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Donald Trump Is Disrupting The Religious Right's Christian-America Dreams

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

The closed-door meeting in Texas in December at which dozens of Religious Right leaders agreed to rally around Ted Cruz for president was in some ways a big payoff for years of work by Republican political operative David Lane. Lane believes America was founded by and for Christians and has a national mission to advance the Christian faith. He sees politics as spiritual warfare against the evil forces of secularism and “pagan” homosexuality. Lane has been building an “army” of conservative evangelical pastors to run for office and turn their churches into get-out-the-vote operations for Republican candidates.

Lane’s allies and funders played an essential role in putting together that secret endorsement meeting for Ted Cruz, which came after months of indications that Cruz, who has never met a Religious Right figure too extreme to embrace, was winning the“Christian-nation primary.” Shortly after that meeting, Cruz and his Religious Right fans gathered at a ranch owned by Farris Wilks, a fracking billionaire who, with his brother, gave $15 million to a pro-Cruz super PAC. The Wilks brothers are big fundersof Lane’s efforts and other far-right political causes. A separate, but affiliated, Cruz super PAC is being run by another Christian-nation activist, right-wing “historian”David Barton.

Lane believes that conservative evangelicals split their votes in the 2008 and 2012 Republican primaries and were stuck with nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney, vowing that this year would be different. Conservative evangelicals would be inspired into action by politically engaged pastors and would choose a presidential nominee who shared Lane’s Christian-nation vision. They would elect an evangelical president who would help lead the nation to spiritual and political renewal.

But 2016’s campaign is different in ways Lane could not have anticipated. In South Carolina, the divinely anointed Cruz campaign took third place, with Donald Trump sweeping the most heavily evangelical parts of the state and beating Cruz handily among evangelical voters.  Many of the state’s Republican leaders threw their support not to Cruz, but to Marco Rubio; chief among them was Gov. Nikki Haley, who hadhosted one of Lane’s political prayer rallies last summer. Trump won by an even bigger margin in the Nevada caucuses.

Shortly before the South Carolina primary, Cruz was in Spartanburg to meet privately with “hundreds of pastors and their wives” at a meeting sponsored by David Lane’s American Renewal Project. Cruz’s appearance was supplemented by a softballinterview with Lane’s “good friend” David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network. In that interview, Cruz made a version of his standard pitch for a presidential run based on turnout of evangelical Christians. Cruz told Brody,

"If we allow our leaders to be selected from non-believers we shouldn't be surprised when our leaders don't share our values. So what I'm working to do more than anything else is energize and empower the grassroots and do everything we can for Christians to stand up and vote biblical values.”

After the election, Brody acknowledged that Trump had beaten Cruz among the state’s evangelical voters. Brody’s explanation?

Evangelicals are upset with the Republican Party too. They’ve felt like cheap political pawns for years, constantly being used by the GOP to get out and vote and then having nothing to show for it. With Trump, many of those evangelicals feel like they’ve found the politically incorrect mouthpiece to channel their inner frustration. Is he the most righteous man to carry the torch? No. Is he the most transparent and authentic one? Clearly, they believe so.

Journalist Sarah Posner has written about the ways that Trump divides the Christian Right. Trump has been endorsed by Jerry Falwell, Jr. even though the candidate is “unabashedly ignorant of the biblical imperatives that form the foundation of evangelical culture and politics.” Trump’s support indicates that many evangelicals do not, in fact, share the culture-war priorities of the movement’s leaders, Posner suggests, adding that Trump is the candidate who most resembles a prosperity-gospel televangelist who portrays wealth as a sign of God’s favor. Says Posner, “Trump’s supporters -- both evangelical and not -- apparently are willing to believe that worshiping self-serving hype will somehow produce a miracle for them.”

Along similar lines, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said in January that Ted Cruz was leading in the Jerry Falwell wing of the evangelical movement, Marco Rubio in the Billy Graham wing, and Trump in the Jimmy Swaggart wing.

In a recent article for In These Times, Theo Anderson also took a look at the “great puzzle” of evangelical Christians flocking to Trump, “the Republican candidate most out of step with evangelicals on social issues and the most tin-eared regarding religion.” Anderson concludes that Trump’s success reflects many evangelicals’ desire for an “anti-establishment” candidate as well as what he calls Trump’s performance of a prophetic style of politics practiced by conservative radio preachers who encourage their listeners to stand against the corruptions of the world: “Trump’s speeches and social media output are a stream of falsehoods that speak to the certainty - the ‘higher truth’ - that white Christians, and the nation they love, are being betrayed and targeted.”

Trump, for his part, has embraced the Religious Right’s claims that Christians in America are under “assault,” particularly from department stores and coffee chains that don’t show due reverence to Christmas, and that Muslims pose an existential threat to the country.

Trump’s success among evangelicals is maddening to some of Cruz’s backers. Glenn Beck, who believes God has called Cruz to save America from the abyss, had urged his viewers to fast on Cruz’s behalf before the Nevada caucuses. Beck says he fears that Trump is the embodiment of “The Bubba Effect,” in which a group of people are pushed over the edge into violence by an overbearing government. Beck says that only the election of Ted Cruz can save America from violent revolution, warning that the country will not be able to recover if it elects a socialist, authoritarian, or member of the status quo.

Speaking of authoritarians, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams wrote recently that the single most significant predictor of a voter’s support for Trump is their level of authoritarian inclinations, which suggests that support for Trump’s blustery strongman routine is detached to some degree from a voter’s ideological or theological leanings. That’s one reason Trump’s campaign frightens some conservatives who see Trump’s insistence that he’d be a fix-it strongman (to some commentators, a would-be Mussolini), as undermining conservatives’ political and intellectual campaign against a strong federal government.

Of course, Trump hasn’t rejected the Religious Right policy agenda. In fact he has fully embraced much of it, pledging to defund Planned Parenthood as long as the organization performs abortions. He has supported Senate Republicans’ vow not to consider any Obama Supreme Court nominee and vowed to nominate Supreme Court justices “as close to Scalia as you could find.” He has called the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling “shocking” and suggested Religious Right activists should trust him to put judges on the Court who would “unpass” that ruling and Roe v. Wade. Those kind of pledges may help Trump win conservative evangelical votes, or at least make evangelicals feel more comfortable voting for him in spite of a political and personal record that contravenes the values they say they hold dear.

The campaign for the GOP nomination isn’t over, but Religious Right leaders must be wondering how it is that their Chosen One has faltered and seems to be losing ground to the charlatan Trump. In fact, National Review reported on Wednesday that Religious Right leaders who rallied around Cruz are talking amongst themselves aboutabandoning him for Rubio if Cruz doesn’t do well on “Super Tuesday” next week.

If Trump is the nominee, many religious conservatives will vote for him because he is the Republican candidate. But it could be a bitter pill, one that some may not be able to swallow. In National Review’s seemingly ineffectual issue devoted to making a case against Trump as the Republican nominee, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission wrote:

Trump can win only in the sort of celebrity-focused mobocracy that Neil Postman warned us about years ago, in which sound moral judgments are displaced by a narcissistic pursuit of power combined with promises of “winning” for the masses. Social and religious conservatives have always seen this tendency as decadent and deviant. For them to view it any other way now would be for them to lose their soul.

But Trump continues to reach out to the conservative evangelical leaders. He headed to Pat Robertson’s Regent University on Wednesday, where Robertson told him, “you inspire us all,” and invited him to come back to Regent after the election as President Trump. And while Trump isn’t the candidate around whom many Religious Right leaders decided to coalesce, Christian-nation activist David Lane may harbor some hopes for a Trump candidacy. Last summer Lane said of Trump, “America is starving for moral, principled leadership. I hope that Donald Trump brings that.”

PFAW

GOP Rep: 'I Don't Know' If Military Would Follow Orders To Close Gitmo

Late last year, Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas and a handful of his fellow Republican members of Congress sent a letter to the Joint Chiefs of Staff urging them to “seek appropriate legal advice before following any executive order to transfer Guantanamo Bay … detainees to the United States,” which Pompeo explained was a way of telling the military leaders that the members of Congress “have their back” if they choose to defy Obama administration orders to close the detention facility.

Now that Obama has sent Congress a plan for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, Pompeo is repeating his warnings, telling Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg today that if the president were to carry out such a plan through an executive order, “I don’t know” if the military will comply with it.

If Obama were to issue such an executive order, Pompeo said, “The men and women of our military who he would ask to carry out that mission would have to look very carefully at whether the direction that they were being given was consistent with what their counsel was telling them about what was legal. I hope the president won’t put anybody in that position and won’t present risk to America, but we’ve watched the president behave in lawless ways.”

The president, he said, needs to “make sure he understands that we’re not going to let that happen.”

“Are you saying that there’s a possibility, remote as it may be, that after consultation with whomever, that the military members who would be charged with closing that facility down may not do it, may disobey the order?” Malzberg asked.

“You know, I served, Steve, in the military for quite a while,” Pompeo replied, “and if there’s one thing you understand it’s chain of command and following orders, but there’s another duty: When you take an oath to the Constitution and to defend America, your oath is different … So it would be an incredibly difficult spot that they would find themselves in, and I just literally pray that no commander in chief would ever put the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in that kind of position.”

Malzberg pressed him again on if he was saying that the military might disobey an executive order closing the prison.

“I don’t know, Steve,” Pompeo responded, “it’s difficult to answer yes or know.”

Tony Perkins: Obama's 'Cultural Time Bombs' Will Destroy America

On his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins chatted with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, about why the Senate must rebuff any Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Obama, a conversation which led Perkins to warn about the imminent demise of the U.S.

Perkins urged Senate Republicans to hold the line in their refusal to consider a new justice until next year, claiming that the Senate would be protecting the Constitution by refusing to carry out its constitutional duties.

A new justice appointed by Obama, he warned, will undermine “the fabric of our Constitution and the republic will be at risk.” (Four years ago, Perkins similarly asserted that Obama’s re-election would mean the destruction of America).

Perkins, after praising us here at Right Wing Watch because “I don’t say anything that I don’t want exposed,” repeated his claim that the 2016 election could be the last election ever held in America unless the next president stops Obama’s “cultural time bombs” from exploding:

Every election is important because of what this president, President Barack Hussein Obama, has done in the last seven-plus years, we have moved this nation to a point that the next president cannot be a Republican who simply does business as usual and stops some of the bad stuff. This president went beyond pushing the envelope.

He has planted cultural time bombs that will eventually go off. The next president has to undo those and render them safe and turn this nation around and that means you’re going to have to have an aggressive leader. And if we don’t have that, I’m convinced that as a republic, we won’t long survive. The country as a geographical land mass will continue, but the republic, the 240 years that we’ve had, I’m not sure we’ll have another election.

Donald Trump Vows To Appoint Far-Right Supreme Court Justices Like Clarence Thomas

One of the many myths surrounding Donald Trump is that he is a moderate on social issues. While he has certainly not made issues like abortion or gay marriage a central part of his campaign, the notion that he is simply ignoring them or is covering up his real opinion belies the fact that a Trump presidency could do real damage to gay rights and reproductive freedom where it matters the most: the courts.

If elected president, Trump would likely get the chance to nominate at least one Supreme Court justice and dozens if not hundreds of federal judges.

He has vowed that he would appoint judges who would “unpass” Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights decision, and disagree with what he lambasted as a “shocking” marriage equality ruling, Obergefell.

While speaking today with televangelist Pat Robertson at Robertson’s Regent University, Trump specifically praised Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, the two most conservative justices on the Supreme Court. “Justice Thomas doesn’t get enough credit,” Trump said. “He’s a wonderful man, he’s a wonderful guy.”

After criticizing Chief Justice John Roberts as not being conservative enough, and attacking Ted Cruz for promoting his nomination, Trump said he would appoint “pro-life” justices who are “very conservative” and “like Judge Scalia.”

Trump also promised Robertson that he would return to Regent University after he is elected president.

Pat Robertson Hails Donald Trump: 'You Inspire Us All'

Televangelist Pat Robertson and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump kicked off a town hall event at Robertson’s Regent University today by trading extravagant compliments, with Trump hailing Robertson as one of “the most amazing people in the whole country.”

After a hug, Robertson said that the GOP presidential frontrunner “inspires us all.”

Following a fawning introduction by David Brody, a reporter for Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump went through his typical tirades against immigration and free trade, joking that undocumented immigrants will eventually be given free air conditioners and cars to take across the border to the U.S.: “Every illegal gets an air conditioner, walks across.”

GOP Refuses To Meet With Obama On SCOTUS, But Obama's The 'Divisive' One!

Update: Grassley and McConnell have at last accepted Obama’s invitation to discuss potential nominees at the White House, although they are still refusing to hold hearings or a vote on any potential nominee. 

As Senate Republicans close ranks in an attempt to prevent President Obama from nominating the next Supreme Court justice, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have declared that they will refuse to hold a hearing on Obama’s nominee, no matter who it is. On top of that, the Des Moines Register reports that the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, hasn’t even responded to an invitation from the White House to discuss possible nominees.

The Republicans’ unprecedented Supreme Court blockade exposes the lie that has undergirded eight years of GOP obstructionism: that President Obama is “the most divisive” president in history and that he refuses to reach across the aisle.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just an hour after the news broke of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, made it clear that he didn’t intend to consider any Obama nominee to fill Scalia’s seat, has called Obama the “most divisive” president he’s worked with. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican senator and presidential candidate, has said that Obama is the most “divisive” political figure in modern history. The claim has been repeated over and over again in talk radio and the halls of Congress. Texas Republican senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz complained after Obama’s final State of the Union address last month that the president “lectures us on civility yet has been one of the most divisive presidents in American history."

As Paul Waldman wrote in “The Week” last month, the primary example of the “divisive” Obama that Republicans point to is that he “crammed ObamaCare down our throats” — a strange way to explain a bill that became law through the legislative process.

Waldman noted:

Let's just remind ourselves of how Republicans have treated Obama over his seven years in office, with a few of the greatest hits. You can start right on the day of his inauguration, when congressional Republicans gathered for a dinner at which they decided that rather than seek areas of cooperation with the new president, they would employ a strategy of maximum confrontation and obstruction in order to deny him any legislative victories.

They followed through on this plan. As Mitch McConnell explained proudly in 2010, "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny Barack Obama a second term."

The Affordable Care Act itself was designed as something of a political compromise solution, containing elements of plans previously championed by Republicans. But Republicans in Congress closed ranks against the reform, eventually shutting down the government in protest of the law.

Senate Republicans’ attitude toward Obama’s judicial nominees has followed a similar pattern,even before the current Supreme Court showdown. As we noted last week, right-wing pressure groups and their allies in Congress, including Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, were trying to shut down the federal judicial confirmation process in Obama’s final year before Scalia’s death.

If Grassley is really now refusing to even meet with Obama to discuss potential Supreme Court nominees, the Right should finally retire its talking point that it’s Obama who refuses to reach across the aisle.

Glenn Beck: Donald Trump Is 'Grooming Brownshirts'

Last night, Donald Trump crashed a speech Glenn Beck was delivering at a Nevada caucus site on behalf of Ted Cruz, drawing attention away from the right-wing commentator as he was beseeching people to support Cruz.

It was the latest episode in the war of words between Trump and Beck, who today denounced Trump’s supporters as “rude, vile, nasty” cult followers akin to Adolf Hitler’s Brownshirts:

There is a storm coming of biblical proportions, a storm coming beyond your recognition. When the economy collapses, when our currency is worth toilet paper, who do you want, who do you want handling our nation? You want somebody who has divide us, who is grooming Brownshirts? I was at the caucus last night. I had never seen anything like it. These Trump supporters were beyond recognition as anything I’ve ever seen — rude, vile, nasty.

Beck said that he is facing severe repercussions for his criticism of Trump, noting that his fellow radio host Dana Loesch “is going to the FBI because she’s getting death threats” and “another very famous media reporter” is now “on the highest level of security because of the death threats that’s coming in on them.”

“I’m not standing for Ted Cruz,” Beck insisted. “I’m standing for the Constitution of the United States of America. I’m standing for the principles we all swore to each other, to our families, and to ourselves on September 11th, we would never forget.”

Despite Trump’s victory yesterday, Beck insisted that he will keep speaking against the GOP presidential frontrunner: “All I heard this morning was, ‘Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.’”

Personhood USA Wants To Shut Down Planned Parenthood Clinic Targeted By Violent Attack

We noted earlier this month that Personhood USA, the Colorado-based group that has unsuccessfully tried to pass a number of state-level anti-abortion “personhood” measures, is now going to try its hand at passing city-level measures banning all abortion … starting with Colorado Springs, the site of a deadly shooting by an anti-choice radical last year.

In a recent interview with the Colorado Independent, Personhood USA’s Jennifer Mason explains that she doesn’t see it as a problem that her group is focusing on Colorado Springs just as the Planned Parenthood that was the target of the shooting reopens. It “makes sense” politically to aim the effort at the conservative city, she said, adding that Planned Parenthood was only “compounding” the tragedy of the shooting by reopening. “People are tired of the violence,” she said.

"It makes sense to start [in the Springs], considering the number of churches and number of volunteers we've got there," Mason tells the Independent. "When we've run statewide initiatives in the past, it's always our biggest base of support."

Mason acknowledges that wounds from the November shooting are still fresh. But she insists the latest initiative isn't about pouring salt on the wound.

"It's a better time than ever considering the shooting was so tragic and now [Planned Parenthood is] compounding that by continuing to kill people there," she says. "I think that really most people are tired of the violence — both from alleged crazy people and violence that's perpetrated by the abortion providers who brutally murder babies."

Mason similarly equated the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood with the man who killed three people there in a statement released during the armed standoff at the clinic:

Personhood USA absolutely opposes all abortion-related violence, against born and unborn people. That said, the media is failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business. Please join me in praying that the people inside, along with the babies in their mothers' wombs, are released safely.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte Should Fulfill Constitutional Duties or Resign

In response to Sen. Kelly Ayotte standing with the Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee who committed yesterday to not hold any hearings for a Supreme Court nominee from President Obama, People For the American Way New Hampshire Coordinator Lindsay Jakows issued the following statement:

“New Hampshire voters elected Senator Kelly Ayotte to fulfill her job duties as laid out in the Constitution. For her to put partisanship above her constitutional obligations by refusing to even hold hearings to consider a Supreme Court nominee is nothing short of a dereliction of duty. If she’s not prepared to fulfill her Constitutional responsibilities, she should resign.”

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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Ted Nugent Compares Hillary Clinton To Hitler Based On Fake Quotes

NRA board member Ted Nugent, who recently got in some hot water for sharing anti-Semitic memes on his Facebook page, took to Facebook again today to post side-by-side photos of Adolf Hitler and Hillary Clinton, accompanied by two fake quotes.

 

Now sitback & enjoy the abject insanity as zombies squaller like rabid coons in denial! Bringit goofballs! tell us hillary isnt a lying felon & how dems support anything American. dare ya

Posted by Ted Nugent on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It’s no surprise that Nugent, who has called Clinton a “worthless bitch” who should be executed, would share such a meme, which Snopes points out relies on unsubstantiated quotes:

The purported quotation from Hillary Clinton ("We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society") has been widely reproduced online over the last several years and has been included in dozens of books; yet no one seems to know when, where, or in what context she supposedly said it. Some sources claim that Hillary Clinton uttered those words sometime in 1993 (during her initial year as First Lady) but provide no documentation beyond simply citing a year.



Given the complete lack of any documentation that Hillary Clinton actually spoke the words attributed to her, the likely conclusion is that this alleged Hitlerian echo quote is a fabricated "Hillariasm."

Moreover, we came up short attempting to document the original quotation of Hitler's that Hillary Clinton supposedly reflected with her own words. It appears to be, at best, a loose paraphrase of something Hitler once said (or someone's idea of the type of thing Hitler might have said), as noted in the book From a Race of Masters to a Master Race:

Fascism, communism and national socialism all share in common the explicit premise that the individual must subordinate himself to society's needs, or as Hitler would phrase it: 'Society's needs come before the individual needs.'

Even though Hitler led a political party known as the "National Socialist German Workers' Party," he was no socialist. In fact, he despised socialism and communism and worked to eradicate both those ideologies; the Nazism he espoused was a political ideology based on race, not class.

Finally, we note that whatever the truth of either quotation, this item is a prime example of the Reductio ad Hitlerum argument, a logical fallacy holding that a particular viewpoint is undeniably "bad" or "wrong" if it happens to have been shared by Hitler.

Pat Robertson: 'Insane' To Discuss Transgender Rights While 'Facing Thermonuclear Annihilation'

Pat Robertson reacted angrily today to the Education Department’s finding that transgender youth are protected under federal anti-discrimination law, warning that the transgender rights movement is part of a larger push to undermine America.

“We are facing thermonuclear annihilation and what are we debating in America? What are we debating? Where a little kid goes to the potty. I mean, this is nuts, absolutely nuts. It is crazy,” he said.

“This whole thing is insane,” Robertson continued. “And for the United States of America to put the power of the federal government and all of its money and resources behind this transgender movement, it is just nothing short of insanity. And you ask yourself, ‘When do we get free from this nonsense?’ But it gets worse and worse and worse. This is liberalism run amok.”

The conservative televangelist then linked the issue to women serving in military combat roles, saying that women have lost their “honor” as they are no longer treated as “the weaker sex,” and to the collapse of “marital purity,” which he said will lead to the disintegration of society.

'I Want To Tear Them Limb From Limb': Alex Jones Goes To War With Trump's Demonic Foes

While fearing Donald Trump’s imminent assassination, Alex Jones of InfoWars is still looking at the bright side of life: God is on his side.

However, this news also means that Satan is working against him, which prompted a tearful rant from Jones yesterday about how he, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are battling the forces of evil.

“Russia is putting up a fight against in the face of just absolute pure evil,” Jones said.

He said that Trump would work with Putin to fight the globalists and put “humans first,” adding that when he thinks about the globalists, he wants to “tear them limb from limb.’

He wants jobs and prosperity and helicopters and money and spaceships and humans. Humans are first. The globalists hate humans. They want world government. They think they’re god. They’re psychopaths. They want to deform us and jack with the food and mutate everything. Russia’s banned GMO. You tune into Russian TV now, it’s like I’m hosting it. It’s not that I’m something special, I’m just human resistance. I’m someone smart enough to study it and decide to resist it. I love people, I love my kids. I love people in Japan and people in Mexico and people in Russia. I love people all over the world.

I hate tyrants. I hate psychopaths. The only reason I get tears in my eyes when I think about this is because I have so much energy to assault the enemy. I want to tear them limb from limb. I want to meet them. I’m sick of them. I’m ready to fight them. I’m ready to stand against them. I believe in humanity. I’m not a parasite that gets off on dumbing people down. I’m not a parasite that wants to hurt people. I want to crush the enemy and I will crush the enemy and you have to crush the enemy and we will crush them.

This, Jones explained, is also a spiritual war:

Everything is aligning. Evil is coming out of the pit of hell. Good is rising up against it. We are in the most epic time in human history right now. Things are going to get insane and I know full well Obama went for two minutes to Scalia’s funeral to pray like a buzzard over it and we have to call the enemies out, we have to not be afraid of them, we do not have to be afraid of what they’ll do to our bodies. I am not afraid of these people at all, even though they have done things to me that make it to the point that I’m the only person that can take care of my children. They have persecuted me. They have attacked me. They have done things you couldn’t even believe if I told you and it doesn’t matter because it’s in God’s hands, it’s in God’s hands and I put myself in God’s hands right now because it’s God that’s going to deliver us from this. And I just want people to break free from this Satanic evil and to stand up against it.

Far-Right Pundit: FEMA Camps, Martial Law And End Times Are Near

The right-wing outlet BarbWire, founded by activist Matt Barber, published an essay today by pastor JG Smoothy, who claims that notions once treated as conspiracy theories are becoming reality right before our eyes.

According to Smoothy, the Luciferian/Illuminati-controlled government establishment is fostering racial and civil strife in order to demonize and degrade local police forces, paving the way for the nationwide imposition of martial law.

Those who “fight back against the establishment or the opposing race group” will then be put into FEMA camps, complete with “plastic coffins” and “chain link fences,” while the military tries “to suppress those who would take part in the violence brought on against the government and in the race divide.”

Smoothy predicts that Mexico and Canada will inevitably become involved in the U.S. “civil war,” leading to the dissolution of borders and the establishment by Pope Francis of a “worldwide, unified church.”

“Everything on the table is meant to dissolve governments, borders, currencies and religions,” he writes. “One government, one currency, no borders and one world religion. The book of Revelations anyone?”

As this scenario plays out, Smoothy claims, people will agree that folks like InfoWars broadcaster Alex Jones was right all along and that “you will find your jaw continually dropping to the floor as each event makes it’s [sic] way out of the Conspiracy Theory section, to the Historical section of your local library.”

So really it’s just another day at BarbWire.

Alex Jones: 'They're Going To Kill Donald Trump' As Part Of A False Flag Operation

InfoWars broadcaster Alex Jones said yesterday that while Donald Trump’s presidential campaign makes him feel “so alive,” he is also worried that “they’re going to try to kill” the GOP frontrunner.

“My gut says they’re going to kill Donald Trump,” he said. “And that may be the plan to cause a revolution because we’re winning informationally and they want to start a physical revolution.”

After pleading with law enforcement and other government officials not to go along with the Trump assassination plot, Jones said that the powers that be may collapse the economy in order to cause societal chaos and deputize Black Lives Matter activists to carry out their orders.

'Voter Fraud' Alarmists Claim Obama Wants Noncitizens To Vote

Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy, and the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, one of the country’s most vocal advocates for restrictive voting laws, agreed in an interview on Gaffney’s “Secure Freedom Radio” yesterday that the Justice Department under President Obama has been pushing back against voter registration restrictions because the president “wants noncitizens to vote.”

The Obama administration’s Justice Department is siding with voting rights groups that are trying to stop a move by the director of the Election Assistance Commission that would make it harder to register to vote in three states by including those states’ “proof of citizenship” requirements on federal voter registration forms.

Such a step would have a damaging impact on voter registration: MSNBC reports that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who pushed through one of the most restrictive voter registration laws in the country, has provided documentation that just “seven non-citizens registered in the decade before the state’s proof of citizenship law went into effect in 2013,” while “voting rights groups have said over 40,000 registrations have been thrown out or suspended because of the law.”

To Gaffney and von Spakovsky, this is all proof that President Obama wants noncitizens to commit voter fraud.

“Would it be fair to say … that the government, starting with Barack Obama, actually wants noncitizens to vote and is doing its level best to bring more of them here, among other reasons, for that purpose?” Gaffney asked.

“Oh, I think so,” von Spakovsky responded, “because, look, this isn’t the only instance of this. A few years ago when Florida started trying to clear noncitizens off their voter registration rolls, and they found thousands of them, this very same Justice Department under Eric Holder actually went to court to try to stop them from doing that, making the absurd claim that it violated the National Voter Registration Act … So they actually went to court to try to stop them from taking noncitizens off the voter rolls.”

The Florida incident he was referring to was a planned voter roll purge that the Justice Department contended used out-of-date information and gave voters too little time to correct the record if they were incorrectly identified as noncitizens.

David Horowitz: Everything Democrats Do Is 'An Attack On White People'

David Horowitz, a conservative pundit who regularly hosts Republican elected officials at his symposiums in Florida, praised Donald Trump last week for venturing into territory that other Republicans won’t by calling Democrats out for being “treasonous” and “racist.”

“Republicans and conservatives lose the battle because they won’t take the bull by the horns,” Horowitz told Indiana talk radio host Greg Garrison, “they won’t call the Democrats liars, they won’t say that they’re treasonous, which they are, they won’t say that they’re racist, which they are.”

“I mean, it’s just unbelievable to me when you see how racist the Democratic Party is,” he said. “Everything is about race and everything is an attack on white people and anybody who’s not black or Latino.”

Yet, he said, “Republicans never mention it.”

Correction: This post originally misidentified the radio program on which Horowitz made his remarks.

Heritage Fellow: Scalia's Vote Should Still Count From Beyond The Grave

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a former George W. Bush administration Justice Department official, said last week that the Supreme Court should count the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s votes on pending cases in which the justices have already cast preliminary votes.

Von Spakovsky mentioned in particular Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that would deal a blow to unions and in which Scalia was likely on the anti-union side.

In an interview with American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios on February 15, von Spakovsky said that Chief Justice John Roberts has “an absolute obligation” to count Scalia’s vote in Friedrichs and other cases in which justices have already held conferences.

“After oral arguments before the court, the justices leave the courtroom and they go to a conference room in the Supreme Court building and they take a vote,” he said. “So that’s the point at which they know how a case is going to be decided and the chief justice then makes assignments of who will write the majority opinion and etc. I think the chief justice has an absolute obligation to give credit to Scalia’s vote in those cases that have already been decided, even if he didn’t write his opinion yet, because they know how he would have voted.”

“So on particular cases like the Friedrichs case … that case was argued on January 11, so they know how Justice Scalia cast his vote in that case and I think the chief justice should give credit to it,” he said.

Von Spakovsky is correct that justices cast votes in a private conference after hearing cases … but those votes sometimes change as the justices work on their opinions. Shortly after Scalia’s death, veteran Supreme Court attorney Roy Englert told ABC that the “vote of a deceased justices does not count.”

We can’t help but point out the irony that von Spakovsky has been one of the primary drivers of the myth that massive voter fraud requires suppressive laws that make it harder to vote. One of the voter-fraud specters he has raised is that of people casting votes on behalf of people who have died.

The Extremists Behind the 2016 GOP Presidential Candidates

As People For the American Way (PFAW) Senior Researcher for Special Projects Miranda Blue explained on the most recent telebriefing for PFAW members, “In past years, we’ve seen extreme endorsers for Republican presidential candidates, but there was always a level of extremism that the candidates wouldn’t go past. This year, it’s completely different. Leading 2016 Republican presidential candidates have shared the stage with individuals who say that the government should kill gay people, embrace a Christian Nation ideology, and more.”

This unprecedented extremism was discussed during last Thursday’s telebriefing, and has been closely tracked by PFAW’s Right Wing Watch team.

Some of the most striking examples come from Ted Cruz. He spoke at a conference alongside far-right pastor Kevin Swanson, who believes that according to the Bible, our government should impose the death penalty on gay people. Troy Newman, who Cruz appointed to co-chair his anti-abortion committee, has argued that the government should execute abortion providers. And Cruz touted the endorsement of Mike Bickle, who says that Hitler was a “hunter” sent by God for the Jewish people. But don’t just take our word for it – watch this clip from the Rachel Maddow Show last month, which uses research from PFAW’s Right Wing Watch:

It’s not just Ted Cruz who’s courting extremists. Donald Trump, for example, has campaigned with the support of people like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter. Coulter is not quite the household name that Palin is, but they’re two peas in a pod in their far-right extremism. Coulter said recently that Donald Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States was her “best birthday gift ever!”

Far-right figures also exert undue influence in the 2016 election through campaign spending. Because of Citizens United, millionaires and billionaires are able to push a far-right agenda in the Republican Party through unlimited expenditures. As PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery discussed on the telebriefing, Farris and Dan Wilks are top donors to Ted Cruz’s super PACs. The Wilks brothers hold strongly anti-gay, anti-choice and anti-government views. Peter was quoted earlier this month in the Houston Chronicle discussing the Wilks brothers: "Their willingness to pour millions of dollars into the presidential race and to write enormous checks for Religious Right organizations give them the potential to make a huge and destructive impact on our politics.”

Marco Rubio, for his part, is bankrolled both personally and professionally by billionaire Norman Braman. Marco Rubio returned the favor to Braman when he was in the Florida state legislature; Rubio “has steered taxpayer funds to Mr. Braman’s favored causes, successfully pushing for an $80 million state grant to finance a genomics center at a private university and securing $5 million for cancer research at a Miami instate for which Mr. Braman is a major donor.”

As the 2016 election continues, we’re sure to see more of the far-right financing and supporting the leading 2016 candidates. Be sure to follow our coverage at www.rightwingwatch.org.

PFAW

No, Biden Didn't Call For Rejecting All Supreme Court Nominees In Election Years

Within hours of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this month, conservatives retroactively invented a bogus “tradition” that Supreme Court justices are never confirmed in presidential election years. That claim is demonstrably false, but conservatives are sticking with it in an attempt to justify their efforts to keep President Obama from naming the next Supreme Court justice.

Today, the pro-obstruction crowd thought it got a boost when a short clip of now-Vice President Joe Biden was unearthed from the depths of the C-SPAN archives. In the clip of the 1992 floor speech, Biden, who was then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during what turned out to be the last year of George H.W. Bush’s presidency, urges the president to, in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.”

Hypocrisy!

Well, not quite.

As ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky and Biden himself have pointed out, when taken in context, that wasn't Biden's point. The then-senator made the remarks in the context of a long speech bemoaning the increased politicization of the confirmation process and, in Biden’s words, urging the White House and the Senate to “work together to overcome partisan differences to ensure the Court functions as the Founding Fathers intended.”

Secondly, even if you were to claim that Biden were offering some new rule for blocking Supreme Court nominations, that rule wouldn't cover the current situation.

Look at the timestamp on the video. Biden was speaking on June 25, 1992 about filling a vacancy if a justice “resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks resigns at the end of the summer.” By June 25, the presidential primaries were over and Bill Clinton was the presumptive Democratic nominee. That’s a very different point in an election year than we are in today, when the vacancy opened so very early on in the presidential nominating contests and with the risk of a Supreme Court seat remaining open for more than a year, severely disrupting two consecutive terms.

If you go back to read the transcript of Biden’s remarks, he repeatedly states that he is concerned about vacancies that occur “in the summer or fall of a presidential election year” — not vacancies that occur as early in the year as Justice Scalia’s did. The last four Supreme Court confirmations took an average of 75 days from nomination to confirmation, meaning that if President Obama nominates anyone in the next month, they could be confirmed well before the period that Biden was supposedly arguing should be off-limits for Supreme Court nominations.

There is still no “tradition” of shutting down judicial nominations for the entire last year of a presidency or of leaving the Supreme Court short-handed for an entire year.

And, as Volsky notes, while Biden didn’t face a Supreme Court vacancy in 1992, his Judiciary Committee did continue approving Circuit Court nominees well through the summer and fall of the election year, a stark contrast to current Republican threats to shut down the judicial nominations process entirely this year:

 

 

PFAW

No, Biden Didn't Call For Rejecting All Supreme Court Nominees In Election Years

Within hours of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this month, conservatives retroactively invented a bogus “tradition” that Supreme Court justices are never confirmed in presidential election years. That claim is demonstrably false, but conservatives are sticking with it in an attempt to justify their efforts to keep President Obama from naming the next Supreme Court justice.

Today, the pro-obstruction crowd thought it got a boost when a short clip of now-Vice President Joe Biden was unearthed from the depths of the C-SPAN archives. In the clip of the 1992 floor speech, Biden, who was then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during what turned out to be the last year of George H.W. Bush’s presidency, urges the president to, in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.”

Hypocrisy!

Well, not quite.

As ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky and Biden himself have pointed out, when taken in context, that wasn't Biden's point. The then-senator made the remarks in the context of a long speech bemoaning the increased politicization of the confirmation process and, in Biden’s words, urging the White House and the Senate to “work together to overcome partisan differences to ensure the Court functions as the Founding Fathers intended.”

Secondly, even if you were to claim that Biden was offering some new rule for blocking Supreme Court nominations, that rule wouldn't cover the current situation.

Look at the timestamp on the video. Biden was speaking on June 25, 1992 about filling a vacancy if a justice “resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks resigns at the end of the summer.” By June 25, the presidential primaries were over and Bill Clinton was the presumptive Democratic nominee. That’s a very different point in an election year than we are in today, when the vacancy opened so very early on in the presidential nominating contests and with the risk of a Supreme Court seat remaining open for more than a year, severely disrupting two consecutive terms.

If you go back to read the transcript of Biden’s remarks, he repeatedly states that he is concerned about vacancies that occur “in the summer or fall of a presidential election year” — not vacancies that occur as early in the year as Justice Scalia’s did. The last four Supreme Court confirmations took an average of 75 days from nomination to confirmation, meaning that if President Obama nominates anyone in the next month, they could be confirmed well before the period that Biden was supposedly arguing should be off-limits for Supreme Court nominations.

There is still no “tradition” of shutting down judicial nominations for the entire last year of a presidency or of leaving the Supreme Court short-handed for an entire year.

And, as Volsky notes, while Biden didn’t face a Supreme Court vacancy in 1992, his Judiciary Committee did continue approving Circuit Court nominees well through the summer and fall of the election year, a stark contrast to current Republican threats to shut down the judicial nominations process entirely this year:

 

 

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