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Phil Robertson On Abortion, ISIS And His Dream Of Being Donald Trump's Spiritual Advisor

Religious Right activist and Colorado state lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt had a chance to interview Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson at the Western Conservative Summit held in Denver earlier this month. On a recent episode of his "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Klingenschmitt sat down with Robertson, who shared his wisdom on the tie between legal abortion and ISIS and revealed his fantasy that Donald Trump will turn to Christ with the help of his spiritual advisor, Phil Robertson.

Robertson kicked things off by warning that the world is descending into lawlessness, which can all be linked back to the legalization of abortion.

"We've killed 60 million of our own children," he said. "ISIS is saying to us, 'Well, if you didn't think your own children were worth anything, why do you think we're worried about what your life is worth? We don't think you're worth anything, that's why we're killing you. Just like you kill your children, that's why we kill you. We don't think you're worth anything.'"

"If we could have stood there and told them, 'No, to us life is precious,'" Robertson said, then things would be different, but sadly "we lost the moral high ground."

Later, Robertson said that he would be voting for Donald Trump in November only because he doesn't like Hillary Clinton and hopes that Trump will be better. 

Ideally, Robertson said, "we convert Mr. Trump" to Christianity so that all of his past scandals and indiscretions that will be brought up during the campaign will be rendered moot because he has been born again.

"If he but be born again, he could then tell them, 'That's the old me, I've been born again, this is the new Donald Trump,'" Robertson said, envisioning a cabinet meeting where he would be introduced to the world as President Trump's spiritual advisor.

"Now, that would send a shock wave through America," he said. "The left-wingers would be jumping out of buildings."

The Racial Blindness of Donald Trump

Black America, Donald Trump feels your pain. He might be “really rich,” own “the best properties,” and “have the best words,” but he has felt the sting of oppression.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel Tuesday evening, Trump had this exchange with host Bill O’Reilly:

O’REILLY: There [are] still some black Americans who believe that the system is biased against them. The American system because they’re black, they don’t get the same kind of shot, they don’t get the same kind of fairness that whites do. What do you say to them?

TRUMP: Well, I have been saying even against me the system is rigged when I ran as a, you know, for president, I mean, I could see what was going on with the system and the system is rigged.

Yes, Trump understands bigotry because other Republican candidates were mean to him in 2016. There is no need to explain why this comment is ridiculous.

But it also is incredibly revealing. Trump’s comparison of his treatment during the Republican primary to the racism faced by African Americans is not simply evidence of his own narcissism, it is part of a deep-seated blindness he has expressed for decades. This blindness isn’t just ignorance; it’s part of Trump’s long-running strategy of promoting bigotry through resentment.

In a 1989 interview for an NBC News special on race, Trump claimed that he, the privileged son of a millionaire New York real estate developer, would have had more advantages if he were black:

A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market. I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that. . . . I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I believe they do have an actual advantage.

Trump’s 2016 message is based on these same resentments. His now ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” slogan is a message to his core voters that he wants to return our country to a time of even greater privilege for white Americans. His constant bashing of “political correctness” is a not-so-coded wish return to an age where racial epithets, sexism, anti-Semitism and homophobia were all acceptable. This argument is also on display when Trump makes the claim that undocumented immigrants are treated better than veterans.

This appeal to resentment is what has drawn neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other assorted racists to Trump’s campaign. For decades, it has also been part of the rhetoric of prominent conservatives such as Pat Buchanan, who has written about “The End of White America.”

Trump’s supporters will continue to echo the words of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, claiming that the presumptive GOP nominee displays no racial animus in his personal life. However, at this point, if Trump came to Washington, D.C., and burned a cross on the front lawn of the White House, his sycophants would probably say it was a “T,” and part of a branding effort for his new luxury hotel.

Yet Trump's most recent statements again reveal a racial blindness that is, in and of itself, racist.

Far Right Co-opts Tragedy To Promote Hate, Again

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post

Last week, in which the police shootings of two African American men were followed by the assassination of five police officers guarding a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, was wrenching. Sadly, in this atmosphere of mourning, anger and grief, too many on the far right have done what they do best: co-opt tragedy to promote hatred and fear. These are more than just a few absurd and cringe-worthy comments; instead, they represent a line of thinking that has elevated many right-wing politicians who wield significant power in this country.

After the Dallas shootings, Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman turned radio host from Illinois, tweeted: “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.” He later tried to claim that he wasn’t calling for violence against the president. Ted Nugent, a board member of the National Rifle Association, said that President Obama “wants a racewar [sic].”

Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas and, probably not coincidentally, a former conservative talk radio personality, blamed the innocent bystanders at the Dallas attack, saying that they were “hypocrites” for running from gunfire while relying on the police to protect them. His point seems to have been that the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t want police protecting communities, which is clearly not true.

Rush Limbaugh called Black Lives Matter a “terrorist group,” as did right-wing authorBrad Thor. One conservative commentator called Black Lives Matter “the new KKK.” The ever-perceptive Sarah Palin said that the social justice movement is promoting “the antithesis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s message” by saying that “one race matters more than another.” Mike Huckabee said that the real movement should be “Male Lives Matter.”

Others fell back to their standard talking points, no matter how irrelevant. Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim activist who advised Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign,claimed that Black Lives Matter was working with “Islamic supremacists” to foment revolution. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a great favorite of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, claimed that liberal philanthropist George Soros engineered the whole thing in order to start a race war. Conservative activist Jesse Lee Peterson said it was all a plot to distract from Hillary Clinton’s emails. The Oath Keepers, an anti-government group, called for the formation of citizen militias.

These aren’t just fringe activists and media personalities; as much as we’d like to ignore them, we can’t afford to. Their cynical exploitation of bigotry and fear has already caused too much damage in our country. This is the same media swamp that has for years promoted the idea that white people in America are the real victims of racial prejudice, the same people who have spent more than seven years claiming that the first African-American president is an outsider impostor who possibly even lied about his heritage to earn his seat. Is it any surprise that the right-wing media was ready to demonize Black Lives Matter when it emerged and to claim that the movement’s critiques are illegitimate? Is it any wonder that they were ready to blame a gruesome crime against police officers on the president’s concern for racial justice?

It doesn’t have to be this way. In the wake of last week’s tragedies, some conservativesapproached the national conversation with genuine attempts to speak honestly and thoughtfully about race in America. We might not always agree, but if we can speak with open minds, that’s a good start.

Indeed, as much as the right-wing media would like us to think it, the tragedies of last week weren’t about taking sides in a political debate or a “race war.” You can believe that Black lives matter and see the weight that disparities in policing have on people of color and, at the same time, grieve and be angry at the mass murder of police officers who were trying to protect a peaceful protest. Millions of Americans feel both. Let’s not allow the right-wing swamp to skew these tragedies to promote bigotry and fear.

PFAW

NOM Spokesman: LGBT Advocates Promoting 'Social Experimentation Upon Our Children'

National Organization for Marriage spokesman Joe Grabowski urged the Republican Party maintain the opposition to LGBT rights in its platform yesterday, saying in a radio interview that LGBT advocates are promoting “social experimentation upon our children” that will result in greater costs to the state and arguing that “it’s just responsible to the laws of nature” for the GOP to continue to oppose LGBT rights.

Grabowski said on the Christian radio program “Issues, Etc.”:

Marriage as the building block of society, stable families, loving mother and father; all of these things have been shown to be the best environment to raise children so that they don’t become costs to the state, so that the state programs don’t have to step in and take care of the fallout when children come from broken homes, broken marriages, and from social experimentation upon our children, which is really what a lot of policies advocated by LGBT activists essentially are. So, it’s fiscally responsible, it’s constitutionally responsible and it’s just responsible to the laws of nature to continue to be the party of these family values.

NOM ended up getting its wish; yesterday morning the GOP’s platform committee shot down attempts to moderate its opposition to LGBT rights and added language calling for the reversal of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Possible Trump VP Pick Mike Pence Spearheaded Attacks On Planned Parenthood

Before becoming governor of Indiana, Mike Pence was one of the most conservative members of Congress, and arguably one of the most important players in the GOP’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

Pence, who appeared at a Donald Trump rally yesterday, has reportedly risen to the top of the presumptive GOP nominee’s list of potential vice presidential candidates. If Trump asks Pence to be his running mate, he would be elevating one of the darlings of the anti-abortion movement, which has generally been mistrustful of Trump since he has made several contradictory statements on abortion rights and once praised Planned Parenthood for doing “very good work,” even while vowing to defund the women’s health organization unless they stop providing abortion services.

Back in 2011, Pence seized on discredited video excerpts released by the radical anti-abortion group Live Action that purported to show Planned Parenthood aiding sex trafficking. Pence’s amendment to strip federal funds from the group helped to create a standoff between the House and President Obama that nearly led to a government shutdown.

Pence appeared at a Tea Party rally outside of the Capitol, where he said that if Obama and Senate Democrats didn’t agree to a House proposal to “cut spending to pre-Stimulus, pre-bailout levels, defunding Obamacare and ending all public funding for Planned Parenthood of America,” “then I say, 'Shut it down.'”

Besides citing the doctored videos released by Live Action, Pence bizarrely suggested that Planned Parenthood must be defunded because of the country’s high unemployment rate.

When Pence’s home state of Indiana decided to defund Planned Parenthood, clinic closures left counties without HIV testing facilities, exacerbating the state’s HIV outbreak. Pence himself signed into law an anti-abortion bill that led to a grassroots effort in which women flooded his office with detailed accounts of their periods. The law required that miscarried and aborted embryos and fetuses of “any gestational age” be “interred or cremated”; critics noted that fertilized eggs are sometimes expelled in a woman’s period without her even knowing it.

By picking Pence, Trump would give one of Planned Parenthood’s loudest critics an even bigger megaphone to launch more attacks on the health organization.

Senate Confirms Librarian Of Congress Over Absurd Conservative Opposition

The Senate today confirmed Carla D. Hayden to be the librarian of Congress after a campaign of obstruction that’s unusual for such a nonpolitical post. Hayden seemed to run up against a combination of Senate gridlock and a campaign by an influential conservative activist who claimed that the fact that she would be the first African American and the first woman to hold the position was a concession to “political correctness.”

Last week, Zach Graves of the libertarian-leaning R Street Institute summarized the campaign that Heritage Foundation fellow Hans von Spakovsky launched against Hayden. Dismissing Hayden’s accomplishments, von Spakovsky declared that the head of the Library of Congress must be a “man of letters”:

To start off, von Spakovsky suggests Obama chose Hayden because she’s a black woman and “his administration has an unofficial quota system.” A remarkable sentiment, considering Hayden’s qualifications as a librarian: She has a doctorate in library science from the University of Chicago; taught at the University of Pittsburgh; served as CEO of the City of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, one of the oldest public library systems in the nation; served as president of the American Library Association; and was named National Librarian of the Year.

Despite her accomplishments, and a favorable Senate confirmation hearing, von Spakovsky insists Hayden is “unqualified.” She may be a fine librarian, he argues, but she’s “neither a scholar nor a historian” and the Library of Congress is an institution that must be run by a “man of letters” …

Von Spakovsky repeatedly suggested that Hayden had been picked for the job just because of her race and would be unable to be a keeper of “American cultural greatness,” writing, “The Librarians of Congress have been keepers of American memory, and public advocates for American cultural greatness. This is not a sinecure — like the post of United States treasurer — to be doled out to members of a politically favored demographic.” He warned that Hayden’s confirmation would make the Library of Congress a “monument to political correctness.”

The Senate Rules Committee approved Hayden’s nomination in April, but an anonymous senator placed a hold on the nomination, preventing it from coming to a vote. Astonishingly, even when Hayden’s nomination did come up for a vote today, 18 senators voted against her. Unless those senators explain their votes, it will be impossible to tell if they were swayed by von Spakovsky’s offensive arguments or were merely participating in the Senate GOP’s blanket obstruction of executive branch and judicial nominees.

Savage: Blame Obama, Clinton & Black Lives Matter For Dallas Shooting

On his program on Friday, conservative radio host Michael Savage blamed the recent assassination of five police officers in Dallas on the “snake” President Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement, suggesting that it was part of a conspiracy to draw media attention away from Hillary Clinton’s email controversy.

“Who do you blame for instigating this assassination?” Savage asked. “Who led the cops down the parade route? Who did they coordinate with, the shooters? Do you think Black Lives Matter is a legitimate protest group or a domestic terrorist group?”

He continued, “For the first few hours last night, as I was watching this horror unfold, all I could think of is one thing: Hillary Clinton is no longer in the news. That’s all that was on my mind. Yesterday she was in the crosshairs of America, yesterday America saw her to be the liar and cheat and thief that she is.” Savage said that in the wake of the shooting, however, “she’s gone from the news. Isn’t that interesting that the Hillary Clinton scandal is no longer in the news?”

“Yesterday, the president was in Poland and he gave an astonishing speech in which he attacked the police, and I thought it was a coded message,” Savage said. “He does it in such a way you don’t even hear it, you don’t see it, you can’t see it, you can’t hear it, you can’t touch it. The man is the most amazing agitator I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’ve never seen, in the history of agitation, anyone as skilled as he is in provoking violence and reactions and making it look as though he didn’t do it. He’s a magician.”

Savage criticized Obama’s response to the recent killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers. “He made race an issue,” Savage said. “Now, a leader could’ve said, ‘These two shootings are very tragic, we’re going to make sure that there’s equal justice in front of the law, we’re gonna conduct a thorough and fair inquiry, but I want everyone listening to my speech.’ He could’ve said to remain calm, do not provoke violence, do not engage in violence, that is not the American way. He didn’t say that.”

“Did this speech from the snake trigger the shootings?” he asked.

“My friends, do you know what Fort Sumter was? Do you know what happened in Fort Sumter? Look up your history, because what happened yesterday triggers a new phase and a new day in the United States of America,” Savage said. “This is not going to end today, this is not going to end tomorrow, this is the beginning of something terrible.”

Rick Wiles: Satan Using Pokémon Go To Spawn 'Demonic Powers' And Murder Christians

On Monday, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles recounted a story about how he called the police after seeing a man taking photos of his office building, only to discover that the suspicious man was simply playing Pokémon Go on his phone.

Wiles, however, said that something sinister is afoot, warning that “these Pokémon creatures are like virtual, cyber-demons” and that “what this man, Friday, was trying to find was the Pokémon demon that had been placed inside the ‘Trunews’ office.”

“What if this technology is transferred to Islamic jihadists and Islamic jihadists have an app that shows them where Christians are located geographically?” he asked, noting that many of the app’s PokeStops and Gyms include churches and other houses of worship.

“The enemy, Satan, is targeting churches with virtual, digital, cyber-demons,” Wiles said, before adding: “I believe this thing is a magnet for demonic powers.”

Wiles went on to claim that “Pokémon masters” may soon start “telling people to kill people in those buildings” in order to catch more Pokémon, comparing the use of the App to Philando Castile’s girlfriend use of Facebook Live to live stream the aftermath of Castile’s shooting by a police officer, which he said might have been staged.

This conversation led “Trunews” cohost Edward Szall to read a fake quote from the creator of Pokémon allegedly endorsing Satanism.

“They’re spawning demons inside your church,” Wiles said. “They’re targeting your church with demonic activity.” He then again warned that “this technology will be used by the enemies of the cross to target, locate and execute Christians.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman: 'Race Relations Were Very Good' Until Obama Took Office

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., said yesterday that while “race relations were very good” when President Obama took office, the president has made things worse by meeting with Al Sharpton and praising Black Lives Matter, claiming that Obama could help make things better by discouraging “black America” from having “anything to do” with either.

Wisconsin talk radio host Charlie Sykes asked Grothman to discuss the assassination of five police officers in Dallas and why the nation is “as divided and on edge as it has been in a long time.”

“I don’t think it’s surprising given the leadership we have in this country,” Grothman said. “You know, a lot of people felt, not me, but a lot of people felt that it was a good thing to elect Barack Obama, I think race relations were pretty good when he took office, but [those people were] saying, well, if there were any problems left, Barack Obama would solve these problems.”

“Instead,” he said, “we have a president who’s met with Al Sharpton over 100 times. And if he met with Al Sharpton 100 times, what does that tell you about how Barack Obama views race relations or how he should weigh in? And there’s your problem. Hillary Clinton has tried to get Al Sharpton’s endorsement; Barack Obama has praised Black Lives Matter.”

“See, the situation with race relations were very good eight years ago,” he continued, “but it seems as though both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — I mean, would you even be caught on stage with Al Sharpton?”

Sykes, seemingly missing the fact that Obama had forcefully condemned the violence against police officers, wondered when Obama would have a “Sister Souljah moment” and “call out the elements of that movement who are now condoning or even encouraging violence against police officers.”

“Well, right, he has the moral standing to take on Al Sharpton,” Grothman responded. “And the fact that Al Sharpton’s been in the White House over 100 times, and Black Lives Matter … to say, ‘Look, you are not a leader of black America, we discourage black America from having anything to do with you,’ he could fulfill some of the promise that some people had when he was elected two [sic] years ago.”

Michele Bachmann: Hillary Clinton Will Destroy America By Bringing In 'Third World' Immigrants

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann warned on Saturday that the election of Hillary Clinton to the presidency would usher in the complete destruction of America, unless God uses Donald Trump to save the country.

In an interview with End Times broadcaster Jan Markell, the Minnesota Republican lauded Trump’s “1950s sensibilities,” “churched background” and vow to “only appoint pro-life judges.”

“He gets and understands religious liberty,” Bachmann said, noting that Trump discussed the so-called War on Christmas at a recent meeting with evangelical leaders in New York. “He even said, ‘I don’t understand,’ he said, ‘When I was growing up everybody said Merry Christmas. Even my Jews would say Merry Christmas.’”

Markell also warned of the dangers of Clinton presidency: “The Titanic is three-fourths under water right now. You get another four years, another eight years of this progressivism, of this infatuation with Islam and caving to all things Islam, of the LGBT community rammed down our throats, rammed down the throats of the churches, and that’s going to intensify a thousand times more with a Hillary Clinton administration.”

Bachmann, a member of Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, said conservatives who stay home on Election Day rather than vote for Trump will “ensure that we will lose the United States of America; they will ensure it. They will ensure that every godless principle there is comes into this country.”

Clinton, according to Bachmann, will be “pro-Islam” and “bring us into a certain destruction for the United States.”

She then wondered if God elevated Trump to succeed in the Republican presidential primary because he was capable of beating Clinton in November: “When it comes down to it, Trump may have been the only candidate who could actually defeat Hillary. What I kept thinking to, Jan, was the Book of Daniel, and the Book of the Daniel, the essence of the book, was that the most high God lifts up who he will and takes down who he will.”

Bachmann called on members of the Never Trump movement, such as conservative radio host Mark Levin, to change their minds, warning that a Clinton presidency would do away with America for good by changing the country’s demographics.

Democrats, Bachmann said, are “allowing well over a million people from the Third World to flood into our country, bringing in diseases, people who are criminals, rapists, all the rest.”

She then repeated her false claim that President Obama gave millions of undocumented immigrants the right to vote in the run-up to the 2012 election. These immigrants, she continued, “are going to be voting to transform the United States into, like, a Third World country.”

Religious Right Hero Vladimir Putin Cracks Down On Religious Liberty In Russia

For years, American Religious Right activists have lavished praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin, praising him as a culturally conservative bulwark against the values of the decadent West thanks to his crackdowns on LGBT rights, in particular laws curbing adoption and free speech.

Religious Right leaders including Franklin Graham and Brian Brown have gone to Russia to hail Putin’s resistance to LGBT equality, while keeping quiet about how the Russian government has stifled human rights, including the rights of Protestants, sponsored militias that violently target Protestants in Ukraine and allowed Sharia law to be practiced in Chechnya. At the same time, these Religious Right activists level bogus charges against President Obama and other U.S. officials whom they accuse of quashing religious freedom in the U.S.

Now, in a move that will likely be greeted with silence by Putin’s American allies, the Russian president has signed a counterterrorism law that watchdog groups warn will stifle religious liberties. One Russian Protestant leader said that the law “creates the basis for mass persecution” of Christians who don’t belong to the Russian Orthodox Church by making it a crime to evangelize unless they receive “a special permit” from the government.

The Religious Right claims that because President Obama supports LGBT rights, he is hostile to religious liberty. At the same time, many of the same activists seem content to ignore real religious freedom violations at the hands of Putin simply because he shares their anti-LGBT views.

Mike Eckel reports:

The legislation, signed into law earlier this month by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had already drawn scorn from critics in and outside of Russia.

Known as the "Yarovaya Law," the measure includes new police and counterterrorism measures that directly echo the sweeping powers wielded by the KGB to stifle dissent and repress opposition activists throughout the Soviet era.

But one largely overlooked aspect of the law is garnering new scrutiny and worry: tight restrictions on the activities of religious groups, particularly smaller denominations.

The new restrictions "will make it easier for Russian authorities to repress religious communities, stifle peaceful dissent, and detain and imprison people," said Thomas J. Reese, who heads the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal government agency that monitors religious expression around the world.

"Neither these measures nor the currently existing antiextremism law meet international human rights and religious freedom standards," he said in statement released last week.



For religious groups, the new law requires people to get official permits through a registered religious group and bars things like prayer meetings from taking place anywhere except for officially recognized religious buildings. That would potentially forbid house churches.

Members of a religious group would also potentially be barred from e-mailing invitations to people interested in services, according to Christianity Today, a web-based news service focused on religious issues.

Violators could be fined, or potentially expelled from Russia.



Sergei Ryakhovsky, a Pentecostal church leader and co-head of an organization of Protestant churches in Russia, said in an open letter co-signed by him that the law contradicted the Russian Constitution.

"The obligation on every believer to have a special permit to spread his or her beliefs, as well as hand out religious literature and material outside of places of worship and used structures, is not only absurd and offensive, but also creates the basis for mass persecution of believers for violating these provisions," said the letter, which was posted on the Russian-language religious website Portal-Credo.

"This law brings us back to a shameful past," it said.

GOP Rep: Obama Reaped 'What He Has Sowed' With Dallas Shooting

Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Va., said yesterday that President Obama reaped “what he has sowed” in the shooting of five police officers in Dallas last week, claiming that the president’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement is a “Chicago-style politics” attempt to divide Americans for political gain.

“It’s not even clear to me what the Black Lives Matter people really want, other than to draw attention to themselves,” Hurt told Virginia broadcaster John Fredericks. “And I would suggest to you this, John, that it’s really nothing more than a political organization. Again, this is an administration and this is representative of a political style, Chicago-style politics, that says ‘We’re going to slice and dice the American people and we’re going to create enough distrust and angst among them that we’ll be able to use them to our political advantage.’ And that’s what this is, this is just nothing more than, I fear, than that. It’s a political organization that’s used to try to win elections. Period. End of story. To get a candidate a fat, juicy spot in elected office. And I think it’s regrettable. I really do.”

He added that “an objective person can’t conclude that there’s that systemic racism in our society and government that there once was,” claiming that the president’s support of Black Lives Matter only serves to “diminish the harsh reality” of previous racial injustices.

Hurt went on to say that we’re now seeing Obama “reap what he has sowed,” saying that if he were a family member of one of the police officers killed in Dallas, he wouldn’t want Obama to show up to their memorial service.

“This is a narrative that he has drawn, I think very incorrectly, and he has drawn this narrative for political purposes and now we’re seeing him reap what he has sowed,” he said, adding that Obama shares the blame with other politicians “who are gutless and who don’t respect the truth and don’t see this country to be the greatest country on earth that it is.”

“He has sown this racial —he has fanned these flames, I think he has in many ways highlighted these things in ways that I don’t think are fair or right, and now we’re seeing the fruit of this,” he said.

“You know, I’m glad he’s going to Dallas,” he added, “I hope that he’s of some comfort to the families, I kind of wonder how well he will be received, considering he, I think, in many ways is responsible for fanning the flames of this anti-police feeling. And I know if I were a family member, I’m not sure I would want to be spending a lot of time with him.”

Senate GOP Keeping Court Vacancies Open So Trump Can Transform America’s Judiciary

This piece originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

The Constitution sets up an independent judiciary as the third branch of government, intended to protect people’s rights and to serve as a check on the power of the other two branches. Our nation’s charter tasks the president and the Senate with the job of selecting and vetting the people who would serve on those courts.  President Obama has been doing his duty by nominating qualified women and men to serve as judges at all levels of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court.

But the GOP-controlled Senate is not living up to its constitutional responsibilities. While this has always been harmful to America, it is even more so with Donald Trump the presumed presidential nominee of his party.

Mitch McConnell and his party have slow-walked or outright blocked so many nominees that the number of circuit and district court vacancies has risen from 40 when they took over the Senate to 80 today. (There are also several vacancies for the Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.) In that same time, the number of vacancies formally designated as judicial emergencies has skyrocketed from 12 to 29. The Senate has not been allowed to vote on nominees who were thoroughly vetted and approved months ago by the Judiciary Committee with strong bipartisan support.

Yesterday, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin went to the floor to draw attention to the problem. She noted that while the Senate GOP’s blockade of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland has been in the headlines, that has not been the case with the obstruction of lower court nominees.

She focused particularly on Seventh Circuit nominee Donald Schott, who not only has Democrat Baldwin’s support, but also that of his other home-state senator, Republican Ron Johnson.  Schott would fill the nation’s longest circuit court vacancy, which has been open for well over six years.  Since the Supreme Court takes so few cases, the Seventh Circuit is usually the last word on the meaning of the Constitution and federal laws for millions of people in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, and every day that goes by with that vacancy open hurts everyone in those states.  Schott earned strong bipartisan support from the Judiciary Committee, which advanced his nomination to the full Senate four weeks ago.  Baldwin noted that Schott also has the support of a bipartisan group of former Wisconsin Bar presidents.  Saying that “the people of Wisconsin and our neighbors in Illinois and Indiana deserve a fully functioning appeals court,” Baldwin urged McConnell to finally allow votes on Schott and on all of the judicial nominees who have cleared the Judiciary Committee.  Many of them have been waiting for more than half a year for a floor vote, with several having been approved by the Judiciary Committee last year.

But Republicans are fighting to keep vacancies open for as long as possible so that they will be filled by a President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, who wants to make it easier for the government to punish media sources whose reporting he disagrees with.

Donald Trump, who has said that Latinos cannot serve effectively as unbiased judges.

Donald Trump, who would ban certain people from entering the country based on their religion.

Donald Trump, who has demeaned and humiliated women at every opportunity.

Donald Trump, who has used hate groups’ blatantly anti-Semitic imagery in his campaign.

Donald Trump, who has said he is considering firing all Muslim TSA agents.

With serious discussion among scholars, political figures, and Americans across the political spectrum on whether Trump’s extreme views amount to fascism, we need a strong, effective, and independent federal judiciary more than ever. Yet Senate Republicans are pulling out the stops to allow Donald Trump to move quickly to dramatically transform our judiciary from the Supreme Court on down.

The Senate GOP is abdicating their constitutional and moral responsibility to the American people and to our democracy.

PFAW

GOP Platform Committee Member David Barton Falsely Claims His Anti-Gay Comments Were Taken Out Of Context

It seems that just about every time a Religious Right activist is asked by the press to comment on some outrageous thing that Right Wing Watch has caught them saying, they respond by simply asserting that those comments were "taken out of context" without ever explaining how our reporting supposedly misrepresented their statements or bothering to explain how understanding the real context would have in any way changed the meaning of what they said.

And this is exactly what David Barton, a member of the Republican National Convention's platform committee and a longtime Religious Right activist, did when the the Daily Beast asked him to comment on two of the many offensive statements he has made about LGBT people, both of which were first reported by Right Wing Watch:

And David Barton, a committee member from Texas, believes that God is preventing the medical profession from finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, and claimed that gay people die “decades earlier” than others and have more than 500 partners apiece in their lifetimes.

Barton told The Daily Beast that these statements did not represent his views, and this was “an example of something taken out of context and mischaracterized. I’m an advocate for faith-based conservative values, which include love, grace, and truth, focusing on traditional family values.”

Since Barton doesn't bother to clarify the "context" in which these comments were made, allow us to do so.

In the case of his claim that gay people die "decades earlier" and have hundreds of sexual partners, Barton said that on his radio program back in 2010, when he was somewhat facetiously making the case that the government should regulate gay people's sex lives.

Barton argued that since the government seeks to regulate all sorts of things that are unhealthy, it should also regulate consensual sex between members of the same gender because it is not only dangerous for those who practice it but bad for society as well:

Homosexual/bi-sexual individuals are seven times more likely to contemplate or commit suicide. Oooh, that doesn’t sound very healthy.

Homosexuals die decades earlier than heterosexuals. That doesn’t sound healthy.

Nearly one-half of practicing homosexuals admit to five hundred or more sex partners and nearly one-third admit to a thousand or more sex partners in a lifetime.

There is no mischaracterization involved in quoting his statement that "homosexuals die decades earlier" and that some gay people "admit to five hundred of more sexual partners," as that is exactly what he said.

The same goes for his comments about God preventing us from ever finding a cure for AIDS because doing so would eliminate the penalty for sin.

Barton has been saying this since 2012 and we have heard him make this claim on several occasions, asserting just last year:

I don't think they will ever find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. And I say that based on a particular Bible verse ... Notice this, homosexuals receive in their bodies the penalty due them. The Bible says if you engage in homosexuality, your body will do things that will penalize you. So if you can have a vaccine for AIDS, then you're keeping your body from penalizing you. I don't think they'll ever find a vaccine for AIDS.

Again, there is nothing "out of context" about this remark, which he has made multiple times. 

Barton continuously makes unfounded and offensive remarks about LGBT people and has repeatedly suggested that God is punishing gay people with a deadly disease, yet the Republican Party continues to invite him to help shape their national platform — which just so happens to be extraordinarily hostile to LGBT people. Barton’s unconvincing attempts at denying his past comments shouldn't let them get away with it.

Jeffress Says He Backs Trump Because It's 'Biblical' To Support A 'Strongman'

In a recent New York Times column, conservative writer Peter Wehner called out Robert Jeffress, a prominent Southern Baptist pastor, for his vocal support of Donald Trump.

Yesterday, conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher invited Jeffress and Wehner to debate Trump’s candidacy on his program, where Jeffress defended his support for the presumptive GOP nominee by saying that it’s “biblical” to support a “strongman” in government.

Jeffress said that he supported Trump in the primary “because I believed that he was the only one who was electable and could beat Hillary Clinton,” adding that “our country has moved so far to the left” that “I just didn’t think that Ted Cruz was electable.”

“But as far as his worldview, Trump’s worldview,” he continued, “you know, I was debating an evangelical professor on NPR and this professor said, ‘Pastor, don’t you want a candidate who embodies the teaching of Jesus and would govern this country according to the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount?’ I said, ‘Heck no.’ I would run from that candidate as far as possible, because the Sermon on the Mount was not given as a governing principle for this nation.

“Nowhere is government told to forgive those who wrong it, nowhere is government told to turn the other cheek. Government is to be a strongman to protect its citizens against evildoers. When I’m looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS and exterminate ISIS, I don’t care about that candidate’s tone or vocabulary, I want the meanest, toughest, son of a you-know-what I can find, and I believe that’s biblical.”

PFAW Commends Hillary Clinton’s Commitment to Fighting Big Money in Politics From Day One

Earlier today during a speech in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton committed to making money in politics reform a top priority from the beginning of her time in office if elected president. Clinton said that “it is past time to end the stranglehold of wealthy special interests in Washington and get back to government of the people, by the people, and for the people” and promised that “as president, from my very first days, I will make campaign finance reform a top priority.”

Marge Baker, executive vice president at People For the American Way, issued the following statement:

“We applaud Hillary Clinton for her commitment to prioritizing the fight to get big money out of politics from day one. Clinton is right that a true democracy means a government of, by, and for the people – not of, by, and for wealthy special interests. Clinton had already made clear her commitment to overturning decisions like Citizens United, increasing disclosure, empowering small donors, and ensuring that wealthy interests do not run our democracy. Her willingness to make this a top priority is great news for the American people, who overwhelmingly want to see major money in politics reforms. We look forward to hearing additional details about the steps she would take on this issue in her first 100 days as president.”

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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Larry Klayman Suing Obama For Endangering His Life As A White Man

Right-wing lawyer Larry Klayman announced in WorldNetDaily over the weekend that he was filing a lawsuit against President Obama, Black Lives Matter, Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton "for endangering not just my life, as a white law enforcement person of Jewish origin, but also for all Americans, white, black, yellow or brown, no matter what their race or religion.”

Klayman blamed Obama for the shooting of five police officers who were protecting a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, attempting to tie the president to Farrakhan:

Not only does Obama have blood on his hands as having encouraged if not furthered this hate crime against whites and white cops, but so too does his “soul brothers,” the virulent anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian so-called Rev. Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and his co-enablers like another so-called reverend, Al Sharpton, a charlatan and white hater. Indeed, Obama has, as usual, chosen to associate himself with these lowlifes in his quest to ram his latent hatred of whites, Jews and Christians down everyone’s throats. When the leader of the United States and supposedly the Western world, who was born to a Muslim father, schooled in Muslim schools, and has close ties to black-Muslim leaders like Farrakhan seeks to incite violence by virtue of his running interference for Muslims and blacks who are not even representative of African-Americans generally, it’s no wonder Obama-inspired massacres like Dallas happen. In two words, “Obama Happens!”

“For the past seven years, Obama and company have been whipping up reverse racism against non-blacks and non-Muslims as payback for years of discrimination,” he wrote, adding that the president has finally succeeded in “his quest to ignite a race war.”

Klayman managed to blame Obama not only for the shooting of police officers in Dallas, but also for the police shootings of two African Americans in Louisiana and Minnesota that sparked last week’s Black Lives Matter protests. “It is no wonder some cops, fearing for their lives in this anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian environment, sometimes are prone to literally pull the trigger too quickly,” he wrote. “With the hateful mood created by Obama and company, they understandably think that armed blacks who refuse to recognize their law enforcement powers may be out to off them.”

In the class action lawsuit that Klayman filed in Dallas on Saturday, he alleges that he is personally in danger thanks to Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sharpton, Farrakhan and Black Lives Matter (Klayman refers to himself as a member of law enforcement since he used to be a prosecutor):

As a high profile Caucasian of Jewish origin, Plaintiff Larry Klayman imminently fears, including in this District where is organization does business and solicits support, great bodily and death and thus harm as a result of Defendants’ promotion and incitement of riots and violent acts, including death and great bodily harm, against law enforcement and police officers of all races and ethnicities, Jews, and Caucasians.

Jesse Lee Peterson: We're 'Headed For A Race War' And It's Obama’s Fault

Right-wing activist Jesse Lee Peterson joined conservative radio host Rocky D on his show Friday, where he claimed that there’s currently a “race war against white Americans” and blamed President Obama for creating an environment that enabled it.

“We are definitely headed for a race war for sure, and as a matter of fact, the race war against white Americans has been going on for a number of years now, and it’s just that white Americans have not fought back, so a lot of people don’t pay attention to what’s happening,” Peterson said.

On the recent killings of Dallas police officers, Peterson said, “We‘ve got five police officers dead, seven injured, and Barack Obama blames it on the guns. He still says that the justice system was unfair when it comes to race, which is encouraging more hatred and anger in black people toward white folks and especially cops.”

“This environment has been created by the president of the United States of America, can you imagine that?” Peterson remarked.

Michele Bachmann: 'God May Have Lifted Up Trump' To Save America

After insisting that God guided her witch hunt against Muslim-American government employees like Huma Abedin, former Rep. Michele Bachmann expressed hope on Saturday that God has “lifted up” Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton and save the country from Marxism and radical Islamism.

Bachmann, who is a member of Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, said in an interview with End Times radio host Jan Markell that Clinton will complete President Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America,” which she said is turning the U.S. into a Marxist and Islamist society.

When Markell wondered if there was a way to “hold back the kind of maximum evil” that Obama wants to “unleash” in the closing months of his presidency, Bachmann responded that the president “will do everything he can to undermine our Second Amendment rights and our First Amendment rights for freedom of speech and expression by punishing us for our religious expression.”

Obama, according to Bachmann, is “an economic Marxist” who is working hand-in-hand with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to impose Marxism and advance radical Islamism throughout the continent…unless God uses Donald Trump to defeat Clinton in November:

Remember when we were in elementary school? You would never think of America, much less the whole North America, as economic Marxism. That’s what our part of the world is now. Economic Marxism. Then you’ve got Barack Obama and you’ve got Justin Trudeau, the head of Canada, who are extremely pro-Islam. Now, you want to talk about a complete pivot and shift? At one time we had enough brains and enough sense to realize that to be in bed with the radical Islamic movement is probably not a good day.

Today, the Obama administration, as I look at the last seven and a half years, every action they have taken has lifted up and advanced the cause of Islamic jihad, while at the same time they’ve cut out the legs under Israel, our best ally. Take a look at Iran. Iran, the number one state sponsor of terror in the world, couldn’t have asked for more from the United States than what they’ve gotten. Barack Obama has advanced Iran’s jihadist dreams to annihilate Israel, the United States and Western Christendom. How about that for fundamental transformation?

That’s why I’m just saying the church can’t sit this one out. We may not have a perfect candidate but he may be the one, like the Book of Daniel — the most high God may have lifted up Trump, because very possibly he’s the only one that could defeat Hillary Clinton this fall. And if that’s the case, it’s good enough for me.

Kelly Shackelford: Racial Tensions Are The Result Of America Rejecting God

On Friday’s “Point of View” livecast, Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty, blamed the state of America’s race relations on the country’s increasing rejection of God, which he said invites Satan to foment racial tensions.

“Evil will come in when there’s a vacuum, and our country is moving away from God, and as it moves away from God, there’s all kind of little tussles going on over morality because it’s sort of like God’s been pushed out of the field, and when that happens, I mean, you know, Satan’s gonna use that as his playground,” Shackelford said. “And so we’re seeing things like this racial tension and these other things that are almost being fomented.”

He continued, “We have to look at this from the spiritual level, and this is what we’re going to see if our country moves more and more away from the truth.” Shackelford claimed that “people need to know the Lord, and that’s the ultimate hope for turning this around and having less and less of these type of horrific things happen.”

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