A Wall Street Journal story last week on a new set of PACs seeking to influence secretary of state races reported that the new conservative PAC, SOS for SOS, will be led by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.
"We are no longer going to let the left decide the size and dimensions of the playing field," Blackwell told WSJ.
It wasn’t long ago that Blackwell himself was deciding the size and dimensions of the electoral playing field in Ohio by, among other things, dictating the size and dimensions and paper stock of mail-in voter registration cards.
Leading up to the 2004 elections, Blackwell became notorious for administering elections rules that made it a lot harder to vote. The most colorful of these was a last-minute regulation on the size and paper quality of printed voter registration cards. Rolling Stone explained:
To further monkey-wrench the process he was bound by law to safeguard, Blackwell cited an arcane elections regulation to make it harder to register new voters. In a now-infamous decree, Blackwell announced on September 7th -- less than a month before the filing deadline -- that election officials would process registration forms only if they were printed on eighty-pound unwaxed white paper stock, similar to a typical postcard. Justifying his decision to ROLLING STONE, Blackwell portrayed it as an attempt to protect voters: ''The postal service had recommended to us that we establish a heavy enough paper-weight standard that we not disenfranchise voters by having their registration form damaged by postal equipment.'' Yet Blackwell's order also applied to registrations delivered in person to election offices. He further specified that any valid registration cards printed on lesser paper stock that miraculously survived the shredding gauntlet at the post office were not to be processed; instead, they were to be treated as applications for a registration form, requiring election boards to send out a brand-new card.
Blackwell's directive clearly violated the Voting Rights Act, which stipulates that no one may be denied the right to vote because of a registration error that ''is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under state law to vote.'' The decision immediately threw registration efforts into chaos. Local newspapers that had printed registration forms in their pages saw their efforts invalidated. Delaware County posted a notice online saying it could no longer accept its own registration forms. Even Blackwell couldn't follow the protocol: The Columbus Dispatch reported that his own staff distributed registration forms on lighter-weight paper that was illegal under his rule. Under the threat of court action, Blackwell ultimately revoked his order on September 28th -- six days before the registration deadline.
Other Blackwell projects in the lead-up to the 2004 election included making it harder to cast a provisional ballot and keeping urban precincts low on electronic voting machines, resulting in long lines. A report from Democratic Rep. John Conyers found that “actions by Mr. Blackwell, the Republican Party, and elections officials, disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens, predominantly Minority and Democratic voters.”
Blackwell’s partisan bent was never a secret. After losing his campaign to be Ohio’s governor in 2006, he moved on to work for the Family Research Council and tried to angle himself into the job of chairman of the Republican National Committee.
In other words, Blackwell is the perfect person to lead the Right’s new effort to elect Republican secretary of state candidates in the mold of Kansas’ Kris Kobach, who see their jobs not as encouraging and facilitating voting, but making it harder...especially for certain Democratic-leaning constituencies.
Mission America host Linda Harvey is overjoyed that some Muslim taxi drivers, while “sometimes kind of scary,” are refusing to drive cabs with advertisements for the upcoming Gay Games in Cleveland. But at the same time, Harvey continues to warn that gays and Muslims are working together to push an anti-Christian agenda.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s going to be a big gathering of homosexuals in the city of Cleveland in August for what is called the Gay Games,” Harvey said. “Yes I know, it seems that these folks can’t stop proclaiming in public the sinful behavior they’ve told us for years they wanted to keep private.”
“About twenty-five cab drivers who are Muslims are refusing to drive cabs that display the Gay Games promotional signs. And you know what, I totally agree with them, good for them for having the courage to stand up and do this.”
She went on to allege that the “homosexual community” is silent on the issue, even though many gay news outlets covered the story. Harvey blamed the purported silence on “fear” of the Muslim community.
“Unlike Christians that the LGBT folks keep trying to paint as haters and harassers, Muslims really are sometimes kind of scary or they have scary friends,” she said.
Moments after saluting this anti-gay move by a group of Muslim taxi drivers, she then alleged that Muslims and gays are working together to bring down Christianity.
“But there’s something else. Could it be that the two groups have a common denominator that transcends the homosexuality issue, and that is they both essentially despise Christians?” she explained. “Sadly, I believe that gets to the heart of what is going on, whether these folks admit it or not.”
Recently, some billboards went up around Ohio proclaiming that "Jesus Is A Muslim" and they are not sitting well with "Coach" Dave Daubenmire who organized a rally against the billboards in Columbus over the weekend.
Daubenmire has posted clips from the rally on his YouTube page and though the event was hampered by cold and rainy conditions, a small group of passionate supporters turned out to join Daubenmire and other speakers in railing against "the evil spirit of Islam" and declaring, as preacher Rusty Thomas did, that America "is the Lord's house" and no other religion has the right to come here and try undermine this nation's Christian foundation.
"Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," Thomas screamed, "he has defined himself in the sixty-six books of the Bible and HE WARNS, HE WARNS do not add, do not subtract from my book, otherwise you are a part of the den of thieves!"
Then, pointing across the street to the billboard in question, Thomas declared that if it were entered into a court of law as evidence, "it would be called perjury."
"In the court of public opinion," he continued, "it is slander! This is defamation of character. In religious circles, it is heresy and spiritually, it is blasphemy!"
Ever since he was rejected for a head coaching position at a local high school in Ohio, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire has been playing the victim, claiming he was discriminated against and had his character assassinated and was all but abandoned by his brothers in Christ.
Over the weekend, Daubenmire took his sob story to Linda Harvey's radio program where he asserted that he was denied this coaching position simply because he believes that marriage ought to be between one man and one woman.
Anyone even vaguely familiar with Daubenmire's videos knows that it not at all true, as he has a long history of saying outrageous and bigoted things; a tendency which he demonstrated once again during this very interview with Harvey when he asserted that people who criticize him are pawns of Satan, lamented that society has gotten to a point where people are no longer ashamed of being gay, and likened gay marriage to pedophilia and incest:
Harvey: These are the folks that are the biggest bullies of all ...
Daubenmire: To stand up and blatantly and boldly and without a conscience right at your face, I don't know how people can do that other than they're of their father, the Devil and the works of their father they will do. That's the only way I can explain it.
Harvey: I truly believe that's the case too. These folks are not operating out of a Christian goodness of anybody's heart because they do not love the truth
Daubenmire: What ever happened to shame, Linda? See, there was a day when someone would not come out of the closet because it was shameful. You didn't want people to know that about you. And unfortunately, sexual behavior is a behavior, it's not an orientation, it's a behavior. And you and I know that many of the people who are caught in the homosexual lifestyle, Linda, they're switch-hitters. They swing both ways. So I ask people, are you born bi-sexual? Are you born a pedophile? I mean, we've got to begin thinking this stuff through, especially as Christians and unfortunately we just have not given a great deal of thought to it but rather just swallow what the liberals try to cram down our throat.
Linda, I have people say to me, you know, they say all the time Coach that you discriminate. I say tell me where the discrimination is. I can't marry a man and the guy next door to me can't marry a man. Either one of us can marry a woman.
They say you guys get to marry the one you love. I say that's not true. I can't marry my daughter. I can't marry three women. I can't marry my son. I can't marry whoever I want to just because of love. That's not it. But see again, we're not real clear in our own thinking about some of the lines that they're hooking us up with.
Harvey: The reason this agenda is advancing is because people are willfully ignorant.
Somewhere down the road, these latest remarks will probably be quoted back to Daubenmire or used against him and he'll respond by once again playing the victim, claiming that he's being attacked simply for being a Christian who believes in the Bible.
Phil Burress of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values says that despite the attempts by gay rights advocates to "brainwash" people into support marriage equality and have the issue "forced down their throat," people intrinsically oppose same-sex marriage.
Burress, who encouraged Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to put his son in ex-gay therapy, of course would never support such brainwashing!
He told Mission America host Linda Harvey on Saturday that the polls, such as one showing a majority of Ohioans supporting marriage equality, are skewed because surveys may not be able to register the sentiments of people who oppose same-sex marriage but won't say so because they are afraid of getting "harassed" and "beat up on" by gay "bullies."
Burress insisted that people "know in their heart" that same-sex marriage is wrong, while Harvey added that they also "know that homosexual behavior is really, essentially, disordered."
Burress: This is a hard issue. That's why from 2004-2013, in just about every poll that I've seen there's only about 6 percent on average, 6 percent of the people that don't have their mind made up on this issue. People know in their heart that there's something wrong with this picture and they're adjusting their heart. The 6 percent are being swayed with TV ads, propaganda, radio, all the media, and I find it absolutely encouraging that after all of this time that's been going on and people have been brainwashed and this has been forced down their throat that they're revealing a poll that only 47 percent of the people support same-sex marriage.
Burress: In just about every election, we always do better at the polls than what the polls say when it comes to support of marriage of one man and one woman. I had a long conversation with George Barna last November out in San Francisco, I said: "George, when you do these polls, do you keep track of how many of these people refuse to answer a question?" I think you're going to have more people who will not answer a question about where they stand on same-sex marriage than other questions because they're afraid. They're afraid they're going to be harassed and they're going to be beat up on and they're going to be, you know -- that's their tactic, they're bullies Linda, they're bullies, that's how they got to where they are. You cannot win in the long term being a bully, it just doesn't work. You gotta to win with logic and you gotta change people's hearts and in their hearts they know that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Harvey: And they know that homosexual behavior is really, essentially, disordered.
In response to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s announcement yesterday of early voting cutbacks, Reverend Dr. Tony Minor of Cleveland, a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action, said:
“These changes blatantly discriminate against the African American community. Limiting early voting hours by cutting Sundays and weekday evenings is a transparent attempt to block some Ohioans from participating in their democracy.
“It’s no secret that many Ohioans can’t vote during work hours. Our elected officials should ensure that democracy works for everyone, not making cuts to early voting that disproportionately impact African Americans.”
People For the American Way's African American Ministers In Action represents 1,500 African American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.
On Wednesday the Ohio legislature passed two restrictive voting laws that cut early voting and gut the state’s absentee ballot program, among other measures. This afternoon, Governor Kasich signed them into law. In response, the Ohio members of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action released the following statement:
“It is shameful that in this day and age, we are still fighting to protect the right to vote. Hiding behind the debunked myth of ‘voter fraud,’ it is clear as day that Republican leaders simply want to make it harder for some Ohioans to cast a ballot. Our elected officials should be encouraging all Ohioans to participate in their democracy, not pushing suppressive laws that threaten our most fundamental right as citizens.”
People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action represents a network of 1,500 African-American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.
As we noted yesterday, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire was the finalist to become the new head football coach at Lakewood High School in Ohio, pending a vote by the Board of Education.
Last night, the Board cast its vote and, by a margin of 3-2, rejected Daubenmire for the position.
Of course, Daubenmire has responded by firing off a press release blaming the decision on outside groups which "used lies, intimidation and threats to bully the school board into rejecting the administration's recommendations" and claiming that he was the victim of illegal discrimination:
It is painfully obvious that the anti-Christian lobby demand not just acceptance but obedience to their far left dogma and will smear anyone who speaks up for Christian values. The message that the Lakewood Board of Education sent last night is that anyone with deeply held Biblical beliefs is not welcome in our public schools. The board's actions were both immoral and illegal. My family has resided in this community for over 50 years. The rejection by this school board is a slap in the face not only to Christians everywhere, but to our family in particular. In America, only Christians can be discriminated against. Homosexual teachers and coaches would be welcomed with open arms.
As we've noted before, it is amazing how Religious Right activists seem to believe that the First Amendment exists to protect their right to say any bigoted thing they want while simultaneously guaranteeing that they should never suffer any consequences for having said those things.
Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council are attacking the Obama administration over a Ohio National Guard training drill last month that simulated a threat from “two school employees who are disgruntled over the government’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.”
News of the drill started circulating in conservative media this week, feeding anti-Obama paranoia (even though last year’s drill simulated a threat from a radical environmentalists).
On yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, Blackwell and Perkins said that the drill must have been the idea of the federal government, and argued that there is no reason at all to fear any danger from right-wing extremists. “When you look back at incidents of domestic terrorism in this country, it’s not done by right-wing, conservative people or organizations, it’s done by left-wing extremists,” Perkins said. Blackwell concurred: “Absolutely, that’s been the factual history of domestic terrorist attacks and efforts.”
That is completely false, of course.
The nonpartisan New America Foundation found that the pool of “‘non-jihadist’ terrorists” is “overwhelmingly made up of right-wing extremists.” The Director of Terrorism Studies at the West Point-based Combatting Terrorism Center found attacks by right-wing extremists up “more than 400%” since 2000.
John Tirman of the MIT Center for International Studies notes that in “the START database on terrorism in America,” from “1990 to 2009, START identified 275 ‘homicide events’ that killed 520 people and were committed by right-wing ideologues. There were many more incidents of destruction of property, nonfatal attacks, and other acts of thuggery by white supremacists, private militias, and the like.”
“Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, as compared to 30 percent by ecoterrorists and 12 percent by Islamic extremists,” writes Ken Sofer. “Right-wing extremism has been responsible for the greatest number of terrorist incidents in the U.S. in 13 of the 17 years since the Oklahoma City bombing.”
Since Perkins and Blackwell were already just making things up, why not one more? The two FRC leaders proceeded to accuse the Southern Poverty Law Center of being listed on “the domestic terrorism list. ”
“It’s not conservatives,” Perkins said. “If it were conservatives who were doing that kind of stuff we would never hear the end of it.”
Readers of this blog know "Coach" Dave Daubenmire best as the rabidly anti-gay Religious Right activist and full-blown conspiracy theorist who is perfectly willing to defend the infamous "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church while declaring that not allowing Christians to bully gays is itself a form of bullying against Christians.
But what a lot of people may not know is that the "Coach" in his name is quite literal, as he is also a high school football coach ... or at least he has been in the past, since he has been fired several times from previous coaching positions.
Given his tendency to get fired, Daubenmire is currently available for hire and, amazingly, he is now the finalist for a head coaching position at a public high school in Ohio:
Lakewood school board members will vote on a new football coach tonight, but no matter how they cast their ballots, people are likely to be upset.
There have been strong opinions on both sides ever since it was announced that outspoken minister, radio host and motivational speaker Dave Daubenmire was in the running. Tonight, Lakewood Superintendent Jay Gault will recommend hiring Daubenmire; it’s then up to board of education members to decide yes or no, Gault said.
If hired, Daubenmire would be paid $5,520 for the 2014-15 school year.
Daubenmire is the founder of Pass the Salt, a ministry dedicated to bringing together Christians to be the salt and light of the world, as is stated in the Book of Matthew. He is also a 1971 Lakewood High School graduate, but he is perhaps best known for his time coaching at London High School, where the American Civil Liberties Union accused him of mixing religion with teaching and coaching.
Daubenmire also was head football coach at Heath High School from 1981 to 1988 and, more recently, at Fairfield Christian Academy.
The Lakewood job opened up after coach Rex Sponhaltz retired after going 1-9 this past season. News that Daubenmire might take Sponhaltz’ place sparked an online petition titled “Do NOT hire Dave Daubenmire.”
The petition labels Daubenmire as “a man so obsessed with a domineering vision of masculinity that he encourages bullying, particularly when it is directed at homosexuals.” As of Tuesday night, it had 4,605 supporters.
Daubenmire could not be reached Tuesday for comment, but in a previous statement to The Advocate, he wrote that his critics are misrepresenting his stances, and his personal beliefs shouldn’t disqualify him from a coaching position.
“I have been a vocal defender of Christian values which has caused some to take offense at my positions,” he wrote. “But those positions were expressed as a minister not as a public school football coach.”
Daubenmire said he respects individual liberty and the right of students to be free from “coercion in their personal lives.”
“No one understands better than me what can and cannot be done in my position as football coach at a public high school and I will not cross that line,” he wrote.
The people making this decision really ought to watch some of Daubenmire's videos - not necessarily the ones of him calling for the banning of pornography, but the ones where he lays out his coaching philosophy, such as how he hates dealing with the whiny mothers of his players who are worried about injuries and safety because it is his job to turn his players into manly men and teach them all of just "suck it up!"
UPDATE: The Lakewood School Board voted 3-2 not to hire Daubenmire:
It appears that the two great passions of Dave Daubenmire’s life — coaching and preaching — are incompatible, at least to three of the five board members of Lakewood Local Schools.
The board voted 3-2 tonight to reject Superintendent Jay Gault’s recommendation to hire the controversial Daubenmire as Lakewood High School’s head football coach.
Ohio Republican legislators are up to their voter suppression tricks again, trying to limit absentee ballot registrations and restricting voting hours ahead of the November 2014 elections. The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday that GOP Rep. Mike Dovilla, Chairman of the Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee, said the committee will vote on Senate Bill 205 and Senate Bill 238 as early as Tuesday. If passed out of Dovilla’s committee, it could be off to the full House for a floor debate on Wednesday.
• SB 205 would ban county clerks from mass mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters, holding that duty only for OH Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has proven in the past that he will restrict voting access almost every chance he gets.
• SB 238 would achieve one of Husted’s anti-voter policy agenda items by limiting early voting days, effectively eliminating Ohioans’ ability to register and vote on the same day anywhere in the state.
These legislative moves come just days after the news broke that Hamilton County officials might relocate Cincinnati’s largest early voting location to a new, much less accessible location. That decision met with considerable push-back from voting rights activists and the media, resulting in a deadlock vote from the Board of Elections. The final decision now also goes to Secretary Husted to decide, effectively putting the power to restrict access to early voting in Cincinnati’s largest city in his hands.
If you are from Ohio, call your Representative now and tell them to protect your early voting rights by voting ‘NO’ on SB 205 and SB 238. You can find your Representative’s contact information here: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory. Once you have talked to your Representative, drop us an email at email@example.com to let us know what they said. We’ll keep tabs on the situation and update you on voter suppression efforts in Ohio – and across the country – on the PFAW blog.
On the same day that George Zimmerman appeared in a Florida court for allegedly pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend during a reported domestic dispute, “stand your ground” laws are reaching new levels of absurdity in Ohio. A state House committee approved sweeping gun legislation which would eliminate the duty to retreat if they are safely able to do so before using deadly force in self-defense. Critics have warned this could lead to a “Wild West” situation, encouraging a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to self-defense. Given that the law already says the use of deadly force in self-defense is acceptable in one’s own home or car and if a safe retreat is not possible, this law seems designed not to improve safety but instead to further an extreme pro-gun agenda that staunchly refuses to accept anylaw restricting the use of weapons. For these legislators, and groups like the NRA and ALEC that support these types of bills, a person’s right to shoot someone they deem a threat, without even attempting to make a safe retreat, seems to be worth more than a potential increase in homicides.
The bill also relaxes other gun control regulations, including a reduction in the number of training hours needed to obtain a concealed handgun license from twelve to four hours. This would make it eight times easier to carry a concealed deadly weapon than to drive a car, which requires a total of 32 hours of training in Ohio. It also introduces “reciprocity” on concealed handgun licenses, requiring the state to recognize concealed handgun licenses from any state that recognizes those issued by Ohio. This is especially troubling given that the number of concealed carry licenses issued in Ohio is at a record high: in just the first nine months of 2013, more concealed carry permits were issued than during any calendar year since 2004, when authorities started issuing such permits.
On Monday, Brian wrote about an interesting schism emerging within one of the nation’s largest anti-choice groups, National Right to Life.
When Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced earlier this year that, inspired by his openly gay son, he had switched his position to support marriage equality, the National Right to Life’s Cleveland affiliate announced that it would no longer support Portman. In response, National Right to Life cut ties with the Cleveland group, citing its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position” over “a non-right-to-life issue.”
Although National Right to Life’s letter [PDF] was sent in July, it hit the news this week when Cleveland Right to Life decided to fight back, releasing the letter to the media, alleging “coordination” between Sen. Portman’s office and the national group and asking, “How can you be for the child if you are not for the family?”
Yesterday, Cleveland Right to Life President Molly Smith took the group’s case to the Steve Deace show, where she speculated that National Right to Life dropped her chapter because they are “terrified about Sen. Portman’s position and the fact that they might lose his support on his pro-life stance.”
Smith told Deace that she had met with Portman and that “he assures us he’s never going to abandon the pro-life cause when it comes to abortion and the issues we’ve just spoken about.”
“But when it comes to gay marriage, he’s 100 percent behind his son,” she said. “That’s not pro-life!”
Deace was skeptical that Portman would hold onto his opposition to abortion rights. “Does that mean that if he has a daughter that has an abortion, he changes his mind on that too, Molly?” he asked. Smith responded, “Absolutely.”
Smith concluded her interview with an odd caveat: “Even as I say all of this, Steve, I feel so terrible, because this is a very private matter for Sen. Portman’s family.”
Linda Harvey says gay people aren’t all that different from those who struggle with eating too much and obesity. The Mission America president argues that, like overeating and having unhealthy appetites, homosexuality is not innate and can be unlearned:
Many people struggle with appetites for food that lead to obesity but very few were born with a hormonal imbalance leading to weight gain, almost everyone learned these appetites along the way so unlearning them will also be a step-by-step process but it is most certainly possible, starting with facing the truth. It’s kind of similar with homosexual feelings. But no, the world’s message today is go for it, declare yourself and join the out-and-proud community.
Harvey claims the gay community relies on “feelings, identity and behavior: FIB…. And yes, that’s exactly what homosexuality becomes if acted upon. It’s a big lie.”