Gov. Haley Fixes Appointing White Supremacist as Campaign Co-Chair

— by Jacob Miller

Last week, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced the appointment of Roan Garcia-Quintana to her Grassroots Advisory Committee. A report from the Southern Poverty Law center showed that Garcia-Quintana had deep links to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). CCC is designated as a nationalist hate group. After pressure from the Southern Poverty Law Center and NJDC, Governor Haley announced she was removing Garcia Quintana. Garcia-Quintana’s white supremacist statements and actions have also been well documented by the Anti-Defamation League.

Post and Curier report after the jump.
Today Brian Hicks of the Post and Courier wrote about the decision:

Last week, the National Jewish Democratic Council pointed out Garcia-Quintana’s affiliation with the Council of Conservative Citizens — a group that opposes the promotion of “non-white” races over European Americans — and asked the governor to dump him.

The cynical view here is that Haley used the holiday weekend to distance herself some from unnecessary controversy. Self-preservation is nothing new from the governor’s office.

But maybe Haley actually didn’t want to associate with a guy who holds intolerant views, which would bode well for her political maturity.

Or maybe she just realized it would have looked hypocritical to get indignant about Jake Knotts’ “raghead” comment and then ignore this.

Whatever the reason, she did the right thing.

S.C. Governor Selects Hate Group Member as Campaign Co-Chair‏

Garcia-Quintana (left) and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (right)

— by Aaron Keyak

The new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, indicating that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has chosen a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens to serve as a campaign co-chair, is deeply disturbing for all Americans. But as an American Jew, this is particularly unsettling given the CCC’s links to anti-Semitism. It is unacceptable for any politician to accept support from someone affiliated with an SPLC-designated white nationalist hate group, let alone select one as a co-chair of her re-election campaign’s grassroots steering committee. Haley must drop the support or have her campaign defined by her co-chair’s hateful affiliation.

More after the jump.
SPLC reported:

In anticipation of her 2014 re-election campaign, the Tea Party darling has put together a 164-member steering committee comprising folks from all 46 of her state’s counties. And on that list is one “Republican leader” and Tea Party activist named Roan Garcia-Quintana of Greenville.

The name won’t ring many bells outside of the South Carolina political world. But he’s better known in white nationalist, anti-immigrant and neo-Confederate circles.

Garcia-Quintana is a lifetime member and current board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which is listed as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The CCC is the linear descendant of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South, and has evolved into a crudely racist organization. Its website, for example, has published pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.”

Garcia-Quintana is also a rabid nativist, even though he’s a naturalized citizen who was born in Havana. He’s executive director of the anti-immigrant group Americans Have Had Enough, based in Mauldin, S.C., where he lives. At the 2008 CCC conference held in Sheffield, Ala., Garcia-Quintana referred to Latino immigration as an “illegal alien invasion.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League both published background information on the Council of Conservative Citizens detailing the organization’s long anti-Semitic history.

SC Ex-Gov Racks Up Two “Endorsements”, Debates Colbert-Busch

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt has “endorsed” disgraced former Governor Mark Sanford in this Tuesday’s special election to fill the seat in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District previously held by Jim DeMint who resigned last year.

No one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today…. His open embrace of his mistress in the name of love, breaking his sacred marriage vows, was an act of bravery that has drawn my support.

More after the jump.
Meanwhile, the internet dating site Ashley Madison which specializes in marital infidelity has started an advertising campaign in Columbia, South Carolina with Mark Sanford as their “poster child” with the text “Next time use… to find your ‘running mate.'”

Sanford will appear in court on Thursday (two days after the election) to answer charges that he trespassed repeatedly at his ex-wife Jenny Sanford’s Sullivans Island home in violation of their 2010 divorce settlement. According to the complaint

[Mark Sanford] entered into a pattern of entering onto plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff has informed defendant on a number of occasions that this behavior is in violation of the court’s order and has demanded that it not occur again.

In light of these charges, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee cut short their planned support for the Sanford campaign.

Sanford is running against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (Director of Business Development at Clemson University’s Restoration Institute and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert) and Green Party candidate Eugene Platt (James Island Public Service Commissioner). On Wednesday, Sanford and Colbert-Busch debated at the Citadel.  

NJDC Calls Stanford to Reject Endorsement From Anti-Israel Ron Paul‏

— by David Streeter

During his time in the House, former Representative Ron Paul was a leading opponent of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Now he’s formed a think tank with anti-Semites and 9/11 truthers, according to a report published yesterday. Given this, it is unacceptable for Mark Sanford to accept his endorsement. After years in public service Sanford should know better and reject the endorsement — but it seems that desperation is trumping common sense after each self-inflicted wound in Sanford’s campaign. Republicans who seek and flaunt Paul’s endorsement cannot reasonably claim to be a friend of Israel or the American Jewish community. Period.

Why Not Replace Texas With Puerto Rico And Make Everyone Happy?

Last week on election day, Puerto Ricans were asked their preference for the future of their island, currently an unincorporated territory of the United States. A large majority 809,000 voted for statehood, while 73,000 voted for independence and 441,000 voted for sovereign free association. Becoming a state would require approval by Congress. However, Republicans can be expected to oppose statehood of heavily Democratics Puerto Rico, just as they opposed attributed Congressional representation to Washington DC.

However, while Puerto Ricans are eager to strengthen their ties with the United States, some conservatives living in Red States are so disappointed with the election results that have petitioned the White House to allow their states to secede from the union.

According to Dana Milbank,

The White House, in one of those astro-turf efforts that make people feel warm about small-d democracy, launched a “We the People” program on its Web site last year, allowing Americans to petition their government for a redress of grievances. Any petition that receives 25,000 or more signatures within 30 days is promised a response (though not necessarily a favorable one) from the Obama administration.

And so a large number of patriotic Americans, mostly from states won by Mitt Romney last week, have petitioned the White House to let them secede. They should be careful about what they wish for. It would be excellent financial news for those of us left behind if Obama were to grant a number of the rebel states their wish “to withdraw from the United States and create [their] own NEW government” (the petitions emphasize “new” by capitalizing it).

Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.

Among those states with large numbers of petitioners asking out:

  • Louisiana (more than 28,000 signatures at midday Tuesday), which gets about $1.45 in federal largess for every $1 it pays in taxes;
  • Alabama (more than 20,000 signatures), which takes $1.71 for every $1 it puts in;
  • South Carolina (13,000), which takes $1.38 for its dollar; and
  • Missouri (16,000), which takes $1.29 for its dollar.

The first such petition (94,864 signatures so far) was for Texas:

Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.

This is not a new idea. Texas Governor Rick Perry proposed it three years ago. (See this video for the eager response by Keith Oberman.)

Hardin County Republican treasurer Peter Morrison writes “”Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way.”

Meanwhile Doc Jess of DemConWatch writes:

For one reason, and one reason alone, I was in favour of Rick’s idea back then, and still am now. That’s the redistribution of their 38 Electoral College votes. And to a lesser extent the movement of that fence from the Mexican border to the Texas abutments with New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Of course, there are great benefits to the remainder of America if Texas goes: there are 52 Fortune 500 companies in Texas. While the oil industry might stay in this new country, it’s likely that AT&T, Dell, Whole Foods, Sysco, Kimberly-Clark, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, and a host of others, will be looking for new places for their headquarters. Not to mention the 7 Air Force bases, 4 Army bases, and 3 Navy bases. Plus the economies that depend on them.

It will be tough for Texas when 37% of their income disappears. Not just from those companies and bases mentioned, but from the Federal receipts the state receives.

Voting Rights: One Step Forward in S. Carolina, One Step Back in PA

This year, the GOP is working to capture key voting demographics: Students, the poor and seniorsFrom Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:

The Justice Department blocked South Carolina’s controversial voter ID law, according to the Columbia State, “saying it would prevent black people from voting.It was the first voter ID law to be refused by the federal agency in nearly 20 years.”

Rick Hasen predicts the case will go the Supreme Court — and most likely be expedited ahead of the 2012 election — making “a momentous term even more momentous.”

The letter from the Department of Justice can be found on Talking Point Memo.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Governor Corbett fails to provide proof of the alleged voter impersonation fraud while he continues to push for  voter ID laws which will exclude many eligible Pennsylvanian from their right to vote.

More after the jump.
State Rep. Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia) has written a second letter to the governor, this time blasting the “nonresponse” she received from the governor’s aide and again asking the governor for evidence of voter impersonation fraud.

Josephs, Democratic chairwoman of the House State Government Committee, sent Gov. Tom Corbett a letter in October after reading a newspaper article in which Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele signaled her support of legislation to require voters to provide photo identification. She said the bill would make it harder for someone to commit voter impersonation fraud.

In her initial letter, Josephs pointed out to Corbett that Aichele’s remarks were missing one important point: any evidence that voter fraud has occurred. She asked Corbett to provide the number of complaints, investigations, prosecutions and convictions of voter impersonation fraud during his service as Pennsylvania’s attorney general.

The Nov. 1 response on behalf of Corbett was penned by Secretary of Legislative Affairs Annmarie Kaiser.

According to State Rep. Babette Josephs:

Her letter provided no credible evidence. It was a non-response. Ms. Kaiser’s only example of voter impersonation fraud is a vague allegation of voter registration fraud. There is no indication in her letter if any alleged fraudulent registrations led to voting fraud or whether any one was prosecuted for such voter registration fraud. She also makes the dubious claim that the ‘prevalence of voter fraud has steadily increased in the Commonwealth over the past few years.

In the absence of any solid information, Josephs replied back to Corbett, repeating her request for specific evidence.

Considering that a law to require voter photo identification could cost Pennsylvania taxpayers more than $4.3 million — the low-ball estimate by the majority Appropriations Committee chairman – and will potentially disfranchise thousands of law-abiding Pennsylvanians, I would like to know specific examples of fraud. In the absence of any evidence of fraud, it is shameful for this legislation to be enacted.

As attorney general, you prosecuted numerous public officials for using their offices with the intent to rig elections. House Bill 934 is an obvious attempt to rig elections in Pennsylvania.

Perry: Israel Aid Starts at Zero

— by David Streeter

During last night’s Republican foreign policy debate held in South Carolina, a number of the candidates perpetuated myths about President Barack Obama and his support for Israel. In perhaps an even more dangerous precedent, two leading contenders — Texas Governor Rick Perry and field-leading former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney — agreed that foreign aid should “start at zero” for all countries, including Israel. In saying this, these candidates ignore the current 10-year aid agreement between the U.S. and Israel; they disregard the critical relationship with our strategic ally; and they demonstrate their inability to steward the U.S.-Israel relationship. Read on for more on this significant turn of events.


More after the jump.
During the debate, a number of the candidates attacked America’s foreign aid to certain countries. Specifically, Perry said that he would start all foreign aid at zero-and Romney agreed.

On the campaign trail, many of the candidates have perpetuated the myth that America’s foreign aid commitments meaningfully contribute to America’s budget crisis. They have done so in order to justify spending cuts, despite the fact that foreign aid comprises less than 1% of the budget.

Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and Related Programs, has argued that the “security imperatives” of preserving a robust foreign aid program are essential to America’s national security interests. Representative Steve Rothman<?a> (D-NJ) also warned:

Cutting foreign aid will not right our struggling economy, but will ultimately cost us more in U.S. lives and taxpayer dollars. It will surely cause direct and substantial harm to America’s national security.

Further, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition — a foreign policy organization that includes the American Israel Public Affairs Committee-strongly opposed cuts to America’s foreign assistance programs because of their potential to negatively impact American interests abroad.

Remarkably, Perry said that aid to Israel would also “start at zero.” He ultimately said that Israel is a “special ally” and that Israel would receive “substantial” funding. However his proposal to fundamentally alter the approach of American aid to Israel — and Romney’s apparent agreement with this new approach — poses major risks for Israel’s security as well as the U.S.-Israel relationship. (Romney staff later claimed that despite saying “start everything at zero,” Romney was somehow only referring to aid to Pakistan.)

Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro and Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) both recently praised financial assistance to Israel because of the dividends it pays for U.S. interests.

Perry’s and Romney’s new approach to foreign aid to Israel — in addition to Perry’s outrageous remarks on the eve of Obama’s overwhelmingly pro-Israel speech to the UN, and the politicization of the U.S.-Israel relationship repeatedly displayed by Romney and the other GOP candidates — clearly demonstrates that they are not ready to steward the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Conversely, President Obama has in FY2012 made the largest ever security funding request for Israel in U.S. history, totaling $3 billion — in keeping with the 2007 memorandum of understanding. Above and beyond this unprecedented foreign aid request, Obama has made additional funding requests exceeding the memorandum of understanding, to save Israeli lives — including $205 million for the Iron Dome system last year.