Miranda Blue's blog

Iowa Religious Right Kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats Comes Out In Favor Of Some Medical Marijuana

We didn’t see this one coming. Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa Religious Right powerhouse The Family Leader, came out in favor of legalizing some medical marijuana products yesterday, testifying in favor of a bill that would legalize production and sale of medical cannabis oil in the state.

Vander Plaats, emphasizing that he was speaking in his personal capacities and not on behalf of The Family Leader, told the Des Moines Register that he and his wife were "applauding and cheering silently from the sidelines" when the state decriminalized possession of medical cannabis oil and wanted the state to “finish the job” by legalizing its production and sale. The two said they were inspired to support the law by raising a developmentally disabled son.

Even limited support for medical marijuana comes as a surprise from Vander Plaats who, as the leading Religious Right figure in Iowa, works to press Republican presidential candidates to the right on "family" issues like LGBT equality, abortion rights and legal pornography. Last year, the group even produced a video showing people smoking pot as part of a montage of events including gay rights and terrorism that they alleged are leading to the End Times.

Watch the KTIV report on Vander Plaats’ testimony:

KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Benghazi 'Citizens Committee' Member: Ban New Mosques In US Because 80 Percent 'Preach Sedition'

Retired Navy Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, an author of the Center For Security Policy’s “Team B II” report on Islam in America and a member of the Citizens Committee on Benghazi, claimed in a radio interview this week that 80 percent of American mosques “preach sedition” and urged an end to Muslim immigration and a ban on the building of mosques.

Lyons told Joe Miller, the former Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Alaska who now hosts a far-right radio program, that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the Obama administration to the point where “I would consider them a de facto cabinet member."

Lyons said that he would undo the supposed infiltration by electing an “administration that puts America first,” but added that the Muslim Brotherhood “penetration” has been going on for decades and the real solution is to crack down on American Muslims.

“Just a change in administration is not enough,” he told Miller. “There has to be a significant education program, and we haven’t touched on it. Our borders must be secured. This is unconscionable what’s going on. And the immigration of the Muslims under the Obama administration that are pouring into this country must cease.”

“Actually, 80 percent of the mosques in this country preach sedition,” he claimed. “Their imams and those mosques should be closed down, they should be expelled to the countries where they came from and we should stop building mosques, just like Switzerland has stopped building them there and now some of the countries in Europe are starting to wake up to the threat that they’ve been so benign to.”

The “80 percent” figure has appeared in right-wing talking points for several years, despite having been thoroughly debunked.

Sandy Rios Says White House Is Behind Petition To Try GOP Senators For Treason

On Monday, shortly after 47 Republican senators sent a letter directly to Iran’s leaders in an effort to undermine the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations, someone posted a petition on the White House’s open petition forum calling on the government to charge the senators with treason, which has since collected over 200,000 signatures.

American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios said on her radio show today that she knows exactly who is behind the petition: President Obama.

“And now there are 148,000 people who have signed a petition charging these senators with treason. And guess who’s behind it. I know you’ll never guess. The Obama administration has set up a system that lets people submit petitions, so that’s what they’re using.”

If, as Rios implies, the White House is behind every petition on its “We the People” platform, it is also behind petitions demanding that President Obama resign and be tried for treason himself.

Bachmann: DHS Extension Guarantees 'Obama Phones' And Voter Fraud For Undocumented Immigrants

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann told WorldNetDaily yesterday that the decision of the Republican leadership in Congress to ally with Democrats to pass a clean extension of funding for the Department of Homeland Security “ensures a Democrat likely will be elected president in 2016” because immigrants protected from deportation by President Obama’s executive actions will vote illegally for Democrats.

“Practically, that bill ensures a Democrat likely will be elected president in 2016 with the Congress willing to double cross the taxpayers by paying for five million illegal work permits, driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, Medicare, Medicaid and ultimately fraudulently directed efforts to get illegal aliens to the 2016 voting booth,” she said.

She also falsely claimed that undocumented immigrants covered by the orders would be eligible for food stamps and “Obama phones,” the name given by a racist meme to a communications program in place long before Obama became president.

WASHINGTON – The next president likely will be a Democrat and she, or he, can thank GOP leadership for that, according to Michele Bachmann.

The former congresswoman told WND that will be the result of top Republicans allowing the bill funding Obama’s amnesty for five million illegal immigrants to pass, immediately following the speech to Congress last week by Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Practically, that bill ensures a Democrat likely will be elected president in 2016 with the Congress willing to double cross the taxpayers by paying for five million illegal work permits, driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, Medicare, Medicaid and ultimately fraudulently directed efforts to get illegal aliens to the 2016 voting booth.”

She said GOP leaders “betrayed our trust with a real bait-and-switch because no one was running in favor of amnesty in November, and then we get this.”

Bachmann lamented, “We’ve come to expect to be disappointed by Democrats,” but it was especially disappointing to see her own party flip-flop, and she predicted disastrous results.

“This was the most consequential vote for Democrats to ensure their political party’s dominance into the future.”

Bachmann said the GOP leadership “knew the outcome of the vote would be to pay for Obama’s illegal, unconstitutional work permits for non-deported illegal aliens.”

“They also knew this would mean Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Obama phones, Social Security disability benefits would also become accessible.”

And that, Bachmann observed, played right into the Democrats’ hands.

She said Democrats fully realized the vital importance and self-interest in voting for the bill, because, “They saw five million potential new voters for the all important 2016 election.”

But, didn’t Democrats assure Americans that illegal immigrants would not be able to vote?

“With Social Security numbers, a work permit and a driver’s license, they know no one doing voter registration would ever ask for legalization papers, because in light of Ferguson, that request would be construed as racist,” Bachmann retorted.

Tony Perkins Links HHS Contraception Mandate To Religious Persecution In Middle East

In testimony to a Senate subcommittee today, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins linked the Hobby Lobby contraception coverage case to violent religious persecution in the Middle East and around the world, repeating his claim that there is a “correlation” between perceived discrimination against conservative Christians in the U.S. and oppression and violence against religious minority groups by groups like ISIS.

As we noted yesterday, Perkins was a troubling choice to testify in an international religious freedom hearing because he routinely exploits the very real persecution of Christians and other religious minorities throughout the world to attack President Obama and the LGBT rights movement, who he claims are persecuting Christians in the United States by preventing them from discriminating against gay people.

Perkins picked up on the theme in his testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s foreign operations subcommittee, responding to a question from Sen. Steve Daines of Montana by claiming that U.S. policies like the HHS mandate on insurance coverage for contraceptives that was struck down by the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case send a “message to bad actors abroad that America no longer puts a high priority on religious freedom.”

“The lack of priority on religious freedom that we have placed here domestically in our policies does send a message internationally,” he said. “I think there is a correlation between…the growing intolerance toward religious freedom here at home, i.e. in the marketplace, is giving rise to persecution abroad. And the reason I say that is when we no longer make it a priority domestically, that sends a message to bad actors abroad that America no longer puts a high priority on religious freedom, so we don’t have to worry about them acting against us or moving against us based on that.”

“I mean, you look at the case of the HHS mandate, the Hobby Lobby case, which had to go all the way to the Supreme Court in order to exercise their religious freedom under the Religious Freedom Act,” he added.

That was too much even for Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel to the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, who responded that while he agreed with Perkins that the contraception coverage mandate represented “religious discrimination,” it was “not on the same level as religious persecution where people are having their throats slit, being crucified or being beheaded.”

This isn’t the first time Perkins has made such an absurd claim: He once suggested that President Obama’s support for overturning the Citizens United decision is somehow connected to the violent persecution of Christians in countries like Sudan.

Earlier in his testimony, Perkins also claimed that the Obama administration had left open the position of ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom for “36 months,” sending “a message that we did not put a priority as an administration, as a country on religious freedom.” The position was indeed left open for a little over two years at the start of President Obama’s first term…because then-Sen. Jim DeMint, a Republican who now runs the Heritage Foundation, placed a hold on Obama’s first nominee for the job.

Anti-Gay Activists Urge Parents To Keep Kids Home On Anti-Bullying 'Day Of Silence'

A coalition of anti-gay groups is once again urging parents to keep their children out of school on the annual anti-bullying “Day of Silence.” The Illinois Family Institute published the call to action on its website today, signed by activists including Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera, Scott Lively, Linda Harvey, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, and MassResistance’s Brian Camenker.

Calling the GLSEN-sponsored event “the queen of all the numerous homosexuality-affirming activities that take place in public schools,” the activists allege that it is meant to “indoctrinate 16-year-olds.”

“We must demonstrate the boldness and perseverance of the Left if we hope to stop the relentless appropriation of public education for the promotion of homosexuality,” they exhort.

The Day of Silence has long been a target of anti-gay group’ efforts to crack down on anti-bullying efforts in schools.

The Day of Silence is the queen of all the numerous homosexuality-affirming activities that take place in public schools. It started in one university and then like a cancer metastasized to thousands of high schools, and then into middle schools. Before long it will take place in elementary schools. Leftists know that it’s easier to indoctrinate 16-year-olds than 36-year-olds and easier still to indoctrinate 6-year-olds.

GLSEN promotes the Day of Silence as an “anti-bullying” effort. If it were solely about eradicating bullying, everyone—liberals and conservatives alike—would support it. But it’s not.

The Day of Silence exploits government schools, captive audiences, and anti-bullying sentiment to advance the Left’s social, moral, and political beliefs and goals. GLSEN seeks to advance the belief that all public expressions of moral disapproval of homosexual activity are bullying.

A coalition of pro-family organizations is once again urging parents to keep their children home from school on the Day of Silence if their school administrations will be allowing students to politicize instructional time by refusing to speak. This is the only organized national effort to oppose any pro-homosexual activity or event in public schools.

The absence of conservative influence within the culture on issues related to homosexuality is to some extent the fault of conservatives. Ignorance, fear, and an astounding lack of perseverance on the parts of conservatives have turned our cultural institutions—including public education—into the playground of “progressives.” Our passivity has enabled homosexual activists and their ideological allies to become social, political, and pedagogical bullies. Evidence of that is everywhere, including in schools on the GLSEN’s annual April school event, the Day of Silence.

We must demonstrate the boldness and perseverance of the Left if we hope to stop the relentless appropriation of public education for the promotion of homosexuality.

Matt Barber , Founder and Editor-in-Chief, BarbWire

Dr. Michael Brown , Director, Coalition of Conscience

Brian Camenker , President, MassResistance

Linda Harvey , Founder and President, Mission America

Laurie Higgins , Cultural Analyst, Illinois Family Institute

Peter LaBarbera , President, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality

Diane Gramley , President, American Family Association of Pennsylvania

Matt Staver , President, Liberty Counsel

Debra Smith , Founder, Informing Christians

Tom Rasmussen , Executive Director, Montana Family Foundation

Pastor Scott Lively , President, Abiding Truth Ministries

Penny Nance , President, CWA

Debbie Leininger , State Director, CWA of Illinois

Beverly Uhlmer Roberts , State Director, CWA of Texas South

Linda Wall , VA Mass Resistance

Nolan Clayton , Faith and Freedom Family Ministries

Pastor Christopher Clegg , Operation Save America

Senate GOP Invites FRC's Tony Perkins To Politicize Hearing On 'Religious Freedom Abroad'

The Family Research Council announced today that its president, Tony Perkins, has been invited to testify at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing tomorrow on “protecting religious freedom abroad.”

The inclusion of Perkins threatens to turn a hearing about a critically important issue into a political sideshow. Perkins has consistently used the persecution of Christians abroad as a political bludgeon at home, claiming that LGBT rights in the U.S. are fueling religious persecution worldwide and falsely asserting that President Obama has done nothing to stop the oppression of Christians because he secretly sympathizes with Islamic radicals.

And, even as he accuses the Obama administration of ignoring the plight of Christians, Perkins has attacked international human rights efforts aimed at combating violence against and government oppression of LGBT people.

Perkins routinely trots out the claim that conservative Christians are being persecuted in America to blame the Obama administration and the LGBT rights movement for very real anti-Christian persecution throughout the world. In an interview with Rick Santorum in November, Perkins insisted that there is a “correlation” between the supposed persecution of Christians in America and violent attacks on Christians and churches in the Middle East and elsewhere. “They feel like if it’s not a priority for us to have religious freedom here at home, then certainly it’s not going to be a priority for us to speak out for the persecuted peoples abroad,” he said.

Claiming that nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT people are in fact discriminatory against Christians, Perkins said in November that combating such laws “will give hope to far-away places around the world” where Christians are being oppressed by tyrannical governments.

He similarly blamed advances in LGBT rights in the U.S. for encouraging religious persecution in Iran and North Korea, citing the case of an Atlanta fire chief who lost his job after distributing an anti-gay book to claim that “tyrants abroad see an administration that is not only not interested in protecting religious freedom but actually persecuting.” At another point, he warned of “deadly consequences” for Christians abroad if marriage equality succeeds in the United States.

Last year, Perkins linked the case of Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who was imprisoned for converting to Christianity, to an effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, saying “we keep our freedom of religion by working to keep our freedom of speech, and political speech is actually what’s under attack here.”

Perkins frequently brushes aside the evidence he is presented with to suggest that President Obama is ignoring the plight of Christians throughout the world. Throughout Ibrahim’s plight, Perkins insisted that the Obama administration had “done nothing” for her…even after sources including Fox News and a conservative Republican congressman told him that the administration had been working diligently to set her free. Even after diplomatic pressure led to Ibrahim’s release and she was granted asylum in the United States, Perkins claimed in a fundraising letter that there was “no evidence that the Obama State Department did anything to intervene.”

Also during Ibrahim’s ordeal, Perkins used his false claims about Obama’s indifference to advance whispered conspiracy theories that the President is secretly a Muslim radical.

Similarly, when the administration secured the release of Kenneth Bae, a Christian pastor held in a North Korean prison camp, Perkins used the opportunity to falsely claim that the administration was doing nothing to help another Christian political prisoner, Saeed Abedini, in Iran.

Perkins hasn’t just exploited the cases of persecuted Christians to attack Obama ­— he has also used them in an effort to lend legitimacy to his fight against LGBT rights in the United States.

He frequently portrays protecting LGBT people from violence and protecting Christians from religious persecution as an either-or choice…and, unsurprisingly, claims that Obama has chosen the former. In a direct mail piece in August, for instance, Perkins vowed to fight the administration’s “devotion to the cause of sexual immorality and their simultaneous indifference toward Christians suffering persecution for their faith.”

Perkins may portray the issues as mutually exclusive because he vehemently opposes any U.S. efforts to protect LGBT people from violence and persecution from their governments. Back in 2010, he defended a Uganda bill that would have imposed life imprisonment for consensual sex with someone of the same sex and the death penalty for so-called “aggravated homosexuality,” saying it was an effort to “uphold moral conduct.” When then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched an initiative to promote LGBT rights throughout the world, he accused her of promoting a “radical social agenda” including “special rights for homosexuals and homosexuality”… while claiming that she had remained “silent” on anti-Christian persecution.

Religious persecution around the world is certainly a worthy topic for the Senate to address. But including Tony Perkins in such a hearing is not the way for a committee to convey that it is taking this issue seriously.

Cruz: Marriage Equality Decisions 'A Real Danger To Our Liberty'

Sen. Ted Cruz told Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday that he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment to allow states to ban gay and lesbian couples from marrying because court decisions in favor of marriage equality present “a real danger to our liberty.”

The Texas Republican deflected Mickelson’s questions on whether states could simply ignore a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality, saying he preferred his constitutional amendment as a solution. “If the courts were following the Constitution, we shouldn’t need a new amendment, but they are, as you put it quite rightly, making it up right now and it’s a real danger to our liberty,” he said.

Cruz told a group of Iowa pastors yesterday that judges who have made decisions in favor of marriage equality are “ignoring their oaths, ignoring the Constitution and legislating from the bench.”

LaBarbera: GOP Will Fall If It Stops Talking About Gay Kisses On TV

Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera joined Janet Mefferd on Friday to discuss the Supreme Court brief filed by a number of prominent conservatives in favor of marriage equality, along with a Buzzfeed article labeling Jeb Bush “2016’s gay-friendly Republican.”

Needless to say, LaBarbera and Mefferd were not pleased with these developments, and speculated that Christians will start to leave the Republican Party if support for gay rights begins to gain a foothold in the party.

LaBarbera warned that Republicans need to not only hold onto their opposition to marriage equality, but also start speaking out against things like a kiss between two teenage boys on a recent episode of the TV show “The Fosters.”

“In my mind, if the Republican Party can’t even talk about something as fundamental to morality and our nation’s future as whether it’s okay to push young people into homosexuality and to model that as a positive thing, if Republicans can’t even handle that issue, then I think there’s not a good prospect long term for the Republican Party,” he said.

Earlier in the interview, LaBarbera said it was impossible for “a real, faithful conservative” to support LGBT rights and blamed the GOP’s very slight feints toward LGBT rights on libertarians, whom he lamented “end up supporting a lot of the homosexual agenda, even though much of the homosexual agenda is against liberty”:

If you’re endorsing the idea of marriage between two people of the same sex, an act which God calls an abomination, which is decidedly against nature — our Declaration talks about “nature and nature’s God,” homosexuality is decidedly against both — I can’t see how a real, faithful conservative could support that.

In the case of homosexuality, you’re seeing pro-homosexual arguments, the idea of attaching the perversion of homosexuality to the noble institution of marriage, being advanced as a conservative idea. And I think we can take the libertarians for that. The libertarians, I believe, are going to end up causing a lot of trouble in the Republican Party, because they end up supporting a lot of the homosexual agenda, even though much of the homosexual agenda is against liberty.

Larry Pratt: Immigrants Don't Love Freedom Enough To Protect Themselves From Murderers

Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt was a guest on Armed America Radio two weeks ago, where he told host Mark Walters that Obama’s executive actions on immigration will destroy the Second Amendment because immigrants are part of a “dependent class” that’s “not generally of a mind to be able to protect itself” or to take care of “staying alive from one moment to the next in case some dirtbag wants to try to terminate you.”

Walters prompted Pratt to discuss why the president’s immigration actions are “a threat to gun owners” because “he’s going to create an underclass, handout, ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’ dependency class” of Democratic votes.

“First of all, we’ve seen that survey data indicates that some 85 percent of the illegals, were they to vote, would vote Democrat,” Pratt agreed. “And on the national level, really without exception anymore, that means anti-Second Amendment.”

“And you actually kind of sketched the larger picture,” he continued. “A dependent class that depends on the government for their income, for all kinds of financial and other assistance, is not generally of a mind to be able to protect itself, which is after all the most important part about living, is staying alive from one moment to the next in case some dirtbag wants to try to terminate you.

“And if you don’t think enough of your own freedom to take charge of that aspect of your existence, then of course you’re likely to expect handouts and ‘more, more, more’ because you have a dependent mentality.”

Earlier in the interview, Pratt predicted that Obama’s last two years in office will bring “an unimaginable assault on all kinds of liberties of Americans” in Obama’s effort to turn the U.S. into a communist country:

We’re going to see, I think, just an unimaginable assault on all kinds of liberties of Americans, be it the mining of coal, the manufacture of ammunition, financing of the firearms industry and their need for loans or whatever. This guy is now going to be in a serious assault mode against so many freedoms that we thought were kind of established here in the United States. Now we’re going to see that no, not according to our Dear Leader, our Dear Leader thinks this has been injurious to the world.

He thinks just the way every communist thinks, that the only reason the United States is prosperous is because we stole our wealth. He doesn’t have the first notion of how the free market works, how it encourages people to produce, how it has actually created wealth. Freedom means prosperity. Socialism has always meant drudgery.

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