Miranda Blue's blog

Phil Robertson Links Drug Addiction To Laws on 'Perversion' And Abortion Rights

In an interview with a West Virginia radio station yesterday, “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson linked drug addiction and other social ills to the country forgetting “the God of the Bible” and instituting legal abortion and “perversion.”

Brian Sexton, a host with WVHU in Huntington, asked Robertson what he had learned from ministering to drug addicts and other troubled souls.

Robertson connected these issues with the themes of an upcoming "documentary" he’s starring in, which is directed by now-Trump campaign chief Steven Bannon.

“The documentary is what happens to any empire or culture, nation, what happens to them when they forget the God of the Bible, the God of Creation,” he said. “You forget Him and what they do is they allow men to determine what’s right and wrong instead of God, they let men decide what’s good and evil instead of God, and they allow men to decide how much your life is worth. So once that happens, you start seeing these, like in America, these court cases. I mean we’ve legislated the murder of our own children, we’ve legislated perversion, and instead of vetting our thinking through the word of God, we just decided, no, well, we know more than God.

“And now we look around and we see what we have, we’ve confined God inside these structures, everybody’s got a different sign, you know, there’s a church on every street corner, and it became so splintered and divided and the government came along and made sure, they basically said keep Him in those church buildings but do not bring Him out in public education, they ran Him out of there, saying ‘don’t bring Him into the public square.’”

He added that he is now being criticized just for quoting “a few Bible verses,” just like Jesus.

Phil Robertson: Founders Didn't Want Government To Provide Louisiana Flood Aid

Phil Robertson, the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch who will be speaking alongside Donald Trump at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, offered his thoughts on natural disasters in an interview with a West Virginia radio station yesterday, explaining that the government shouldn’t be providing relief to people affected by the devastating flooding in Louisiana because everybody should just chill out, stop whining and move to higher ground.

Brian Sexton, who was hosting “ The Tom Roten Morning Show,” asked Robertson to discuss the flooding in his home state of Louisiana, which led Robertson to embark on an extended reflection on natural disasters and how everyone always gets “bent out of shape whether it doesn’t rain or if it does rain,” when the country’s founders thought you should just deal with it on your own:

Here’s my view of disasters, whether it be hurricanes, tornados, it just rains a lot. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and say—You know, I’ve noticed something. We bellyache when it doesn’t rain because we can’t grow anything and ‘It’s a drought, it’s a drought!’ We all bellyache and then cry out. Well, when it rains, starts raining and it rains too much so you have a flood, ‘It’s a flood, it’s a flood!’ and everyone gets all bent out of shape whether it doesn’t rain or if it does rain.

So everybody is saying, running around on planet earth, seemingly saying in America at least, if it just rained just right all the time we would be happy. Here’s the deal: When it rains a lot, it’s going to flood. And if it doesn’t rain too much you have a drought. Both of them are bones to be chewed.

But it’s my studied opinion, just from observing, our founders basically said, ‘When disasters come your way, it’s unfortunate, they do happen, but you can’t expect the United States government to start pouring in and coming down there.’

What everyone needs to realize is we need to love one another enough that when you or your neighbors when they flood, we call come together, we all start cooking some meals here, looking after one another. These things, it’s the way life is. I mean, we’re not going to have the perfect temperature and the perfect amount of rainfall. So my view is, when it floods here we just move all our stuff higher and higher up the hill and if it starts coming in the house, we move it up, up, up as far as we can and then if it comes right down to it, we’re going to find ourselves another hill higher than the one we were on.

After discussing how he always picks land with potential flooding in mind and so people should never have built homes near the Gulf of Mexico in the first place, Robertson concluded: “We bring a lot of this stuff on ourselves. I don’t think the government ought to be a part of it. That’s when you ought to come together as human beings, love one another, help each other out. The waters will recede and life will go on, so let’s just keep it in proper context. It’s the way life is.”

Ohio Activists Petition To Classify Abortion As 'Aggravated Murder'

Activists in Ohio have filed a petition with Attorney General Mike DeWine seeking to put a constitutional amendment on the state’s ballot that would classify abortion as “aggravated murder.”

The proposed amendment would “prohibit abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception, and [classify] it as aggravated murder in the State of Ohio.” Its authors claim that it would not affect “genuine contraception” or “IVF procedures that respect the right to life of newly created human beings”—carefully worded qualifications that seem designed to ease public discomfort about the amendment while not actually creating exceptions.

Under Ohio law, “aggravated murder” can be punished by death or life in prison.

Cleveland.com reports that the amendment petition was submitted by Ohio activists Laura Burton, Anthony Dipane and Dustin Paulson. Although the news outlet reports that the activists are “not connected with Right to Life or other organized anti-abortion rights groups,” the language of the amendment is identical to a bill posted on the website of Abolish Abortion Ohio, a state group connected with the group Abolish Human Abortion. Dipane and Paulson are both associated with Abolish Abortion Ohio.

In a Facebook post about the proposed amendment, Paulson wrote that he and his allies were calling on legislators to ignore “the unjust rulings of an unjust Supreme Court” and “defy the higher magistrates” (i.e. the courts) on the issue:

We're calling our fellow citizens, Ohioans, Christians, to repent of their apathy and capitulation during this war on the unborn.

They've seen their neighbor left for dead and passed by on the other side.

The legislators who are sworn to uphold the Constitution, not the unjust rulings of an unjust Supreme Court, have helped to codify their murders.

Our message is simple and unchanging:

-Repent with us for failing to do for the least of these what we would most certainly have done for Christ.

-Call for, and only for, the uncompromising abolishment of abortion in our state and nation.

-Defy the higher magistrates who have become unquestionable kings in our nation, no matter the cost to state and country.

An Oklahoma bill seeking to classify abortion as first-degree murder this year was similarly pushed by the “abolitionist” group in the state. That bill foundered, but the Oklahoma legislature soon passed another bill seeking to make abortion a felony, which was vetoed by the state’s Republican governor.

FRC’s Ken Blackwell: Democrats 'Sowing Grounds To Challenge The Election' If Trump Wins

Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state who is now a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, writes in a Christian Post column today that Democrats may be raising the specter of Russian tampering with election results in order to create “grounds to challenge the election” if Donald Trump should win.

Even if this is not the case, Blackwell insists, Democrats may be using hacking fears as a pretense to increase federal oversight of elections.

Blackwell is just the latest conservative activist to suggest that election security concerns are part of a ruse to reverse a Trump victory or justify a federal takeover of elections.

Blackwell:

The Democrats are now playing the Russia card. As Donald Trump rises in the polls against an increasingly unpopular Hillary Clinton, Democrats are raising the specter of the nefarious Vladimir Putin. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's famous reset of relations was a bust, but we are supposed to trust her to handle Putin in the future. More important, the Democrats are sowing grounds to challenge the election, relying on their unnatural ability to squeeze, as if by magic, extra votes from the courtroom.

There may be an even more insidious objective, however, than swaying the 2016 result. Outgoing Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, never a fan of election fair play, warned of Russian tampering and called for an FBI investigation. This followed warnings by Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, of potential cyber-attacks come November. He indicated he was considering designating the election system "critical infrastructure."

This would be followed by a Washington campaign to "assist" and "protect" balloting, which inevitably would turn into control. The Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky warned that Johnson's action "may be a way for the administration to get Justice Department lawyers, the FBI, and DHS staff into polling places they would otherwise have no legal right to access, which would enable them to interfere with election administration procedures around the country." That would dramatically, and permanently, transform the constitutional balance between the national and state governments.

Frank Gaffney: Matt Lauer May Go Easy On Clinton To Protect Her Health

Frank Gaffney, the conservative activist who runs the Center for Security Policy, latched onto the Hillary Clinton health conspiracy theory today, alleging in an interview with Breitbart News that journalist Matt Lauer may go easy on Clinton at a candidates’ forum tonight because he knows “if she feels stressed she will begin to fall apart.”

“I think that he will almost certainly be bending over backwards to give her a hand,” Gaffney said. “You know, one of the things that is now becoming a subtext is does her health begin to impinge upon her performance in something like this, if she feels stressed will she begin to fall apart for whatever reason? And we don’t know the reason, but I think there’s a question there and I suspect if no other reason, that may contribute to Matt’s well, shall we say a lack of even-handedness.”

Gaffney and the program’s host, Alex Marlow, also discussed reports that Lauer was once listed as a Clinton Global Initiative “member,” which Lauer and other journalists on the list say is not true.

Brigitte Gabriel: Stop Refugee Resettlement Because 'More Than 20 Percent Of Muslims Are Radicals'

The anti-Muslim group ACT for America is holding its annual conference in Washington, D.C., this week, where a major priority of the activists is to convince Congress to halt funding to the refugee resettlement program. In a speech to the conference yesterday, ACT’s founder and president, Brigitte Gabriel, said that this is critical because “more than 20 percent of Muslims are radicals” so allowing any Muslims to immigrate to the country, including through refugee resettlement, is like allowing the immigration of people who have a 20 percent likelihood of carrying a disease that is “fatal on contact.”

“Most experts agree that more than 20 percent of Muslims are radicals,” she asserted. “It is practically impossible to identify this group from the 75 or 80 percent who are not radicals. Impossible!” (In fact, “most experts” do not agree with this number.)

“So I’m going to give you an example,” she said. “Let’s say 20 percent of Chinese people are infected with a disease that is fatal on contact. Fatal on contact! Would we just continue to allow Chinese to enter America rather than be called ‘Chinaphobic’ or would we take the sensible approach of holding Chinese entering the country until we can figure out some way to know who was the carrier of the disease that was fatal on contact, such as suicide bombers or terrorists when it comes to the refugee population?“

“And we would want to check also the Chinese people who are already in the country to make sure they are not carriers of the disease,” she added. “That would be the sensible thing to do to protect the country and protect Americans. That’s why Trump’s approach makes sense. He cares about protecting Americans more than being called names. Let’s start being sensible and stop this political correctness that’s going to kill us.”

She urged ACT members, who headed to Capitol Hill today to lobby their members of Congress, to speak up against funding the refugee resettlement programs and “let these supposed nonprofit organizations who are religious charities, let them fund it out of their own pocket if they are so driven to bring refugees into the country.”

True The Vote Wonders If Obama Orchestrated Hack In Order To Take Over Elections

True the Vote, a Tea Party group that’s working to organize poll-watchers to prevent a “flood of illegal voters” from stealing the 2016 election, organized a conference call last week to explain how a consent decree that the Republican National Committee signed in the 1980s “makes True the Vote the only hope for election integrity this year.”

True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht invited a man named Greg Phillips, who she said runs a cyber-security firm, to discuss potential threats to election security, including the recent reported hacks of elections systems in two states. Phillips dismissed the threat of cyberattacks against state elections systems, speculating that the Obama administration may have orchestrated the reported hack in order to justify taking control of elections in the states.

“What the left always does,” he said, “is they create a problem and then they solve their own problem by letting the federal government take it over … All of us in this industry know that the DOJ control of elections is what many of these presidents have wanted and certainly what the DOJ has wanted, but this lawless DOJ, whether it was under the previous attorney general or under the current attorney general, they seek to control all elections. And so they believe, I think, if they go out and they create a problem—they likely, it’s possible they even hired these hackers. They have scores of white-hat hackers that go around doing this kind of thing.”

Their goal in doing such a thing, he said, would have been “to raise enough fear” to justify a federal takeover of elections.

Engelbrecht responded that “there may in fact be a real threat [of] cyberattacks out there or we are citizens in a country whose government is trying to engineer an outcome that would spark fear enough to put elections into the hands of the federal government. It’s all pretty sinister.”

Senate GOP Holding Dozens Of Federal Court Seats For Trump

It’s well known that the Senate GOP has been stalling President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland for months in the hope that Donald Trump will win the presidential election and eventually fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. This dynamic is playing out in the lower federal courts as well, as Senate Republicans stall confirmation proceedings in an apparent effort to leave as many vacancies as possible for a potential President Trump to fill.

People for the American Way’s Paul Gordon has crunched the numbers and reports in a memo today that by stalling district and appeals court nominations, Senate Republicans are leaving far more lower court vacancies at the end of President Obama’s term in office than Democrats did at the end of President Bush’s.

Gordon reports that there are 87 current circuit and district vacancies in the federal courts today, more than double the number that there were at the beginning of the year. Contrast that with the number of vacancies during the final two years of Bush’s presidency:

Gordon notes that these vacancies do not exist because of a lack of nominees:

Now, in September of 2016, Republicans have an opportunity and a responsibility to fill dozens of vacancies. In addition to Merrick Garland, there are 29 circuit and district court nominees still bottled up in the Judiciary Committee. Only six of them have even had hearings, let alone a committee vote; two of the nominees (both from Pennsylvania) had their committee hearings last year, but Grassley still has not brought them up for a vote.

In addition, there are 20 circuit and district court nominees who have been vetted and approved by Judiciary Committee and who could — and should — have confirmation votes as soon as the Senate returns to Washington. More than a third of these have been pending on the floor for more than six months, including four who advanced from committee back in 2015.

The fact that the Senate GOP is deliberately slow-walking President Obama’s nominees in the final year of his term in office is an open secret. A top anti-abortion lobbyist said this summer that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have “moved with very deliberate speed on those nominations and it's safe to predict that there will be quite a number of vacant seats on the federal courts, including that Supreme Court vacancy, when the election rolls around.”

"There certainly would be a lot more Obama-nominated federal judges if the Senate had remained in Democrat hands," he added.

Trump Cozying Up To Activists Who've Supported Criminalizing Homosexuality

Donald Trump is scheduled to speak this week at the Values Voter Summit, the annual confab hosted by the Religious Right powerhouse the Family Research Council. While Trump has claimed that he will be a better “friend of LGBT Americans” than Hillary Clinton (just “ask the gays”), his appearance at VVS shows the extent to which he has cozied up with some of the country’s fiercest opponents of LGBT equality, going so far as to offer them their pick of Supreme Court justices.

Many of the summit’s organizers and speakers have a long history of anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting anti-LGBT policies, from denigrating gay and lesbian armed service members to falsely linking homosexuality with pedophilia. In fact, a glaring number of VVS participants have defended laws criminalizing homosexuality in the U.S. and around the globe.

While the Religious Right has changed its messaging in recent years to claim that conservative Christians in the U.S. are facing persecution from LGBT rights activists, it was not long ago that many of the same groups were fighting to preserve laws that made gay people criminals—and some still support enacting these policies at home and abroad.

The Family Research Council, which is the chief organizer of the conference, is a case in point. In 2003, when the Supreme Court was considering the constitutionality of Texas’ ban on “sodomy” in the landmark Lawrence v. Texas case, the FRC filed an amicus brief on behalf of the state. When the court ruled against Texas in the case, the FRC called it “a direct attack on the sanctity of marriage” and the group’s president, Tony Perkins, declared, “What’s at stake here is the very foundation of our society, not only of America but all Western civilization.”

Not only has Perkins defended state laws criminalizing same-sex relations, he once defended a notorious anti-gay bill in Uganda that at the time he discussed it proposed life in prison or even the death penalty for people who have sex with someone of the same sex. Perkins lauded this bill as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable,” criticizing President Obama for opposing it. The FRC even spent $25,000 to lobby Congress about a resolution denouncing the Ugandan bill—the group later claimed that it didn’t oppose the resolution, it just wanted to make its language less friendly to gay rights. In 2011, FRC asked its members to pray to give Malawi the “courage to withstand U.S. coercion” and maintain its ban on homosexuality.

Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the FRC who will have a speaking slot at this weekend’s summit, has perhaps been the most clear about the organization’s views on the subject. Asked by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in 2010 if he thinks “we should outlaw gay behavior,” Sprigg replied, “Yes.” In a 2008 television interview, Sprigg mused, “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

The American Family Association, another sponsor of the Values Voter Summit, likewise backed Texas in the Lawrence case, writing in the amicus brief that a law like Texas' could prevent the “injury caused to the public by same-sex sodomy” and would even protect the gay people it targeted by sparing them “illness, disease and death resulting from [their] conduct.” That same year, the AFA published an essay lamenting that the disappearance of sodomy laws showed that “Judeo-Christian views” were being abandoned in favor of “moral relativism.” In 2011, then-AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer said that homosexuality should be a “criminal offense.”

First Liberty, another sponsor of the event, likewise backed Texas in the Lawrence case (under its previous incarnation as the Liberty Legal Institute), with the group’s leader Kelly Shackelford—also a speaker at this year’s VVS—declaring that there is “no constitutional right to engage in homosexual sodomy.”

Other figures at the Values Voter Summit have also supported criminal bans on homosexuality.

Rick Santorum, who will have a speaking slot, has boasted of his opposition to the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision. Family Watch International, which is sponsoring a booth at the event, frequently works with some of the world’s most repressive governments to keep LGBT-friendly language out of UN documents and has supported harsh anti-gay legislation in Nigeria. Liberty Counsel, which will also be sponsoring a booth in the summit’s exhibit hall, backed Texas in the Lawrence case and defended a homosexuality ban in Malawi. Radical anti-LGBT activist Matt Barber said on a Liberty Counsel radio program he co-hosts that the U.S. should adopt a ban on “homosexual activist propaganda” similar to Russia’s. Fischer, the former AFA spokesman, also advocated enacting a similar law in the U.S.

Many Religious Right leaders have rallied behind Trump because he has promised to give them their ideal Supreme Court justices and lower court judges. Very recent history shows that these groups aren’t just interested in using the courts to reverse marriage equality—which would be harmful enough on its own—but also to severely roll back years of hard-won legal protections for LGBT people. Trump says that he’d be better for the LGBT community than Hillary Clinton—but we doubt that he’ll bring that message to the Values Voter Summit.

How Phyllis Schlafly Paved The Way For Donald Trump

Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who died yesterday at the age of 92, was an early and ardent supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, one of the few Religious Right leaders who embraced the thrice-married, brash business mogul before they were left with no other option.

Schlafly’s love of Trump was hardly surprising: For decades, she has fought to build a Republican Party that rejects immigrants, stirs up fears of communists (and now Muslims), condemns “globalism,” eschews “political correctness,” and does it all with the veneer of protecting the “traditional family.” Trump was the candidate she had been waiting for.

Schlafly got her start as an anti-communist activist in the 1950s and 1960s, defending Sen. Joe McCarthy’s notorious communist hunt until the end and canceling her subscription to The National Review when it denounced the conspiratorial anti-communist John Birch Society. In 1964, she self-published a book called “A Choice Not An Echo,” urging the GOP to reject moderation and back Sen. Barry Goldwater’s presidential run; that year, Goldwater lost the presidential election in a landslide but made an indelible impact on the Republican Party.

But Schlafly really made a name for herself as the nation’s most famous anti-feminist, leading the successful fight to stop the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Throughout her career, Schlafly denounced “the feminists” and their goals, even as she became a successful career woman in her own right. (Schlafly’s niece later admitted that even as the activist exulted stay-at-home mothering as the natural role of women, she hired domestic help to help her manage balancing her career and childrearing.)

Through her group Eagle Forum, Schlafly remained active in a long list of conservative causes after the ERA was defeated.

Later in her career, Schlafly denounced equal pay legislation, saying that the “so-called pay gap” should actually be increased to help women find husbands who earn more than them. In 2007, she said that it was impossible for a husband to rape his wife because “by getting married, the woman has consented to sex.” A staunch opponent of abortion rights, Schlafly founded the Republican National Coalition for Life to ensure that the GOP remained an anti-choice party.

Hand-in-hand with Schlafly’s anti-feminism was her staunch opposition to LGBT rights. One of her primary arguments against the Equal Rights Amendment was that it would eventually lead to marriage equality and other rights for LGBT people. Her views on the issue didn’t waver even after her son John, who remains active in Eagle Forum, was outed as gay.

In recent years, Schlafly turned much of her attention to fighting immigration, and particularly to fighting efforts within the GOP to be more welcoming to immigrants. After the Republican National Committee responded to Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election by issuing an “autopsy” report that urged the party to stop alienating Latinos, partially by considering immigration reform, Schlafly lashed out, saying that there was no hope for the GOP to win Latinos. Latinos, she said, don’t “have any Republican inclinations at all” because “they’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are.” She added that Latinos “come from a country where they have no experience with limited government. And the types of rights we have in the Bill of Rights, they don’t understand that at all, you can’t even talk to them about what the Republican principle is.”

Schlafly attacked President Obama for bringing in “foreign ideas and diseases and people who don’t believe in self-government” and repeatedly declared that current levels of immigration are destroying America. In response to people skeptical of Trump’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, Schlafly scoffed. “In my mind’s eye,” she said, “I see those railroad cars full of illegals going south. That’s what they ought to do.” Schlafly made clear that her objection was not to immigration in general, but to the fact that many immigrants were coming from Latin America, saying last year that while it is “quite true that America was built by hard-working people from all over the world,” today’s immigrants are “not the same sort” as the mostly European immigrants who flocked to the country in the early 20th century.

She tried to square this anti-immigrant sentiment with her Christian beliefs by claiming that the Bible’s demands of “kindness and compassion” to strangers do not apply to the government’s treatment of immigrants.

It’s no wonder that Schlafly loved Trump, who offered to deliver the Religious Right’s policy priorities while putting his heart into fighting immigration and stirring up fears of the supposed radical Muslim infiltration of America. Schlafly stuck with Trump, whom she introduced at a St. Louis campaign rally, even as her support for his candidacy helped to tear apart both her organization and her family. In the month's before Schlafly's death, her daughter joined other Eagle Forum officials in a lawsuit that seeking the ouster of Schalfly’s handpicked, pro-Trump successor. Fittingly, Schlafly’s final book was released today. It’s called “The Conservative Case for Trump.”

Trump may seem like something new in the political system, but he’s exactly the kind of candidate Schlafly spent her life priming the GOP to accept.

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