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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: josh duggar

Behind Josh Hawley's Disgusting QAnon Slur Against Judge Jackson

Of all the Senate Republicans who regularly engage in gutter politics, none is more likely to scrape bottom than Josh Hawley. The junior senator from Missouri was best known, at least until now, for his pseudo-macho fist-pumping display outside the besieged Capitol on January 6, 2021 — and his seditious attempt to deny Electoral College certification to President Joe Biden on that same day.

But Hawley has found a new way to drag our politics into the partisan sewer with a false, grotesque, and inflammatory attack on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, just days before her Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin. Seizing upon a handful of cases and a comment she made in law school, he has smeared her as "soft on child pornographers."

At the outset of his Twitter thread, Hawley lied: "Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker. She's been advocating for it since law school. This goes beyond 'soft on crime.' I'm concerned that this (is) a record that endangers our children."

With that foul smear, Hawley joins an undeniably psychotic element of his party — the growing cohort affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy cult, which proclaims constantly that prominent Democrats and Hollywood stars are sexually exploiting and even murdering children. There is no evidence for these sick accusations, but that hasn't stopped the fascist-leaning wing of the GOP — including no less a figure than Trump's disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn — from endorsing them.

Before examining the real friends of kiddie porn in American politics, it is vital to unpack Hawley's fabricated assault on Jackson, a highly qualified and upright Black female jurist whose nomination has turned her into a target for the usual collection of racists and misogynists on the Right. What he accuses her of doing is what literally hundreds of judges of both parties have done regularly in sentencing child sex abuse and child pornography offenders. In law school and since, she has made the same observation as many of her fellow judges and even some prosecutors: Federal sentencing guidelines on those crimes require adjustment in the interest of justice.

According to Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman, an expert on federal sentencing policy, the guidelines on child porn are broadly "considered 'too severe' and poorly designed to 'measure offender culpability' in the digital age." Which is why, Berman writes, "federal judges nationwide rarely follow them." In fact, Berman reports that judges deliver sentences below the guidelines in two out of three child porn cases, with "typical sentences of 54 months below the calculated guideline minimum."

Among nine examples cited to support Hawley's smear, five were cases in which the prosecution advocated a sentence lower than the federal guidelines — and reiterated Jackson's point that the current guidelines cannot reflect mitigating factors or congressional intent. (That is why she suggested in law school that they should be revised.) In eight of the nine cases, Judge Jackson's sentence was less than two years lower than what prosecutors recommended.

In short, Hawley's smear shows either that he's too stupid to understand how federal sentencing works or he's deliberately distorting the facts to foster an ugly untruth. Anyone surprised by his behavior hasn't been paying attention.

By mimicking QAnon, Hawley invites an unflattering question: Which political party is actually preferred by child sex offenders? The conspiracist cult has always looked suspiciously like a perfect cover for such predators. The cult began on an internet channel that has long hosted child pornographers — and its apparent founder, Arizona GOP Congressional candidate Jim Watkins, profited from Web domains that were apparently used to promote child porn.

Beyond QAnon itself is a seemingly endless rogues gallery of child porn and sex abuse criminals associated with the Republican Party. Finding them on Google is a simple and revealing exercise. Last year, federal investigators busted an online kiddie porn ring that included Ruben Verastigui, a digital strategist for the Trump campaign, and Adam Hageman, a Trump Commerce Department official, while separate probes busted Republican consultant Anton Lazzaro, as well as Trump's Oklahoma campaign chair Ralph Shortey and Trump Kentucky delegate Timothy Nolan.

Those are only the most recent entries on the docket, which infamously includes right-wing "Christian" TV personality Josh Duggar — the Arkansas pal of the Huckabees who admitted to molesting young girls, including two of his sisters, and is facing child porn charges. (Not long before Duggar's indictment, Huckabee praised him for leading "a responsible and circumspect life.") And let's not forget Trump associate and influence peddler George Nader, who will spend a long time behind bars for trafficking a child into the United States for sex and distributing child porn.

As noted, it's a long and grimy list. And Republicans who try to suggest that their opponents are "soft" on pedophilia and child porn — currently a favorite theme in right-wing media —-should take a hard look at their own gamy milieu before repeating those disgusting slurs.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Court Sets Trial Date For Josh Duggar’s Child-Porn Trial

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Josh Duggar, the 33-year old former 19 Kids and Counting reality TV star, pleaded "not guilty" to federal charges related to child pornography on Friday in Arkansas, and his parents released a statement thanking Americans for their "continued prayers."

"We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time," Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar told Us Weekly in a statement. "The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family."

Josh Duggar, a father of six children with one more on the way, has a trial date has been set for July 6. He is currently jailed and will not be released on bond until he can prove he has housing that keeps him away from children.

"I will also advise you that any proposed third-party custodian, it would need to be in a residence, where there are no minors in the home," the judge told him Friday.

Duggar if convicted could face 20 years and $250,000 for each charge.

He is charged "with receiving and possessing child pornography," the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas said in a statement. "Duggar allegedly possessed this material, some of which depicts the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, in May 2019."

Josh Duggar, Former Reality TV Star And Right-Wing Activist, Indicted For Child Porn

Former reality television star Josh Duggar pleaded not guilty to two child pornography charges at a virtual hearing on Friday, a day after he was arrested in Washington County, Arkansas. The eldest child of the Duggar family, whose day-to-day life was featured on the hit TLC reality series “19 kids and Counting” from 2008 until 2015, was charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. The 33-year-old conservative political activist — who served for two years as the executive director of FRC Action, which counts limiting access to pornography among its causes, before resigning in 2015 ...

This Week In Crazy: No Sleep ‘Til Iowa

This fitful circus of folly we call the election cycle enters its next phase in two short weeks — when the first votes are actually cast. We’re in the pre-Iowa homestretch now, and everyone’s losing their minds. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Village of Whitesboro, New York

The Iowa caucuses are two weeks away, and the general election isn’t until November. But according to Stephen Colbert “the most important vote of 2016” already occurred this week.

The village of Whitesboro, New York became the focus of national attention and derision held an opinion poll about whether to replace their controversial town seal. The seal appears to depict town founder Hugh White locked in a death match with a red-toned Native American.


Click to enlarge

“Political correctness, who cares?” one voter told WKTV. “This is our village, who cares what the world thinks? I want to see this settled today, once and for all.”

Thankfully, the good people of Whitesboro would not be cowed into wussifying their own history, and voted to keep the seal.

What the alternative seals had in cultural sensitivity they lost is historical verisimilitude. One of the proposed replacement seals appeared to show the Native American and Mr. White teaming up to beat down a British redcoat; another seemed to illustrate them high-fiving.

So maybe kudos are in order that the folks of Whitesboro are refusing to whitewash history. I suppose I’m being generous, but we could say that the decision to keep the old seal is less about celebrating a racially-charged violent heritage — and more about just acknowledging that it happened at all… right? …Right?

Next: Fox & Friends

4. Fox & Friends

Count on Fox & Friends, the news network’s daily morning exercise in folksy, caffeinated inanity, to find fault in President Obama’s aspirational “moon shot” goal of curing cancer, which he trumpeted during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

The F&F gang must have tried heartily and failed to actually find an anti-cancer-cure angle to suit their purpose, so they instead settled for accusing the president of ripping his speech off from the liberal propaganda machine known as The West Wing.

Video from Media Matters below:

“If you’re going to rip off somebody,” host Clayton Morris said, “rip off Aaron Sorkin.”

Give F&F some credit. Since their mandate is to attack Obama for absolutely everything, they could have just as easily come out as “pro-cancer.” It wouldn’t even be the stupidest thing they’ve ever said.

Next: Michael Savage

3. Michael Savage

A few weeks ago Trump made a call-in appearance on paranoid savant Alex Jones’ InfoWars radio show. So of course it was only a matter of time before he put in a call to Jones’s shock-jock-in-arms and human interrobang Michael Savage, showing up on his Monday program.

Savage, you’ll recall, is the raucous fabulist famous for his deluded rants, in which he blames President Obama, whom he calls “this thing in the White House,” for literally everything in his life — whether it’s the imaginary American internment camps he espies around every corner; the urban, nonwhite  “Army of the Night” he thinks is coming to steal his liberty; or any of his various ailments such as a nasty flu or his “post radio stress disorder.”

And now, with his characteristic yen for fantasy, Savage told The Donald that he was quite confident he would sweep the Hispanic vote in America. The reasoning behind this is more than a little specious, and exhibits Savage’s characteristic flair for free-associative nonsense. Savage is convinced this will occur, despite Trump’s propensity for hateful anti-immigrant — specifically anti-Mexican — remarks, because “the Hispanic culture is a macho culture. Men don’t like reporting to a woman. It’s just the way the culture is. And they’d rather have a man than a woman as president.”

Per Media Matters:

Trump later added that he’s the one who “came up with” getting rid of “anchor babies” from the country, claiming that “people come over, they have a baby, now we have to take care of the baby for the next 90 years. It’s ridiculous.” The Associated Press noted that it’s “extraordinarily rare for immigrants to come to the U.S. just so they can have babies and get citizenship. In most cases, they come to the U.S. for economic reasons and better hospitals, and end up staying and raising families.”

Numerous polls have shown that Trump is actually extremely unpopular with Hispanics. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found “Trump’s favorability rating is just 18 percent among Hispanics and blacks alike, vs. 44 percent among whites.”

Never mind that, during the 2008 Democratic primary, Hispanic voters voted for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama nearly two-to-one. Savage’s grasp on reality is as strong as ever.

Next: Ann Coulter

2. Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter has emerged as one of Donald Trump’s most fearsome and adamant fangirls. His dubious conservative record on any number of issues, not to mention his past chumminess with the Clintons, appears not to be an issue for Coulter. His strident anti-immigrant stance is more than enough to win the shriveled venomous heart of a virulent xenophobe like Coulter.

As he increasingly comes under criticism (and under threat ) from people within his own party, Coulter has shown no compunction at all opening up her characteristic brand of fire-breathing B.S. on his behalf — even if it means going after other conservatives. This includes Ted Cruz, who’s poised to possibly beat Trump in the Iowa caucuses, and so of course Coulter has added her voice to the chorus of challenges to Cruz’s eligibility. And now she’s set her crosshairs on South Carolina governor and GOP rising star Nikki Haley.

Haley had been tapped by the GOP to give the party’s official rebuke to the president’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night. She used the opportunity to take some not-so-veiled swipes at Trump, for his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric. She invoked her own background as the daughter of immigrants and defended the notion that America is open to anyone willing to come here and work hard.

Earning the ire of Republicans and Democrats alike, Coulter tore Haley (and whatever laughable shred of her own credibility remained) to shreds:

And then for an encore, Coulter went on Fox News Radio and called Haley a “bimbo,” who “was accidentally elected because she’s pretty and isn’t very bright.”

Go home, Ann. Everyone is embarrassed for you.

Next: Mike Huckabee

1. Mike Huckabee.

It’s hard to be a sanctimonious, righteous Bible-thumping candidate for Christ when you have a noted child molester in your corner. But it doesn’t seem to bother Mike Huckabee.

The Southern Baptist preacher currently languishing in the polls is the anti-gay, anti-abortion crusader who purports to defend the sanctity of the American family; he’s also a noted apologist for serial sexual abuser Josh Duggar. On this point he was challenged on the campaign trail: “You talk about the children. What’s your views on child abuse?” a woman asked Huckabee at a Clinton, Iowa event last week, kicking off a long, tense exchange, which was captured on video and posted online by the progressive Super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century.

When the woman persisted, Huckabee said, “You have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t know that family and I do.” Indeed he does. Huck has been one of the Duggars’ most vociferous defenders, coming to their aid when Josh’s crimes were revealed to the public last year.

Huckabee said that despite the Duggars’ efforts to keep Josh’s serial abuse of his sisters from reaching the authorities, “their Christian witness is not marred in our eyes” and that he and his wife would “run to them with our support.”

So yes, the same Mike Huckabee who said of the Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage equality, “Jesus wept,” also defended Josh Duggar’s crimes as “mistakes” that may have been “‘inexcusable, but that does not mean ‘unforgivable.'”

Josh Duggar, you’ll recall, is the former subject of TLC’s squeaky-clean reality show 19 Kids and Counting, which beamed his large, all-loving conservative Christian family into living rooms all over the nation. He’s also a former executive director for the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm, which advocates against marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights. In his capacity as FRC mouthpiece, Duggar said that same-sex marriage was an existential threat to the American family, and that homosexuality was linked to pedophilia.

But Huckabee protested that it wasn’t very nice of the woman to challenge him on his record, saying that being told he supports child abuse “hurts my feelings.”

I’m playing the world’s smallest violin.

Photo: Marc Nozell via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

Josh Duggar Calls Himself ‘The Biggest Hypocrite,’ Admits Cheating On Wife

By Christie D’zurilla, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame has pronounced himself “the biggest hypocrite ever” and admitted to cheating on his wife after it was revealed Wednesday that he had paid accounts with Ashley Madison, the affair-facilitating website that was hacked a month ago.

“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife,” the father of four said in a statement posted on the Duggar family’s website Thursday.

“I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.”

In an earlier version of the statement, which has since been replaced on the family website, Josh Duggar said he’d secretly been viewing Internet porn, had become addicted and subsequently had cheated on his wife, Anna.

Credit card and address information was tracked back to Josh Duggar after the hacked information was leaked on the so-called dark web Tuesday. A second batch of Ashley Madison information—the site’s catchphrase is “Life is short. Have an affair”—was dumped on Thursday.

The reality-TV personality appears to have spend nearly $1,000 on monthly subscriptions for two accounts between February 2013 and May 2015, Gawker reported, with screen grabs showing supporting information.

In July, TLC canceled the long-running 19 Kids after it was reported in May that as a minor Josh Duggar had inappropriate contact with five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters. After the story broke, the 27-year-old, who was never arrested or charged, left his post at the Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying group.

“I have brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions,” he said in the statement Thursday, going on to seemingly acknowledge the work he had been doing at the FRC. “The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures.”

The Duggars learned of Josh’s Ashley Madison history late Wednesday evening, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in introducing their eldest son’s statement. A family source told People on Thursday, “We’re all hunkered down over here. It’s just a mess, it’s a whole mess,” adding that it would be a “practically impossible climb” for Josh to rebound from his current situation.

Josh and Anna Duggar issued statements in May regarding the allegations of inappropriate contact, with her explaining that she’d known since before they were married about “his past teenage mistakes.” Her husband was “someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended,” she said. He’d gotten the help he needed, she said, and had changed the direction of his life.

“As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences,” Josh Duggar said in his statement. “I deeply regret all the hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.”

In addition to credit card numbers and email addresses, the hacked data includes “everything from their name, age, interests, whether they smoke or drink, down to very detailed sexual fantasies, what they enjoy having done to them and what they want to do to others,” Adam McNeil, an intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, told USA Today.

An analysis of the first data dump showed users’ median age to be around 46, with few users younger than 30. Josh Duggar would, of course, be among those outliers.

Information was also hacked from the site, which is owned by the same company that runs A group calling itself the Impact Team wants Avid Life Media to shut down the sites.

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Josh Duggar Was ‘A Child Preying On A Child,’ His Father Says

Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, stars of the hit TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, said they felt like failures after hearing that when their oldest son, Josh, was a teenager, he was involved in inappropriate conduct with several underage girls, including more than one of his younger sisters.

In a sit-down interview with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that aired at 6 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, the Duggar parents publicly addressed the allegations for the first time since reports surfaced two weeks ago.

Two of the Duggars’ daughters — Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard, who are now in their 20s — briefly appeared in the show’s final minutes. “We’re victims,” one said tearfully.

It was unclear exactly what she was discussing, however. Michelle Duggar had told Kelly that because of the current media frenzy, the people Josh touched have been “more victimized these last few weeks more than they were 12 years ago.”

A fuller interview with Seewald and Dillard is to air Friday night.

In the interview that aired Wednesday, Jim Bob Duggar said his son Josh, who is now 27, came to him at age 14 and said he had “improperly touched some of our daughters” under their clothes while they were sleeping.

“The girls didn’t know,” their father said.

“Safeguards” were put in place, but then Josh started to touch the girls in the living room, he said. On two occasions, the girls were awake, Michelle Duggar said.

“He was still a kid,” Jim Bob Duggar said of his son. “This was not rape or anything like that.”

The last incidence of touching was with a sister younger than 10, the father said. “At that point,” he said, “we pulled him out the house and said, ‘You can’t be here.'”

Kelly asked the couple whether they were a worried their son would be labeled a pedophile.

They responded that the label would be incorrect: Josh was not a pedophile because he was not an adult when the incidents happened, they said.

“He’s a child preying on a child,” Jim Bob Duggar said.

Believing that their son should confess to a police officer, his parents took him to Arkansas State Police headquarters, and Josh “shared everything” with an officer, who in turn gave the boy a stern talk, the couple said.

Kelly said that officer has since been convicted of child pornography charges and is incarcerated.

“We had no idea” that the officer was involved in anything wrong, Jim Bob Duggar replied.

“There was so much grief in our hearts. I think as parents we felt we’re failures, you know?” Michelle Duggar told Kelly. “Here we tried to raise our kids to — to do what’s right and know what’s right. And yet, one of our children made really bad choices and I think as a parent we were just — we were devastated.”

The day allegations surfaced, Josh Duggar resigned his post as executive director of FRC Action, the lobbying arm of conservative Christian group Family Research Council. He then issued an apology on his family’s Facebook page. “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret,” it began.

The scandal ignited on social media, where many expressed anger and disappointment toward the Arkansas family using the hashtags #CancelTheDuggars, #DitchTheDuggars and #BoycottTLC.

Streaming giant Hulu severed ties last week with 19 Kids and Counting. Companies and brands including Walgreens, Payless Shoe Source, Choice Hotels, Pure Leaf Iced Tea, and General Mills have said they plan to remove their ads from the show.

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Screenshot: Fox News/YouTube

Meet The Duggars: Reality TV Stars And Moral Hypocrites

The Duggar family, of TLC’s popular reality series 19 Kids and Counting, has admitted their oldest son had a undisclosed history of molesting his own sisters. Josh Duggar, now 27 years old and father to three young children, has since made statements regretting his “inexcusable” actions.

The Duggars are known for their unusually G-rated show, in which they espouse a conservative, Christian lifestyle. Birth control is discouraged (obviously), women wear modest clothing, and contact between the sexes is strictly monitored.

Despite their moralizing, Josh, the oldest in the long line of children, has been revealed to have a history of fondling multiple unnamed minors. According to InTouch magazine, which originally broke the story, a female member of the Duggar brood informed her father in early 2002 that Josh had been fondling her while she slept.

Several months later, another daughter also confessed that Josh had been sexually abusing her. Other minors complained of ongoing abuse, finally prompting Jim Bob, the Duggar family patriarch, to go to the authorities.

Unfortunately, those “authorities” were, in fact, the church elders — and in their wisdom, they chose not to involve the police. Instead, Josh Duggar was sent to a “Christian program” consisting of “hard physical work and counseling” from March to July 2003.

Michelle Duggar, the family’s mother, later admitted the so-called program was actually just a temporary stay at a family friend’s house. The friend, a contractor, had no counseling experience.

Finally, in 2006, Jim Bob reported the abuse to the police. No other official action was taken and the family says that the victims “forgave” Josh, who had “sought after God and turned back to God.”

Since the molestation came to light, Josh Duggar has resigned his position at the Washington, DC-based Family Research Council, a conservative, religious non-governmental organization considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

TLC has canceled all shows featuring the Duggars that were set to air, and the program’s chances of renewal remain questionable.

The family has spoken out in defense of their son, stating, “That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God.”

Josh’s wife, Anna, has also spoken out in support of her husband. She was evidently informed of Josh’s so-called “mistakes” two years before their engagement, and believes he is simply “someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended.”

The man at the center of the storm has also issued a statement, released to People magazine, saying, “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”

As far as Josh Duggar is concerned, God’s grace may let a confessed child molester off the hook, but it does not extend to gays and lesbians, whose sexual orientation Duggar has, not incidentally, frequently linked to pedophilia.

But if God has forgiven Josh and his family, He is not alone. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has already declared his support, so at least he’s guaranteed 10 votes from the Duggar household.

Screenshot: Josh Duggar speaking at the Rally for Religious Freedom, 2014. Via Family Research Council/YouTube