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MAGA Mike Johnson Once Warned About Dangers of Living Under Democracy

Republicans’ new House speaker tried to warn people about why democracy isn’t actually good.

Mike Johnson
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson turned heads on Monday when a website hosting his podcast and church sermons suddenly vanished. Still, Johnson hasn’t been able to completely scrub his prior social media presence, with some evidence of his lectures still floating around online, including a three-hour sermon organized by his wife’s ministry that blasts the newly elected’s Christian fundamentalism.

The contents of his evangelical musings—which he apparently wants to hide—offer revealing details about the little-known congressman, including that he doesn’t really believe in democracy.

“By the way, the United States is not a democracy. Do you know what a democracy is? Two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. You don’t want to be in a democracy. Majority rule: not always a good thing,” Johnson said at the First Baptist Church of Haughton, Louisiana, in 2019.

Johnson has also attacked the idea of social services, claiming that the only entity entitled to provide care is the church, not the government.

“I was in South America two weeks ago and they were talking about how … the Catholic Church used to provide soup kitchens and orphanages and do all this stuff and it doesn’t do it anymore and now they’re just willfully, everybody’s willfully, having the civil government take all these responsibilities over. And it’s just a sad development because that’s not how it’s supposed to work,” Johnson said.

In other comments, the Louisiana congressman claimed that the “immigration crisis” is because refugees won’t “assimilate” to the “rule of law”—as in, gaining citizenship—while failing to acknowledge the complicated, lengthy, and expensive process required to become a U.S. citizen. Ultimately, according to Johnson, the failure falls on the refugees’ lack of Christian faith.

“The reason that illegal immigration is such a crisis, such a problem is because you have a lot of God-fearing folks and rule-abiding people who are following the law,” Johnson said, going on to celebrate America’s long history of immigration.

“That’s our origin. But at some point, if the rule of law is eviscerated in that process, the whole system topples. And we’re dangerously close to that right now, because why? We ain’t following the Bible’s rules on this,” Johnson added.

Johnson earned the gavel by a unanimous vote from House Republicans on Wednesday. The resolution came after 22 days of congressional chaos and several failed votes to elect more prominent party members to the role, including Representative Jim Jordan and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who failed to unify the party.

Ohio Prepares for Abortion Election by Kicking Thousands off Voting Rolls

Ohio Republicans seem hell-bent on making sure the pro-abortion advocates don’t win this election.

Megan Jelinger/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Ohio Republican officials purged the voter registrations of almost 27,000 residents, just weeks before the state was set to vote on whether to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose ordered that 26,666 voter registrations be purged in late September. He did not publicly announce his decision at the time and only acknowledged it when local outlets began reporting it last week. Those who were purged cannot re-register to vote in time for the abortion ballot measure on November 7. The deadline to register for the upcoming election was October 10.

LaRose had told county boards over the summer to pause any purges ahead of an August special election, in which Republicans sought to raise the threshold for ballot initiatives to 60 percent of votes. After that attempt ended in resounding failure, LaRose charged ahead with purging voter registrations.

Democratic state Representative Bride Rose Sweeney slammed LaRose’s move as “a purge of choice.”

“Since you insist on purging voters, the very least you can do is wait until after the election to do it,” she said in an October 26 letter to the secretary of state. “You even stopped the purge before the August 2023 election, but now that our reproductive rights, our very lives, are on the November ballot, you have rushed to purge voters.”

LaRose pushed back, insisting on October 26 that they had only removed inactive registrations “after we’ve learned a voter has moved & not been active at that address for more than FOUR YEARS.”

But LaRose’s refusal to be transparent around his decision should come as no surprise. He and his fellow state Republicans have been actively working to undermine local democracy over the abortion referendum.

Abortion is currently legal in Ohio until about 22 weeks, although not for lack of GOP efforts after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Next week’s amendment would allow people to decide for themselves about all reproductive health.

Republicans initially tried to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to a 60 percent vote, instead of a simple majority. This would have paved the way for minority rule in the state. The state GOP argued the amendment was needed to protect the state Constitution from the influence of special interest groups, but LaRose later admitted the move was “100 percent” about blocking the abortion amendment.

LaRose is running to win the Republican nomination for Senate against Democrat Sherrod Brown. His campaign has also begun to indicate it might be open to extremist stances on election integrity. LaRose endorsed Donald Trump earlier this year—a departure from his strategy in 2020.

His campaign recently appeared to issue a veiled threat to Trump, urging him to endorse LaRose back. A source close to LaRose’s campaign, speaking anonymously, hinted to HuffPost that it would behoove Trump to back LaRose.

“If you are the president and you are fighting four legal battles, most of them centered around the validity of the election—and you’re most likely going to be on the general election ballot in a state you cannot win the White House without—are you going to do anything to antagonize the guy counting the votes?” the person said.

This article has been updated.

Could Trump Be Banned From the Ballot? In One State, We’re About to Find Out

A challenge seeks to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot on grounds of insurrection.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A lawsuit to remove Donald Trump from Colorado’s 2024 presidential ballot kicked off Monday, the first of two cases arguing the former president rendered himself ineligible by engaging in insurrection.

A group of Colorado voters, all either Republican or unaffiliated, filed a petition in September to remove Trump from the Colorado ballot. They argue that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election should disqualify him under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That section of the Constitution states that anyone who has taken an oath of office to the United States and then “engages in insurrection or rebellion” against the country is banned from holding public office again.

Opening arguments began Monday in a Denver courtroom. Judge Sarah B. Wallace gave each side 18 hours to lay out their entire arguments.

A lawyer for the petitioners, who are represented by the liberal organization Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington, or CREW, pointed to Trump’s violent and militaristic language just moments before an angry mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Trump “summoned and organized the mob,” said Eric Olson. “We are here because Trump claims, after all that, that he has the right to be president again.”

“But our Constitution, the shared charter of our nation, says he cannot do so.”

Lawyers for Trump pushed back, calling the petition “anti-democratic” and even claiming it amounted to “election interference.”

Trump’s lawyers also said that the petition was inappropriately asking the Colorado secretary of state to analyze a candidate’s conduct, instead of a more clear-cut eligibility requirement, such as age or citizenship.

Trump has been indicted twice for trying to overturn the election, once federally in Washington and again at the state level in Georgia. He has yet to be tried in either case, meaning there is no verdict that can definitively say whether or not he is guilty of engaging in insurrection or election interference.

The Colorado lawsuit is one of two that could reach the Supreme Court. A group of voters in Minnesota filed a lawsuit in September, just a week after the Colorado petition, to remove Trump from their state’s presidential ballot.

This Promise Is Exactly Why Russia’s Putin Loves Trump So Much

Donald Trump is making his position on this foreign policy issue crystal clear.

Donald Trump
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump bragged during a campaign speech about threatening to abandon U.S. allies, even if Russia attacked one of them.

Trump appeared in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sunday. During his speech, he made a series of bizarre comments, including mistaking the city for Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and pronouncing Canada as “Canya.”

But he notably also said he had threatened to withhold U.S. military aid from NATO members unless they paid the bloc more. He said, at one point, he told member state leaders, “We’re not going to protect you any longer.”

“The head of a country stood up, said, ‘Does that mean if Russia attacks my country, you will not be there?’ That’s right, that’s what it means,” Trump said to applause. “I will not protect you.”

“And the money came!”

Trump’s refusal to step in even in the case of a Russian attack is notable considering how much he loves Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin. Trump and Putin enjoy a particularly cozy relationship, and Trump has repeatedly praised the Russian president.

Given the fact that Republican support for the war in Ukraine is on the wane, Putin must be overjoyed that the party’s presidential front-runner is actively advocating letting Russia attack whichever countries it wants.

Trump falsely claimed throughout his presidency that the other NATO members had failed to make sufficient contributions to the alliance. In 2018, he accused other countries of owing the U.S. “a tremendous amount of money from many years back, where they’re delinquent as far as I’m concerned.”

He also threatened to withdraw the U.S. from NATO over the other countries’ supposed unpaid dues. But in reality, the U.S. has never been shortchanged by NATO allies.

“There is no ledger that maintains accounts of what countries pay and owe,” Aaron O’Connell, a former Obama administration National Security Council staffer, told NPR in 2018. “NATO is not like a club with annual membership fees.”

That fact hasn’t stopped Trump from resurrecting his NATO falsehoods during his current campaign. Trump also bragged about his threat to abandon NATO allies to Russian attacks during an early October campaign stop in Waterloo, Iowa.

With this UAW Win, the PATCO-Reagan Anti-Union Era Is Over

The UAW has secured a massive victory in deals with the three big auto companies. And in the process, it has ushered in a brand new era for unions.

UAW Strike
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The United Auto Workers have officially landed big wins at the Big Three.

The union reached a tentative deal with General Motors on Monday, less than 48 hours after the autoworkers union ramped up its strike at the Spring Hill Assembly plant, the company’s largest manufacturing plant in North America.

As a result, General Motors employees will receive some of their biggest gains in decades, with a 25 percent pay bump in base wages over four and a half years, reported The Washington Post. The other terms of the deal are not yet known.

“I think it’s great,” President Joe Biden told reporters as he boarded Air Force One on Monday. The Biden administration had become increasingly involved in the negotiations as the six-week strike wore on, even grabbing a bullhorn at one GM strike in September to tell workers to “stick with it,” reported the Associated Press.

The fruits of the collective agreement are a sign that the anti-union era sparked more than 40 years ago is over. In 1981, the Reagan administration crushed a Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or PATCO, strike, firing federal employees who refused to return to work and turning the tide against American labor relations for decades to come.

The deal is the third big win for the union in the last week. On Wednesday, UAW negotiated a historic arrangement with Ford that would increase salaries by 25 percent over five years and bring back major benefits lost during the Great Recession. Then, on Saturday, Jeep manufacturer Stellantis also gave in and offered a similar deal.

Altogether, nearly 50,000 employees out of 150,000 union members picketed the Big Three in a series of walkouts that started September 15.

UAW President Shawn Fain used an escalating bargaining strategy to achieve the contracts, keeping a reserve of employees at work while peeling some out as the weeks grew. For the first time, the union negotiated with all three auto companies simultaneously, leveraging the threat of walkouts at major auto plants to create a bidding war between the manufacturers. Then, when talks stalled, Fain expanded the strike.

As a part of the agreement, workers will return to their jobs while the union organizes ratification votes, according to Reuters. That process is expected to take a week or more, though if workers reject the arrangement the strike will go on.

Days After Maine Shooting, NRA Gleefully Shares Ad With New House Speaker

The gun rights lobbying group is bragging about its close relationship with Mike Johnson in a newly resurfaced video.

Mike Johnson
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The National Rifle Association posted an old video of Mike Johnson opposing gun safety measures, essentially bragging about how it has the new House speaker in its pocket.

The NRA’s Sunday night tweet was also just a few days after a gunman killed 18 people in Maine, the biggest mass shooting in the state’s history and the country’s deadliest mass shooting of the year thus far.

In the 2019 video, Johnson—who is an NRA member—says that gun ownership is one of Americans’ “fundamental freedoms” and accuses Democrats of infringing on basic rights by trying to pass gun safety regulations.

“As NRA members, we understand the Second Amendment is grounded in fundamental freedoms,” Johnson says. “We make the point on the Hill all the time when these gun bills come up and when Democrats are trying to push their agenda on the people. We remind them that the Second Amendment is grounded in those fundamental freedoms―those inalienable rights that we have to personal liberty and personal security and private property.”

The NRA’s boastful tweet came at the tail end of a weekend that saw 12 different mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit defines a mass shooting as an attack when at least four people are injured or killed, excluding the shooter.

Between Friday and Sunday, shooters opened fire in Indianapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, and Tampa, as well as cities in Texas, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, and Johnson’s home state of Louisiana.

Last week, the state of Maine waited in terror during a two-day hunt for a man who killed 18 people and wounded 13 more in the town of Lewiston. Authorities found the shooter’s body in a trailer on Friday. He appeared to have shot himself.

There have been 580 mass shootings in 2023 so far, which averages to about two mass shootings per day. These attacks have resulted in 616 people killed, 2,426 people injured, and countless people traumatized.

But according to Johnson, “at the end of the day, the problem is the human heart.”

“It’s not the guns, it’s not the weapons,” he insisted on Fox News a day after the Maine shooting.

Trump’s Latest Truth Social Posts Look Awfully Anti–Gag Order

Donald Trump may have gotten himself in big trouble in his federal election subversion case.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s social media addiction may soon cost him big time.

Judge Tanya Chutkan on Sunday reinstated an October 16 gag order on the former president in his federal election subervsion trial, denying a request to freeze the order while his defense scrambles to appeal it, noting that the order will remain in effect while a federal court undergoes its review, reported The New York Times.

“The First Amendment rights of participants in criminal proceedings must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice,” Chutkan wrote in a statement issued alongside the original order, which still permitted Trump to critique the current government and its administration, to claim his prosecution is politically motivated, to claim his innocence, or to make statements criticizing current political rivals in the presidential election.

But just hours after the order was brought back, Trump ran his mouth on social media—attacking both Judge Chutkan and a potential key witness in the case.

“I have just learned that the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Mere hours before, Trump also attacked one of the potential witnesses in his D.C. trial, which hinges on four felony charges related to his effort to subvert the 2020 election: former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr.

“I called Bill Barr Dumb, Weak, Slow Moving, Lethargic, Gutless, and Lazy, a RINO WHO COULDN’T DO THE JOB. He just didn’t want to be Impeached, which the Radical Left Lunatics were preparing to do. I was tough on him in the White House, for good reason, so now this Moron says about me, to get even, “his verbal skills are limited.” Well, that’s one I haven’t heard before. Tell that to the biggest political crowds in the history of politics, by far. Bill Barr is a LOSER,” Trump posted.

Either Trump won’t learn his lesson or he just doesn’t care about the consequences. The former president was also slapped with a gag order in his New York bank fraud trial with Judge Arthur Engoron, which Trump has violated twice so far, first earning a $5,000 fine and then a subsequent $10,000 fine along with the threat of jail time.

It’s an Absolutely Terrifying Night in Gaza Right Now

Israel’s intense bombardment coincides with the announcement that ground operations are “expanding.”

Flares fired by the Israeli military light up the sky east of Khan Yunis
Flares fired by the Israeli military light up the sky east of Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on October 27.

Israel’s military began a heavy aerial bombardment of Gaza after nightfall on Friday and announced that it is “expanding” its ground operations into the territory—but did not declare a full-scale ground invasion that has been expected for weeks.

Internet and phone service in Gaza has been mostly, if not entirely, cut off amid the bombing. The International Committee of the Red Cross cannot reach its medical personnel. A Washington Post reporter said the paper cannot reach its colleagues, either.

Some people, communicating via satellite phones, have described the attack as the “heaviest bombardment yet,” according to independent journalist Sharif Kouddous.

“People can’t call ambulances or civil defense. We are being bombed in an unprecedented manner,” said an unidentified journalist at a Gaza hospital, according to a translation by The Nation’s Palestinian correspondent, Mohammed El-Kurd. “The sky around us just lights up [with explosions], and no one knows what’s going on.”

The Post reported earlier Friday that the Biden administration has urged Israel to rethink its plans, backing a “surgical” operation reliant on drone strikes and special operations forces instead of an all-out ground invasion, which they fear could lead to mass Palestinian civilian casualties and the loss of Israeli soldiers. Such an invasion would also threaten to upend negotiations with Hamas to free around 200 hostages.

It remains to be seen if what’s occurring tonight is a limited ground operation, as the U.S. has pushed for, or something worse.

Since Hamas’s October 7 attack, Israel has cut off access to water, food, and power in Palestinian territories. Israeli attacks have killed at least 7,028 people in Gaza and injured more than 18,000, according to figures from the Gaza Health Ministry. On the Israeli side of the conflict, more than 1,400 people have been killed and another 5,400 injured.

A poll published Friday found that only 49 percent of Israelis want to hold off on the ground offensive against Hamas, down from 65 percent last week.

What Is Dean Phillips Really Up To?

The Minnesota representative has announced a 2024 primary challenge against Joe Biden. Why?

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Representative Dean Phillips announced Thursday that he’s opening a bid as President Joe Biden’s Democratic primary challenger. But as the election landscape shapes up to be another razor-thin rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump, the effort begs the question: What the hell is Phillips thinking?

Phillips, a multimillionaire former chairman and co-owner of Talenti Gelato, and heir to one of America’s largest liquor dynasties, was elected to Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district in 2018—the first Democrat to win the seat in nearly 60 years.

And for the last 15 months, Phillips has been campaigning for “prominent young Democrats” to challenge the 80-year-old president, reported The Atlantic, believing it’s time for Biden, who he has described as a “president of great competence and success,” to “pass the torch.” Failing to find that candidate, the 54-year-old Phillips has apparently decided to throw himself into the race.

“Democrats are telling me that they want not a coronation but they want a competition,” Phillips said during an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation.

He might be onto something. Although the self-described eternal optimist’s chances of unseating the incumbent president are slim, they’re not zero. A recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 77 percent of Americans believe Biden is too old to be effective for another presidential term.

That same poll found that Democrats thought both Biden and Trump, age 77, were too old for the gig, while just 28 percent of Republicans felt that Trump’s age would make him ineffective for another term.

Yet if Phillips somehow, against all odds, beats Biden in the Democratic primary—will he be popular enough to keep Trump from office? It’s probably safe to assume that this is the first time many Americans are even hearing about Phillips.

The Democratic establishment is also still firmly behind Biden.

“Biden’s already beaten Trump once,” Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, told The Atlantic. “He’s the one guy who can beat him again.”

New House Speaker Conveniently Can’t Remember His Past Homophobia

Mike Johnson has an extensive record attacking LGBTQ rights—and suddenly, he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Mike Johnson
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson is trying to distance himself from his deeply homophobic track record by claiming he can’t remember much of it.

During an interview on Fox News, Johnson was asked about comments he made while he was an attorney for the far-right Christian advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom. During his tenure as senior attorney and spokesperson for ADF, he called homosexuality “sinful” and “destructive,” advocated against same-sex marriage, and pushed for the criminalization of gay sex.

Hearing his own comments repeated back to him by Fox’s Sean Hannity, Johnson said simply, “I don’t even remember some of them.”

Quickly moving on from the “I forgot” defense, Johnson argued that making homophobic statements was just a part of his job in defending the state marriage amendments, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

“I was a religious liberty defense lawyer, and I was called to go in and defend those cases in the court,” he said.

“I am a rule-of-law guy,” Johnson said. “When the Supreme Court issued the Obergefell opinion that became the law of the land, I respect the rule of law,” referring to the case that made same-sex marriage legal.

Despite his attempt to revise history, Johnson’s record speaks for itself. In September 2004, for example, the future House speaker wrote an op-ed for a local paper in Shreveport, Louisiana, in which he called homosexual relationships “unnatural,” “harmful,” and “dangerous.”

Johnson isn’t trying to be confusing. He admitted to Hannity that if people want to know what this “rule-of-law guy” believes, “go pick a Bible off your shelf and read it.”