Rand Paul

PFAW Calls on Republican Presidential Candidates to Renounce Frank Gaffney

Yesterday, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney had on his radio show well-known white nationalist Jared Taylor, who has called African-Americans “crime-prone” and “deviant” and said that his goal is to ensure the “ biological and cultural continuity” of white people in America. On the show, Gaffney said that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work. While that’s all heinous on its own, seven of the Republican presidential candidates have appeared on Gaffney’s program or spoken at his events, including recent campaign events in early primary states.

People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan responded with the following:

“This is a new low, even considering how hard all the leading Republican candidates have been courting the xenophobic Republican base enthralled with Trump.

“All of the Republican candidates should cut ties with Gaffney immediately and refuse to go on his show or speak at future events he sponsors. The Republican Party should not give any space to white nationalism.”

Additional background on Gaffney, Taylor, and the connections that Trump, Carson, Huckabee, Santorum, Paul, Jindal, and Cruz have to Gaffney can be found here, from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.



GOP Candidates' Favorite Anti-Muslim Activist Interviews Prominent White Nationalist

The Center for Security Policy, the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim organization run by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney has a comfortable place in Republican politics.

Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz, have all spoken at at least one CSP event, as have a number of prominent conservative activists. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has accepted an award from the group. Just this month, Gaffney cosponsored a rally against the Iran nuclear deal that was headlined by Trump, Cruz, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Carson appeared on his radio program this month; Cruz, Jindal and Rand Paul have joined the program in the past.

This is all despite Gaffney’s long track record of pushing outrageous conspiracy theories , including birther and “secret Muslim” theories about President Obama, panic about Sharia law coming to the United States, and embarrassing campaigns against people he thinks are infiltrating the American government or the GOP or the NRA or CPAC on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And then there’s this: As the Southern Poverty Law Center spotted, Gaffney invited Jared Taylor, one of the most well-known white nationalists in the country, to speak on his “Secure Freedom Radio” program yesterday and took trouble to tell Taylor that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work at his racist publication American Renaissance, which Gaffney called “wonderful.”

The two discussed their aversion to the Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe. Gaffney asked Taylor, according to SPLC’s transcript:

At some point there will be a very vigorous resistance to the infusion into these countries of large numbers of people who don’t assimilate, many of them Muslim who bring with them a Sharia ideological program that is antithetical to the culture and civilization and polities of European nations. Do you anticipate, as we’re seeing now evidence of increasing violence, notably against women, on the part of these refugees, not all of them by any means but some, rapes now becoming a serious problem in some of the refugee holding areas, and demonstrations and in some cases worse that are breaking out in various parts of Europe when they’re not accommodated to their satisfaction, that you may see in fact Europe devolving once again into the types of cataclysms that it has from time immemorial with, you know, blood letting taking place. Is that overreaching at this point or perhaps just a distant possibility?

Taylor responded:

We have unleashed now what would not be an exaggeration to call almost demonic forces. We have close to a million now of these so-called refugees, most of whom are young men. They are young, single men. Most of whom have never seen a woman in a bikini in their lives. Most of them are part of, as you say, this Sharia culture that despises any woman who walks around with her face uncovered, with her legs bare. These people are going to be all sorts of trouble for Europe for many, many years to come.

Taylor is an unapologetically racist activist. He has written that "Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears"; he has urged white people to “rekindle” their “instinctive preference for their own people and culture.” Taylor has been active in the effort to build alliances between American white nationalists and the European far-right, participating in a meeting in Budapest last year, where he told his “European brothers” that “the genetic and cultural effect of alien immigration is no different from armed invasion.”

While Taylor is largely shunned by mainstream right-wing circles, he has expressed an affinity for Donald Trump, telling the New Yorker that “I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me, but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit.”

When Media Matters asked Gaffney to explain his interview with Taylor, CSP sent them a statement claiming that Gaffney invited Taylor exclusively to discuss refugee policy and “was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor's views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.” The group did not explain how Gaffney was able to lavish praise on American Renaissance without being familiar with its contents. 

While Gaffney’s already lengthy record of extremism hasn’t yet caused major GOP figures to distance themselves from him, Gaffney’s decision to elevate Taylor and his work should cause him to lose all credibility among candidates and officials who wish to be taken seriously in the future.

UPDATE: In a statement on the Center for Security Policy's website, the group says that Gaffney's compliments to Taylor were "routine" and that if he had done his "due diligence" before the interview, he would not have invited Taylor as a guest:

Yesterday’s program included a conversation with Jared Taylor concerning a recent article by him addressing the dire implications for Europe, its people and civilization of large numbers of migrants from nations in which shariah-adherence is the norm.  The host was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor’s views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.

Subsequently, Mr. Gaffney had a chance to examine those views and the American Renaissance website on which they appear. There is much there with which he strongly disagrees.  Had due diligence been done beforehand, such disagreements would have resulted in Mr. Taylor not being invited on the show, routine compliments to such guests not made and an offer to appear again not extended.

UPDATE II: CSP has removed the interview with Taylor from its website.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/16/15

With Kim Davis In Custody, Conservatives Anoint Her As A Martyr

The decision by a federal judge to put Kim Davis in the custody of U.S. Marshals for repeatedly violating the law and refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has solidified the Kentucky clerk’s status as a Religious Right martyr. Following the court’s ruling, conservative leaders and commentators immediately defended Davis.

Mike Huckabee, who has called Davis to offer his support, repeated his talking point about the “criminalization of Christianity” and announced plans to travel to Kentucky to support her legal battle.

Huckabee started a petition demanding President Obama “free Kim Davis”:

Dear President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, & Judge Bunning:

Immediately release Kim Davis from federal custody. Exercising Religious Liberty should never be a crime in America. This is a direct attack on our God-given, constitutional rights.


Mike Huckabee

He also warned on Facebook that others, including pastors and caterers, may soon join her in jail:

Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country. We must...

Posted by Mike Huckabee on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fellow presidential candidate and Davis defender Rand Paul told CNN that “it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties,” wondering why federal courts are involved in the matter in the first place.

Ted Cruz released his own statement decrying the supposed “persecution” of Davis by the Obama administration, which had nothing to do with the case:

“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.

“I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to chose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.


“I call upon every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now.”

Liberty Counsel, the virulently anti-LGBT organization representing Davis, said that she is not going to jail for contempt but just for being a Christian:

“Kim Davis might be jailed for her conscience, but her conscience is free,” Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver told Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. “He’s just putting her behind bars and treating her as a criminal.”

Liberty Counsel radio host Matt Barber said that Davis will now have to “bow a knee before ‘LGBT’ gods” or burn to death, likening her to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

RedState founder Erick Erickson mentioned civil war:

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said in a statement that the judge has imposed an unconstitutional religious test for public office: “If this is not resolved in a manner that accommodates the orthodox religious beliefs of Clerk Davis, this will, in effect, establish a reverse religious test barring those who hold biblical views of marriage from positions of public service. Such a religious test by proclamation or practice is wrong.”

After conducting a fawning interview with Davis, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes continued to defend her, warning that “these are very dangerous days for America”:

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was taken into federal custody today. Federal Judge David Bunning says she will remain behind...

Posted by Todd Starnes on Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Constitution The Republicans Can't Stand

This post was written by PFAW President Michael B. Keegan and originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

If you are running for office as a Republican today, you have to mention your reverence for the Constitution at least as much as you mention your love for Ronald Reagan.

The Second Amendment-- every word should be taken literally because it was literally ordained by God! The First Amendment protects my right to discriminate against gay people! Neither the Constitution nor the Bible contains the word "Obamacare"!

But Republican politicians have a few glaring blind spots when it comes to the Constitution. One of those is the 14th Amendment, a pillar of our inclusive democracy, a key component of which Republican presidential candidates are now asking us to ignore or change.

In its infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the descendants of enslaved people were disqualified from U.S. citizenship. After we fought a civil war, the U.S. ratified the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868, which overturned Dred Scott in its opening lines, declaring, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

During the congressional debate over the 14th Amendment, both its supporters and detractors recognized that this birthright citizenship clause would apply to everyone born on U.S. soil, not just the descendants of slaves. In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that even after the passage of the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act, the U.S.could not deny citizenship to Wong Kim Ark, a California-born son of Chinese immigrants, because the 14th Amendment guaranteed him citizenship.

Yet, anti-immigrant activists and their allies in the GOP are now fighting against this most American of constitutional principles.

In an immigration plan released this week, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for ending birthright citizenship. No matter that he didn't say how he would do that(while most people acknowledge that it would take a constitutional amendment to change the policy, some claim it was never included in the 14th Amendment in the first place). His Republican rivals started jumping to join him. Scott Walker told reporters that he "absolutely" wanted to change the Constitution's definition of citizenship, adding, paradoxically, that "to me it's about enforcing the laws in this country." Ben Carson said it "doesn't make any sense" to allow "anchor babies." Bobby Jindal joined the fray. So did Lindsey Graham. Rand Paul and Rick Santorum had already expressed their support for undoing the citizenship provision, with Paul sponsoring a constitutional amendment to do so and Santorum saying the 14th Amendment doesn't even say what it says.

Jeb Bush has been getting unearned credit for acknowledging that birthright citizenship is a "constitutional right" that we shouldn't "take away" -- just a few days after implying that if he had a "magic wand" to change the Constitution he would use it to do just that. Similarly, John Kasich has renounced his previous support for repealing birthright citizenship, but now says he doesn't want to "dwell on it." Carly Fiorina's and Rick Perry's passionate defense of the 14th Amendment is that it would take too much work to change it. This is what now passes for moderation. What ever happened to defending basic constitutional rights?

The Republican presidential contenders' rush to badmouth a basic constitutional right -- in an apparent attempt to appeal to their supposedly Constitution-loving far-right base -- speaks volumes about what they really mean when they talk about constitutionalism. They use their pocket Constitutions for the parts that come in handy. The rest of it? Not so much.


'What's Wrong With Slavery?' And Jan Mickelson's Other Worst Pro-Confederacy, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Gay Moments

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.

When Graham appeared on his program in June, Mickelson declared his allegiance to the Confederacy, as Graham scrambled to distance himself:

Mickelson has also backed Jim Crow-type voting laws.

Today’s comments are hardly Mickelson’s first foray into anti-immigrant extremism either. He has proposed barring undocumented children from public schools and said that if someone has a Hispanic name and is involved with the police, “I assume you’re not here legally.” After an interview with anti-immigrant activist Ann Corcoran, Mickelson promised to press every candidate he had on his show to oppose the U.S. resettlement of refugees from war-torn Muslim countries, which he said was an “act of jihad.” When he asked Rand Paul about it, Paul said the U.S. shouldn’t resettle Iraqi refugees because “we won the war.”

Mickelson’s anti-gay activism includes calling AIDS an “invention” of God to punish homosexuality and agreeing with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on the issue of homosexuality.

The Iowa talk radio host also enjoys promoting fringe right-wing conspiracy theories. Mickelson helped to bring the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory into the GOP mainstream, asking Paul on his program about the supposed federal plan to take over Texas .

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.

Rand Paul Claims That His Personhood Bill Is Merely Meant To Start A 'Debate'

Sen. Rand Paul was the chief sponsor in the last Congress of a “personhood” bill that would have granted full constitutional rights to zygotes, thereby banning all abortions, in-vitro fertilization, and even possibly common forms of birth control. But for someone who champions an unambiguously anti-abortion plan, Paul has been curiously unwilling to talk about it in a straightforward manner.

In his communications with anti-abortion activists, Paul has taken a hard line, writing in a fundraising email for one pro-personhood group that his Life at Conception Act would “collapse” Roe v. Wade without even needing a Constitutional amendment and telling another Religious Right group that American civilization won’t “endure” without ending all abortion.

“Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over,” he enthusiastically declared in an email for the pro-personhood National Pro-Life Alliance. “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.”

But to the mainstream media, Paul has been more circumspect, claiming that the no-exceptions abortion ban he sponsored would have “thousands of exceptions,” saying that the country is too divided to change any abortion laws, and opining that laws about the very procedure that his bill would attempt to ban nationwide would be best left up to the states.

Paul took the obfuscation tack again in an interview last week with the Catholic television network EWTN, responding to news anchor Raymond Arroyo’s question about his Life at Conception Act by saying that the goal of the bill is to merely “drive the debate about when life begins” and to make liberals talk about abortion.

“We get trapped by the other side, the liberals who always want to talk about the very beginning of gestation,” he said. “And I think it’s important to want to talk about and make them express their opinion that a six-, seven-, eight-pound baby has no rights. But I believe for religious and scientific reasons that life begins at the beginning, otherwise we just keep finding an arbitrary time.”

Paul has won praise from anti-choice activists for trying to turn criticism of his extreme anti-abortion policies back on liberals. But he can hardly claim to be starting a “debate” when he won’t even cop to what his true policy position is.

Rand Paul: 'So Much Of Our Population' Lacks 'Work Ethic'

In an interview with the Catholic television network EWTN last week, Sen. Rand Paul said that the main problem that must be addressed in the immigration debate is that we have “almost defeated the work ethic in our country” and “we’ve destroyed the ethic of work in so much of our population.”

When EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo asked the Kentucky Republican about the 250 Disney employees who were let go after training their replacements who came to the U.S. on temporary visas, Paul said the U.S. must “look very carefully at how many people we need.”

But he added that immigration is a “two-fold problem” because “we’re rotting from the inside” thanks to unspecified “people” who lack a work ethic.

“We also have almost defeated the work ethic in our country,” he said. “And so, for like picking crops, hard work, if we didn’t bring in migrant labor, we’re rotting from the inside. We have people who really — we’ve destroyed the ethic of work in so much of our population.”


Paranoia-Rama: Obama’s Kenyan Demon, Race War Prophecy And EMP Attack On Texas

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.

Watch 7:50 in and decide for yourself:

4) Michael Savage’s Mayan Prophecy

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.

Savage made his case to listeners on Monday:

3) Mike Huckabee’s Gay Marriage Prophecy

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.

Fortunately, Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles has learned his lesson. After warning his listeners that the training wouldlead to Obama’s seizure of power and “a round-up of patriotic men,” he is now telling “Trunews” fans: “ Don’t fear Jade Helm 15 but beware Jade Helm 16.”

Wiles also previewed what will happen next year: a nuclear EMP attack on Texas.

1) Rand Paul Aide Being Persecuted Just For Bribing Some Guy

During the 2012 presidential campaign, a number of aides to then-candidate Ron Paul were allegedly involved in a plot to bribe Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman to jump ship to Paul’s campaign days before the state’s caucuses.

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.”

2016 Republican Candidates Report

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.

Some Questions for the Republican 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?

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/21/15

  • Glenn Beck may not be on radio or TV this month, but that has not stopped him from completely freaking out about stuff.
  • Roger Gannam of Liberty Counsel warns that gay marriage is all about "crushing dissent" and forcing Christians out of public office.
  • It is probably never a good sign when a Republican presidential candidate like Rand Paul starts supporting a radical position first proposed by Bryan Fischer.
  • James Robison says that the most important characteristics the next president must possess is that they "want what Father God wants" and "not only ask for prayer, but believe in it so strongly they live on their knees so they can stand on a rock-solid foundation of proven principles."
  • Finally, Mike Farris calls for a new Constitutional Convention to rein in and reshape the Supreme Court in the wake of the gay marriage ruling.

Jade Helm 15 Is Here! The GOP Politicians Who Encouraged Panic Over President Obama's 'Texas Takeover'

This spring, when far-right conspiracy theory websites started buzzing about Jade Helm 15, a planned military exercise in western states that they said was a cover for President Obama’s plans to impose martial law on Republicans states, we expected apoplectic reactions from the fringiest of right-wing circles. But who else was going to take it seriously?

Plenty of people, it turns out, including Republican politicians seeking to capitalize on anti-Obama fears in order to lift their profile in the increasingly far-right party — a poll in May found that a full one-third of Republicans believed that the government was “trying to take over Texas.”

Today, as the military exercise begins, we look back at five Republican politicians who, whether credulously or cynically, fed the Jade Helm 15 frenzy.

1. Greg Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was the first GOP politician this fringe conspiracy theory into the Republican mainstream, assuring concerned citizens that he had ordered the Texas Guard to monitor the potential takeover effort.

After he became the object of national criticism and ridicule, Abbott said that the actually thought the military exercise would “work out just fine” and blamed President Obama for stirring up suspicion:

“Frankly, I gotta tell you, I think the cause of the underlying concerns is that we see instances, like a shooting in Fort Hood by a terrorist, that the president labels workplace violence. We see the president come to the border in Texas and say it’s safer than it’s ever been,” said Abbott. “And so I think it was a misplaced perception by people in Texas who have problems with the Obama administration and connected that trust with the Obama administration to the military.”

2. Rick Perry

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry initially criticized Abbott’s fanning of the Jade Helm 15 flames, saying that while “you can always question” civilian leadership, “I think our military is quite trustworthy.”

But the presidential candidate quickly got the messaging memo, telling Glenn Beck that while President Obama invites unhinged conspiracy theories, when he’s president, everyone will trust the government:

3. Ted Cruz

Not to be outdone by his presidential rival Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz assured his flock that he had “ reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise ,” and although he had “no reason to doubt” the official line about the training exercise, “I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, “because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”

4. Louie Gohmert

After Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15, Rep. Louie Gohmert threw himself into promoting the conspiracy theory, releasing a statement saying that the conspiracy theorists were “legitimately suspicious” because “true patriots” and Christians were being persecuted in America.

Gohmert continued with some theories of his own:

Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution. When the federal government begins, even in practice, games or exercises, to consider any U.S. city or state in 'hostile' control and trying to retake it, the message becomes extremely calloused and suspicious.

Such labeling tends to make people who have grown leery of federal government overreach become suspicious of whether their big brother government anticipates certain states may start another civil war or be overtaken by foreign radical Islamist elements which have been reported to be just across our border. Such labeling by a government that is normally not allowed to use military force against its own citizens is an affront to the residents of that particular state considered as 'hostile,' as if the government is trying to provoke a fight with them. The map of the exercise needs to change, the names on the map need to change, and the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.

Like Abbott and Perry, Gohmert was insistent that the whole conspiracy theory was President Obama’s fault:

5. Rand Paul

We’ll give Rand Paul credit for seeming a little surprised when a popular Iowa talk radio host asked him about Jade Helm 15, although he said he’d been hearing about it from constituents and would “look into” it. If Paul ever did look into it and find that the conspiracy theory was completely bogus, however, he never bothered to say so.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/22/15

John Kasich Kicks Off Presidential Bid By Addressing Religious Right Gathering

The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Religious Right group led by disgraced right-wing lobbyist Ralph Reed, is holding its annual “Road to Majority” conference next week. Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has signed up for the event, and today, the FFC announced that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be addressing the conservative summit.

Kasich recently made waves by tapping John Weaver and Fred Davis, two veterans of John McCain’s 2008 campaign, to work for his increasingly likely campaign for president.

The conference is cosponsored by radical right-wing groups such as Concerned Women for America, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property and the World Congress of Families, and will feature speeches from Religious Right favorites such as Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, Christian Broadcasting Network “reporter” David Brody, pastor Jim Garlow, rabbi Daniel Lapin and activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Lila Rose and Gary Bauer.

Clearly, no right-wing activist is too radical or corrupt for Republican presidential candidates to embrace, which is why Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina have no qualms about attending this event organized by someone like Reed.

Reed is best known for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal, where he organized a Christian Coalition anti-gambling campaign in Alabama with the help of secretive funding from Mississippi tribes that owned casinos – who just so happened to be Abramoff’s clients that didn’t want business competition from the neighboring state. Reed denied knowing the source of the funding, even though investigators uncovered emails from Abramoff asking Reed to send invoices for approval from a Mississippi tribe which controlled major gaming interests. Abramoff later said that Reed “didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money,” adding that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.”

Just Weeks Before Saying Abortion Should Be Left To The States, Rand Paul Wanted To 'Bypass Roe v. Wade'

Sen. Rand Paul’s recent remark that the issue of abortion rights would be best handled “by the states” rather than “under the 14th Amendment” and his ambiguous answer to the question of “when does life begin” were, as commentators on the left and the right have pointed out, somewhat confounding since Paul has sponsored a Senate bill that aims to undermine Roe v. Wade by defining life as beginning “at conception.”

Adding to the confusion, just a few weeks before Paul made his remarks, the “personhood” group National Pro-Life Alliance forwarded to its members a fundraising email Paul wrote last year urging them to support the effort to “bypass Roe v. Wade” by declaring “unborn children ‘persons’ as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.”

On April 4, National Pro-Life Alliance forwarded Paul’s letter with the subject line “Sign the petition to bypass Roe v. Wade”:

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.

Signing the Life at Conception Act petition will help break through the opposition clinging to abortion-on-demand and ultimately win a vote on this life-saving bill to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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."

Today, the group sent a similar message from former Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas. Paul’s and Stockman’s argument is based on the somewhat questionable legal theory — rejected by even many anti-choice leaders — that Congress can “bypass” a constitutional amendment or Supreme Court decision overturning Roe by simply passing legislation declaring fertilized eggs and fetuses to be “persons” under the law.

Some anti-choice leaders worry that this strategy would backfire in the courts, giving the Supreme Court a broad opening to strengthen Roe v. Wade. But if it were to succeed, the consequences would be enormous , not only defining all abortion as murder, but endangering common forms of birth control as well. Back in 2013, Paul claimed that such a measure would have “thousands of exceptions,” which his staff later clarified that he did not actually mean.

In fact, saying completely contradictory things on reproductive rights seems to be becoming Paul’s official campaign line. In his profile of Paul in March, Brian summarized Paul’s shifting stance on abortion rights as he heads into the 2016 presidential election:

Paul has also been on all sides of the question of abortion rights. Although Paul is the chief sponsor of a federal personhood bill that would ban abortion in all cases and has warned that a failure to pass the bill will result in the collapse of civilization, he has also said that he does not favor changing the nation’s abortion laws because the country is currently too divided on the issue. Paul insists that he opposes bans on birth control, despite the fact that his own personhood bill would give legal rights to zygotes and could ban common forms of contraception. In a 2013 CNN interview, Paul said that there would be “thousands of exceptions” to his personhood bill, but a spokesman later assured anti-choice activists that the senator approved of just a single exception, allowing abortion in cases where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk.

Paranoia-Rama: Sharia Law In Walmart, Satan Controls Marijuana And Gays Destroying The Food Supply

While President Obama is bringing in thousands of Muslim refugees who will impose Sharia law in Walmart stores, gay people are provoking God into punishing America through drought and famine. But don’t look to pot to calm you down, as it is simply a tool that Satan will use to devour you.

Rand Paul: US Shouldn't Accept Iraqi Refugees Because 'We Won The War'

The 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq sparked a massive refugee crisis as millions fled their homes, and the U.S. has been widely criticized for failing to resettle refugees, including those who fled after being violently threatened and targeted for working with the U.S. government.

Kentucky senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul, however, thinks that the U.S. should not resettle such refugees since they would be better off in Iraq and, after all, the U.S. “won the war.” 

While speaking with Iowa-based radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday, Paul criticized efforts by the U.S. and the United Nations to settle Iraqi refugees in the country. Mickelson was even more sweeping, attacking efforts to settle Muslim refugees in general.

“We won the war in Iraq, why would we be giving political asylum to people to come from a country where we won the war?” Paul asked. “It’s one thing if you’re trying to escape Castro or trying to escape communism in Russia or Vietnam or somewhere else or China, I can understand asylum, but when you win the war, why would you give people asylum? And if the 60,000 coming here are friends of the West, wouldn’t you want that 60,000 to be in Iraq helping to form a better country over there?”

He continued: “If you let the better people, the people who like the United States leave and come here, then aren’t you diminishing the numbers of folks that would make that country a better place to live? So I think the whole idea of resettling 60,000 people from Iraq over here was a mistake. But I also think that the refugee program as well as the student visa program are some of the highest risks for us to be attacked.”

Following a rant by Mickelson about the Somali-American community in Minnesota, which he deemed a national security risk, Paul agreed that the U.S. needs to reexamine its refugee program.

Mickelson recently promised to ask every 2016 candidate about Muslim refugees in the U.S.

Rand Paul Petition: Universities Are 'Left-Wing Indoctrination Centers' That 'Oppress' Conservatives

The right-wing Leadership Institute is promoting an effort to “liberate” universities with a petition to “join Sen. Rand Paul” to “save our students” and free “our nation’s universities from liberal extremists.”

The petition isn’t exactly clear about who it is directed to, and is likely just a method at list-building for the conservative group, but what it lacks in details it makes up in fervent language, decrying universities as “left-wing indoctrination centers” led by “liberal radicals” who are bent on “brainwashing the next generation of America’s leaders.”

“[T]he conservative movement owes it to our young people to fight to liberate our colleges and universities from this liberal oppression,” the petition continues. “It’s time to liberate our college campuses!”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 4/29/15

  • Cliff Kincaid does not believe that Bruce Jenner is a conservative Republican: "By that same standard, I am a transgendered [sic] communist."
  • If gay marriage becomes legal, Jerry Newcombe says America will no longer be "the land of the free."
  • Apparently, President Obama is to blame for the fact that some college students desecrated an American flag and assaulted a veteran.
  • Larry Tomczak warns that "disregarding divinely established standards have brought epidemic STDs on America. Millions believe we shouldn’t redefine marriage, opening the floodgates for polygamy, polyamory and pederasty."
  • Alex Newman says that "American children are being dumbed down and indoctrinated with outrageous values – everything from the notion that America and liberty are evil to the idea that there is no right and wrong, no objective morality, no God, and no value to human life. It is precisely these values that we are seeing on display in Baltimore and other in cities across America."
  • Finally, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul have all signed Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge. We wonder how Glenn Beck will react, since he thinks that Norquist is "a very bad man" with whom nobody should associate.
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