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CPAC Meeting In Hungary Promotes Assault On Liberal Democracy

During a speech at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference in Hungary, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson his “friend” and told his audience that Carlson’s show should be “broadcasted day and night.”

Orban is a self-identified supporter of what he calls “illiberal” democracy and has rapidly consolidated power for his far-right party, Fidesz.

According to Orban, the secret to his political success was controlling the media, and he endorsed Carlson as the model to follow. “Have your own media,” said Orban, also noting: “Only friend Tucker Carlson places himself on the line without wavering.”

The nonprofit organization Reporters Without Borders has labeled Orban a “predator” to press freedom for his censoring of critics and his successful consolidation of previously independent media outlets under the control of friendly oligarchs. Fidesz now controls 80 percent of the country’s media landscape, and any remaining independent outlets are denied access to official government information and labeled “fake news.”

Carlson returned the strongman’s praise in his prerecorded keynote address, celebrating Hungary as a “signpost to a better way” for America, a dog whistle to Hungary’s racist, anti-immigrant politics.

Since his election in 2010, Orban has worked to silence free speech, banned LGBTQ content in schools, and enforced harsh immigration rules. Because of these policies, the nonprofit Freedom House downgraded the country from “free” to “partly free,” making it one of the least free countries in Europe.

Orban’s far-right politics are thinly veiled applications of the same “great replacement” conspiracy theory that has become front-page news in the United States. “Hungarians are an endangered species,” he said as he stoked fears over immigrants to curtail and prevent further immigration. In 2015, the country built a wall along its border with Serbia to keep out mostly Muslim asylum-seekers, whom he characterized as “invaders” and a threat to national security, Christian identity, and Hungarian society. (Orban’s smears of migrants should sound very familiar to anyone accustomed to Fox News’ portrayals of the southern U.S. border.)

Human Rights Watch described people in Hungary’s detention centers as being “kept in pens like animals, out in the sun without food and water, without any medical assistance." According to Vox, “this is all by design: Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said his goal is to discourage refugees from crossing into Hungary, even at the cost of treating them inhumanely.”

Orban’s “great replacement” rhetoric is uncannily similar to segments from Carlson’s prime-time show. In fact, Carlson’s video appearance at the convention comes on the heels of intense media focus regarding his role mainstreaming the great replacement theory in America, which motivated a shooter to massacre 10 people in Buffalo, New York, on May 14. His praise for Hungary under Orban’s leadership is just another example of his support for the racist theory.

Orban wants to turn this ideology into a movement, and he sees Carlson’s show as a model for right-wing media outlets. During his speech at CPAC, Orban urged conservatives in America and Europe to “find allies in one another and coordinate the movements of our troops” and to “take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels.”

Carlson seems eager to help in these efforts. He praised the country’s anti-immigration policies in 2019, saying that "Hungary's leaders actually care about making sure their own people thrive” and praised Hungary for “using tax dollars to uplift their own people” instead of “every illegal immigrant from the third world.”

Despite broad international criticism for Orban’s draconian policies, Fox News greenlit a special episode of Carlson’s show last year that broadcast from Budapest, during which Carlson proclaimed, “If you care about Western civilization and democracy and families, and the ferocious assault on all three of those things by the leaders of our global institutions, you should know what is happening here right now.”

Republicans chose to hold CPAC in Orban’s Hungary, one of the world’s most repressive right-wing countries. By Orban’s own admission, a loyal media was key to his party’s takeover and overhaul of Hungary’s democracy. With midterm elections approaching, audiences should take Orban’s endorsement of his “friend” Tucker Carlson as a warning.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

CPAC Taking Overseas Donations Without Foreign Agent Registration

A Republican political action committee is now under fire for accepting foreign donations while violating an act enforcing foreign agent registration.

According to HuffPost, the American Conservative Union and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) do not appear to be properly registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

A copy of the complaint was reportedly given to HuffPost by a conservative activist under the condition or anonymity. The circumstances surrounding the violation led to a complaint that was brought to the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

“There is sufficient evidence of alleged violations to support a federal criminal or civil investigation,” the complaint reads, according to a copy obtained by HuffPost.

The complaint reportedly names Matt Schlapp and his consulting firm Cove Strategies along with "wife, Mercedes Schlapp, a former Trump White House official and prominent player at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the American Conservative Union, the ACU Foundation."

It was also noted that a number of foreign groups participated at the conference. They include: "New Direction, a conservative think tank in Europe, CPAC Hungary, the Japanese Conservative Union, and CPAC Korea."

In a brief statement about the circumstances, the Department of Justice's FARA unit said it "does not comment on any activities the staff conducts in its efforts to enforce the Act, nor does it comment on compliance matters related to registered agents or other parties.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Never Trumpers Bombard CPAC With Billboard Attack

Fifteen months after Donald Trump was voted out of office, countless Republican entities — from the Republican National Committee (RNC) to the Conservative Political Action Conference — continue to promote unquestioning loyalty to the former president. And a decidedly MAGA lineup dominates CPAC 2022, which commenced in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, February 24 and continues through this Sunday, February 27. But an anti-Trump conservative group, the Republican Accountability Project (formerly Republican Voters Against Trump) is reminding CPAC 2022 attendees that not all conservatives are Trump loyalists.

In Orlando, RAP has paid for more than 100 anti-MAGA billboards during CPAC 2022. One of them shows an Arizona-based Republican voter named Nancy, who is quoted as saying, “I’m disgusted by today’s GOP. No integrity. It’s all about power.” And in another RAP billboard, a Colorado-based ex-Republican, also named Nancy, complains, “I don’t recognize today’s GOP. Reagan wouldn’t either.”

A billboard featuring Washington State-based ex-Republican Daniel quotes him as saying, “I’m a Cheney conservative, not a Trump Republican.”

Arch-conservative Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, blames Trump for the January 6, 2021 insurrection and voted for his second impeachment later that month. Because Cheney has been so vocal in condemning the ex-president, she is facing aggressive GOP primary challenges from several Trump loyal loyalists in her deep-red state.

In an official statement on its website, RAP said, “Making excuses for the January 6 insurrection has become commonplace. The lies about the 2020 election grow louder every day. MAGA candidates are falling over themselves to prove how Trump-loyal and Trump-like they are, and they’re driving away key parts of their base in the process. We will be running over 100 billboards in Orlando, FL, throughout this year’s CPAC conference.”

RAP has often been compared to The Lincoln Project, another right-wing anti-Trump group. RAP and The Lincoln Project both supported Democratic now-President Joe Biden in 2020’s presidential election, and members of both groups can often be found on MSNBC and CNN bashing Trump and the far-right MAGA movement.

CPAC 2022’s uber-MAGA lineup ranges from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to Trump himself. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who was among the many candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, is featured as well.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

CPAC Features Former Leader Of Anti-Muslim Hate Group

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Conservative activist Scott Presler, who has a background as an organizer for an anti-Muslim hate group, is set to speak at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

"Hey, mom & dad. Your baby boy was invited to speak at @CPAC," Presler tweeted on Feb. 14.

Many of the CPAC panels are slated to discuss the topic of "voter fraud," the code language du jour used by the right to promote voter suppression. Presler has been touting his activism on the issue of "election integrity reform."

Presler also spoke at CPAC in 2020.

From 2017 to 2018, Presler worked as a lead organizer for Act for America, which the Associated Press described as a "hate group."

Act for America is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "the largest anti-Muslim group in America." The Anti-Defamation League describes Act for America similarly and notes that the group "stokes irrational fear of Muslims via a number of false claims" and "propagates the hateful conspiracy theory that Muslims are infiltrating US institutions in order to impose Sharia law."

Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of Act for America, has previously claimed that a Muslim "cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America."

During his time with Act for America, Presler was deeply involved in organizing the group's anti-Muslim "March Against Sharia" events, serving as the national coordinator for them.

NPR reported in June 2017 that the marches were "attracting many far-right sympathizers, including several who decorate their posts with Confederate flags."

White supremacist Billy Roper discussed the rallies on his podcast, saying, "We want to send a message to Muslims that they are not welcome in our communities." He also said, "We want to send a message to Muslims that they're not welcome in our nation and, of course, endgame, on our planet."

At the same time he made those comments, emails between Presler and Roper regarding the protests showed Presler writing, "You are approved and ready to go."

Presler was also involved in the "Stop the Steal" protest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In a Twitter post about the event, Presler described the pro-Trump assembly as a "civil rights protest." Many of the people who attacked the Capitol were a part of the protest.

Other scheduled CPAC speakers, most notably Donald Trump, have spoken favorably of the January 6 insurrection and promote extremist conspiracy theories.

Since leaving Act for America, Presler has worked for the Republican Party of Virginia and independently to promote Donald Trump.

In January 2019, Presler was temporarily suspended from Twitter after writing "Black lives murdered by criminal illegal aliens don't matter."

In March of 2020, as part of a campaign that sought to downplay fears of COVID-19, Presler posted video from outside a hospital in Virginia, noting, "I didn't see a lot of cars, a lot of people, or hardly any activity." At the time, some conservatives were claiming that images of "empty" hospitals purportedly proved that the virus was a hoax.

Over 7,300 people in Virginia have died from COVID-19.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

At CPAC, Insurrectionist Crowd Gives Sen. Hawley Standing Ovation

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Conservatives continue to reward Republicans who fought to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) was one of the most prominent proponents of the "Big Lie" that Donald Trump actually won the presidential election. Hawley refused to accept the outcome of the election even after the Electoral College voted to confirm Joe Biden's victory in December.

Hawley continued his efforts to overturn the election even after the fatal January. 6th insurrection by supporters of Trump who believed Hawley's misinformation.

While the senator has been harshly criticized in Missouri, he was cheered on Friday when he bragged about siding with the insurrectionists while speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

Many in the crowed even gave him a standing ovation.

#EndorseThis: Kimmel Obliterates CPAC Convention In Merciless Monologue

The annual CPAC convention, which a variety of bonehead extremists, is a frightening microcosm of Trump's Republican Party. CPAC is the acronym for Conservative Political Action Committee, but that's a misleading moniker. Jimmy Kimmel sums up their annual event as "Comic-Con for Neo-cons and Neo-Nazis."

Kimmel takes dead aim at Mike Pence, CPAC's "uncanceled" theme, and much more. He roasts Trump for teasing a 2024 run -- an obvious scam -- and needles that flip-flopping phony Lindsey Graham.

Click it and cackle.


CPAC Promoted Virulently Anti-Semitic Conspiracist As Featured Speaker

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Research contributions by Alex Walker

Update (2/22/21): CPAC has cancelled Young Pharaoh's scheduled appearance following the publication of this article. Young Pharaoh's information has also been removed from CPAC's website. The theme of this year's gathering is "American Uncanceled."

Leading Republican officials are set to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week along with a virulently anti-Semitic speaker named Young Pharaoh.

Young Pharaoh is an online commentator who has told followers that Judaism is a "complete lie" and "made up for political gain," said that Jewish people are "thieving fake Jews," tweeted that "all the censorship & pedophilia on social media is being done by Israeli Jews," and claimed that "all of these big tech [companies], media, & social media platforms are controlled by CCP & Israel through Jewish CEO & corrupt Democrats." Young Pharaoh has also attacked conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for being Jewish. He's additionally promoted the QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy theories and falsely claimed that coronavirus vaccines will "alter your DNA."

The American Conservative Union and ACU Chair Matt Schlapp run CPAC, which is scheduled for February 25-28 in Orlando, Florida. On its website, CPAC describes itself as "the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world. Launched in 1974, CPAC brings together hundreds of conservative organizations, thousands of activists, millions of viewers and the best and brightest leaders in the world." This year's speakers include former President Donald Trump, Govs. Ron DeSantis (FL) and Kristi Noem (SD), and numerous other leading Republicans.

According to its schedule, CPAC is hosting Young Pharaoh during a Sunday session called "Please Check the Number and Dial Again: Doubt, Dysfunction, and the Price of Missed Opportunities." CPAC states on its website that Young Pharaoh is a "Philosopher, Scholar, Musician" and links to his Twitter account. CPAC also links to youngpharaoh.net -- that site redirects to "Pharaoh Aten University," which features Young Pharaoh's videos spreading conspiracy theories about vaccines and the "new world order."

Young Pharaoh has posted numerous anti-Semitic tweets. He's also frequently promoted dangerous conspiracy theories. Here is a sampling of the tweets on his CPAC-promoted account.

Anti-Semitism

Young Pharaoh: "THERE IS NO #HISTORICAL OR #SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE PROVING THE EXISTENCE OF #JEWS OR #JUDAISM... ITS ALL A COMPLETE #LIE. … COMPLETELY MADE UP FOR #POLITICAL GAIN."

Young Pharaoh anti-Semitic tweet: "THERE IS NO #HISTORICAL OR #SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1283753225661947910

Young Pharaoh: "'AMEN' IS A STOLEN TERM BY THIEVING #FAKE #JEWS. … THE HEBREW #LANGUAGE I MADE UP FANTASY."

Young Pharaoh: "'AMEN' IS A STOLEN TERM BY THIEVING #FAKE #JEWS"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1346000845876428800

Young Pharaoh: "ALL THE #CENSORSHIP & #PEDOPHILIA ON #SOCIALMEDIA IS BEING DONE BY #ISRAELI #JEWS."

Young Pharaoh: "ALL THE #CENSORSHIP & #PEDOPHILIA ON #SOCIALMEDIA IS BEING DONE BY #ISRAELI #JEWS"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1288470136500948992

Young Pharaoh: "ALL OF THESE #BIGTECH COMAPNIES, #MEDIA, & #SOCIALMEDIA PLATFORMS ARE CONTROLLED BY #CCP & #ISRAEL THROUGH #JEWISH #CEO & CORRUPT #DEMOCRATS."

Young Pharaoh: "ALL OF THESE #BIGTECH COMAPNIES, #MEDIA, & #SOCIALMEDIA PLATFORMS ARE CONTROLLED BY #CCP & #ISRAEL THROUGH #JEWISH #CEO & CORRUPT #DEMOCRATS"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1287422450528129024

Young Pharaoh: "YOU SOUND STUPID, THERE ISNT A #JEW ON THIS PLANET I WOULDBT DESTROY IN A #DEBATE."

Young Pharaoh: "YOU SOUND STUPID, THERE ISNT A #JEW ON THIS PLANET I WOULDBT DESTROY IN A #DEBATE"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1286855591596560389

Young Pharaoh: "HEARD YOUR A #JEW, YOU MAN ENOUGH YO TAKE THIS #DEBATE & GET DESTROYED?"

Young Pharaoh: "HEARD YOUR A #JEW, YOU MAN ENOUGH YO TAKE THIS #DEBATE & GET DESTROYED?"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1286847223033212933

Young Pharaoh: "IM GETTING #READY TO EXPOSE #ISRAEL, #WAYFAIR, & MUCH MORE... ALOT OF THE CONTENT TOWARDS THE #JEWS WILL BE POSTED INSIDE OF MY WEBSITE."

Young Pharaoh: "IM GETTING #READY TO EXPOSE #ISRAEL, #WAYFAIR, & MUCH MORE... ALOT OF THE CONTENT TOWARDS THE #JEWS WILL BE POSTED INSIDE OF MY WEBSITE"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1282115906932547589

Conspiracy Theories

Young Pharaoh: "@realDonaldTrump @FBI #INVESTIGATE @Twitter #QANON #WEG1WGA." Young Pharaoh has also repeatedly promoted the QAnon hashtag "WWG1WGA."

Young Pharaoh: "@realDonaldTrump @FBI #INVESTIGATE @Twitter #QANON #WEG1WGA"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1288003414564261888

Young Pharaoh: "THE #CORONAVIRUS DIDNT WORK SO THEY STAGED A #RIOT TO TRY & #INSTITUTE #MARTIALLAW."

Young Pharaoh: "THE #CORONAVIRUS DIDNT WORK SO THEY STAGED A #RIOT TO TRY & #INSTITUTE #MARTIALLAW"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1266570049608966144

Young Pharaoh pushed the false claim that coronavirus vaccines will "alter your DNA." The coronavirus vaccine will not alter people's DNA.

Young Pharaoh: "THE COVID TEST, & VACCINES ALTER YOUR DNA WITH NANO TECH"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1336712648591863811

Young Pharaoh promoted the "Frazzledrip" conspiracy theory. For more on the "Frazzledrip" conspiracy theory, which was also promoted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) go here.

Young Pharaoh promotes "Frazzledrip" meme

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1262933098326560769

Young Pharaoh has repeatedly promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Young Pharaoh hasposted tweets promoting the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Here is one example:

Young Pharaoh promotes Pizzagate conspiracy theory

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1278100344489365504

"GEORGE FLOYD, RIOTS, & ANNONYMOUS EXPOSED AS DEEP STATE PSYOP FOR NWO!" Young Pharaoh's conspiracy theory video was posted on YouTube.

Young Pharaoh: "GEORGE FLOYD, RIOTS, & ANNONYMOUS EXPOSED AS DEEP STATE PSYOP FOR NWO!"

https://twitter.com/PHARAOH_ATEN_/status/1267490360613318656

Annual Far-Right Conclave To Feature GOP Hopefuls, Riot Instigators And Virus 'Truthers'

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference — traditionally the who's who of Republican politics — will look a lot different in 2021.

For the first time since the event began in 1974, CPAC will not take place in the Washington, D.C., area, but rather in Florida, because the Republican-run state is allowing the conference to take place without coronavirus restrictions as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

It's not a marked difference from CPAC 2020, which was one of the first potential superspreader events of the pandemic in February 2020, forcing a number of Republican lawmakers into quarantine after they were exposed to a positive coronavirus case at the annual gathering.

"@GovRonDeSantis believes that schools, churches & football should be open for business. So, we decided that @CPAC should move to #FL to allow Americans a healthy outlet in an attempt to fight lockdowns & cancel culture," Matt Schlapp, the chair of the group that puts on CPAC, tweeted on Tuesday. "We are also hoping to have a beer with America's Governor."

Also not on the list of this year's speakers is Donald Trump, nor anyone who shares his last name — though it's unclear whether they'll be added at the last minute.

That's a marked difference from the past four years, when Trump delivered rambling, lie-filled diatribes from the stage as the event's headliner. Trump's children — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump — also received prime speaking roles during his term.

Yet CPAC will still be a who's who of Republican lawmakers looking to raise their national profiles, whether it's ahead of rumored 2024 presidential bids or other runs for higher offices, alongside right-wing media personalities looking to push the Republican culture war du jour.

Here's a list of who is coming to this year's event:

The 2024 GOP Hopefuls

A speech at CPAC has in years past been an item on the checklist for Republicans running in presidential primaries.

In 2015, CPAC was a must-attend event for the large slate of Republicans running for the 2016 nomination. Those GOP hopefuls ended up being steamrolled by Trump, who went on to win the Republican nomination that year.

With Trump toying with a possible 2024 comeback bid, the GOP presidential field is thus far frozen.

However, some of the Republicans rumored to be eyeing runs are speaking at this year's event.

They include South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who has been boasting about her refusal to follow expert advice to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Rick Scott of Florida are also on the list of speakers.

All four have made moves that presidential hopefuls often make, including visits to Iowa and New Hampshire — the first two states in the primary process.

The Pro-Insurrection Caucus

Some of the loudest voices in the House whose lies about voter fraud helped lead to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will also be speaking.

Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) are on the list of speakers.

Brooks organized a group of GOP lawmakers to travel to the White House to strategize with Trump about the effort to block certification of President Joe Biden's win. That strategy session preceded the insurrection, which left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.

Gosar was also said to be working with the White House on the Electoral College objections.

Freshman Reps. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Lauren Boebert of Colorado are also on the list. Cawthorn called for Trump supporters to "lightly threaten" lawmakers to overturn Biden's victory. While Boebert — who has dabbled in the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory that a number of the insurrectionists followed — also pushed voter fraud lies and called for Jan. 6 to be "1776."

Two of Trump's biggest defenders — Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio — are also slated to speak. Both men propped up Trump's election lies, and have since been trying to absolve Trump of guilt for inciting the Jan. 6 riot by trying to shift blame onto House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Far-Right Media Personalities

Right-wing media figures also use CPAC to keep up the following to continue their Fox News contracts or other conservative media programs.

James O'Keefe, who runs Project Veritas — which releases altered and misleading "sting" footage on left-leaning groups and mainstream media outlets — is slated to speak. His group's Twitter account was permanently suspended last week for "repeated violations of Twitter's private information policy," the Verge reported.

Also slated is Dan Bongino, a Fox News contributor who has run multiple failed bids for Congress. Bongino was recently ordered to pay $30,000 in legal fees to the Daily Beast, which he sued for defamation for reporting that he was let go from his gig working for the National Rifle Association's failed television network. The Daily Beast article was not deemed defamatory, and Bongino lost the case.

Matthew Boyle, a pro-Trump Breitbart reporter, and Kurt Schlichter, another right-wing commentator, are also on the lineup.

Coronavirus 'Truthers'

Scattered among the GOP politicians and conservative media personalities this year are people thrust into the right-wing spotlight for their refusal to adhere to coronavirus regulations to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

On the list of speakers is Shelley Luther, a hair salon owner in Texas who was jailed for not following coronavirus restrictions. Luther has become a darling of Fox News, who ran her story as the network fought against virus mitigation measures.

And Ian Smith, a New Jersey gym owner who was also arrested for refusing to follow statewide orders regarding gyms, is also speaking. Smith's gym now faces more than $1.2 million in fines for refusing to follow virus prevention regulations.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.