If you are a presidential candidate, you spend a lot of time talking to people in Iowa. And if you’re a Republican, that means a lot of time on Iowa conservative radio, including popular programs hosted by right-wing activists Steve Deace and Jan Mickelson.
The fact that Deace and Mickelson have long histories of extreme rhetoric has not dissuaded Republican candidates from joining their shows. But Mickelson just upped the ante with comments he made on his program today.
Media Matters caught Mickelson proposing that undocumented immigrants in Iowa become “property of the state” and pressed into hard labor. When a listener called in to point out that Mickelson’s proposal “sounds like slavery,” Mickelson asked, “Well, what’s wrong with slavery?” Undocumented immigrants, he went on to say, are the ones who are enslaving American citizens:
It will be interesting to see if any of the GOP candidates who have been on Mickelson’s radio program recently — which, according to Media Matters’ count, includes Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal — repudiate his remarks.
But the fact is that if these candidates were concerned about Mickelson’s rhetoric, they should have stopped going on his show long ago.
And just last week, Mickelson was getting Rep. Steve King to entertain the conspiracy theory that a botched EPA mine cleanup in Colorado was a deliberate plan to pollute a river to create a Superfund site:
Republican candidates may try to avoid Mickelson’s show after today. But given their track record, we somehow doubt that they will.
In an interview with the Christian Post today, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, the chairman of the World Evangelical Alliance’s Global Task Force on Nuclear Weapons, hailed the Iran deal for offering a “high confidence of inhibiting any move by Iran to a nuclear weapon.”
Noting that many Jewish leaders support the deal, he described Huckabee’s remarks as “pretty outrageous” and “wildly irresponsible,” and expressed bewilderment at Bachmann’s End Times claims: “I don't even know what to say to that.”
"I think that kind of rhetoric is pretty outrageous. The Holocaust is a living memory and I think that because it was Christian Europe that perpetrated the Holocaust on Jews, Christian have an ethical responcibility [sic] forever to take seriously future existential threats to the Jewish people," he said.
While criticizing Iran's denial of how devastating the Holocaust truly was, the WEA chair on Nuclear Weapons said that it is an "outrageous stretch of rhetoric for Huackbee [sic] to invoke the Holocaust based on a treaty that the vast majority of arms control experts in the United States have said is a good treaty."
He added that the GOP presidential candidate's remarks were "wildly irresponsible," and pointed out that there is divided opinion in Israel on whether the nuclear deal is a good development or not.
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has heavily condemned the lifting of sanctions on Iran, a group of 340 rabbis from "all streams of Judaism" signed a letter in support of the Iran deal earlier this week, opposing the idea that the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement.
As for the idea that the deal will be the fulfillment of biblical End Times prophecy, as former GOP presidential candidate and former Minnesota Rep. Bachmann suggested, Wigg-Stevenson responded: "I don't even know what to say to that."
As a former Baptist minister, who told CP he has since become an Anglican, Wigg-Stevenson noted that "people have for hundreds and hundreds of years been pointing to current events as sure indicators that the End Times are upon us."
He added that statements like Bachmann's are "nothing new," and up to this point have never turned out to be correct.
He said that ultimately the Iran deal bars Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and said that "so how that brings about the End Times is beyond me."
Earlier today, Newsmax host Steve Malzberg asked former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee if a joke he told about living to tell the tale of defeating the Arkansas “Clinton machine” had anything to do with the persistent rumors from the far right that Bill and Hillary Clinton are behindseveralmurders (including that of a cat).
While Huckabee refused to make the connection directly, Malzberg kept pushing him on whether he was referencing “the people who didn’t survive to talk about it.”
“I’ll let the listener decide, but I think most people when they heard me say that knew that my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek,” Huckabee replied. “I’m not making reference into anything in particular. Whether I was speaking metaphorically of political surviving or otherwise, I will leave it to the listener.”
Huckabee later said that Hillary Clinton is “an ideal person to run against for the Republicans” since she is “such a damaged and wounded candidate without credibility or trust.”
“So let’s hope she stays in [the race], I don’t see how she can convince the American people that they can trust her with the nuclear launch codes when she might leave them at a Chipotle restaurant sitting at the table,” he added.
“As president, I would say, ‘We will protect every person,’” Huckabee said in Waukee, Iowa. “And I know that would just send shockwaves. There would be lawsuits immediately. Fine. Let there be. Let’s let this now work its way, but from the position, instead of being where we defend the killing of 60 million babies since 1973…let us now operate on the principle that it is not okay and let them fight for the right to take those baby’s lives, let them tell us when that person becomes a person, let us argue their point of the unrestricted right to deny life and liberty to that person.”
The former Arkansas governor added that he would feel compelled to make such a move — which would criminalize abortion in all cases and could threaten common forms of birth control — because otherwise he couldn’t continue to ask God to bless America.
“We’ve never had a president who was willing to go there,” he said. “Well, I’m not just willing. If I’m elected, I will go there. And the reason why is because I don’t believe I can honestly make a speech and end it by saying ‘God bless you and God bless America’ if we are committing such savagery as the infanticide that we have continued to slaughter so many unborn children.”
Huckabee went on to reiterate his hope to see Planned Parenthood “criminally prosecuted” and “go out of business” because “we simply are protecting the people that they used to take money to end their lives.”
Mike Huckabee’s statement on Sunday that he thinks a 10-year-old Paraguayan girl who became pregnant after being raped by her stepfather should have been denied access to abortion was no gaffe or fluke. In fact, Huckabee was expressing a belief shared by many of his fellow Republican presidential candidates and by the anti-choice establishment.
Even “mainstream” candidates Scott and Marco Rubio came out forcefully against rape exceptions in this month’s GOP presidential debate, with Walker also clarifying that he would not allow abortions that would save the lives of pregnant women.
Major anti-choice groups agree. The head of the Susan B. Anthony List, which has sponsored trainings to teach candidates how to speak about the abortion issue, decried rape exceptions as “abominable” and “completely intellectually dishonest,” and only supports them as a means to the end of passing legislation criminalizing abortion. Similarly, the National Right to Life Committee went after GOP congresswomen who undermined an anti-choice bill earlier this year because they thought its rape exception was much too narrow.
Indeed, the World Health Organization recorded [PDF] nearly 3,000,000 unsafe abortions taking place in South America in 2008, or 32 per 1,000 child-bearing aged women, even though abortion is banned in most South American countries. While there is no evidence that laws banning abortions eliminate the procedure, such restrictive laws are associated with maternal death and complications.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Mike Huckabee, and others will be speaking at one of David Lane's upcoming
"Renewal Project" events in Texas later this month.
Brody says that "Fox News should be utterly ashamed. Donald Trump should sue the network for harassment."
Phyllis Schlafly says
that "Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in favor of gay marriage is an affront to God, the Constitution, and the
Phil Burress warns that gay rights activists are "persecuting anyone who disagrees
with them, [they] want to put people in jail who do not bow at the knees of the homosexual agenda" and that Ohio Gov. John
Kasich "is in that camp."
Bryan Fischer had a rather interesting choice of guest on his radio program today.
Don Feder says that "thanks to Obama and his party opening the floodgates to Muslim
'refugees,' Sharia law is coming to America."
Finally, Gordon Klingenschmitt says that Planned Parenthood is possessed by the "demonic spirit of murder," but we see "the spirit of God in these prophets" who are making the anti-Planned Parenthood videos.
But one of Huckabee’s fellow candidates made a very similar comment, which has received less attention because he did not explicitly acknowledge the personhood movement. Here’s what Marco Rubio said when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked about his support for abortion bans that have contained exceptions for survivors of rape and incest, a deal-breaker for personhood proponents:
Kelly: You don’t favor a rape and incest exception?
Rubio: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.
And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.
As Katie McDonough at Fusion pointed out, Rubio’s answer was a “roundabout” personhood argument.
By saying that the Constitution already entitles fertilized eggs and fetuses to “the protection of our laws” and that Congress merely needs to “pass a law” stating that “says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection,” Rubio seems to be arguing for a personhood bill such as that proposed by fellow GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul in the Senate. (Personhood proponents believe that there is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that allows a ban on all abortions and some common forms of birth control to be accomplished legislatively, rather than through a constitutional amendment.)
Even anti-choice activists are unclear about what Rubio meant in his answer to Kelly. The Christian Post thinks that Rubio was taking the same position on Personhood as Huckabee. Personhood USA, the group behind state-level personhood ballot measures, was more skeptical, writing that while Rubio expressed a “noble sentiment,” he must “repent” for supporting laws containing rape and incest exceptions and “will have to clarify” his position.
What is clear is that Rubio’s answer was calculated to appeal to radical anti-choice activists without being immediately off-putting to viewers who are terrified of fetal personhood laws. Beyond that, he should be asked to clarify what his position on personhood really is.
As we noted last week, Huckabee seems to have gotten behind the idea that fertilized eggs and fetuses can be granted equal protection and due process rights under the 14th and Fifth Amendments through simple legislation, rather than a constitutional amendment, a legal theory that is disputed by even some major anti-choice groups.
Although Huckabee remains vague on how he would go about granting constitutional rights to zygotes, he seems to have decided that talking about fetal personhood — an idea so unpopular that it has been repeatedly rejected by voters, even in the deep-red states of Mississippi and North Dakota — is his ticket to the GOP nomination.
I think it’s time for us to realize that this is not just about us creating a few little restrictions here and there, stopping funding for various organizations. That’s all good, and I’ve been a part of those efforts, signed every piece of legislation imaginable as a governor when I was in Arkansas, helped pass a human life amendment in Arkansas to our state constitution before I even got involved in politics. But I think now that we really need to focus on that this is about personhood, this is about, is that baby a human being? Because if it is, then, David, we have a constitutional responsibility under the Fifth Amendment for due process, we have a responsibility under the 14th Amendment for equal protection, to provide a protection and due process for that person.
So I think we need to ratchet up this discussion and make it not so much about whether we’re going to fund a particular Planned Parenthood organization — which certainly doesn’t need to be funded, they’re butchers, they should have not tax dollars whatsoever. But even if we eradicate Planned Parenthood, you still have 4,000 babies a day that are dying, so why don’t we take the issue where it really belongs, and that’s personhood.
And the one thing that I think separates me from the other candidates, all of whom are pro-life, or they say they are, is that I think it’s time to invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment and make this an issue of personhood and start protecting innocent life, that’s how we should be approaching this.
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
There is a lot to be scared about this week: Obama demons, Obama killing white people, Obama nuking Texas. Perhaps there is a phrase to describe this phenomenon.
5) Obama’s Demon…Exposed!
While WorldNetDaily has so far failed in its quest to find President Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, it has stumbled upon something even more sinister: Obama’s Kenyan demon.
In an article titled, “Is this a demon racing in front of Obama?,” WND executive news editor Joe Kovacs reports that he observed a demonic spirit complete with “a head and shoulders” running past Obama as he exited Air Force One upon arriving in Kenya last month. Kovacs even spoke to a “concerned woman” who confirmed that she too “saw a demon run by” the president.
Michael Savage isn’t one of those crazy people who believed that the world would end in 2012, since, Savage explained this week, he read in an email once that an elderly Mayan woman prophesied about a future without white people, and Obama hadn’t murdered all the white people yet.
Maybe Mike Huckabee has been reading WorldNetDaily, as he is very concerned that gay marriage and legal abortion are provoking God to punish America.
“I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told a conservative summit, “and this is a dangerous place for America to be.”
2) Jade Helm 15 Violence
Shockingly, none of the right-wing warnings about the Jade Helm 15 military exercise leading to a federal takeover of Texas and the imposition of martial law have turned out to be accurate.
But some people have taken the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories very seriously, including at least three men in North Carolina who, Catherine Thompson of TPM writes, “were charged with conspiring to arm themselves with illegal explosive devices to combat what they saw as a potential military takeover.” In Mississippi, gunmen fired at a military training site for two consecutive days.
One of those aides, Jesse Benton, was working on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign in Kentucky in 2014 when the scandal came to light, causing him to resign from his post. But Benton wasn’t unemployed for long, as just a few months later, Sen. Rand Paul picked Benton, who also happens to be a member of the Paul family, to run a Super PAC aiding the younger Paul’s presidential bid.
It now seems that Rand Paul’s selection of Benton has come back to haunt him, as Benton and other Paul aides have just been indicted in connection to the bribery scandal.
Like the good conservative conspiracy theorists that they are, Ron and Rand Paul are now alleging that Benton was the victim of a liberal attempt to discredited the Kentucky senator’s presidential campaign.
“I think the timing of this indictment is highly suspicious given the fact that the first primary debate is tomorrow,” Ron Paul said, while Rand Paul’s campaign attacked “the Obama Justice Department” for its “suspiciously timed” indictments, adding that Benton’s indictment “certainly appears suspiciously timed and possibly, politically motivated.”
Benton’s lawyer similarly claimed that Benton is a victim of a Democratic conspiracy, blasting the indictments as “character assassination for political gain” and “a politically motivated prosecution designed to serve a political agenda, not to achieve justice.”
At last night’s presidential debates hosted by Fox News, it was jarring to hear Fox personalities and Republican presidential candidates alike using the derogatory term “illegals” to refer to undocumented immigrants.
Last November, Fusion’s Felix Salmon published an overview of the policies various news organizations have adopted. Some, including the Associated Press, no longer use the term “illegal immigrant.” Some, like the New York Times, still do while encouraging reporters to also consider alternatives in a given context. Some find alternatives like “undocumented” or “unauthorized” to be confusing or bureaucratic.
But the sneering shorthand “illegals” is worse and there is a stronger consensus against its use — but not a universal one. In January, the Santa Barbara News-Press generated controversy, including vandalism of the paper’s building, when it used the term “illegals” in a headline. Fox ran a story about the vandalism with screen text declaring “Trouble with Illegals.”
A copyediting blog, commenting on the Santa Barbara controversy, declared it is no longer possible for journalists to “claim that the word illegal [used as a noun] can be neutral or objective.” Even the Wall Street Journal, whose stylebook says “illegal immigrant” is its preferred term, instructs, “Don’t use illegal or illegals as a noun.”
Despite having low expectations for Fox and the Republican candidates, it was striking to hear so many uses of “illegal” or “illegals” as a noun. Scanning through transcripts of the debates, I confirmed that Fox’s Bill Hemmer used the term twice in the also-rans debate, and Chris Wallace used it three times in the top ten debate. The term was also used by Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee, the latter in his sadly memorable formulation about “illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people that are freeloading off the system now.”
Toobin says it is “clearly wrong” to use the term as a noun — to call someone “an illegal.” Former New York Times editor and columnist Bill Keller came to the same conclusion in late 2011, with help from readers and colleagues, after a column in which he had used “illegals” as shorthand for “illegal immigrants.”
Of course, given the state of the Republican Party on immigration, there were also plenty of uses of the term “amnesty” by candidates, including Jeb Bush making sure to qualify his support for a path to legal status for people now in the country — “not amnesty” — and Ted Cruz, who slammed the other candidates for having supported “amnesty.” Bobby Jindal had another of the evening’s most memorable lines, declaring “immigration without assimilation is an invasion.”
But Mike Huckabee took things to a new level when he calmly presented his plan to grant legal “personhood” to fertilized eggs and fetuses.
Some commentators have mistaken Huckabee’s comment as a call for a constitutional amendment to reverse Roe v. Wade. That’s not what he meant.
Instead, Huckabee was embracing a radical legal theory, disputed even in anti-choice circles, that holds that a constitutional amendment overturning Roe isn’t necessary to end legal abortion. This theory holds that the majority opinion in Roe contains a magic loophole that allows Congress to simply declare zygotes “persons” under the Fifth and 14th Amendments, which would then criminalize abortion nationwide in one fell swoop, no constitutional amendment needed. One of the most adamant proponents of this theory in Congress is Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate, Rand Paul.
Here was Huckabee’s answer to Chris Wallace’s question about his “strong positions on social issues,” including favoring “a constitutional amendment banning abortions, except for the life of the mother”:
Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That's a long and difficult process. I've actually taken the position that's bolder than that.
A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, as if that's a huge game changer. I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception.
The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.
It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick.
But if Huckabee’s dubious legal strategy were to work, the consequences would be enormous. Not only would granting “personhood” to fetuses ban abortion in all but the rarest case where a pregnant woman and a fetus are both in mortal danger, it would put women who suffer miscarriages at risk of prosecution and jail time. The ambiguous wording of such measures has led many to fear that they could also outlaw common forms of birth control.
By redefining what it means to be a person under the law, personhood measures could also have a broad legal impact on issues unrelated to reproductive rights, threatening to upend everything from inheritance law to census results . In 2014, the Colorado Bar Association opposed the state’s personhood ballot measure, warning that the vaguely worded measure would have “potentially serious, unintended and unknown consequences for Colorado lawyers. … From areas of Family Law to Probate Law to Real Estate Law, as well as the explicit effect on Criminal Law and Wrongful Death statutes, this Amendment could create uncertainty and endless litigation.”
Mike Huckabee’s support for the personhood movement is nothingnew. But in declaring his intention to give 14th Amendment rights to fertilized eggs in a nationally televised debate, he gave a fringe movement what may be its biggest stage yet.
As the GOP embraces the reactionary politics and anti-government zealotry of the Tea Party, it is steadily purging “moderates” and empowering extremists. Nothing shows this trend more clearly than the lineup of Republican presidential candidates.
As the leading Republican presidential candidates prepare to take the stage on Thursday for the first official presidential debate, we know that they all share a common goal of promoting an far-right agenda in the White House.
We don’t expect to get much clarity on the Republicans’ extreme positions on Thursday. But if we had the chance to moderate the debate, here’s some of the questions we’d ask each of the candidates:
Jeb Bush: Why are you catering to the anti-immigrant base of the Republican Party by condemning undocumented immigrants to second class status through denying them any path to citizenship?
Scott Walker: You have an abysmal record when it comes to the environment and fighting against climate change. But just like you’ve punted on so many other critical questions, you’ve never actually told us your position on climate change. So, do you deny the science of climate change or do you accept that it’s a reality that must be addressed?
Mike Huckabee: You’ve compared Obama and abortion rights to the Nazis and their genocide. How and why did you think that was appropriate?
Ted Cruz: Why did you cook bacon on a machine gun?
Ben Carson: You’ve compared Obamacare to slavery. How is ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare – as the ACA does – like slavery in any way?
Marco Rubio: This past April, before the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, you said that anyone who believes that gay people have a constitutional right to marriage has a “ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. Constitution.” Is that still your belief today?
Rand Paul: In a talk you once explained that while direct cheating is off the table, “I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic.” What are some examples of times that you’ve “misinformed” the American people?
Donald Trump: How does deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants or denying spousal rape make America great again?
“I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told the crowd, “and this is a dangerous place for America to be.”
He told them that getting America right with God should be the country’s first policy priority.
“Yes, we need to address the economic concerns of the people of our country, and we must,” he said. “And yes, we must address the national security threats to our country. We must. But if that’s all we do, and we do not come back to the understanding that the only explanation for this great republic of ours is the intervention of God’s providence, then we will never see this nation rise to its greatness again.”
He added that Americans must recognize that the founding fathers “clearly understood that there was a God to whom we will ultimately answer, and our laws need to reflect His.”
Later in the speech, Huckabee threw in his own brand of populism, saying that hard-working Americans recognize that God will judge America for legal abortion unless the entire nation repents.
“I’m convinced that there is a great need in this country for us to address the folks that do lift the heavy things every day,” he said, “who do sweat through their socks every day, who go to church each week, who do not buy in on the nonsense that we can kill 60 million more babies over the next 42 years and that God won’t richly judge us for it. I’m convinced this country can get back on its feet, but it can’t do that until it first gets back on its knees and repents.”
Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson was also scheduled to speak at the event, but sent an apologetic video message instead.
“The military is not a social organization,” he said. “The military is not a place where we try out experiments. The military is designed to kill people and break things. The purpose of the military is to train a fighting force to defend this country and to fight our battles. It’s not to fight the battles of sexual identity or orientation. It’s to fight the battles that threaten American sovereignty and American freedom.”
He then compared providing medical care to transgender people to elective breast enhancement surgery: “We don’t do breast enhancements, which would be a part of that. If we’re going to do it for somebody who’s transgender, would we not do it for a female who said, ‘I’d feel better about myself if I was a 38D rather than a 34A?'”
The military, Huckabee concluded, is “not designed to be a social club or some type of organization where we help people feel better about themselves," adding, "if there's something that makes it difficult for you to defend this country, maybe the military is not the right place for you."
Huckabee has pledged to restore the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for gay and lesbian service members if he is elected president.