Fox News pundit Todd Starnes has some thoughts: “It’s a mess out there, folks. Firestorms in the West. A great deluge in the South. Immorality in Washington. If I didn't know better I’d say Someone might be trying to tell us something.”
American Family Association official Sandy Rios reacted to the shooting of a Memphis police officer yesterday by embarking on an “all lives matter” discourse in which she explained that racism goes both ways because “we have a lot of black men targeting … white men and white people,” just as Planned Parenthood “seems to target minority communities” in an effort to “do away with minorities.”
Just as the Charleston church shooting was “a white racist shooting black people,” she said on her American Family Radio program, “now we have a lot of black men targeting, it seems to me, okay, this is going to be a controversial statement, but there do seem to be a lot of acts of violence from black criminals to white men and white people.”
“But all lives matter,” she said. “All lives matter. That’s why, the whole abortion issue, Planned Parenthood seems to target minority communities more than any, whether it’s Hispanic or black. And that’s not an accident, that was part of their founding charter, to do away with minorities.”
As the leading Republican presidential candidates prepare to take the stage on Thursday for the first official presidential debate, we know that they all share a common goal of promoting an far-right agenda in the White House.
We don’t expect to get much clarity on the Republicans’ extreme positions on Thursday. But if we had the chance to moderate the debate, here’s some of the questions we’d ask each of the candidates:
Jeb Bush: Why are you catering to the anti-immigrant base of the Republican Party by condemning undocumented immigrants to second class status through denying them any path to citizenship?
Scott Walker: You have an abysmal record when it comes to the environment and fighting against climate change. But just like you’ve punted on so many other critical questions, you’ve never actually told us your position on climate change. So, do you deny the science of climate change or do you accept that it’s a reality that must be addressed?
Mike Huckabee: You’ve compared Obama and abortion rights to the Nazis and their genocide. How and why did you think that was appropriate?
Ted Cruz: Why did you cook bacon on a machine gun?
Ben Carson: You’ve compared Obamacare to slavery. How is ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare – as the ACA does – like slavery in any way?
Marco Rubio: This past April, before the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, you said that anyone who believes that gay people have a constitutional right to marriage has a “ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. Constitution.” Is that still your belief today?
Rand Paul: In a talk you once explained that while direct cheating is off the table, “I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic.” What are some examples of times that you’ve “misinformed” the American people?
Donald Trump: How does deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants or denying spousal rape make America great again?
The right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has been encouraging public officials from county clerks to governors to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision striking down gay-marriage bans nationwide, and as part of this work is representing Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Liberty Counsel’s main argument in the Kentucky case is that Davis’ religious liberty is being violated because she is being forced to do her job and issue licenses for legal marriages between people of the same sex.
In fact, LC argues in a recent court filing, marriage equality actually imposes an unconstitutional “religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office” because people like Davis who don’t want to issue marriage licenses to gay couples aren’t allowed to refuse to do so.
They want, the court filing explains, “to induce irreversible and substantial harm to the religious conscience of Davis.”
“If Davis’ religious objection cannot be accommodated under the circumstances of this case, then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office,” Staver warned.
The brief argues, “There is no constitutional right to have a particular person authorize a SSM license and affix their imprimatur to that permanent public record, especially if that person holds deep religious convictions prohibiting her from participating in and approving of SSM.”
It continued, “Contrary to plaintiffs’ insatiable demands, such individual rights and freedoms so fundamental to liberty are neither surrendered at the entry door of public service nor waived upon taking an oath of office. To suggest otherwise creates a religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office – which the United States and Kentucky Constitutions expressly forbid.”
Thomas M. Hodgson, the Bristol County, Massachusetts sheriff who organized a sparsely attendedanti-immigrant rally at the U.S. Capitol last year, defended Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio during a radio interview today, saying racial profiling charges against Arpaio are part of the Obama administration’s attempt to vilify “the people who are coming forward and telling the truth to the American people.”
Hodgson joined American Family Association official Sandy Rios on her radio program this morning, where he alleged that the case against Arpaio is just an attempt to distract Americans from Obama administration “scandals.”
“It’s a trend we’ve seen, actually, from this administration with regards to all law enforcement,” he said. “It seems that the people that are doing their job, who are standing up for what’s right are vilified, they’re attacked. We’ve seen it with the IRS scandal, we’ve seen it with all kinds of scandals where the administration was sort of trying to direct attention away from what they were doing and vilifying the people who were coming forward and telling the truth to the American people.”
A Justice Department investigation has found “a pattern or practice of unlawful discriminatory police conduct directed at Latinos in Maricopa County” under Arpaio’s leadership.
Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” admitted in March to violating a court order “by continuing to allow sheriff's deputies to make traffic stops based on suspicions about individuals' immigration status.” He offered to apologize and asked county officials to create a $350,000 fund meant to compensate those he harmed.
Obviously, none of those things have happened, but last week the End Times prophet explained that such events will actually occur during Jade Helm 16.
Wiles, while speaking with Nathan Leal of Watchman’s Cry ministries about how Leal’s dreams foretell “divine judgment” on the U.S., alleged that the government is “going to go after Texas” (much like it tried to nuke Charleston, South Carolina) because it is the state most resistant to a federal takeover.
“I believe that they would level the state of Texas, I believe they would use an EMP against Texas,” Wiles said. Leal told Wiles that his dreams about Jade Helm, a possible civil war and the Alamo have confirmed the radio host’s warnings: “Write that down for the record, this is a warning from the Holy Spirit.”
Wiles said that Christians should avoid taking part in the impending violence “because this is God’s judgment on the land that this civil war is coming.”
“2009, when Obama went into the White House, I told our radio audience, this man, before he leaves the White House, he will take this country to civil war,” he said.
Wiles also warned listeners to flee America: “This is the time that you have to get out…. The violence will come next year and what I am telling my audience is, don’t fear Jade Helm 15 but beware Jade Helm 16.”
Conservative talk radio host Michael Savage is positively convinced that President Obama isincitingananti-whiteracewar, and now he has definitive proof: An elderly Mayan woman prophesied it, maybe.
On yesterday’s edition of “The Savage Nation,” Savage said he felt the need to tell his audience about this prophecy, which he said he read about in an email, because of “the hatred towards white people that is being fanned primarily from inside of the American administration.”
“They interviewed an ancient, an old Mayan woman who said she had a dream and she said, ‘I see the future and in the future we will be missing our white brothers,’” Savage said. “That was chilling, that was a shocking, chilling statement. I don’t want to dwell on that too much but the fact of the matter is that unless something drastic is done quickly, how does this all end? How does this end when you have an administration that is siding with terrorists in the case of the PLO, are siding with the burners and the destroyers in Ferguson or in Baltimore, tell me how this ends?”
On his American Family Radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer revisited the topic of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, which he blamedat the time on the end of government-sponsored prayer in schools.
Why, he asked yesterday, didn’t God intervene to stop the killing of 20 children at the Sandy Hook school? “Well,” he explained, “Isaiah has an answer. It’s not that he can’t. It’s because our sins as a nation have driven God from us.”
Fischer read a passage from the Book of Isaiah in which the prophet warns that “our iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden His face from you so that he does not hear, your hands are defiled with blood.”
“So as we lift our hands in prayer as a nation, what He sees is the blood on our hands of the 57 million unborn babies whose lives have been taken through abortion,” Fischer explained. “So He can’t hear our prayers because the blood of the unborn cries out to Him and He can’t hear our prayers over the pleas of the blood of the unborn.”
“So if we’re once again going to have God hear our plans, we have got to clean up our act, and that’s got to start with abortion,” he said.
Fischer then repeated the comment he made shortly after the 2012 shooting: “We have spent the last 60 years in our culture telling God to get lost, and we wonder why He’s not around when we need him? God’s a gentleman, he will not go where he’s not wanted.”
In an interview with The Dove TV on Friday, anti-gay activist Scott Lively insisted that Christians are being denied their First Amendment rights because of gay rights, while simultaneously asserting that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom applies only to Christians.
In fact, Lively explained, it is because the United States has grown to accept “religious pluralism” that God is now punishing us with abortion rights and LGBT equality.
“Well, I don’t actually believe in ‘religious freedom,’ the way that the term is used,” Lively explained. “I know that when you use it and when most people use it, you’re talking about Christianity. We’re not talking about freedom for Islam and freedom for Buddhism and Hinduism as if they’re equal with God.
“The number-one Commandment is ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ And when we forget that and we start accepting this concept of religious pluralism and we say that Jesus Christ is really no higher an authority in America than Buddha or Mohammed or even Satan, that’s when we have really dropped the ball and we have brought disfavor from God on us.”
Legal abortion (or, as he put it, the “pro-abort juggernaut of death”) and gay rights, he insisted, could have been stopped if America had earned “the favor of God.”
“If even one man, just one man, had the favor of God,” he said, “with the flimsiest of plans, he could have stopped that, he could have stopped the gay agenda in very short order.”
He went on to mourn for the soldiers in the Revolutionary War who “died with the cry ‘no king but Jesus’ on their lips” and for “all the patriots since them who have died on the battlefield believing that American values meant godliness and morality, not sexual perversion and killing.”
Lively then, with great self-awareness, lamented that the First Amendment is “being chipped away very rapidly” leading to the “persecution” of people like himself.
Later in the interview, Lively claimed that thanks to abortion rights and LGBT equality, “we really are now under occupation.. by cultural Marxists” just as France was occupied by the Nazis in World War II.
The “cultural Marxists,” he said, have now ensured that everyone in America is “forced to participate in gay culture,” and are working toward the next step, which is “punishment of all dissenters.”
“The folks that are pushing this, they want to come after every Christian,” he warned, “they hate Christianity, they want to punish, they are going to aggressively pursue every person.”
But he had some good news: “I’m more blessed than I’ve ever been, and yet I’m being persecuted more than anybody else in America.”
Family Research Council Tony Perkins, in an apparent reference to policy changes allow openly gay and transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, said yesterday that the military is facing recruiting challenges because “they’ve turned it into a parade that looks like the bar scene in Star Wars.”
Perkins, hosting his daily “Washington Watch” radio program, took a call from a listener who suggested that the U.S. should ban immigration from “the 57 Arabic nations” in order to keep out “jihadi-ists.”
While Perkins didn’t address the caller’s point about banning immigrants from “Arabic nations,” he agreed that “legal immigration is a big problem” because “people that have come in from Muslim countries” may “threaten our country from within.”
Perkins then proceeded to go down the rabbit hole, citing the shooting at a military recruitment center in Tennessee by a U.S. citizen who came to the country when he was six years old to claim that Muslim immigrants have become such a threat that the government is now “turning America into a police state.” This led Perkins to attack the Navy over a rumor, which the Navy has denied, that it plans prosecute the lieutenant commander who fired his personal firearm at the Chattanooga shooter.
Not done yet, Perkins then sounded off about the military missing its annual recruiting goal: “Surprise, surprise. They’ve destroyed religious freedom in our military, they’ve turned it into a parade that looks like the bar scene in Star Wars and they are wondering why they can’t recruit people. It’s beyond words.”
Back in 2010, shortly before the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for gay and lesbian service members was repealed, Perkins claimed that militaries that allow gay people to serve openly like Israel and the U.K. are “ones that participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the nation and the world free.”
Today Senate Republicans are preparing to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. GOP presidential candidates including Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul have jumped on the bandwagon, with Paul calling for a stop to "any penny of money" going to the organization. Jeb Bush called for a congressional investigation.
It's obvious that these attacks are the latest right-wing tactic aimed not only at destroying Planned Parenthood but also at a woman's right to control her own body. It's a campaign borrowing a page from a very old, very repetitive playbook.
But let's be clear about what it means when Republican politicians crusade, over and over, to defund Planned Parenthood.
Calling to defund Planned Parenthood is calling to prevent low-income women from getting lifesaving cancer screenings. It's calling to prevent HIV testing, well-woman exams, and other basic medical services. No matter how you cut it, it's an attack on the health and well-being of women, especially on those least able to afford cuts in services.
Reproductive health advocate Clare Coleman, who formerly headed up a network of Planned Parenthood clinics in New York state, said that although their medical centers nationwide serve patients of all ages, races, genders, and incomes, she described their typical patient as "a working woman between 20 and 24, maybe in school, often with children." That patient, Coleman wrote, lives on an "edge" where "you know you're always one emergency away from everything falling apart."
Calling to defund Planned Parenthood is calling to take away medical care from women who are already struggling to make ends meet.
I have dedicated decades of my life to the opposite work: the movement to make sure women can make our own medical decisions and shape our own futures in a system that respects our autonomy. The struggle to make sure all women, especially women of color and low-income women, have access to reproductive health and reproductive justice.
These GOP leaders, despite lip service to "rebranding" efforts aimed at reaching more women, seem dead-set on just the opposite.
If they are truly concerned about reaching women, maybe they should avoid making the most marginalized women the target of their regressive policy proposals. Maybe they should avoid attacking medical centers that one in five women has relied on.
“I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told the crowd, “and this is a dangerous place for America to be.”
He told them that getting America right with God should be the country’s first policy priority.
“Yes, we need to address the economic concerns of the people of our country, and we must,” he said. “And yes, we must address the national security threats to our country. We must. But if that’s all we do, and we do not come back to the understanding that the only explanation for this great republic of ours is the intervention of God’s providence, then we will never see this nation rise to its greatness again.”
He added that Americans must recognize that the founding fathers “clearly understood that there was a God to whom we will ultimately answer, and our laws need to reflect His.”
Later in the speech, Huckabee threw in his own brand of populism, saying that hard-working Americans recognize that God will judge America for legal abortion unless the entire nation repents.
“I’m convinced that there is a great need in this country for us to address the folks that do lift the heavy things every day,” he said, “who do sweat through their socks every day, who go to church each week, who do not buy in on the nonsense that we can kill 60 million more babies over the next 42 years and that God won’t richly judge us for it. I’m convinced this country can get back on its feet, but it can’t do that until it first gets back on its knees and repents.”
Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson was also scheduled to speak at the event, but sent an apologetic video message instead.
A Florida gun shop owner is facing a lawsuit after declaring his business to be a “Muslim-free zone” because he refuses to “arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow people.”
This stance has, unsurprisingly, earned the shop owner the approval of Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow yesterday that “if they don't want to sell to the enemy, then good for them."
"These are private stores and they're free to do what they wish," says Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America. "And if they don't want to sell to the enemy, then good for them."
Pratt, meanwhile suggests that other gun stores should follow the Florida one.
"Why would we want to sell guns to people who, when they go to hear a sermon on Friday, are told to go shoot everybody else?" he asks.
In an interview with End Times radio broadcaster Jan Markell on Saturday, the Religious Right’s favorite Middle East “expert,” Avi Lipkin, claimed that President Obama has a secret plan to flood the country with Muslim terrorists who will then commit attacks that will push the world closer to the End Times, as American Jews are forced to either “flee to Israel” or “face death.”
“America is going to get spanked by ISIS,” Lipkin warned, “there will be terrorist attacks.” Such violence, however, may end up doing some good, he said, because it will lead to “a revival in this country in all Christian denominations.”
“And also I’m hoping the Jews will have a revival but actually I’m afraid that most Jews are going to have to flee to Israel or face death here,” Lipkin said, before returning to more encouraging news: “The Christians are going to stay here, the Christians are going to fight for their country, the pendulum will swing back to the right and America will remain the greatest country on earth if it chooses to be Christian.”
Earlier in the same interview, Lipkin shared with Markell the latest birther conspiracy theory about President Obama, this one involving a mailman.
Just today, People For the American Way releaseda report about the latest attacks on Planned Parenthood, which noted that contraception access isn’t collateral damage in the Right’s attacks on abortion rights, but instead is an intended target.
What better way to illustrate this than a graphic that Priests for Life spokesman and Fox News contributor Alveda King shared in a press release today about the latest anti-Planned-Parenthood video.
Priests for Life, which has claimed partial credit for the latest Planned Parenthood smear, explains that the “3 headed monster” of “sexual perversion” (including “homosexuality” and “fornication”), “abortion and unnatural contraception,” and anti-miscegenation laws (which haven’t existed in the U.S. for nearly 50 years) are preventing Americans from fulfilling God’s commandment that they “be fruitful and multiply”:
As she frequently mentions, Alveda King is a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a family connection that she attempts to hold up to lend a patina of moral authority to her work. (Never mind that King was a supporter of government-funded family planning programs who once accepted an award from Planned Parenthood.) That may explain why the younger King stretches to equate homosexuality and contraception with racism as heads of the demon-beast that will destroy America.
Liberty Counsel activists Mat Staver and Matt Barber are jubilant over a court ruling that a Houston nondiscrimination ordinance must be put up for a popular vote, even after the city found that opponents had not gathered enough valid signatures to put it on the ballot.
Barber declared on a recent episode of LC’s “Faith and Freedom” program that not only was the Texas Supreme Court decision a “victory for the rule of law,” but it was a victory for women and children who will no longer be in danger of being attacked by “perverts” in “miniskirts.”
“This is a victory for those of us who are standing firm for the rights of children and women not to have their privacy violated by men in miniskirts who are pretending to be women,” he said. “Who knows what sort of perverts and potential predators we’re talking about here, placing women and young girls at risk, primarily.”
Staver added that Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker, “this pro-open-lesbian” pursued the nondiscrimination policy because, like President Obama, she has no “moral compass.”
“You get these kinds of people in power,” he said, “and it’s dangerous because they don’t have any parameters of moral compass that will direct them to do what’s right, even though it goes against heir personal opinion. They just want to achieve an objective.”
This postman told the birther website WorldNetDaily that the parents of Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground member who later became a University of Illinois professor with a passing acquaintance to the future president, regularly hosted a “black foreign-exchange student” who was “from either Kenya or Indonesia” with a “strange name” back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“He told me he had taken the train out from Chicago and had come to thank the Ayers family personally for having helped him with his education,” the mailman recalled. “He looked right at me and told me he was going to be president of the United States…. It came across as if this young black male was telling me he was going to be president, almost as if it were the statement of a scientific fact that had already been determined, as if his being president had been already pre-arranged.”
As it turned out, Lipkin met the very same postman: “He said to me, he was there every day and he saw this black man there every day. ‘Who are you?’ ‘Oh, I am going to be president of the United States.’” Lipkin cited this postman’s story as proof that Obama is part of a greater “agenda” to “socialize America” and “make it a Muslim country.”
As the Senate prepares to vote this afternoon on a bill to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood, People For the American Way has released a new report detailing the activists behind the latest round of attacks on the women’s health organization, their ideology and ultimate goals.
A group called the Center for Medical Progress has promised to release a dozen videos that it claims show that Planned Parenthood is “selling baby parts” for profit. That claim is easily debunked, but as PFAW details, the specific accusations are only part of the point:
The latest Planned Parenthood smear falls in a long line of attacks on the organization that have failed at proving any wrongdoing but succeeded at reinforcing long-held myths about the organization within the anti-choice movement. Previous attacks by activists related to the latest series of videos have made flimsy attempts to “prove” that Planned Parenthood targets people of color and harbors sex traffickers. Similarly, the latest attack hopes to reinforce the longstanding anti-choice myth that Planned Parenthood is a massive “industry” that preys on women for profit.
None of these specific claims have held up to the smallest amount of scrutiny, but that was never the point.
Instead, the Center for Medical Progress’ campaign is part of a long-running effort to undermine access to reproductive health care — including contraception, reproductive health screenings, sex education and legal abortion — by providing cover to legislators who want to dismantle women’s access to reproductive care.
The report also details the anti-choice activists behind the Center for Medical Progress, including Live Action’s Lila Rose, who has called for abortions to be performed “in the public square” and Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who once publicly celebrated the death of an abortion provider. These activists, PFAW notes, want not only to criminalize abortion in the United States but to undermine access to contraception. In doing so, they are willing to cut off basic medical care for hundreds of thousands of women.
WASHINGTON – Center for Medical Progress creator David Daleiden, the activist responsible for the recent video attacks on Planned Parenthood, was able to tap into a network of experienced anti-choice figures dedicated to undermining health care for American women, as outlined in a report released by People For the American Way today.
The report, “The Activists And Ideology Behind The Latest Attacks On Planned Parenthood,” maps out far-right activists connected with Daleiden, such as Live Action founder Lila Rose, who has teamed up with James O’Keefe – creator of the deceptive videos that resulted in the collapse of ACORN – to orchestrate similar attacks on Planned Parenthood. Operation Rescue head Troy Newman, who runs a website listing personal information and photographs of abortion providers and once publicly celebrated the death of a provider, serves on the board of Daleiden’s Center for Medical Progress.
Released in advance of the Senate’s expected vote on legislation to “defund” Planned Parenthood today, the report situates these attacks within the long-running right wing campaign aimed at ending legal abortion in our country.
“Anyone who has passed an abortion clinic protest recently knows that these videos recycle a tired tactic: the use of graphic images and the vilification of abortion providers,” said Miranda Blue, Senior Researcher for Special Projects at People For the American Way. “It’s important to see the latest attacks for what they are: one piece of the larger far-right effort to not only shutter Planned Parenthood’s critical women’s health services but to end legal abortion entirely.”