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Anti-Choice Groups React To Whole Woman’s Health Decision: Protect 'Vulnerable' Women, Elect Trump

The reactions from anti-abortion groups to the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt have started pouring in. Most repeat the claim that the Texas law in question, which was meant to regulate the majority of the state’s abortion providers out of existence, was in fact an honest attempt to protect women’s health and stand up to unscrupulous providers. A few linked the decision to the upcoming presidential election, urging voters to elect a president who will nominate justices hostile to Roe v. Wade, as Donald Trump has promised he will do.

Americans United For Life, the legal architect of many TRAP laws, including the one in Texas, said that the law was meant to “protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry” and repeated the increasingly common anti-choice talking point that legal abortion providers are the true “back alley”:

“Women lost today as the Supreme Court sides with the abortion industry, putting profits over women’s health and safety by opposing life-saving regulations and medically endorsed standards of patient care. Sadly, the commonsense laws that protect women in real, full service healthcare centers won’t be in effect in Texas abortion clinics, but Americans United for Life will continue to fight – in legislatures and in the courts – to protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry,” said AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe. …

“In striking down these commonsense requirements, the Supreme Court has essentially accepted the abortion industry’s argument that it should be allowed to keep its profits high and patient care standards low,” said Forsythe. “It inexplicably turned a blind eye to what it has repeatedly held since Roe v. Wade: states may regulate the provision of abortion to protect maternal health. This ruling endangers women nationwide as health and safety standards are at risk.”

“Today’s abortion clinics are the true ‘back alleys’ of abortion mythology,” noted Denise Burke, Vice President of Legal Affairs at AUL. “They consistently operate in the ‘red light district’ of American medicine where the problem of substandard abortion providers is longstanding and pervasive. The fight against this public health crisis will continue, despite today’s ruling.”

Stephen Aden of the Religious Right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom linked the law to Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion provider who was found guilty of a number of crimes related to a squalid clinic he ran, claiming that Texas’ law was “clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell Scandal”:

“Abortionists shouldn’t be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow. We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled against a law so clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell scandal. The law’s requirements were commonsense protections that ensured the maximum amount of protection for women, who deserve to have their well-being treated by government as a higher priority than the bottom line of abortionists. Any abortion facilities that don’t meet basic health and safety standards are not facilities that anyone should want to remain open.”

The Family Research Council similarly claimed that the Supreme Court decision “gives the abortion industry a free pass,” ridiculously claiming that abortion providers face less stringent regulation than hair salons and restaurants:

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down H.B. 2 undermines the health and safety of vulnerable women. This decision is a loss for women and gives the abortion industry a free pass. The need to regulate abortion facilities is necessary to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion facilities. Mandating basic and necessary health and safety standards such as trained staff, corridors that could accommodate a stretcher in case of emergency, admitting privileges to a hospital, and up-to-date fire, sanitation, and safety codes should be beyond the politics of abortion. When abortion facilities are not held to the same standards as other facilities, women’s lives are endangered. In 2011 alone, 26,500 women experienced abortion-related complications, and close to 3,200 women required post-abortion hospitalization. Hair and nail salons, public pools, restaurants, and tanning centers must meet basic health and safety standards—shouldn’t abortion facilities? Abortion facilities cannot be exempt from following basic health standards.

"While the need to protect the health and safety of women failed to remain at the forefront of the Supreme Court's decision, we will continue our work to protect women and children from the predatory abortion industry,” Perkins concluded.

FRC’s Arina Grossu, Director of the Center for Human Dignity, released the following statement:

“One cannot be pro-woman and stand for the substandard facilities that many abortion centers operate which risk women’s lives. Striking down abortion facility regulations leaves the door open for continued and rampant disregard for women’s health and safety. Status-quo is not good enough," concluded Grossu.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver also claimed that the Supreme Court was siding with abortion clinics’ bottom lines over the health of women:

“How foolish a decision by the Supreme Court to strike down common sense regulations regarding health and safety,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “They expect us to believe their opinion is based on the Constitution? It certainly is not. This is a sad day and another dark chapter in the history of America. Women should not be relegated to substandard facilities in order to save abortion providers a few dollars.”

The Susan B. Anthony List, which acts as the political arm of the anti-choice movement, turned the conversation to the election, while never quite mentioning Trump by name:

“Today’s tragic decision by the Court means that Texas women will not be protected from the unsanitary conditions and even Gosnell-like horrors that permeate the abortion industry,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, referencing the 2013 trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, currently serving a life sentence for murdering babies after botched, late-term abortions, and for the negligent death of one mother, Karnamaya Mongar.

“The abortion industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself and they know it. That’s why they fought tooth and nail against common-sense health and safety standards and requirements for abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. We have documented page after page of incidents of abuse, negligence, and brutality since 2008. This decision means the filth and exploitation will continue unchecked.

“The stakes for the 2016 election could not be higher. The next president will be tasked with selecting Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement and up to three others. We must elect a pro-life president and safeguard today’s pro-life majorities in the House and Senate. Only with a pro-life Congress and White House can we begin to address the havoc wrought by the Supreme Court on America’s unborn children and their mothers.”

Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also linked the decision to the election:

The Supreme Court is now the Supreme Medical Board, setting its own standards for patient care in the United States. This decision is an outrageous usurpation of legislative power and it only underscores the critical importance of electing a President who will nominate -- and Senators who will confirm -- justices to the Supreme Court who will adjudicate, not write the law.

As did Tim Head, the executive director of Ralph Reed’s group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition:

“The U.S. Supreme Court once again failed to protect the rights, health and safety of women and unborn children today in its Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. Texas and many other states have enacted common sense laws that protect the rights of the unborn and the health and safety of thousands of women subjected to the horrific conditions of abortion clinics across the country, and its shameful that the Supreme Court overturned these safeguards. The Court’s failure today is another example of the urgency to elect a pro-life President in November who will be responsible for filling the enormous vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s passing and possibly fill other seats on the Court. The pro-life community must also unite to elect legislators across the country who will work to protect women and unborn children.”

Fox commentator Todd Starnes referenced the need for the anti-choice movement to ensure ideological purity among judges, even those nominated by Republican presidents:

Russell Moore, the policy head of the Southern Baptist Convention, meanwhile, filmed a video outside the Supreme Court in which he claimed that the “sad and pathetic ruling that essentially leaves the abortion industry unregulated in a kind of wild west, laissez faire sort of situation in the state of Texas that we wouldn’t allow for any other industry.”

Christians, he said, “need to be standing up for our vulnerable unborn neighbors and their vulnerable mothers.”

 

 

Supreme Court Turns Back Texas Attempt To Undermine Roe

A 5-3 majority of the Supreme Court today struck down parts of a sweeping anti-choice law passed in Texas in 2013. The case dealt with the law’s targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) provisions that created burdensome and unnecessary regulations on clinics that would have forced the vast majority of the state’s providers to close. The law not only threatened Texas women’s access to safe and legal abortion, but was a calculated assault on Roe v. Wade and was the product of decades of anti-choice efforts to undermine the decision without overturning it.

From the beginning, the law’s proponents claimed that these regulations were simply meant to protect women’s health, though they often did a pretty bad job of staying on message. During oral arguments in the case, for instance, the state’s solicitor general argued that women burdened by Texas’ law could simply drive over the border to New Mexico, which does not have the same regulations, undermining the whole argument that the idea was to protect women’s health.

And already, the law is proving to be actually detrimental women’s health: One study found that since the law’s passage, hundreds of thousands of women in Texas “have tried to self-induce their abortions without medical assistance, making it more common in Texas than in other parts of the U.S.”

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her concurrence to the decision, “it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.”

It’s hardly been a secret within the anti-abortion movement that the Texas law was meant to cut off access to abortion rather than to shut down unsafe clinics.

At a Pro-Life Women’s Conference in Dallas this weekend, many speakers alluded to the spate of TRAP laws across the country, including the one in Texas, as a sign that their movement was winning. In one revealing exchange during a panel about anti-abortion politics, Texas anti-abortion activist Carolyn Cline held up a brick that she said she had gotten from a pastor friend who told her it was “the last brick in the lot” of a facility that had been closed by HB2, prompting enthusiastic applause.

Moments later, Arina Grossu, who works on anti-abortion issues for the Family Research Council, argued that pro-choicers should support laws like HB2 because they are meant to protect “women’s health and safety” while at the same time portraying it as a sign that the movement to end legal abortion is winning.

Right-Wing Anti-Islam Activist Says America Must 'Close Every Single Mosque'

On the "Stand in the Gap" radio program last week, Sam Rohrer and Gary Dull of the American Pastors Network interviewed an anti-Islam activist named IQ al Rassooli about the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this month, which al Rassooli asserted occurred because the shooter, Omar Mateen, was gay (a claim which the FBI disputes) and was seeking to appease Allah in hopes that Allah would make him straight in the afterlife so he could enjoy his 72 virgins.

Every Muslim, al Rassooli proclaimed, supports violent jihad and those who claim that they do not — like President Obama — are simply lying.  Anyone who cannot see that, al Rassooli said, belongs in a "mental asylum."

"You know what you have to do?" al Rassooli asked. "You have to close every single mosque. You have to remove every single imam. You must not allow sharia. You must not allow hijab ... This is exactly what needs to be done."

Polls purporting to show that many Muslims do not support the imposition of Sharia are false, he asserted, because those who insist they don't are simply engaging in taqiyya.

"Every Muslim wants Sharia," al Rassooli declared. "The 49 percent [who say they don't] didn't want to tell whoever is asking the question that they support Sharia. It's a deception, it's called taqiyya. Taqiyya is Islamic sanctified religious deception. What do you think Obama is? Obama is all about taqiyya. He lies to protect Islam. Eight years he has been lying to protect Islam. Eight years. This is called taqiyya."

PFAW Statement on ‘Whole Woman’s Health’ Decision

WASHINGTON – In response to the Supreme Court’s decision today in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirmed women’s constitutional right to reproductive freedom. This ruling makes clear that that right isn’t abstract; it includes the ability to actually access a safe, legal abortion.

“In Texas and across the country, Republican elected officials have attempted to enact unnecessary, burdensome regulations that effectively prevented far too many women from being able to get an abortion. The Court’s decision to strike down Texas’s sham laws attacking abortion access is a proud moment for anyone who cares about our Constitution.

“We turn to the Supreme Court to protect constitutional rights that affect all of our lives, including the critical and deeply personal issue of access to safe abortion care. Given that the next president will likely appoint multiple Supreme Court justices, today’s decision reminds us of how dangerous a Donald Trump presidency would be to women across the country. We cannot let Trump, who has said that women should be punished for having an abortion and who supports the full defunding of Planned Parenthood, appoint Supreme Court justices who attack and undermine women’s constitutional rights.”

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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Donald Trump’s Evangelical Advisers Revolt

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign hit a snag on Monday, after several prominent endorsers made statements suggesting his fitness to hold the highest office in our country would be undercut by his own personal behaviors and failings.*

It began with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who previously stated he had no qualms with Donald Trump “appointing people to the Supreme Court,” lamenting that “the true tragedy in this case is the collapse of the [future-]president’s moral authority.”

Referring to the presumptive Republican nominee’s penchant for wildly gesticulating his hands while telling falsehoods, the Judiciary Committee chairman stated that “he undermined himself when he wagged his finger and lied to the nation on national TV.”

Prominent conservative Christian activists quickly echoed these sentiments. Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who released videos arguing that conservative Christians should support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as early as March, now states he is “a tyrant; he's a monster.” This is in part based on the fact that the presumptive GOP nominee has at least twice violated his marriage vows.

Members of Trump’s newly formed Evangelical Executive Advisory Board also began to revolt against their chosen candidate.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson proclaimed “character DOES matter. You can’t run a family, let alone a country, without it.”

He went on to state:

I just don’t understand it. Why aren’t parents more concerned about what their children are hearing about the president[ial candidate’s] behavior? Are moms and dads not embarrassed by what is occurring? At any given time, 40 percent of the nation’s children list the president of the United States as the person they most admire. What are they learning from [Mr. Trump]? What have we taught our boys about respecting women? What have our little girls learned about men? How can we estimate the impact of this scandal on future generations?

Dobson was not alone. Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, expressed regret over his endorsement of twice-divorced Donald Trump, bemoaning the ease with which marriages can dissolve in the United States. “Do we really want to make it easier for a man to discard the wife of his youth than it is for him to fire his secretary?” he asked.

He went on to state, “Republicans, unlike Democrats, have very systematically adopted a standard of family values and moral uplift."

Jerry Falwell Jr., another member of Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory group, simply referred reporters to Liberty University’s code of conduct. Despite several occasions when Trump spoke at the school, its code prohibits “sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman.”

Trump has previously bragged about his sexual conquests on the Howard Stern Show.  

The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment on his rejection by evangelical leaders, primarily because I never asked.

*Obviously this is parody. All of the quotes are real but represent statements made about other political leaders or codes of conduct relating to individuals not named Donald Trump.

PFAW

Joe Arpaio Wants To Add American Flags To Inmate Uniforms

On Wednesday, Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio joined conservative radio host Howie Carr for the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row to discuss Arpaio’s self-styled “concentration camp” and his endorsement of Donald Trump.

“You know, the usual suspects and the lawyers are coming into court and saying that the inmates are suffering terribly in your jails with the extreme weather in Arizona, you know,” Carr said. “Yeah, that always brings a smile to my face when I read these stories.”

Arpaio defended his methods. “I know, I was just in the tents two days ago, it was 136 degrees and I drank the Gatorade that I gave all the inmates, so you know what my answer is? Our men and women are fighting for our country, uh, live in tents, so shut your mouth,” Arpaio said, reminding Carr that “all these other guys are convicted.”

Arpaio, who notoriously makes inmates wear pink underwear and socks, said he is planning to add U.S. flags to their uniforms.

“I’ll give you a scoop: I’m going to put American flags — I was going to do it on my birthday but I didn’t want to get involved because of what happened in Florida — but on Fourth of July, every inmate is going to wear an American flag on their uniform.”

“So it was 136 degrees in those tents the last time you were in there, huh?” Carr asked.

“Two days ago,” Arpaio responded.

“Oh, my heart’s breaking,” Carr joked. “I wish we could cue some violin music here, it’s so terrible. This is cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of their Eighth Amendment rights, you know, come on, Sheriff.” 

After laughing, Arpaio said, “Well, that’s the way it is.” 

Arpaio also praised Donald Trump, claiming that while he has fallen behind Hillary Clinton in recent polling, his numbers have been “pretty good with all the heat he’s been taking. So he’ll come back strong, he’s a winner, and I like the guy, he’s the only candidate that I’ve endorsed that I really, really – I like ‘em all, but I really, this is something special that I noticed in him. He’s a great guy and a fighter and he’s gonna win.”

Arpaio boasted to Carr that he had "chewed out some Republicans at a Trump rally" he spoke at in Arizona on Saturday, criticizing them for offering only tepid endorsements of the presumptive GOP nominee.

“They always say they’re gonna endorse the nominee,” Arpaio said. “I guess when you endorse someone, should you not mention the name of the guy you’re endorsing, at least build up his name ID? Why wouldn’t they say, ‘I’m endorsing Donald Trump for president?' Why is it always ‘the nominee’ without using his name? You know why and I know why.”

Arpaio continued, “Let’s knock off the personal feelings, let’s knock off the jealousy. Let’s, you know, forget that you have losers out there. He’s a winner, and let’s get with him.”

Conservative Legal Leader: Thank McConnell And Grassley's Obstruction For DAPA Ruling

The Supreme Court issued a 4-4 tied ruling yesterday that by default upheld a lower court decision that had halted President Obama’s effort to provide temporary deportation relief to about five million undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or greencard holders.

“Seldom have the hopes of so many been crushed by so few words,” attorney Walter Dellinger told The New York Times, referring to the nine-word decision upholding the lower court’s ruling.

The tie — which, while devastating for millions, does not set a national precedent, but does leave in place a nationwide injunction against the executive actions — was the result of a court that has been operating with only eight justices since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. This is thanks to an unprecedented campaign of obstruction by Senate Republicans, who have refused to so much as hold a hearing on Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to fill the seat.

Yesterday’s ruling was exactly what those pushing for Republicans to hold a Supreme Court seat open for the next president — who they hope will be the fiercely anti-immigrant Donald Trump — were hoping for. In a blog post for the National Review today, Carrie Severino, whose Judicial Crisis Network has been the primary outside group pressuring Republicans to block Garland’s nomination, writes that it is thanks to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and their allies in obstruction that millions of immigrants are now faced with more legal uncertainty:

Leader McConnell, Senator Grassley, and all the GOP Senators who have stood firm on this nomination should get much of the credit for today’s decision. They have upheld their own oaths to support and defend the Constitution, and deserve our thanks.​

Keep in mind that just a few months ago Severino’s group was arguing that their effort to keep the Supreme Court seat open had nothing to do with politics but was instead a high-minded effort to let “the people decide” who the next justice would be in the next presidential election. (Never mind that the people had already decided to reelect President Obama.)

Trump hit on a similar message in his response to the ruling, saying, “The election, and the Supreme Court appointments that come with it will decide whether or not we have a border and, hence, a country.”

A Renewed Cry to #RestoreTheVRA on the Anniversary of the Shelby County Decision

June 25, 2016 will mark the third anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder decision that gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act. A coalition of more than 100 organizations, including People For the American Way, are participating in a Week of Action to raise awareness about voter suppression and to pressure Congress to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act.

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed in hopes of bringing the United States closer to the promise of a true democracy: a political system in which all people can fairly and easily participate in government, regardless of race. One of the VRA’s most significant protections was found in Section 5, which requires states and localities with a history of racial discrimination in voting to seek federal preclearance to approve proposed changes to their voting process. This preclearance sought to address decades of voting practices that disenfranchised communities of color. The provision worked. For nearly 50 years, the VRA, and in particular, Section 5, helped curtail the disenfranchisement of voters of color and helped expand the electorate so that it became more representative of the populace. It succeeded in helping the United States progress towards a more inclusive democracy.

However, three years ago, on June 25, 2013, democracy in America was dealt a major blow. On this day, the Supreme Court, in its controversial Shelby County v. Holder decision, struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which defined what areas were covered by Section 5 preclearance. States immediately began to implement new voting restrictions, including strict voter identification laws, limitations on early voting, and the elimination of same-day voter registration. These barriers to voting — implemented under the guise of making elections more efficient and limiting so-called “voter fraud” — disenfranchised eligible voters across the country, disproportionally affecting underrepresented communities such as people of color, women, students, the disabled, and low-income individuals. We have already seen the negative effects of these voting restrictions in our midterm elections and presidential primaries.

Come November, the stakes will be raised. As the Leadership Conference Education Fund notes in their new report on the likely impact of the Shelby County decision in this election cycle:

2016 will be the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. It is also an election that could be won or lost in just a few key states – states where minority voters could determine the outcome.

The report notes that five states formerly covered, in whole or in part, by preclearance — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia — will all see competitive races in the fall, in which voters of color could be decisive. But voters in these states are now without the full protections of the VRA. The Shelby County decision still has very real consequences, and could alter the face of our political landscape in 2016.

As Election Day rapidly approaches, now is the time to call on Congress to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. The Shelby County decision was a huge setback to American progress towards a truly fair and accessible democracy, but we can move forward again. Legislation aimed at restoring the protections of the VRA is already pending in Congress. Tell your representatives that a democracy in which eligible voters are unable to cast their ballots is a broken democracy, and that it is their duty to help mend it.  

PFAW

Rick Wiles Wonders If ISIS Killed Christina Grimmie

Yesterday, Rick Wiles appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” to discuss the threat of ISIS in America after the attack at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando.

Wiles, who hosts the conspiracy theory radio program “Trunews,” said that he also thought that Christina Grimmie, a singer who was murdered in Orlando by an obsessed fan, was targeted by ISIS. “The very first thought I had when I heard about it was, ‘Was it an Islamic attack?’ Now, there’s been no reports about it. That story disappeared because it was overshadowed by the Orlando massacre. But a guy just walked up at the end of a concert and shot her for no reason. The reason I instantly considered the possibility it was a hit because just days before that killing ISIS had published a kill list.”

Later, Bakker and Wiles agreed that martial law is coming to America, which Bakker cited as a reason for viewers to purchase his ministry’s survival food buckets.

“We are one crisis from martial law,” Wiles said, warning that U.S. officials will use martial law to stay in office indefinitely and that the upcoming election “possibly could be postponed.”

Wiles went on to mention a discredited story about the supposed arrest of “a Middle Eastern woman who had in her possession the drawings and plans of natural gas pipelines.”

“We’re headed this summer, I am convinced, this summer and fall, unless God intervenes, this is going to be the bloodiest, goriest time in America since the Civil War, this summer and fall,” he said. “If God does not intervene, Jim, this summer and fall will be the bloodiest since the Civil War.”

Stein: Immigrants 'Destroy' Desirable Neighborhoods

On Kevin Miller’s radio show during the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, FAIR president Dan Stein claimed that undocumented immigrants make neighborhoods unsafe, decrease the quality of schools, and drive out residents.

“It’s so important not to take for granted the quality of life you have, because when immigration is out of control – usually it’s fueled by commercial interests, but when it’s out of control, it happens very quickly, and the first thing that happens is, you know, the zoning rules get decompromised and suddenly your housing stock is overcrowded,” Stein said. “People here illegally, in order to compete, have to live in, you know, multi-family housing, they have to crowd into overcrowded housing conditions so they can work really cheap. That, in turn, affects your schools, the schools in turn affect, you know, the quality of the tax base, people who want to stay in that school system, that ripples throughout and pretty soon, what was a nice, safe neighborhood is no longer a safe neighborhood.”

Stein continued, “Often, the very factors that make your community desirable can lead to its being destroyed effectively by the fact that it is desirable and the fact that people take it for granted. Immigration control is the granddaddy of all national zoning ordinances, really, because if you don’t have effective perimeter control, you really can’t take care of your future.”

Stein praised the United States’ “spirit of independence” but said “freedom is something that has to be vigilantly watched.”

“If immigration levels are too high and people coming in essentially kind of challenge the status quo, cultural status quo, then pretty soon, we find ourselves assimilating into their ideas and not the other way around,” Stein said.

James Dobson: Obama's Transgender Rights Guidelines Are An Effort To Sow Chaos And Impose Tyranny

James Dobson dedicated his radio program today to railing against the guidelines released by the Obama administration advising public schools on the rights of transgender students, asserting that it was part of an effort by President Obama to sow chaos so that he can impose tyranny upon the country.

"It seems like everything he's tried to do has been to move us toward chaos," Dobson said. "Chaos in the military. Chaos in medicine, certainly. Chaos in the family, in marriage. Chaos in the judiciary and in the courts. Chaos in the economy. Chaos in every branch of government. Chaos in education, from kindergarten through the largest and most influential of the universities. It's been chaos and now he's trying to tell parents how to raise their children and that will be the most chaotic of all because that leads towards the next generation. He gets control of the next generation, then his predecessors will have an easier time of controlling us and that is what it comes down to. It comes down to tyranny."

"If the people have to take a choice between chaos and tyranny, they will always choose tyranny because chaos is unpredictable and tyranny is generally not, even when you're under an oppressive regime," Dobson continued. "I think control is what it comes down to."

"The history of America has been a people who had a passion for freedom," he concluded. "They were not willing to be tyrannized, they fought a revolutionary war because they were being oppressed and tyrannized and we're moving in that direction. I'm not calling for a revolution, but I am saying we better stand up and fight because we're losing something precious to us; it's called liberty."

Wildmon: Trump 'Coachable' On LGBT Issues, Will Appoint Right-Wing Justices

On Wednesday, American Family Association president Tim Wildmon joined Sandy Rios to discuss his recent meeting with Donald Trump in New York.

Wildmon said that in Trump’s private meeting with Religious Right leaders on Monday, the GOP candidate said if he were president, all of his Supreme Court and federal judicial nominees would oppose abortion rights and be vetted by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. 

Wildmon said that while Trump didn’t seem to “understand” the dangers to religious freedom posed by “the LGBT movement,” he was confident that he would be “coachable” on the issue.

“He is now surrounded by men that our audience would trust, okay, as godly people,” Wildmon said. “And he is being counseled and advised on a lot of these issues which he’s had a steep learning curve on because he has basically lived in a New York secular world his whole life and he’s having to come to know who we are, but he wants to be — I genuinely say this — he wants to be our friend. He wants to understand us.”

Supreme Court Immigration Decision A Win For Anti-Immigrant Group Working Behind The Scenes

Earlier today, a deadlocked Supreme Court left in place a lower court decision blocking an Obama administration effort to grant temporary deportation relief to millions of immigrants. One group cheering on the decision was the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, which declared, “IRLI will continue to work with patriotic state governments and grassroots activists to beat back the Administration’s drive to dissolve national sovereignty, the rule of law, and economic justice for America’s most vulnerable citizens.”

In fact, IRLI, which is a key player in a network of immigration groups that grew out of the vision of a single white nationalist activist, has done much to shape the legal battle that led to today’s decision. The group noted today that it had “advised the Texas Attorney-General’s office on key facets of the case” that the state had brought against the federal government “and filed a total of six friend-of-the-court briefs.” In fact, documents show that IRLI had an influential role in shaping the direction of Texas’ challenge, as well as the legal movement that it sprang out of.

The Center for New Community wrote in an April report:

Leaders within an organized movement of anti-immigrant activists have not only publicly advocated against President Obama’s executive action to grant Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), they have also been closely involved in crafting and mobilizing a legal challenge to the initiative ever since it was announced. This is not a new strategy for the antiimmigrant movement, which has long used the legal system to fight for its twin goals of dramatically reduced immigration levels and policies that support attrition through enforcement or outright deportation—all in support of the long-term goal of preserving the United States’ white majority.

CNC outlined the work that IRLI did to advise Texas on the case through Kris Kobach, a former IRLI staffer who is now the secretary of state of Kansas but who remains “of counsel” to the organization:

Neither Kobach nor IRLI are formally representing any of the plaintiff states in the case, but evidence, as described below, suggests Kobach has been involved since the case’s beginning.

On November 22, 2014, two days after President Obama’s announcement, The Washington Post reported that Kobach has already begun drafting a lawsuit. The Post’s Eli Saslow reported that Kobach had been speaking at a community forum in Tonganoxie, Kansas, the night of the President’s announcement. Saslow described the situation as “the most pivotal moment of [Kobach’s] career.”

As news of the president’s announcement circulated, Kobach discussed it with the Tonganoxie group. “He tells the group he has already begun drafting a suit as the lead attorney, with plans to file it in early December,” The Post reported. “Texas is interested in being a plaintiff. So are a few other states.” The Post added that Kobach’s lawsuit had “40 or 50 pages already written.”

The morning of December 3, Kobach appeared on Wichita radio host Joseph Ashby’s program. During the interview, Kobach reiterated his involvement in the lawsuit. “I am playing a role,” Kobach said. “I don't know if I'm taking the lead or not, but as many people know, instead of spending my spare time golfing I do litigate.” Kobach added, “litigation is beginning and I am involved in assembling plaintiffs and attorneys around the country to get this done.”

Hours later, The Texas Attorney General’s Office announced the legal action.

We wrote about the record of IRLI and FAIR in a recent report:

FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), has helped craft anti-immigrant legislation around the country, including Arizona’s infamous “self-deportation” measure SB 1070 and efforts to end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship . In 2010, Think Progress wrote that “IRLI has been behind most, if not every, local legislative immigration crackdown over the past few years.” Much of this work wasdriven by IRLI lawyer Kris Kobach, who joined the group in 2003. Kobach is now secretary of state of Kansas, but remains “of counsel” to IRLI. He served as an advisor to Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign, when Romney espoused the doctrine of “self-deportation.”

FAIR’s current president is Dan Stein, who has worked for the organization since 1982. Stein has framed the immigration debate in racial terms, calling the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which eliminated a quota system that favored Northern Europeans and shut out Asians and Africans, an attempt to “retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance“ in the country. He has warned that President Obama’s immigration policies will cause the U.S. to “ fall apart” like Iraq and once speculated that the U.S. has seen so few terrorist attacks under President Obama because terrorists see him as an “ally” and “don’t want to embarrass” him.

While Stein has hinted at immigration restriction as a tool of white nationalism, FAIR has openly associated with people who explicitly advocate for the U.S. to remain a white-dominated nation.

A short-lived television program produced by FAIR in 1996 featured interviews with well-known white nationalists Sam Francis, Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow, and a common area of discussion was that the immigrant “invasion” would destroy America. Stein, interviewing one guest, wondered, “How can we preserve America if it becomes 50 percent Latin American?” In a 1991 interview for an article on the higher birth rates among Asian and Latino immigrants than among native-born Americans, Stein said, "It's almost like they're getting into competitive breeding. You have to take into account the various fertility rates in designing limits on immigration.” Six years later, he told the Wall Street Journal, “Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise they'll all be coming here, because there's no room at the Vatican.”

Over a period of 10 years in the 1980s and 1990s, FAIR took in more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, which SPLC describes as “a eugenicist organization that was started in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who wanted to pursue ‘race betterment’ by promoting the genetic lines of American whites,” and for several years afterward continued to receive support from individual leaders of the fund.

Glenn Beck: 'We're The Civil Rights Leaders Of Today,' Not Those 'Absolute Clowns' Like John Lewis

Glenn Beck was predictably unimpressed by Democratic lawmakers who launched a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday, demanding a vote on gun control legislation. On his radio show today, Beck blasted Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who was one of the leaders of the effort, as a "clown" and declared that it is people such as himself who are the true civil rights leaders of today. 

While Lewis was once a civil rights hero, Beck said, "he has become a clown. This has made these people, these civil rights leaders, into absolute clowns."

Whereas activists like Lewis once fought to secure rights for people, Beck declared, they are now "sitting in to take people's rights away" and that is why conservatives like himself are the modern day civil rights leaders.

"Who are the civil rights leaders?" Beck asked. "I've said this for a long time and people make fun of us: We're the civil rights leaders, we're the civil rights leaders of today. They have discredited themselves and they are dismissed."

Tancredo: Make Americans Pass 'Civics Literacy' Test To Vote

On Wednesday’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, an annual event hosted by the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., suggested to conservative radio host Matt Tompkins that in order to vote, all Americans should take the same “simple, stupid” American citizenship test given to immigrants.

Tancredo said gaining U.S. citizenship shouldn’t be easy because “it’s like anything else, you know, if you work hard for something, it maybe has more value to you and you actually can determine if a person really wants it, you know, to become an American citizen. I don’t want it to be like candy you hand out.”

“Here’s what I’d like,” Tancredo continued. “I would like a civics literacy test for everyone in America to vote. Before you can vote, take a civics literacy test, and you know which one it would be? It’s the civics test we give to every single immigrant.”

According to Tancredo, “If we expect somebody to come here from another country, another culture, another language, to pass a simple, stupid test,” Americans should be required to pass the same test ... though, he said, most Americans probably would not be able to do so.

Theodore Shoebat Says Milo Yiannopoulos And Gavin McInnes Should Be Put To Death

Last week, in response to the deadly terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, gay right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos organized an anti-Islam press conference, during which he kissed fellow anti-Islam activist and self-proclaimed "homophobe" Gavin McInnes as their way of saying "f**k you, Islam."

Needless to say, this display did not sit well with viciously anti-gay activist Theodore Shoebat, who released a video today calling for both men to be put to death.

"The only thing I can do is conclude that [McInnes] is a sodomite," Shoebat said, "Gavin McInnes is a sodomite plant, he is a deviant and he is worthy of death ... You are lower than the lowest bacteria. Pigs have more decency than you, Gavin McInnis. Swine has more decency, there are dogs that have more decency. What a sick, perverted individual you are! You are on the road straight to hell, Gavin McInnes. You are fooling them. You are full of demons. Your soul has been utterly possessed by the diabolical. You are worthy of execution! You are worthy of death. Bottom line."

"And that faggot that he kissed, Milo Yiannopoulos, is also worthy of death," Shoebat later declared. "If I had the power, I would string him up, put a noose around his neck, put him before a firing squad, any means necessary to annihilate these bastards. It's just so disgusting."

PFAW Statement on DACA+/DAPA Case

In response to the Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie in DACA+/DAPA, which leaves in place a nationwide injunction against the President’s programs, People For the American Way (PFAW) released the following statements:

Lizet Ocampo, Director of Latinos Vote! and Manager of Political Campaigns:

“The Court’s decision today is devastating. Millions of families across the country were counting on President Obama’s actions to temporarily protect their families from deportation. It leaves in place the nationwide injunction from the overreach of a single anti-immigrant, Republican-appointed judge from Texas.

“The decision serves as a deeply upsetting yet critically important reminder of the importance of the November elections. Donald Trump has pledged mass deportation of the millions of undocumented people in our country – children who know no country other than the United States, mothers and fathers whose children are U.S. citizens. Hillary Clinton has pledged during her campaign to take every available action to keep families together. And while Democrats in Congress have supported DACA, DACA+, and DAPA, Congressional Republicans have done all they could to block the program every step of the way.

“The next president will likely appoint more than one new justice to the Supreme Court. We have a clear choice this November between the Republican presidential candidate and Republicans nationwide who seek to rip families apart, and the Democratic presidential candidate and Democrats nationwide who understand that immigrants make America the country that it is and that families should be protected from deportation.”

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President:

“Today’s decision is a shattering blow to millions of families and a painfully clear illustration of why we need a fully staffed Supreme Court in order to address the most important issues we face as a country. Without issuing a real opinion or providing any reasoning, our hobbled Supreme Court has allowed a single district court judge to implement a twisted ruling that will have a profound impact on the lives of families all across the country. The Court has provided no guidance to lower courts while simultaneously impacting millions of people’s lives.

“This isn’t how our system of justice is supposed to work. Yet Republicans, who are eager to force their ideology into law by any means necessary, have refused to perform their most basic responsibilities and give fair consideration to a pending Supreme Court nominee. This is the result of a broken system of government, and make no mistake, Republicans have broken it on purpose.”

PFAW spokespeople will be at the Supreme Court and will be available throughout the day for interviews in English or Spanish. To schedule an interview or find us at the Court, please call 301-325-4538.

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House Democrats #HoldTheFloor in #NoBillNoBreak Action on Guns

Rep Israel just announced that House Democrats, who have been sitting in for almost 24 hours now, are expected to come back together on the floor at 12:30 pm for closing speeches. Watch on C-SPAN or check out one of the members' live feeds. Click for more from USA Today.
PFAW

Rick Wiles Praises Donald Trump's Extraordinary Humility

Among the Religious Right leaders meeting with Donald Trump on Tuesday was Rick Wiles, the far-right radio host who uses his daily “Trunews” program to push bizarre conspiracy theories and extremist screeds.

Wiles said he was blown away by Trump’s appearance, hailing him as “a very humble man” and “very presidential.”

“He talked and acted like a president,” he said. “Very respectful, very thoughtful. I, quite frankly, was very impressed by him as a person, as a man.

Wiles added that Trump came across as a “calm, respectful, very professional CEO.”

“I believe that I saw the next president of the United States,” he said. “I think Donald Trump is going to be very, very friendly to the evangelical Christian community of the United States of America. I’m coming back with a different perspective about Donald Trump. I didn’t have a negative perspective to start with but I’m seeing him today in a much better light.”

Tony Perkins: Donald Trump Can Return God's Blessing To America

On Tuesday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins chatted with Sandy Rios, who was guest-hosting his radio program, about the recent meeting between Donald Trump and Religious Right leaders.

Perkins said that he is voting for Trump even though he isn’t very excited about it, arguing that “evangelicals have been under constant attack and marginalization by the policies of Barack Obama” and Trump will at least put an end to this anti-Christian persecution.

Rios, the American Family Association official who, like Perkins, was a vocal supporter of Ted Cruz, added that many conservatives feel like they are making a decision similar to “Sophie’s Choice” where “she had to choose between her two children, both were going to be killed or she chose that one will live, and I mean that’s pretty dramatic, but really for some Christians, voting for Donald Trump is something like that.”

“This is not something that I relish, that I am excited about,” Perkins said. “But from a pragmatic standpoint, I think there’s an opportunity.”

If Trump “walks in that grace that is available,” Perkins said, then he could surround himself with people who could “help him cast a vision that moves America back to the country that honors God and therefore would be a recipient of His blessing.”

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