Brian Tashman's blog

Jeb Bush's Five Worst Moments

After accidentally announcing his presidential candidacy back in May, Jeb Bush is making his White House bid official today in Miami. He is a favorite of some of the GOP’s billionaire backers, hoping that he is more electable than the fifteen other likely and announced presidential candidates. But while some party brokers may find Bush to be the most electable candidate, he has staked out far-right stances on issues such as women’s rights, while building a suspect record on business, personal privacy and voting rights.

5) Shaming Women, Chipping Away at Rights

Before GOP-controlled legislatures across the country passed a flood of new measures restricting abortion rights following the 2010 wave election, Bush championed anti-choice laws, such as later-term bans and parental notification, while governor of Florida. CNN reports that Bush "vigorously sought restrictions on abortion while governor," noting that "Bush's abortion activism shocked some state officials who believed he was reaching beyond the powers of his office."

In 2003, Bush unsuccessfully tried to get the courts to appoint a guardian for the fetus of a 22-year-old disabled woman with cerebral palsy and autism, who became pregnant after being raped by an operator of a state-supervised group home.

In 2005, he intervened in the case of 13-year-old girl, known as L.G., who was a ward of the state and was 13½ weeks pregnant when she tried to get an abortion. Bush fought hard to prevent the procedure, but was overruled by a judge.

Courts rebuffed Bush’s attempt to give fetuses personhood rights and dropped a legal challenge in the case of a pregnant 13-year-old girl, but it's no wonder that he has boasted of being "probably the most pro-life governor in modern times."

Such an approach to women's rights becomes even less surprising considering Bush’s musings about "the restoration of shame," where he waxed nostalgic for "shotgun weddings" and times when unmarried pregnant women faced stigmatization and disgrace in their communities.

4) Terri Schiavo Fiasco

In a cynical, political stunt designed to please Religious Right voices within the GOP, Bush attempted to interfere in one family’s legal case regarding end-of-life decisions. The dispute centered around Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who was in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years after experiencing "massive and irreversible brain damage." Her husband said that she had told him that she would not want to be kept alive in such circumstances, while her parents disputed the findings surrounding her medical condition.

Florida courts sided with her husband, but Bush felt that he knew better, successfully urging the state legislature to pass a law giving “Bush the power to intervene in the case.” The law was struck down by state courts as patently unconstitutional, but helped turn one family’s tragedy into a national controversy and Religious Right crusade, sparking several violent threats against her husband.

When a state law didn't work, Bush helped convinced a GOP-led Congress and his brother, the president, to pass and sign a law giving Schiavo’s parents the power to appeal in the federal courts, which ultimately decided not to hear their legal challenges.

Nonetheless, Bush still tried to intervene in the case by attempting to bring Schiavo under state custody, another ploy rejected by the courts. The governor had also suggested — falsely — that her husband had been abusive and had him investigated. Bush is now touting his handling of the Schiavo case as proof of his conservative credentials.

3) Business Ventures Gone Bad, Very Bad

Being the son of President George H.W. Bush gave him a leg-up in business ventures, so when Bush traveled to Nigeria on a visit to secure a major deal for an industrial water pumps company called the M.W.I Corporation, he was greeted "as a hero." The company was eventually "found guilty in a federal civil case of misleading the U.S. government to secure taxpayer-funded loans," as the group hid tens of millions of dollars it paid to a Nigerian middle-man when it successfully applied for loans from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The middle-man was accused of "using Ex-Im loan money to bribe Nigerian officials ... with suitcases full of cash."

Another company with close Bush ties, the manufacturer InnoVida, had its leaders sent to jail after they were convicted of fraud. The Ideon Group, a credit card company linked with Bush, was run into the ground, and board members, including Bush, had to settle lawsuits over charges of "stock manipulation and weak oversight." Bush also sat on the board of a Swiss soap maker which made false financial reports, where he was once again sued for "insufficient oversight."

Bush continued to rise in the business world, despite this record, when he was tapped as a consultant for Lehman Brothers. After hiring Bush, Lehman secured deals with the Florida's State Board of Administrators, where Bush had served as a trustee while governor, which ended up costing the state over $1 billion in losses. Lehman also dispatched Bush to win the help of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to stave off the firm's collapse, a mission nicknamed "Project Verde" which ultimately failed. But Bush landed on his feet, as he then served as an adviser to Barclays, the British bank which took over much of Lehman's portfolio.

2) Alternating Answers On Iraq

Jeb Bush says his brother, former president George W. Bush, will be his chief adviser on the Middle East, along with Iraq War architect Paul Wolfowitz. Therefore, it was no surprise when Jeb Bush originally said that he would still invade Iraq knowing what we know now that the country did not have weapons of mass destruction, a position shared by his brother.

The criticism of his comments was swift, even from conservative talk show hosts like Laura Ingraham, who said: "You can't still think that going into Iraq, now, as a sane human being, was the right thing to do."

Bush tried to do damage control by appearing on Sean Hannity’s radio show, telling the friendly interviewer that he "interpreted the question wrong," but still wouldn’t reveal his position whether he would still invade Iraq. "I don’t know what that decision would have been, that's a hypothetical," he told Hannity. The next day, Bush still refused to say whether he would invade Iraq even though the country didn’t have WMDs, saying such a prospect would be a "disserve" to soldiers.

Eventually, following mounting criticism, Bush said that he "would not have gone into Iraq," his fourth and possibly final answer on the matter, while adding that he blames the conflict in Iraq on President Obama.

1) 2000 Voting Debacle

Just prior to the 2000 election, Bush oversaw an effort to purge voting lists of convicted felons who are barred from voting. However, the process was "riddled with mistakes" and resulted in around 12,000 wrongly purged voters, disproportionately African Americans. Just prior to the 2000 election, the Brennan Center for Justice reported that "Florida registrants were purged from the rolls if 80 percent of the letters of their last names were the same as those of persons with criminal convictions," and on top of that, the lists used to find voters to purge from the rolls included many Floridians who were not felons.

The problems affecting minority voters didn't end there.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights further found that Bush and other statewide officials, in a "gross dereliction" of duty, had "ignored" mounting evidence of election-related problems, noting that "while African Americans comprised about 11% of all voters in Florida in the November 2000 presidential election, African Americans cast about 54% of the ballots that were rejected in the election." Far from an equal process, the report found that counties with larger Hispanic and black populations "were more likely to use voting systems with higher spoilage rates" than wealthier, predominantly white counties. These spoiled ballots broke heavily for Al Gore, according to a Florida State University analysis.

George W. Bush officially won Florida by a 537 vote margin.

Right-Wing Radio Host: Gay Marriage Leads To 'Enslavement'

The right-wing outlet WorldNetDaily spoke today to Phyllis Schlafly, the founder of Eagle Forum, and far-right talk show host Carl Gallups about the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Schlafly said that people should worry about the emergence of anti-Christian “persecution” if the court decides to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage, while Gallups predicted that Christians may even face “enslavement.”

Gallups repeatedly insisted that the legalization of gay marriage will allow the government to force pastors to officiate same-sex couples’ weddings, a baseless prediction and an event that has never happened in the thirty-seven states that already have equal marriage laws.

Even worse, Gallups says, people will experience “economic destruction” unless they rise up and “take measures like our Founding Fathers took.”

Schlafly also highlighted the danger posed to private individuals and businesses because of homosexual activists looking for targets for lawsuits. And she mourns the loss of the free country she says she has lived in “all of my life.”

“Persecuting Christians … that’s not the country we live in. We have the First Amendment. We have freedom of religion. That was a basic element of American policy. And now many, many people think we are about to lose it, and Obama is doing nothing to calm their fears.”

Carl Gallups, a radio host, pastor, and author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” is one of those people. He says American pastors may face a real test of faith.

“If the Supreme Court declares homosexual marriage to be the law of the land, pastors will have a lot of important decisions to make. If the government were to focus in on the churches and say you have to perform gay weddings or give up tax-exempt status, what will these preachers do? Will they stand on the word of God, and with the historical foundation of civilized societies, or will they cave in – in the name of financial and political expediency?”



Gallups warns what is at stake is the creation of nothing less than a new legal and religious order built upon the destruction of the First Amendment.

He maintains, “If the government can force a church to perform homosexual weddings, then in effect the First Amendment to the Constitution has been completely destroyed. At that point, the government is creating a new religion, a new state church, because they are saying what Christianity is and is not.



Gallups looks to history for examples of how Americans can resist the kind of possible “enslavement” he sees coming for Christians.

He asks believers: “When the First Amendment is gone – trampled in the dirt under our nose, and we are forced to submit to godlessness at gunpoint or economic destruction, will we roll over and put ourselves under the tyranny of those who would desire to enslave us and dominate us? Or will we take measures like our Founding Fathers took?”

He continued, “Never forget, our Founding Fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence that it was our duty to take the same stand that they took should a future ‘regime’ threaten to do to us what King George did to the colonies. Many believe that day might quickly be approaching. That’s a tough thing to consider, but I think pastors, Christians, and every freedom loving, Constitution-loving American had best consider the possibility.

“[The Founding Fathers] began with every peaceful means at their disposal, until violence was eventually threatened and inflicted upon them. At that point it came time to defend their lives, the lives of their families, church families, and neighbors – and their freedom.

“I hope and pray that this never happens. That’s why I, and so many others like me, are working fervently to restore and preserve our constitutional republic with every peaceful and prayerful means possible. Because as long as the Constitution, and especially the First Amendment, is upheld, the government cannot force us to perform a homosexual wedding – in so doing they would be establishing our religious tenants with government decree and sanction. We can easily co-exist with people of different beliefs. But once the First Amendment is gone and the government can tell people what to do in the deep matters of biblical faith that is tyranny – and that is something different altogether.”

Phyllis Schlafly does not believe it will come to anything like that because “the American people won’t put up with it.”

Richard Land: Gays Seizing America's 'Cultural Icons'

Richard Land, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, appeared on “Sandy Rios In The Morning” this week to discuss growing support for gay rights and acceptance of homosexuality in the U.S.

Land blamed such trends on “a broad cultural assault on biblical values through the media, through entertainment [and] through MTV,” specifically calling out the “gay and lesbian, bisexual community” for its “sustained campaign” to “propagandize” Americans.

“These people have gone after the icons in our culture,” Land said. “They’ve gone after the military, they’ve gone after the Boy Scouts, they’ve gone after Disney, and you’re seeing a gradual waning of the influence of the worldview that made America what it is, the Judeo-Christian worldview.”

Paranoia-Rama: Abortion Caused The Drought, 'Wrecking Ball' Obama Ushering In The End Times

It seems that immigration, gay rights and legal abortion are all about to destroy America, and there is nothing conservatives can do to stave off destruction until President Obama leaves office … unless, of course, Hillary Clinton gets elected, in which case we’re all doomed.

Savage: Deport Immigration Activists, Put Undocumented Prisoners In 'Internment Camps'

On Wednesday’s broadcast of “The Savage Nation,” conservative talk radio host Michael Savage wrapped up a lengthy anti-immigrant rant by criticizing “The New Colossus,” a sonnet by Emma Lazarus that’s inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. Calling the poem “stupid,” Savage falsely claimed that it was authored by communist activist Emma Goldman.

Savage quickly corrected himself, but the mention of Goldman led him to insist that more people should be deported, like Goldman, and that the U.S. should reestablish the House Un-American Activities Committee, recommending that the new HUAC order the deportation of people who “work against America” such as people who work for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“I love McCarthy,” he said, adding that “real American” military veterans should run the new HUAC. He eventually returned to immigration: “No more immigrants, end of story.”

He said that the U.S. should “work out a deal with Russia” and “build internment camps somewhere in Siberia” for undocumented immigrants in the prison system, and also deport “greedy little NYU graduates” who work as immigration attorneys.

Michael Savage Wonders If Obama Will Get Sex Reassignment Surgery, Wants Him Arrested

Yesterday on “The Savage Nation,” host Michael Savage responded to an email question about whether President Obama would soon invite Caitlyn Jenner to the White House, which led Savage to posit that Obama will tell the liberal news site Salon after leaving office that he has “interests in that direction.”

The right-wing radio host exploded into a rant about the president and Michelle Obama: “It’s like two gangster liars took over the country.”

“I can’t take it anymore,” Savage shouted. “He’s a liar, he’s a BS artist and a criminal as far as I’m concerned.”

Savage also demanded that Congress “impeach and arrest” Obama “for the crimes against America” while also wondering about his supposed weight lost and if he “has an illness.”

“I know he has a mental illness of progressivism, I know that that’s an illness that’s incurable, but maybe the physical illness can be treated by the geniuses at the hospitals there,” he added.

Michael Savage Draws Link Between Caitlyn Jenner, Obama And ISIS

On Friday, far-right radio host Michael Savage continued to rail against Caitlyn Jenner, calling her a “degenerate,” a “psychopath” and a “very sad, sick individual.” Savage even managed to make a connection between Jenner’s gender transition and the rise of extremists like ISIS:

I ask you, do you think that radical Islam is rising around the world in a vacuum? They’re not rising around the world in a vacuum. This nation was once a torch of liberty to the world. This nation was once a torch of heroes to the world. This nation was once looked up to around the world, but since we’ve put this demented anti-American into the White House, the nation has imploded. It has collapsed morally, militarily, anyway you want to look at it. So therefore, when a nation collapses morally or socially, what rises up in its place? Bruce Jenner. The putrid garbage being spewed by Hollywood has now produced a freak-show where the freaks are now running America.

He lamented that “the freaks and the perverts and the anti-Americans are a very small minority and yet they are ruling over this nation. That is how a man as demented as Bruce Jenner can be held up as a symbol of something wonderful and wholesome.”

Savage also further expounded on his theory about how President Obama is ushering in the downfall of America on his Monday broadcast, insisting that “the skids were greased for him early on.”

“Everything was done for him. He never worked a day in his life. He went to a very expensive high school in Hawaii, Punahou, at full scholarship, paid for by some very wealthy liberals who were cultivating from early-on to become what he has become,” Savage said. “This child was handpicked.”

According to Savage, as a result of this sinister left-wing plot, Obama thinks that he is all-powerful and should be able to rule “without limits.”

What’s his ultimate goal? On Tuesday, Savage said that the Obama administration (and Israel) actually created ISIS in order to bring down the Syrian government due to the Assad regime’s close ties with Iran.

“If my allegation is correct that ISIS is in fact our totem army and we are allowing them to rape, kill and murder with impunity, blow up churches, is that the future of America? A Christian-free zone? Is that the vision of the Bilderberg’s?” Savage asked.

John Kasich Kicks Off Presidential Bid By Addressing Religious Right Gathering

The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Religious Right group led by disgraced right-wing lobbyist Ralph Reed, is holding its annual “Road to Majority” conference next week. Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has signed up for the event, and today, the FFC announced that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be addressing the conservative summit.

Kasich recently made waves by tapping John Weaver and Fred Davis, two veterans of John McCain’s 2008 campaign, to work for his increasingly likely campaign for president.

The conference is cosponsored by radical right-wing groups such as Concerned Women for America, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property and the World Congress of Families, and will feature speeches from Religious Right favorites such as Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, Christian Broadcasting Network “reporter” David Brody, pastor Jim Garlow, rabbi Daniel Lapin and activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Lila Rose and Gary Bauer.

Clearly, no right-wing activist is too radical or corrupt for Republican presidential candidates to embrace, which is why Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina have no qualms about attending this event organized by someone like Reed.

Reed is best known for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal, where he organized a Christian Coalition anti-gambling campaign in Alabama with the help of secretive funding from Mississippi tribes that owned casinos – who just so happened to be Abramoff’s clients that didn’t want business competition from the neighboring state. Reed denied knowing the source of the funding, even though investigators uncovered emails from Abramoff asking Reed to send invoices for approval from a Mississippi tribe which controlled major gaming interests. Abramoff later said that Reed “didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money,” adding that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.”

Right-Wing Pundits Rail Against Gay Military Leaders

During his remarks at the Pentagon’s celebration of LGBT Pride Month on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Randy S. Taylor, who has served in the Army for 27 years, introduced his husband to attendees. Predictably, Taylor’s remarks and other speeches by LGBT service members did not go over well with the far-right, including talk show host Michael Savage, who on Tuesday blasted the Pride event and even managed to draw a connection to ISIS.

“So this is the world we’re living in,” Savage sighed. “This is what Obama has done to America, this is what he has done to the military. A man, a general now, introduces his husband at an event like this. Do you have any idea why ISIS is insane as they are? Do you have any idea that you are looking at two sides of a coin here? You see a ninth-century view of the world from a point of view of ISIS, and you see a view of the world that is so warped and so accepted in America as the norm, that most people’s heads are spinning around the world not understanding how a super power became a ‘stupid power’ in one generation.”

Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media was similarly enraged, taking to BarbWire to castigate “Obama’s Orwellian Armed Forces”:

Indeed, the “wife” or “husband” of a top U.S. general was on display during the Pentagon gay pride ceremony on Tuesday, as reported by Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times. He noted that Brigadier General Randy S. Taylor introduced his husband, Lucas, at a Pentagon event on Tuesday. Another top Pentagon official, Air Force General Counsel Gordon O. Tanner, also has a husband.

In Obama’s Orwellian Armed Forces, two men make a marriage, even if one takes the title of “wife” and the other “husband.” Or, perhaps, both are husbands. Who knows? I may have to consult the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association for the latest instructions on the correct terminology.



It appears that over the past several years, Obama has been acting as a seamstress, weaving things into the fabric of America that didn’t exist until he took office.

Left behind in the wake of this exercise in building a new nation are the remnants of the old America—traditional values, a strong military, and a constitutional system based on free enterprise and limited government.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins reacted to the event by asking members of his group to pray for the “good soldiers” who, he says, are facing discrimination because the Obama administration is “catering to” gay service members:

Back during the congressional debate over DADT, the military's service chiefs were promised that the Equal Opportunity guidelines would not change -- which, like many other assurances, has turned out to be a bold-faced lie that greased the wheels of repeal. As we've witnessed in the four years since, once the camel's nose was under the tent, the dominos started to fall. Under an affirmative action-type system, what troops do in the bedroom will transcend what they do in battle when it comes to key personnel decisions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the military will start catering to gays, lesbians, and transgenders at the expense of good soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. As they have with every incremental change, activists will leverage this new standing as a way to demand access and force affirmation.



Faith and military service have been an inseparable piece of the American fabric for centuries. And to watch that fabric unravel at the hands of a radical few is painful -- but not irreparable. Courage, the same kind that led the great men and women of this country to put on their uniform, is needed more now than ever. Pray for our troops -- not only that they would have the fortitude to fight the enemies abroad, but the agenda within. (emphasis added)

WorldNetDaily, a far-right outlet, spoke about the event with conservative writer Paul Kengor, who said that it denigrated religion and lamented that same-sex relationships are no longer subject to discrimination in the military:

He told WND: “What you’re seeing here is the Left’s and Obama’s fundamental transformation of the military. This is the cultural revolution and long march through America’s most cherished institutions that the radical left, particularly the cultural Marxists, have long sought. This is a takedown.

“They were very shrewd. They understood that once you captured culture via education, media, and Hollywood, the rest would fall in due course. And as Americans become increasingly secular and individualistic and relativistic, they’ve been fairly easy prey. The left took the public schools, the universities, media and social media, Hollywood, and now the Boy Scouts and even the military.”

As evidence of this deliberate campaign, Kengor cited the media’s celebration of Bruce Jenner’s transformation to “Caitlyn” and the recent spate of television shows targeted at children and young people celebrating transgenders.

Kengor observes: “I must say that I’m tempted to congratulate them. They’ve worked long and hard and patiently at this. Unfortunately, it’s just such a shame because they’re ruining what was once a great country. The left laughed at Ronald Reagan’s description of America as a Shining City Upon a Hill. Well, they can take comfort in the fact that it ain’t no Shining City no more.”

Kengor believes military culture is simply following the same cultural trends as the rest of society. He notes homosexuality and other sexually deviant behavior was once seen as a reason to deny a security clearance. However, as public morality has shifted, Kengor argues it is impossible to expect the military to remain permanently aloof from society.

“As for military men openly acknowledging gay ‘husbands’ – hey, why not? Once upon a time in America, such a spousal arrangement would have been a huge security risk inviting instant possibility of blackmail,” he said.

“But that’s no longer the case in a culture and country where behavior like this is celebrated as a joyous expression of liberation and self-expression. In the new fundamentally transformed America, these two soldiers are no longer security risks; they’re cultural icons. They’re the new heroes. They are the new G.I. Joes.”

Kengor warns Americans the new sexually progressive military is unlikely to produce the kinds of legendary military heroes prior generations of Americans once idolized. Indeed, Kengor says many heroic Americans would find no place in the armed services of today.

“I guess I’ll be the one to ask the politically incorrect but obvious question: What would George Patton think of this? Of course, we all know that he was a mere hate-filled homophobe whose abiding anti-marriage-equality bigotry should have forever disqualified him from disserving our military.”

More importantly, said Kengor, the transformation of the military into a pro-homosexual and pro-transgender force is only a step toward what he sees as the left’s final goal of driving religion entirely out of public life.

“Marriage is within their grasp. What’s next? The greatest foe of all: God and religion. A victory there would be the secular left’s ideological apotheosis.” (emphasis added)

Michael Savage: Hillary Clinton Waging War On White People With 'Blood Libel'

Last week on “The Savage Nation,” Michael Savage railed against Hillary Clinton’s speech at Texas Southern University, where she called for improved voter access and challenged Republican politicians who back restrictions on voting rights.

Linking her remarks to a legal effort to challenge such restrictions in court funded in part by George Soros, whom he called “one of the most evil men in the history of the world,” Savage concluded that Clinton and Soros are waging war against white people in America. “He’s like the evil genius,” Savage said of Soros. “He’s everything Jesus warned us against.” 

Savage said that Clinton didn’t dedicate the speech to attacking ISIS because “she wants to defeat only the white person in America by coming up with this big lie, it’s like a blood libel.”

“It’s like blood libel from the worst of the white race is coming out of their mouths now,” Savage said. “The lowest, lowest level of humanity is popping up out of the white race to try and grab power by attacking white people in order to steam up black people and the young and minorities and illegal aliens. It’s a sickening situation.”

Savage also called Clinton “Goebbels in a skirt, a hatemonger, an ugly hatemonger, a monster who is not qualified to lead a sewer brigade let alone a nation such as ours,” while likening her campaign officials to Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl.

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