According to a Time report today, Donald Trump is trying to make up with the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, the Hispanic evangelical group headed by Samuel Rodriguez, who has spent much of the presidential campaign cycle criticizing Trump for his anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rhetoric.
An official with NHLC, Mario Bramnick, apparently met with Trump earlier this month and came away thinking that “Donald Trump showed a tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants.”
The meeting was reportedly organized by televangelist Frank Amedia of Touch Heaven Ministries, who is the Trump campaign’s “liaison for Christian policy.”
We had never heard of Amedia before, so we did a news search and found an AP story from February 24, 2010, titled “Voodoo practitioners attacked at ceremony for Haiti earthquake victims”:
Angry crowds in a seaside slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, attacked a group of Voodoo practitioners Tuesday, pelting them with rocks and halting a ceremony meant to honor victims of last month's deadly earthquake.
Voodooists gathered in Cite Soleil where thousands of quake survivors live in tents and depend on food aid. Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols. When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum.
Tensions have been running high since the Jan. 12 earthquake killed an estimated 200,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless. More than 150 machete-wielding men attacked a World Food Program convoy Monday on the road between Haiti's second-largest city of Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince. There were no injuries but Chilean peacekeepers could not prevent the men from stealing the food, U.N. spokesman Michel Bonnardeaux said.
Religious tension has also increased: Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, Mormons and other missionaries have flocked to Haiti in droves since the earthquake to feed the homeless, treat the injured and jockey for souls. Some Voodoo practitioners have said they've converted to Christianity for fear they will lose out on aid or a belief that the earthquake was a warning from God. "Much of this has to do with the aid coming in," said Max Beauvoir, a Voodoo priest and head of a Voodoo association. "Many missionaries oppose Voodoo. I hope this does not start a war of religions because many of our practitioners are being harassed now unlike any other time that I remember."
"There's absolutely a heightened spiritual conflict between Christianity and Voodoo since the quake," said Pastor Frank Amedia of the Miami-based Touch Heaven Ministries who has been distributing food in Haiti and proselytizing.
"We would give food to the needy in the short term, but if they refused to give up Voodoo, I'm not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn't want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel."
In a YouTube video posted in 2011 of a post-earthquake visit to Haiti, Amedia channeled Pat Robertson by attributing Haiti’s problems to a lack of literal fatherhood and a relationship with God, saying that the country had been afflicted by “the curse of Voodoo”:
The redemption of the country has to be in the fathering of the country. Pastors need fathers; the president need a father; and the families need fathers. There’s a lack of a fathering spirit here. And once that’s restored, the relationship with the Father in heaven and then the fathers here on earth, and there’s a mentoring and a fathering going on, this land will heal.
It’s the curse of Voodoo that has taken away the fathering in this land.
Yesterday, American Family Association official Sandy Rios criticized the confirmation of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary. Rios didn’t find anything wrong with Fanning’s qualifications, she was just upset that he is a gay man.
As a gay man, Rios said, Fanning cannot be an “alpha male.”
“When it comes to leading men into battle, when it comes to being secretary of the Army, I’ll take an alpha male any day,” she said. “I’m sorry. I know these war-like men too well and I don’t think most of them — very few of them are gay. You that are in the gay community, if you were to describe your friends and colleagues who are in this community, I don’t think you would describe them as warriors. I’m sure there are some, but still, I would prefer an alpha male.”
Rios compared Fanning’s confirmation to the controversy surrounding Jerry Boykin after the Religious Right activist made remarks threatening violence against transwomen.
“That’s where we’ve come: an openly gay man is the secretary of the army while the founder of the Delta Force, because he disapproves of transgender bathrooms in North Carolina, is fired from teaching at a college,” she said. “It’s just amazing.”
On the latest episode of "Truths That Transform" from D. James Kennedy Ministries, the organization's president, Frank Wright, interviewed Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis about her fight against the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, during which she refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because doing so conflicted with her religious beliefs.
Davis, who imposed her personal religious view on the entire county, told Wright that she was simply following the law because the Supreme Court had no authority to strike down Kentucky's law banning gay marriage or to make her violate the Bible and that those who were demanding that she do her job were trying to shove the ruling down her throat.
"I was obeying my law," she insisted. "I had couples bring in the whole Supreme Court ruling and I said, 'You know, I really don't need to see this because that's not a law, that's a ruling' [and they'd say] 'Well, why won't you do this?' And so then I go to the Bible and I'd tell them, [and they'd respond,] 'Don't be reading me the Bible.' Well, you asked why I couldn't issue you a marriage license and I'm explaining to you, I'm showing you why I cannot. They didn't want to hear that though. They wanted to shove that paper down my throat and make me eat it for my dinner."
After Donald Trump released a list of 11 people he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, some conservatives who had been wary of supporting the presumptive GOP nominee began using it as an excuse to rally behind him. But not all of Trump’s conservative critics are convinced that he would actually pick from the judges on his list, many of whom were hand-picked by the conservative Heritage Society.
Among the skeptics is Steve Deace, the conservative Iowa talk radio host and vocal Trump critic, who said on his radio program yesterday that he did not believe Trump would actually nominate any of those judges when push comes to shove and that conservative activists are just using the Supreme Court list as a “fig leaf” as they “sell their souls” to Trump.
Deace’s guest, Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review, predicted that Senate Democrats would never allow the confirmation of “a true originalist in the mold of Clarence Thomas” and that Trump would end up compromising on his court picks.
Deace agreed. “Why does anybody believe, anybody, unless they just want to be deceived, why does anybody believe that he would follow through on any of those things?” he asked.
“This is being done to offer a fig leaf to give conservative leaders and conservative voters who supported Ted Cruz permission to cross over and to say ‘We can now vote for Trump,’” he said. “And they have plausible deniability, if he doesn’t nominate any of those guys, then they’re victims later on, ‘Well, we went with his words, we had no other alternative, there’s nothing else we could do, we didn’t want Hillary to win, it’s all on his head.’ That’s what this is. It’s nothing more, nothing less, than a fig leaf to give Ted Cruz’s conservative infrastructure permission to sell their souls and to bow the knee and kneel before Zod.”
In a press release today, the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel took credit for a bill that passed the Oklahoma legislature yesterday that would make it a felony to perform abortions in the state. The group also claims that Paul Blair, a far-right Oklahoma pastor and activist who was embraced by Ted Cruz’s failed presidential campaign, “initiated” the legislation.
“SB 1552 was authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm,” the press release says. “Yet this legislation was initiated by a local pastor, Paul Blair, with the support and guidance of Liberty Counsel.”
“Life begins at conception,” the press release quotes Liberty Counsel’s founder Mat Staver saying. “Preborn children are in fact children, not merely fetuses, and their lives should be protected from the moment of conception. This bill is a very positive step toward affirming the value of human life by taking away ability to murder children. Liberty Counsel stands ready to defend this legislature if it is challenged.”
Liberty Counsel is perhaps best known for its role representing Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who tried to stop her office from issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. The group and Staver have a long history of vicous anti-gay activism, including defending criminal bans on same-sex relationships . The group has also taken credit for the wave of anti-transgender laws sweeping the country, althought the Religious Right behemoth Alliance Defending Freedom seems to have played alarger role.
Blair also has a long history of extreme anti-gay rhetoric, including saying that the source of the “radical homosexual agenda” is Satan and declaring that the success of the movie “Brokeback Mountain” was proof that Americans are “under attack” from the devil. He is also a vocal advocate for states to ignore Supreme Court rulings with which they disagree — including Roe v. Wade.
As Peter wrote earlier this year, Blair has been working to convince state lawmakers to defy court rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality:
Reclaiming America for Christ , a ministry of Blair’s church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is promoting “Protect Life and Marriage,” an effort “dedicated to the proposition that the state of Oklahoma has federal and state constitutional authority to (1) protect the institution of natural, traditional marriage and; (2) protect innocent, unborn children from abortion; and that in the face of unjust, unlawful U.S. Supreme Court actions it is time for Oklahoma to exercise this authority.”
Blair said his group has 980 pastors and over 20,000 supporters, and is working with the governor, attorney general and state legislators to promote a nullification strategy: “We are trying to stop this legally, lawfully, politically, actually using the Constitution initially…”Speakers at a Protect Life and Marriage rally at the Oklahoma state capitol last October included U.S. Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Jim Bridenstine, along with state legislators and pastors. Blair also said people supporting some kind of state-led resistance are working through different channels in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Texas.
At a conference in March, Blair distributed copies of an interview he did with the magazine of the John Birch Society in which he says there is no need for constitutional amendments reversing Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality and abortion rights because states can simply cite the 10th Amendment to ignore them. He said in the interview that “we want Oklahoma to be a ‘sanctuary state’ for marriage, life and the Constitution.”
Blair told The New American that Obergefell is illegitimate, unconstitutional, violates natural law and “celebrates immoral conduct.” The decision, he said, “is an attempt to force everyone to celebrate a behavior that violates conscience and the Holy Scriptures, and to force the acceptance of that behavior on our children through public education.”
Earlier this week, extremist anti-gay activist and ardent Donald Trump supporter Theodore Shoebat posted a video praising the presumptive Republican nominee for releasing a list of possible Supreme Court nominees.
Shoebat, who was recently featured in Janet Porter's anti-gay documentary "Light Wins" along with several Republican presidential candidates, members of Congress and leading anti-gay activists, liked what he saw of Trump's list and ran through a handful of court decisions that some of the potential nominees have handed down, which allowed him to share his reasonable thoughts on a variety of topics.
Among the issues that Shoebat discussed were his contention that blacks were better off picking cotton and beans on the plantation as slaves than they are today, that police should unleash attack dogs on those who attend gay pride parades or comic book conventions and that "sluts" who use contraception should be arrested.
Shoebat had particular praise for Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals judge Steven Colloton for issuing a decision in 2014 upholding the constitutionality of the death penalty, which Shoebat again said should be applied to gays ... as well as to witches like Hillary Clinton.
"We need judges who uphold the death penalty for evildoers," he said. "We need judges who would uphold the death penalty for those, not just murderers, obviously murderers deserve death, I think most people would agree with that. But you also have other people who deserve the death penalty, not necessarily murderers; people who are involved in witchcraft, who promote witchcraft. Witchcraft is very, very dangerous, very demonic and look how much destruction it has caused in the United States. Look at Hillary Clinton. That's a witch that needs to be arrested and put to death. Most definitely. As the scriptures says, I believe in Leviticus, 'Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.'"
"Homosexuals also need to be put to death," Shoebat continued, "because it is evil, it is demonic and it is against human nature."
Yesterday, Breitbart legal editor and former Family Research Council official Ken Klukowski guest-hosted the FRC’s “Washington Watch” radio program, where he interviewed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell about the presidential election and the future of the Supreme Court.
Both Perry and Blackwell urged listeners to get behind Donald Trump, saying that while potential Trump nominees to the bench would emulate the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a Democratic president like Hillary Clinton would nominate more people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
When Klukowski asked Perry, who attacked Trump as an unchristian demagogue before endorsing him, to “make the case for Mr. Trump,” Perry replied: “Let me make it as a simple as I can. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump. Supreme Court appointment.”
“This isn’t about just the next four years,” he said, “as a matter of fact, it’s not about the next eight years, if we were to have a candidate that won successive terms. This is about the next 40 or 50 years because of those Supreme Court appointments. Listen, Hillary Clinton, we know exactly what she’s going to appoint, she’s going to appoint an individual, a raging liberal, an individual that keeps the left happy.”
He said that no matter how Clinton governs, “we know what she’s going to do on the Supreme Court” since the “activists in the Democratic Party, they’re going to force an individual upon this country through that presidential appointment of the Supreme Court of the most absolute radical, making laws from the bench, as you can imagine.”
Klukowski said Clinton “wouldn’t need any forcing” to make such an appointment, “she’d be leading the charge, they’d be chasing to catch up in terms of getting a committed liberal like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another one of those on the Supreme Court.”
“Or [Sonia] Sotomayor, I think Hillary Clinton’s appointments to the Supreme Court would make those individuals look almost moderate,” Perry said.
Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state and a vocal conservative activist, said voters in the presidential election will determine “the direction of the Supreme Court.”
“If they choose Hillary Clinton, we know what they will get: an expansion of abortion rights, more stringent gun control laws, a vanishing capital punishment, a continued attack on religious liberty,” he warned.
Praising the list of potential high court nominees Trump released yesterday, Klukowski said that several jurists on the list are “some of the most conservative judges in the country” while “all of them are conservative of one stripe or another.”
“When you’re voting for the president, you’re also going to be voting for the U.S. Supreme Court,” he added.
Blackwell said that in this election, “It’s the courts, stupid.”
Unhinged conspiracy theorist and End-Times prophet Rick Wiles scored an interview on Tuesday with David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist who created last year’s series of videos that baselessly claimed that Planned Parenthood sells “baby parts” for profit.
After his conversation with Daleiden, Wiles naturally concluded that God will destroy America as punishment for Planned Parenthood’s “human sacrifice” to Lucifer.
“There are certain issues in this country that the establishment will go to war to defend,” Wiles told his cohost Doc Burkhart. “Baby-killing is one of them. Homosexuality is another one. Sexual perversion is another one.”
Abortion providers, he said, aren’t just mistaken — they are worshipping Satan. “Make no mistake about it, it is the human sacrifice to Satan,” he said. “They are sacrificing babies to Lucifer. It’s not just unsaved people, bad people, that we’re dealing with. They’re Luciferian devil-worshippers. The abortion mills are blood-sacrifice centers. They are sacrificing children to Baal.”
America, he warned, will be wiped out just like our Baal-worshipping Old Testament predecessors.
Later in the program, Wiles discussed the news that the U.S. Treasury had revealed the amount of the nation’s debt that Saudi Arabia holds, which Wiles predicted was a precursor to Saudi Arabia unpegging its currency from the U.S. dollar. He then found a way to tie it all back to Planned Parenthood.
“What is the connection to baby parts?” he asked. “It’s judgment. It’s judgment. A massive collapse of the U.S. economic system will shut down Planned Parenthood. That’s it. Who’s buying baby parts then?”
If Saudi Arabia unpegs from the dollar, he said, “the whole country, it’s toast, it’s over. The financial system is wiped out.” He added that there would then be the “possibility of world war.”
Supporters of Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama are planning to hold a rally on Saturday in defense of the judge, who has yet again been suspended by the state’s judicial inquiry committee, this time for attempting to defy federal court rulings on marriage equality.
A list of speakers hasn’t been released yet, but it will likely include John Eidsmoe, the Christian Reconstructionist scholar who works at the foundation that Moore founded, and Moore’s friend and former spokesman Dean Young, both of whom spoke last Thursday at a press conference where they announced plans for the event.
Speaking to reporters at the press conference, Young singled out Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen who’s a member of the coalition that filed a complaint against Moore and who has become an accidental celebrity since Moore claimed that she was leading the effort against him.
Young said that it’s a “travesty” that a “transvestite” was able to file a complaint against Moore when “these are the kind of people who want to come into the bathroom of your children, boy or girl.”
He then warned that marriage equality would destroy the country. “At the end of the day,” he said, “our civilization was founded on the Judeo-Christian values, and when you start saying that a man and a man can get married, you’re destroying the very foundation of this nation.”
Young compared “redefining marriage” to changing the measurements of a foot or an ounce.
“The entire foundations are destroyed when you start redefining words, and especially what marriage is, and that’s between a man and a woman,” he said.
Young praised Moore for being “the only one in this entire country that’s standing.”
“If they take Judge Moore down, they’re going to come after your pastors, they’re going to come after your businesses if you don’t make the kind of cake they want, they’re going to make you go out of business,” he warned. “If you don’t want to perform a wedding like that, you’re going to go out of business.”
He added that “this is either Valley Forge or the Alamo, I just don’t know which one.”
Young, who once said that if gay people “don't like the laws of Alabama…then maybe they need to go back to California or Vermont or wherever they came from," lost a Republican congressional primary in March.
Rusty Thomas, the radical anti-abortion activist who heads Operation Save America, has also announced that he’ll be speaking at the rally in support of Moore on Saturday. Thomas, who insists that terrorist attacks are God’s judgment for legal abortion, invoked both the Bible and a movie version of “Robin Hood” to declare that it is Moore who is following the law because the federal government is imposing “lawlessness.”
Thomas subscribes to a version of nullification that holds that “lesser magistrates” — state and local officials — must defy federal laws and court rulings that they believe violate divine law. The leading proponent of this theory is anti-abortion activist Matt Trewhella, one of the signers of a 1993 document supporting violence against abortion providers, who spoke alongside Thomas at a recent abortion “abolition” event in Arizona.
Thomas writes in a press release today that he hopes Moore’s example “will spread like wild fire to inspire governors, state legislators, sheriffs, and other lower magistrates to rise up with one voice to say no to the federal beast, place the chain back on our federal government, restore law and order, and reestablish the checks and balances necessary to secure a future and hope for our nation in Jesus' mighty name!”
The prophet Isaiah warned, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20). Our nation has long rejected Biblical truth and now we labor under a stupor of delusion. When good becomes evil, it should not be surprising that the good guys become the bad guys. The movie Robin Hood stated our current situation well, "In the days of lawlessness, those who keep the law become the outlaw."
Our federal government for decades has been codifying evil into law. In the name of new federal values, they are destroying Christian and family values. In the name of government, they betray their sacred trust as government. In the name of the Constitution, they violate the Constitution. Under the color of law, they impose lawlessness upon the citizens of America and upon the great state of Alabama.
Our federal government continues to make straight what God has called crooked, turn moral wrongs into civil rights, and demand that "We the People" tolerate the intolerable. In the midst of this tyranny and moral anarchy, God has raised up a champion, none other than Chief Justice Roy Moore.
As a Lesser Magistrate, Chief Justice Roy Moore, is standing in the gap between federal tyranny and the life, liberty, and property of the citizens of Alabama and our nation. It is my sincere prayer that his example will spread like wild fire to inspire governors, state legislators, sheriffs, and other lower magistrates to rise up with one voice to say no to the federal beast, place the chain back on our federal government, restore law and order, and reestablish the checks and balances necessary to secure a future and hope for our nation in Jesus' mighty name!
Update: Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, who heads the foundation that he founded, is also scheduled to address the rally.
Over and over again, we have heard about the supposed demise of the Religious Right and how the Republican Party will stop focusing on issues like LGBT equality and abortion rights, especially in the age of Donald Trump.
As Ari noted last week, these claims come at a time when women’s “access to birth control is still a matter of public debate and gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals can still face discrimination across wide swaths of our country in the workplace, in housing, and even when attempting to access basic services.”
Trump, the candidate hailed by some pundits for minimizing such social issues, just put out a list of anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, ultraconservative jurists he would pick from when choosing his Supreme Court nominees.
The release of the list comes after Trump has made repeated vows to use the judicial nomination process to challenge the Roe v. Wade and Obergefell rulings, the landmark decisions on abortion and marriage equality, respectively.
Indeed, anyone paying attention to the actions of House Republicans over the last few days can see that the party is still committed to undermining LGBT rights.
“During debate on a military spending bill, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to nullify a provision in a separate bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, that the House passed late Wednesday,” Jennifer Bendery of the Huffington Post writes today. “The provision opens the door to government contractors citing religious liberty as grounds for firing or harassing employees who are LGBT.”
The vote was 213-212. President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., had offered an amendment to a spending bill that would have prohibited using taxpayer dollars to violate the order.
The vote for Maloney’s amendment peaked at 217, one short of the majority needed for passage, before it began a slow, sporadic decline. Members of the Republican whip team, whose job is to round up needed votes, were stalking the House chamber’s aisles where GOP lawmakers seat, openly pleading for support.
“Need two more votes,” Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., one of the GOP whips, said loudly as he prowled among Republicans.
Russell was the same congressman who introduced the anti-LGBT amendment that, according to the Advocate, allows groups “doing business with the U.S. government to fire or punish any employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity” under the guise of religious freedom.
Also this week, Oklahoma Republican lawmakers passed “a bill that would make it a felony to perform abortions” and Texas Republicans expanded their already firm opposition to LGBT rights.
But remember, the culture wars are dead!
House Democrats shout “shame” at Republican colleagues after a vote on an LGBT amendment https://t.co/JvMdaKSypk— POLITICO (@politico) May 19, 2016
The family feud over who is in charge of Eagle Forum, the conservative “pro-family” group, got even nastier yesterday when the organization’s founder, Phyllis Schlafly, sent out a robocall to members giving them the phone number of her daughter, Anne Cori, and urging them to call her and “ask her to stop all of this.”
“Would you please help me stop these people from going after me and the organization that I have devoted my life to building?” she asked.
You can listen to the audio here, via Breitbart:
Schlafly has accused Cori and five other board members of the group’s political arm of trying to oust her.
Cori and her allies, however, claim that they only want to oust Ed Martin, Schlafly’s handpicked successor, whom they say is manipulating Schlafly and mismanaging the organization.
Martin, for his part, says that the dissident board members are just upset that Schlafly endorsed Donald Trump rather than their preferred presidential candidate, Ted Cruz.
Pointing her finger at the Cruz campaign, Schlafly has alleged that the Texas senator’s aides tried to make it appear that her group endorsed had Cruz and that the campaign underhandedly gotten its hands on Eagle Forum membership lists.
Schlafly has said that her two sons — Cori’s brothers — are also in the crosshairs of the rebellious board members.
“The only thing they’ve done is divide my family,” she said last month. “My daughter is with the group that is leading the assault on my leadership and they want to get rid of my son,” John Schlafly, the treasurer named, along with Martin, in the lawsuit brought by Cori and the other board members. She said that the dissident group also wants to get rid of her son Andy Schlafly, who does legal work for Eagle Forum.
Schlafly also claimed last month that Cori “is trying to tell me that she’s just doing this for my benefit, but I don’t need somebody to do something for my benefit, I’ve gotten along quite well all these years,” alleging that her daughter “lined up with some of the people who thought they could get good jobs at Eagle Forum if they got rid of me.”
The two parties are now in court after the Eagle Forum board voted to remove Martin from his position and install Cori as executive director, a vote that Schlafly said was invalid.
The robocall is just another sign that the fight over Eagle Forum hasn’t hit rock bottom just yet.
Although former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has built a career on a folksy brand of Christian conservatism, it wasn’t all that surprising that he was quick to get behind the presidential candidacy of thrice-married New York billionaire Donald Trump.
While many Religious Right leaders have expressed concerns about Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican Party, Huckabee was quick to embrace his former presidential rival, particularly after Trump vanquished Ted Cruz, whom Huckabee had repeatedly attacked as a phony Christian.
Despite appearances, Huckabee and Trump have plenty in common.
The two also have a similar pitch to voters. While both claim that they are standing up for the working man against a corporate, ultra-wealthy elite, both of their main economic proposals include deep tax cuts for the super-rich.
Huckabee told the Guardian today that before Trump’s rise, the GOP was on the verge of becoming “a wholly owned subsidiary of the financial community and globalists/neocons,” when the party really needed “to refocus on the American worker, the American infrastructure and rebuilding America.”
“They have created favors for the donor class at the expense of the working class,” he said.
Huckabee, however, has for years promoted an extremely regressive “Fair Tax” proposal to replace the progressive income tax with a national sales tax.
Former Reagan administration adviser Bruce Bartlett has said that under Huckabee’s proposal, “there would be an enormous shift in the tax burden from the wealthy to those with lower and middle incomes.”
Richard Phillips, senior policy analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice, wrote last year:
A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that under the 'Fair Tax,' the top 1 percent of taxpayers would receive an average annual tax cut of $225,000. Meanwhile, the plan would increase taxes by about $3,200 on average on the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers. In other words, Huckabee’s tax plan would significantly increase taxes on the overwhelming majority of Americans to pay for huge tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.
Since “very high-income households spend only a fraction of their income, while low- and middle-income people spend all or most of what they make,” wrote Leonard E. Burman of the Tax Policy Center, under Huckabee’s plan, “tax burdens on middle-income households would surely rise while high-income families would get a big tax cut.”
Despite such a radical proposal, Huckabee still markets himself as the defender of the working class against the wealthy elite, even as he promises to raise taxes on the working class and deliver a massive tax cut the rich.
Trump is no different.
Under Trump’s massive $12 trillion tax plan, “the top 1 percent of Americans will receive an average tax break of $227,000 per year while the bottom 20 percent will receive an average tax cut of only $250,” according to Citizens for Tax Justice, which found that “the majority of Trump’s tax cut would go to the top five percent of taxpayers.”
But the biggest winners of Trump’s tax cut won’t be the top five percent. They won’t even be the top one percent.
“[T]he benefits would be overwhelmingly skewed to the highest-income taxpayers, with those in the top 0.1 percent (who make $3.7 million or more) getting an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million,” says Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center.
The supposedly populist candidate also promises to pay off the entire $19 trillion national debt in just eight years — “very easy” — but one estimate found that his huge tax cut for the rich alone will grow the debt by almost 80 percent.
Just fulfilling his pledge to balance the budget would be mathematically impossible under the proposal he has laid out to do so.
Trump also boasts that he is boycotting Apple, Ford and Nabisco for building factories outside of the U.S., often bragging that he will never eat an Oreo ever again. And yet Trump has personally invested in all of those companies.
Huckabee and Trump, nonetheless, continue to claim the “populist” mantle.
It may be their greatest swindle yet.
David Barton, the Religious Right psuedo-historian and activist who ran a major super PAC supporting Ted Cruz’s presidential candidacy, released a video today laying out the path for conservative Christian activists to take now that Cruz, the candidate they had long prayed for, has dropped out of the presidential race.
The results of the GOP presidential primary, he said, drive home three life lessons: 1) Nothing catches God by surprise; 2) God cares how you respond to adversity; 3) All things work together for good according to God's plan.
As such, Barton said that conservative activists cannot now abandon all that they have fought for and must, instead, "become more engaged" and get to work electing people who will operate according to "the timeless principles given to us by God" to local, state and federal offices.
"We become more engaged and we get our neighbors engaged," Barton said. "We need to make sure our neighbors are registered to vote and that they choose God-fearing leaders and that, above all, we teach ourselves and others to think and act biblically."
On "The 700 Club" today, Pat Robertson responded to a question from a viewer who wanted to know what the proper Christian response is to drug addicts in her town who are, she complained, using up government and hospital resources that she has to pay for with her tax dollars. Robertson responded that it was time for some tough love and that drug addicts who refuse to work or seek treatment should simply be allowed to starve to death.
A viewer from Massachusetts cited a Boston Herald article about the strain that addicted and mentally ill "super-utilizers" are putting on Boston's hospitals and Medicaid system and complained that she's finding it hard to be charitable toward drug addicts who are intentionally overdosing and wasting resources that she is paying for with her taxes.
Robertson responded by citing 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which says that "if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat," as justification for allowing addicts to starve to death.
"There are a bunch of people who are just bums and they're trying to ride in on the charity of others," Robertson said. "Tough love will say, 'I'm not going to give you something.' ... If these people are out drugging themselves, let 'em starve to death. I know that sounds hard, but that's the way it's got to be."
In an interview with the New York Times Magazine published today, Donald Trump continued to revise his comment to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that there should be “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.
Robert Draper writes:
Now he argued to me, rather unconvincingly, that he had been misinterpreted: “I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves. I didn’t want people to think in terms of ‘prison’ punishment. And because of that I walked it back.
Trump’s so-called “walk-back” is actually a stroll through the rhetoric and actions of the far Right. If women are “punishing themselves,” it is only because anti-abortion activists and Donald Trump want to stigmatize them for receiving a legal medical procedure.
One of the principal tactics of the anti-abortion movement is shaming women who are seeking out a safe and legal medical procedure. They stand at clinic doors harassing patients and set up “crisis pregnancy centers” to mislead women about abortion. States have passed laws forcing doctors to lie to patients, telling them abortion is linked to mental illness, despite research saying the opposite.
Perhaps Trump is just borrowing from the playbook of Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who recently endorsed his candidacy. In a 2003 book, the radical anti-abortion activist with ties to terrorists, claimed women who receive abortions, their families and their doctors have “personal bloodguilt” for their actions, which in turn makes the entire United States “bloodguilty.”
Trump's remarks also echoed those of Priests for Life's National Director Frank Pavone, who remarked in early April that the anti abortion movement does not aim to "imprison [women], we aim to liberate them from the shame and guilt and wounds abortion brings."
Trump’s penchant of shaming women in public forums is no secret, and his personal treatment of women in professional and personal settings has been the subject of dozens of column inches and countless cable news segments. His most recent statement should be cause for even greater concern. Trump now wants to take his Twitter rants and make them a matter of national policy.
Draper’s article points out that according to a senior campaign adviser, “Trump, a serial non-apologizer, initially saw nothing wrong with his remark and refused to walk it back.” It was “only when every network chief executive and over 100 media outlets besieged the Trump campaign with requests for additional comment on how women should be punished for abortions did the Trump campaign turn to an ally: Chris Christie, whose tenure as the Republican governor of the blue state of New Jersey had given him experience placating both social conservatives and the moderate voters Trump hoped to attract in the general election.” It turns out, according to Draper, “A member of Christie’s political team helped draft a statement that essentially repudiated Trump’s earlier one.”
What we’ve learned about Donald Trump’s beliefs is that before the media’s outcry he saw nothing wrong with women being jailed for having an abortion. Now, weeks after his campaign confronted a tsunami of pushback, his default position is to effectively shame women.
Earlier this year, the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin spoke at Liberty Counsel's "The Awakening" conference in Florida where he railed against efforts to protect transgender individuals by allowing them to use the facilities that match the gender with which they identify.
"I’ve already said, and somebody’ll be recording this and this’ll be on YouTube before it’s all over with, "Boykin said. "But I will tell you what, the first man that walks in my daughter’s bathroom, he ain’t going to have to worry about surgery. That’s not right. That is not right. It’s not right. It’s ungodly. But it’s also just unnatural. This is crazy. Where are the Christians that are standing up?"
We posted audio of his remarks back in March and yesterday Boykin posted a message on his Facebook page announcing that he had been terminated from a teaching position he held at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia because of the remarks.
Boykin insists that he was not threatening violence against transgender people, despite his clear reference to sex reassignment surgery, and that his comments were "understood as humor":
Because some of you already know and are contacting me about it, let me make it official and let you all know that I have been terminated from teaching at Hampden-Sydney College after nine years there. Hampden Sydney is the 10th oldest college in America and is one of the two Men's colleges left in #America. Let me begin by saying that it is a fine school with some very good young men who give me hope for the future. There are also a few very good faculty members who I consider to be good friends and true patriots. They stood with me through this whole situation as the school made the decision to terminate me and I appreciate everything that these friends at the school did to try and help.
The bottom line is that I oppose these so called "#Bathroom" bills that let men go into women's locker rooms, showers, and toilets and I have been very public about it. When I said in Orlando that "...the first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery", the LGBT community once again came after me, claiming that I was calling for violence against #transgender people.
Well, that is simply not the case and I have never called for violence against anyone. I was referring to perverts who will use these policies to get into locker rooms with girls and women, and I object to that. My statement was meant to be humor and not a call for violence, which everyone in my audience understood as humor.
Nonetheless, I gave the LGBT community just what they needed to pressure the college leadership to terminate me and they did.
Predictably, Ted Cruz, who made attacking transgender protections a part of his failed presidential campaign, has come rushing to Boykin's defense and is using this incident as an opportunity to raise funds for his own Senate re-election campaign.
Cruz dismissed Boykin’s comment’s as "levity," while lamenting that it has now become "a firing offense."
General Jerry Boykin is an American hero. He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army's Delta Force. A decorated warrior, he commanded Delta Force and he commanded all the Army's Green Berets as well as the Special Warfare Center and School.
Hampden-Sydney College has fired General Boykin. At a time where young people are desperately seeking hope and inspiration, you would think General Boykin (who had taught there nine years) would be one of their most valued faculty. But instead, he fell victim to the PC police.
Referring to President Obama's push to allow grown men into girls' bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms, General Boykin joked, "...the first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery." That levity, in today's precious academic world, was a firing offense.
Three observations: first, our universities are losing their souls. College should be about learning, and that requires a diversity of views. When I was a student in the 1980s and 90s, surrounded by college and law school faculty members who were militant leftists and even Marxists, I didn't curl up in a ball and plead for a "safe place." Confronting opposing views helped me learn what I myself believe, and helped me understand better how to persuade others. That's the essence of education. Raising coddled, solipsistic children who cannot handle dissent represents a complete failure and abdication of the university mission.
Second, free speech matters. If you disagree with someone, disagree with them. Don't silence or punish them. Censorship is the refuge of the weak-minded (those who cannot defend their views) or the tyrannical (those who simply want to force submission and compliance). If you think it's a good idea for men and boys to be taking showers with little girls -- whether you're the President, a presidential candidate, or a university apparatchik -- tell us why. Make the case, with reason and logic, don't just respond as jack-booted thugs.
Third, young people need heroes like General Boykin. Ironically, Hampden-Sydney's motto is Huc venite iuvenes ut exeatis viri, which translates to: Come here as boys so you may leave as men. This storied institution, founded the year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has decided that warriors and heroes are no longer welcome on its faculty. If you love our country, this should bother you greatly.
Update 5/20: Today, Boykin announced that he has been re-hired by Hampden-Sydney College:
I am deeply grateful for all the support - through social media, calls and emails - that I have received over the past few days. This situation has been a great reminder of how our #FirstAmendment principles are worth standing up for and defending.
I am pleased to announce that I have been rehired as the Wheat Professor at Hampden-Sydney College. I look forward to returning to Hampden-Sydney in the fall to continue my work equipping the next generation of young men to lead this nation. Hampden-Sydney College is a fine school with a proud history of young men who have led our country, and I am honored to be a part of shaping the next generation of leaders.
With that said, I would like to share some thoughts on this experience.
First, there is strength in unified numbers. The radical Left and LGBT activists completely underestimate the impact of #freedom-loving #Americans banding together to protect our First Amendment freedoms. Many people spoke out on my behalf and I am eternally grateful that they stood with me. Their unified voices allowed me to return to Hampden-Sydney.
Second, never cave in when you know that you are standing for what is right and true, for these are the principles that made this nation great. STAND, even if it means you lose your job. STAND, even if it means you lose your life. The founding principles of this nation are worth defending, even if it costs you.
Third, my reinstatement is a victory for academic freedom and free thought on a college campus. The free exchange of conflicting ideas must be the bedrock of every college campus in America. This essential exchange has been greatly wounded by the PC police, but it can be restored to college campuses around the country if, in unity, freedom-loving Americans speak out. Bottom line: when you stand, freedom prevails.
Finally, I would like to thank the leadership of Hampden-Sydney College for the courage they have demonstrated in reversing their decision and allowing me to remain a part of the Hampden-Sydney community.
In an apparent attempt to stave off conservative fears that he may not appoint an ultraconservative jurist to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump released a list today of 11 people he said he would consider naming to the court.
But Trump may have wanted to vet the list before releasing it.
One of the potential Supreme Court nominees Trump mentions, Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court, has relentlessly taunted Trump on his Twitter page, where he has said he cried at the prospect of Trump picking Supreme Court justices, mocked the candidate’s policies and statements and even joked that the GOP presidential candidate may be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in disguise.
Can't wait till Trump rips off his face Mission Impossible-style & reveals a laughing Ruth Bader Ginsburg. pic.twitter.com/LieabD35zb— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) August 27, 2015
Trump to "the evangelicals"—— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) March 9, 2016
"I'll be the best thing that's ever happened to them."
ps—Happy Easter, everyone! pic.twitter.com/a1mGbY8a9p
I'm 100% certain than in my 10+ years as a Supreme Court Justice, I've never once signed a bill. pic.twitter.com/H1o5XVcRLi— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) February 26, 2016
Donald Trump, faced with conservative jitters over whom he would name to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, has promised to release a list of names from which he would promise to pick nominees. Today, according to the Associated Press, he released that list.
According to the Daily Beast, all of Trump’s 11 picks are white. Just three are women.
Trump’s list includes two possible picks whom he has frequently mentioned on the campaign trail: federal appeals court judges William Pryor and Diane Sykes. It also includes three additional people whom the Heritage Foundation recommended for Supreme Court posts after Trump said he would consult with the conservative group on his list: Raymond Gruender and Steven Colloton, both federal appeals court judges, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willet.
Also on Trump’s list are Thomas Lee, a Utah Supreme Court justice and brother of Republican Sen. Mike Lee; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia; David Stras, who serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court; and federal appeals court judges Thomas Hardman and Raymond Kethledge.
It looks like Trump has, true to his promise, picked potential justices who would advance the conservative efforts to skew the federal courts far to the right. The libertarian publication Reason, for instance, has gushed over Willett for his willingness to overthrow government regulations. (Willett, for what it’s worth, does not seem to return Trump’s admiration.)
We profiled Pryor, Sykes and Colloton last month:
William H. Pryor
One possible Supreme Court nominee whom Trump has specifically praised is William H. Pryor, selected by President George W. Bush to be on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Formerly Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor has a history of extreme right-wing activism, severely criticizing not just women’s right to choose under Roe v. Wade but even the constitutionality of the New Deal.
Pryor has called Roe the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” He has claimed that with the New Deal and other measures, the U.S. has “strayed too far in the expansion of the federal government,” and asserted that it “should not be in the business of public education nor the control of street crime.” As a judge, he has helped uphold a restrictive Georgia voter ID law and joined just one other judge on the 11th Circuit in claiming that “racially disparate effects” should not be enough to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, even though the Supreme Court has ruled precisely the opposite.
Pryor came first on a wish list of Supreme Court picks that the Heritage Foundation published shortly after Trump promised to consult them before naming justices.
Trump has also repeatedly named Diane Sykes, a Seventh Circuit federal appeals court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Sykes, who previously served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and a trial court, has also won high praise from the Heritage Foundation and from right-wing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
In a series of dissents, Sykes has argued in favor of big business and against consumers and discrimination victims, including cases where she tried to limit corporate liability for product defects and overturn a $1 million damages award, to protect a corporation from having to defend against an employee’s claim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to reverse a $3.5 million bad faith judgment in favor of a Lutheran church against its insurance company.
She showed her anti-reproductive-choice views in providing a lenient sentence to two anti-abortion protesters who had to be forcibly removed from blocking the entrance to a Milwaukee abortion clinic and had previously been arrested 100 times for such offenses; Sykes nevertheless praised them for their “fine character” and expressed “respect” for the “ultimate goals” the blockade “sought to achieve.”
She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though there was extensive evidence that one of the jurors did not understand English (including a statement from the juror himself), which disqualified him from serving on a jury under Wisconsin law; that a prosecutor should be immune from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years; and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that the law itself could well be unconstitutional, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.
She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though one of the jurors did not understand English, that a prosecutor should be immune from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years, and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that the law itself could well be unconstitutional, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.
The third name on Heritage’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees is Judge Steven Colloton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, after previous service for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and as a U.S. attorney.
Colloton has been at the forefront of a number of troubling Eighth Circuit rulings, including writing decisions that reversed an $8.1 million award to whistleblowers who helped bring a defective pricing and kickback claim against a large corporation and a nearly $19 million class action judgment against Tyson Foods for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. He also joined a ruling making the Eighth Circuit the only appellate court in the country that found that the Obama administration’s efforts to accommodate religious universities and other religious nonprofit objectors to the provision of contraceptive coverage under the ACA was insufficient, an issue n ow being considered by the Supreme Court.
Even more troubling, Colloton has dissented from a number of Eighth Circuit rulings that have upheld the rights of employees, consumers and others against big business and government agencies. He dissented from a decision giving African-American shoppers the opportunity to prove discrimination claims against a large department store, and then saw his view prevail by one vote when the full Eighth Circuit reheard the case. In another case, he dissented from a decision finding that a city had violated the Voting Rights Act by improperly diluting the voting strength of Native Americans.
Colloton dissented from rulings that gave individuals a chance to prove claims of use of excessive force and, in one case, that a city’s policy to use police dogs to bite and hold suspects without any warning was unconstitutional. In three separate cases, he dissented from decisions that employees should at least get the chance to prove in court that their employers retaliated against them for filing sex harassment, age discrimination, or other discrimination claims. In two more decisions, he argued in dissent that public employees should not have the opportunity to prove that they were retaliated against for speaking out in violation of their First Amendment rights. Yet he also claimed in a dissent that the First Amendment rights of a candidate for state supreme court justice were violated by a state judicial code of conduct restricting solicitation and other campaign activity in order to promote judicial impartiality and ethical conduct by judges. Even the conservative Roberts Court that decided the Citizens United case has agreed that these concerns justify solicitation restrictions in state supreme court elections.
This post has been updated to clarify the circumstances of a case in which Sykes asserted in a dissent that a jury verdict should have been upheld despite evidence that one juror was disqualified from serving.