Brian Tashman's blog

Paranoia-Rama: Gay 'Persecution' Edition

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right. In honor of Ted Cruz’s religious persecution event today, this edition of Paranoia-Rama will be dedicated to all the many “victims” of gay marriage out there.

Scott Walker: I Don't Know About Birthright Citizenship

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is trying to walk back his call to end birthright citizenship, which is assured by the 14th Amendment.

In an interview with CNBC, the GOP presidential candidate said today that he actually has no position on the amendment’s clear language: “I'm not taking a position on it one way or the other.”

Walker’s vague response to a straightforward question about the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship, which has emerged as a hot topic in the presidential campaign thanks to Donald Trump, is par for the course for the candidate.

Walker, who wrote a book about himself called “Unintimidated,” has told reporters that he doesn’t know if President Obama is a Christian or loves America, refused to say whether he believes in evolution or if people choose to be gay and has consistently equivocated or flip-flopped on topics ranging from reforming the immigration system to abortion rights.

The governor appears to be trying to appeal to a GOP establishment that has tried to alter the party’s stained image on immigration at the same time as he is trying to win over Trump’s supporters “by going on the attack and emphasizing his conservatism on key issues.”

Afraid of angering the party’s dominant right-wing flank, Walker is now bravely standing for nothing.

Louie Gohmert: Trust Iran's Leaders Over US Officials, Who Are Inciting God's Wrath

Rep. Louie Gohmert seized on a debunked AP report that alleged that Iranians will be allowed to inspect their own nuclear sites under the recent nuclear accord, telling Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on his radio program yesterday that he’d “tend to believe the Iranian leaders” over the Obama administration, which he said is provoking God’s judgment on America.

Citing the AP story, which was revised soon after publication, the Texas Republican claimed that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry either “have no clue what’s going on” or “they’re flat-out lying about everything they say.”

“I tend to believe the Iranian leaders” over the administration officials, Gohmert added.

He then warned that Obama and Kerry are provoking God’s wrath on America: “This is a disaster and judgment will come down on the United States for doing this kind of damage, if it goes through, to the country of Israel.”

Final Nail In The Coffin For GOP 'Autopsy' Report: Republicans Rally Around Trump's Anti-Immigration Plan

Remember the GOP autopsy report, the document the Republican National Committee commissioned following the party’s pummeling in the 2012 elections? It may be hard to remember since the report, which called for the party to remake its image but supported no substantive changes in public policy, has been pretty much ignored by Republican politicians since its much-heralded release.

The Republican “autopsy” came in part in response to Mitt Romney’s abysmal performance among Latino voters after he promoted a draconian “self-deportation” strategy for immigrants. At the time, even Donald Trump denounced Romney’s “crazy policy of self-deportation,” calling it “maniacal”: “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote. He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.” GOP leaders claimed that they were ready to get on board with immigration reform.

Although the autopsy urged the GOP to “embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” the House GOP leadership refused to even bring a bipartisan reform bill, approved by the U.S. Senate, up for a vote. However, House Republicans did approve an extreme measure from one of the party’s most toxic voices on immigration: Rep. Steve King of Iowa.

Seeing that the party has pretty much abandoned any pretense of working towards immigration reform, it is no surprise that Trump’s immigration platform, which calls for mass deportation and even “self-deportation,” also includes a measure to abandon the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship. This measure to curb what Republicans derisively dub “anchor babies” has proved so popular among Republicans that it has also won backing from Trump’s 2016 rivals Scott Walker, Ben CarsonRand PaulBobby JindalLindsey GrahamRick Santorum and Ted Cruz.

While Trump hopes to win the GOP nomination and, in the process, move the field even farther to the far right, the GOP has effectively given up on its own recommendations to build bridges to a community which increasingly sees it as xenophobic.

Just read what the autopsy report had to say in response to Romney’s collapse among Hispanic voters:

If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In the last election, Governor Romney received just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. Other minority communities, including Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, also view the Party as unwelcoming. President Bush got 44 percent of the Asian vote in 2004; our presidential nominee received only 26 percent in 2012.



If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn’t want them in the United States, they won’t pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies. In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.



On issues like immigration, the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community. Message development is critical to Hispanic voters.

5 Times Ashley Madison User Josh Duggar Attacked Gay Marriage As A Threat To Families

Following revelations that former Family Research Council vice president Josh Duggar abused several minors when he was a teenager, which prompted him to quit his post at one of the country’s leading anti-gay organizations, Gawker reported yesterday that the Religious Right leader and reality TV star also had a paid account on Ashley Madison, a website for people seeking extramarital affairs, while he worked as a top FRC official.

“Someone using a credit card belonging to a Joshua J. Duggar, with a billing address that matches the home in Fayetteville, Arkansas owned by his grandmother Mary — a home that was consistently shown on their now-cancelled TV show, and in which Anna Duggar gave birth to her first child — paid a total of $986.76 for two different monthly Ashley Madison subscriptions from February of 2013 until May of 2015,” according to Gawker.

Duggar has boasted in the past that his family “is like the epitome of conservative values,” and other conservative activists agreed, such as right-wing radio host Steve Deace, who said back in 2013 that “this whole thing called Western Civilization might hinge on the Duggars.” Even after Duggar’s abuse allegations came to light, he was defended by Religious Right leaders, including Mike Huckabee, who viewed him as a victim of liberal persecution.

At the time the sexual abuse revelations came out, we pointed out that Duggar and his mother, Michelle Duggar, both campaigned against protections for LGBT people by painting them as a threat to children’s safety. Duggar has also portrayed gays and lesbians as a threat to marriage and railed against threats to “sexual purity”:

1) The Gay ‘Attack’ On Family

Duggar took to the steps of the Arkansas Capitol last year to denounce same-sex marriage as an “attack” on the family, children, “Christian values,” freedom of speech and even the U.S. economy:

2) Gays Ruining Beauty of Marriage

Citing his own marriage to a woman, Duggar said at a Virginia anti-gay rally last year[]that gay marriage doesn’t conform to the “beautiful” design of marriage but rather represents a force of anti-Christian persecution.

3) Gays Will Send Us To Jail!

At an FRC “Watchmen on the Wall” gathering earlier this year, Duggar said that the “radical agenda” behind the LGBT movement in cities like Houston, which is engaged in a battle over its nondiscrimination ordinance, is an “evil” force that “wants to put us behind bars.”

4) March for Marriage

Here’s Duggar speaking at the National Organization for Marriage’s Washington D.C. rally outside of the Supreme Court earlier this year, where he railed against “the redefinition of marriage.”

5) Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?

While boasting about his family’s support for a successful campaign to overturn an Arkansas city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, Duggar rejoiced that the side of “protecting the well-being of women and children in our cities” had prevailed.

Michael Savage Is Dreaming About Donald Trump: 'He's Already Made America Greater!'

To say that Michel Savage is a fan of Donald Trump would be an understatement. On Tuesday the “Savage Nation” host even said that he recently had a dream the night before in which he explained to voters why he likes Trump.

“He’s getting into my subconscious,” Savage said.

Savage said that Trump’s candidacy “made me more proud of myself” and “able to say, ‘I worked hard, I achieved success, and I’m proud of it.’ I don’t have to hide it when he’s around in my mind. He’s already elevated the psyche of America, he’s already made America greater.”

He then went back on the attack against Fox News host Megyn Kelly, whom he referred to as “blondie” and “Marsha Washington,” saying that her debate questions helped Trump among women voters — “even black women” — because “they don’t like women putting men down. Most women in America are dying for a man, they are dying for a man to stand up, and I got to tell you something, he seems to be the only man in the campaign.”

WorldNetDaily Defends Pastor Who Defrauded Seniors In Life Insurance Scam

Jim Stanley, the Missouri pastor who recently pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges after swindling elderly investors with a life insurance scam, has found a friend in the right-wing website WorldNetDaily.

Joseph Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily, which boasts of having “many of [Stanley’s] teachings DVDs and books for sale in the WND Superstore,” released a statement defending the Missouri pastor, saying “the gifted Bible teacher” shouldn’t have been “punished for something that took place a long time ago, long before he entered the ministry.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that some of Stanley’s elderly investors said they “trusted him because of his professed Christian faith and family values,” noting that Stanley “has since appeared on multiple Christian TV networks and radio stations nationwide.”

A Bible teacher and pastor with an international ministry pleaded guilty to 11 counts of financial wire fraud earlier this year and was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in federal prison.

Jim Staley, 40, pastor of Passion for Truth Ministries in St. Charlies, Missouri, taught the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith and has many of his teaching DVDs and books for sale in the WND Superstore.



Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WND, said the company will continue to sell Staley’s teaching videos and books.

“Jim Staley is one of the most gifted Bible teachers I know,” he said. “It’s unfortunate he is being punished for something that took place a long time ago, long before he entered the ministry – charges for which he was previously investigated and cleared by state authorities. I pray Jim comes through this and will be able to hold his family together in this time of great challenge.”

On Monday, two days before he was sentenced to spend the next seven years in a federal prison, Staley told WND he had resigned himself to whatever God willed for his life.

“I praise God that I know who is really the Judge and in control,” he said. “Our lives are really not our own. We are bought with a price. And if this is His will, then so be it. Many men of God had to go to prison. I pray I am not one of them, but may His will be done. ”

Tony Perkins: Women Need To Stop Acting Like Men Or Society Will Go Down The Tubes

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins brought Fox News commentator Todd Starnes onto his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday to discuss Starnes’ report that “court officials in Tennessee had replaced the words ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ on court documents with the gender-neutral terms ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2,’” a decision they have since reversed.

While fielding calls from listeners about the matter, Perkins spoke with one caller who told him, “All of this began back in the mid-20th century when women started dressing and acting like men. It started a whole thing, not to mention the whole immodesty issue, but it started a whole thing where you couldn’t tell one from the other. Women are doing the same things as men, they dress like men, their hair looks like men, right there I believe started all the confusion. When women dress like men their behavior and their posture becomes very masculine-like and I think that was a real mistake.”

Perkins told the caller that she was “absolutely right” that “this has been a long time in the making” and now America is transforming into a “genderless society,” pointing to “the feminist movement tearing down the difference between the genders.”

“What we’re doing here and what we’re seeing through the courts, what we’re seeing here in Tennessee is just another example of this, is to force this redefinition on everyone to accommodate a small percentage and it’s going to have far-reaching repercussions for society as a whole,” he said.

Ben Carson Says He's Open To Drone Strikes On American Soil To Fight Immigration

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson dropped by Pinal County, Arizona, today to speak with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a favorite of anti-immigrant activists and one-time GOP candidate for Congress, where the candidate said he was open to drone strikes in order to combat unlawful immigration along the southern border.

The television station KPHO captured part of the exchange, in which reporter Dennis Welch, apparently responding to an earlier comment from Carson, says that “drone strikes on American soil seems a little over the top, even to entertain that idea.”

“You can entertain all kinds of things,” Carson responds. “Here’s the take-home point: The take-home point is that we have excellent military leaders and we need to employ their expertise because this is a war we are fighting. That’s the bottom line."

Welch also tweeted that Carson said the drone strikes could go after “caves and things” on the southern border:

Evangelical Official Criticizes Bachmann & Huckabee For 'Outrageous' Iran Deal Rhetoric

In an interview with the Christian Post today, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, the chairman of the World Evangelical Alliance’s Global Task Force on Nuclear Weapons, hailed the Iran deal for offering a “high confidence of inhibiting any move by Iran to a nuclear weapon.”

When the newspaper asked Wigg-Stevenson for his reaction to Mike Huckabee’s claim that the nuclear accord will usher in a second Holocaust and Michele Bachmann’s allegation that it fulfilled Last Days prophecy by paving the way for “World War III,” the World Evangelical Alliance official was not amused.

Noting that many Jewish leaders support the deal, he described Huckabee’s remarks as “pretty outrageous” and “wildly irresponsible,” and expressed bewilderment at Bachmann’s End Times claims: “I don't even know what to say to that.”

"I think that kind of rhetoric is pretty outrageous. The Holocaust is a living memory and I think that because it was Christian Europe that perpetrated the Holocaust on Jews, Christian have an ethical responcibility [sic] forever to take seriously future existential threats to the Jewish people," he said.

While criticizing Iran's denial of how devastating the Holocaust truly was, the WEA chair on Nuclear Weapons said that it is an "outrageous stretch of rhetoric for Huackbee [sic] to invoke the Holocaust based on a treaty that the vast majority of arms control experts in the United States have said is a good treaty."

He added that the GOP presidential candidate's remarks were "wildly irresponsible," and pointed out that there is divided opinion in Israel on whether the nuclear deal is a good development or not.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has heavily condemned the lifting of sanctions on Iran, a group of 340 rabbis from "all streams of Judaism" signed a letter in support of the Iran deal earlier this week, opposing the idea that the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement.

As for the idea that the deal will be the fulfillment of biblical End Times prophecy, as former GOP presidential candidate and former Minnesota Rep. Bachmann suggested, Wigg-Stevenson responded: "I don't even know what to say to that."

As a former Baptist minister, who told CP he has since become an Anglican, Wigg-Stevenson noted that "people have for hundreds and hundreds of years been pointing to current events as sure indicators that the End Times are upon us."

He added that statements like Bachmann's are "nothing new," and up to this point have never turned out to be correct.

He said that ultimately the Iran deal bars Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and said that "so how that brings about the End Times is beyond me."
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