Iowa conservative talk radio host Jan Mickelson’s morning program has become a required stop for Republicans campaigning in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Nearly every GOP presidential candidate has appeared on Mickelson’s program at least once this year, which is remarkable given that Mickelson recently suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants and often asks his guests to comment on right-wing conspiracy theories such as those surrounding Jade Helm 15 and a toxic spill in Colorado.
Rick Santorum got the full Mickelson treatment yesterday when the radio host asked him to comment on a theory espoused by anti-government tax protesters that the 16th Amendment was never actually ratified and therefore the federal income tax is illegal.
The two got to talking about the “strange bedfellows” behind the 16th Amendment, which Mickelson compared, seemingly disapprovingly, to the coalition of “the business community lined up with the feminists” who backed the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.
He then threw Santorum a curveball: “So, do you think the 16th Amendment actually really passed?”
“There’s a whole book about the 16th Amendment, it was never legally ratified because the language in many, many different states was not uniform and there was all kinds of trickery involved,” Mickelson continued, apparently referring to William Benson’s 1985 book “The Law that Never Was,” whose contentions have been repeatedly debunked.
Santorum didn’t take a stand on the validity of the 16th Amendment (which he has said he wants to repeal), but did agree that progressives are nefarious tricksters. “That’s the progressives!” he said. “It’s the same group, it’s the same group of people. It was the progressive movement that pushed the income tax and it’s the same progressive movement that’s out here pushing Obamacare and all the other socialism that we’re seeing pushed.”
Rick Santorum agreed with this GOP presidential rival Ben Carson yesterday that a Muslim should not be elected president, explaining that while “of course a Muslim could be elected president” because the Constitution bars religious tests for public office, “a devout Muslim who believes in the totality of Islam” shouldn’t be elected president because Islam is “both a political doctrine and a religious doctrine.”
Santorum told Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson that Carson “was not clear in what he was articulating” but that he agreed with his essential point.
“What he was saying is, is a devout Muslim who believes in the totality of Islam — which is both a political doctrine and a religious doctrine, which means Sharia law — can a devout Muslim who believes in Sharia law, should that person be elected president?” Santorum said. “Well, the answer is no, they shouldn’t, because that belief structure is antithetical — and, by the way, they wouldn’t be elected president.”
“I would have said, could a Muslim be elected president? Of course a Muslim could be elected president,” he continued, “we can’t bar someone from a certain religion from being elected president. Is a Muslim who believes strictly in the adherence of Sharia law be elected president? I would oppose them for electing president, and I think most Americans would too.”
Today, leaders of the Micah Leadership Council applauded Pennsylvania’s launch of a system allowing eligible voters to register online. Reverend Michael Couch, national Co-Chair of Micah Leadership Council, released the following statement:
“At a time when so many states have placed the right to vote under constant attack, it’s worth applauding a move to make it easier for more people to participate in the democratic process. I’m pleased that Governor Wolf and his administration have taken this step to remove an unnecessary barrier between citizens and the ballot box.
“This isn’t the last reform Pennsylvanians need in order to ensure that all our citizens have an equal opportunity to make their voices heard on Election Day, but it’s unquestionably a step in the right direction. This is a victory for voters and a victory for all of us who care our democratic process."
People For the American Way Foundation’s Micah Leadership Council engages African American ministers ages 25 through 40 who are committed to continuing, and redefining the fights for civic engagement, quality public education, voting rights protection and environmental and social justice for all as well as addressing divisive right wing rhetoric.
In an interview yesterday with Newsmax TV after a press conference at which he reiterated his support for ending birthright citizenship, Rick Santorum promised that as president he would “absolutely” sign a bill repealing the right, saying that it could probably be done without a constitutional amendment.
Ignoring the clear history of the 14th Amendment, Santorum told Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg that it wasn’t clear whether the Constitution requires that children of foreign nationals born on U.S. soil be granted citizenship. Santorum said that he would leave it up to the Supreme Court to interpret the stipulation that birthright citizenship applies only to people “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States — long interpreted by the courts as excluding only a small class of people such as the children of ambassadors.
“That’s a decision that’s actually appropriately left up to the Supreme Court,” Santorum said. “These are the kinds of decisions that the Supreme Court should be making with respect to how do we determine somewhat vague language in the Constitution, not doing what they did and have been doing routinely is creating new constitutional rights.”
When Malzberg asked if the Supreme Court has ever “weighed in on whether the 14th Amendment covers these babies born of illegals,” Santorum replied that “to my knowledge, they have not.”
In fact, the Supreme Court did just that in 1898, ruling that a California-born child of Chinese immigrants, who were later barred from returning to the United States under the Chinese Exclusion Act, could not be denied citizenship under the 14th Amendment. That case, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, cemented the right to birthright citizenship guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
Last month, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum got into a heated exchange with Rachel Maddow about his statement that the Supreme Court doesn’t “have the final say on anything,” including abortion rights and LGBT equality. He attempted to clarify his position at a campaign event in Iowa last week, explaining that while he is fine with the Supreme Court having judicial review powers, the president and Congress should simply ignore decisions that they think are wrong.
In comments captured on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Santorum said, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that gives the Supreme Court the right or the duty or the obligation to determine what is constitutional and what is not.”
“Marbury v. Madison is a Supreme Court case where they granted themselves that authority,” he continued. “And for a couple of hundred years, roughly, we have seen that deference given to the court. I think the court is the right place to make these types of constitutional judgments. But what happens if the court makes an unconstitutional judgment? What happens if the court itself violates the Constitution? Is there a remedy?"
“Our founders clearly wanted it to be very hard to change the Constitution,” he said. “That’s why when you see the court change the Constitution in an unconstitutional fashion, in other words…amend the Constitution by creating something that’s not there, they’ve short-circuited something that was supposed to be very hard to do, and there should be some remedy of saying, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ And what is that? Well, what is that is the president or the Congress saying, ‘You’re acting unconstitutionally and we’re not going to pay attention to that law, we’re not going to pay attention to your ruling.’”
Speaking at an anti-Planned Parenthood rally in Iowa on Saturday, Rick Santorum compared the “poisonous, wretched, cancerous” legalization of abortion in America to the Holocaust, saying that both were “based on a lie.”
Santorum told the rally that he had recently read the book “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews and thought it applied just as easily to legal abortion as to the Holocaust.
“The title of the book is ‘How Do You Kill 11 Million People?’ He could have retitled it ‘How Do You Kill 55 Million People Here In America?’” he said. “This book is about the Holocaust. And you know what his answer was, in one simple sentence? How do you kill 11 million people? You lie to them. Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry, Roe v. Wade, all of it is based on a lie about when a child becomes a human being.”
“We see the poisonous, wretched, cancerous result of that lie,” he continued. “Every lie, we all know, we tell our kids that when you lie that one lie leads to another lie, and another one, and another one, and pretty soon you just have this poisonous web that you can’t get out of. That’s where we are.”
The video was captured by the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told the National Right to Life Committee’s convention this morning that the Supreme Court’s decision striking down bans on gay marriage was part of the spread of the “cancer” that began with Roe v. Wade.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very difficult time in America,” the GOP presidential candidate said. “We’ve seen some court decisions that I know have people very upset about what the future of the family and marriage and our culture is looking like.”
Roe v. Wade, he said, is “the cancer that is infecting the body of America” and “you saw Roe and its subsequent decisions bare its ugly head in the case of the gay marriage decision just a few days ago.”
The court’s majority in the marriage equality case, he said, declared that “it is what we say it is and we can do whatever we want to do to whomever we want to do it to.”
“And it was the Roe decision, the Casey decision and subsequent decisions on abortion that have led us to this decision on marriage,” he said. “It’s a fundamental rewriting of the Constitution, ignoring truth, ignoring Nature and Nature’s Law.”
He told the audience that he would keep on fighting marriage equality just as he kept on fighting abortion rights after Roe: “When did it become the law of the land that the Supreme Court has the final say on anything? They do not have the final say on anything! The American people have the final say on everything!”
With the 2016 national elections upcoming, wealthy donors supporting both parties are gearing up to throw hundreds of millions of dollars into the races; billionaires David and Charles Koch have already pledged to spend $889 million. But a report from Reuters shows that Americans, frustrated by the overwhelming influence of big money in politics, are organizing to fight back.
In the Philadelphia mayoral race, three billionaires spent $7 million to elect Anthony Hardy Williams. In response, unions and community groups rallied around his challenger, Jim Kenney, organizing a march to stop the wealthy donors from “buying [their] next mayor.” Technological developments are making such organization easier: the creators of Crowdpac, an app that lets entrepreneurs gather funding towards donations, say that they want the app to be used to organize small donors to counteract the effects of billionaire spending.
This is reflective of a wider trend in public opinion. Americans are sick of letting big money influence their elections; 84 percent say that money has too much influence in political campaigns today and nearly 3 in 4 Americans support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and limit campaign spending.
“There's growing public awareness about rich people trying to buy elections and that makes the task of winning all the more difficult," said Darrel West of the Brookings Institute.
Americans have organized at all levels of government to get big money out of politics. Activists have held rallies and marches devoted to the cause and demanded that their representatives in Congress take steps to reduce big money’s influence. Five million of them have signed a petition calling for a constitutional amendment to limit the amount of money spent in politics. Sixteen states and more than 650 cities have already called for an amendment.
President Obama is on board, and presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham, and Bernie Sanders have expressed support for a constitutional amendment. Clinton and Sanders have also emphasized the importance of nominating Supreme Court Justices who would restore balance to the Supreme Court and restore the American people’s ability to impose reasonable limits on money in politics.
The movement against big money in politics is gaining momentum as the election nears.