Miranda Blue's blog

'Constitutional Sheriffs' Ask Candidates To Vow To Defy Health Care, Gun Laws

The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an association of county sheriffs who believe that they have the power to resist federal laws and arrest federal officials who they believe are violating the Constitution, is attempting to get more sheriffs who adhere to its ideology elected by launching a candidate survey that asks under what circumstances candidates for sheriff would be willing to buck the federal government.

In one survey question, CSPOA asks potential sheriffs what they would do if they were ordered to “cite or arrest” citizens who refuse to participate in “nationalized healthcare,” a question that appears to be based on the myth that those who refuse to buy a health insurance plan or pay a fee will be put in jail:

Congress has just recently passed nationalized healthcare. It appears that all citizens will be required by “law” to participate in this federal healthcare regulation. If citizens in your jurisdiction refuse to accept or use this federal program and you are ordered to cite or arrest such “troublemakers,” what will you do?

a. Warn my citizens ahead of time to make sure they all use federal healthcare to prevent any of them from going to jail for failure to comply.

b. Help federal agents serve warrants on anyone and everyone who might be found violating the healthcare laws in my county/parish.

c. I will serve any court order and enforce all laws, regardless of my personal feelings about such laws.

d. I will never enforce any such law or serve any warrants from any court to arrest citizens for refusing to participate in any federal program; not for healthcare or anything else. In fact, I will stand next to my constituents and put myself on the line to protect them from such abuse.

Another question asks what candidates would do if the federal government or the UN launched “door to door gun confiscation”:

If the Federal Government or the United Nations were to implement a policy of door to door gun confiscation in your jurisdiction, what would you do?

a. Help them confiscate the guns.

b. Interpose myself on behalf of the people to protect their right to keep and bear arms.

c. Not interfere one way or the other. A sheriff has no authority to stop the Federal Government from doing anything.

d. I don't worry about such a scenario as this would never happen in America

Although CSPOA’s head, former Sheriff Richard Mack, said he opposed the anti-government occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon this year, the occupiers were influenced by CSPOA’s ideas and Mack has been using the standoff to rally support for his group.

David Daleiden's Mentor Admits Daleiden 'Made Some Mistakes' Legally

Attorneys for David Daleiden, the activist who led the undercover smear campaign against Planned Parenthood last year, are trying to get a grand jury indictment of him dismissed in Texas, claiming that it was politically motivated. But Daleiden’s mentor, who has conducted many of his own sham investigations of abortion providers, acknowledged at an anti-abortion conference last month that the young activist “made some mistakes” that might have led him to run afoul of the law.

Mark Crutcher heads a group called Life Dynamics, which pioneered some of the undercover tactics that Daleiden used to go after Planned Parenthood and conducted a similar debunked investigation involving abortion providers’ handling of fetal tissue in the late 1990s. He has also trained right-wing activists James O’Keefe and Lila Rose, is now training what he hopes will be “a whole army of David Daleidens” to infiltrate abortion providers across the country.

Crutcher spoke last month at a conference sponsored by Cleveland Right to Life, where he said that his training efforts meant that he would have “at least 100 professional intel operatives” in abortion providers ty the end of the year.

At the end of Crutcher’s presentation, the event moderator, referring to the indictment of Daleiden by a grand jury that had been convened to investigate his claims about Planned Parenthood, asked Crutcher why “it seems like the good guys are getting indicted and the bad guys are getting away.”

Crutcher responded that he always trains his staff and students how to get what they want without breaking the law, but that Daleiden didn’t listen to all of his advice.

“I’m not going to get into details about this,” he said, “but David made some mistakes that we warned him about. Renee [Hobbs] and I were on the phone with him for many, many hours over the years that he was doing this, but David got caught up in youthful exuberance. And I tried to tell him, I said, ‘David, you’re making some mistakes here and that’s going to cost you.’ I said, ‘And youthful exuberance always loses out to old age and treachery, and I’m old and treacherous, so I’ve been down this trail.’ But he made some mistakes, and I don’t want to get into the details of that.”

“What you have to understand, this is an argument that I tried to get over to David: Anything that you want to do in an intelligence-gathering environment that’s illegal, you can find a way to do it legally,” he added.

Allen West Is Ready To Be Vice President

Former one-term Florida Tea Party congressman Allen West is ready to stand up and serve his country as the Republican vice presidential nominee, he told talk radio host Jeffrey Kuhner on Wednesday.

When Kuhner asked West if he would every consider running for president himself, West responded that it’s “just not my nature as a soldier” to go out “seeking political office” (an odd statement coming from someone who has run for Congress three times), but “my nature as a soldier is to serve and to step up when my country needs me, so I’m standing by.”

“I’m always ready to, if the American people need me back, I’m here, I’m ready to go,” he said.

Kuhner asked if that means he’d be willing to run for vice president if the Republican nominee asked him; West responded that if God and his wife were okay with it, he was in.

“If God is approving and my wife and my two daughters are of approval, then I would say, ‘You’ve got your guy and let’s get at it,’” he said.

Cruz Dodges Personhood Question: 'I'm Not Going To Get Into The Labels'

Back in February, we wondered what exactly Ted Cruz’s position on the anti-abortion strategy of fetal “personhood" was. At a campaign stop in Iowa, Cruz said that he hasn’t “supported personhood legislation,” but over the past several years the Texas senator had made several statements supportive of personhood laws and amendments, which would outlaw all abortion and could even jeopardize some forms of birth control.

True to form, when Cruz was asked directly about his stance on “personhood” today, he dodged the question, saying that he didn’t want to talk about “labels.”

Eliza Collins at Politico reports that according to a partial transcript of an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that will be broadcast tonight, Cruz was not eager to clarify his views about the issue:

Pointing to the Texas senator's past history of wavering before eventually signing a pledge promising to support a personhood amendment to the Constitution in 2015, Todd asked, “Where are you on personhood? Are you going to pursue this as an agenda or are you just simply supporting the idea? Do you know what I mean by the difference?”

“Well listen, some of the labels in this debate can get confusing because different people mean different things about labels. I don’t want to get in a back and forth on labels,” Cruz responded. “I believe every human life is a gift from God and we should cherish and protect and celebrate them.”


Cruz … declined to answer when pressed if he thinks IUDs, which some conservatives oppose, are an acceptable form of contraceptive.

Todd then returned to personhood, asking: "Are you going to pursue it as an addendum?”

“I told you I’m not going to get into the labels, but what I will say is we should protect life. But I’m not interested in anything that restricts birth control. And I’m not interested in anything that restricts in vitro fertilization because I think parents who are struggling to create life, to have a child, that is a wonderful thing,” Cruz said, dodging further questions from Todd.

“Well, no one is questioning whether you’re pro-life. This is a different. That’s why I’m asking. Would you pursue this?” Todd asked again.

“I will happily support anything that protects life. And protecting life is a value that matters. Whether it is stopping partial birth abortion, which I think is a barbarism. Or whether it is fairly enforcing the criminal laws against Planned Parenthood. You know, a few months ago, we had this series of videos that were horrifying,” Cruz said.

Cruz is correct to say that the “personhood” label can “mean different things”… but he has in the past endorsed nearly every one of those different meanings.

One “personhood” strategy is to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that personhood begins at conception, which would not only overturn Roe v. Wade but would actively outlaw abortion nationwide; Cruz endorsed that strategy when he signed a pledge for a Georgia anti-abortion group last year.

Another strategy is to pass statewide “personhood” amendments, which would create challenges to Roe v. Wade in the courts; Cruz endorsed that strategy in a video address he recorded in South Carolina in February.

“Personhood” can also mean the dubious effort to bypass Roe v. Wade by simply passing federal legislation declaring that embryos and fetuses are “persons” under the Constitution; Cruz said last year that such a strategy would “absolutely” work.

So, Cruz has pledged to support a federal amendment, praised state-level amendments, and endorsed a federal legislative strategy all aimed at establishing legal “personhood” for zygotes and fetuses, but also says that he has never “supported personhood legislation.”

It’s no wonder he doesn’t want to talk about labels.

One Anti-Choice Activist's Argument For Punishing Women Who Have Abortions

As we noted this morning, the hubbub over Donald Trump’s comments about legal punishment for women who have abortions has shone a spotlight on the anti-abortion movement’s uncertainty about how to handle women who seek illegal abortions if the procedure is recriminalized.

While many in the anti-choice movement try to avoid talking about this issue publicly, it is something that activists who are more thoughtful than Donald Trump probably can’t help but consider as they shape their views.

Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, gave an interesting glimpse into the way some anti-choice activists think about the punishment issue this week when he said that if abortion is recriminalized, women who have abortions are unlikely to face murder charges because they could show that they faced “pressure” or “confusion” in their decision. When he was pressed further on the issue, Pavone floated the possibility of legal punishment for “accomplices” — like someone who brings a woman to get an abortion — and seemed to suggest that the law could also punish women who are insufficiently remorseful about having the procedure.

This is not the first time that Priests for Life has tried to address the issue. A few years ago, Bryan Kemper, who heads youth outreach for Priests for Life through his group Stand True Ministries, grappled with this question on his blog and concluded that if abortion is to become illegal nationwide, as is the goal of the anti-abortion movement, then women who obtain abortions would indeed have to be treated as murderers.

Kemper wrote in 2012 that the question of what to do about women who have abortions if the procedure is recriminalized is “one of the toughest questions to answer as a pro-lifer” but that the obvious answer is unavoidable if you “truly believe that a child in the womb is a full human person.” He continued:

I admit there is an emotional element to this that can blur the issue. I know that no one wants to go throwing thousands of women in prison. It is sincerely a tough question.

Lets change the direction we look at this however. Just like in my debates against pro-abortion advocates, I would steer away from the distractions and focus on the core issue. What is abortion? Abortion is the killing of a human person. Just like stabbing a three old on a playground is killing a human person, stabbing a baby in the womb is also killing a human person.

If we establish a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution declaring that children are full human persons from the moment of fertilization, then we must treat them as such.

When the woman in Texas drowned her five children several years ago, what was your thought on her punishment? Did you believe because she had some rough times at home she should be excused from what she did? The fact is, she killed her five children and had to answer to the law. While we might feel sorry for her emotional state, we must also want justice for the five children who were killed.

In the same way, we must look at the children in the womb as equal in value as the children who were drowned and demand justice for them also. We can certainly feel empathy for what a woman might be going through, however, that cannot change the fact that she has broken the law and ended the life of her child. We know there is forgiveness is Christ, but justice must also be served. If we make a separate law and separate punishment for someone who has an abortion then we are saying that the child in the womb is somehow not as valuable then any other human person killed. If we say that intentionally killing one child is less of a crime then intentionally killing another child, then our whole argument for life is destroyed.

 

Peroutka Aide Charged In Connection With Deceptive Anti-LGBT Robocall

Back in 2014, we watched with amazement as Michael Peroutka, the head of the Christian Reconstructionist group Institute on the Constitution and a former board member of the southern secessionist League of the South, won a local election to be a county councilman in his home county in Maryland.

After Peroutka’s victory, the news broke that an unidentified group that called itself “Marylanders for Transgenders” had sent out robocalls in the final days of the campaign asking voters to call Peroutka’s openly gay Democratic opponent, Patrick Armstrong, to “thank him for his bravery in coming out of the closet” and for supporting a bill that means “transgenders can now openly and freely go into any bathroom of their choice based on their confused gender identity.” The call provided the home phone number of Armstrong’s mother.

At the time, Peroutka denied that his campaign was behind the calls, but today his campaign manager, Dennis Fusaro, was charged with violating election laws by secretly placing the calls. The Baltimore Sun reports:

Maryland's state prosecutor on Thursday charged two Republican strategists with distributing an illegal robocall considered by many an attempt to smear an openly gay local candidate in 2014.

Prosecutor Emmet Davitt announced charges against Dennis Fusaro, a national Republican figure best known for leaking internal emails and phone calls from Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign, and Stephen Waters, a Republican political consultant based in Virginia.

Prosecutors said the call lacked the appropriate identification and came from what they described as "an untraceable" prepaid cell phone purchased with cash by Waters and Fusaro at Walmart in Fredericksburg, Va.

Fusaro was the campaign manager of Armstrong's opponent, Republican Councilman Michael Anthony Peroutka, a former member of the neo-Confederate group League of the South.

Christopher Kachouroff, attorney for Fusaro and Waters, would not say whether his clients were responsible for the call, but dubbed its message "political satire."

Peroutka continues to say that he had “no prior knowledge” of the robocall.

Listen to the call:

Anti-Choice Leader Floats Possibility Of Punishing Abortion 'Accomplices,' Women Who Are Not Coerced

Donald Trump’s comment last month that if abortion is recriminalized, a woman who obtains the procedure will have to face “some form of punishment ” was a disaster for his presidential campaign, but did a public service in exposing the real consequences of the anti-choice movement's agenda.

Abortion rights opponents who have spent years claiming that their efforts to restrict abortion are about protecting women were suddenly faced with a direct question: If you believe that abortion is murder, why shouldn’t a woman who chooses an abortion be treated like a murderer?

Most anti-choice leaders respond with some version of the argument that in the case of an abortion, a woman is a victim rather than a perpetrator, along with vague assurances that no public officials would actually choose to legally punish women for the procedure.

One of these is Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, who responded to Trump’s comment by saying: “We don't aim to imprison [women], we aim to liberate them from the shame and guilt and wounds abortion brings. The punishment should be for the abortionist, not the baby's mom.”

But Pavone had a hard time keeping up this argument when, in a recent radio appearance, a sympathetic caller pressed him on the logical fallacy.

Pavone was a guest on "The Drew Mariani Show" on Relevant Radio on Tuesday when a listener named Cory called in to say that he thought Trump was being “remarkably philosophically consistent” on the issue of punishing women for abortion. If a fetus is the equivalent of a five-year-old, he asked, why wouldn’t a woman who has an abortion face the same punishment as a woman who hires someone to kill her five-year-old?

“Because, I mean, we certainly don’t allow a woman who’s an accomplice in the murder of a five-year-old or a six-year-old the privilege of being a victim,” he said. “So I’m not exactly sure how we — we’re not really being that philosophically consistent here with this.”

Pavone responded that the difference was “psychological” and that a woman who had an abortion would probably face a lesser charge because of the amount of “pressure” and “confusion” that she was under to seek the procedure, much like “mitigating circumstances” can mitigate murder charges in the case of a “born person.”

Pavone added that it would also make sense to spare women from punishment so that they would report abortion providers to the authorities, who could then “go after that abortionist and stop him and save other lives.”

Cory, however, was not satisfied with this answer. He pointed out that many women who have abortions “don’t mind having gone through it and they don’t regret it” and repeated that he thought “there should be some sort of legal consequence for a woman who volitionally goes into an abortion clinic knowing what’s going to happen.”

“There has to be some sort of legal consequence, otherwise I just fear that we’re not being logically consistent on this issue,” he said.

Pavone’s answer was essentially “we’ll see.” He told Cory that once an abortion ban is enacted, there would be many options for enforcing it, including penalizing “accomplices” who help a woman get an abortion.

“I mean, the abortionist has to get punished, but what about the person who brings her to or pays for the abortion?” he asked. “So the law can look at a lot of things.”

Pavone then seemed to open the door for the possibility of punishing women who are insufficiently remorseful about having an abortion. “What you have to do,” he said, “is look at each circumstance very carefully, and just like we do with the murder of born people, what were the — how guilty, how responsible, how free was this person, how much did they know and intend what was going on?”

Jay Sekulow, who heads the Religious Right legal group founded by Pat Robertson, has similarly hinted at his willingness to accept legal punishments for women who choose abortions for what he deems to be the wrong reasons.

Anti-Choice 'Personhood' Bills Advance In Alabama, Missouri & South Carolina

This week, legislative committees in Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina approved so-called “personhood” measures that would, if successful, outlaw all abortions and even endanger some forms of birth control.

An Alabama House committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment today that would “define the term ‘persons’ to include all humans from the moment of fertilization.” If the state legislature approves the amendment, it will move to a statewide ballot referendum.

One doctor who testified in favor of the Alabama insisted that a fetus is “totally separate” from a woman and that “the mother only contributes the egg and the incubator.”

In Missouri, a House committee approved a similar measure yesterday which would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot defining “persons” to include “unborn human children at every stage of biological development.” The Missouri amendment, however, seems designed to avoid going head-to-head with Roe v. Wade, stating that it can only be enforced “to the extent permitted by the federal constitution.” The anti-choice group Live Action said that the amendment would ensure that Missouri “has clear legal protection from conception onward in place, should Roe v. Wade be eventually overturned.”

“Personhood” amendments, even when they do make it through state legislatures, have a horrendous record at the ballot box. Recent attempts to pass such amendments in the deeply conservative states of Mississippi and North Dakota failed spectacularly, and Colorado voters have rejected “personhood” multiple times.

That won’t be an issue in South Carolina, where a Senate committee approved a “personhood” bill sponsored by Sen. Lee Bright — a state co-chair of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign — yesterday. Bright dismissed questions about the possibly troubling consequences of the bill by saying, "When you get around the edges, there may be some questions we don't have all the answers to but allowing all these children to lose their lives to me is unacceptable.” Bright said that he hoped the bill would spark a challenge to Roe v. Wade, which he called one of his “missions in life.”

This post has been updated to include information about the South Carolina bill.

Cruz Endorser John Zmirak: LGBT People 'Fundamentally Dissatisfied With The Way God Made Them'

Conservative columnist John Zmirak, whose endorsement Ted Cruz proudly posted on his presidential campaign website last month, reacted last week to a controversial anti-trans law in North Carolina by writing a column titled “There’s a Bearded Trannie in the Stall Next to Your Daughter and You’d Better Learn to Like It.”

Zmirak’s perceptive thoughts on this issue naturally earned him invitations from a few conservative radio hosts to discuss it further. In an interview yesterday with Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host and fellow Cruz supporter, Zmirak insisted that laws targeting transgender people won’t affect transgender people as long as they “make some attempt to alter their appearance.” He also claimed that the “gay lobby” will never be satisfied because they’re “fundamentally dissatisfied with the way God made them.”

“It boils down to this,” Zmirak said. “The gay lobby will never be satisfied. They cannot be satisfied because they’re fundamentally dissatisfied with the way God made them. They are in rebellion and they’re in permanent rebellion. It is literally impossible to satisfy the gay lobby because even if you give them everything they want, they will be just as miserable and just as angry, because it’s not about politics, it’s about them struggling and suffering because their lifestyles are out of accord with natural law.”

He went on to claim that a law like North Carolina’s wouldn’t actually affect transgender people. “Of the people who identify as transgender,” he said, “most of them make some attempt to alter their appearance so that really nobody would know their sex going into the bathroom. They’re wearing a wig, you know, maybe that’s just an ugly woman. So these bills, these laws that make bathrooms gender neutral are designed specifically for men who dress as men to go into the women’s room, women who dress as women to go into the men’s room. What is that about? It’s about undermining the idea of heteronormativity.”

LGBT people, he said, “can’t stand the fact that they’re 2 percent of the population, they want to convince us that they’re actually 30 or 40 percent, that everyone’s secretly a little gay, and that is to assuage their sense of guilt, their sense that they are violating natural law. Natural law is the law that God wrote on our hearts, which even pagans, if they use their reason, can see.”

In a separate interview with Pennsylvania talk radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh on Monday, Zmirak said that the LGBT movement is pushing its messages in schools because “they want to make sure that as many people end up gay as possible,” which he said showed the movement’s “incredible intolerance.”

FRC Spokesman: 'Un-American' LGBT Movement Just Wants To 'Punish People'

Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow with the Family Research Council, said last week that LGBT rights activist are “un-American” in their opposition to laws that permit anti-LGBT discrimination, claiming that these activists want to “punish people for holding traditional moral views.”

Sprigg joined the Alabama Christian radio station Faith Radio on April 8 to discuss a new law in Mississippi that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT people if they do so because of their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

“The irony here,” he said, “is that for all the howling about discrimination against LGBT people, since this bill is about preventing government discrimination against religious believers and people of faith and people with traditional moral values, anybody who opposes this bill is essentially saying: ‘We think it’s okay for government to discriminate against those people. We think it’s okay for government to punish people for holding traditional moral views. In fact, we think that government should punish people in order to do everything it can to wipe those views out of existence.’”

“That’s basically the point of view of the LGBT movement at this point in history,” he claimed. “It’s shocking and it’s un-American, it’s contrary to our traditions, which are to protect the views of all people, including the people who agree with you and the people who disagree with you.”

Sprigg so cares about protecting the liberty of all people that he has said he wants to outlaw “homosexual behavior” and once opposed a bill that would allow gay people to be united with their foreign partners by saying that he “would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States.”

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