Posts Tagged ‘MAGA’

DeSantis Refugee Trafficking Fallout

September 22, 2022

DeSantis Refugee Trafficking Fallout

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the future of the MAGA GOP, is basking in the afterglow of flying 48 Venezuelan refugees from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard to “own the Libs,”spending $615,000 in public funds on two charter jets. That’s a cost of $12,300 for each refugee DeSantis trafficked for his own political purposes.

DeSantis still has almost $11.5 million more in purloined federal COVID relief funds left, so he’s doubling down. There’s been a further payment of $950,000, possibly for flights to Delaware (Joe Biden’s home state) or New Jersey. The charter jet contractor, Vertol Systems, owned by Republican donor James Montgomerie, purchased helicopters from Russian government-controlled companies, and received a PPP loan of $255,583 in 2020, during the Trump Administration. Vertol has been associated with James Odom, who went to prison for laundering campaign funds for Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign. It’s not clear if Vertol got a sole-source contract; they’re certainly not the only charter jet outfit in Florida, so state procurement officials should take a look at that, if they’re not afraid of poltical retribution.

DeSantis and his cronies may be liable for other crimes. They fraudulently lured unsuspecting refugee men, women, and children from Texas to a small, isolated town in Massachusetts, promising non-existant jobs and housing. The refugees are suing for fraud, and a Texas sheriff is looking into the matter.

Is it interstate human trafficking? It may be a gray area but, in any case, it’s certainly cruel. Of course, that’s the point.

Update:

“DeSantis risks voter backlash in Florida with migrant flights,” Max Greenwood and Ann Parnes, The Hill

More:

“Massachusetts seeks human trafficking probe targeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over migrants,” John Bacon and Rachael Devaney, USA Today

“The smoking gun in Martha’s Vineyard,” Judd Legum, Popular Information 

“Senator Ted Cruz says that transporting migrants is illegal, but commends GOP governors for it anyway,” Alia Shoaib, Insider

“DeSantis actions on migrants is ‘mini-ethnic cleansing’, expert warns,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

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Trump Embraces QAnon Conspiracy Theories

September 21, 2022

Trump Embraces QAnon Conspiracy Theories

Donald Trump is, finally, openly embracing the wacko QAnon conspiracy theory. Tuesday, on his Truth Social platform, he reposted an image of himself wearing a Q lapel pin overlaid with the words “The Storm is Coming.” For QAnon looons, the “storm” refers to a Trump final victory, when he will regain power and his opponents will be tried (and probably executed) on live television.

At a JD Vance campaign rally on Saturday, Donald Trump spoke over QAnon-themed background music while his supporters raised their right index fingers to the sky in a creepy salute. Sure, it might mean “We’re Number 1” or “America First,” or signal the “One Way” of Christian Nationalism, but The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer, author of a forthcoming book on QAnon, tweeted that it could symbolize the QAnon rallying cry ‘Where we go one, we go all.’”

That rally music?  It was either the QAnon anthem “Wwg1wga” or a copyright-free clone of it. Trump had used it in a video on his Truth Social last month.

More:

“Trump openly embraces, amplifies QAnon conspiracy theories,” David Klepper and Ali Swenson, Associated Press

“Trump asks QAnon to stand back and stand by,” Phillip Bump, Washington Post

“Trump’s Gone Full QAnon. There’s No Point in Denying It Anymore.” Jared Holt, Daily Beast

“What’s with the creepy one-fingered salute by Trump supporters?” Imogen Champagne, Crikey.com.au

“Is Trump fans’ ‘weird’ one-finger salute at rally a QAnon tribute?” Gustaf Kilander, The Independent via Yahoo News

“Trump’s Latest Rally Was Even Weirder Than Usual,” Chas Danner, New York Magazine

“Trump’s New Recruits: He’s embracing the QAnon conspiracy theorists,” Tom Nichols, The Atlantic

Update:

“Trump Endorsed QAnon Because He’s Stuck,” Juliette Kayyem, The Atlantic

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DeSantis: Cheap Trafficking In Human Misery

September 19, 2022

Florida MAGA/GOP governor Ron DeSantis is using newly-arrived refugees — many of them women and children — as hostages, political pawns in a cheap stunt, flying them to the rural island of Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, he couldn’t find enough unauthorized migrants in his own state of Florida, so he imported 48 of them — by two state-funded charter jets — from Texas. DeSantis paid for the migrant flights with federal COVID stimulus money he didn’t spend on the needs of Florida citizens.

Bear in mind that the migrants, refugees from failed petro-socialist Venuzuela, are registered with DHS as Asylum Seekers; they are not the criminals DeSantis implies they are. Martha’s Vineyard has no immigration court or ICE center, so the migrants can’t check-in or recieve adjudication, which could jeopardize their status if they don’t get to a major city soon.

In this cruel Republican game, DeSantis is playing catch-up. MAGA governors Greg Abbot (Texas) and Doug Ducey (Arizona) have been sending migrants to New York, Chicago, and DC by chartered bus, often mis-representing where they are going and falsely promising migrants jobs when they arrive. A similar federal strategy was suggested in 2019 by Trump creature Stephen Miller. He threated to cut ICE funding if the federal agency didn’t send migrants to Democratic jurisdictions (it didn’t happen).

And where did lizard-person Stephen Miller get the idea? From short-lived stunts by the racist White Citizens’ Councils of the 1960s, so-called “Reverse Freedom Rides,” which bused Black Americans from the South to Northern cities. Like today’s people-traffickers DeSantis, Ducey, and Abbot, the racist Councils promised that jobs awaited the travelers at their destinations. One bus went to Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1962, where the Kennedy family had a summer home. This past July 26th, Fox News host Tucker Carlson publicly floated the idea of sending refugees to Martha’s Vineyard, pointing out that the Obama’s own a vacation home there.

In 1962, editors of the New York Times called the racist “Reverse Freedom Rides” a “cheap trafficking in human misery.” That’s certainly true for the stunts of MAGA migrant traffickers DeSantis, Abbot, and Ducey.

More:

“Planeloads of Venezuelan Migrants Arrive at Martha’s Vineyard Airport,” Brooke Kushwaha, Vineyard Gazette

“Migrants stranded in Martha’s Vineyard say they were lied to,”Bianca Padró Ocasio, Tampa Bay Times

“Martha’s Vineyard Migrants Leave Island as Outrage at DeSantis Grows,” Chas Danner, New York Magazine

“DeSantis gave GOP donors a glimpse of plans for migrant flights,” Josh Dawsey, Michael Scherer, and Isaac Arnsdorf, Washington Post

“DeSantis Flying Migrants to Martha’s Vineyard May Have Violated Federal Law, Experts Say,” Nikki McCann Ramirez, Rolling Stone

“Surprise is key part of migrant travel from Florida, Texas,” Rodrique Ngowi, Gisela Salomon, and Claudia Torrens, Associated Press

Related:

“Ron DeSantis Flew Immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Echoing a Racist Stunt From Exactly 60 Years Ago,” Kate Storey, Esquire

“JFK Library compares DeSantis migrants move to historic ‘Reverse Freedom Rides,’” Graeme Massie, The Independent, via Yahoo News

“This Isn’t the First Time White Racists Have Sent Migrants North on Buses (Though Using Planes Is New),” Kali Holloway, Daily Beast

“The Cruel Story Behind The ‘Reverse Freedom Rides,'” Gabrielle Emanuel, NPR Code Switch

“Biden officials to discuss ‘litigation options’ over migrant buses,” Stef W. Kight, Axios 

“Why Belarus is using migrants as a political weapon,” Ellen Ioanes, Vox

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Right-Wing Apparel Maker’s Fake ‘Made In USA’ Claims

August 15, 2022

Right Wing Apparel Maker's Fake 'Made In USA' Claims

The Utah-based Lions Not Sheep clothing company sells T-shirts and baseball caps with provocative slogans printed on them, sure to appeal to the gun-toting, camo-wearing, flag-waving, Trump-loving, by-God self-proclaimed MAGA patriots on your gift list. The Federal Trade Commission just fined the firm for ripping the “Made In China” labels from their imported duds and putting “Made In USA” tags on them. The fraudsters came to FTC attention after bragging about the label-switch on social media.

The Made in USA Labeling Rule, effective as of August 2021, prohibits claims that a product was made in the United States unless final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the U.S., all significant processing that goes into the product occurs domestically, and all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the U.S.

More:

“Pro-Trump brand is fined by FTC for incorrect ‘Made in the USA’ labels,” María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post

Pro-Trump apparel company fined for falsely labeling products “Made in USA,” Julia Shapero, Axios

“Utah-based Lions Not Sheep apparel company fined for swapping ‘Made in China’ tags for ‘Made in USA.’” Kyle Dunphey, Deseret News

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Running Gag

July 25, 2022

Running Gag

James Dator of sports website SB Nation calculated that Sedition Caucus Senator Josh Hawley ran a 7.2 second 40-yard dash on January 6, 2021 while fleeing for his life from the MAGA mob he saluted earlier.

More:

“Run Hawley Run’: Video of Josh Hawley fleeing Jan. 6 rioters sparks memes,” Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post

“Republican Josh Hawley fled January 6 rioters – and Twitter ran with it,” Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

“Josh Hawley Fleeing Capitol Rioters Gets a Britney Spears, Kate Bush & Monty Python Soundtrack,” Joe Lynch, Billboard

Update:

“Hawley Concerned That Being a Coward Is Overshadowing His Work as a Fascist,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

 

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Semis Without a Cause: Truckers May Choke DC

February 25, 2022

Semis Without a Cause: Truckers May Choke DC

Inspired by a trucker protest that choked Ottawa for three weeks and caused millions in economic damage, US haulers are hellbent on blocking arteries in and around Washington, DC, targeting March 1st, when President Biden delivers the State of the Union address. It’s a “People’s Convoy” or “Freedom Convoy,” depending who you ask.

What the truckers are protesting: What’ve you got? It’s a protest against COVID rules, high fuel costs, lack of truck parking areas, excessive regulation, insuffucient freedom. Oh yeah, and the 2020 presidential election. So there you have it, another loosely-linked libertarian clusterfuck of chaos.

Self-proclaimed convoy leaders claim the trucks won’t clog local DC streets, but will strangle the surrounding Beltway displaying protest signs and banners. An anti-Obama trucker protest tried to strangle the Beltway back in 2013 but couldn’t, since it would take about 10,000 eighteen-wheelers to do that, and they got 30.

But this isn’t 2013, so it’s likely a few extemist truckers will park in choke points, if not on DC streets then at key Beltway exits, bridges, and overpasses. That was the Canadian truckers’ tactic in Windsor-Detroit, and in truck protests in Brazil (2018) and Chile (2020). Police in the DC-MD-VA area are on alert, as are Capitol Hill Police and the National Guard.

More:

“Here’s What We Know So Far About Possible Trucker Convoy Protests Coming To D.C. Soon,” Margaret Barthel, DCist

“A Truck Caravan With Far-Right Links Heads to Washington, D.C.,” Shawn Hubler and Alan Feuer, New York Times

“Many Of The Groups Behind Jan. 6 Are Now Organizing U.S. Trucker Convoys,” Jesselyn Cook, HuffPost

“‘Be as Disruptive as They Can’: What to Know About the Trucker Convoys’ Plans for DC,” Andrew Beaujon, Washingtonian

“Trucker Protest Convoy’s Grievances Include Streets Named for Biden,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

Updates:

“Republicans who opposed racial justice protests hope truckers ‘clog up’ US cities,” Sergio Olmos, The Guardian

“‘Don Quixote-like quest’: Ukraine attack and easing Covid mandates leave US trucker protest on the fringe,” Sergio Olmos, The Guardian

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GOP: It’s Official, They’re Fascists.

February 7, 2022

GOP: It's Official, They're Fascists.

Meeting in Salt Lake City on Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution declaring that the actions of the Insurrection of January 6, 2021, including the violent attempt to overthrow the elected government of the United States and the defilement of the Capitol building, were “legitimate political discourse.” The resolution (co-authored by Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel) was passed by voice vote, without debate, so individual Republican leaders could avoid personal (and legal) responsibility for this outrage against two centuries of American democratic values. They’re not just fascists, they’re weasels.

More:

“Republican party calls January 6 attack ‘legitimate political discourse,’” Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

“GOP leaders approve resolution that says Jan. 6 was ‘legitimate political discourse,’” Bryan Schott, Salt Lake City Tribune

“G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse,’” Jonathan Weisman and Reid J. Epstein, New York Times

Updates:

“Murkowski criticizes RNC calling Jan. 6 attack ‘legitimate political discourse,'” Caroline Vakil,The Hill

“‘Legitimate Political Discourse’ Is Now an Official Republican Party Description of the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol,” Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone

“McConnell rebukes RNC, calls Jan. 6 ‘violent insurrection,'” Mary Clare Jalonick,  Associated Press

“‘Legitimate political discourse’: Three words about Jan. 6 spark rift among Republicans,” Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

“McConnell breaks with RNC: Jan. 6 ‘violent insurrection,'” Jordain Carney, The Hill

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Gaetz Ex-Girlfriend Talks to Federal Grand Jury

January 12, 2022

Gaetz Ex-Girlfriend Talks to Federal Grand Jury

The ex-girlfiend of Florida Man and well-known congressional sleazebag Matt Gaetz (R, FL-1) testified to a federal grand jury investigating him on underage sex-trafficking and other charges. The young woman has been in talks for months with prosecutors about an immunity deal, NBC reports, hoping to avoid prosecution for obstruction of justice in return for testifying as to whether Gaetz paid a 17-year-old female for sex and violated a federal law prohibiting people for paying for prostitutes overseas. This testimony is seen as a sign that the grand jury is moving closer to indicting Trump idolator Gaetz.

More:

“Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend testifies to grand jury in sex trafficking probe,” Marc Caputo, NBC News

Update:

“Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend granted immunity before testifying in sex trafficking probe,” Michael Kaplan, CBS News

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Republican Hypocrisy on January 6th

January 6, 2022

Many Republican leaders — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI 8 ) — were horrified by the Capitol attack of last January 6th, and rightly blamed Donald Trump for instigating it. Somehow, they forgot.

A video by the Republican Accountability Project, which will run on Fox News today.

More:

“Republicans Promised to Banish Jan. 6 Insurrectionists. A Year Later, They’ve Purged Jan. 6 Critics,” Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

“Republicans condemned Trump after the Capitol attack. Now, they are opening the door to him as the future of the party.” JM Rieger, Washington Post

Related:

“How Trump Kept His Grip After Jan. 6,” Blake Hounshell and Leah Askarinam, New York Times

Update:

“GOP commemorates denialism day,” David Siders, Politico

 

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January 6th

January 5, 2022

January 6th
America’a red-hatted MAGAheads will be celebrating January 6th, but not as the Feast of the Epiphany (which features swarthy, undocumented Magi immigrants) or as a national day of prayer and mourning for the near-death of American democracy last year. The right-wing paranoid and election-denying alt-right, GOP coup plotters, Proud Boys, QAnon, Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers, Trump loyalists, white nationalists and Infowars fanatics and their ilk will commemorate their deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last year, when they attempted to overturn the presidential election, as directed by the election’s clear loser.

The Capitol Police seem more prepared for a lunatic onslaught this January 6th, so there may be decentralized right-wing assaults on other federal, state, and local government buildings and officials. There will certainly be plenty of right-wing attacks on the truth.

More:

“A Roundup of January 6 Anniversary Commemorations in DC,” Damare Baker, Washingtonian

“Right-wing and liberal vigils planned in D.C. on anniversary of Capitol riot,” Ellie Silverman, Washington Post

“At time of Capitol prayer service Jan. 6, Trump will deliver remarks doubling down on the ‘Big Lie,’” David Siders, Politico

“Bannon, Trump to counterprogram Dems for Jan. 6 anniversary,” Jonathan Swan, Axios

Updates:

“Ingraham, Graham talked Trump out of Jan. 6 press conference,” Axios

“Trump cancels Jan. 6 news conference at Mar-a-Lago, blames news media and House committee investigating attack on Capitol,” Felicia Sonmez and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

Related:

“Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now,” New York Times editorial

“A year after Jan. 6 attack, Capitol Hill neighborhood still feels the effects.” Joe Heim, Washington Post

“A look back at Americans’ reactions to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol,” John Gramlich, Pew Research Center

“We’ve reached the ‘Yeah, it was pretty much an attempted coup, so what?’ stage of the Jan. 6 probe,” Aaron Blake, Washington Post

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