenged provisions than they allowed in a pair of rulings, officials from both Alabama and Georgia pointed out that the vast majority of their states' immigration laws remain valid.

"The essence of Alabama's immigration law has been upheld by today's ruling," Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement. "The core of (the) law remains if you live or work in the state, you should do so legally."
Ah, but those states are grasping at straws, because, as Amanda Peterson Beadle at ThinkProgress explains, these rulings almost completely gutted these laws:
But in the first ruling on a state immigration law following the Supreme Court’s SB 1070 decision, the 11th Circuit federal appeals court struck down most of Alabama’s HB 56, including the worst provisions like the state’s attack on school children:

– School officials cannot ask about students’ immigration status: Under HB 56, schools were required to determine the immigration status of every newly enrolled student. As a result, students stayed home from school once the provision went into effect in late September out of confusion over the law and fear that they or their parents could be deported. By February, 13 percent of Latino students dropped out by February as families fled Alabama because of the immigration policy.

– Alabama cannot ban contracts between lawful and unlawful residents.: Alabama’s HB 56 included an unprecedented ban against contracting with undocumented immigrants. No other state or nation has such a measure, which, for example, could have made it illegal for a landlord to rent an apartment to someone who is not a legal resident.

Politicians readily admitted that the goal of HB 56 was to make Alabama a hostile place for undocumented immigrants, and in blocking the contracts provision, the court recognized that the point of the contracts section was “forcing undocumented individuals out of Alabama.”

Additionally, the 11th Circuit stopped Alabama and Georgia from making it a crime to transport or harbor an undocumented immigrant in those states. Both states included these provisions in their similar anti-immigrant laws approved by state legislators more than a year ago. Arizona’s SB 1070 also makes its a crime to harbor or transport someone who is not a legal resident, but the Supreme Court did not rule on it. Today, a civil rights coalition is asking a federal judge in Arizona to block this section of SB 1070 especially now that it has been struck down in Alabama and Georgia.

... In all, the 11th Circuit’s ruling is a victory for immigrant advocates and a significant — if not total — loss for proponents of extreme “self-deportation” immigration policies.
Well, hey, let's check in and see how the Romney campaign is handling all this. Here's a recent soft-pedal piece from USA Today that, um, puts it rather delicately:
The issue of illegal immigration also becomes complicated for Romney.
GOP officials are quick to point out that immigration is not the main priority for Hispanics when casting their vote. Polls back that up: The economy is their No. 1 priority, as it is for the country as a whole. And Romney volunteers say voters want to talk more about the economy than anything else.

"They don't really bring it up, and neither do I," Saltus said.

Barreto calls immigration a "gateway issue" for Hispanic voters — if a candidate is wrong on the issue, it's hard to listen to anything else.

"It makes it hard for the candidates to even get in the door," he said.

Romney took a hard stance on illegal immigration during the GOP primary. He called for more funding to secure the border with Mexico, pushed identity-verification laws to keep illegal immigrants out of American jobs and endorsed the idea of "self-deportation," where laws make life so hard for illegal immigrants that they choose to return to their home countries.

The issue becomes more prominent for voters who know, or are related to, an illegal immigrant. About a quarter of Hispanic voters know someone, or are related to, someone facing deportation, and more than half know an illegal immigrant, according to a Latino Decisions poll conducted last year.

Despite those numbers, Romney volunteers said the issue rarely comes up when talking with voters.

Matthew Mirliani, a 19-year-old volunteer who will start studying at Dartmouth College this fall, has been knocking on doors, making phone calls and writing op-eds on behalf of Republican candidates for months. When asked how voters respond to Romney's immigration record, the Mount Vernon teen spoke quickly.

"No one's talking about that," Mirliani said. "That's not the topic."
That's right! Not the topic! We don't wanna talk about immigration reform here! Because that would derail the nice, immigration-free reality they want to construct.

These guys are whistling past the graveyard if they are telling themselves that Latino voters don't care about immigration. Sure, it's not the No. 1 subject -- that would be JOBS, a subject that Republicans aren't so good at talking about either, but what the hey, it beats talking about Romney's plan to have all 12 million undocumented immigrants "self-deport".

Mebbe that's why Obama won that poll on their own Latino outreach website. And why that same website used stock photos of Asian children to illustrate their Latino outreach.

Yeah, I would say that outreach is going just swimmingly. As in Obama is maintaining that massive lead among Latino voters, 63 to 28 percent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mike Huckabee: Chief Enabler For The Religious Kook Bloc

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

[H/t Heather]

What is it about Mike Huckabee that brings out the worst in his religious-right interview subjects?

Mebbe it's the likelihood that Huckabee himself holds all these views while managing to project an image of avuncular amiability that belies his underlying nastiness.

After all, as Ellen at Newshounds observes, there was Huckabee last weekend, hosting Tony Perkins of the Family Research Center, invidiously trying to blame the Southern Poverty Law Center for the shooting at his offices, just as he had been doing all week:
Last Saturday, Huckabee began by citing the "huge pile of money" held by the SPLC. He didn't mention the FRC's assets which are listed as $12,516,000. He noted that the SPLC spends "a lot of time" accusing family values organizations of being hate groups and that Perkins was "bold" in speaking out about the "atmosphere" which contributed to the shooting. In response to Huckabee's question about the reason for the classification, Perkins insulted the SPLC's lack of "integrity" and accused them of "making money off of the spreading of hostility." (on Fox, oh, the irony!) The chyron stated, as Fox Fact, that the "FRC Promotes Faith, Freedom, and Family." Perkins claimed that they are being attacked for the policy on marriage and their "religious position on homosexuality."

(Right, gays are going to hell, badda boom) He then made his patented claim that this is fostering a hostile environment. After citing the Chick-fil-A sandwich bags that the shooter possessed, he dismissed the connections between the food chain and the FRC. And while he didn't have the details, he accused the media of constantly mentioning the FRC, in their Chick fil-A coverage, as a hate group and that, according to Perkins, gave the shooter "a license to shoot."

Using data from the right wing shill, Brent Bozell, Huckabee then attacked the media for not sufficiently covering the shooting and not exposing the shooters "connections to a gay rights group" and if that happened at Planned Parenthood, the coverage would have been different. To Huck's question about media coverage, Perkins admitted that he hadn't tracked it, although he praised Fox for its coverage. He then proceeded to trash the SPLC for "creating this atmosphere of hostility." He asked gay groups, who expressed their condolences to the FRC, to urge the SPLC to "stop the labelling" (On Fox! Oh, the irony!) of groups that stand for "traditional moral values." He claimed (again, the irony) that "there's no place for this in a constitutional republic." He whined about freedom of speech. Huck said he brought "light to the story." (Oh, no he didn't!)
Then, Huckabee followed that up a couple of days later by letting Todd Akin feebly rationalize his bizarre abortion remarks by himself feebly rationalizing the underlying prohibition against victims of rape obtaining an abortion.

As Patricia at Newshounds observes:
Akin apologized (?!) for his bizarre and offensive comment about "legitimate" rape with this statement, to Huckabee: "I was talking about forcible rape, and that was absolutely the wrong word." (So, uh "forcible rape" is different from "legitimate" rape, how?) Huckabee, BTW, endorsed and supported Akin's candidacy and for that Akin is grateful.

During the warm Christian brotherizing that went on during the interview, Huckabee seemed to validate the Sharon Angle philosophy that being forced to give birth, after a rape, is making lemonade out of lemons (Be happy ladies, you're gonna be a mommy). Huckabee noted that horrible rapes have created "wonderful human beings."

Words fail...
Huckabee hides his extremism well. But every now and then the mask slips.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rep. Steve King, R-Moron: I Never Heard Of Anyone Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Via KMEG-TV,, here's the noted Congressman From the Planet Moron, Republican Steve King, weighing in on the controversy swirling around his friend and fellow paleo-conservative on abortion, Todd Akin:
King supports the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." It would ban Federal funding of abortions except in cases of forcible rape. Right now, Medicaid also covers abortions for victims of statutory rape or incest - for example, a 12 year old who gets pregnant.

Congressman King says he's not aware of any young victims like that.

"Well I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way, and I'd be open to discussion about that subject matter," he said.
Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPM observes:
A Democratic source flagged King’s praise of Akin in the KMEG interview to TPM. But potentially more controversial for King is his suggestion that pregnancies from statutory rape or incest don’t exist or happen rarely. A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”
Let's dig that Republican hole a little deeper, shall we?

Of course, none of this is exactly a surprise for anyone who's been paying attention to Republican wisdom on Women's Parts. Nor is it a surprise coming from a guy who likes to compare immigrants to cattle and dogs, and who recently defended dog fighting. Dehumanization is becoming a Republican specialty, and Steve King is their ace.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another Lethal Case Of Right-Wing Terrorism, And Media Yawn

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Ho hum. It's becoming routine now:
Police say at least two of the seven suspects arrested for the fatal shooting of two Louisiana sheriffs deputies last Thursday are connected to the anti-government “sovereign citizen” movement.

According to WBRZ-TV, 28-year-old Kyle Joekel and 44-year-old Terry Smith had identified themselves as part of the movement, which was classified as a domestic terror group last year by the FBI.

Joekel and Smith, along with several members of Smith’s family and other associates, were arrested following an ambush on authorities in LaPlace, Louisiana, about 25 miles west of New Orleans. Deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche were killed in the ensuing shootout. Two more deputies were wounded.
We've been writing about -- and warning about -- the sovereign citizens movement for a long time now, but now it seems it's just part of the American woodwork. ABC News picked up on this story, but so far, that's been the reach.

And Fox News? Fuggaboutit. They're too busy denouncing the lack of coverage in last week's FRC shooting -- in which no one was killed -- to pay attention to yet another case of right-wing domestic terrorism.

See Juan Williams on The O'Reilly Factor last week, hosting Rich Noyes from Brent Bozell's right-wing Media Research Center, complaining loudly about the lack of coverage:

WILLIAMS: Well, why don't they see something to follow up with. Rich, I don't care if you are a liberal or conservative. The idea of people walking in with guns to attack people that they have political differences with is outrageous.

And I just can't believe that the networks won't pay attention to the story. But it's got to be that they don't like the conservative direction of the Family Research Council and the fact that they condemn gay marriage. I mean, is that the obvious answer or am I wrong.

NOYES: I think that is absolutely obvious answer.
Yes, that obviously must be the answer, Juan, considering that we can point to more than fifty incidents in the past four years involving domestic terrorism committed by right-wing extremists (we're actually up to about 72 cases, but we'll have more on that later), and in only about a third of those cases was there any media coverage at all.

In contrast, every single case of the 30 or so so-called "Islamist" domestic terrorism has produced national media coverage, as have most cases of animal-rights, eco-terror or anarchist violence (which are significantly smaller in number).

So maybe when Fox News can actually cover incidents of right-wing terrorism AS what they are -- namely, right-wing terrorism -- instead of assiduously and loudly pronouncing that they are no such thing -- and when cases of left-wing terrorism begin to pile up the way right-wing terrorism has in recent years, well, then it might be possible to consider their complaint legitimate.

Amusingly, Bozell himself opined this weekend:
These networks are aiding and abetting liberal violence by refusing to identify it as liberal violence.
Right-wing violence? According to these great thinkers, it just doesn't exist. Even when it does.
This has profound consequences, Readers are well aware, of course, how right-wing screaming over the Department of Homeland Security's bulletin to law-enforcement about right-wing extremist terrorism resulted in the evisceration of the DHS's capabilities in that regard.

Now, Daryl Johnson -- the author of that report -- has penned a contemplative piece about this in the wake of the recent Sikh temple massacre by a white supremacist with military training:
I learned that politicians, political parties and those that support them (including the media) will go to great lengths to undermine the opposition. For this reason, everyone should take a moment to better understand how politicizing domestic intelligence impacts national security as well as the safety of our communities. Politicizing intelligence has its consequences.

Since the DHS warning concerning the resurgence of right-wing extremism, 27 law enforcement officers have been shot (16 killed) by right-wing extremists. Over a dozen mosques have been burned with firebombs – likely attributed to individuals embracing Islamaphobic beliefs. In May 2009, an abortion doctor was murdered while attending church, two other assassination plots against abortion providers were thwarted during 2011 and a half-dozen women’s health clinics were attacked with explosive and incendiary devices over the past two years.

In January 2010, a tax resister deliberately crashed his small plane filled with a 50-gallon drum of gasoline into an IRS processing center in Austin, Texas; in January 2011, three incendiary bombs were mailed to government officials in Annapolis, Md., and Washington, D.C.; also, in January 2011, a backpack bomb was placed along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Wash.; and, during 2010-2012, there have been multiple plots to kill ethnic minorities, police and other government officials by militia extremists and white supremacists.

The Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., and the shooting of four sheriff’s deputies in St. Johns Parish, La., in August are only the latest manifestations of right-wing extremist violence in the U.S. Yet, there have been no hearings on Capitol Hill about this issue. DHS still has only one analyst monitoring domestic terrorism. The federal government’s failure to recognize the domestic terrorism threat tells me there will assuredly be more attacks to come.
Spencer Ackerman at Wired has an in-depth interview with Johnson that is well worth reading.