Ted Cruz Touts Endorsement Of Extreme Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Activist Flip Benham

A list of endorsements from faith leaders published by Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign last week includes not only anti-gay pastor Ron Baity but also Philip “Flip” Benham of Operation Save America, a radical activist who campaigns against abortion rights and LGBT equality.

“We’re fighting the Devil and his lies in the world and the flesh, and moving it to a thing called the homosexual agenda — and it’s the Devil’s agenda,” Benham said last year, likening abortion and Islam to “the Devil’s fist” and the “homosexual agenda” to Satan’s “pink-colored glove.”

Benham founded Operation Save America out of what was left of the original iteration of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, expanding its focus to include opposition to gay rights, Islam, and other issues. (The leader of the new Operation Rescue, Troy Newman, has also endorsed Cruz.)

Benham’s recent activism at Operation Save America has included organizing a campaign to harass the judge overseeing the Kim Davis case, blaming the Sandy Hook massacre on the separation of church and state, blaming the Democratic Party for the Aurora mass shooting, declaring war on Islam and heckling congregants at a Unitarian Universalist congregation, which Operation Save America called “a synagogue of Satan,” during a moment of silence for deceased parishioners.

Benham has also crashed gay couples’ weddings to protest their nuptials.

In 2011, Benham was found guilty of stalking an abortion provider “after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician’s name and photo on it.” Earlier this year, he charged that the Baltimore riots following the death of Freddie Gray amounted to God’s punishment for legal abortion .

Cruz has already surrounded himself with hate group officials, fanatical anti-abortion activists and radical pastors. Benham will fit right in.

Trump Campaign: Media Conspiracy Suppressing 9/11 Celebration Footage

In an interview today with Breitbart News, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski defended his candidate’s bogus claim that he saw on TV “thousands and thousands” of Muslim Americans in New Jersey holding celebrations on 9/11 to applaud the attacks.

No footage or reports of such an event exist, and initial press reports about small “rooftop celebrations” were later declared to be “unfounded.”

However, Lewandowski said that reports of the (nonexistent) celebration do in fact exist and that the Trump campaign provided that material to media outlets which, according to Lewandowski, have refused to air it as part of a massive anti-Trump conspiracy.

For the mainstream media to go out and say that this didn’t happen is just factually inaccurate. We know it happened. They should go back and check the FBI records. Mr. Trump has provided them local media outlets that have covered this coverage that they don’t want to go and talk about. He’s provided many opportunities for them to go and see it but they have their own agenda, the media has their own agenda. They want to try and discredit as many people as possible so they can have an establishment candidate come in and think that everything is going to be the same because they are all controlled by the special interests and they are all controlled by the media and it is what the American people are just so tired of.

In Time of Crisis, Too Many Politicians Feed Fear and Scapegoating

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

In the somber days since ISIS terrorists killed 130 people in coordinated attacks on Paris, elected leaders from around the world have been searching for solutions. But far too many American politicians have fallen back, instead, on that old standby in times of crisis: Stirring up fear and finding someone, anyone, to scapegoat, no matter how unconnected the scapegoated person is with the problem at hand.

Sadly, in Congress that took the form of a House vote to in essence stop the U.S. resettlement of refugees from Iraq and Syria by imposing nearly impossible bureaucratic requirements on what is already the toughest vetting system for anyone seeking entry into the U.S. This bill was scapegoating in its purest form, framing as terrorists people who are fleeing the very violence that this bill was supposedly trying to prevent. 

The House vote -- in which 47 Democrats joined nearly every Republican -- was the culmination of a week of cowardice and bigotry sweeping the political landscape.

There was the Missouri state legislator who urged his governor to watch out for "all flavors" of Muslims and the mayor of Roanoke who invoked the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as a positive model for how to treat American Muslims. 

And there were the 31 governors who declared that their states would turn away Syrian refugees who go through the U.S. refugee resettlement program. 

Not wanting to miss out on the action, of course, Republican presidential candidates have been tripping over themselves to outdo one another. Donald Trump hasspeculated that refugees from Syria "could be one of the great Trojan horses." Mike Huckabee, in what can't even be described as a dog-whistle, has told Americans to "wake up and smell the falafel" when it comes to Syrian refugees. Chris Christie saidhe'd get tough on Syrian orphans. Ted Cruz has suggested that the U.S. only admit Christian refugees from Syria, although how he plans on testing people's religious faith is unclear. Jeb Bush has hinted at the same thing, saying he would back refugees who can "prove" that they're Christian, which shows what this is all about. If you have a system that's strong enough to "prove" someone's true religion, don't you think it could also properly vet people for national security purposes? Jeb Bush was supposed to be the mature establishment candidate. So much for that.

These politicians are feeding what a new Public Religion Research Institute pollreports is an "increased xenophobic streak in the American public." It's no coincidence that threats against American Muslims have been reported across the country in the days since the Paris attacks.

It is of course reasonable to ask that refugees be vetted -- they already are -- but if security were the real issue, our current debate wouldn't be about refugees at all. In fact, if someone were intent on sneaking into America to cause harm, exploiting the refugee resettlement program with its intensive and lengthy screening processes would be the hardest way to do it. No, what is behind the anti-refugee campaign of the Right is not reasonable concerns about security, but something much uglier.

The candidates who are now spewing cynical anti-refugee rhetoric are often the same ones who claim that their opponents don't believe in "American exceptionalism," and the movement so willing to embrace explicit anti-Muslim bigotry is the same one constantly telling us that religious freedom is under attack. They seem to have forgotten the vibrant pluralism and commitment to shared values that make us exceptional, and a beacon of freedom to the persecuted, in the first place. Looking back on the history of our country, our best days have been when we opened ourselves to people facing persecution, not the times we turned them away and demonized them. Let's not let this become the American Way.


Ted Cruz Welcomes Endorsement From Pastor Who Linked Ebola To Gay Rights

Ted Cruz has recently boasted of the endorsements he has received from an extremist anti-abortion activist and an anti-gay hate group leader, even courting the support of a radical pastor who backs the death penalty for unrepentant gays.

In a recent press release, Cruz announced the endorsements of a group of faith leaders, including Ron Baity, a pastor and head of the group Reclaim America.

Baity made his name with the campaign to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in North Carolina, and Cruz recently joined Baity at a rally against marriage equality.

Cruz’s drive to cater to Baity is especially troubling considering that the pastor has likened gay people to “maggots” and “murderers,” endorsed laws prosecuting “sodomites” and urged gay people to “quit being homos.”

Gay people, according to Baity, want to “recruit young people to their perverted, warped agenda” and are bringing about the destruction of America. He has described homosexuality as rancid fruit “filled with wormholes and rotten cores” and a “darkened, twisted, immense depository of depravity.”

Baity has also alleged that God sent Ebola to America as punishment for the gay “lifestyle”: “You think Ebola is bad now, just wait. If it’s not that, it’s going to be something else.”

Again, this is a pastor whom Cruz wants on his “faith leaders” team.

Religious Right's Russian 'Pro-Family' Ally May Be Helping Fund Pro-Putin Propaganda

A leading Russian operative with the U.S-based World Congress of Families may be helping fund an English-language website dedicated to providing positive coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a report today by The Interpreter, a website run by a think tank critical of Putin.

The Interpreter’s Anton Shekhovtsov reports on a series of leaked emails between the editor of Russian Insider, a new pro-Putin publication, and Alexey Komov, the World Congress of Families’ Russian representative, in which the editor seeks funding from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev for his website.

Shekhovtsov notes that both Malofeev and Komov have been involved in coordinating activities among European far-right groups, along with their “pro-family” activism:

The leaks reveal that Bausman, rather than relying on crowdfunding for Russia Insider, asks for money from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev via his associate Alexey Komov.

There were several interesting articles devoted to Malofeev in the international and Russian media. In the context of this blog, Malofeev is known for providing financial assistance to the pro-Russian extremists in Eastern Ukraine (for this very reason Malofeev was sanctioned by the EU, Norway and Switzerland), organising homophobic conferences in Russia, assisting French far right politicians in getting Russian money, and building European far right alliances.

Komov is a no less interesting figure. He is an employee of several organisations founded and funded by Malofeev, as well as a representative of the homophobic World Congress of Families in Russia. He is also an honorary president of the Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association, Russia’s front organisation in Italy established by the far right Lega Nord party. Komov even gave speech at the party’s congress at the end of 2013 that elected Matteo Salvini as its leader.

Malofeev is the one who brought together the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown and a number of French far-right activists in 2013 at a “traditional values” roundtable in Moscow that just happened to coincide with the passage of a spate of anti-LGBT laws in Russia. Komov was the leading organizer of the planned World Congress of Families in Moscow last year (which ended up dropping the World Congress of Families name), and, as Buzzfeed’s Lester Feder reported, was found to be feeding information about the event to Malofeev.

As we have noted, the rush to embrace “traditional values” has been an important part of Putin’s propaganda efforts in Russia and the region.

Ben Carson Says He Also Saw The Nonexistent Footage Of Muslims Celebrating 9/11 In New Jersey

Not content with Donald Trump having all the attention for his latest string of bigoted statements, Ben Carson told CNN today that he too saw footage of Muslim residents of New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks:

Trump did get back up from his primary opponent Ben Carson, who told reporters gathered in Nevada that he did see celebrations of American Muslims in New Jersey after 9/11.

"I saw the film of it, yes," he said. Asked what kind of film, he said: "The news reels."

"There are going to be people who respond inappropriately to events like that. I think that was an inappropriate response I don't know if on the basis on that you can say all Muslims are bad people," Carson said.

ABC News also captured his remarks:

Trump’s campaign has been unable to substantiate the candidate’s claim that he saw “thousands and thousands” of Arab Americans celebrating 9/11 in Jersey City, probably because the video does not exist since the event he described didn’t happen.

Like Trump, Carson has expressed a number of anti-Muslim views, claiming that no Muslim should ever be elected president unless they renounce their faith and calling on the government to monitor mosques and other “anti-American” houses of worship.

UPDATE: His campaign now says he made a mistake and apologizes:

Kevin Swanson: Criticism Of Me Is Criticism Of God Himself

On Friday, Religious Right radio host Kevin Swanson touted his “amazingly successfully” Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference, which featured Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee, claiming that “God blessed that conference in so many different ways.”

But as Swanson acknowledged, the event “experienced a media firestorm” in part due to his remarks declaring that gays who do not repent should be sentenced to death.

Swanson told “Generations Radio” listeners that the outrage over his remarks is proof that America is at war with God.

“Any time the nation has taken up a fight with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe, you don’t pick a fight with the Creator of all of the galaxies, all of the planets, this entire solar system, you don’t pull together a couple of ants and lift a fist to the Almighty and think you can get away with it,” he said. “This is, I think, the reason why the media firestorm — we have touched the conscience of a nation and they realize they’re in trouble, they’re in trouble with the God of the universe.”

GOP Senator: People Of Faith The New Targets Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

As we have continually noted over the last few years, the Religious Right is in the process of an attempt to radically redefine the term “religious liberty” to encompass not just the right to live out one’s own faith but also the right to cite one’s faith as justification for infringing on the rights of others, whether by denying service to gay people in public accommodations, kicking people out of housing because of their sexual orientation, or preventing your employees from accessing affordable birth control even if you don’t pay for it.

So it was startling last week to hear Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, in an address on religious liberty to the Family Research Council, claim that it is in fact progressives who have redefined the term “religious liberty” in order to persecute people of faith, making believers, in Lankford’s words, the targets of a new “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“We have an undercurrent of conversations happening in the country, where there’s become a redefinition of the term ‘religious liberty,’” Lankford said. “ Is this a term that has the same meaning as we use it out in the common vernacular? And I would tell you, across the country and multiple places that I’ve visited, no is the correct answer. This term is attempting to be redefined by our culture to say if you’re for religious liberty, then you’re hatred [sic] towards other people, you’re exclusive, you’re divisive, you’re a person who needs to be isolated because you’re for religious liberty.”

“I would say to you, people of faith in the workplace and in public settings have become the new individuals that are targeted towards ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” he added. “If you have faith, don’t tell anyone and don’t ask anyone if you have faith, and if you have it don’t live it out publicly because people don’t want to see it.”

Lankford, for the record, has said that he would oppose workplace protections for LGBT people because “ homosexuality is a choice.”

Rick Santorum: Obama Won't Bomb ISIS! (Except Those 6,000 Airstrikes)

Rick Santorum declared at Friday’s “Presidential Family Forum” in Iowa that President Obama refuses to bomb ISIS, despite the fact that the U.S. has launched over 6,000 airstrikes against ISIS militants. He then went on to say that airstrikes are actually a bad idea that actually benefit ISIS, which he said has the sympathies of the majority of Muslims.

After recounting how he told President Bush that “we have to stop calling this a war on terror” and instead declare “war against radical Islam,” Santorum said that “the theology of a majority of people in the Middle East are exactly the theology of ISIS,” even though “they may not be violent.”

“We have a president who won’t even identify ISIS as Islamic nor will he identify it as a state,” Santorum said. “He says we can’t bomb them because we can’t recognize them as a state because it will give them too much prestige; we can’t say they’re Islamic because it will give them too much credibility. This is delusional and it’s costing lives.”

The U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS has killed over 20,000 ISIS fighters and helped Kurdish forces retake cities such as Sinjar, Kobani and Tel Abyad.

PFAW Telebriefing: The Future Of Voting Rights

Last week, People For the American Way hosted a telebriefing for members to review the recent attacks on voting rights and illustrate PFAW’s vision for the future of voting rights in America. PFAW Communications Director Drew Courtney moderated the discussion with PFAW’s Director of Outreach and Public Engagement Diallo Brooks, Executive Vice President Marge Baker, and resident Supreme Court and judicial nomination expert Paul Gordon joining the call.

Drew began the call with an introduction to the consequences of the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court case, which gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The decision has resulted in many states passing new legislation that results in voter suppression. Diallo explained that 36 states have passed new restrictions on early voting and more strict voter identification laws, which disproportionately affect people of color, low-income citizens, and women. Supposedly, these efforts attempt to prevent voter fraud. However, voter fraud is not documented as a widespread, or even small-scale, problem anywhere in the country. Marge later elaborated that there is evidence that true intention of passing these laws is to suppress the vote; many right-wing organizations have acknowledged that conservative leverage in elections goes up as the voting populace goes down.

Many members called in with pertinent questions, including one about how members can be more involved in the fight for voting rights. Diallo described how People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers network has been active on the ground helping folks understand their local laws so that they can obtain the correct identification and register successfully. He also suggested people get involved in local groups that do similar work.

Marge detailed how people can get involved in PFAW’s efforts to fight for fair and just courts, which have an enormous impact on voting rights. The winner of the 2016 election will have the opportunity to nominate as many as four Supreme Court justices, and therefore have influence over critical voting rights cases following Shelby County v. Holder. The Supreme Court is not the only place where the fight is occurring. Marge described court challenges to voter suppression laws in numerous lower federal courts and in state courts, further highlighting the importance of courts in the progress for voting rights.

Diallo ended the call on a positive note, describing recent municipal and state-level expansions to early voting and motor voter laws, which allow citizens to automatically register to vote when they interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Listen to the full briefing here:


Mike Huckabee: Obama Must Resign For Protecting Islam Over America

At one point during Friday’s “Presidential Family Forum” in Iowa, the discussion descended into a debate over Ted Cruz’s call for Secretary of State John Kerry to resign because he, along with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, “served as apologists for radical Islamic terrorists.”

Naturally, Mike Huckabee tried to one-up Cruz’s stance, and instead said that President Obama should step down for supposedly being more concerned with attacking Republicans than defeating ISIS.

“I’d like for Barack Obama to resign if he’s not going to protect America and instead protect the image of Islam,” he said.

Donald Trump Campaign Repeats Lie That Thousands Partied On 9/11

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that “thousands and thousands” of Arab American residents of Jersey City, New Jersey, celebrated as the Twin Towers collapsed during the September 11, 2001 attacks. This event never occurred, but Trump still insists he saw it on TV.

In order to defend this patently false claim, Trump campaign aide Dan Scavino took to Twitter last night in an attempt to back up Trump’s assertion:

Scavino pointed to unproven claims that as many as six people were detained following the attacks.

He did not link to any news stories but he was likely referring to what the AP described at the time as “rumors of rooftop celebrations of the attack by Muslims,” which the AP determined were “unfounded.”

But even Scavino’s six suspected 9/11 celebrators still fall far short of Trump’s claim that “thousands and thousands” were celebrating, and the campaign still hasn’t come forward with the television footage that Trump insists is real.

Ben Carson: Monitor 'Anti-American' Groups, Churches And Media Outlets

Ben Carson called for a return to McCarthyism this weekend, telling a group of reporters at a campaign stop in South Carolina that he would support the government “monitoring a mosque or any church or any organization or any school or any press corps where there was a lot of radicalization and things that were anti-American.” The Associated Press noted that Carson “did not expound on just how an administration would determine what constitutes ‘radicalization’ or ‘anti-American.’”

However, Carson has left many clues as to what he considers “anti-American” … and it mostly means the political left.

Back in May, Carson said a rally attendee was “absolutely right” when he claimed that the Obama administration holds a “strong anti-American spirit that is undermining everything that we stand for.” He went on to say that the “progressive agenda” was pushing an anti-American plot, citing author W. Cleon Skousen’s book “The Naked Communist.”

Carson frequently mentions Skousen’s conspiracy-ridden book, which paints America as a country under attack from a grand but secretive leftist agenda, on the campaign trial.

For example, he told a National Organization for Marriage gala that the gay marriage movement and other progressive goals emerged from a Marxist, New World Order effort to “bring America down.”

He similarly told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network that America’s true “enemies” are those pushing pro-choice and pro-gay-marriage views by trying “to divide everybody up.”

Of course, the irony seems to be lost on Carson that accusing his political opponents of being “anti-American” may itself come across to most people as divisive.

Mike Huckabee: 'There Will Be No Abortion' When I'm President

At Friday’s “Presidential Family Forum” hosted by the Iowa conservative group The Family Leader, Mike Huckabee doubled down on his pledge to “ignore the court” and “defy the court” as president by recriminalizing abortion and gay marriage through executive fiats.

“I’m convinced the next president should ignore the unconstitutional and illegal rulings of the courts, including that of same-sex marriage, because it is not the law of the land,” Huckabee said.

He also reiterated his plan to outlaw abortion with a sweeping presidential decree: “We [should] simply say, there will be no abortion because that unborn child is a person.”

Only then, Huckabee argued, would God be able to bless America.

Phyllis Schlafly Wants 'Railroad Cars Full Of Illegals Going South'

Excited about Donald Trump’s call for the mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly told WorldNetDaily this weekend that she wants American railways to join the deportation effort, hoping to one day “see those railroad cars full of illegals going south.”

Blasting President Obama’s call for the U.S. to take in Syrian refugees as “ridiculous,” she warned that “Obama wants to change the character of our country” by bringing in people who “have no comprehension of our constitutional system, of limited government, of the people being in control.”

“Every time they say, ‘You can’t deport these people, in my mind’s eye, I see the picture of those railroad cars carrying the illegals out of our country when Eisenhower deported them. They say it was a failure. It wasn’t at all,” Schlafly told WND in an exclusive interview. “In my mind’s eye, I see those railroad cars full of illegals going south. That’s what they ought to do.”

“Obama wants to change the character of our country,” Schlafly charged, reacting to an expose highlighted at the top of The Drudge Report on Friday.

“These people come in and have no comprehension of our constitutional system, of limited government, of the people being in control, and I think it’s very tragic,” she continued.

“We had a wonderful country of freedom and prosperity, and that’s why everyone in the world wants to come here. But we can’t let everyone in the world in. And we need to be very persnickety about who we let in. We only want people who love America and want to be American.”

Schlafly said Obama’s plan to flood the U.S. with unscreened foreigners “certainly isn’t American,” and she never thought she’d see the day when a U.S. president failed to do his duty to protect the nation.

“I never did. Even the ones I didn’t vote for, I think, would have stood up for America,” Schlafly said. “Obama has told us that he doesn’t believe America should be thought of as better or exceptional. … Obama has a mystique about him, and he continues to go down what I think is the wrong path. We need a leader who’s going to stand up for America.”

Many politicians – Democrat and Republican – argue that the U.S. has a duty to accept “refugees.”

But Schlafly isn’t having any of that “ridiculous” nonsense.

“These ideas that they’re putting out, that we have some obligation to admit all these people, are just ridiculous,” she said. “We don’t have an obligation to admit anybody. A country that doesn’t have borders isn’t a country. We need to have borders.”

She added, “I think the grassroots are going to win out because there are more of them every day who are believing what Trump says and disbelieving what the elite are trying to tell us.”

Jesse Lee Peterson: Obama Trying To Replace 'The White Man' With 'Some Black Person That Agrees With Him'

Conservative activist Jesse Lee Peterson gave a typically confounding interview to Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg yesterday, explaining that President Obama has expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement because he “grew up hating white Americans” and wants to “replace the white man” with “some black person that agrees with him.”

Peterson, who was on the program to promote his new book “The Antidote: Healing America From The Poison of Hate, Blame and Victimhood,” explained to Malzberg that President Obama’s mother “taught him that America was a racist society against black people” and so he “grew up hating white Americans.”

This hatred, Peterson said, along with the “emptiness” left by his father’s absence, left the president with “a lot of anger, so that’s why he can relate to Black Lives matter and others.”

“I know for a fact, and right now I’m the only one who’s saying this, that racism is an illusion,” Peterson continued. “It doesn’t even exist. And that’s why, over the last 40 years or so, we have not been able to end this idea of racism, because it doesn’t exist.”

Instead, he said, politicians like Obama are pretending that racism exists “in order to redistribute power and wealth.”

“And that’s why Barack Obama has promoted this insanity that’s happening around the universities,” he concluded, “because he wants to replace the white man, take the power away from him, and put in some black person that agrees with him, and that’s why he’s pushing it.”

Steve King: Syrian Refugees Like Poisonous Grapes

While chatting today with Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News, Rep. Steve King took issue with the claim that the mounting hostility to refugees is undermining American values. The Iowa Republican said that “the argument that ‘that’s not who we are’ is just one of the mantras that they put out, it’s not supported by logic or rationale.”

“Who we are? We should not be a suicidal nation,” King said. “My wife said this morning, ‘If you had 100 grapes and you knew that two of them were fatally poisonous, would you sit there and eat the grapes until one of them killed you? Or would you decide, I’m not going to take that bunch of grapes at all?’ That’s what we’re dealing with here with the Syrian refugees.”

King argued that the U.S. has already done its part to help refugees since “America has done more than any other country in the world has done for refugees and the soil right next door to Syria that are part of Iraq, is sanctified by the blood of our warriors, our patriots. They paid a greater price than any other country in the world and we have a right to protect our borders, and by the way, we have a right to protect our culture and our civilization. I am watching as Europe has committed, it’s almost conclusive now, that they are committing cultural suicide by pouring in millions of migrants who don’t share they’re values.”

He blamed the looming end of European civilization on abortion and contraception: “The mass migration is the end of their culture and civilization and they must know that but they deny it because they’ve denied the reality that if they don’t have their babies, if they abort their babies and decide by contraceptives and abortion not to have enough babies to reproduce themselves, they’re a dying civilization.”

As a result, King said, “they are replacing themselves with people who do not share their values.”

Louie Gohmert: The Terrorists Are Here, Thanks Obama

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, spoke with Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News today about the political squabble over resettling refugees, alleging that the president is allowing terrorists to enter the country as part of his plan to “fundamentally transform America.”

Bannon asked the congressman to respond to listener who had told Bannon that they were afraid that terrorists are using the refugee resettlement program to enter the U.S.

Gohmert didn’t have reassuring words: “They’re here, they’re here, there is no question, they’re here, that’s been confirmed over and over but it’s got to stop, it’s got to stop.”

He also thanked Bannon for defending “lonely” and “ostracized” Christians like himself who have been “standing against political correctness that is about to bring the greatest nation in history down if we don’t stop the insanity.”

Gohmert also pointed to the news that two Syrian families turned themselves in to immigration authorities at the southern border as evidence that President Obama has left the borders open in order to further his anti-American agenda.

“This president wanted to fundamentally transform America and he’s been doing it,” Gohmert said. “Unfortunately, he’s been doing it by looking the other way at the border.”

He told Bannon that while President Bush eventually started to crack down on border traffic toward the end of his term, “as soon as President Obama took the oath, took over, those days were over and it was back to just being wide open almost. It’s just insane.”

GOP Candidates Seek Endorsement Of Iowa Anti-Gay Leader Bob Vander Plaats

Seven Republican presidential candidates will be travelling to Iowa today to take part in a “presidential family forum” hosted by The Family Leader, a social conservative group led by activist Bob Vander Plaats, who is seen as a kingmaker in the Iowa caucus.

Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum will all be speaking at the forum, at which the candidates are arranged family-style around a Thanksgiving table. (At the 2011 forum, Michele Bachmann memorably took it upon herself to serve water to all of the male candidates.)

The endorsement of Vander Plaats, whose backing helped catapult Huckabee and Santorum to Iowa caucus victories in 2008 and 2012, is one of the most coveted in the state. While most observers think that Cruz will nab Vander Plaats’ endorsement, the activist is keeping his options open. Vander Plaats told a reporter that although Donald Trump was unable to make tonight’s forum, he told him, “If you can guarantee me your endorsement, I will turn the plane around and get there.”

As Vander Plaats’ previous endorsements of Huckabee and Santorum show, he has a powerful machine ready to push an ideologically pure social conservative. Back in 2010, Vander Plaats also led a successful effort to remove three Iowa Supreme Court judges who participated in the court’s landmark unanimous marriage equality decision.

But to get that endorsement, candidates must cater to an activist far the right of mainstream voters. Not only does Vander Plaats want to remove from office or defund the courts of judges who find in favor of marriage equality, he believes that anything, like gay marriage, that “goes against the law of nature” is by definition unconstitutional . He argues that the government is an institution of God and therefor its purpose is “to promote righteousness” and to apply “God’s principles and precepts.” He once warned that God might withdraw his blessing from America because of a Wiccan prayer at the Iowa state capitol.

Vander Plaats has suggested that marriage equality could lead to legal protections for pedophilia and “ a parent marrying their child” and compared the “public health risk” of homosexuality to second-hand smoke. He has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “decisive leadership” in preventing “homosexual propaganda” in his country.

Taking its anti-gay sentiment to a new level, The Family Leader was a sponsor of a conference earlier this month — at which Cruz, Huckabee and then-candidate Bobby Jindal spoke — whose organizer, Kevin Swanson, called for the death penalty for gay people and warned that God would judge America for liking the Harry Potter series too much. (The group later clarified that it does not support violence against gay people but declined to denounce Swanson.)

Speaking at an event last year, Vander Plaats played a video showing a gay pride event alongside the Boston Marathon bombing and mass shootings as illustrations of the “darkness” that has fallen over America:

Vander Plaats had also dabbled in birther conspiracy theories, implying in 2011 that the president’s birth certificate was missing and praising Trump for his “bold” crusade to uncover the truth about the president’s past.

A History Lesson For Ted Cruz: Irish & Italian Immigrants Were Once Seen As Violent Threats To America

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity last night, Ted Cruz defended his proposal to block Syrian Muslim refugees from entering the U.S. by insisting that Muslims are allowed “to lie to carry out jihad,” and therefore, we’ll never really know which Muslims don’t support violent extremism.

Cruz added that when Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., cited his Irish and Italian ancestors as reasons to oppose restrictive immigration policies, “I responded to Pat Leahy and I said, ‘You know what, on my mother’s side, my ancestors were Irish and Italian. The difference was, they weren’t coming here to blow up and murder innocent civilians.’”

Cruz may be interested to know that Nativists in the era of high Irish and Italian immigration considered such migrants to be violent threats.

The infamous Palmer Raids, sparked in part by a series of bombings carried out by Italian anarchists, were based on a fear that southern Italian immigrants presented an internal threat to the U.S. As author George De Stefano writes, many politicians at the time had concluded that “America was under attack by dangerous foreign radicals” and restrictive immigration laws were needed “to protect the nation from southern and eastern European immigrants, who purportedly would infect America with their dangerous radical ideas and engage in violent subversion.” Italian migrants were also seen as “unassimilable,” “dangerously radical” and “prone to violent criminality.” Decades before the Palmer Raids, Italian immigrants “were even accused of a conspiracy to inundate the United States with Italian fleas.”

Author Anthony V. Ricco detailed how the Palmer Raids specifically targeted Italians: “Armed agents stormed homes of Italian immigrants without warning, prisoners were detained without counsel, and innocent Italians were deported to Italy. In West Virginia, Colorado, and Louisiana, Italians were lynched by angry mobs of vigilantes.”

Irish newcomers were also treated as violent menaces, as Peter Behrens noted in the New York Times:

It’s embarrassing to listen to prosperous 21st-century Americans with Irish surnames lavish on Mexican or Central American immigrants the same slurs — “dark,” “dirty,” “violent,” “ignorant” — once slapped on our own, possibly shoeless, forebears. The Irish were seen as unclean, immoral and dangerously in thrall to a bizarre religion. They were said to be peculiarly prone to violence. As caricatured by illustrators like Thomas Nast in magazines like Harper’s Weekly, “Paddy Irishman,” low of brow and massive of jaw, was more ape than human, fists trailing on the ground when they weren’t cocked and ready for brawling.

An entire political movement, the American Party, also known as the Know Nothings, was founded in response to fears that Irish migrants were “a dangerous threat to the ‘nature’ of Protestant America, and thus to America itself” and should be prohibited from having certain rights since they “owed their allegiance, not to the burgeoning American government, but to the Pope, whose autocratic ruling style was antithetical to American democratic values.”

But we won’t hold our breath: Cruz didn’t seem to learn a thing from the last history lesson we gave him.

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