Brian Tashman's blog

Remembering The Religious Right's Attacks On Nelson Mandela

The news today of Nelson Mandela’s passing is also time to reflect on the complicated relationship between Mandela and his anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) with the US, which did not always support the anti-apartheid struggle. In fact, American conservatives lobbied the federal government in the 1980s to withhold support from the anti-apartheid movement.

President Reagan added the ANC to the US terrorism watch list, a designation not removed until 2008, and unsuccessfully vetoed sanctions against the apartheid regime. Many Republican lawmakers did break with the Reagan administration’s stance, but “all 21 [Senate] votes to sustain the veto were cast by Republicans.”

Mandela faced criticism from Republican leaders including Dick Cheney, who described Mandela’s ANC as a “terrorist organization,” and Jesse Helms, who “turned his back during Mandela’s visit to the U.S. Capitol.” Even in 1998, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly lumped Mandela together with notorious dictators.

The late Jerry Falwell urged [PDF] his supporters to write their congressmen and senators to tell them to oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime. “The liberal media has for too long suppressed the other side of the story in South Africa,” he said. “It is very important that we stay close enough to South Africa so that it does not fall prey to the clutches of Communism.”

“South Africa is torn by civil unrest, instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people who are capitalizing on the many legitimate grievances created by apartheid, unemployment and policy confrontations,” Falwell continued.

Finally, we should, if possible, invest in South Africa, because this inevitably improves the standard of living for nonwhites there.

Now is not the time to turn our backs on South Africa. The world has witnessed the Soviets capture nation after nation. They have been particularly aggressive in Africa. South Africa must not be the next victim!

David John Marley notes in Pat Robertson: An American Life that Robertson criticized the ANC because it was “led by communists and was hostile to Israel” and “far too radical an element to ever work with,” while “his campaign literature made similar claims for the need to support the white government.”

The televangelist regularly spoke ill of Mandela’s group and his Christian Broadcasting Network ran segments critical of sanctions against the apartheid government as Congress debated sanctions.

In 1986 The 700 Club did a series of reports on South Africa and the white government’s struggle against the African National Congress. While many socially liberal religious leaders decried the apartheid regime, Robertson openly supported it because he felt that it was a bastion against communism. For Robertson, everything else was secondary to defeating what he saw as the enemies of God. Robertson sent a copy of The 700 Club program to Freedom Council’s Dick Thompson to have it forwarded to Pat Buchanan, who in turn promised to show it to the president. Reagan’s attitude toward South Africa was one of his most controversial foreign policy stands, and Robertson was one of Reagan’s few allies on the policy.

Sam Kleiner mentions that now-Sen. Jeff Flake, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff were also active in lobbying against the anti-apartheid movement:

Jack Abramoff, now a disgraced former lobbyist convicted of fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion, got much of his start from his work with South Africa. Abramoff visited the country following his term as National Chair of the College Republicans in 1983 and met with pro-apartheid student groups linked to the South Africa’s Bureau of Security Services. In 1986, he opened the International Freedom Foundation. Ostensibly a think tank, it was later revealed as a front group for the South African Army as part of “Operation Babushka” meant to undermine Nelson Mandela’s international approval. The group had over “30 young ideologues in offices on G Street in Washington, Johannesburg, London and Brussels” working on propaganda in support of the South African government.



Like Abramoff, GOP tax guru Grover Norquist became enamored with the conflict in South Africa and went there to extend his support. Norquist ran College Republicans from 1981 to 1983 and went to South Africa in 1985 for a “Youth for Freedom Conference” sponsored by South African businesses. While other college students, such as Barack Obama, had been active in anti-apartheid work, this conference was seeking to bring American and South African conservatives together to end that movement. In his speech there, Norquist said, “The left has no other issue [but apartheid] on campus. Economic issues are losers for them. There are no sexy Soviet colonies anymore.” A few months after the conference, Norquist went to Angola to work with Jonas Savimbi, the rebel leader that Abramoff valorized in his film. Norquist became a ghost-writer for Savimbi’s essay in Policy Review. When he returned to Washington, he was greeted in conservative circles as a “freedom fighter,” and he proudly placed an “I’d rather be killing commies” bumper sticker on his brief case.

A few years later and much further along in the anti-apartheid movement, a young Jeff Flake (now a senator from Arizona) became active in lobbying for South African mining interests in the late 1980s and early ’90s, after returning from his Mormon mission to South Africa. As a graduate student at Brigham Young University, he testified against an anti-apartheid resolution in the Utah State Senate and then became a lobbyist in Washington for Smoak, Shipley and Henry, a lobbying firm specializing in representing the South African mining industry. Flake went on to personally represent the Rossing Uranium plant in Namibia, which had been a major target of anti-apartheid activists for its discriminatory and unsafe practices.

Decades later, these Republican leaders would prefer not to have their adventures in South Africa mentioned. While Abramoff went down in a corruption scandal, Norquist went on to remake himself into a libertarian anti-tax activist, and Flake moved back to Arizona. The anti-communism that motivated the Republican allegiance to South Africa fizzled with the end of the Cold War, but the history of the Republican entanglement with South Africa remains one of the party’s darker episodes.

President Obama can proudly talk about how his first political act was in response to apartheid. While a few Republicans stood against apartheid, much of the Republican Party has nothing to offer about its position at the time but silence. I wouldn’t expect any reflections on apartheid from Abramoff, Flake or Norquist anytime soon.

Frank Gaffney Will Twist Any News Item In Order To Attack Obama

After the Ukrainian government’s decision to pull out of an agreement with the European Union triggered massive protests, Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled his trip to Ukraine and instead visited Moldova which, unlike Ukraine, decided to pursue closer relations with the EU.

This is how a real news source covered the story:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Ukrainian government on Tuesday to “listen to the voices of its people” after President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to spurn an agreement with the European Union sparked days of massive protests.

Kerry said Ukrainians had demonstrated “in unbelievable numbers” their support of the accord on closer ties with Europe, which Yanukovych rejected last week in favor of Russian incentives.

“Mr. Yanukovych has obviously made a personal decision and the people don't agree with that decision,” Kerry said after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

“Clearly there is a very powerful evidence of people who would like to be associated with Europe... we stand with the vast majority of the Ukrainians who want to see this future for their country,” he told a news conference.



“I personally will be going to Moldova in order to support that country's European choice,” Kerry said. “I look forward to visiting Ukraine when it too gets back on the path to European integration and economic responsibility.”

But Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy claims that Secretary Kerry’s clear stance in favor of greater European integration and support for the demonstrators actually is proof that he opposes the pro-EU protest movement, proving once again that Obama administration officials can do no right in the eyes of right-wing activists: 

There’s a new revolution underway – this time in Ukraine. Mass demonstrations are insisting that country align with the European Union, not Russia, an idea adamantly opposed by Vladimir Putin and his puppets in Kiev. America should be standing with those seeking freedom and closer ties to the West. Yet, the Obama administration is literally missing in action, with Secretary of State John Kerry just cancelling a planned trip to Ukraine. See a pattern here? Where revolutionaries are working to overthrow friends of the United States, Team Obama is all for them. Where revolutionaries oppose regimes hostile to the United States and freedom – as in Iran in 2009 or Ukraine today – President Obama offers no help, or even rhetorical support. This pattern diminishes America’s standing internationally and makes for a more dangerous world.

Kevin Swanson Sees The Hunger Games, Disappointed 'Little Girl Anarchist' Katniss Became A Leader

Pastor Kevin Swanson took two of his daughters, paper and pen in hand, to the movie theater to see “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and made them take notes about the movie to discuss later on his Generations Radio program. Swanson, a leader in the patriarchal fundamentalist homeschooling movement, naturally was aghast at the portrayal of “Hunger Games” heroine Katniss Everdeen as an icon of the rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol.

Swanson said that the fictional Panem’s main problem was a lack of male leadership (aside, you know, from its president).

“Think about the men,” Swanson said. “They were tyrants, they were wimpy, they were led around by the nose by women. Peeta is a puppy dog, he was cute, he was nice, he was fluffy and he did everything that his mistress told him to do. He was the puppy dog.”

“Girls, if society is so broken down and there are no fathers left, probably no sheriffs with courage and guts to defend the people from tyrants, what do you get when you don’t have any men?” he asked. “I guess you get Katniss, and Katniss is going to save society. It’s also interesting that the most popular movies that people watch are movies about witches, about vampires and about little girl anarchists, revolutionaries.”

Pat Robertson Blames Woman For Drawing In 'Indigent Or Abusive' Spouses

Televangelist Pat Robertson has a flair for making sweeping judgments about people simply by reading the short questions they submit to the 700 Club’s Bring It On segment. Just today, Robertson seemed to be able to uncover intimate details about a the life of a twice-divorced woman who was wondering if she would go to hell if she married again.

“You’ve got a serious problem and I don’t think marriage is for you,” Robertson said. “You have picked a selection of losers, there is something in your character that draws you to these men who are indigent or abusive. I don’t think you’re marriage material.”

The viewer never referenced abuse in her question.

“Just for now, forget marriage, work out a life for yourself, get close to the Lord,” Robertson advised.

Watch:

Gun Owners Of America, Allen West Embrace Debunked EPA-Gun Control Conspiracy Theory

In a blog post this week, former Florida congressman Allen West gets behind a conspiracy theory that holds that the Environmental Protection Agency is launching a “clandestine” and “backdoor” assault on the Second Amendment. The gist of the theory is that President Obama used the EPA to shut down a Missouri smelter that refused to comply with anti-pollution regulations, thereby creating a scarcity of bullets and, in West’s words, “destroy[ing] the Second Amendment.”

Of course, there is no actual evidence to support West’s claim. In fact, the EPA first went after the smelter in question in 2008, the year before Obama became president. Steve Benen notes: “If enforcement of environmental safeguards was used to secretly undermine access to ammunition, the plot was launched by the notorious gun-grabbers in the Bush/Cheney administration.”

Despite the lack of evidence and the fact that the smelter was targeted before Obama even took office, now Gun Owners of America is also embracing the patently bogus conspiracy:

Mike Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America (GOA), agrees with West, saying this is clearly a backdoor attack on the Second Amendment.

"We don't think it's coincidental that a company that melts lead for bullets was targeted by the Obama administration, given the politicization [of the issue]," he tells OneNewsNow. "As a matter of fact, every way the Obama administration can go at the Second Amendment through the back door it's attempted to do so."

Hammond says it is also scary that the federal government is buying up so much of the ammo that is produced.

"People all over the country are saying [they] can't buy bullets – and the Obama administration said Oh, we just need them," states the GOA spokesman. "But people all over the country are finding difficulty buying ammunition because of large government purchases."

Perkins: Tide Turning Against Marriage Equality

Back in June, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins pointed to the marriage equality fight in Illinois to argue that marriage equality is not inevitable:

Today, Pew Research Center did its part to dispirit supporters of natural marriage by insisting that 72% of Americans believe same-sex "marriage" is inevitable (including 85% of same-sex "marriage" supporters and 59% of natural marriage proponents). Apparently, the folks at Pew didn't survey anyone in Illinois. Advocates of same-sex "marriage" thought victory in the President's home state was "inevitable" too -- until the churches got involved.

The reality is, same-sex "marriage" is only as inevitable as we make it. If Christians play into the media's hands and adopt this defeatist attitude, then the Left is right: It is helpless. But if believers rediscover the power of the truth, they can do more than stop the dissolution of marriage (like they did in Illinois), they can "turn the world upside down" (Acts 17:6).

Of course, Illinois eventually did in fact legalize same-sex marriage. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now have marriage equality laws, which are favored by 58 percent of Americans and a huge majority of young people.

But undeterred by the facts, Perkins said in his radio address today that “the tide may already be turning” against equality:

Plenty of states have been processing down the same-sex marriage aisle. But according to pundits, that's all about to change. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Homosexual activists like to say that momentum is on their side. And until recently, they might have been right. Sixteen U.S. states now recognize a right to same-sex marriage. And unfortunately, the Left's success in places like Hawaii and Illinois have helped feed the lie in America that homosexual marriage is inevitable. But don't believe it, say experts. All we've witnessed lately is the Left taking advantage of easy targets. With the exception of West Virginia, none of the other 34 states are under Democratic control. That means the Left's toughest battles are yet to come. And in places like Indiana, the tide may already be turning. State liberals are rushing to play defense while a marriage protection amendment works its way to the statewide ballot. So be encouraged. Not all same-sex wedding bills are leading to wedding bells.

Indiana will vote on an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2014, but Indiana GOP leaders are already distancing themselves from or even opposing the discriminatory initiative. While the vote is a year away, the latest polling found that most Hoosiers oppose the amendment.

Marriage equality may also soon arrive in Oregon and New Mexico (where it is already legal in some counties), which may disappoint Perkins as he tries to pretend anti-gay activists are somehow winning the fight on marriage rights.

Nugent: Save America By Banning People Who Don't Pay Federal Income Taxes From Voting

NRA board member Ted Nugent says he is willing to support a proposal to close the gun show loophole, but only if in return people who pay no federal income taxes are banned from voting. In 2013, about 43% of households owed no federal income tax, but the vast majority of households did pay federal taxes in the form of the payroll tax, along with state and local taxes.

Of course, closing what Nugent calls the “federal voting loophole” would bar nearly half of all Americans from voting, including millions of gun owners.

My recommended Grand Compromise is this: Yours truly, the humble MotorCity Madman, NRA Board of Directors member, leading gun-rights spokesman and prospective presidential candidate in 2016, will support and champion closing the so-called gun-show loophole if the anti-gun left wing will support closing the federal voting loophole.

Left-wing anti-gun adherents believe closing the so-called gun-show loophole will be a big step forward in making America safer. While I don’t believe this for a Mayor Bloomburg [sic] smoke-free, fat-free gun-hating second, I’m willing to lead a charge for closing this “loophole” if the left wing, say Piers Morgan or Michael Moore, will agree to promoting and advocating closing what many hardworking and taxpaying Americans believe to be a federal voting loophole.

The federal voting loophole is this: People who pay no federal income taxes are allowed to vote in federal elections. Arguably, this is a “loophole” since these voters have no federal income tax flesh in the game.



The voting “loophole” needs to be closed in order to restore fairness in federal elections. Closing this loophole will not prohibit people who pay no federal income taxes from voting in local, county and state elections – only federal elections. That’s reasonable and fair.

Those Americans who are prohibited from voting in federal elections can once again vote in federal elections when they have paid federal income taxes for three consecutive years.



Mr. Obama talks the talk, but when it comes down to brass tacks he’s largely unwilling to compromise. I will walk the walk. How about it Piers Morgan or Michael Moore? You guys in or just bloviating left-wing hacks?

I’m not holding my breath, but come on, let’s get it on. We have a country to save.

Schlafly & Solomon: Liberals Will Take Kids From Conservatives, Give Them To Gays Who Will Abuse Them

Last night, Stan Solomon hosted Eagle Forum head Phyllis Schlafly to discuss his latest conspiracy theory that liberals intend to take kids away from conservatives and give them to gay people, some of whom will inevitably molest them.

Why haven’t you and I heard of this plot? Because the media is covering it up, of course!

Schlafly also criticized President Obama for “insulting” Americans when he “omitted” the word “God” from his recent recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Of course, her claim is completely false: Obama was reading the first draft of the speech, which did not include a reference to God.

Solomon called Obama a “foulmouthed, homosexual, drug-using, ne’er-do-well,” while Schlafly suggested that he only became president because “he had people behind him pushing him all the way.” “I really don’t think he’s very smart,” she said. “He can only say what somebody puts on the teleprompter for him.”

Geller: Oppose Resolution Condemning Ethnic Cleansing In Burma

Pamela Geller is telling her fellow anti-Muslim activists to convince Congress to reject a resolution “urging the Government of Burma to end the persecution of the Rohingya people and respect internationally recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma.”

The Rohingya minority have faced vicious persecution in Burma, but Geller accuses them of “waging jihad in Burma.”

Various human rights groups and media outlets, along with groups from the Heritage Foundation to the Brookings Institute, have described the persecution of the Rohingya in Burma as ethnic cleansing.

But not Geller.

She claims that the Rohingya are to blame for the atrocities against them because of a bombing at a Buddhist shrine in India by the Islamic extremist Indian Mujahideen, and is demanding activists stop the resolution from turning into a “battering ram to impose Islam on small, defenseless countries.”

Anytime Buddhist monks have to carry guns for self-defense, it's a good bet that the Religion of Peace is involved.

Muslims are waging jihad in Burma. But the Buddhists aren't having it. Muslim Brotherhood groups in the US are agitating for UN intervention. Scroll and read Hamas-CAIR's call for support of US resolution 418 calling for intervention. Please contact your Congressmen and Senators and tell them to VOTE NO on resolution 418. We have seen this before. It led to President Clinton sending US troops to fight for the Bosnian Muslims against the Christian Serbs, leading to the establishment of the first Islamic state in Europe (Kosovo).

Support the Buddhists in Burma. Seriously. Do this. I am in Boston, as our free speech lawsuit is being heard today, but I will be working the phones, and so should you. Burma is 90% Buddhist. These are a peaceful people. The Muslims have brought war to Burma. Bodh Gaya, the holiest site for the Buddhists the world over, was bombed in a series of Islamic terror attacks. Hamas-CAIR must be stopped from using the most powerful government in the world as its battering ram to impose Islam on small, defenseless countries.

Pat Robertson On How To Pray For A Gay Family Member

Pat Robertson says he wants to vomit when he sees photos of gay couples, but advised one 700 Club viewer today that homosexuality is a “very delicate situation.” He suggested to a viewer, Teresa, that she could help her openly gay nephew by making him realize the Bible is “explicit” in its condemnation of homosexuality. Robertson added that “many, many people are into this lifestyle because they have been abused as a child and so forth; I don’t know why it’s there.”

“A few years ago psychiatrists and psychologists used to say that homosexuality was a mental illness, now the Supreme Court has said that it is a protected right,” Robertson said. “So what’s he going to pray about? Is he going to say something is wrong and he’s unhappy? And if he’s unhappy and realizes he is doing something that makes him miserable, you might help him.”

Robertson urged Teresa to “pray that the Lord will show him his love and his truth and out of that he will find an acceptance of where God has for him.”

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