Last week, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles lashed out at Chick-fil-A for yielding to the “Obamanista homosexual communists” that “went after Chick-fil-A with a vengeance” several years ago over the company’s ties to anti-LGBT groups, calling events like “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day” a mistake.
Wiles was especially angry that the restaurant sponsored a Pride Parade and LGBT film festival (the twoevents were sponsored by franchise owners, not the company itself), and that CEO and president Dan Cathy expressed regret about how the company became involved in the marriage debate.
“He said, ‘Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by recognizing the mistakes that you make, and you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.’ Well, we learned a lot about you too, Mr. Cathy,” Wiles said. “Personally, I think Chick-fil-A should add another meat to the menu: Yellow-bellied weasel.” AUDIO
If you ever think that courts don’t matter, ask yourself this: Why are major corporations and arch-conservative judges going to such lengths to prevent you from having your day in court when someone has violated your legal rights?
The New York Times has an in-depth three-part series of reports on arbitration, the system by which ordinary people are increasingly being coerced into surrendering their right to the protections provided by the American judicial system.
Agreements to resolve disputes by arbitration are increasingly becoming a standard part of the all-or-nothing contracts that enormous corporations force individuals to sign as a condition of doing business with them. With private arbitration, you surrender your right to a courtroom with a neutral judge and a wide variety of substantive and procedural protections for all parties.
Instead, the company picks a private arbitrator whose living depends on getting cases from corporate interests. The protections of the court system are cast aside. And you can’t have class action lawsuits, which are often the only way to hold wrongdoers accountable when they harm large numbers of individuals relatively small amounts, so it is often not worthwhile for a wronged party to pursue arbitration.
Contracts have existed for centuries. In theory, they are negotiated by two people or businesses in a process of give-and-take, where both parties fully understand what they are agreeing to. But as anyone who has cable TV or a cell phone can tell you, most contracts we sign are handed to us “as is,” take it or leave it.
If you don’t agree to the terms imposed by some enormous corporation with millions of customers, the cost to you (life without a phone) is a lot more than the cost to the company (the loss of one of millions of customers). With vastly unequal bargaining power, the consumer has little choice but to agree. And, in fact, most people sign consumer contracts or click the “I agree” box online with little to no knowledge or understanding of the agreement.
As the Times reports:
By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.
Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration. The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.
By banning class actions, companies have essentially disabled consumer challenges to practices like predatory lending, wage theft and discrimination, court records show.
“This is among the most profound shifts in our legal history,” William G. Young, a federal judge in Boston who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “Ominously, business has a good chance of opting out of the legal system altogether and misbehaving without reproach.”
How did we reach a point where individuals can be routinely victimized by large corporations and denied access to the courts to vindicate their legal rights?
To a great extent, the blame can be laid at the feet of five people: The conservative majority of the Supreme Court. Their devastating 5-4 rulings like those eviscerating the Voting Rights Act or allowing billionaires and special interests to spend unlimited money in politics are well known. Less well known are 5-4 decisions in arbitration cases. Particularly notorious are AT&T v. Concepcion, where the conservatives ruled that giant corporations can use arbitration agreements to undermine state consumer protection laws across the country, and American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, where the conservatives empowered monopolists to use arbitration agreements to bypass federal antitrust laws.
As if this weren’t bad enough, arbitration is hardly the only weapon corporate interests are using to block their victims from vindicating their rights in court.
In fact, just today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Spokeo v. Robins, where corporate interests claim that their victims can’t sue in federal court if their “only” injury is that a right created by Congress was violated.
Last month, the Court heard oral arguments in Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez, where a large company argued for the power to terminate a class action suit against it early on by quickly offering a settlement to the lead plaintiff representing the class.
Fair and just courts are vitally important in providing equal justice under the law to those who would otherwise be powerless against the enormous entities who have so much more power and resources. So it is no surprise that those powerful interests are so dedicated to blocking ordinary people from having their day in court.
David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County and a risingmedia star on the Right, claimed yesterday that President Obama is a “heartless, soulless bastard” because he has spoken out about “goons” and “criminal creep[s]” who have been killed by law enforcement officers, falsely claiming that the president had not spoken out about the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer.
Clarke launched into the rant on his weekly program on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze radio network, declaring that “black-on-black crime is a human rights abuse and should be investigated as such by the United Nations” and that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States,” not police brutality.
He lit into a New York judge who had sentenced the police officer’s killer to rehab rather than prison time for a recent drug crime, calling her a “criminal-coddling, criminal-advocating, empathy-for-the-criminal, despicable human being.”
“By the way, we still have not heard from President Obama, that heartless, soulless bastard who wastes no time taking to the microphone to stick up for a criminal creep like Mike Brown, like Eric Garner, like Freddie Gray, like Trayvon Martin and communicating empathy for those goons and yet he has to be prodded, he has to be prodded to say something when a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty,” Clarke continued. In fact, Obama spoke about the slain officer, Randolph Holder, to a gathering of police chiefs last week.
Therefore, we were less than surprised to hear him say in a radio broadcast last month that HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people and a good thing!
While discussing a World magazine article on treatments for people with HIV/AIDS, Swanson said that gay people are receiving too much help from the government, saying they are “especially favored by the government and given a fair amount of support for their homosexual activity and the disease that seems to accommodate their activity.” He went on to say that HIV/AIDS is “God’s retribution to their sexual habit,” citing Paul’s Letter to the Romans and dismissing other interpretations of Paul’s writing as erroneous.
Swanson added that gay people should be glad that God punished them with HIV/AIDS, explaining that it is a sign of “God’s kindness” as it gives them time to think things over and renounce homosexuality, thus saving them from Hell.
“It’s also a wakeup call,” he said. “Be thankful that God doesn’t kill you all at once. He slows you down for a moment, he makes you sick, he gives you a heads-up.”
He urged gay people to learn from Kelly Gissendaner and Karla Faye Tucker, two women on death row who converted to Christianity before being executed for murder.
Tomorrow, the city of Houston will vote on the future of its nondiscrimination measure, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
The way anti-LGBT activists see it, the law will destroy religious freedom and jeopardize the safety of women and children, dramatic events that haven’t occurred in the hundreds of cities and counties with similar nondiscrimination measures. Of course, regularly telling outright falsehoods about the supposed threats of the LGBT community has never held back the Religious Right.
We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the most absurd attacks used by right-wing activists who hope to lie their way to victory tomorrow.
5) Josh Duggar Weighs In
Before resigning from his post at the Family Research Council following revelations about child sexual abuse and, later, extramarital affairs, Josh Duggar was an outspoken opponent of nondiscrimination ordinances, which he said would harm women and children. Duggar told one FRC event that the HERO ordinance represents “injustice and evil” as it reveals an effort to “put us behind bars.”
4) ‘The Country’s Gone’
Televangelist Pat Robertson has also promoted baseless claims that Houstonians will no longer have religious freedom if HERO survives tomorrow’s referendum, railing against its supporters as “terrorists” and warning that nondiscrimination measures could bring about God’s wrath.
“If people are having all these sex changes, what do you do with them?” he asked. “You’ve got Bruce Jenner, he was the guy on the Wheaties box, and he gets ‘Woman of the Year’ after a sex change operation?”
A “700 Club” reporter then spoke with Houston pastor Ed Young, who said that if Christians do not defeat the ordinance, “we are gone in the 21st century.”
“We are being discriminated against, not the other way around,” he said.
Steven Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas added: “If Houston falls and Texas falls to the homosexual political movement on this issue, the country’s gone.”
3) HERO Activists Like ISIS
Another televangelist targeting the measure, Donnie Swaggart, said that Houstonians need to rise up before they find out that the Bible has been banned in the city.
“The war on the church and Christianity and our beliefs and the war on God, all of this is to shut the Bible up, they want the Bible gone,” he said. “These people that are trying to do this in Houston, the only difference between them and ISIS, those thugs in Iraq, is those here cannot chop our heads off. That’s the only difference. The heart is the same. The heart is the same. If they could silence us that way to intimidate others, that’s exactly what they would do.”
2) Don’t Vote For Satan
Colorado state legislator and televangelist Gordon Klingenschmitt believes that HERO will be defeated, in part because people will stand up to the transgender women who he says seek to “expose themselves to little girls” in restrooms and are possessed by “a demonic spirit.”
“Father, save the children from the perverts in Houston,” he prayed.
1) ‘Appalling’ That ‘We Have A Homosexual Mayor’
Rafael Cruz, Texas senator Ted Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate, has traveled around the country warning about the supposed dangers of the HERO ordinance, which he called “absolutely crazy.” His son’s own denouncement of the equal rights measure, he said, was proof that “the hand of God” is working in the anti-HERO campaign.
He also revealed that much of the Religious Right’s work is driven by contempt for Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian. “It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor,” he said.
One Houston pastor, Dave Welch, similarly declared that Mayor Parker is a sinister figure who is waging a spiritual war against Christians.
“We allowed a lesbian mayor to be elected because most of the churches were asleep and just didn’t care.” he said. “They didn’t understand the consequences of putting somebody in political power, with the authority of the sword, who has literally rejected every element of the created order of God and his word and his moral truths. Why would we expect somebody to act lawfully when they are living lawlessly?”
He claimed that the U.S. is turning into Sodom now that it has “enshrined sodomy into the United States Constitution” and cities like Houston are trying to “force women to go into men’s bathrooms and men to go into women’s bathrooms.”
“Now it’s a constitutional right for sodomites to marry each other,” he lamented, warning that “the wrath of God is revealed against this stuff.” He explained: “I don’t want the wrath of God to hit this country, it’s a great country, I’d like to see America continue strong, but this is one way of weakening it. First of all, we’re going to have this financial collapse. We’re setting up for a massive financial collapse and I think if God is going to hurt this country that’s probably the way he’d do it.”
In a trip to Russia last week, U.S. Religious Right leader Franklin Graham praised President Vladimir Putin’s protection of “traditional Christianity,” including the passage of the 2013 “gay propaganda” law that effectively criminalizes pro-gay-rights speech and advocacy.
In an interview with the Moskoviskij Komsomolets newspaper, Graham criticized President Obama for supporting “policies that contradict the teachings of God” and repeated his praise of Putin for “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda,” adding that “homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children,” according to a transcript the newspaper provided of the interview:
I heard that you called Barack Obama ‘the leader of the antichrist movement.’ Is that true? What do you think about the current president of the United States?
I have met the president on several occasions. He’s a very nice person. But he supports and promotes policies that contradict the teachings of God. As a Christian I believe that abortion is murder, he supports it. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage — those are sins against God, and the president is promoting them. I’m not against homosexuals as people. But God commanded that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves. Again, homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children. I believe that President Obama (and I’ll repeat, he’s a very nice person) is leading America down the wrong road. He’s taking a stand against God.
Graham echoed the messaging of Putin, who as the Washington Post notes, “has anchored his political brand in religious nationalism, centered on the Russian Orthodox Church,” telling the paper that as Americans have been “losing many religious freedoms,” there have been “positive changes” in that area in Russia.
[T]he situation in the US regarding religion is in decline. Secularism, which is almost no different from communism, is an atheistic movement. Our country is becoming more and more secular, more atheist, taking God out of government, taking God out of schools. We are witnessing America losing many religious freedoms. In your country over the past 30 years, we have seen positive changes. But over this same period of time in the US, the changes have been negative.
In a meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was widely reported in the Russian news media, Graham reportedly told the Orthodox primate: “When I was a young man, we worried that the world would become atheist under the influence of communism, but while communism fell, atheism didn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately my own president promotes atheism … I spoke about this with President Obama, but he did not understand. Unfortunately he does not have a Christian worldview.”
According to another report, Graham told Patriarch Kirill, “Many churches in America have started to support homosexuality. This is terrible, it’s a sin and it’s against God.”
“I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity,” Graham reportedly said.
Graham took part in a forum on “religion and peace” with a number of religious leaders, and Graham and Patriarch Kirill announced their plans to organize an international conference on Christian persecution in the Middle East.
On Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert guest hosted the Family Research Council radio show “Washington Watch,” where he fielded a question from a caller who wanted to know why Congress hasn’t attempted to impeach President Obama since “we have enough proof” that Obama “has committed treasonous acts.”
The Texas Republican praised the caller, saying that he was “so grateful that there are people like you that understand just how detrimental this president has been to the ongoing of this country, we’re really at risk, like, now,” but cautioned that impeachment isn’t likely to happen until Republicans win popular support for such a move.
Gohmert added that Congress would be right to impeach Obama but won’t do so because “there are not enough in the people in the country, across America, that want him removed from office before his office is over,” at least, not yet. As he explained, the GOP attempt to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen may pave the way for Obama’s impeachment.
“I would have hoped that once we start removing people from office because of the lies, misrepresentation and treason, if that comes out, or just so detrimental to the country, then we would have a case that could be made involving the president,” he said. “But the will of the American people is just not there, that’s my problem. He has done grave damage and this Iran deal, it’s really a treaty, he’s lied about it up and down, and now we’re finding out Iran is violating the treaty, yet this administration is defending Iran and betraying Israel right and left.” He went on to claim that the administration accused Israel of “war crimes” and “terrorism.”
After telling the caller that he appreciated his “concern because it tells me that you are a red-blooded American” and that “obviously you care about America,” he said that “we’ll keep pushing to see if there’s something to be done.”
People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to endorse the following young progressive candidates running for public office across the United States. These endorsees are a diverse mix of candidates 35 and under who are marking a new generation of progressive leadership. These candidates and officials have visions that will benefit communities around the nation as they fight for social, economic, and environmental justice, and equality for all.
Darryl Brackeen is running for reelection as Alderman on the New Haven Connecticut City Council. He is a lifelong New Haven resident, a community organizer for a state-wide educational reform organization, and a graduate of Fairfield University. Brackeen was the first elected African American and youngest alderman to serve Ward 26. He is one of the leading progressive legislators on the New Haven Board of Alders, notably having championed the passage of New Haven’s "Clean-Air Act" resolution and a resolution to support Connecticut's first domestic workers bill of rights. He is endorsed by the city of New Haven Democratic Party, Mayor Toni Harp, State Senator Gary Winfield, State Representative Patricia Dillon, and a host of other elected officials around the state. He serves on the Living Wage Commission and Affirmative Action Commission. Learn more about Darryl Brackeen at http://www.darrylbrackeenjr.com.
John Taylor Chapman
John Taylor Chapman, a fourth generation Alexandria native, is seeking re-election to the Alexandria, Virginia City Council. Chapman grew up in Alexandria’s public housing communities in the north Old Town and Quaker Hill communities, graduating from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes High School in 1999 and earning his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota’s St. Olaf College in 2003. Since 2006 he has been employed in the Fairfax County Public School System. Serving on the Alexandria Public School Board’s Budget Advisory Committee and the Alexandria Public Schools’ Special Education Advisory Committee, Councilman Chapman has worked tirelessly to help find opportunities to improve the city’s schools. As Vice Chair of the Youth Policy Commission, he participated in the Alexandria City Public Schools strategic planning process and was integral in establishing the city’s Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission. He serves on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Public Safety and Human Services Committee, Eisenhower Partnership Board of Directors, and is a member of the Taylor Run Citizens Association executive board. Chapman served as the President of the NAACP Alexandria branch as well as various organizations, boards and commissions. Learn more about John Taylor Chapman at http://www.chapman4council.com.
Christian Diaz is running for the Mountain View, California School Board. Diaz is a lifelong resident of El Monte, CA, and the son of two hard-working individuals who emigrated from Mexico in the pursuit of a better future for their children. He attended Mountain View School District Schools, Mountain View High School, and earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA as well as a master’s degree from USC. He serves as a member of the Rio Hondo College Community oversight committee and the board of directors for Hope House for the Multiple Handicapped, Inc. Diaz is endorsed by the City of El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero, Rio Hondo Community College Trustee Norma Garcia, Mountain View School Board Member Adam Carranza and the Sheet Metal, Air Rail, Transportation Worker’s Local Union 105. Learn more about Christian Diaz at https://www.facebook.com/diaz4schoolboard.
Davenport, Iowa, School Board Member and full-time mom Maria Dickmann is running for Davenport 2nd Ward Alderman. Dickmann put down roots in Davenport five years ago after graduating with honors from Illinois State University with a bachelor of science degree. She was drawn to the area originally by her now husband's job and has developed deep ties with the Davenport community and the Quad Cities region. In 2013 Dickmann was inspired to run for the school board by her passion for education and her love for children. She has served on the Davenport School Board since September 2013, where she has been busy advocating for the state to properly fund schools and considering community input to make hard decisions about policy in the district. Dickmann is running for Alderman to have an increased impact on education policy and to improve the community’s commitment to public education. Learn more about Maria Dickmann at http://www.mariadickmannfor2ndward.com.
Sam Fein is running for Legislator in Albany County, New York’s 6th District. Fein has amassed a record of progressive activism through his experience working on several congressional campaigns for progressive candidates throughout the northeast, including Elizabeth Warren (MA), Annie Kuster (NH), and Ed Markey (MA). He is running a grassroots campaign and has have received the support of many activists in the community. Learn more about Sam Fein at http://www.feinforalbany.com.
Greensboro, North Carolina Councilman Jamal Fox is running for reelection to the Greensboro City Council. Fox is a former North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University political science adjunct professor, a community advocate, a youth mentor, and a political leader. When elected to represent District 2 on the Greensboro City Council in November 2013, he was the youngest official ever elected in the city. He serves on the boards of numerous civic and government organizations that includes North Carolina Rail-Trails and East Market Street Development Corporation. Fox was born in Fredericksburg, VA and raised in Greensboro. A product of the Guilford County Schools, he holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and a master’s degree from Capella University. He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He continues to give back to the Guilford Schools through guest lectures, substituting and motivational talks to k-12 students. Learn more about Jamal Fox at http://www.jamalfoxgso.com.
Born and raised in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, Robert Gignac has been involved in bettering the city since he was first able to vote. He is currently running for reelection to the Lowell School Committee, to which he was first elected at the age of 21. As one of the youngest elected officials in the city's history, Gignac was active in ensuring student issues were prioritized by the committee. Gignac has also served on the Lowell Taxi & Livery Commission, Immigration Assistance Commission, Lowell Youth Development Collaborative and Lowell Telecommunications Corporation Board of Directors. He is the founder and former chairman of the Merrimack Valley Young Democrats. Gignac is currently employed as a nonprofit school business manager. Learn more about Robert Gignac at http://www.gignacforlowell.com.
Taylor Gravett is currently the City Council President in Weir, Kansas. At age 22, Gravett was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the council. He was elected to a full term in April of 2015 and was elected President of the Council by his colleagues shortly thereafter. During his time on the council, Gravett advocated for new programs and events that help engage and promote the city of Weir. He believes that being responsible with city resources is a pillar of building a successful city. Outside of his duties representing Ward 1 in Weir, Gravett is the Chair of the Cherokee County Kansas Democratic Party, and he sits on the local USD 247 Foundation Board. Learn more about Taylor Gravett at http://www.facebook.com/taylorgravett.
Anders Ibsen is running for reelection to the Tacoma, Washington, City Council. Councilman Ibsen is a dedicated progressive with a track record of success. During his first term on the city council, Ibsen led the effort on policies like paid sick and safe leave, closing wasteful tax loopholes saving public safety services, and championing sustainable energy. He is also a strong LGBTQ ally, having supported local services like a proposed youth homeless shelter. When he's not working at the city, Ibsen also works as a real estate appraiser. Learn more about Anders Ibsen at http://www.andersibsen.com.
Janelle Mendez is running for a seat on the Wappingers Falls, New York, Town Council. A retired U.S. Marine and currently a licensed financial advisor, Mendez has achieved a lot in her 25 years of life. After leaving the military and entering civilian life, she went from being a bank teller to a financial services professional, earning her Series 7, Series 66, and Life, Accident & Health insurance licenses. She is currently attending Post University, working towards a corporate finance degree, and will soon begin classes at Bryant University to attain her Certified Financial Planner certification in order to better assist her clients with more complex financial issues. She settled in Wappingers Falls at the age of 20, and has been involved in many community activities, including becoming a certified therapy dog trainer for Delta Dogs and participating in fundraising activities for the March of Dimes, Ronald McDonald House and the Susan Komen Foundation. Mendez participates in the Dutchess County Young Democratic Committee, the Dutchess Democratic Women's Caucus, and the Dutchess County Democratic Committee, and she recently co-founded PoliFi, an organization focusing on Millennial involvement in politics. Mendez also recently became an aunt, three times this year! Find out more about Janelle Mendez at http://www.janellemendez.com.
Walter Muneton is running to become a board member representing Area 3 on the Garden Grove, California, Unified School District Board. A Garden Grove native, Muneton is a product of Garden Grove Unified School District schools. For the past five years, he has worked as a youth mentor and case manager at the Garden Grove Boys and Girls Club, providing access to critical health and education programs to children, and serves as a mentor for high school students, helping them to achieve their highest potential and preparing them to apply for college. He serves as a member of the Garden Grove Neighborhood Improvement and Conservation Commission, working on projects to enhance and beautify the community. He also volunteers on the Bond Oversight Committee with the Garden Grove Unified School District to help provide transparency and maintain public confidence in the use of Measure A bond proceeds. Earlier this year, Muneton was honored by the California State Senate, Assembly, and Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance with a “Community Impact Award as an Emerging Leader” for his work within the Asian & Pacific Islander community. Learn more about Walter Muneton at https://www.waltermuneton.com.
Andrew Sarpolis is an at large candidate for the Novi, Michigan, City Council. He is a lifelong Michigander and a community activist in the metro Detroit region. He graduated from Grand Valley State University in Michigan with a degree in political science and a degree in international economics from the Cracow University of Economics, and has worked as an intern in the office of State Representative Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim-American woman to serve in the Michigan legislature and only the second Muslim woman in history to be elected to any state legislature in America. He has been a community organizer in metro Detroit for the Sierra Club, was appointed by the city council to serve on the beautification commission, and helped create a group called Sustainable Novi which advocates for green infrastructure, recycling, and wildlife corridor projects in the city. Sarpolis is endorsed by council members Laura Marie Casey, Gwen Markham, and Andrew Mutch. He has also been endorsed by Craig Covey, prominent LGBT activist and former mayor of the city of Ferndale, State Representative Kristy Pagan, State Representative Christine Greig, the Greater Detroit Building and Construction Trades Council, the Michigan Political Committee for Animals, and many others. Learn more about Andrew Sarpolis at http://www.andrewsarpolis.com.
Wisconsin State Representative and Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader Katrina Shankland is running for reelection for her third term representing Wisconsin’s 71st Assembly District, which covers Portage County in central Wisconsin. Rep. Shankland was born in Wittenberg, WI to parents who are both public school teachers. She graduated from Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School and earned a degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rep. Shankland started out in the nonprofit world, where she managed an international development nonprofit and worked for two years managing solar programs at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), an organization that promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency. At MREA, she managed the Midwest Solar Training Network, a seven-state partnership of technical colleges and universities tasked with building solar training capacity throughout the Midwest. In the Assembly, Rep. Shankland serves as the ranking Democrat on the Committee on Workforce Development, and also serves on the Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage, the Governor's Council on Domestic Abuse, the Governor's Council on Workforce Investment, the Committee on Assembly Organization, the Committee on Rules, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, and the Joint Legislative Council. Learn more about Katrina Shankland at http://www.voteshankland.com.
Representative Michael Stinziano, a Democrat running for the Columbus City Council, knows the meaning of public service. Rep. Stinziano is a proven leader in creating jobs that grow Ohio’s economy. He has championed legislation that fosters small business growth to create, retain, and sustain good paying jobs in central Ohio. Stinziano is a pragmatic and innovative leader who works in a bipartisan manner to find effective, common-sense solutions that build a better and brighter future for all Ohioans. He has been endorsed for election to the council by a diverse group of community organizations, elected officials, and labor and business leaders, including the Central Ohio Labor Council AFL-CIO; Teachers For Better Schools; Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio; the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 6; Sheet Metal Workers Local 24; Sprinkler Fitters Local 669; Teamsters Local 284; and the Franklin County Democratic Party.
Nathan Triplett is running for reelection as mayor of the city of East Lansing. He was first elected to the city council in 2007. Triplett began his service to East Lansing as a member of the city’s Human Relations Commission and Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee. During his tenure on the East Lansing City Council, Triplett has been a prolific and progressive legislator. He authored East Lansing’s first-in-the-state ordinance conditioning economic development incentives on the use of green building practices, a local purchasing preference policy, the city’s Other Eligible Individual (OEI) benefits policy, an equal benefits ordinance, and an ordinance mandating that landlords distribute voter registration forms and information to tenants in East Lansing, another first for Michigan. Most recently, Triplett championed a “Percent for Art” public art ordinance, making East Lansing the only municipality in Michigan with a “Percent for Art” program. Triplett currently serves as vice president of the Michigan Municipal League (MML) and is a member of the MML's Elected Officials Academy Board. Triplett also serves on the board of directors of the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) and Haven House, a shelter providing emergency housing and support services to families with children. He is a past president of the Rotary Club of East Lansing and a recipient of the Governor’s Service Award, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce’s “10 Over the Next 10” Award, the Michigan State University Distinguished Young Alumni Award, and the inaugural Civic Leadership Award from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. Triplett graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College in 2006 with degrees in political theory/constitutional democracy and social relations. He holds a master of public policy degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a juris doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. Learn more about Nathan Triplett at http://www.votetriplett.com.
Gregory Young is running for reelection as the Fifth Ward Supervisor for the city of Gloversville, New York. Young was born and raised in the city of Gloversville, attending city schools and graduating from Gloversville High School with a Regents Diploma with Honors in 2003. Young then graduated from the College of Saint Rose in Albany with a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in 2007, and completed doctoral-level coursework at the University at Buffalo, where he received a Certificate of Advanced Study in Canadian studies in 2009. He currently serves as an adjunct professor of political science at the community college level, where he specializes in teaching courses in state and local government. When not in the classroom or serving his constituents, Young holds volunteer and leadership positions in a variety of community and political organizations as well as issued-based campaigns, with a focus on environmental and economic sustainability and community capacity-building. He volunteers for local groups, such as 4-H, and serves on the Gloversville Advisory Board of the Fulmont Community Action Agency and the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, as well as on the Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. Young served as a 2014 Capital District New Leaders Council Fellow and has consulted on a variety of campaigns, including Elected Officials to Protect New York and the “No to Fake Redistricting Reform” Committee. Learn more about Greg Young at http://www.gregforgloversville.com.
But Scheidler told Kresta that he had been going after this particular clinic for even longer because “they had a clinic on Irving Park Road in Chicago back in the ‘70s and we actually picketed there and we would have a priest come out and try to help us stop the girls,” until the clinic was ultimately shut down for operating without a license.
He then shared this anecdote of his “pro-life” purity:
And a strange thing happened, and this is just a quick little thing, but the woman running that clinic was a Catholic, Suzanna, and while she had nothing to do she went skydiving and her parachute didn’t open. And we had a scandal there because she was getting a Catholic funeral and, you know, abortion is an excommunicable sin, so we had to talk to the pastor and they had to cancel her funeral. That didn’t make me very popular with the family, but it had to be done. Otherwise people would think, ‘Well, you know, an abortion’s not that bad.’
Kobach is the brains behind a wide range of anti-immigrant and voter suppression legislation around the country. Babin, a freshman Republican, is the loudest champion in Congress of efforts to restrict refugee resettlement in the U.S., which CNC reports was a central topic at the event.
The annual Writers’ Workshop is the brainchild of white nationalist and founder of the organized anti-immigrant movement, John Tanton. The meetings began as a venue for Tanton and colleagues to exchange ideas and strategies as they worked to build the then-nascent anti-immigrant movement that exists today. The invitation-only meetings have been attended by prominent white nationalists over the years including Peter Brimelow, Sam Francis, and Jared Taylor.
Tanton is no longer a regular at these meetings, but under the stewardship of KC McAlpin and Wayne Lutton, the white nationalist editor of TSCP’s quarterly journal, the bigotry sparking these meetings remains 39 years later.
The Social Contract Press (TSCP) routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists. The press is a program of U.S. Inc, the foundation created by John Tanton, the racist founder and principal ideologue of the modern nativist movement. TSCP puts an academic veneer of legitimacy over what are essentially racist arguments about the inferiority of today's immigrants. Recent articles in its main product, The Social Contract, have propagated the myth that Latino activists want to occupy and 'reclaim' the American Southwest, argued that no Muslim immigrants should be allowed into the U.S., and claimed that multiculturalists are trying to replace "successful Euro-American culture" with "dysfunctional Third World cultures."
New Zealand activist Ray Comfort joined Jerry Newcombe this week to discuss his new movie, “Audacity,” which “delivers an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality” by focusing on a young character who struggles to “defend his convictions about homosexuality and gay marriage.”
Comfort explained to Newcombe that he was initially reluctant to make a movie about homosexuality, but decided he had to do so after he sat next to a gay man on an airplane and didn’t know how to handle the situation.
“I was flying from Germany to London, sat next to a middle-aged gentleman,” he recalled. “I said, ‘How’re you doing,’ he says, ‘Good,’ I says, ‘You got a family?,’ he says, ‘I have a husband.’ It was like, ‘Oh. Where do I go from here?’ Do I say, ‘Oh that’s nice, tell me about him’ or what? And it was awkward.”
“Imagine what it would be like for the average Christian who isn’t kind of confrontational,” he said. “And I realized there’s a real need to show Christians how to relate to homosexuality.”
Comfort predicted that “it won’t be long until pedophilia is embraced by this world, we live in such moral relativism,” so conservative Christians will have to continue to stand strong and tell people what is right and wrong.
“The time will come when people who are so angry about pedophilia now will be vilified and looked on as hateful if they say, ‘No, this is not right,’” he said. “And what we’ve got to remember is that, as Christians, we’re like police officers right in the middle of a crime area. And criminals hate the police, they’ll kill a police officer, they don’t even know who he is, because of the badge he wears, because he stands for righteousness. And we’re going to be hated if we stand up and say, ‘Look, pedophilia is wrong, homosexuality is wrong, fornication, blasphemy is wrong.’”
The trick for gay rights opponents, he said, is “not to vilify homosexuals but to say , ‘Hey, we care about you and we want to see you in Heaven, not Hell.’”
A new week, a new set of wild predictions from the Right Wing, who fear that LGBT rights will make clothing obsolete and legalize child abuse all while President Obama is just itching to empower the Antichrist and turn the Black Lives Matter movement into his personal Brownshirts.
Carlson, who retired earlier this year from WCF’s parent organization, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, was feeling reflective about his decades-long effort to fight the “sexual left” throughout the world.
“Family questions, family issues today, including same-sex marriage, abortion, the retreat from marriage more broadly, those have become international issues,” he told Rios. “It’s a situation, a set of problems found around the globe. And even in third-world countries, they’re facing an aggressive effort by the European Union and now the United States government to abandon their attachment to traditional marriage, to large families, and to embrace [what] we’ll call the Western sexual revolution.”
Rios recalled attending the United Nations Conference On Women in Beijing in 1996 and being shocked to find a “tent on lesbian love-making” and people who were saying that there are “five genders,” and being even more shocked that these things are now in “mainstream thought.”
“Well, you could see it coming,” Carlson said. “It plays on human weaknesses. It tells people that’ve made bad choices that they made good choices. It tells people that they may have hurt their children with bad choices but, no, it’s okay, you’re free, you’re open. So I always knew that there was some very diabolical message that preyed on the human heart here. So I’m not surprised it’s grown. What is an encouraging thing is that opposition has now risen up to it, to this false message of human liberation. And that’s what this event is about, and it’s just one example of hundreds, of thousands of events that are happening and I think are going to grow.”
“That’s an astonishing development,” he said. “And one of the reasons the Obama administration is so hostile to Russia today, I’m quite sure, it’s not just the Crimea, it’s also the fact that Russia has become a proponent — at least at the official level — of pro-family sentiments.”
“It is amazing,” Rios agreed. “And one of the strongest supporters of Israel. The whole world, really, in our lifetime has turned upside down, don’t you think, Allan?”
On his “Generations Radio” program back in July, Swanson also pointed to another lesbian-recruiting culprit: the U.S. women’s national soccer team.
He was despondent about the number of lesbian players on the U.S. team and was even more despondent that Republican presidential candidates were congratulating the team for winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Their victory, Swanson lamented, “was celebrated, of course, by one of the lesbian players doing her lesbian thing with her lesbian whatever.” He said that “those of us who stand against lesbianism” may have to “take a stand against the team itself and what the team has accomplished.”
Declaring that the U.S. has transformed into Sodom, Swanson said that God was likely offended by the World Cup team’s celebration, which he said is paving the way for divine wrath against America. Swanson went on to once again praise nations like Uganda and Kenya for upholding laws criminalizing homosexuality, explaining that, in contrast, America is on the wrong side of God on the issue of homosexuality.
“It’s everywhere today,” he said. “Our Christian children are running into homosexuals right and left. They live in our neighborhoods.”
As Swanson explained, lesbians in women’s sports seek to become role models for children in order to “indoctrinate” them into homosexuality.
“What do you do when there’s a fairly close association between lesbianism and sports?” Swanson asked listeners, reminding them that “the only way in which homosexuals reproduce is by way of the schools” and by ensuring that kids are “indoctrinated when they’re four, five, six, seven years of age, they need to be prepared to become those homosexuals that homosexuals want them to become.”
He continued: “The best way in which homosexuals reproduce is by way of the public schools and so there will be a full-court press towards bringing these lesbians into the coaching, into the schools, into the classrooms.”
After grieving that most young Christians are befriending gay people, Swanson told parents that they should “not give them role models, as in lesbian coaches, homosexual coaches, who would represent something of an abominable lifestyle and yet to try serve as a role model for our kids. Friends, I’m warning you, be very, very careful with this whole problem of homosexuality and lesbianism within the public schools today, and it’s only going to increase exponentially in the years to come.”
The defenders of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who attempted to block her office from issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, have retroactively been claiming that Davis was simply seeking a religious accommodation that would keep her name off such licenses. (This is despite the fact that Davis claimed that she was acting as an agent of God in keeping gay couples in her county from getting married.)
In an interview with Alaska conservative radio host Joe Miller this week, prominent Christian Reconstructionist John Eidsmoe, who now works for the foundation established by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, argued that if Davis were to resign from her position or seek a religious accommodation to avoid being involved in gay marriages, that wouldn’t be enough. Instead, Eidsmoe said, lower courts and elected officials like Davis must “interpose” to “nullify” the marriage equality decision, which was made by a Supreme Court that has “become disobedient against God.”
Miller, who was Alaska’s Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2010, agreed, adding that if officials like Davis resign, they are “basically clearing the field” for “additional persecutorial-type behavior by government.”
Absolutely. In fact, there are many who say that what she should have done in those circumstances is simply resign her position in protest. I would say that if she had resigned, likewise, if Chief Justice Moore had resigned from the Supreme Court over the Ten Commandments issue, they would be betraying the people that elected them. Under the doctrine of lesser magistrates, or interposition, as you sometimes call it, when a higher magistrate, like the U.S. Supreme Court or a federal judge, begins to act in an extralegal and tyrannical manner, it is the duty of lesser magistrates like state courts and state judges, county clerks and the like to interpose, that is to stand between the people they represent against the tyranny of the higher magistrate.
You might say that if the higher magistrate has become disobedient against God, for the lower magistrate to simply follow what the higher magistrate says would make the lower magistrate complicit in this act of disobedience. I think she has a duty to stay on and a duty to resist. What they’re trying to do in that case right now, of course, is they’re trying to work out an accommodation where we could say that the law has a duty to accommodate those who have religious objections. That’s fine in so far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. Rather, they need to recognize that this whole decision is illegitimate and it needs to be nullified.
On Wednesday, Michael Savage claimed that Barnes & Noble and other book stores are conspiring to suppress the release of his new book, “Government Zero,” claiming that he is a victim of a wider plot to quash his conservative beliefs.
“The left is sabotaging Michael Savage’s new book,” he said, pointing to photos a fan sent him of a Barnes & Noble store in Irvine, California, where his books are “on the floor.”
Savage said that the plot against his book goes all the way to the top, and is a precursor to violent persecution of conservatives:
What’s next? I’ll tell you what’s next. The outright banning of books which offend the government. The burning of books which offend the government. Brownshirts going into book stores and seizing books and burning them in huge piles. And who will cheer it on? Why, all of your progressive friends would cheer the burning of books. You know who they are. You know what they want. First they came for the books but you didn’t raise your voice because you don’t read such books. And then they came for the conservatives and they rounded them up, but you didn’t say anything because you didn’t really like the conservatives, you thought they were all mean anyway. And then they came for you, and there was no one left to stand up and speak for you. History has a weird way of repeating itself and it starts in very small ways, very small, wee steps fascism takes, it does.
People For the American Way is calling on Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Mike Huckabee and Gov. Bobby Jindal to withdraw from a conference in Iowa next month hosted by a far-right pastor who has defended capital punishment for homosexuality and who has blamed forest fires on women who wear pants.
“We already knew that the Republican Party opposed LGBT rights and women’s equality, but this is taking things to a new level,” said People For the American Way President Michael Keegan. “We can respectfully disagree on matters of public policy, but someone who supports gay people being put to death should have no place in our public discourse, much less be sharing the stage with a major party’s presidential candidates.”
“If Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal are serious about wanting to hold the nation’s highest office,” Keegan said, “they should back out of this conference and denounce the extremism of its organizer.”
Defending a Ugandan measure to make homosexuality a criminal offense punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty, saying he was glad the country was “standing strong” by adopting extreme anti-gay laws.
“It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them,” he said.
Carson has since told reporters that future debates should not include “gotcha questions” like the one about his involvement with Mannatech, stating: “There’s no truth to them. I know people know how to investigate. They can easily go back and find out I don’t have any formal relations with Mannatech. They can easily find out that any videos I did with them were not paid for, were things I truly believed. That would be easy to do. If they had another agenda, they could investigate and say — see, there’s nothing there! But if they have a gotcha agenda, they conveniently ignore all the facts and try to influence public opinion.”
Carson’s campaign, as PolitiFact points out, would prefer it if people did not find out about these ties: “Carson’s campaign requested that Mannatech remove some videos and articles featuring Carson from its website. And since media outlets have started poking around this question, Mannatech has taken down even more, according to reporters at the Wall Street Journal.”
Even the conservative National Review, which has reported about Carson’s promotion of Mannatech products on PBS, has called out Carson’s remarks what they are: lies. Jim Geraghty writes:
His declarations that “I didn’t have an involvement with them” and “absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them” are just bald-faced lies.
Mannatech wanted to improve its image and happily paid Carson, one of the country’s greatest neurosurgeons, the man Cuba Gooding Jr. played in the HBO movie – to appear at their events and to appear in the company videos. They put his face all over their web site (sometime between my story and now, those images were taken down). Carson’s lack of due diligence before working with the company is forgivable. His blatant lying about it now is much harder to forgive.
The sun had barely risen in Salt Lake City yesterday when the first panel of “natural family” day at the World Congress of Families got started with a discussion about life after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.
Pastor Greg Johnson, an evangelical who was raised as a Mormon and now sponsors “convicted civility” dialogues between evangelicals and Mormons, recounted an experience with his daughter at the Creation Museum. Looking at the diorama of Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, he was struck by the sacred nature of marriage. Johnson declared that the church needs to revive its commitment to the sacred and holy nature of marriage.
Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council began her remarks with a declaration that, as a Catholic, there is nothing that could change her belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Like many speakers, Ruse focused on the complementarity of men and women. “No man can be a mother,” she said. “As a mother, I know two fathers is not the same as a mother and a father.”
The fact that “men and women make babies, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident,” is the only reason government is involved in marriage, Ruse said. Government has to encourage men and women who become mothers and fathers to raise their children. The government has no interest in a person’s feelings, she said. “Who you love is not the government’s business, until now.” Of course, that claim ignores the historical fact that the U.S. government did, until quite recently, punish gay people for who they loved, denying them a livelihood and even taking away their children. And the fact is that many governments around the world, including in some countries represented at the World Congress, continue to do that and worse.
Ruse recounted all the states where voters banned marriage for same-sex couples, neglecting to mention the four more recent victories marriage equality advocates had at the ballot box in 2012. Ignoring those, and dismissing the huge and well-documented shifts in public opinion, Ruse portrayed marriage equality as something “a handful of liberal judges” forced “on the rest of us” and she called for continued resistance:
Above all, we must fight for the right to live and work according to our beliefs. Our enemy in this fight is not our neighbor, not even the 1.6 percent of our neighbors who identify themselves as gay. No. Our enemy are those who would be our masters — the judge who jails a clerk for failing to give her signature, the magistrate who takes the house of a baker for want of a cake. These are our enemies in the fight ahead. No government official can force us to bend the knee at the altar of a foreign god. If we cannot secure this freedom in law, then we must live it in civil disobedience of the law.
Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage followed Ruse and matched her tone of defiance against “our unelected masters.” The Supreme Court didn’t change the definition of marriage, he said, it “put a lie into the law” — just like slavery and the Dred Scott decision. Brown said that there’s no time for activists to be depressed. Citing the history of Christian martyrs, abolitionists and civil rights activists, he mocked people who don’t want to take a stand because some of their Facebook friends might say mean things about them.
“Instead of being depressed, we should savor the fact that we live at a point in history, like those times before, in which we can stand for the truth, make a difference, and God has put us here for some reason. This fight is not over. It has just begun.”
Brown proposed four goals for the anti-marriage-equality movement:
Affirm continually and publicly that marriage is by nature a union of a man and a woman
Reject the Supreme Court’s decision as illegitimate
Overturn the decision, perhaps through decades of struggle or perhaps with new Supreme Court justices appointed by a Republican president elected in 2016
Contain the damage in the meanwhile by passing laws that allow public officials and businesspeople to refuse to have anything to do with gay couples’ marriages
Rafael Cruz, speaking in the second morning session, picked up the baton with the kind of David Barton-inspired speech he gives on the campaign trail for his son Ted Cruz. America was founded on the word of God, he said, but its foundations have been undermined by communists, humanists and Supreme Court decisions on organized prayer, Bible reading in the public schools, abortion and marriage equality.
Cruz railed against the church for having been silent in the face of “abominable” Supreme Court decisions on church-state separation and abortion. The church he said has been “duped” into believing in the separation of church and state, and too many preachers are hiding behind their pulpits, scared to death of losing their tax exemptions. “God is going to judge us for our silence,” he said.
Cruz declared, “What we see in America right now is an outright attack on Christianity.” The court’s marriage equality decision declared homosexuality a civil right, he said, asserting (falsely) that “under that basis, it will be possible for some homosexual to come to your church demanding to be hired, whether as pastor or janitor is immaterial.” Cruz told a BuzzFeed reporter that the next item on the LGBT agenda will be pushing to legalize pedophilia.