Josh Glasstetter's blog

Tim Scott: Christians Are a Minority under Assault (VIDEO)

Tim Scott, who is set to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, got his start in politics when he was elected in 1996 to the Charleston County Council. One year later, according to his 2010 campaign website, “he placed a plaque of the Ten Commandments outside council offices to show his support for the Ten Commandments as a guide for conduct, especially within the county chambers.”

The city was promptly sued for this blatant violation of the First Amendment. By 1998, Scott’s colleagues had decided to remove his display and settle the lawsuit. When challenged on why he was wasting taxpayer dollars, Scott replied that “whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal is worth it.”

Scott’s unconstitutional grandstanding as a county councilmember made him a favorite of the Christian right in South Carolina and put him on the track that he’s followed ever since. Scott returned to his roots while addressing a Tea Party rally in January, hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, ahead of a GOP primary debate.

Scott claimed that the “greatest minority under assault today are Christians.” “No doubt about it,” he emphasized. (Note that Scott says 1995 in the video, but he misspoke – he was elected in 1996 and posted the display in 1997.)

Watch:

Over the last 17 years of public service, I have seen the concept of faith tested time and time again. The greatest minority under assault today are Christians. No doubt about it.

When I was on county council in 1995, I posted the Ten Commandments. And the ACLU and the folks for separation of church and state all came and attacked us at Charleston County and said we were wasting taxpayer dollars.

Think about where we are today, 17 years later. We are in desperate need of a compass, a moral compass that tells us the difference between right and wrong. And I believe that you can look no further than the word of God to find that compass.

Tim Scott actually believes what he said about Christians being a minority under assault. Never mind that Christians aren’t a minority. Never mind that Christians control every branch of government at every level. Never mind that Christians aren’t under assault in any conceivable way.

Still, Scott feels that Christians are a minority under assault because Christians like him are being prevented by the Constitution and other Americans – Christian and non-Christian alike – from forcing everyone to live in accordance with their extreme views and beliefs. It’s a bit like the Taliban claiming that the Afghan government is attacking Islam.

Scott clearly has not changed with time and will display the same utter disregard for the First Amendment as senator that he did as a county councilmember. It’s just another way that Scott will fill the shoes of his right-wing predecessor.

Tim Scott Co-Sponsored a Monument to Aborted Fetuses

When soon-to-be Senator Tim Scott was running for Congress in 2010, he touted his record as a social conservative in the state house. On the “Social Conservative” page, he featured his support for three outrageous anti-choice bills.

The first was the so-called Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, a disgusting and misleading piece of legislation. According to Scott’s site, the bill would “protect babies who survive abortions.” The second bill, the Right to Life Act, was described as a “step in the right direction to recognize ‘pre-borned’ (sic) babies as ‘human persons’ with the same equal protection under the law as borned citizens (sic).”

And then there was the Unborn Children’s Monument Commission. The bill, explained Scott’s site, would lead to the erection of a “monument on the statehouse grounds to remember all the aborted babies in South Carolina.”

Scott, it turns out, was a co-sponsor of the bill in 2009:

H 3527 Joint Resolution, By Barfield, Vick, Pinson, J.R. Smith, Stringer, G.R. Smith, Bedingfield, Hamilton, Erickson, Moss, Nanney, Duncan, Alexander, Allison, Bingham, Bowen, G.A. Brown, Gilliard, Hayes, Littlejohn, Loftis, Long, Merrill, Mitchell, Owens, Parker, Scott, D.C. Smith, Sottile, Spires, Toole, Viers, T.R. Young, Simrill, White, G.M. Smith, Millwood and Willis

A JOINT RESOLUTION TO CREATE THE SOUTH CAROLINA UNBORN CHILDREN'S MONUMENT COMMISSION TO ERECT A MONUMENT ON THE STATE HOUSE GROUNDS AS A MEMORIAL TO  SOUTH CAROLINA CHILDREN WHOSE LIVES ENDED BEFORE THEIR BIRTH AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION AND TO REQUIRE PRIVATE FUNDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THIS MONUMENT.

By 2011 Scott was serving in Congress, but the effort to erect the monument moved ahead without him. The version of the bill introduced last year includes this stipulation:

The monument must be a wall six feet high and five feet wide depicting a pregnant woman pushing a baby stroller.

If the monument is ever erected on the grounds of the South Carolina state house, it will have excellent company. There is already a monument to J. Marion Sims:

Throughout the 1840s, J. Marion Sims, who is often referred to as "the father of gynecology", performed surgical experiments on enslaved African women, without anaesthesia. The women regularly died from infections resulting from the experiments. One of the women was experimented on 30 times. In order to test one of his theories about the causes of trismus in infants, Sims performed experiments where he used a shoemaker's awl to move around the skull bones of the babies of enslaved women.

There is also, among others, a monument to legendary racist and erstwhile segregationist Strom Thurmond, whose re-election campaign was once co-chaired by Tim Scott. The monument was later updated to include the name of Thurmond’s biracial daughter by his then-teenage African-American housekeeper. I suppose it’s a testament of sorts to South Carolina that a fetus monument would barely stand out.

Tim Scott’s Tea Party Poetry

Congressman Tim Scott, who will soon replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, is not a common man. He's quite uncommon, as is his right, and he doesn't cower or take handouts. He declares to the entire world, even if no one is listening, that he's a "free American."

Scott acknowledged as much in a bit of Tea Party poetry on his 2010 campaign website, entitled: "Republican Creed":

I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon.

If I can seek opportunity, not security,
I want to take the calculated risk to dream and
build, to fail and to succeed.
I refused to barter incentive for dole.

I prefer the challenges of life to
guaranteed security, the thrill of fulfillment
to the state of calm utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence,
nor my dignity for a handout.

I will never cower before any master,
save my God.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and
unafraid. To think and act for myself, enjoy the
benefits of my creation; to face the whole world
boldly and say, "I am a free American."

God Told Tim Scott to Vote against Boehner’s Debt Deal

In late July of 2011, House Speaker John Boehner was closing in on a deal to end the debt ceiling crisis, but something happened during the final hours of debate. “The math appeared to turn against the speaker,” and “key lawmakers, like Representative Tim Scott of South Carolina, a member of the freshman leadership team, said he would join the other freshmen from his state and vote no.”

Scott, who will soon replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, holed up in the House chapel with a group of freshman conservatives. There Scott received instructions from God to vote against an increase in the debt ceiling:

With the bill in limbo, a few first-term conservatives slipped into a small chapel a few paces down the hall from the Capitol Rotunda, as they contemplated one of the most consequential votes of their careers.

Asked if he was seeking divine inspiration, Republican Rep. Tim Scott said that had already happened. "I was leaning no and now I am a no," he said.

While it is typical for Tea Party and Religious Right politicians to claim to know what God wants, they normally rely on Biblical references. Tim Scott, it would appear, is in a different league with luminaries like Pat Robertson, who famously hears from God at the end of each year.

I suggested earlier that Republican leaders could come to regret the elevation of Scott to the Senate. Scott provides sorely needed diversity and will keep Tea Partiers engaged, to be sure, but Boehner surely didn’t appreciate hearing from a freshman member that God opposes his debt deal. I can’t imagine that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will appreciate going up against God’s proxy either. This could get interesting….

South Carolina's Next Senator Tim Scott Is Bachmann, Palin and Sanford-Approved

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will announce shortly that she has picked Rep. Tim Scott to replace Senator Jim DeMint, who is leaving to head up the right-wing Heritage Foundation. DeMint’s imminent retirement is seen by many as a setback for the Tea Party, which had a genuine champion in DeMint, and a sign that the movement’s best days are behind it. But the Tea Party is still raging in South Carolina, and Scott is poised to become its new Senate standard-bearer.

Tim Scott was elected to Congress in 2010, becoming the first African-American Republican to represent South Carolina since Reconstruction (when the party of the Lincoln was still the party of Lincoln). Scott served for over a decade on the Charleston County Council before serving briefly in the state house. While he gained statewide – and now national – attention as a darling of the Tea Party movement, he has a far more extensive background as a cultural warrior for the Religious Right.

With Scott poised to replace DeMint in the Senate, we’re going to explore his extreme, and frequently bizarre, record. Be sure to read Peter’s primer on Scott from earlier today.

Scott made the leap from the county council to state house in 2008 with major backing from then-Governor Mark Sanford. Sanford was a family values conservative and rising star in the national GOP until he was caught eloping with his Argentine mistress. Sanford famously claimed that he had been hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Before he did all that, Sanford vouched for Scott’s sterling conservative credentials in an open letter posted to Scott’s campaign website:

I wanted to write to you today to let you know about a friend of mine who is running for the State House of Representatives who needs our help.

Tim Scott is a consistent conservative who will carry our values to the State House. […]

Tim is also a proven social conservative who will stand up for the family values that help to make our state a great place to live and work.

Because of his strong stands on conservative issues, I have endorsed Tim’s candidacy for the House.  Today, I am asking for you to join us in supporting Tim, both with your vote and with your financial contributions. 

And when Scott ran for Congress in 2010, he enjoyed strong backing and an endorsement from Sarah Palin:

Tim is a pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-development, Commonsense Conservative who’s been endorsed by the Club for Growth because of his solid commitment to the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. […]

“I am excited to receive the support of Sarah Palin. She has been a trailblazer for the conservative cause and tea party movement going on across the nation. We share the same values of limited government, less spending and being a champion for our Constitution.”

Michele Bachmann also gushed over Scott last year during the GOP presidential primary: “All of us in Washington, D.C., are extremely proud of you for choosing the right man to send from Charleston up to Washington. We love Tim Scott!”

Bachmann and Palin clearly have good reason to be excited about a Senator Tim Scott. Republican leaders, on the other hand, may soon find that they have a new liability on their hands. Keep an eye on Right Wing Watch for more coverage of Scott’s record.

'I Don't Want Everybody to Vote' – The Roots of GOP Voter Suppression

The lower the turnout tomorrow, the better Mitt Romney will do. It’s always been this way for Republicans. Anyone who doubts that needs to watch the video below. 

The media frequently reports on right-wing and GOP voter suppression efforts, but they rarely acknowledge the root cause – Republicans do better when fewer people vote. This is the driving force behind the GOP’s draconian voter ID laws and efforts to limit early voting, voter registration drives, and provisional voting.
 
The right wing and GOP have whipped up hysteria around voter fraud, which is virtually non-existent, in order to justify roadblocks to voting for millions of Americans. I’ll let Paul Weyrich explain why.
 
Weyrich is widely regarded as the “founding father of the conservative movement.” He founded ALEC and co-founded the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority, Council for National Policy, and Free Congress Foundation, among others.
 
Speaking more than 30 years ago at a right-wing conference in Dallas, Weyrich set out the case for voter suppression. The right-wing and GOP are still acting on it to this day.
 
Watch:
"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

 

Todd Akin on Rape, Dogs in Heat, and the Smell of Money

Todd Akin complained in the New York Times this week that Claire McCaskill’s campaign is “trying to make me look like some kind of a weirdo or something.” But as a former Democratic senator from Missouri might have said, McCaskill is just telling the truth about Akin, and he thinks it’s weird. 

If you needed any more evidence of Akin the weirdo (his words, not mine), consider his remarks as a state representative in opposition to riverboat gambling. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in February 1994 that Akin and his colleague Stephen Banton warned on the floor of the Missouri House that “riverboats would lead to gambling addiction, battered spouses, broken homes, organized crime, poverty, suicides and child abuse.”
 
That’s a rather thorough list, but Akin wasn’t done. Akin warned that if gambling addiction rose just 1%, “50,000 thieves will be turned loose on our streets.” “When we have the smell of money, we run after it like dogs in heat,” he continued.
 
The Post-Dispatch reporter then added this hilarious, and rather telling, detail: “[House Speaker] Griffin had to call the House to order because so many members were talking to each other while Banton and Akin were speaking.” In other words, Akin’s colleagues knew better than to take him seriously all the way back in 1994.
 
If you thought those comments were overwrought, just wait. NPR caught up with Akin in July 1998 to talk about those sinful riverboats.
 
Remarkably, Akin managed to work his favorite topic – rape – into his criticism of the gambling industry:
 
COLLISON: Gambling opponent and state legislator Todd Akin has his response already prepared.
 
AKIN: I would hope that we would send a very bad message to any industry that wants to come in and use big dollars to rape our Constitution. If we want to change it, there's a process to do that, and that of course is coming up in November.
Really, he had that response already prepared? He hoped to send a very bad message to any industry that wants to rape our Constitution. That’s just weird.
 
Akin was right about one thing though. There is a process to change things in November.

 

Video of Todd Akin’s Extortionist Friend Threatening a Doctor – Months before Akin Contributed to His Campaign

On March 11, 1993, Dr. David Gunn was shot three times in the back and killed outside his Pensacola, Florida clinic by an assassin who stepped out of a group of anti-abortion protesters. Days later, longtime Todd Akin associate Tim Dreste delivered a chilling message to St. Louis-area doctor Yogendra Shah. Dreste stood in front of his clinic with a sign that read “Dr. Shah, are you feeling under the Gunn?” – referring to the slain Florida doctor. We’ve obtained a short video recording of this infamous incident, which you can watch below. 

Dreste would later be convicted of extortion on the basis of this incident and others that followed. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones ruled in 1999 that Dreste “acted with malice…and with specific intent in threatening plaintiffs.”
 
Yet Todd Akin donated to Dreste’s long-shot campaign for the state house in October 1993, just months after Dreste threatened Dr. Shah. Very few others did so – Akin’s $200 contribution was Dreste’s 2nd largest individual contribution and made up 9% of his total donations.
 
 
Akin had known Dreste for the better part of a decade by then and would have known what he was supporting when he cut that check – the St. Louis Post-Dispatch later wrote:
Wearing a hat adorned with shotgun shells, Tim Dreste is a familiar sight among the anti-abortion protesters who regularly picket the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City.
 
Dreste was the talk of the anti-abortion and abortion-rights camps when, after the murder in 1993 of Dr. David Gunn in Florida, he carried a sign asking, "Do You Feel Under the Gunn?"
Akin and Dreste were both involved in the Pro-Life Direct Action League in the late 80s. Dreste – under orders from Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry – broke away in September 1988 and formed a more radical group, Whole Life Ministries. The following month, Akin appeared at one of the group’s events and described Dreste’s foot soldiers as “freedom fighters.” Days later, Akin was elected for the first time to public office.
 
In 1989, Akin intervened on behalf of one of Dreste’s protesters who had been convicted of assaulting a clinic worker. When Dreste launched the Life Chain of St. Louis in 1990, Akin signed on as an endorser and attended the event through the 90s and beyond. And when Dreste helped form a new militia group in 1995 – the 1st Missouri Volunteers – Akin signed on to support them as well.
 
Given what happened in 1993 and 1994, it’s both deeply revealing and disturbing that Akin continued to work with and support Dreste. In April 1994, Dreste co-founded a radical new anti-abortion group – the American Coalition of Life Activists – and met with Paul Hill. On July 30th, Paul Hill murdered Dr. John Bayard Britton, who replaced Dr. Gunn in Pensacola, as well as Britton's bodyguard.
 
Days later, Dreste appeared outside a St. Louis-area clinic with a sign reading “Abortionists 50 million, Babies 3.” He also contributed to Hill's legal fund, told a clinic worker, “I’m John Hill, you know my brother Paul,” and tried to terrorize doctors by passing out “wanted” posters outside their homes and clinics (similar posters were distributed before Gunn and Britton were murdered). Through all of this, Akin remained loyal to Dreste.
 
In December of 1994, Dreste helped launch the 1st Missouri Volunteers militia group, becoming its chaplain and captain. A couple months later, Akin appeared on fliers promoting the militia’s March 1995 rally. He didn’t attend due to “scheduling conflicts” and sent a letter of support instead, which was read aloud by a militiaman. Then on May 2nd, not even two weeks after the Oklahoma City bombing, Akin defended Dreste’s militia in the Springfield News-Leader, saying “there’s a lot of potential for good.” And their relationship didn’t end there.
 
To recap, Akin stuck with Dreste after he publicly threatened a doctor and condoned murder in 1993. And he stuck by his old protest buddy in 1995 even though the year before, Dreste:
  • co-founded a pro-violence anti-abortion group
  • met with a domestic terrorist who murdered two people three months later
  • condoned those murders and contributed to the killer’s legal fund
  • threatened doctors and clinic staff during his frequent protest appearances.
Akin sure is loyal! To be sure, Akin has tried his best to cover up his long ties to and support for Dreste. He's openly lied about his history with the 1st Missouri Volunteers, and his campaign just wants to change the subject. But the truth is slowly coming out, including his numerous arrests (four at last count!) and name switcheroo to conceal them. But if you judge a man by his actions, not his press releases, Akin has remained loyal to the bitter end.
 
He reunited early last year with the people he protested (and was arrested) with in the 80s. He’s attended virtually every Life Chain event up until this year. And as we'll show, he’s apparently still on good terms with convicted extortionist Tim Dreste.

Todd Akin Sought to Narrow the Definition of Child Abuse

Many seem to think that Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks placed him on the fringe of the Republican Party. In reality, he’s spent most of his career there.

It’s now widely known that Akin teamed up with Paul Ryan in 2011 to try to narrow the definition of rape – i.e. “forcible rape.” This is no anomaly. Early in his career as a state legislator, Akin even tried to narrow the definition of child abuse.

Back in May of 1991, the Missouri House debated a bill to “outlaw rape and sexual abuse in marriage.” “Rape is rape,” said Rep. Jo Ann Karll shortly before the bill was overwhelmingly passed. “Missouri is finally moving into the 20th century,” said Colleen Coble, executive director of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

But not everyone was celebrating. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on 5/1/91 that Akin voted for the bill but “questioned whether a marital rape law might be misused ‘in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.’”

Just about any law can be abused, and lawmakers must always be cognizant of this. But Akin seems to be preoccupied with the potential for abuse of the law whenever it relates to the government preventing abuse in the household.

Akin and his supporters believe that the husband is head of the household, and they’re loathe to regulate what he can and cannot do to his wife and children. In fact, prominent Akin supporter Phyllis Schlafly denies the very possibility of marital rape: “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape.”

And so in March of 1992, Akin fought for a narrower definition of child abuse. The Missouri House was considering a bill to create a “statewide child abuse review board” and tighten the standard for proving child abuse from “reason to suspect” to “credible evidence.”

The bill’s sponsor said the definition change was necessary to ensure that “all cases of child abuse can be covered.” Akin, however, was suspicious. He argued that the bill “needed a more restrictive definition of abuse” because of the potential for abuse of the child abuse law. The Post-Dispatch reported on 3/5/92:

Akin said he was concerned that ‘the department could come into your home and if your kid had just fallen off his bike and skinned his knee…take your kid away.’ Akin also said that with a loose definition of abuse, neighbors might use child-abuse reports ‘as a tool to harass, a way to get even with’ someone they dislike.

This is how Akin’s mind works. You need to worry about vengeful soon-to-be ex-wives claiming rape to get back at their husbands. You need to make sure that non-forcibly raped women aren’t getting government-funded medical care. And you can’t let neighbors harass one another by falsely claiming child abuse to the overbearing nanny state enforcers who will take kids away for having a scraped knee.

Akin’s efforts earned him a rebuke from the Post-Dispatch editorial board, which singled him as an alarmist who supports an “excessively restrictive child-mistreatment law” and resorts to “extreme and unlikely examples to bolster his case.” It seems like they had him pegged way back then.

Here is the full 3/10/92 editorial, entitled “Abuse Law Fair to the Accused, Children”:

The Missouri House is moving ahead in setting up a state board that would arbitrate disputes between people accused of child abuse and the Division of Family Services. The House gave initial approval to this proposal on Wednesday. It shouldn't allow critics to prevent it from passing the bill, sponsored by Rep. Kaye Steinmetz of Florissant.
 
Missouri's child-abuse law is basically a good one, but it needed to be revised. The bill would restrict the standard the state would use in proving child abuse. The old standard called for ‘reason to suspect.’ The new standard would require ‘credible evidence.’
 
Clearly, the change is aimed at protecting people from being recklessly and falsely accused of abusing children. Some critics say the definition should be even more restrictive, but they should give this proposal the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, more restrictions will be added to the law if critics, like Republican Rep. Todd Akin of St. Charles, get their way. Mr. Akin resorts to extreme and unlikely examples to bolster his case.
 
The bill, he argues, would permit child-abuse investigators to ‘come into your home and if your kid had just fallen off his bike and skinned his knee…take your kid away.’ In fact, the more restrictive the law, the more it ties the hands of child-abuse investigators and the more likely serious cases of child mistreatment might go undetected.
 
Mr. Akin does raise a real concern, however, when he says a disgruntled person might try to use the child-abuse law to harass a neighbor. But the way to address that issue is through better trained child-abuse investigators. The bill would mandate improved training, which should make the workers more proficient in investigating cases while protecting people from being falsely accused.
 
The statewide child abuse review board would be appointed by the governor and would require Senate confirmation. The Legislature should see the benefits in passing the bill in its existing form rather than weakening it to appease alarmists who favor an excessively restrictive child-mistreatment law.

 

 

Todd Akin Arrested on May 9, 1987 with Radical Anti-Abortion Group

In September we broke the news that Todd Akin was arrested for blocking access to a women's health clinic. We posted a video showing Akin speaking freely of his arrest but he refused to provide any details ... So we had to go find them ourselves.
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