Pence once called a protest the sound of freedom — but he labeled the NFL’s disrespectful

The following article by Marwa Eltagouri was posted on the Washington Post website October 9, 2017:

Vice President Pence left the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 8 as several 49ers players knelt in protest during the national anthem. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

With his decision to leave Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts game after players knelt during the national anthem, it appears that Vice President Pence is becoming well-versed in the art of walking out.

Just less than a year ago, in November, he arrived for a performance of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York, greeted by a mix of boos and cheers. After the show, several dozen of the musical’s cast members zeroed in on Pence as he was getting up to leave.

“You know, we have a guest in the audience this evening,” said Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who plays Aaron Burr. “And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments.”

Dixon proceeded to share a message about cast members’ concern that the incoming administration would fail to protect the “diverse America” and uphold the inalienable rights of its citizens, despite race or sexual orientation. Pence reportedly was leaving the auditorium before Dixon finished speaking, but said he heard the full message.

There were protesters outside the theater, too — but they didn’t bother Pence. He was quick to stand up for the crowd and the actors’ rights to free speech.

“I nudged my kids and reminded them that’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said at the time.

Then, in May, Pence watched as about 100 students walked out of the University of Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony during his commencement speech. They left quietly, met by some cheers and boos, though only briefly. Again, Pence came to their defense, referencing the First Amendment.

“The increasing intolerance and suppression of the time-honored tradition of free expression on our campuses jeopardizes the liberties of every American,” he said in the speech. “This should not and must not be met with silence.”

On Sunday, Pence was at the front and center of another walkout — his own — choosing to leave the Colts game on President Trump’s instructions after more than a dozen San Francisco 49ers players took a knee during the anthem. Many National Football League players have done so to raise awareness of social injustice and racial inequality. Members of the Colts stood for the anthem with arms linked.

Pence said he chose to leave because “we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us.”

This time, there was no mention of freedom of speech, or any other aspect of the First Amendment. “I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem,” Pence said in a statement.

In the past, Pence has been vocal about freedom of expression. While serving in Congress, he repeatedly co-sponsored versions of the Free Flow of Information Act, first introduced before Congress in 2005. It aimed to prevent federal entities from forcing a “covered person,” such as a journalist, from disclosing their sources unless ruled by court.

He co-sponsored the legislation a few times, and while it never became law, his advocacy for news media earned him praise from journalists, including an award from a newspaper association.

In 2007, he told the Columbia Journalism Review that he became a supporter of the act after reading about Judith Miller’s 2005 jailing in the New York Times. He told the Review that he developed “a very healthy appreciation for the work that journalists do, and the public good that a free and independent press represents.”

But while Pence has a track record for supporting free speech, it’s a muddled one. As Indiana governor, he is known to have stonewalled public records requests, often delaying their release of denying them entirely.

He also found himself rebuked by free speech advocates because of a widely criticized plan to create a taxpayer-funded news service, and because his staff deleted Facebook comments that disagreed with his stance on same-sex marriage.

To this day, a Facebook page called Pencership exists.

In March, news broke that Pence, also while governor, used his personal email account while conducting state business. The Indianapolis Star first reported it following a months-long effort to access emails from Pence’s AOL account.

Around the same time, Pence sat through the jokes and musical skits that targeted Trump and his advisers’ headline-making contacts with Russia at the annual dinner of the Gridiron Club, an elite group of 65 of Washington’s top journalists. He attended the swanky but lighthearted affair in Trump’s place after Trump declined.

As in other instances, Pence said at the dinner that he and the president “support the freedom of the press enshrined in the First Amendment.”

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Rush Limbaugh indicates he’s evacuating Palm Beach days after suggesting Hurricane Irma is fake news

The following article by Callum Borchers was posted on the Washington Post website September 8, 2017:

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. (Ron Edmonds/AP)

I wrote on Wednesday about Rush Limbaugh’s claim that the media is manufacturing unwarranted panic about Hurricane Irma as part of a plot to hype climate change, boost ratings and increase advertising revenue from businesses that stand to make money off purchases of batteries and bottled water.

Limbaugh then accused The Washington Post and other news outlets of twisting his words while simultaneously doubling down on his conspiracy theory on Thursday.

“I explained how severe weather events are opportunities for big ratings boosts in the media and explained how it happens,” he said. “I explained how severe weather events impact retailers and how some retailers are smart enough to coordinate advertising with television stations. It happens!” Read More

How Trump’s budget helps the rich at the expense of the poor

The following article by Max Ehrenfreund was posted on the Washington Post website May 23, 2017:

For President Obama, the gap separating rich and poor Americans was, as he put it in a speech in 2013, “the defining challenge of our time.” He and his administration labored against Republican opposition and stubborn economic realities to shrink that disparity for eight years, making reducing inequality a central goal of national policymaking.

Despite those efforts, the United States remains among the most unequal developed countries, and on Tuesday, President Trump decisively abandoned his predecessor’s attempts to narrow inequality.

[Graphic: What Trump’s budget cuts from the social safety net] Read More

This Actually Happened

The following article by Ishaan Tharoor was sent in the February 22, 2017, Washington Post’s Today’s WorldView email:

Before he entered the White House, President Trump leaped to comment on any apparent Islamist terror attack in the West, declaring that only he could fix the problem. And since coming to power, Trump has grandstanded on the putative threat posed by Muslims in America. He pushed a controversial immigration ban that disrupted thousands of lives and demonized whole populations in his zeal to appear tough on radical Islam.

But there has always been a huge blind spot in Trump’s worldview. When groups like the Islamic State launch attacks outside the West, slaughtering scores of Muslims, Trump remains curiously silent. On Thursday, for example, an Islamic State-linked suicide bomber killed at least 73 people at a famous Sufi shrine in the southern Pakistani town of Sehwan. Read More

Trump Criticized Obama for Golfing. Now He Spends Weekends on the Links.

The following article by Erin McCann was posted on the New York Times website February 12, 2017:

As a private citizen, Donald J. Trump was repeatedly critical of President Obama’s fondness for relaxing with a round of golf.

“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.” Mr. Trump tweeted on Oct. 13, 2014. “Worse than Carter.”

“We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies,” he said a day later. “Then we pay for his golf.” Read More

DFL’s number one interest: Building an even Better Minnesota

By Ken Martin, chairman, Minnesota DFL

There is an old saying that a hypocrite is someone who conveniently forgets their faults to point out someone else’s. Republican Minority Leader Sen. David Hann’s editorial last week exposed his blind spot when it comes to the behaviors of his own GOP Senators.

If Sen. Hann believes it necessary to review the actions of parties and individuals when discussing legislative matters then it is just as fair to review the record of the Republicans in Minnesota:

  • This past year, Republican Sen. Sean Nienow defaulted on a $613,000 federal government loan and was relieved of $840,000 of debt by the taxpayers when he filed for bankruptcy.  Ironically—at the same time—the senator from Cambridge was attacking government for spending too much money and not living within its means.
  • The Republican Party of Minnesota is now in a public spat with some of its vendors, as detailed by a Star Tribune article, for not paying its bills from the 2014 campaign. This is a party that is still over $1,500,000 in debt—but just this week announced a $150,000 advertising campaign telling legislators how to do their job. So much for the party of fiscal responsibility. 
  • In 2012 Senate Republican members were fined for printing campaign literature at taxpayer expense when they used the State Capitol Printing Presses for their campaign literature. Later that year they were video recorded running campaign door knocks out of their taxpayer funded state senate office—during the workday.
  • The Senate Republican sex scandal of 2012, which ousted the sitting majority leader, eventually cost the taxpayers of Minnesota $400,000.
  • Republicans have so little regard for fundamental fairness, they’ve even tried to buy votes for endorsement. In a Star Tribune story from December, 2014 Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen, while seeking higher office, was caught trying to buy the support of challengers.
    In his attempt to keep the light off of Republican legislators’ misdeeds and his party’s fiscal mismanagement, Sen. Hann is also hoping to draw attention away from the fact that Republicans lack a plan for economic prosperity. The public would benefit more from hearing the Senate minority leader’s plans to provide an educated workforce for the jobs employers need filled and to keep the state’s budget structurally sound to ensure the state continues to lead the nation in economic growth?
    While Republican leaders struggle to convince Minnesotans they can give back the budget surplus, provide schools and nursing homes more money and that fixing our deteriorating roads and bridges isn’t necessary, the DFL will continue its work to build even better Minnesota. Minnesota is leading the country in economic growth, and we have more people working at higher wages than any other time in state history.
    Thanks to DFL leaders’ honest state budget, we’ve moved from reacting to budget deficits to being able to lay the foundation for continued economic growth by investing a budget surplus. The DFL’s work this session will build on last session’s successes for children and families, including:
  • Passing universal voluntary all-day kindergarten for all children regardless of family income, saving families an average of $2,500 a year.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour for the first time in nine years, giving more than 325,000 Minnesotans an increase.
  • Halting tuition hikes at the U of M and MnSCU schools by freezing tuition for more than 100,000 students.
    It is disappointing that Sen. Hann and other Republicans don’t understand when campaigning ends and governing begins. Sen. Hann tries really hard to make this leap but he should not get away with ignoring the facts of the accusations or neglect his own Party’s actions.
    Voters can count on hearing Sen. Hann’s battle cry of corruption for the next 20 months. Luckily for Minnesota on Election Day, citizens will have the final say and will determine if an improved economy, investments in education and safe and efficient roads for all are more important than the destructive rhetoric of politicians like Sen. Hann.