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Is The Anti-Choice Movement's Bark Worse Than Its Bite?

Last year, anti-choice groups were fuming after a few Republican congresswomen, led by Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, delayed a planned vote on a 20-week abortion ban when they objected to the wording of its exemption for rape victims, claiming that it was too narrow.

Several months later, anti-choice groups successfully lobbied to keep Ellmers off a select committee investigating Planned Parenthood in punishment for her stepping out of line. Leading groups continued to threaten to support a primary challenger against Ellmers.

But it turns out, according to Roll Call, that none of that threatened primary support for her opponents has materialized:

Nearly every one of the country’s most prominent anti-abortion groups have stayed out of Ellmers’ primary, not even offering so much as an endorsement to her opponents – much less the financial and grassroots support vital to defeating an incumbent member of Congress. In fact, a review of independent expenditure documents filed with the Federal Election Commission showed that none of these groups has spent money against Ellmers this year, an eye-opening revelation given the anger that still simmers over the congresswoman’s actions and the importance of abortion to many core GOP voters.

Anti-abortion groups have more time to organize against Ellmers if they want it – a court’s decision in February to throw out the existing congressional map in North Carolina has pushed back House primaries there from March 15 to June 7. But interviews with leaders of the movement suggest more time won’t change anything because rather than an anomaly, the Ellmers race is a symptom of a broader anti-abortion problem within not just the anti-abortion movement but social conservativism writ large.

Their assessment is blunt: Leading social conservative organizations are either too cozy with congressional leadership or simply don’t understand the importance of, when necessary, playing rough with lawmakers who vote against them. The consequence is a tangible feeling, on Capitol Hill and beyond, that stepping out of line on issues such as abortion rights and gay marriage carries less of an electoral penalty than defiance on issues such as taxes. That’s because the latter will earn the ire of such well-funded groups as the fiscally focused Club for Growth, which has a well-known history of defeating Republican incumbents.

Roll Call notes that social conservatives have also failed to follow through on their threats to mount serious primary challenges against Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee — Portman for supporting marriage equality and DesJarlais for pressuring his former wife and former mistress to have abortions.

The Cruel Irony Of The Anti-Choice Movement’s TRAP Strategy

The Supreme Court heard arguments today in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which could be the most influential abortion rights case in decades. Whole Woman’s Health, which addresses a Texas law that aims to close abortion clinics by saddling them with expensive and unnecessary regulations, puts to the test the anti-choice movement’s long-term strategy of passing targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws meant to squeeze abortion providers out of existence.

As early as 1990, attorney Walter Dellinger, who went on to serve in the Clinton administration, was warning that the emerging strategy of setting up obstacles to abortion access would push women to obtain abortions later in their pregnancies, a more expensive and less safe procedure. These supposed “compromise” measures, he noted, were at the same time sometimes coupled with calls to cut off legal abortion during the second trimester of pregnancy. Dellinger wrote in The American Prospect:

To enact in the United States laws that simply prohibit abortions after twelve or eighteen weeks would constitute a strange and cruel response to the issue of late abortions. In this country, legislative deadlines for abortion would co-exist with access regulations designed to prevent women from being able to meet the deadline. No state truly concerned about either the increased maternal health risks or the moral implications of late abortions should consider the coercive step of prohibiting second trimester abortions while simultaneously pursuing policies that cause abortion to be delayed. … Bans on funding for abortions, shutting off access to public hospitals, parental consent/ judicial bypass laws, and testing requirements all fall into this category. Legislators who are troubled in principle by late abortions should support instead measures ensuring that every woman who wants to terminate a pregnancy can do so as early and as safely as possible.

Fast forward to late last year, when a study showed that exactly that had happened after Texas implemented its restrictive new law:

A new report released by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project — a research group based at the University of Texas at Austin that’s been tracking the state’s reproductive health policy over the past four years — finds that recent clinic shutdowns have greatly limited access to timely abortions statewide. In some cases, women had to wait nearly a month to be seen. In others, clinics had to turn women away, since they had no available appointment slots open.

As wait time to get an abortion increases, the estimated proportion of abortions performed in the second trimester increases. These later surgical abortions, although safe, are associated with a higher risk of complications and are significantly more costly to women than an earlier medical abortion. And even staunch abortion opponents are more opposed to late-term abortions compared to earlier procedures, citing the scientifically disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks gestation.

At today’s arguments in Whole Women’s health, Justice Anthony Kennedy hinted at this issue, according to the Wall Street Journal’s early reports:

Justice Kennedy ends the string of questions from the women justices.

He notes that drug-induced abortions are up nationwide, but down in Texas, where the number of surgical abortions is up since the state enacted its law. He wondered whether such an impact was “medically wise.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg similarly called out Texas’ solicitor general for undermining his own claim that the state’s regulations were meant to protect women’s health:

Justice Ginsburg asks: How many women will be located more than 100 miles from a clinic? Mr. Keller makes reference to a 25% number, but says that number is high because it doesn’t take into account some women close to clinics in New Mexico.

That’s odd, Justice Ginsburg says. She wonders why Texas would consider those New Mexico clinics an option, given that they wouldn’t meet the standards set forth in the state law. If your argument is right, New Mexico is “not a way out” for Texas, the justice tells Mr. Keller.

Even as the anti-choice movement is pushing restrictive regulations that, as the Texas study showed, drive women to seek abortions later in their pregnancy, it is championing measures at the state and federal level that would cut off legal abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, partway through the second trimester.

Of course, the anti-choice movement is focusing on these two strategies because they believe they can pass muster in the courts and in public opinion in a way that the ultimate goal — an outright ban on abortion — would not. But what is left is not a regime that protects women’s health, as proponents of Texas’ law claim, but one that makes it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for women to obtain an abortion, which has been their ultimate goal all along.

 

PFAW

The Cruel Irony Of The Anti-Choice Movement's TRAP Strategy

The Supreme Court heard arguments today in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which could be the most influential abortion rights case in decades. Whole Woman’s Health, which addresses a Texas law that aims to close abortion clinics by saddling them with expensive and unnecessary regulations, puts to the test the anti-choice movement’s long-term strategy of passing targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws meant to squeeze abortion providers out of existence.

As early as 1990, attorney Walter Dellinger, who went on to serve in the Clinton administration, was warning that the emerging strategy of setting up obstacles to abortion access would push women to obtain abortions later in their pregnancies, a more expensive and less safe procedure. These supposed “compromise” measures, he noted, were at the same time sometimes coupled with calls to cut off legal abortion during the second trimester of pregnancy. Dellinger wrote in The American Prospect:

To enact in the United States laws that simply prohibit abortions after twelve or eighteen weeks would constitute a strange and cruel response to the issue of late abortions. In this country, legislative deadlines for abortion would co-exist with access regulations designed to prevent women from being able to meet the deadline. No state truly concerned about either the increased maternal health risks or the moral implications of late abortions should consider the coercive step of prohibiting second trimester abortions while simultaneously pursuing policies that cause abortion to be delayed. … Bans on funding for abortions, shutting off access to public hospitals, parental consent/ judicial bypass laws, and testing requirements all fall into this category. Legislators who are troubled in principle by late abortions should support instead measures ensuring that every woman who wants to terminate a pregnancy can do so as early and as safely as possible.

Fast forward to late last year, when a study showed that exactly that had happened after Texas implemented its restrictive new law:

A new report released by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project — a research group based at the University of Texas at Austin that’s been tracking the state’s reproductive health policy over the past four years — finds that recent clinic shutdowns have greatly limited access to timely abortions statewide. In some cases, women had to wait nearly a month to be seen. In others, clinics had to turn women away, since they had no available appointment slots open.

As wait time to get an abortion increases, the estimated proportion of abortions performed in the second trimester increases. These later surgical abortions, although safe, are associated with a higher risk of complications and are significantly more costly to women than an earlier medical abortion. And even staunch abortion opponents are more opposed to late-term abortions compared to earlier procedures, citing the scientifically disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks gestation.

At today’s arguments in Whole Women’s health, Justice Anthony Kennedy hinted at this issue, according to the Wall Street Journal’s early reports:

Justice Kennedy ends the string of questions from the women justices.

He notes that drug-induced abortions are up nationwide, but down in Texas, where the number of surgical abortions is up since the state enacted its law. He wondered whether such an impact was “medically wise.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg similarly called out Texas’ solicitor general for undermining his own claim that the state’s regulations were meant to protect women’s health:

Justice Ginsburg asks: How many women will be located more than 100 miles from a clinic? Mr. Keller makes reference to a 25% number, but says that number is high because it doesn’t take into account some women close to clinics in New Mexico.

That’s odd, Justice Ginsburg says. She wonders why Texas would consider those New Mexico clinics an option, given that they wouldn’t meet the standards set forth in the state law. If your argument is right, New Mexico is “not a way out” for Texas, the justice tells Mr. Keller.

Even as the anti-choice movement is pushing restrictive regulations that, as the Texas study showed, drive women to seek abortions later in their pregnancy, it is championing measures at the state and federal level that would cut off legal abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, partway through the second trimester.

Of course, the anti-choice movement is focusing on these two strategies because they believe they can pass muster in the courts and in public opinion in a way that the ultimate goal — an outright ban on abortion — would not. But what is left is not a regime that protects women’s health, as proponents of Texas’ law claim, but one that makes it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for women to obtain an abortion, which has been their ultimate goal all along.

Ben Carson: 'Conspiracy Books' Prove Gay Rights Are A Communist Plot Against America

At last week’s National Religious Broadcasters Presidential Forum, Ben Carson said that the separation of church and state and marriage equality are incompatible with the First Amendment and the Bible, while boasting that he’s read enough “conspiracy books” to know that public school lessons and anti-discrimination laws are authored by communist subversives.

Carson told host Eric Metaxas that “the First Amendment gives you the right to live according to your faith without being harassed,” adding that “separation of church and state is not in the United States Constitution, it was a Supreme Court ruling a few decades ago where it actually entered the lexicon.” In fact, the phrase was used by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

This led him to criticize “our judicial Supreme Court” for making “bad decisions” like “the Dred Scott Act [sic]” and “the Uberfeld [sic] ruling on gay marriage.” (We assume that Carson was referring to the Supreme Court’s rulings in Dred Scott v. Sandford and Obergefell v. Hodges, respectively.)

He called Obergefell “way out of whack” because it “impinges upon the ability of people to live according to their faith," saying that “as president I would really encourage them to come up with legislation that protects the livelihood and the freedom of people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. There’s no reason that those people should be persecuted in our society.”

Carson then explained that “the advocates of gay marriage” want to completely undo the Bible and, as a result, American society: “The Bible, in both the Old and New Testament, is pretty firm against their way of thinking but if you can negate that then you can negate other portions of the Bible as well. This is the camel’s nose under the tent to undermine the Christian foundation of our nation.”

“I believe that there are a group of progressive individuals,” he said, “who have intentionally been trying to take over our school systems, been trying to take over the media in particular and various areas where they, through their propaganda, can change and undermine the principles that made America great and substitute them with their principles. And they have imposed political correctness so that you can’t even talk about it while they change the fabric of society. That’s what’s happened. That’s why we’ve changed so quickly. And that’s why, if we don’t do something about it, which takes courage, we will end up with a very fundamentally changed nation.”

He then reiterated his belief that gay rights are part of a larger conspiracy to destroy America, boasting that he knows the truth after reading “conspiracy books”: “Many people have been mesmerized by the secular-progressive movement and they have come to accept it almost by osmosis, without recognizing what the implications are. I know fully what they’re doing but that’s because I do a lot of reading. I read conspiracy books, I read all kinds of books. I also read communist books and socialist books and I know about some of these plans that they have.”

Carson went on to say that Bernie Sanders has performed well in the youth vote because leftists “have taken over the educational institutions so they can basically change the thinking of our young people.”

Ben Carson Adviser: He Can't Win But Will Keep Raising Money

For months, Ben Carson’s presidential campaign has had the markings of a moneymaking scam to benefit his consultants rather than a serious political operation, one which Iowa radio host Steve Deace called “the worst scam campaign of all time.” The candidate himself even joked about how members of his campaign team have profited off donations to his campaign.

Armstrong Williams, a top Carson confidante, also seemed to allude to the fact that Carson is still running because he is raising money, not because he has any expectation of actually winning the presidency.

While appearing this morning on “Breitbart News Daily,” Williams said that Carson “was brought into this race by We the People” and will continue to run as long as they send him money even though “clearly there’s no pathway to the nomination.”

“The people who care about him, who are asking him to stay in the race, they are still sending him their small donations of $5, $10 and $20,” he said. “He’s had a phenomenal week of raising money and it says to him that they want him staying in the race.”

He also said that “Dr. Carson feels as though the press has unfairly maligned him and have gone into his background like no other in this process” while at the same time the candidate is livid that the media tries to “ignore him.”

Tony Perkins Hits Trump Over David Duke Endorsement, Despite His Own Duke Connection

Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke’s support for Donald Trump, and the GOP presidential frontrunner’s initial refusal to condemn him, must be awkward news for Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.

Perkins, a prominent endorser of Ted Cruz and one of the senator’s top campaign surrogates, had his own history with Duke when the two were involved in Louisiana politics in the 1990s:

Perkins previously served as a state lawmaker in Louisiana and unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2002. His career was not without controversy: He spoke at least twice to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens and reportedly “paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list” while working as the campaign manager for failed U.S. Senate candidate Woody Jenkins. “The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke,” reported The Nation.

While Perkins’ group, the Family Research Council, insisted that “Mr. Perkins profoundly opposes the racial views of Mr. Duke and was profoundly grieved to learn that Duke was a party to the company that had done work for the 1996 campaign,” that didn’t stop Perkins from speaking years later to the CCC, a group that aims to “oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.”

Which brings us to the Monday edition of Perkins’ “Washington Watch” radio show, where a caller who identified as a Cruz supporter said she wanted people to know that “Donald Trump is being backed by the Ku Klux Klan.”

Perkins told the caller he was “glad to hear” that Trump disavowed Duke and the Klan, noting that days later Trump had said that “he didn’t know who David Duke was.”

“Let me just say there’s no room for racism and hatred in our national politics of that sort, based upon those immutable characteristics of race,” Perkins said. “I hope he does disavow any type of support like that.”

While he is rightfully upset that Trump feigned ignorance about Duke, Perkins may want to refresh his memory about his own relationship with Duke and white nationalists.

PFAW Statement on Donald Trump Leading Super Tuesday

As Super Tuesday results roll in showing Donald Trump extending his lead in the race for the GOP nomination, People For the American Way (PFAW) President Michael Keegan made the following statement:

“Sadly, tonight Donald Trump moved even closer to winning the Republican nomination. His campaign has been based on enflaming the currents of bigotry and intolerance that GOP leaders have exploited for years in more subtle ways. Now he’s become the face of the Republican Party.

“Donald Trump embodies the irresponsible extremism that has come to define the Republican Party as we know it. It’s disturbing to watch the rest of the Republican field continue to try to out-Trump Trump on critical issues like immigration reform and reproductive rights when they should be using the opportunity to take a clear stand against the dangerous policies that Trump is pushing.”

Recent pieces from People For the American Way on Trump & the Republican Party’s extremism:

To request on interview on Donald Trump and the Republican presidential primary, please contact Laura Epstein (lepstein@pfaw.org).

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Donald Trump Will Save Our Civil Liberties From The War On Christmas

Yesterday, Eric Metaxas posted an interview with Donald Trump’s son and campaign surrogate Eric Trump, who assured Metaxas that his father cherishes the U.S. Constitution and would appoint conservative jurists like the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Eric Trump pointed to his father’s contempt for the War on Christmas as a reason conservatives can trust him to protect constitutional principles: “Believe me, there is nobody who is more Second Amendment, there’s no one who is more of a constitutionalist, there is no one who cares about our civil liberties more than he does. This is a guy who jumps up and down every time somebody says, ‘holiday tree.’ No, it’s not a holiday tree guys, it’s a Christmas tree.”

Is there really “no one who cares about our civil liberties” more than the GOP frontrunner?

Trump is the same candidate who said he plans to sue journalists who write “horrible” articles about him, urged the Federal Communications Commission to fine a media commentator who criticized him and urged Bill Gates to begin “closing that Internet up in some way,” dismissing concerns about free speech rights: “Somebody will say, ‘oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”

No fan of religious freedom, Trump has called for a ban on Muslims from entering the country and government surveillance of mosques, and even suggested that the government begin tracking all Muslims and monitoring Syrian refugees in databases.

Trump also doesn’t seem familiar with the Fourteenth Amendment, telling Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that the amendment’s birthright citizenship clause is unconstitutional.

But at least he loves Christmas!

David Duke: Donald Trump Will Save America From Jewish 'Supremacists'

On his radio show yesterday, white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke reiterated his support for Donald Trump, who, in a recent CNN interview, refused to disavow him and other white supremacists who have come out in support of his presidential campaign.

Duke said that Trump’s election is essential for the “survival” of America from the “Zionists and the Jewish tribal extremists”:

We must understand that we are now in a struggle for the survival of European mankind. We must never mince our words about that. We are going down in numbers, all over the world. Mass immigration is going to completely remake our countries, our politics, our values, our religious beliefs, everything in which we identify with; everything and every value we have and the most critical issue facing the United States of America is whether or not we are going to remain an overwhelmingly European nation with the values of western Christian civilization or whether we’re going to become some sort of Third World nation and whether or not we’re going to be continued to be robbed and exploited and oppressed by the ultimate ethnic supremacists, of course, we’re talking about the Zionists and the Jewish tribal extremists.

That doesn’t mean every Jew, and I’m not attacking every Jewish person, at all. And there are some Jews like Gilad Atzmon that actually speaks against Jewish tribalism. But those are the rulers. It’s obvious now to everybody. The top seven Super PACs of Hillary Clinton are all Jewish Zionists. No wonder she’s always supported these insane wars for Israel in the Middle East orchestrated by neocons for the interests of Israel rather than America. We have the same thing going on with the Republican Party today. The only person who has stepped out of that agenda has been Donald Trump.

Duke added that a vote for Trump is “the best thing we can do” to fight “mass immigration” and “the international bankers,” telling listeners that “it’s very, very important that he wins this election for both the Republican nomination – and I think it’s important for him to win the presidency of the United States.”

Franklin Graham Boycotts Girl Scouts Cookies As Part Of Anti-LGBT Crusade

Franklin Graham is joining other Religious Right activists in calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, with the conservative pastor attacking the young women’s organization on his Facebook page today over its stance on LGBT issues.

Hailing the Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Louis who penned a letter denouncing the Girl Scouts, Graham similarly took issue with the group’s welcoming stance and said he “won’t be buying any Girl Scout cookies this year.”

Other conservative leaders have, in the past, shared Graham’s contempt for the Girl Scouts, warning that the group turns girls into lesbians and communists.

The Girl Scouts organization sure isn’t what it used to be! St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson isn’t worried about...

Posted by Franklin Graham on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

 

Another Right-Wing Extremist With White Nationalist Ties Endorses Donald Trump

It comes as no surprise that Donald Trump would pick up the endorsement of anti-immigrant hardliner and conspiracy theorist Kris Kobach, who announced his support for the GOP presidential frontrunner in a statement today.

Kobach, who serves as the Secretary of State of Kansas, a talk radio host and an anti-immigrant legal activist, said that he is specifically endorsing Trump because of the billionaire mogul’s immigration stance, boasting that he told Trump that the PATRIOT Act “contains a provision that the United States can and should use as leverage with the Government of Mexico” to make them pay for the proposed border wall.

Back in 2012, Mitt Romney tapped Kobach, the architect of anti-immigrant laws throughout the U.S., to serve as an adviser on immigration policy in his campaign.

As Peter wrote at the time,

He may be best known as the brains behind Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, and he successfully pushed for anti-immigrant language in the platform, including a call for the federal government to deny funds to universities that allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition – a plank that puts Kobach and the platform at odds with Kansas law. Immigration is not Kobach’s only issue. He is an energizing force behind the Republican Party’s massive push for voter suppression laws around the country, and he led the effort to get language inserted into the platform calling on states to pass laws requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. He also pushed language aimed at the supposed threat to the Constitution and laws of the US from “Sharia law”; getting this language into the platform puts the GOP in position of endorsing a ludicrous far-right conspiracy theory.

Kobach, who once worked for an anti-immigrant hate group, has also spoken alongside White Nationalist leaders, most recently addressing a racist media outlet called the Social Contract Press.

Kobach has also used his radio show to voice his extremist views: He warned that Latinos may one day conduct ethnic cleansing in America, claimed Democrats are “replacing American voters with newly legalized aliens” and wondered if President Obama would ban the prosecution of black people , deriding the president as the product of “affirmative action culture” and possibly a secret Muslim.

His record as secretary of state is even more troubling, as Kobach used the myth of mass voter fraud to push through stringent laws that have disenfranchised thousands of Kansans.

Ted Cruz Gushes Over Support From Radical Anti-Gay Activists

Ted Cruz is once again proving that no activist is too extreme for his campaign to embrace, touting the endorsements he received from anti-gay activists William Owens and Kayla Moore in recent days on his campaign website. Cruz said of Owens, who runs the Coalition of African-American Pastors, a group affiliated with the Cruz-endorsing National Organization for Marriage:

“I am honored to have the support of Reverend Owens,” said Cruz. “His eloquent and uncompromising defense of the family and of religion in public life is inspiring and will continue to be effective. We are excited to have him serve as a spokesperson to pastors and in the African-American community.”

Owens is an anti-gay firebrand who was caught fibbing about his role in the Civil Rights Movement. Owens has:

Cruz also put out a statement thanking Kayla Moore for her endorsement and praising her husband, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who most recently tried to block same-sex couples from getting married in Alabama.

“Kayla is a veteran of the struggle for religious liberty,” said Cruz. “As the wife of Chief Justice Roy Moore, Kayla played a key role during Alabama’s battle with the ACLU over the right to publicly acknowledge God. She knows that law does not grant rights: it simply protects the unalienable human rights given to each of us by God. I am honored to have her support.”

After her husband returned to his post as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore took over as the head of his legal advocacy group, the Foundation for Moral Law. In that capacity, she has maintained her husband’s radical stances, urging public officials to follow Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in defying the Supreme Court and suggesting that the high court’s marriage equality ruling is invalid.

Trump's Anti-Immigrant Campaign Is Rooted In White Nationalist Sentiment

It shouldn’t be surprising that Donald Trump has refused to renounce support from the leader of the Ku Klux Klan, as the GOP presidential frontrunner has relied on the backing of white nationalists throughout his campaign.

A new report released today by People For the American Way observes that many of the leading anti-immigrant groups in the U.S. are rooted in white nationalism and fears about a “Latin onslaught,” as John Tanton, the founder of a network of Nativist groups, put it.

“These leading anti-immigration groups poison the well on immigration reform in America,” said PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery. “Yet despite the fact that these groups peddle misinformation and pander to the xenophobic fringe to further their anti-immigration goals, they continue to wield influence in the media, in Congress, and on the campaign trail.”

Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist who helped establish groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), was not shy about the racist agenda of his anti-immigrant activism:

In leaked memos from a 1986 strategy session, Tanton fretted specifically about Latino immigration — or what he called a “Latin onslaught” — seeing it as a threat to America’s white majority. He wrote that white Americans would have to “compete” with Latino immigrants and choose between having children and letting “someone else with greater reproductive powers occupy the space.”

“As whites see their power and control over their lives declining,” he asked, “will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?”

In a 1996 letter, Tanton fretted about “less intelligent” people having children: “Do we leave it to individuals to decide that they are the intelligent ones who should have more kids? And more troublesome, what about the less intelligent, who logically should have less? Who is going to break the bad news [to less intelligent individuals], and how will it be implemented?” At one point, Tanton founded his own pro-eugenics organization, the Society for Genetic Education. He also authored a paper titled “The Case for Passive Eugenics.”

When the SPLC read through Tanton’s papers in 2008, the group found “a lengthy record of friendly correspondence with Holocaust deniers, a former Klan lawyer and leading white nationalist thinkers.”

One of these correspondents was Harry Weyher, a fellow eugenics proponent who for decades led a “race betterment” group, the Pioneer Fund, which became a financier of FAIR.

Tanton even established a media outlet specifically promoting his vision for white America, including the work of one activist who helped organize the racist pro-Trump robocalls in Iowa:

One of John Tanton’s most revealing creations is the Social Contract Press, an organization that SPLC lists as a hate group because it “routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists.” The press, which Tanton founded in 1990, is run out of Tanton’s foundation, U.S. Inc.

The Social Contract Press publishes a journal, “The Social Contract,” which Tanton edited for the first eight years of its existence. While Tanton continues to serve as the journal’s publisher, it is now edited by Wayne Lutton, who, according to SPLC, “has held leadership positions in four other white national hate groups,” including the Council of Conservative Citizens, and has said that white Americans “are the real Americans, not the Hmong, not Latinos, not the Siberian-Americans.”

“The Social Contract” has published a wide range of racist views, including an issue dedicated to attacking “multiculturalism” for replacing “successful Euro-American culture” and another issue dedicated entirely to reprinting articles from the white nationalist site VDARE. (Officials at CIS and at FAIR have also written for VDARE, which is named after Virginia Dare, thought to be the first child of English colonists born in America; one VDARE contributor, Jared Taylor, lent his voice to a robo-call urging Iowans to caucus for Trump because “we need smart, well-educated white people who assimilate to our culture” instead of Muslim immigrants.) FAIR spokesman Ira Mehlman has written several articles for “The Social Contract.”

Despite the Social Contract Press’ white nationalist ties, it continues to attract prominent members of the anti-immigrant movement, including members of the Tanton network, to its annual Writers Workshop. People who have spoken at the workshops include CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian and policy staffer Jessica Vaughan and longtime FAIR attorney and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The year Vaughan spoke to the workshop, one of her fellow speakers was Peter Brimelow, founder and editor of the white nationalist website VDARE. Rep. Brian Babin, the Texas Republican who has become a leading voice in Congress against refugee resettlement, spoke at the 2015 Social Contract Writers Workshop.

And yet, the GOP continues to rely on the Tanton network to shape their party’s approach to immigration reform.

Ben Carson Vows To End Nonexistent 'Ban On Christianity' In Public Schools

While speaking today with Pat Robertson at Regent University, Ben Carson said that he would work “very hard on eliminating the ban on Christianity in our public schools” if elected president.

Carson, who has repeatedly claimed that he would direct the government to monitor the speech of professors and withhold federal funding from schools that demonstrate “bias,” revived the myth that Christianity and religious expression are banned at public schools. (Students are allowed to pray in school, but government-sponsored and compulsory prayers are prohibited.)

The GOP presidential candidate also explained what he meant by his mystifying “fruit salad” remark regarding judicial nominees at the last presidential debate.

Donald Trump Repeats Lie Of Americans Using Bullets With Pigs' Blood To Massacre Muslims

Once again, Donald Trump praised the actions of a U.S. general whom he said massacred Muslim “terrorists” in the Philippines while using bullets covered in pigs’ blood.

While the account has been roundly debunked, Trump repeated the story at a rally today in Virginia, holding it up as a great way to fight terrorism while dismissing media criticism for using the story.

“We are going to have to get tough,” he said.

PFAW Releases Report on White Nationalist Connections of Leading Anti-Immigration Groups

Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) released a new report analyzing the leading anti-immigration groups, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The report analyzes the groups' history and white nationalist roots. It also explores the undue influence they wield in Congress and their work to drive the talking points and policy priorities of leading Republican presidential candidates like Donald Trump.

“These leading anti-immigration groups poison the well on immigration reform in America,” said PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery. “Yet despite the fact that these groups peddle misinformation and pander to the xenophobic fringe to further their anti-immigration goals, they continue to wield influence in the media, in Congress, and on the campaign trail.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • Today’s anti-immigration movement centers on a small group of interconnected organizations all stemming from one white nationalist and population control activist, John Tanton.
  • The organizations tied to Tanton – including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA – saturate media coverage of immigration issues and maintain close ties to anti-immigration politicians.
  • All of these groups have ties to the dark underbelly of the anti-immigrant movement, which smears immigrants in racial terms, plays to fears of demographic change and caters to those who want the U.S. to be and remain a nation run by and for a white majority.

Read the report here.

For questions about the report or to schedule an interview, please contact Laura Epstein (lepstein@pfaw.org).

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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Glenn Beck: Ted Cruz Will Win 'Because We Have The Almighty God On Our Side'

While campaigning alongside Ted Cruz yesterday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Glenn Beck said that the Texas senator’s campaign is a continuation of the Tea Party movement’s push to defend the Constitution.

“I am so proud to stand with you Cruz supporters because we are the ones that really started this revolution,” he said.

Because of his supporters’ dedication to the Constitution, Beck said, “our guy has the best chance of winning, because we have the Almighty God on our side!”

Beck has previously said that God is raising up Cruz to be president, while Cruz’s father has repeatedly claimed that his son is God’s choice to be president.

Via Warren Throckmorton:

Back in 2012, Beck similarly declared that God was backing Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.

NH Voters Call on Sen. Ayotte to Give Fair Consideration on Supreme Court Nominee

Today, over 40 New Hampshire activists gathered for a demonstration demanding that Senator Kelly Ayotte stop putting politics over the Constitution and instead give fair consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. The demonstration included activists from People For the American Way, NextGen Climate, Granite State Progress, and Rights and Democracy.

“The Constitution is very clear that it is the job of the Senate to give fair consideration to nominees,” said Lindsay Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with People For the American Way. “And as a former New Hampshire Attorney General who was herself appointed and confirmed in an election year, Ayotte should know better than to align herself with such blatant hypocrisy. It’s time for her to fulfill her responsibility to Granite Staters and do her job.”

Pictures from today's demonstration:

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an interview, please contact Laura Epstein (lepstein@pfaw.org) or Lindsay Jakows (ljakows@pfaw.org).

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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Steve Deace: Trump Campaign 'Is Very Dangerous,' Ben Carson Is A Scam Artist

Conservative talk radio hosts and Ted Cruz supporters Steve Deace and Sandy Rios sat down last week to discuss the state of the presidential race during the National Religious Broadcasters convention, focusing particularly the rise of Donald Trump and Ben Carson’s unwillingness to quit the race.

After Rios blasted Trump’s “careless” and “dangerous” campaign tactics – pointing to his veiled threat to the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, after Marlene Ricketts donated millions to an anti-Trump super PAC – Deace suggested that Trump’s election would be something that Satan would do to bring down the United States, warning: “This is very dangerous.”

The two also went after Carson, who has been accused of running his campaign more as a money-making scam that bilks his donors rather than a legitimate political operation, for staying in the race even though he has no chance of winning the GOP nomination, with Deace commenting that Carson “rides in a limo behind his [campaign] bus” and is “not running to win and hasn’t been running to win almost from the very beginning.”

“It’s the worst scam campaign of all time,” Deace said. “He didn’t campaign for the whole week in New Hampshire. I believe he did only a handful of stops in South Carolina. One of the ones he publicized was to a business group and he had to pay to speak to them, by the way. Where is he out on the campaign trail right now?”

Carson, incidentally, was making an appearance at the same conference for religious broadcasters that Rios and Deace were attending.

Deace continued: “He’s not competitive absolutely anywhere. They went on a book tour for months in Iowa, he was on a book tour and didn’t campaign. His campaign actually went out and got a bus with his face on it and drove it around Iowa to make people think that he was campaigning when he wasn’t there.”

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