Brian Tashman's blog

Phyllis Schlafly Insists She Is Still In Charge Of Eagle Forum

In a radio interview yesterday, conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly insisted that she is still in charge of Eagle Forum, the group she founded and has led for decades, despite reports that several members, including her daughter, were working to remove her from the organization.

A group of Eagle Forum activists announced on Monday that they had voted to oust Ed Martin from his post as Eagle Forum’s president, a claim denied by Martin. Martin succeeded Schlafly as president last year, with Schlafly remaining to serve as chairman of the board and CEO. While the dissidents have insisted that they were not moving to oust her, Schlafly has repeatedly said that she is the real target of the coup.

Schlafly told St. Louis radio host Mark Cox that nothing has changed in the organization because she did not recognize the meeting at which the vote to remove Martin took place and therefore the vote was invalid.

“I built the most prestigious and good conservative organization on the planet, and all of the sudden there are some people who think they can run it better than I can,” Schlafly said. “So it’s a takeover attempt. We’re not going to let them do it.”

She said that while her prominent endorsement of Donald Trump played a part in the infighting — five of the six people named by Schlafly as the coup plotters have publically endorsed Ted Cruz and one of them suggested that the 91-year-old Schalfly was “manipulated” into backing Trump — she said it was not the main reason for the schism.

“I think they want to get hold of our assets and our lists; in other words, take over the organization that I’ve built up over about 40 years,” she said, “and we’re not going to let them do it.”

“I’ve got three sons that are helping me and we’re going to win,” she added. (Schlafly has said that her daughter, Anne Cori, is “the leader of the coup”; Eagle Forum’s board named Cori as the group’s executive director after voting to oust Martin.) “Nothing’s changed so far,” Schlafly said. “I’m still running it.”

The discussion then moved to Trump’s presidential bid, with Schlafly praising the GOP billionaire mogul for his vocal opposition to “the immigration of a lot of people who don’t share our values and seem to want to spread their way of life in our country” and his fight against “the kingmakers” who “think they are appointed by God or something to run the party and select the nominee.”

She acknowledged that “large numbers of Eagle Forum are for Cruz” and that she even suggested to Trump that he appoint Cruz to the Supreme Court, saying that he called it a “good idea.”

Schlafly said she will attend the GOP convention to make sure that the party doesn’t “change a comma” in its platform because it is already a hardcore conservative document. “When I took over this fight in the platform, the Republican Party was pro-abortion and I’m happy to claim that I am partially to be credited to changing the Republican Party to be pro-life so that you almost have to at least say you’re pro-life in order to run on the Republican ticket,” she said.

Does Ted Cruz's Religious Liberty Message Include Muslims?

Last week, BuzzFeed released a story about how Muslims in Tennessee have faced a rash of threats, vandalism, hate crimes and, in at least one case, a firebombing. Buzzfeed notes that the state “became a key battleground in a national anti-Muslim movement whose influence has culminated, for now, in the presidential campaigns of Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, both of whom are being advised by people whose views on Islam were once considered too extreme for mainstream politics.”

One of the advisers BuzzFeed mentions is Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, whose group’s material was cited by Trump when he called for Muslims to be banned from the country and who has since emerged as an official adviser to Cruz on security issues. Cruz has defended Gaffney as “a serious thinker” and once claimed that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in the United States.

Buzzfeed recounts Gaffney’s effort, along with another future Cruz campaign leader, Kevin Kookogey, to smear a state government official who was Muslim:

In 2012, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, appointed a young lawyer named Samar Ali to the state’s economic development agency. The hiring caused a furious backlash, with several local and national figures claiming Ali had been brought on to make Tennessee “Sharia-compliant.” Many of the accusations came from the Center for Security Policy, a major anti-Muslim group run by former Reagan-era defense official Frank Gaffney. A resolution to condemn Ali’s hiring was pushed by Kevin Kookogey, who was then the chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party and is now the Tennessee chairman of Ted Cruz’s campaign. Gaffney is now one of Cruz’s foreign-policy advisers.

The furor gave Ali a sharp sense of whiplash. She was born and raised in Nashville, the daughter of Palestinian and Syrian immigrants, and she describes her childhood as “almost Pollyannish.” She considered herself a patriot. “I took an oath of office to uphold the U.S. constitution,” she says. Yet there she stood, publicly accused of belonging to a jihadist fifth column. “It was a very painful experience.”

Gaffney’s group said that Ali would bring “financial jihadists” into “the Volunteer state for infiltration and influence operations,” warning that “someone in a powerful position on the inside of the halls of power in the state can only be viewed as an opportunity for those who seek to embed Shariah law into America’s financial system.”

Gaffney also testified on behalf of a group that sought to block the construction of a mosque in the town of Murfreesboro.

According to the Associated Press, the lawyer representing the mosque opponents argued that the mosque was part of “a conspiracy to take over America” and “replace the Constitution with extremist Islamic law” and questioned “whether the world’s second-biggest faith qualifies as a religion” protected by the First Amendment. The Justice Department had to take the unusual step of filing a brief affirming that Islam is in fact a religion.

“Gaffney testified that Shariah, and by extension the new mosque, poses a threat to America,” the AP reported.

“I don’t hold myself out as an expert on Sharia Law,” Gaffney said. “But I have talked a lot about that as a threat.”

“Any elected official responsible for their community should be concerned about their presence,” he told the court. (Following the hearing, Gaffney alleged to reporters that President Obama’s security adviser John Brennan — now the director of the CIA — was committing felony sedition because of his views on Islam.)

When the mosque opponents failed to prohibit the establishment of the Murfreesboro mosque, they asked the county government to seize the building as a threat to public safety, citing Gaffney’s testimony that it could be used to spread terrorism.

While this lawsuit was once seen as bizarre and unusual, its message has been embraced by those close to Cruz. And not just Gaffney.

In fact, the arguments that the Murfreesboro mosque opponents made are very similar to those put forward by Cruz national security adviser Jerry Boykin, who has said that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections” and wants “no mosques in America,” and by Cruz adviser Andy McCarthy, who has similarly stated that the government should not treat Islam as a religious faith.

The chairman of Cruz’s “religious liberty advisory council,” Tony Perkins, has similarly stated that Islam is not a religion protected by the Constitution.

It is no wonder, then, that Cruz, who has made specious tales of anti-Christian discrimination and warnings about dire threats to religious liberty central pieces of his campaign, just recently called for the government to profile Muslims and “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.”

Confusion After Phyllis Schlafly Faces Coup Led By Her Daughter

Yesterday, several members of the board of the conservative group Eagle Forum convened a meeting at which they reportedly voted to oust the group’s president, Ed Martin. Martin, a Republican activist in Missouri, was named president of Eagle Forum last year, while its founder, legendary anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly, remained chairman of the board and CEO.

Schlafly is a conservative icon who has drawn plaudits from the Right for her vocal opposition to feminism, LGBT rights and immigration. But the 91-year-old activist has seen her organization thrown into chaos this week.

Over the weekend, Martin emailed Eagle Forum members warning that six state-level leaders of the group were “pushing a scheme to push Phyllis Schlafly out of Eagle Forum.” He dubbed this group, which included Schlafly’s daughter Anne Cori, the “Gang of 6” and said that the planned coup was motivated by differences of opinion about whether the U.S. should hold an Article V constitutional convention.

At yesterday’s meeting, Eagle Forum’s board reportedly removed Martin from his post as president and installed Cori as the group’s executive director. Two other women who were mentioned in Martin’s “Gang of Six” email, Eunie Smith and Shirley Curry, were named interim president and head of the search committee for a new president, respectively.

“I am honored and excited to be working with our wonderful state volunteer leaders from across the country. We are continuing the incredible legacy of our Founder Phyllis Schlafly,” Cori said in a statement posted under the Eagle Forum banner on the website of Eagle Forum of Alabama.

Schlafly, however, released a statement on her official Facebook account alleging that she was “muted from the call” on which the decision to oust Martin was made and that the “meeting was invalid under the Bylaws but the attendees purported to pass several motions to wrest control of the organization from me.”

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Cori implied that some of the criticism of the board that has been attributed to her mother is actually coming from Martin.” The newspaper noted that “Schlafly and Martin have been releasing apparently coordinated messages on Facebook, Twitter and email.”

Smith told the newspaper that the move to oust Martin was due to his “character and management style.”

Martin’s claim that the “Gang of Six” led an insurgency because they were upset that Schlafly opposed a constitutional convention of states that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon anyways always seemed hard to believe. Smith, for her part, said that the “statements from Mr. Martin are slanderous, libelous and without merit.”

In an interview with a St. Louis radio station yesterday, Martin said that the turmoil was actually a result of Schlafly’s prominent endorsement of Donald Trump, arguing that the six activists were upset about “Phyllis endorsing Trump.” (He also suggested that they are “greedy for power or money.”)

“Phyllis is very discreet,” he added. “Some of the stuff that’s gone on, Phyllis didn’t want to have out there. There is a connection to the Cruz campaign and we’re figuring out how to talk about that.”

At least five of the six Eagle Forum activists who were behind the move have publicly endorsed Ted Cruz, and one of them went so far as to suggest that Schalfly was “manipulated” into backing the billionaire mogul. However, Cori and Smith denied that the vote to remove Martin had anything to do with Schlafly’s support for Trump and insisted that they do not wish to remove Schlafly from the organization.

Smith said in a post on Eagle Forum of Alabama’s website: “It is because of our love and respect for Phyllis and our years of camaraderie that we remain dedicated to protecting her legacy and Eagle Forum.”

But things have at least partly returned to business as usual for Schlafly, who today released a column titled “Feminists can’t get over Clarence Thomas.”

“Feminists hold grudges forever,” she writes.

Frank Gaffney Is Outraged That Muslim-Americans Are Meeting With Members Of Congress

Today on “Sandy Rios In The Morning,” Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy expressed outrage that the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations has organized an “advocacy day” on Capitol Hill, despite the fact that groups across the political spectrum have organized similar lobby days where activists meet with lawmakers and congressional aides. The event page notes:

USCMO’S advocacy day event will focus on promoting a legislative agenda in support of equality and social justice issues that will be of benefit to all Americans, regardless of faith or background, including:

• Support for House and Senate resolutions recognizing and condemning Islamophobia.

• Support legislation that enables individuals to build a credit history without taking on credit debt.

• Support legislation that promotes greater access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods in impoverished areas.

• Address American Muslim community concerns regarding the oversight, management and approach of federal Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs.

Naturally, Gaffney said that the real goal of the occasion is to push Sharia law:

What they’re trying to do is essentially engage in influence operations. This isn’t to say like any other American citizen they don’t have the right to petition their elected representatives. What is worrying, though, is that as part of the larger Muslim Brotherhood operation inside the United States, this relatively new group, of which the Council on American-Islamic Relations is a part, called the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, USCMO, is trying to take political influence to a new level, and that is to actually build political muscle to compel legislators or other would-be elected officials to conform to their demands.

And their demands, unfortunately, are to obtain all kinds of accommodations, perhaps most worryingly, of the kind that would enable them to insinuate this really totalitarian program they call Sharia inside our country. I think that’s the agenda here and it’s very troubling indeed.

Something tells us that he wouldn’t label the many lobby days assembled by other groups “influence operations” or say that by sitting down with their elected representatives they are engaging in an insidious plot “to take political influence to a new level.”

Gaffney serves as a national security adviser to Ted Cruz along with his Center for Security Policy colleague Clare Lopez, who voiced similar anger about an effort to get Muslim-Americans out to vote.

Larry Klayman: 'Violent Reaction' If Supreme Court Doesn't Overturn Immigration Actions

Larry Klayman, the conservative legal activist who represents the anti-immigrant extremist Sheriff Joe Arpaio, penned a column in WorldNetDaily over the weekend about the Supreme Court case determining the future of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Klayman writes that Obama is a secret Muslim who possibly murdered Justice Antonin Scalia to make sure the court’s conservative bloc is one vote short in the case. If the court doesn’t strike down the president's immigration actions, Klayman wrote, there could be a “violent reaction” as Americans demand an end to Muslim immigration since “[w]e are at war with Islam.”

He even makes a reference to his failed attempt to launch a revolution in 2013, when he promised that “millions” of people would “occupy Washington D.C.” until Obama decided to leave office, only to have just a few dozen people show up. While Klayman claims his revolution was always meant to be nonviolent, he once called on military leaders to “rise up” to oust Obama.

This week, “America’s sheriff,” Joe Arpaio, and I filed an amicus, that is a “friend of the court” legal brief before the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the executive orders of President Barack Hussein Obama that involve granting amnesty to over 5 million illegal aliens, many of whom are his “fellow Muslims.” Sheriff Arpaio has not specifically targeted illegal-alien Muslims for deportation in the amicus brief we filed, but frankly, that will be the natural consequence if President Obama’s executive orders allowing for this amnesty are overturned. I therefore write my own views in this column – which square with the views of millions of other Americans who are finally coming out of the woodwork.

These Muslims, as Donald Trump and others like myself have expressed, represent a grave threat to the national security, safety and well-being of all Americans. Whether they are actual or latent terrorists, or just – as is regrettably usually the case – sympathetic to the Islamic cause and its worldwide caliphate under their false god allah, these Muslims have no legal or other right to be here if they are not already citizens. And, that is notwithstanding that the Islamic religion and Muslim culture, in my opinion and the opinion of others who dare to speak the truth publicly, is simply not compatible with a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values and roots. To the extent they can be kept out of this country, this must be done. We are at war with Islam. If we don’t recognize that fact, our fate will soon morph into the disastrous fate of Western Europe, where Muslims have overrun their societies. In the demonstrated wake of past and present terrorist attacks in London, Madrid, Paris and now Brussels, the continent is on the verge of going up in Islamic flames.



A few years ago, standing with presidential candidate Ted Cruz, Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Mike Lee, during the government shutdown, when Obama spitefully barred military veterans from visiting the recently built World War II Memorial, I stood up to speak before these veterans on a cold rainy day. Metaphorically, facing the Lincoln Memorial where the civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King has eloquently given his “I Have a Dream Speech” in the early ’60s, I called for a peaceful non-violent revolution using civil disobedience a la King. Speaking from my heart on “auto-drive,” I challenged our Muslim president, tongue in cheek, to get up off his knees, put the Quran down and come out with his hands up. My “satire” ignited a spark and was nationally televised, eliciting at least two weeks of non-stop coverage and leftist pro-Muslim commentary. The tea party, for which I am credited with having being a primary catalyst, and I were vilified and trashed on the pro-Obama leftist cable networks MSNBC and CNN.

It is ironic, indeed, that a few years later, my controversial satire is no longer satire, but sad recognizable reality. And, with all that is at stake – allowing illegal Muslim and other immigrants to remain in this nation by executive Obama fiat – We the People have to rely for now on the Supreme Court to nullify Obama’s lawless and unconstitutional amnesty. With the high court one conservative vote short – given the mysterious if not “Obama convenient death” of Justice Antonin Scalia – let us all pray that Obama’s executive amnesty will still be struck down. For if it is not, peaceful civil disobedience, as I urged on the National Mall that rainy day before the World War II memorial, will likely soon turn physical, and not by our doing.

As in Europe at this moment, the non-Islamic citizenry have had it with politicians who have opened their societies up to Muslim sexual assault and potentially nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism and mass murder. European leaders such as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel will soon be shown the door at the ballot box. But the push back will not stop there, leaving behind hordes of non-Islamic European citizens who increasingly are taking matters into their own hands.

In short, if the Supreme Court does not throw out the Muslim in Chief’s executive amnesty, expect similar violent reaction soon coming to our shores.

Phyllis Schlafly Faces Ouster Attempt Following Trump Endorsement

This post has been updated.

Over the weekend, Eagle Forum president Ed Martin emailed the group's members about a recently uncovered “scheme to push Phyllis Schlafly out of Eagle Forum.”

Schlafly, the nonagenarian conservative icon who is best known for her role in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), founded and chairs Eagle Forum, which opposes not only feminism but also LGBT equality, immigration reform and vaccines.

Last month, Schlafly introduced and endorsed Donald Trump at a rally in St. Louis, two months after many state and local Eagle Forum leaders had announced their support for Ted Cruz.

One of the Cruz supporters, Cathie Adams of Texas Eagle Forum, delivered a low blow to Schlafly after her campaign stop with Trump, speculating that Schlafly's age had allowed her to be manipulated into the endorsement. "At 91, it is just totally unfair to impose upon someone who has such a beautiful legacy … I think this was very much a manipulation," Adams said. "When you’re 91 and you’re not out with the grass roots all the time, it is very much taking advantage of someone.”

This obviously did not sit well with the national organization. In Martin’s email this weekend, he said that Adams was part of a “Gang of 6” seeking to oust Schlafly from the group she founded.

Five of the “Gang of 6” have publicly endorsed Cruz. The group includes Adams and even Schlafly’s own daughter, Anne Cori.

The others are Eunie Smith, Shirley Curry, Carolyn McLarty and Rosina Kovar, who in 2011 won internet fame for her unintentionally hilarious screed about anal sex.

The Missouri Eagle Forum said that “Phyllis Schlafy’s endorsement of Trump is a likely catalyst” of the “upcoming hostile takeover of Eagle Forum’s board and its assets.”

The email from Martin, however, does not mention the Cruz-Trump split, although he does mention that Adams “disparaged and insulted Phyllis.” Instead, he says that the “Gang of 6” are moving against Schlafly because of her opposition to holding a new constitutional convention.

Several conservative activists such as radio host Mark Levin and homeschooling activist Michael Farris have called for a convention of states in order to amend the U.S. Constitution with a litany of right-wing items. Schlafly, however, has repeatedly said that there would be no way to limit a constitutional convention to just advancing conservative causes like a Balanced Budget Amendment, warning that liberal activists could use it to ratify proposed amendments like the ERA.

“The rogue members have a hidden agenda, and most refused to return phone calls personally made to them by Phyllis to ask what their concerns are,” Martin wrote. “They are being guided by a big, liberal law firm that they refuse to identify (but the press has identified). They also refuse to say who is funding the high paid liberal lawyers.”

Schlafly herself wrote to members about what she called “the hostile takeover of Eagle Forum,” writing that for “reasons that are not entirely clear to me, some people have been working to attack me and Eagle Forum. My disappointment is compounded by the fact that these are people with whom I have worked closely in the past. I have asked them to resign from the Board immediately so that we may continue our important work.”

In a letter addressed to the so-called “Gang of 6,” Schlafly said that while she has “fond memories of our work together and our friendships,” she has asked them to “resign immediately” from the group’s board.

“[T]his morning Eunie said that this is about my judgment on personnel,” she said. “I don’t know what is the true plan but I believe it is an attack on me and my work.”

Martin added: “Phyllis has always stood up to bullies wherever they are found: the Soviets, the feminists, liberals of every stripe, and those who would undermine Phyllis’ successful leadership of Eagle Forum.”

UPDATE: In an interview with WorldNetDaily, Schlafly said that the attempt to remove her from Eagle Forum was, at least in part, a result of her Trump endorsement and that “the leader of the coup is my daughter Anne Cori and her husband at Eagle Forum Missouri.”

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly confirmed to WND that six board members of her group Eagle Forum have called a special meeting Monday that she believes is an attempt to remove her as CEO because of her support for Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House.

“This may be my Dobson moment,” Schlafly told WND, referring to the 2010 board vote that forced James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, to discontinue his popular national radio show.

“The six board members calling today’s telephone meeting won’t tell me what the meeting is about, but I think it’s an attempt to vote me out,” Schlafly said. “It’s disloyal and it’s terribly shocking, and I’m completely depressed about it.

“I may be one vote short to win today,” she conceded.



“This is a complete takeover attempt,” she said.

“I think the leader of the coup is my daughter Anne Cori and her husband at Eagle Forum of Missouri,” Schlafly said. “I think she and her husband want to take over the organization.”

Her son John Schlafly, the treasurer of Eagle Forum and a board member, explained to WND that among the six board members calling the meeting are several “who feel Donald Trump is unacceptable as the GOP presidential candidate in 2016.”

...

“Cathie gave this very disparaging interview to the press,” Phyllis explained to WND. “It was a very offensive interview about me. She finally called to apologize, but she didn’t retract anything she told the Dallas Morning News.”

Schlafly maintained that Cathie was one of the “ringleaders” of the six dissident board members seeking her ouster.

Adams, in an interview with WND, denied her goal was to take over the organization or remove Schlafly from heading the organization she founded.

“The six board members calling the meeting are among the most loyal to Phyllis,” Adams insisted. “Together we have over 200 years combined service to Eagle Forum among the six of us.”

Adams said the six disgruntled board members were angry at the management style of Ed Martin, a social conservative from Missouri who has served as a member of the Republican National Committee.

Paranoia-Rama: The Voter Fraud Fraud, New Persecution Myths And American Baal Worship

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

Donald Trump has been relatively quiet this week following his defeat in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary but, luckily for us, other right-wing politicians and preachers have stepped in to promote their own bizarre claims.

5) America Has Fallen To Baal Worship

Glenn Beck is very worried that people think he’s “nuts” and is upset that no one respects his role as a prophet. Beck told Sam Rodriguez, one of the Religious Right’s favorite pastors, that anti-Christian persecution in America is heating up and wondered if he will soon “have to make the same kind of choices that [Dietrich] Bonhoeffer did,” referring to the dissident anti-Nazi pastor.

“If people would just look up Baal and Moloch from the Scriptures,” Beck warned, “we are worshiping them right now, we just don’t know it, just in a different way. You used to have to sacrifice your children; it was promoted to have sexual intercourse and, if you got pregnant, you brought the baby to the altar and killed the baby. I mean, it’s the same thing. It was worship the god of finance, the god of war and the god of the earth. I mean, we’re there!”

Beck has repeatedly told his viewers that the only hope for America comes in the form of … Ted Cruz.

4) They’re Coming For Jim Bakker

Speaking of doomsday prophets, televangelist Jim Bakker is out with his own warning about the supposed persecution of Christians in the U.S. Bakker spoke with Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin about how America has lost the freedom of religion to the extent that the government is now seizing businesses from Christians left and right.

A terrified Bakker absurdly claimed that the government has taken away the freedoms to pray and preach from the Bible.

“We are losing it one thing at a time,” he said. “We’ve lost prayer, we’ve lost Bible-reading, we’ve lost just about everything so that we can’t even preach the very foundations of the Word of God. I sit on this program and I bring the greatest speakers in the world here. And if they stormed in these doors right now and arrested me, I would not be surprised.”

3) White Straight People Are Oppressed

Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media joined in on the persecution rhetoric, but with a special focus on the plight of white heterosexuals working in the media.

“The real one percent consists of the open and closeted homosexuals and their allies in positions of power in the major media, academia and the corporate world,” Kincaid warned, and this powerful group is “growing stronger by the day” and becoming even more “determined to expel normal, white heterosexuals from the newsroom.”

“Being white is not a protected class of people,” he said. “White people are the villains, unless they identify as a member of a protected group. That leaves white heterosexuals as people who have to be demoted or dismissed…. Indeed, whiteness is such a cancer in the newsroom that a ‘remedy’ is needed. These white people have to be put in their place. They must be cut down to size.”

2) The Voter Fraud Myth

On Tuesday, Wisconsin GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman came close to admitting that his state’s new voter ID law, ostensibly passed to thwart the mythical scourge of in-person voter fraud, would ensure that a Republican candidate for president wins the state in November.

The long lines faced by Wisconsin voters in this week’s presidential primary inspired a former aide to a Republican state senator in Wisconsin to write about how a “handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications” of the voter ID law “and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters.” These legislators, he said, used “the guise of ‘voter fraud’” to justify their voter suppression measure, even though “[t]here was almost none.”

The aide, Todd Allbaugh, told Chris Hayes yesterday how Republicans were determined to “take people’s constitutional rights away, or at least impede them, in order to hang onto power.”

1) Another Planned Parenthood Debunking

While Planned Parenthood has been the target of right-wing conspiracy theories and smears for decades, things really heated up after David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress released a stream of videos purportedly showing the group selling fetal tissue for a profit.

The accusation became a favorite of conservative activists and Republican politicians, who pushed the false smear that Planned Parenthood committed criminal acts. As it turned out, Daleiden and his colleagues had edited their videos to misrepresent the truth, which was that Planned Parenthood had donated tissue for medical research in compliance with federal law and had only received fees to cover costs like transportation.

After watchdog groups pointed out the group’s misrepresentations and Daleiden himself faced a lawsuit and a criminal indictment, he tried to reverse course and say that he wasn’t an anti-choice activist seeking to destroy Planned Parenthood but simply a journalist.

A recent report by the Los Angeles Times and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, however, found that Daleiden’s new claim that he was just acting as a journalist the whole time doesn’t comport with his actions:

Now, Daleiden, head of the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress, and his associates contend that they were acting as investigative journalists, seeking to expose illegal conduct. That is one of their defenses in lawsuits brought by Planned Parenthood and other groups, accusing them of fraud and invasion of privacy.

But unpublicized footage and court records show that the activists’ methods were geared more toward political provocation than journalism.



The videos and court records show that Daleiden and his associates — posing as representatives of a fetal tissue brokerage — tried to loosen the tongues of abortion providers with alcohol.

In conversations, they tried to plant phrases such as “fully intact baby” and to elicit statements suggesting that fetuses were alive when their tissue and organs were harvested for use in medical research.

A comparison of raw footage and the videos he released shows that Daleiden edited out material that conflicted with his premise that Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics profit from the sale of fetal tissue for research purposes.



On Feb. 5, U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco issued an injunction requested by the NAF to keep more than 500 hours of Daleiden’s unreleased footage under seal.

Orrick said the videos Daleiden has made public so far “have not been pieces of journalistic integrity, but misleadingly edited videos and unfounded assertions… of criminal misconduct.”

Daleiden’s “fraud” was so extensive and his videos so misleading that his still-unpublished recordings of private conversations do not warrant 1st Amendment protection as free speech, the judge said. In his order, Orrick used the words “fraud” or “fraudulently” 13 times in referring to Daleiden’s methods.

Courting Extremism: Chuck Grassley Gives Away The Game And Donald Trump Outlines His Judicial Strategy

Courting Extremism is a weekly feature on conservative responses to the Supreme Court vacancy.

Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of voters want the Senate to hold hearings on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans continue to refuse to even let Garland answer questions.

In doing so, they are taking orders from — and sometimes directly repeating the talking points of — the conservative interest groups that are desperately trying to keep the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat open in the hopes that a Republican president will nominate a conservative ideologue to fill it. The Republican Party’s presidential frontrunner has even gone so far as to say that he would outsource the selection of the next justice to these groups.

Here are five ways the GOP has tried to support its Supreme Court blockade this week:

5) The Heller Lie Lives On

Republicans seem to have given up trying to find anything in Garland’s record that might disqualify him serving on the Supreme Court and seem content instead to just repeat blatant falsehoods about his judicial career.

For example, conservative activists have repeatedly claimed that Garland voted to uphold a Washington, D.C., handgun ban when the appeals court he serves on heard an early version of the Heller case. (The Supreme Court eventually used the case to dramatically expand gun rights.)

However, Garland never voted on the case. In fact, he never even heard the case.

Garland only voted to have the case, then known as Parker vs. District of Columbia, reargued in front of the entire Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after a three-judge panel on the court held that the handgun ban was unconstitutional. It is not uncommon for the court to have major cases reargued in front of all of its judges; in fact, one of the court’s most conservative members also voted to have the full court hear the case. However, the vote to rehear the case wasn’t successful, so Garland never ended up ruling on the matter.

But this didn’t stop Virginia Republican Party Chairman John Whitbeck from falsely claiming that Garland did in fact vote in favor of upholding the handgun ban:

"When Justice Antonin Scalia wrote his watershed opinion in D.C. v. Heller, it marked the first time that an individual right to keep and bear arms was recognized by the Supreme Court by a razor thin 5-4 vote," Whitbeck wrote.

"Now President (Barack) Obama is attempting to replace Justice Scalia with Judge Merrick Garland, an avowed opponent of our Second Amendment rights. While Justice Scalia voted to overturn D.C.’s draconian gun laws, Judge Garland voted to uphold them," the chairman added, emphasizing the second sentence with bold type.

“It’s simply inaccurate to say Garland’s vote to reconsider the case is tantamount to a vote to uphold D.C.’s gun restriction or to extrapolate from it the nominee’s position on the case,” Warren Fiske of PolitiFact wrote in response to Whitbeck’s anti-Garland appeal. “So we rate Whitbeck’s claim False.”

This falsehood, which is being pushed by the National Rifle Association, the Judicial Crisis Network and other outside groups, is also being repeated by Republican senators attempting to justify their blockade of Garland’s nomination.

Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, for instance, cited Garland’s supposed “disregard for Second Amendment rights” when he backed away from his previous support for holding a hearing on the nomination.

4) Family Ties

One of the groups pushing this dishonest smear of Garland has been the Judicial Crisis Network, the organization that was “founded in 2005 as the Judicial Confirmation Network, a pressure group with the goal of confirming President Bush’s federal judicial nominees in his second term in office.”

This group has been at the forefront of the conservative opposition to Garland’s nomination, shaping the movement’s messaging and spending at least $4 million on ads pressuring GOP senators to keep up their blockade.

JCN’s outsized role in the Supreme Court blockade, however, belies the fact that it is a tiny organization funded by an insular dark-money network centered around a single family of conservative operatives.

JCN has relied heavily on funding from a dark-money group called the Wellspring Committee, which is led by Ann Corkery. Coincidentally enough, Corkery’s husband, Neil, serves as the treasurer of JCN. Ann Corkery has also steered more than $1 million from Wellspring to a group called the Catholic Association, another group run by her husband.

Media Matters points out that the Corkery family isn’t the only one benefiting from the connection between JCN and Wellspring: “Michael Casey, who is listed on Wellspring’s 990 financial disclosure forms as its secretary and treasurer, is the son of Republican operative Dan Casey, who is a member of JCN’s board and is reportedly ‘the political and PR brains’ of the organization. Dan Casey is also listed on the Catholic Association Inc.’s 990 financial disclosure forms as its secretary and one of its directors.”

“[I]n 2011, the ties between these two dark money machines grew even closer when Ann Corkery sacked her two fellow board members at Wellspring and replaced them with her daughter and the son of JCN board member Casey, according to IRS filings and former board members,” The Daily Beast notes.

While JCN is the product of a small, well-financed group of right-wing interests, it has, in its effort to shut down the judicial confirmation process, attempted to pose as a group of everyday Americans who just really, really want the Senate to be more obstructionist.

3) Grassley’s Bizarre Speech

One of the most vocal supporters of the GOP’s Supreme Court blockade has been Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who also just so happens to be the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a remarkable speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Grassley attempted to justify his refusal to hold hearings on Garland’s nomination by claiming that it is in fact Chief Justice who has politicized the high court … by sometimes ruling in ways that do not advance the GOP’s agenda.

The extremely conservative Roberts, Grassley said, has made the court a political institution because he does not always “vote in a way that advances conservative policy.” As a Republican appointee, Grassley said, the chief justice should have upheld the GOP’s point of view in cases regarding the Affordable Care Act and, by not doing so, has helped politicize the court.

Dahlia Lithwick unpacks the senator’s “ insane logic ”:

Grassley now says that the only way to depoliticize the court would be to appoint nominees who conform their political views to those of the Republican Party. “Justices appointed by Republicans are generally committed to following the law,” he said. And then he argued that the court is too political because Republican nominees don’t act sufficiently politically. “There are justices who frequently vote in a conservative way,” he said. “But some of the justices appointed even by Republicans often don’t vote in a way that advances conservative policy.”

Wait, what? So the problem for Grassley isn’t “political” justices—it’s justices appointed by Republicans who don’t advance “conservative policy” 100 percent of the time. And with that, he revealed his real issue. His Senate floor attack isn’t about depoliticizing the court at all. It’s about calling out Roberts for being insufficiently loyal to the Tea Party agenda when he voted not to strike down Obamacare.

What is really being said here is that there is only one way to interpret the Constitution and that is in the way that “advances conservative policy.” According to Grassley’s thinking, a justice who fails to do that in every single case before him or her is “political” and damaging the court.

Now that Grassley believes that the duty of a Supreme Court justice is to advance the goals of the conservative movement, it shouldn’t come as any surprising that he is refusing to hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee.

This is in clear contrast to what Grassley said before Obama took office, when he insisted that senators should focus solely on a nominee’s qualifications in order to prevent the confirmation of “political hacks” from either side:

… I probably had the same concerns about President Clinton and Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg when I voted for them. Regarding the political positions that Justice Ginsburg stood for in her life before coming to be a judge, I wouldn't agree with many of them. But she was totally qualified to be on the Supreme Court, and I voted for her based upon the proposition that Alexander Hamilton said that the purpose of our activities here of confirming people for the courts is basically two. Maybe there is some historian around who will say Grassley has it all wrong, but I think it was, No. 1, to make sure that people who were not qualified did not get on the courts. In other words, only qualified people get appointed to the courts and that political hacks do not get appointed to the courts.

2) The Grassley Rule, Updated

Given that Grassley is now openly admitting that he only wants to confirm conservative policymakers on the Supreme Court, it should come as no surprise that the he also made it clear this week that the GOP’s blockade of Garland’s nomination is motivated by conservative interest groups with a partisan agenda:

“Conservative groups are very much behind what we’re trying to do,” Grassley said following a town hall event at Northwestern College in Orange City. “They figure that if this president appoints somebody, you’re going to have a lot of negative freedom-of-religion decisions, a lot of negative gun decisions, a lot of negative political-speech decisions. So we want to make sure the court doesn’t veer to the left.”

Once again, the best person to counter Grassley’s argument is Grassley 11 years ago.

Back in 2005, the Iowa senator criticized his Democratic colleagues for supposedly being beholden “to far left pressure groups” in their opposition to a handful of extreme Bush nominees and showing more “loyalty to what is probably their base” than to Americans at large.

1) The Trump Court

The Senate GOP’s effort to prevent President Obama from filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court has always been about its desire to have a Republican president shape the court, even if that means leaving the court short-staffed for a year or longer.

Indeed, these Republicans believe that the next Supreme Court justice should be selected by either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, a man who doesn’t seem to know how the Supreme Court works.

Both leading Republican presidential candidates have already expressed a desire to see the court overturn — or, in Trump’s words, “unpass” — the landmark Roe v. Wade and Obergefell rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality, respectively. “I’d like to have the person tailored to be just like Justice Scalia,” Trump said.

In a sign of just how powerful conservative pressure groups have become within the GOP, Trump has even said he would effectively let the right-wing Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation pick the next justice.

Among the potential justices that the Heritage Foundation has recommended are Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who believes that major programs like Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, and Bill Pryor, a federal judge who has similarly lambasted New Deal programs and called Roe v. Wade the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”

Such justices would shift the court even farther to the right that it is now, putting the social safety net, environmental regulations and reproductive rights in jeopardy.

A Young Louie Gohmert Wouldn't Have Resisted The Temptation To Enter Girls' Bathrooms

In a radio interview yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, defended North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law, which bars transgender people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity and prevents localities like Charlotte from enacting measures protecting LGBT people from discrimination, by insisting that it would prevent boys from going into women’s restrooms.

Citing his own childhood, the congressman said that boys would be unable to resist the temptation to see girls while they are in the bathroom.

Gohmert recounted to “Washington Watch” host and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins his junior-high fantasies.

“When it comes to this current legislation where — in most of the world, in most of the religions, the major religions, you have men and you have women, and there are some abnormalities but for heaven’s sake, I was as good a kid as you can have growing up, I never drank alcohol till I was legal, never to, still, use an illegal drug, but in the seventh grade if the law had been that all I had to do was say, ‘I’m a girl,’ and I got to go into the girls’ restroom, I don’t know if I could’ve withstood the temptation just to get educated back in those days,” he said.

Gohmert then said that businesses like PayPal are now “telling states that you have to let boys into little girls’ restrooms or we’re pulling our business, it’s just the height of lunacy.”

Conservative Pundit: Gay People And Allies Are 'The Real One Percent'

Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media warns in a column today that the “real one percent consists of the open and closeted homosexuals and their allies in positions of power,” and that this gay cabal is “determined to expel normal, white heterosexuals from the newsroom.”

Besides pushing out white heterosexuals from the media, since it considers whiteness to be “a cancer,” Kincaid also believes that this sinister group wants to defend “perverted behavior” and ensure that the “special rights of homosexuals and even ‘transgendered’ [sic] people suddenly take precedence over the constitutional rights of religious believers.”

White straight people, Kincaid warns, are now the least protected group in society.

The media are once again going nuts over the fact that a state legislature has acted to protect Christians and their churches and businesses from the demands of various sexual minorities. As we have noted before, the power of the real one percent has enormous influence in the major media. The real one percent consists of the open and closeted homosexuals and their allies in positions of power in the major media, academia and the corporate world.

When they want to make an example of Indiana, North Carolina and now Mississippi, they can do so. It is something to behold. They have the ability to make an entire state look like a hotbed of homophobia and hate. The special rights of homosexuals and even “transgendered” people suddenly take precedence over the constitutional rights of religious believers.

What is being demanded is nothing less than the “right” of a man to dress up as a woman and invade the privacy of real women and girls in a ladies’ restroom. That is one of the “rights” that is at stake in what is happening in Mississippi. The legislature and the governor have rejected what is clearly perverted behavior and have affirmed the rights and privacy of those of who understand the science of DNA and biological differences.



The idea of concentrating on such elementary questions as who, what, when, where, why and how, is now considered old-fashioned journalism. Instead, the focus is on who reports the news, as they define it, and whether they are members of protected groups. Being white is not a protected class of people. White people are the villains, unless they identify as a member of a protected group. That leaves white heterosexuals as people who have to be demoted or dismissed.



Indeed, whiteness is such a cancer in the newsroom that a “remedy” is needed. These white people have to be put in their place. They must be cut down to size.



You may have thought these news organizations were in competition with one another. That’s what they want you to believe. But when it comes to promoting the homosexual agenda, including the “rights” of transgenders, they are on the same page. That’s why the coverage of these sexual issues by so many news organizations that seem to differ in their ideological orientation is in fact similar in bias and approach. The real one percent is in charge and growing stronger by the day. They are now determined to expel normal, white heterosexuals from the newsroom.
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