Rand Paul

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/30/15

Rand Paul Suggests Gay Marriage Is The Result Of A 'Moral Crisis' In America

In a video posted yesterday by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rand Paul addressed “a group of pastors and religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast” in Washington D.C. on Thursday about the need for “revival” in America complete with “tent revivals” full of people demanding reform.

He suggested during the event that the debate about legalizing same-sex marriage is the result of a “moral crisis” in the country: “Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything. In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.” 

“We need a revival in the country,” Paul said. “We need another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, ‘reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform.’”

Previously, the likely presidential candidate said that gay marriage should remain banned because it “offends myself and a lot of people.”

Seriously? Republicans Target Birthright Citizenship Again?

This op-ed by Randy Borntager, Political Director of People For the American Way, was originally published at The Huffington Post.

After the vast majority of Republicans voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security to oppose President Obama's immigration actions, and with Republicans blocking any hope of real immigration reform this Congress, it seems the anti-immigrant movement has instead decided to refocus its efforts on revoking the constitutional right to birthright citizenship.

Earlier this week, Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana decided to introduce a birthright citizenship amendment to the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. The amendment so far has just one cosponsor -- Sen. David Perdue of Georgia -- and it's unlikely that it will be included in the final bill, but this decision to tack an unconstitutional, anti-immigrant measure onto an important bill shows the priorities of Sen. Vitter and the Republican Party.

Sen. Vitter claims that his birthright citizenship amendment would help curb the issue of "birth tourism," recently in the news surrounding Chinese mothers coming to California -- often committing crimes in the process -- so their children can be born in the U.S. It would seem more sensible to tackle this issue through targeting the middlemen who NBC reports "pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars tax-free," and the visa, tax, and marriage fraud that are often a key part of "birth tourism." Instead, Sen. Vitter and the many Republicans who support ending birthright citizenship are trying to use the issue as cover for their attacks on immigrants and attempts to revoke a core constitutional right.

The flaws of the conservative attacks on birthright citizenship have been well documented. First, it's blatantly unconstitutional. It's clear that the drafters of the 14th Amendment intended it to guarantee citizenship to everyone born in the U.S. The only exception -- in the words of one of the amendment drafter's, Sen. Jacob Howard -- is for people "who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States," as they are not, as the 14th Amendment requires, "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. Conservatives from Michael Gerson, a former George W. Bush adviser, to the anti-immigrant Lou Dobbs have viewed attempts to undermine birthright citizenship as unconstitutional.

It's also a terrible idea. Gerson wrote, "Anti-immigration activists often claim that their real concern is to prevent law breaking, not to exclude Hispanics. But revoking birthright citizenship would turn hundreds of thousands of infants into 'criminals'--arriving, not across a border, but crying in a hospital." The Migration Policy Institute also found that rather than decreasing the number of undocumented immigrants in America, as birthright citizenship activists claim, revoking the right would "likely increase dramatically" the number of people in the country without authorization, leading to the "establishment of a permanent class of unauthorized persons."

Sen. Vitter is not the only Republican promoting anti-immigrant bills instead of trying for real, bipartisan solutions on immigration. In January of this year, Rep. Steve King of Iowa re-introduced a bill aiming to repeal birthright citizenship. Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Rep. Mike Coffman, and Rep. Joe Heck have all backed plans to revoke birthright citizenship in the past.

We need immigration reform. From improving the economy while reducing the deficit to ensuring that DREAMers and their families can live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, the benefits are endless. Not only have Republicans blocked comprehensive immigration reform when it had a real chance of passing, they're now trying yet again to bring up unconstitutional bills to drive their point home. That's not what responsible governing looks like, and for a party that says they're trying to attract more Latino support, they're certainly not shy about attacking immigrants for short-term political gain.

PFAW

Iran Letter Shows GOP’s Growing Penchant for Sabotage

Republicans in Congress are now trying to sabotage U.S. foreign policy.
PFAW

Rand Paul: The GOP's 'Principled' Flip-Flopper

Following his upset victory in the 2010 Republican U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky, Rand Paul told the country that he had “a message from the Tea Party.” That message has turned out to be a mix of anti-establishment libertarianism in the mold of his father and tired GOP ideas repackaged under the brand of the Tea Party.

PFAW And Allies Call On GOP Presidential Candidates To Distance Themselves From CPAC’s White Nationalist Sponsor

Today, People For the American Way, America’s Voice and ColorOfChange.org called on GOP presidential candidates to distance themselves from Conservative Political Action Conference’s ties to ProEnglish, a group led by white nationalist Robert Vandervoort.

As we reported last week, ProEnglish is sponsoring a booth in the event’s exhibit hall, which costs $4,000. ProEnglish has been allowed to sponsor the event for the past several years, despite Vandervoort’s well documented ties with white nationalist groups. Nearly every major Republican presidential contender is scheduled to speak at the event this weekend.

Here is the full text of the open letter from PFAW, America’s Voice and ColorOfChange.org:

Dear Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Santorum, and Gov. Scott Walker:

We understand that you are scheduled to speak at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, an event which is being partially sponsored by ProEnglish, a group led by white nationalist Bob Vandervoort. We urge you to decline to speak at CPAC unless it cuts ties with ProEnglish and Vandervoort.

ProEnglish has sponsored CPAC for the past several years, despite Vandervoort’s well documented ties to the white nationalist movement. As the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights has reported, Vandervoort is the former leader of Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, a group dedicated to supporting the ideals of the infamous white nationalist publication American Renaissance. One member of the group described its mission as encouraging “white survival and maintaining white majorities.”

Vandervoort’s own writings reflect these views. He has expressed concern about the need to “halt the cultural and racial dispossession of the West's historic people” and expounded on “racial differences” in “intelligence and temperament.” He has wondered how “race realists and pro-Western Civ nationalists” like himself can counter historical comparisons to the Holocaust and slavery.

CPAC has a troubling history of welcoming white nationalists. In 2012, the conference hosted a panel on race featuring Vandervoort and fellow white nationalist writer Peter Brimelow. And ProEnglish has continued to be allowed to sponsor the event even after civil rights groups have raised concerns.

Clearly, Robert Vandervoort and his group should have no place as a financial sponsor of the nation’s largest convention of conservatives. We urge you to distance yourself from Vandervoort’s views and refuse to speak at CPAC unless ProEnglish’s sponsorship is withdrawn.

Sincerely,

Michael Keegan, President

People For the American Way

Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director

America’s Voice

Rashad Robinson, Executive Director

ColorOfChange.org

Sen. Rand Paul And GOP Congressmen Appear In New Trailer For Anti-Gay Documentary

Last week, we noted that fringe Religious Right activist Janet Porter was readying the release of a new anti-gay documentary she produced called "Light Wins: How To Overcome The Criminalization Of Christianity" that was reported to feature a variety of members of Congress and Republican presidential hopefuls.

At the time, there were only two clips from the movie available and the only political figure shown in either was Mike Huckabee. Today, Porter released another preview of her film, which contains footage of interviews she conducted with several anti-gay activists as well as with Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Rep. Trent Franks, and Sen. Rand Paul, all attacking the Supreme Court for striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and for threatening to utterly destroy the institution of marriage entirely by legalizing gay marriage:

Republican Leaders Join Anti-Gay Extremists For Insane Documentary

Is the government about to ban Christianity and turn it into a criminal offense? According to one documentary, the answer is 'yes' because the gay rights movement is determined to outlaw the practice of Christianity.

As Kyle reported, the “documentary” will include appearances from Sen. Rand Paul and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, both likely presidential candidates.

Reps. Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Steve King and Tim Huelskamp also make appearances, joining the likes of creationist leader Ken Ham, discredited pseudo-historian David Barton and even “ex-homosexuals.”

Scott Lively, the Religious Right activist who pushed for laws criminalizing homosexuality in Uganda and banning pro-gay-rights speech in Russia, is also a featured guest. Not only does Lively believe that Obama is the Antichrist and claim that gay wedding songs caused Noah’s flood, but he even wrote a book, The Pink Swastika, blaming gay people for the Holocaust.

The documentary is the brainchild of Janet Porter, a former talk radio host who runs the group Faith 2 Action and the social media outlet FreedomBook (formerly known as ReaganBook).

Porter once co-chaired Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition during his 2008 presidential campaign and the former Arkansas governor once remarked that “there are two Janet’s that I answer to: my wife Janet and Janet Porter.” Most recently, she has dedicated her time to passing an anti-choice law, known as the Heartbeat Bill, in Ohio which would criminalize abortion even before many women know they are pregnant. Several GOP leaders, including Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, have endorsed her bill.

Porter has built quite a reputation for claiming that President Obama is set to literally imprison, starve and murder his political opponents and that the gay rights movement will destroy freedom as we know it.

Porter’s remarks on LGBT people include:

  • Claimed that pastors who won’t perform same-sex marriages will be “carried off into jail” in states with marriage equality laws.
  • Blamed gay rights for Noah’s Flood in a column entitled: “How Same-Sex Marriage Points To End Of The World.”
  • Claimed Jason Collins’ decision to come out of the closet will endanger freedom. 

That’s not all, as she has also:

  • Warned that President Obama will use the Swine flu to “round up American citizens” and throw them in “FEMA concentration camps.”
  • Wondered if former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is the Antichrist.

GOP Presidential Hopefuls And Members Of Congress Appear In New Anti-Gay 'Documentary'

Update: Porter has also released a trailer featuring Rand Paul and several GOP congressmen.

Today, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter sent out an email to activists excitedly announcing that she is finishing up editing a new anti-gay documentary that she intends to release at the National Religious Broadcaster's Convention in Nashville at the end of this month.

Porter, who was a longtime Religious Right activist and radio host until she lost her program due to her increasing radicalism only to re-emerge as an anti-abortion activist and right-wing social media entrepreneur, has brought together a who's who of hardline anti-gay activists, members of Congress, and presidential hopefuls for her film entitled "Light Wins: How To Overcome The Criminalization Of Christianity."

Among the participants are Rep. Steve King, Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Sen. Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, David Barton, James Dobson, Mat Staver, Phyllis Schlafly, Scott Lively, Alveda King, Brian Camenker, Frank Pavone, Robert Knight, John Stemberger, and, of course, Porter herself, who can been seen walking around in the woods with a lantern, warning that gay activists are seeking to turn Christians into criminals:

Porter released a separate preview of the film today, featuring a clip in which she blasts the Boy Scouts for having "needlessly caved to a dark sexual agenda" by allowing gay Scouts to join the organization while Knight and Stemberger warn that, as a result, the Boy Scouts will soon face "homosexual scandals" just like Penn State and the Catholic Church:

While it might come as a bit of a surprise to see someone like Rand Paul listed as appearing in this documentary, Mike Huckabee's participation should come as no surprise at all, as he has had close ties to Porter for years, even having named her as co-chair of his Faith and Family Values Coalition when he ran for president in 2008.

Predictably, Huckabee has nothing but praise for Porter's film:

"Light Wins" reveals the frightening trend not to simply ignore Christian believers, but to rid society of us altogether. This ground breaking, eye opening film will awaken viewers to the fact that being a spectator is no longer an option. One will be part of the solution or part of the problem, and I hope this riveting documentary will cause believers to take notice."

For more info on Porter's long history of making insane claims, see this round-up.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/3/15

  • Sen. Rand Paul says that he has "heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines." No wonder Alex Jones loves him.
  • The Government Is Not God PAC has set up a website encouraging Mike Huckabee to run for president.
  • Missouri Republican Party Chairman Ed Martin is stepping down from his position to become president of Eagle Forum.
  • Timothy Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, has died.
  • Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., is not happy with anti-abortion groups that have targeted her after she helped postpone a Republican bill aimed at banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Finally, Sam Rohrer of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network says that America will never receive God's blessing until it rejects homosexuality: "There is no room in God's justice for compromise on the moral standards He has established. History shows that cultures decay not from singular events but an incremental ceding of Truth and corrupting of God-established universal moral standards. The return to God's blessing as a nation will occur when individuals, led by pastors in the pulpit, once again preach the 'whole counsel' of God and understand that blessing arises only from complete obedience to God's Word."

Meet David Lane: The Anti-Gay, Christian-Nation Extremist Of The RNC

Last night, Rachel Maddow reported that the American Family Association has fired Bryan Fischer as its official spokesman, while letting Fischer keep his radio show on the organization’s radio network. The move apparently came as a result of growing controversy surrounding a trip to Israel for Republican National Committee delegates bankrolled by the AFA.

It didn’t look good for the RNC that the group paying the tab for the trip to Israel has a spokesman and radio host who believes that gay people are modern-day Nazis who are responsible for the Holocaust, demands Jewish conversion to Christianity (and wants to require conversion for Jewish and other non-Christian immigrants), and insists that non-Christians have no First Amendment rights: “Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity, have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of the religion.”

However, the RNC trip’s chief organizer, David Lane of the American Renewal Project, which has close ties to the AFA, is no less radical than Fischer … but his extreme views haven’t stopped Republicans from embracing Lane.

lane

Priebus, center. Lane, far right. Via The Brody File.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has appeared at Lane’s political gatherings and praised his radical anti-LGBT activism. In fact, potential Republican presidential candidates like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Mike Pence have either appeared at Lane’s events, which typically take place in early primary states, or participated in election-themed advertisements for Lane’s group.

Bobby Jindal, who has participated in both ventures, even hosted a prayer rally last weekend that was organized by Lane and funded by the AFA.

Lane and the AFA also organized an earlier visit to Israel for Paul and Perry, and Lane also organized Huckabee’s recent trip to Europe.

Lane, who describes himself as a political operative who prefers working behind the scenes, shares Fischer’s view that God is preparing to violently punish America for its tolerance of homosexuality. Lane, like Fischer, also believes that gay Republicans and gay rights supporters in the GOP are dangerous figures who will help bring the country down. He has:

  • Feared that God might destroy the U.S. just as he punished Nazi Germany: “If we get judgment like Nazi Germany, I’m assuming we go to rebel, and God says ‘I’m done.’”
  • Favorably quoted a Christian author who said that “same-sex marriage practiced universally is suicide. To survive gays and lesbians are parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.”
  • Explained why homosexuality is a threat to freedom: “Homosexuality is debauchery. God’s loyalty and fidelity — that guard the nation — make sustainable freedom dependent on seeking virtue.”
  • Predicted that homosexuality will lead to the destruction of America: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and — more so — is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.... The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin — which leads to the death.”
  • Compared Republicans who support marriage equality to politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.

“What is our aim?” Lane asked in a 2013 op-ed. “One word only: victory, in spite of all intimidation and terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, America will ultimately collapse.”

He has set his sights at the separation of church and state, warning that “America is lost, one has to think through and devise a strategy to recapture our Christian heritage and reestablish our Christian culture.” Lane has also outlined his strategy to further entrench his radical ideology in the Republican Party by holding prayer rallies like “The Response,” sponsoring events featuring GOP leaders, known as “restoration” and “renewal” events or “pastor policy briefings,” and recruiting 1,000 pastors to run for elected office.

Urging conservatives to “wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands,” Lane wants conservatives to embrace his exclusionary Christian Nationalist beliefs and abolish the separation of church and state. Lane:

  • Called the separation of church and state a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.”
  • Claimed that while “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.”
  • Said America needs a “thorough cleaning from pornography, abortion, homosexuality, filth from TV and Hollywood, racism, and injustice.”
  • Congratulated a pastor for exposing Mitt Romney’s belief in the “false god of Mormonism” during the 2012 GOP primaries.
  • Lamented that the “‘religion of secularism’ has produced red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the Inauguration, tax-funded abortion, homosexual marriage in several States, Evangelicals held in contempt, and God expelled from the classrooms of America — and the public square.”
  • Warned that while America has “grovel to the false god of Islam,” “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.”

Alex Jones: 'Rand Paul Is Awesome,' Just 'Playing Politics' To Moderate His Image

It’s no secret that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is a huge fan of Sen. Rand Paul, and he is positively giddy about the prospect of the Kentucky Republican running for president.

On Monday, the “InfoWars” host urged his followers not to back a third-party candidate but to “take over one of the two big parties” and rally around people like Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who are disliked by the “power structure.”

Jones told his viewers that Paul is the real deal, and if he appears to have moderated his views or distanced himself from his father’s extreme positions over the last few years, it is only because he is “playing politics” with the elitists in the media and government who are intent on destroying him.

I’ve known Rand Paul since 1995. He’s been at Austin [home of InfoWars], we’ve interviewed him. I am one of the first people to ever get him on air, probably the first. I know Rand Paul and I know he’s for real. That’s why even though he has played politics with them and come out and said some things that they want to hear, the Atlantic Monthly and others are saying 'don’t believe him, he’s nuts like his father,' because yeah, he is a constitutionalist patriot like his father and they know that. He’s playing politics with them, like Clinton played politics in saying he didn’t want your guns or Obama did. Well, he’s doing that on the opposite end, and they know it and they don’t like it and they’re coming after him. Rand Paul is awesome.

The Personhood Movement: Undermining Roe In The Courts: Part 3

This is the third post in a RWW series on the reemergence of the fetal personhood movement and what it means for the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Part 1: The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From And What It Means For The Future Of Choice
Part 2: The Personhood Movement: Internal Battles Go Public
Part 4: The Personhood Movement: Regrouping After Defeat

As we have detailed in previous posts in this series, ever since the anti-choice movement rose to prominence in the wake of Roe v. Wade, it has been divided over how to go about repealing Roe and recriminalizing abortion in the U.S.

Groups like Americans United for Life (AUL) and the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) have achieved great success in pushing states to adopt incremental measures targeting abortion providers in the name of protecting women’s health and in advocating for national policies — such as the 2003 “partial-birth” abortion ban and the 20-week abortion ban currently being considered by Congress — that attempt to undermine the legal reasoning in Roe by targeting a small segment of abortion procedures.

But the anti-choice personhood movement believes that the incremental strategy is doing too little to end legal abortion. They believe they have a better plan.

The personhood movement argues that small, incremental legal victories cutting off access to abortion will never achieve the ultimate goal of completely criminalizing the procedure — in part because those measures fail to make a moral argument on behalf of the humanity of the fertilized egg and fetus.

At the founding convention of the Personhood Alliance late last year, the chief of staff to Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, notorious for his legal fight over a Ten Commandment monument he placed in the courthouse rotunda, discussed an alternate legal strategy to end abortion rights. As Nina Martin has outlined in The New Republic, Moore’s protégé and colleague Justice Tom Parker has been carefully laying out a legal framework to overturn Roe, not by constitutional amendment, but by the legal redefinition of what it means to be a person protected by the law.

Parker, with Moore’s backing, has been building a body of jurisprudence that offers a blueprint for a personhood victory in the courts. In doing so, he’s drawn the attention and praise of anti-choice activists; Liberty Counsel, a right-wing legal group, has called him a “modern-day Wilberforce.”

Since efforts to overturn Roe by passing a Human Life Amendment or a legislative alternative faltered in Congress in the 1970s and 1980s, personhood advocates have focused on the states, passing legislation giving limited rights to fetuses as separate entities from pregnant women. Since 1986, 38 states have passed “fetal homicide” laws identifying fetuses at some or all stages of development as separate victims of crime and in 2004 Congress passed a similar law covering federal crimes. Similarly, in 18 states substance abuse during pregnancy is legally considered child abuse. In Alabama last year, Republicans passed a law allowing judges to appoint lawyers for fetuses. As Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate at the Guttmacher Institute, put it in an interview, “all of that is about trying to build up a legal case that personhood starts at fertilization.”

Personhood USA’s 2014 attempt to insert personhood language into Colorado law drew on this legal history, specifically limiting its new definition of personhood to the Colorado criminal code and Colorado Wrongful Death Act. But the proposal was nonetheless widely recognized as an attempt to ban abortion, or at least to set up a legal battle challenging Roe. In fact, Colorado had already passed laws imposing extra penalties for crimes against pregnant women, the purported purpose of the personhood amendment. “They are changing the tone, they are changing the language, they are changing the messaging to try to win,” Nash said.

Parker has chronicled laws treating fetuses as full-fledged humans in certain cases to argue that “[t]oday, the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion, and that denial is only because of Roe.” He has urged the Supreme Court to address the issue at the next chance it gets.

Parker and Moore’s strategy relies on what the personhood movement’s proponents believe is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that would allow anti-abortion advocates to effectively undo the decision without a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court friendlier to their cause. In Roe, the Justices rejected the idea of fetal personhood. Justice Blackmun wrote in his majority opinion that “no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment,” noting, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses...for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”

A federal bill that currently has 132 cosponsors in the House and 21 in the Senate takes aim at this supposed loophole in Roe, simply declaring that “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being," which includes “each member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the chief sponsor of the Senate bill, signed a fundraising email for the pro-personhood National Pro-Life Alliance in November, arguing that his was the strategy that would work:

The Supreme Court itself admitted  if Congress declares unborn children 'persons' under the law, the constitutional case for abortion-on-demand 'collapses.'

Alabama’s Supreme Court is the most prominent court to give a serious hearing to the personhood strategy, long considered by even some in the anti-choice movement to be a crackpot theory and a potential political and legal disaster. As recently as 2009, Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel at Americans United for Life, wrote in the National Review that the so-called “personhood loophole” was an “urban legend” and those pursuing it were “heading toward a brick wall.” Forsythe argued that in 1992 Casey decision, the Supreme Court had shifted the abortion debate from the personhood of fetuses to the rights of women, and that that was therefore the ground that the anti-choice movement should be playing on. “The real challenge for pro-lifers in 2009 is to effectively address the assumption that abortion is good for women,” he wrote, presaging AUL’s revamped woman-focused messaging.

Even more alarming to the personhood strategy’s detractors in the anti-choice movement is the possibility that a personhood challenge to Roe could create the opportunity for a Supreme Court ruling that would actually strengthen constitutional protections for abortion rights. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for instance, has said that she believes abortion rights should be secured under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, making the issue more clearly about the rights of women. In 2010, Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) wrote, “If a personhood amendment comes before this court, a new and terrifying decision may put the pro-life movement back a quarter century or more.”

In 2007, as the anti-choice movement’s schism over a ban on so-called “partial-birth” abortion was gaining national attention, Georgia Right to Life, which was at the the state affiliate of NRLC, worked with legislators to introduce a state constitutional amendment defining a “person” under state law as “including unborn children at every state of their biological development, including fertilization.”

Although the Georgia amendment was based on language originally drafted as a federal constitutional amendment by NRLC, NRLC’s chief counsel James Bopp, Jr. tried to shut it down. In a lengthy and frank memo to his fellow anti-choice activists, Bopp contended that such an amendment would be immediately struck down in federal courts and, if it made it to the Supreme Court, could give the court’s majority the opportunity to rewrite Roe in the way favored by Ginsburg. The state-level personhood strategy, he cautioned, was “presently doomed to expansive failure.”

Instead, Bopp said, the anti-choice movement should continue its incremental strategy, which was succeeding in curtailing access to abortion while keeping the issue in the public eye. He wrote that the “partial-birth” abortion law had been a successful example of this strategy because it “forced the pro-abortion camp to publicly defend a particularly visible and gruesome practice.” Acknowledging that “most pro-lifers” believe that abortion should only be available to save the life of a pregnant woman, he warned that absolutist, no-exceptions approaches like personhood were both legally unwise and poor public relations:

By contrast, the pro-life movement must at present avoid fighting on the more difficult terrain of its own position, namely arguing that abortion should not be available in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, and harm to the mother. While restricting abortion in these situations is morally defensible, public opinion polls show that popular support for the pro-life side drops off dramatically when these “hard” cases are the topic. And while most pro-lifers believe that a consistent pro-life position requires permitting abortion in only the rare circumstances where it is necessary to save the life of the mother, some pro-lifers believe that there should not even be an exception to preserve the life of the mother. Other pro-lifers advocate exceptions for rape or incest. This is an important debate to have, and we should be ready to convince the public of the need for few, if any, exceptions to laws prohibiting abortion when such laws can be upheld. However, since that is currently not the case, such a debate is premature and would undermine public support for the pro-life position.

Responding to Bopp’s memo, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, which drafted the Georgia amendment, argued that the incremental strategy had taken too long and done too little and that “after 34 years of abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, it is time to rethink pro-life strategy.”

“[T]he central holding of Roe v. Wade remains the primary obstacle to any meaningful pro-life initiative that seeks to end abortion,” wrote Thomas More attorney Robert J. Muise. “To remove this obstacle, a case must be presented to the United States Supreme Court that challenges the central premise of Roe — that the unborn is not a person within the meaning of the law.”

If personhood laws were to succeed in the courts, the legal implications would be immense and unpredictable.

The ambiguous wording of personhood measures has led to concerns that they could be interpreted to outlaw oral contraception, IUDs and in-vitro fertilization. But birth control is not the only issue. As the National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s Lynn Paltrow and Fordham sociologist Jeanne Flavin have documented, laws granting legal rights to fetuses outside the context of abortion have led to hundreds of cases of pregnant women being arrested or otherwise apprehended after suffering miscarriages or for alleged drug and alcohol use deemed to be harmful to the fetus.

In countries that completely criminalize abortion — the goal of the “pro-life” movement in the U.S. — pregnant woman can find themselves in terrifying situations: recently in El Salvador, a woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after suffering a miscarriage.

As Paltrow told Newsweek in 2012, “There’s no way to give embryos constitutional personhood without subtracting women from the community of constitutional persons.”

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.”

Daniel Becker, the former leader of Georgia Right to Life and founder of the Personhood Alliance, also sees the personhood issue as extending beyond abortion rights, but in a different direction. The final chapter of Becker's 2011 manifesto, "Personhood," is written in the form of a science fiction story set in a "post-human future" in which computers have gained consciousness, procreation has been moved to laboratories, and a "specialized sub-class of human-animal hybrids" has been developed to perform menial labor. The anti-abortion rights movement, he argues, will cease to be relevant in coming battles over biotechnology if it remains "at its heart, anti-abortion as opposed to pro-sanctity of human life." He argues that only by embracing full "personhood" rights for zygotes and fetuses will the movement remain viable in the future.

The personhood movement, while it has hope in the legal system, also recognizes that it won’t get far without winning hearts and minds. In the final post in this series, we’ll look at the movement’s efforts to reorganize in the wake of electoral defeats.

Alex Jones Envisions Paul-Cruz Dream Ticket: 'Rand Paul Is The Best'

Sen. Rand Paul has scored a big endorsement for his potential presidential candidacy…from legendary conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Paul has appeared a number of times on Jones’s program and has said he relies on the “Infowars” host for information on the Bilderbergers and the “people who are promoting this globalist agenda," so it came as no surprise when Jones endorsed him for president yesterday, citing their years of friendship.

Jones’ endorsement came after an interview with the senator’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, who warned of an imminent economic collapse and foreign calamities.

“Rand Paul is the best,” Jones said after the interview concluded. “I trust him. I’ve known him for 19 years and he’s the guy for president.”

Jones also had an idea for the candidate Paul should pick as his running mate: Sen. Ted Cruz.

“Ted Cruz will make a good VP," Jones said. "I’m telling you, Ted Cruz is getting more aggressive. That’s why, in polls, he’s now number one. In real polls, Ted Cruz has now taken the lead because he’s being aggressive and that’s what people want.”

The “InfoWars” host has previously boasted of his nearly two-decade relationship with Sen. Paul while cautioning that “he’s got a real shot at [the presidency] except for the electronic voting machine fraud.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/4/14

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/3/14

  • Alan Colmes: Former Police Chief Says He Created ‘Libtard’ Videos For Feds To Attract Patriot Group Extremists.
  • Media Matters: Fox Hosts Agree: Requiring "A Test Before You Vote" Would Be "Great."
  • Stephanie Mencimer @ Mother Jones: Tea Partiers Ignore Michele Bachmann's Call for Rally Against "Amnesty."
  • Simon Maloy @ Salon: Rand Paul is a conspiracy theorist: Time for the world to call him what he is.
  • David Ferguson @ Raw Story: Arizona pastor predicts ‘AIDS-free Christmas’ if all gays are killed, as God commands.

Rand Paul Fundraises For Personhood Group

Despite claiming that he opposes “changing any of the laws” on abortion rights and birth control, Sen. Rand Paul remains the chief sponsor of the federal personhood bill, the Life at Conception Act, in the U.S. Senate.

In fact, Paul is now signing emails on behalf of a the National Pro-Life Alliance, a group founded with the explicit goal of passing personhood laws banning abortion and common forms of birth control.

In a fundraising email for the group today, the Kentucky senator and likely presidential candidate touts his personhood bill, saying that it would stop “the slaughter” and effectively overturn Roe v. Wade. He adds that now that Republicans control both chambers of Congress, the personhood movement is in “a better than ever position” to force a vote on the bill.

For more than 40 years, nine unelected men and women on the Supreme Court have played God with innocent human life.

They have invented laws that condemned to painful deaths without trial more than 61 million babies for the crime of being "inconvenient."

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling forced abortion-on-demand down our nation's throat.

In the past, many in the pro-life movement have felt limited to protecting a life here and there -- passing some limited law to slightly control abortion in the more outrageous cases.

But some pro-lifers always seem to tiptoe around the Supreme Court, hoping they won't be offended.

Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over.

Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it.

That is why it's so urgent you sign the petition to your Senators and Congressman that I will link to in a moment.

Thanks to the results of the last election, you and I are in a better than ever position to force an up or down roll call vote on the Life at Conception Act.



A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children "persons" as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.

This is the one thing the Supreme Court admitted in Roe v. Wade that would cause the case for legal abortion to "collapse."



By turning up the heat on Congress in 2015 through a massive, national, grass-roots campaign, one of two things will happen.

If you and other pro-life activists pour on enough pressure, pro-lifers can force politicians from both parties who were elected on pro-life platforms to make good on their promises and ultimately win passage of this bill.

But even if a Life at Conception Act doesn't pass immediately, the public attention will set the stage to defeat radical abortionists in the 2016 elections.

Either way, the unborn win . . . unless you do nothing.



But I'm sure you'll agree pro-lifers cannot just sit by watching the slaughter continue.

The National Pro-Life Alliance's goal is to deliver one million petitions to the House and Senate in support of a Life at Conception Act.



The Supreme Court itself admitted -- if Congress declares unborn children "persons" under the law, the constitutional case for abortion-on-demand "collapses."

Five Crazy Conspiracy Theories About Ebola That Conservatives Actually Believe

As of today, there is only one person undergoing treatment for Ebola in the United States, and only two people have contracted the disease in the U.S., both of whom are healthcare workers who survived.

But the U.S.’s success in fighting the disease at home has not stopped Republican politicians and their allies in the conservative media from turning it into a political issue, warning of an impending massive Ebola outbreak in the U.S. and declaring that when that happens it will be all President Obama’s fault.

Here are five of the most common conspiracy theories that conservative commentators and their Republican allies are pushing about Ebola:

1. Obama Will Bring Ebola To The U.S. Through The Southern Border

Never mind the fact that the countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak are all in Africa. Or that there hasn’t been a single case of Ebola in Latin America, let alone among migrants crossing the southern border. Republican politicians aren’t going to waste a good opportunity to gin up vague, unfounded xenophobic fears by claiming that people infected with Ebola are about to cross the southern border. (That is, if they haven’t already!)

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., said in July that he had heard “reports” of undocumented immigrants infected with the Ebola virus coming into the U.S. through the southern border. When asked about these “reports” by journalists, Gingrey admitted that they did not actually exist. Indiana GOP Rep. Todd Rokita similarly warned that undocumented minors from Central America could represent a threat “from a public-health standpoint, with Ebola circulating and everything else.”

This month, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., warned conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck about the prospect of the Ebola virus jumping the southern border, and in another interview speculated that Obama’s policies may cause thousands of U.S. troops to contract Ebola.

Thom Tillis, the North Carolina House speaker challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, said his plan to deal with Ebola is “to seal the border and secure it,” while Sen. Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican locked in a tight re-election race, cited Ebola as a major reason why “we have to secure the border and we cannot have amnesty.”

Mike Huckabee warned his Fox News audience that people with Ebola will begin to fly from West Africa to Mexico in order to sneak into the U.S.: “If someone with Ebola really wants to come to the U.S., just get to Mexico and walk right in."

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who is now running for Senate in New Hampshire, said that America’s “porous” southern border will let people with Ebola just “walk across it.” He later claimed that “if Mitt [Romney] was the president right now,” then he could “guarantee you we would not be worrying about Ebola right now.”

2. Obama Will Bring Ebola To The U.S . In Order To Impose Martial Law

Naturally, the White House “orchestrated” the Ebola epidemic in West Africa to justify its Big Government agenda, according to several conservative commentators and at least one actual member of Congress.

Rep. Steve Stockman, Republican of Texas, said this month that Obama has laid the groundwork to use “emergency powers to take over control of the economy and everything” and speculated that the president might intentionally slow the government response to Ebola in order to create a crisis situation that he could then exploit:

Their terminology is there’s always a crisis which they want to use to their benefit, I would not be surprised that the reason that you see a lack of response is so that it becomes a real crisis and things can be used to correct the crisis, you know. It’s just bizarre there’s not enough action up front and I’m wondering if that’s — I’m not saying this — but I’m wondering if that’s intentional in order to create a greater crisis to use it as a blunt force to say, well in order to solve this crisis we’re going to have to take control of the economy and individuals and so forth. I don’t know. It’s just a strange non-response, a strange way of handling it and I think that if it does go forward and we do not control it, there may be an overreaction where the government starts taking away the rights of those that aren’t that necessarily involved or need that to happen. I hope that’s not that case but as you know this current government uses crisis to advance their philosophy and their agenda.

Laurie Roth, a conservative talk show host, predicted that Obama would “create a guise to declare martial law due to created outbreaks” and introduce a fake Ebola vaccine that would “act as a tracker.”

Another radio broadcaster, Rick Wiles, feared that Obama would use Ebola to “round up patriots,” shutter churches and set up “re-education camps.”

The conspiracy theorists of WorldNetDaily are sounding similar themes.

Erik Rush, a columnist for the conservative media outlet, wondered if Obama administration officials actually “want Ebola to spread in the United States,” creating a crisis “orchestrated by the White House in order to ultimately ‘legitimize’ a declaration of martial law in America.”

Mychal Massie also took to WorldNetDaily to suggest that Obama will manufacture an Ebola crisis in order to achieve his goal of cancelling the 2016 elections and staying in office indefinitely.

WorldNetDaily’s Morgan Brittany claimed that the government is showing “no urgency to stop the disease from entering the U.S.,” which she said betrays the administration’s intention to make use of its non-existent FEMA coffins, declare martial law and seize guns.

“Questions were then brought up about the stockpiling of ammunition and weapons by Homeland Security over the past couple of years and the $1 billion worth of disposable FEMA coffins supposedly stored in Georgia. Why was there preparation being made for FEMA camps to house people in isolation?” Brittany wondered. “My fear is that this has all been orchestrated from the very beginning. Who knows? Maybe the current administration needs this to happen so martial law can be declared, guns can be seized and the populace can be controlled. Once that happens … game over.”

3. Obama Will Bring Ebola Outbreak To The U.S. To Help His ‘African Brothers’

Conservatives frequently insist that none of their criticism of Obama has anything to do with race, and more than a handful have claimed that the president’s handling of the Ebola outbreak proves that he is the real racist.

Conservative columnist and Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman cited Obama’s response to the Ebola outbreak as proof that he favors “his African brothers, putting the interests of fellow blacks, with whom he feels a kinship, ahead of others.”

“Obama has favored his African brothers over the rest of us by allowing them free entry into this country,” Klayman wrote in another column. “As a result, Ebola has now been introduced into the United States, may be on the verge of spreading rapidly, with the end result being potential massive death to our citizenry.”

“Regrettably our Muslim commander in chief has favored his own creed over the rest of us,” he added.

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly also claimed that Obama is “letting these diseased people into this country to infect our own people” in order to make the U.S. more like Africa.

“Obama doesn’t want America to believe that we’re exceptional,” she wrote. “He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Africa is suffering from Ebola, we ought to join the group and be suffering from it, too. That’s his attitude.”

Rush Limbaugh argued that “leftist” elected officials believe that Ebola “is ultimately traced back to us; because of our slavery, we kind of deserve a little bit of this.”

Not to be outdone, Laura Ingraham maintained that Obama’s “familial connection to Africa” and “core ties to the African continent” are shaping the president’s response to Ebola to the detriment to the U.S.

4. Obama Will Bring Ebola Outbreak To The U.S. Because He Hates America

Public health experts have consistently said that knee-jerk reactions like stopping travel from West Africa and quarantining healthcare workers will do nothing to lessen the Ebola risk in America (and may in fact make it worse), and that the best way for the United States to protect itself from the disease is to help fight it at its source in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

But we all know not to trust scientists!

Republican politicians and conservative commentators have expressed outrage that President Obama has put resources into fighting Ebola in West Africa and is ignoring their calls for counterproductive flight bans and quarantines. They remind us that the president is, after all, an anti-American radical so everything he does should be held in suspicion.

Fox News commentator Keith Ablow speculated this month that “the president may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations,” arguing that Obama wants Americans to experience an Ebola epidemic out of a sense of “fairness” since he thinks the American people have “been a scourge on the face of the Earth.”

“We don’t have a president who has the American people as his primary interest,” Ablow said. “We’re not even voting for somebody who likes us. This guy, who has names very similar to two of our archenemies, Osama, well, Obama. And Hussein. Hussein.”

The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer said recently that he was just asking the question whether Obama wants to “punish” America with Ebola: “It looks like he actually wants Ebola to come to the United States. Why would he want that? Well, remember President Obama thinks that this country is racist to its core, it’s been racist since the beginning, it’s an evil, colonial force that’s been the root of all kinds of evil all around the world, it needs to be punished, it needs to be brought down to size, it needs to be disciplined.”

Conservative talk show host Michael Savage suggested that Obama “wants to infect the nation with Ebola,” insisting that Obama’s handling of Ebola “rises to levels of treason, it actually exceeds any level of treason I’ve ever season.”

“Obama wants equality and he wants fairness and it’s only fair that America have a nice epidemic or two or three or four in order to really feel what it’s like to be in the Third World. You have to look at it from the point of view of a leftist,” he added.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, also posited that Obama and other Democratic officials say “don’t quarantine, let’s don’t close our borders” because they “feel like we want everyone to feel included” and “don’t want anybody to feel like they’re being left out.”

Glenn Beck speculated that Obama may be allowing the disease to take hold in conservative parts of the country, telling Fox News host Bill O’Reilly earlier this month that the president was ignoring the cases of two nurses who contracted Ebola in Dallas, perhaps because the city “doesn’t particularly care for the president.”

If this were happening in Washington, D.C., right now, do you think the President and his administration would be acting like this? Do you think the Congress would be acting like this? This is happening in Dallas, Texas, this is a top-ten city in the United States of America. Happens to be one that doesn’t particularly care for the president all that much and his policies, one that the president has not been too favorable on. We are already being squeezed on our southern border, now we’re being squeezed by Ebola. Is there an agenda here? Is that possibly the reason, because I can’t figure out any other reason.

5. Ebola Is God’s Judgment On America (Especially Obama)

Of course, several Religious Right figures are responding to the Ebola epidemic by suggesting that it is divine punishment on America.

The televangelist John Hagee said this month that Ebola is a sign of God’s disapproval of Obama’s foreign policy in the Mideast.

“Our president is dead-set on dividing Jerusalem. God is watching and he will bring America into judgment,” he said, and as a result “we are now experiencing the crisis of Ebola.”

Ron Baity, a North Carolina pastor who worked with the Family Research Council and other anti-gay groups to pass a marriage equality ban, blamed Ebola on the gay community.

“We are bringing the judgment of God on this nation,” Baity said. “As sure as Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, don’t be surprised at the plagues, don’t be surprised at the judgment of God. You think Ebola is bad now? Just wait.”

“Trunews” host Rick Wiles also linked Ebola to homosexuality, but had a slightly different view. As Wiles explained, “Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion.”

Maggie Gallagher Warns Of 'The Horrible Things The Left Is Going To Do' As They Impose 'This New, Strange Sexual Orthodoxy'

On Saturday, a group of Religious Right activists at the Values Voter Summit were pitched on the possibility and necessity of a stronger union between social conservatives and libertarians, a discussion that was heavily tinged with the rhetoric of anti-Christian persecution that dominated the weekened.

In a panel titled “Moral Decline Causes Big Government,” the American Principles Project’s Maggie Gallagher (formerly of the National Organization for Marriage), the director of Rand Paul’s PAC, Doug Stafford, and conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway made their best case for libertarians to adopt social conservative causes — or, given the makeup of the crowd, for social conservatives to be open to an alliance with libertarian conservatives.

Gallagher brought up the Religious Right’s fears about the persecution of conservative Christians by the LGBT rights movement, warning that with the current Supreme Court she was “not optimistic” about preventing marriage equality from becoming law in all 50 states, and that if that happens, there will be “more cases where people are being oppressed…for their views on marriage.”

Libertarians, Gallagher said, should share the concern of social conservatives about gay rights advocates “using the government to impose this new, strange sexual orthodoxy” and their fears of “the horrible things the left is going to do.” She warned that the window for a stronger alliance was narrow, because if LGBT rights advocates succeed, “there’s not a way to build a winning conservative coalition.”

She also made an ideological case for libertarians to join social conservatives, arguing that  “the decline of marriage” caused the growth of “pretty much every part of government, besides the defense budget, in America.”

“When the family falls apart, the government grows to step in,” she said.

Conway told the crowd that “values voters and libertarians have a great deal in common” from opposition to “big government” and abortion rights to being “sick of lawyers in black robes making stuff up” to a refusal to “redefine” family to be “whatever feels cool.” She also saw an opening to win over libertarians with the Religious Right’s increasing reliance on persecution rhetoric, or what she called the “assault on religious liberty in so many parts of our culture.”

Stafford echoed Conway, explaining that many libertarians oppose abortion rights and putting in a plug for the two groups to work together and with liberals to end the drug war.

Whatever the few libertarians in the room might have thought of the panel’s appeals, however, the bulk of the social conservative crowd seemed deeply skeptical of any attempt to woo libertarians. The biggest round of applause at the event came when a man came to the microphone, introduced himself as a pastor and proceeded to deliver a soliloquy against such “sins” as homosexuality. In an apparent jab at Sen. Paul’s position that marriage equality legislation should be left to the states, the pastor said, “Don’t let the states decide on marriage. God has already decided!”

As the panel ended, after little discussion of the morality of same-sex marriage, the woman next to me turned to me and shook her head. The panelists, she said, “didn’t listen to a thing that pastor said.”
 

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