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Tom of Temecula

Tom of Temecula's Journal
Tom of Temecula's Journal
February 25, 2024

Trump tells right-wing Christians they will have power at 'level you've never used before'

Just ahead of his headline spot at the CPAC convention in Virginia and the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump delivered a speech to right-wing broadcasters Thursday night in which the former president vowed to hand power over to the Christian nationalist movement on an unprecedented scale.

Trump said during his speech at the annual conference of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in Nashville, Tennesse that he would defend "pro-God context and content" on the nation's AM radio stations as he told the audience that religion is "the biggest thing missing" in the United States and warned, without evidence, that Christian broadcasters were "under siege" by the left and a "fascist" Biden administration. "Trump's true sin is not hypocrisy but theocracy."

"We have to bring back our religion," Trump declared. "We have to bring back Christianity." Striking a Christ-like pose at one point with his arms outstretched as if on a cross, Trump mentioned his legal struggles, including multiple criminal indictments and civil judgements, and said, "I take all these arrows for you and I'm so proud to take them. I'm being indicted for you."

As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, right-wing Christian Nationalists operating in Trump's inner circle are quietly preparing for the prospect of his possible reelection. In his speech Thursday, during which he also promised to close the Department of Education so that Christian fundamentalists could take over school policy at the state level, Trump said, "If I get in, you're going to be using that power at a level that you’ve never used before."


February 25, 2024

As Trump romps to wins, anti-Trump Republicans wonder: Do I still have a political home?

As Donald Trump comes close to clinching a third presidential nomination, anti-Trump Republicans are facing a sobering reality: Their party is unlikely to revert to what it was before the MAGA wave rolled in, and they now have no obvious political home. For Ken Baeszler, who consistently voted Republican until Trump and his Make America Great Again movement transformed the party, that political scenario is disconcerting. "The Republican Party part of me that's left is hoping Ronald Reagan jumps out from the grave and saves us all," said Baeszler, a 65-year-old retiree, as he attended a rally for Trump challenger Nikki Haley on a recent sunny afternoon in Georgetown, South Carolina.

"It leaves me in a quandary," he added of Trump's likely victory over Haley for the Republican nomination, including an expected win in Saturday's South Carolina primary. Baeszler said he may ultimately vote for No Labels, referring to the third party seeking to field another option in the November presidential election. Baeszler's sense of being unmoored was echoed widely in interviews with 15 other Republican or Republican-leaning Haley supporters in South Carolina this week.

Six of those Haley supporters said they also would likely vote for a third-party option if the choice is between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden in November. Four said they would back Trump given his conservative values. Four others said they would support Biden because they saw Trump as unfit for office. One said she wasn't sure.

The voter snapshot highlights how Trump has alienated part of the Republican Party in a way that could hurt him in his likely rematch against Biden. Haley supporters cited a litany of reasons for not wanting to vote for Trump, including his repeated lies about having won the 2020 election against Biden and the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.


February 25, 2024

Lindsey Graham booed 'relentlessly' as Trump introduces him at S.C. victory speech

Donald Trump says he's a big fan of GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, but the ex-president's supporters don't appear to feel the same way. Trump handily defeated Nikki Haley in the GOP primary in South Carolina on Saturday, spurring the former president to give a victory speech in the state. Among those he thanked at the event was Graham, a U.S. Senator from the state.

The crowd was not on the same page in their feelings regarding the senator. "When I'm in trouble on the left, I call Lindsey Graham, and he straightens it out so fast," Trump says to boos from the crowd. He tried to change their mind about the controversial lawmaker. As the crowd booed, the former president attempted to calm them, repeatedly waving his hands, gesturing them to quiet down. He then introduced Graham himself to speak, hoping he could clear things up with the unruly crowd.

"Then he called up Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been a big supporter of his. Senator Graham took to the podium, but to boos from the crowd," a reporter said Saturday. "Trump was kind of talking about how, no, no, he's really a good guy. Graham saying simply, 'South Carolina created the biggest political comeback in American history tonight.'"

The interaction was also noticed by Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko, who said on social media, "Things are not going well at the Trump event in South Carolina."


February 24, 2024

NBC News Left Out Something Crucial In CPAC Interview About IVF

All of the title: NBC News Left Out Something Crucial In CPAC Interview About IVF - Pro IVF Dawn Bancroft is also a convicted Jan. 6 insurrectionist who threatened to shoot Nancy Pelosi “in the frickin’ brain.”

After the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children, it jeopardized the future of in vitro fertilization (IVF). NBC Nightly News reported on the fallout. The report included “women we spoke to” who “were in full support of IVF” at the conservative conference bastion of MAGA extremism known as CPAC.

In its report, NBC interviewed only one woman, Bancroft, who was identified in a chyron as “Doylestown, Pennsylvania resident.” Bancroft told NBC she found it “disturbing” that IVF is threatened, even though she is pro-life. We can thank Media Matters for fully identifying Bancroft when NBC did not. The omission is all the more glaring given that NBC News covered Bancroft’s 2022 sentencing, Media Matters pointed out:

A Jan. 6 Capitol rioter who recorded herself saying that they were looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “to shoot her in the frickin’ brain” was sentenced Thursday to 60 days in prison, according to officials. The attorney for Dawn Bancroft, 59, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, asked for a fine only but a federal judge in Washington sentenced her to the 60 days in prison that prosecutors sought, according to court records.

Bancroft may well be a typical example of a CPAC attendee but that’s all the more reason that NBC should have made it clear just how extreme she is. That’s especially true when a “pro life” woman has been convicted for threatening to murder the speaker of the House of Representatives.

February 24, 2024

'I've seen bigger Tupperware parties': CPAC's crowd size ridiculed

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — an annual summit of far-right activists, pundits and elected officials — used to be regarded as the beating heart of the conservative movement. However, one columnist recently said CPAC has now become a "joke" given its meager attendance.

According to Daily Beast senior columnist Matt Lewis, CPAC, which is hosted by the American Conservative Union in Washington, DC, has lost its luster as newer, hotter competitor conferences have emerged in recent years. Far-right group Turning Point USA, for example, attracted roughly 20,000 attendees for its "AmericaFest" event late last year. To further illustrate his point, Lewis linked to a tweet by 2024 CPAC attendee Steven Senski, who posted a photo of a sparsely attended CPAC forum featuring rows of mostly empty chairs. "I've seen bigger Tupperware parties," Senski wrote.

2024 marked the 50th annual gathering for the American Conservative Union — which is led by far-right activist Matt Schlapp — yet the slim attendance numbers suggest that the summit no longer packs the punch it used to. This may be partially attributed to the sexual harassment allegations against Schlapp. In 2023, Carlton Huffman, an ex-staffer for former Georgia US Senate candidate Herschel Walker, accused Schlapp of grabbing his crotch and inviting him to his hotel room while he was visiting Atlanta. Huffman is seeking $9.4 million in damages for both alleged sexual battery and defamation.

"[J]ust as the Republican Party has become smaller (and weirder) in the Trump era, so too has the conservative movement," Lewis wrote. "Add all these things up, and CPAC is a shell of its former self. As Jimmy Kimmel put it, this year’s CPAC looks to be 'a who's who of who won’t accept the results of the election.' (Sadly, he was right.)"


February 24, 2024

Fight or flight: Fearful Trump critics weigh the risk of retribution if he's re-elected

If Donald Trump stood no chance of becoming president again, the Vindman family would be planning a milestone birthday celebration right now. Alexander Vindman’s wife, Rachel, turns 50 next month. But rather than spend money on a party, she wants to save it in case Trump returns to the White House and tries to retaliate against her husband for being a key witness in Trump’s first impeachment, Alexander Vindman said in an interview. The family might need the money in case they have to flee the country.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” said Vindman, a national security official in Trump’s White House who was ousted in 2020 after Trump’s acquittal, but “that’s an indicator of the level of concern that she’s had.”

The Vindmans aren’t alone. Interviews with more than a dozen people who’ve run afoul of Trump for various reasons reveal deep worry among many that he will seek revenge if he wins another term. They are considering ways to protect themselves should he use the office’s vast powers to punish them over grievances that he’s been nursing.

Fearful of being hounded by investigators, prosecuted or stripped of their livelihoods, some are planning to leave the country if Trump is sworn in. Others are consulting attorneys or setting aside money to fight back in case they’re targeted either by Trump’s administration or by his Republican allies in Congress.


February 23, 2024

Trump equates his domestic political opposition to WWII enemies abroad

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump further ratcheted up his inflammatory language against Americans who oppose him politically by likening them to the foreign enemies that the United States fought in World War II. In a speech on Thursday to the National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville, the former president drew a direct connection between the battles during that organization’s founding in 1944 and his current campaign to win back the White House.

“Our country was at war with the enemy, and they wanted to extinguish our way of life forever,” Trump said. He added: “This time, the greatest threat is not from the outside of our country, I really believe this. It’s the people from within our country that are more dangerous. They’re very sick people.”

The audience cheered, and Trump went on to describe his cause as a holy war, adding: “To achieve victory in this fight, just like in the battles of the past, we still need the hand of our Lord.”

Trump has similarly railed against domestic enemies throughout the campaign, including in a speech on Veterans Day when he went so far as to compare his political opponents to “vermin” that he pledged to “root out” — terms that historians said echoed the propaganda of 20th-century dictators.


Trump employing the old Satanic inversion.

February 23, 2024

Nikki Haley: Trump Sides With Dictators Who Want To 'Destroy America'

Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley slammed Donald Trump on Thursday for being unwilling to call out Russian President Vladimir Putin over the death of top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

“Donald Trump is siding with a dictator who kills his political opponents,” Haley said at a rally ahead of the South Carolina GOP primary on Saturday. “Donald Trump is siding with a tyrant who arrests American journalists and holds them hostage. Donald Trump is siding with a man who’s made no bones about the fact he wants to destroy America,” she added.

It’s the sharpest case she’s made yet for why the former president doesn’t deserve another chance at the White House.

Trump has yet to condemn Russia or Putin for the 47-year-old Navalny’s death in an Arctic prison last week. Instead, Trump has compared his legal troubles ― he faces 91 criminal charges across several cases — to the dissident’s death.


Nikki might not know it, but she is recording ads for the Biden campaign. Look for this one in the fall.

February 23, 2024

You'll Never Guess Who Was Behind Those Fake Biden Robocalls!

Huh! I mean, we're used to Republicans doing things like this. I'm a tad surprised that the Desperate Dean Phillips campaign would stoop this low. Via NBC News:

NEW ORLEANS — A Democratic consultant who worked for a rival presidential campaign paid a New Orleans magician to use artificial intelligence to impersonate President Joe Biden for a robocall that is now at the center of a multistate law enforcement investigation, according to text messages, call logs and Venmo transactions the creator shared with NBC News.

Paul Carpenter says he was hired in January by Steve Kramer — who was working on ballot access for Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips — to use AI software to make an imitation of Biden’s voice urging New Hampshire Democrats not to vote in the state’s presidential primary. “I created the audio used in the robocall. I did not distribute it,” Carpenter said in an interview in New Orleans, where he is currently residing. “I was in a situation where someone offered me some money to do something, and I did it. There was no malicious intent. I didn’t know how it was going to be distributed.”

Carpenter — who holds world records in fork-bending and straitjacket escapes, but has no fixed address — showed NBC News how he created the fake Biden audio and said he came forward because he regrets his involvement in the ordeal and wants to warn people about how easy it is to use AI to mislead. Creating the fake audio took less than 20 minutes and cost only $1, he said, for which he was paid $150, according to Venmo payments from Kramer and his father, Bruce Kramer, he shared.


February 23, 2024

'Far from full': Organizers removed hundreds of empty chairs at Nashville Trump event

Whether it was because he was almost three hours late or due to lack of interest, event organizers in Nashville removed approximately 300 chairs from the hall where Donald Trump was slated to appear on Thursday night.

Before the former president addressed the National Religious Broadcasters conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessean reporter Vivian Jones posted pictures to X that showed a before-and-after of the hall where rows and rows of seats seem to have disappeared.

According to Jones, "More than two hours into the presidential forum, Donald Trump is not yet on stage. The room is far from full. About 20 mins ago, staff cleared out about 300 chairs from the far back corner. Photo on the left was taken just after 7pm, photo on the right was taken just now."

According to a recent report on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Trump's team has become concerned by low turnout at his rallies as well as a drastic fall-off in small-dollar donors contributing to his third bid for the Oval Office.



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