“Sadly more than a few Republicans ran for the hills, including more than a few candidates who are running for president in 2016,” he said. :Some of them chose that exact moment to go rearrange their sock drawer.”
But Ted Cruz, said Cruz, was made of stronger stuff.
“In my view, Indiana was a time of choosing. In my view, Indiana was, as William Barret Travis at the Alamo said as he drew the line in the stand, it was a moment to choose which side of the line you stand.”
Cruz previously referred to opposition to Indiana’s measure as a gay “jihad.”
Former Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry told conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch on Wednesday that President Obama hasn’t shown any “engagement to stop ISIS,” which he attributed to the president’s “lack of being able to really connect the dots” and “lack of executive experience.”
Loesch asked Perry to respond to the president’s comment that the U.S. doesn’t “yet have a complete strategy” for training Iraqi defense forces to fight ISIS “because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well about how recruitment takes place, how the training takes place, so the details of that are not yet worked out.”
Perry said that he was “stunned” and claimed that the president, who is leading a coalition that has been hammering ISIS with airstrikes, has shown a “lack of engagement to stop ISIS.” This shows, he said, that the president of six years “has a hard time connecting the dots from time to time, of understanding,” due to his “lack of executive experience” and “a philosophical void when it comes to understanding what it takes to keep America safe.”
“I think that’s the reason ISIS has gone forward, I think that’s the reason Putin is standing there basically laughing at us as we have one lack of impact after another in the global world that we’re living in,” he said.
On Tuesday the Fifth Circuit federal appeals court upheld most of Texas’ stringent anti-abortion law, which could leave as few as seven clinics open in the nation’s second largest state. The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked these restrictions in October; however, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling allows the law to stand, ushering in a likely wave of clinic closings for the Lone Star State.
The decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows Texas to enforce Republican-backed restrictions that require abortion clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards, a checklist that includes rules on minimum room sizes, staffing levels and air ventilation systems.
This decision represents an endorsement of a long series of right-wing initiatives to chip away at the rights protected by Roe v. Wade. By pushing unnecessary laws targeting abortion facilities, the Right can mandate costly renovations that create a needless economic strain on clinics. For example, the Texas law requires abortion clinics to abide by the same standards as hospital surgical centers, despite the fact that many clinics solely provide medical abortions, which do not involve surgery. The Supreme Court has said that states may not pass laws with the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion. But the court yesterday turned a blind eye to the obvious in order to further the Right’s anti-choice agenda.
A panel of three judges, all appointed by George W. Bush, delivered the decision, which will force facilities across the state to shut their doors and leave women hundreds of miles away from a licensed abortion provider. Verdicts from the ultra-conservative Fifth Circuit bench, like the decision in October letting Texas enforce strict voter ID laws, highlight the importance of who sits on our nation’s courts. Although Fifth Circuit has two longstanding vacancies, Republican obstruction has prevented the filling of these seats. Tuesday’s decision further exemplifies the critical need for fair and just courts, particularly as right-wing legislators continue their relentless attack on the rights established by Roe.
On his radio program today, Glenn Beck spent a segment discussing the recent video showing a white Texas police officer roughing up a black teenager girl at a pool party, which he naturally asserted was just more proof of his conspiracy theory that progressives are working to discredit the local police in order to justify a federal takeover.
During the discussion, Beck and his co-hosts wondered why adults in the area didn't intervene during the confrontation and help the police round up the teenagers at the party, concluding that nobody helped out because they were afraid of getting involved.
And since this is Glenn Beck, it was then only a matter of time before he brought it all back to Nazi Germany.
"They made you afraid," Beck said. "Why are people not speaking out on things now? You're afraid. Why don't you say things anymore? Because you might be called a nasty name. You might be destroyed. They are making you afraid. The first thing the goon squads that Hitler had out; do you know how he grabbed control of Germany? Now thank God, we're not here, but it's happening to us mentally."
Beck then went on to recall how Hitler's Brownshirts would beat up anyone who did not support their agenda in an effort to intimidate anyone who might consider voicing their opposition in order to warn that the same thing is happening in America today.
"That's how they did it," Beck said. "Well, that's happening to us mentally now. Every time you speak out, every time you don't comply, God forbid you say something about Caitlyn Jenner like Clint Eastwood, they'll hammer the snot out of you. They'll destroy your job, they'll destroy you socially, they'll make your name the worst bigoted name out there. You cannot be afraid. If you're afraid now, you wait. You stay silent much longer and it will get much, much worse."
After spending a segment purportedly providing the "real story" behind the recent video showing a white Texas police officer slamming a young black girl to the ground and pulling his gun on others attending a pool party, Bryan Fischer explained on his radio program today that President Obama is really the one to blame for these sorts of violent confrontations because he "has been waging war" against white police officers from the moment he took office.
As Fischer sees it, Obama has "created this template where if its a white cop and it's a black citizen, the cop is a racist, the cop is an abuser, and you are a victim."
Such an environment, Fischer said, "shortens the fuse" of black people when it comes to interacting with white police officers, all because Obama "is encouraging people to form their opinion of somebody based not on the content of their character or the nature of their conduct, but the color of their skin."
"That's just racism," he said. "That's the only way that you can describe that."
Last month, we noted that Sen. Ted Cruz had picked Lee Bright, a state senator with a record of stoking fears of a new civil war, to co-chair his presidential campaign in South Carolina. Cruz has now made a similarly revealing choice in Tennessee, according to the AP, picking Tea Party activist and former Williamson Country GOP chairman Kevin Kookogey to lead his campaign in that state.
Back in 2012, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam faced a backlash within his own party. His offense? Picking a Muslim American woman who had previously built expertise in Sharia-compliant finance — helping Muslim business owners arrange for loans in ways that don’t run afoul of religious restrictions on paying or collecting interest — to a top economic position in the state.
Egged on by anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, who warned that “ the financial jihadists will soon be targeting the Volunteer state for infiltration and influence operations,” a number of county GOP committees passed resolutions condemning Haslam for his hire. One of those resolutions was spearheaded by Kookogey, who told Talking Points Memo that Haslam had neglected to “consider that, perhaps, those bent on destroying Western Civilization might just be infiltrating our institutions.”
“It is not like this has never happened before,” he continued. “The Muslim Brotherhood is following the blueprint of the Communists, who infiltrated the highest levels of government and society in the 1950's. Shariah, however, is an even greater threat, because it has cloaked itself under the auspices of a religion, thus confusing the uninformed."
Kookogey also used his position as county GOP chairman to warn that Agenda 21 — a nonbinding UN sustainable development resolution signed by President George H.W. Bush — “ is, in fact, an insidious strategy of environmental totalitarianism”:
Of course, the choice of Kookogey as a top state official isn’t a huge surprise coming from Cruz, who himself has claimed that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in American life and warned that Agenda 21 is a scheme to abolish golf courses.
GOA has posted audio of the call on YouTube, and it was quite the love-fest. Cruz thanked the “fighters” and “patriots” at GOA for endorsing him when he ran for Senate in 2012, and said that the group “played a critical part in helping get me elected.” Media Matters captured the comment:
Cruz specifically praised GOA’s extremism, saying, "I agree with Ronald Reagan who said we must paint in bold colors and not pale pastels, that's why I'm running and that's one of the things I love about GOA is GOA has never been accused of painting in pale pastels."
GOA definitely does not paint “in pale pastels.” For instance, the group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, is fond of saying that the Second Amendment exists for the purpose of putting the fear of assassination into politicians who disagree with him on gun issues. Just the latest example of this was in April, when Pratt declared, “The Second Amendment was designed for people just like the president and his administration” and “Democrats who want to take our rights.”
The love between GOA and Cruz is mutual. Pratt frequently sings the praises of the junior senator from Texas, saying that Cruz “ has not disappointed us and I’m certain that he’s not going to disappoint us,” and rejoicing that “everybody understands that Ted Cruz runs the United States House.” The New York Times has described Cruz as Pratt’s “key ally in the Senate.”
Glenn Beck returned from vacation today and noted that upon his return flight back to Texas, he was astonished to see the extent of the flooding that devastated large parts of the state during his absence. After co-host Stu Burguiere mocked the idea that the flooding, or the preceding drought, could in any way be attributed to climate change, Beck noted that it was actually former Gov. Rick Perry's 2011 prayer proclamation that ended Texas' drought.
Beck explained that it had also rained nearly every day while he was on vacation at his ranch in Idaho, which he attributed to the fact that local residents began to fast for rain a few weeks ago.
"Five weeks ago, they had a fast for rain because they were in a drought," Beck said. "And it started raining five weeks ago."
Similarly, Beck said, the state of Texas began to work it way out of its drought after Perry prayed for rain back in 2011, which is a position shared by a number of other Religious Right activists.
"We started ending that drought with that fast," he said. "He was mocked for it and he went ahead and did it and that was the beginning of the end of the drought. We started having rain right after that, and this state was a desert."
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer took a call from "Rebecca in College Station, Texas" who shared her theory that the massive flooding taking place in Texas is God's punishment for "witchcraft and sodomy."
As Rebecca explained, the only parts of Texas that are underwater are the parts "that are overrun with witchcraft and sodomy" like Austin and Houston, which has a "sodomite mayor."
On the other hand, the area where Rebecca lives is not underwater, even though she lives in a valley, and that is because "we kicked out abortion" and the people who live there hold conservative views.
"If God is judging Texas, it's because of the witchcraft and sodomy that we've allowed to run rampant," Rebecca said, and Fischer responded by agreeing that that was a very plausible explanation.
"If you're going to attribute the flooding in Texas to some kind of supernatural cause, you can make a geographical connection between the flooding and the practice of the occult and witchcraft and the embrace of homosexuality," he said. "That's where the disaster is being felt the worse."
Fischer then explained that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was also a very localized natural disaster that "just wiped out those two cities where homosexuality had been embraced [so] if you're going to make a case that there is some supernatural origin to this natural disaster, that would probably be the place to look";
Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.
The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.
While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.
Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”
A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”
Pratt continues to promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.
In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “foolish” and having “a hissy fit.” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”
Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.
In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.
Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said yesterday that President Bush would have thought twice about invading Iraq if he had known that his successor would be “such a total incompetent leader” who is on “the wrong side” in the fight against terrorism.
In an interview with Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks, Gohmert said he opposed an effort led by Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia to pass a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the fight against ISIS, saying that “the president has all the authority he could possibly need” in the broad AUMF passed in 2001 and that the proposed new AUMF would “help tie his hands in ways a good president would not need.”
He added that the new AUMF, in addition to giving the president too little authority, would give the president too much authority. “I don’t trust this administration, I don’t want to give them any additional authority that Bush didn’t have,” he said.
“So, thank you very much, Mr. Kaine, but you need to tell your buddy in the Democratic Party to actually start fighting our enemies and quit helping our enemies and help our friends instead and quit worrying about a new AUMF,” Gohmert added. “He would be able to defeat ISIS if he just starts helping our friends and stops helping the enemies.”
“That AUMF, it’s a red herring, it’s a crock,” he continued. “The problem is the president’s on the wrong side. That’s the real problem.”
As Fredericks repeatedly tried to break in with a question, Gohmert continued his train of thought.
“I mean, seriously, John, you think a new AUMF is all of a sudden going to give us a president that will fight with the right people over there and win over there, really?
“Everybody else wants to ask that question of, ‘Gee, would you have gone into Iraq if you’d known what you know now?’ And I think if President Bush had known that he would have a total incompetent follow him that would not even be able to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq and start helping our enemies and just totally put the Middle East in chaos, then he would have to think twice about doing anything if he had known he would have such a total incompetent leader take over after him. That should be the question.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is outraged that Congress nearly approved a Defense Department spending bill that included a provision encouraging the military to allow undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to enlist. Gohmert told talk radio host Greg Garrison today that provision, which was stripped from the bill in a narrow vote yesterday, would have been a “slap” at the U.S. district court judge in Texas who has placed a hold on President Obama’s executive actions deferring deportation for some undocumented immigrants.
Gohmert praised Judge Andrew Hanen, who is known as one of the most conservative federal judges in the country, for “singlehandedly stopping the illegal, unconstitutional amnesty,” and declared that it would have been “just totally inappropriate to slap him after he was being such a stand-up man for the Constitution.”
Can you imagine if you’re the U.S. district judge in the Southern District of Texas that’s single-handedly stopping the illegal, unconstitutional amnesty, and then you have the House of Representatives, not only with not enough guts to stop the illegal amnesty like they promised, but then turn around and slap the one judge that’s acting constitutionally? I mean, that would have been such an outrage, and I’m glad we were able to beat that back yesterday.
This was even more egregious because it was slapping in the face the one stand-up judge who stood against the illegal amnesty while Republicans in Congress were breaking their promise that we’d stop the illegal amnesty. Our leadership didn’t stand on their promises as they promised, but we had a judge that did the right thing by the Constitution, and it was just totally inappropriate to slap him after he was being such a stand-up man for the Constitution.
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Jonathan Saenz of the Religious Right group Texas Values criticized state lawmakers for failing to vote on a proposal that would have invalidated several LGBT nondiscrimination measures passed by cities throughout the state.
In particular, Saenz denounced the Texas Association of Business, which opposed the measures and said “they would devastate economic development, tourism and the convention business.”
Saenz said that the business lobby offered “absurd” reasons to “oppose religious freedom efforts,” adding that members would be “shocked” if they knew about the organization’s “extreme,” “far-left” leadership.
Laws against LGBT equality, Saenz said, “have helped Texas and have been a part of what makes Texas great. You see flocking from New York and California because of our business climate but it’s also a part of the values that we have. So this type of war on values from the Texas Association of Business within our state has got to end.”
Soon after an event she hosted in Texas was targeted by Islamic extremists, anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller compared herself to Rosa Parks. Now, some of her allies are comparing her to Martin Luther King, Jr., including, reportedly, one Tea Party activist who previously made headlines for suggesting that he didn’t want black people to vote.
In an interview with Indianapolis talk radio host Greg Garrison yesterday, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney recalled attending a Tea Party event in Dallas the night before where Ken Emanuelson, a Tea Party activist who is an advisor to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, compared the attack on Geller’s event to the civil rights march that King led in Selma.
Greg, I was in a Tea Party meeting in Dallas last night, and a guy who was in the room in Garland, Texas, gave a rather chilling account of what happened. And he made an observation at the end of it that I think is directly relevant to how we all should be thinking about this.
You know, there’s been much made of late, particularly thanks to a bestselling movie on the subject of Martin Luther King’s experiences and leadership in Selma, Alabama. And this fellow, Ken Emanuelson, said, ‘You know, this is our Selma. This is a moment when people are telling us we can’t do the right thing, and we have to go right at it and do it, do exactly the right thing. Because if we allow our freedom of speech to be taken away from us, that isn’t the end of it, that’s the beginning.’
This is an interesting comparison coming from Emanuelson, who made headlines a couple of years ago for telling a Texas GOP gathering that “the Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”
Later in the interview, Gaffney told Garrison that any attempts at “multiculturalism or diversity sensitivity” will just invite “jihad, and the violent kind at that”:
We shouldn’t be under any illusion, that whatever we call this conduct of ours, we follow whatever the smart people are telling us, we engage in political correctness or multiculturalism or diversity sensitivity. The enemy has another name for it. They call it ‘submission.’ And under their doctrine, the Sharia program, the Koran and so on, they are hardwired to respond to submissive behavior on the part of infidels with what? With violence, with more violence. You must make them feel subdued, the Koran says.
So far from making this go away or letting us all be friends or kumbaya or whatever you want to call it, this actually is an exhortation — that’s not how we think of it, but that’s how they see it — an exhortation to redouble the jihad, and the violent kind at that.
It has now been more than five years since the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which anti-gay activists predicted would lead to the end of free speech and the criminalization of the Bible. None of these predictions has yet to come true, but that hasn’t stopped Rep. Louie Gohmert from warning that the catastrophic consequences of the hate-crimes law will materialize any day now.
The Texas Repubilcan joined Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday to discuss the attempted attack on a Texas anti-Islam event hosted by Pamela Geller. Kaufman was not pleased with Bill O’Reilly for criticizing Geller’s event, which she said was an attack on Geller’s free speech. This made Gohmert think of the hate-crimes law, which he said was also an attack on free speech and was useless anyway because “people who have this kind of hate, they have the best chance of being rehabilitated.”
The government will eventually use the hate-crimes law, he said, to charge Christians who quote the Bible with “hate speech.”
“I mentioned some years back that hate crimes, eventually, somebody is going to bring that up when a Christian says, ‘I believe what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life, nobody goes to the Father but through me,"’” Gohmert said. “That is hate speech. You’re saying that nobody else but you goes to Heaven? That’s hate speech. I mean, this is where it ultimately goes if we’re not free to say what we believe and have disagreements about it without being shot.”
In an interview with Indianapolis-based talk radio host Greg Garrison last month, Rep. Louie Gohmert warned that “this is a really dangerous time for America,” citing the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules and a right-wing group’s debunked report of an ISIS camp just south of the border in Mexico.
Gohmert spoke with Garrison at the annual radio row event hosted by the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), where the topic inevitably turned to President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, which Gohmert compared to what he called the FCC’s “taking over” of the Internet with the net neutrality rules.
“Look at the FCC,” he said. “I mean, the FCC had no intention of taking over the Internet. I mean, gosh, even though it was one of the most amazing developments in the history of man when it comes to entrepreneurism and just amazing, you know, free enterprise, innovation. It was awesome. But it was doing so well Obama couldn’t stand the thought of the government not taking it over. So, he says the FCC’s going to take it over, they had to scramble and redo their thinking, and then they come out with regulations saying, in essence, they would take it over. I mean, this is really a dangerous time for America.”
“But you know, Greg, the old adage is democracy ensures a people are governed no better than they deserve,” he added. “And what breaks my heart, and I know it does yours, is Americans that have not awakened are getting what we deserve. It is really a shame.”
Garrison agreed, saying that President Obama is “batting for the other team,” as “evident” at the southern border.
This led Gohmert to bring up the debunked Judicial Watch report of an ISIS camp south of El Paso: “Then we find out this week there’s an ISIS camp three miles south of El Paso, a training center, and they’re working closely with the drug cartels. This is a dangerous time for the king of America to be allowing open borders.”
David Lane held yet another event designed to mobilize conservative pastors and convince them to push their congregations to vote for Republicans.
"This is how religious liberty dies," warns Albert Mohler.
Glenn Beck today came out in favor of the legalization of marijuana, though it was pretty obvious that his position was not particularly well thought out or even very firm.
Creflo Dollar defends his effort to get his congregation to buy him a private plane: "If I want to believe God for a $65 million plane, you cannot stop me."
Finally, the Tea Party members who make up Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's "Grassroots Advisory Board" are blasting Gov. Greg Abbott's Pre-K initiative because it "removes our young people from homes and half-day religious preschools and mothers' day out programs to a Godless environment."
Discussing a conflict between the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the University of Tennessee about sectarian prayers before football games, West said that in the days of state-sponsored school prayer, there was no problem with football injuries.
“Now see, I remember growing up in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia,” he said. “I went to Grady High School and I played football and we didn’t have all this high-speed gear and everything like that, there was no such thing about ‘targeting.’ I mean, you were not a tough football player unless you did try to hit someone head-on. And even in high school, before every game at Grady Stadium, the pastor would come down and pray before every football game. I don’t remember catastrophic injuries. I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”