News Politics

Obama-Rage In Pennsylvania Has Conservatives Going Over The Top

Robin Marty

Someone needs to let these folks know they should lay off the "jokes."  

Did you hear the one about the Te Party group in Pennsylvania that joked about kicking the sitting president in the crotch?  Or the Pennsylvania GOP chair who compared supporters of President Barack Obama to the mentally disabled?

In a matter of just 48 hours the conservatives of the state have managed to provide not just one but two examples of what constitutes “humor” among their followers. 

Pennsylvania Tea Party group “Northeast Pennsylvania Spirit of 1776” sent out an email rewriting an old “insert terrorist here” joke, replacing Abu al-Zarqawi or Osama Bin Laden with Obama. The “72 Virginians” joke not only not-so subtly plays up the “Obama/Osama” exchange that has been the lynch pin of Fox News and its ilk for years, but allowed the writer to take a few apparently poetic liberties, too, such as James Madison “kicking him in the groin,” a phrase that is exchanged in and out with “dropping a large weight on his knee” in other versions.

The group claims that as a result of the email they have been the subject of a “coordinated effort,” by people who want to “take away your freedom in a heartbeat.”  They also say it is ridiculous that the joke upset people, since it has been around for two years. A Free Republic thread shows that is true, with follow-up comments calling the president a “li’in Kenyan” or saying he will “tax aspirin 100% because it’s white and it works.” The Tea Party group says the joke is funny because “it plays into the theory that Obama ‘may be a Muslim.'”

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While one Pennsylvania Republican calls Obama a “Muslim” another GOP leader in the state called anyone who supports him mentally disabled.  But don’t worry, that’s just a joke, too. According to The Political Wire, Allegheny County, PA GOP chair Jim Roddey said the following at a post-primary party:

“There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed. I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly — he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, ‘Sir, here’s a place.’ And he said, ‘That’s a handicapped space.’ I said, ‘Oh I’m so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded.'”

His audience thought it was hilarious.

Racism. Xenophobia. Making fun of the mentally disabled. That’s just good joke fodder in the GOP.

News Politics

Trump Has ‘Never’ Heard of Immigrant Detention Centers That He Mentioned in 2011 Book

Ally Boguhn

"I've never even heard the term," Trump replied when Bill O'Reilly asked about "detention centers." Trump's book, however, used the term "immigrant detention facilities."

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed during an appearance on Fox News that he had never heard of immigrant detention centers and would not use them as part of his immigration plan, despite having mentioned the facilities in one of his books.

“You don’t have to put them in a detention center. Bill, you’re the first one to mention a detention center,” Trump said on The O’Reilly Factor after host Bill O’Reilly brought up the immigrant detention system, which, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, “locks up hundreds of thousands of immigrants unnecessarily every year, exposing detainees to brutal and inhumane conditions of confinement at massive costs to American taxpayers.”

“OK, so you wouldn’t do that. You would keep them in their homes,” O’Reilly said.

“No, I never said—I’ve never even heard the term,” Trump said. “I’m not going to put them in a detention center.”

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O’Reilly pointed out that Trump had said he would model his immigration proposal after President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1954 program “Operation Wetback,” which used detention centers. The policy “plucked Mexican laborers from fields and ranches in targeted raids, bused them to detention centers along the border, and ultimately sent many of them deep into the interior of Mexico, some by airlift, others on cargo boats that typically hauled bananas,” according to CNN.

“No I said it, yeah, I said that is something that has been done in a very strong manner,” Trump interjected. “I don’t agree with that, I’m not talking about detention centers.”

Trump’s 2011 book, Time To Get Tough, referred to immigrant detention centers, as Fusion reported. The book used the term “immigrant detention facilities” and laments that undocumented immigrants at some detention centers may have access to “resort-like accommodations” like a vegetable bar and immigration attorneys.

The immigration proposal posted to Trump’s website calls for a “Detention—not catch-and-release” policy on immigration. “Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border must be detained until they are sent home, no more catch-and-release,” reads the candidate’s website.

Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton’s immigration plan calls to “end family detention for parents and children who arrive at our border in desperate situations and close private immigrant detention centers,” but does not call for the complete end to the immigrant detention system.

Rewire Immigration Fellow Tina Vasquez has reported that Clinton’s plan would instead leave detention up to the government instead of private facilities:

Put plainly, Clinton’s plan is to stop the privatization of detention centers and instead, make them a function solely of the government. In October, Clinton’s campaign spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa released a statement on Clinton’s behalf further outlining her plan, saying Clinton “believes that we should not contract out this core responsibility of the federal government, and when we’re dealing with a mass incarceration crisis, we don’t need private industry incentives that may contribute—or have the appearance of contributing—to over-incarceration.”

Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: The Fight Over Voter ID Laws Heats Up in the Courts

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

Texas and North Carolina both have cases that could bring the constitutionality of Voter ID laws back before the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as this term.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the state’s voter ID law.

Meanwhile, according to Politifact, North Carolina attorney general and gubernatorial challenger Roy Cooper is actually saving taxpayers money by refusing to appeal the Fourth Circuit’s ruling on the state’s voter ID law, so Gov. Pat McCrory (R) should stop complaining about it.

And in other North Carolina news, Ian Millhiser writes that the state has hired high-powered conservative attorney Paul Clement to defend its indefensible voter ID law.

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Alex Thompson writes in Vice that the Zika virus is about to hit states with the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. So if you’re pregnant, stay away. No one has yet offered advice for those pregnant people who can’t leave Zika-prone areas.

Robin Marty writes on Care2 about Americans United for Life’s (AUL) latest Mad Lib-style model bill, the “National Abortion Data Reporting Law.” Attacking abortion rights: It’s what AUL does.

The Washington Post profiled Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Given this Congress, that will likely spur another round of hearings. (It did get a response from Richards herself.)

Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson writes in Bloomberg BNA that Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan thinks the Supreme Court’s clarification of the undue burden standard in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt will have ramifications for voting rights cases.

This must-read New York Times piece reminds us that we still have a long way to go in accommodating breastfeeding parents on the job.

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