Wayne Allyn Root, the far-right activist who was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for vice president in 2008 and has spent the Obama administration promoting avery confusing conspiracy theory about the president’s time at Columbia, has naturally gravitated toward the candidacy of Donald Trump. In fact, as Root told Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway on Tuesday, he is a bit of a pen pal with Trump and thinks he may have even inspired the candidate’s tax plan.
Root said that the Republican frontrunner “emails back and forth with me,” “says nice things about me on this Twitter account” and wrote a “beautiful quote for the back of my book.”
“I do know that I emailed him what I thought the tax plan should be for America and his new tax plan was out last week and I thought it was fantastic and it was pretty damn close to what I recommended,” he added.
“At least he listens some of the time to what I have to say, and that’s pretty cool,” Root said. “If he gets elected president, maybe I can be Karl Rove.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson has invited presidential candidates to a series of candidate forums at Regent University, the school he founded and for which he still serves as dean.
The first to take him up on the invitation is Jeb Bush, who will speak later this month at a forum that will include an interview with Robertson and a session moderated by Jay Sekulow, the head of the Regent-affiliated American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Jay’s son, Jordan Sekulow, is the former executive director the ACLJ and is Bush’s liaison to the Religious Right.
While Robertson has said that he believes Bush and John Kasich should team up for a “dream ticket” in 2016, the former Florida governor should perhaps be wary of Robertson’s support, as the televangelist once assured Mitt Romney that God told him that he would defeat President Obama and have a successful two-term presidency.
There are also other reasons to be wary, as Robertson has built a career out of being one of the mostintolerantvoices in America.
Huckabee told Brody that Obama could prove that he’s a Christian if he simply embraced the political agenda of the Religious Right by opposing gay marriage, letting Hobby Lobby deny birth control access to employees and helping Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.
“He didn’t lift a finger to help Kim Davis,” Huckabee said, adding that Davis was treated worse than detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He added: “I’m just looking at the realities here and saying, could you show us a little love here? If you really say that you love us and that you are one of us, give us a little affection.’”
Yesterday, Mickelson waded again into the issue of slavery and the Civil War when he invited military historian Edward Bonekemper onto his program to discuss Bonekemper’s new book “The Myth of the Lost Cause,” which pushes back against myths about the Civil War, including a number that, it turns out, are espoused by Mickelson himself. The interview took place immediately before Michaelson interviewed GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.
When Mickelson said that the war was about “both” slavery and states’ rights, Bonekemper responded, “Well, the only state right that was being defended was the right to have slavery.”
Mickelson was having none of this and insisted that the war was not about slavery, but about “Lincoln’s notion that the states were a creation of the federal government,” just as the current debate over climate change policy isn’t about science, but about the government imposing “its will through the EPA on everybody else.”
More than that, it was about the jurisdictional claims of the federal government and the philosophies about how much the government of the United States was centralized. And the debate was over Lincoln’s notion that the states were a creation of the federal government, rather than the other way around.
A contemporary version of that same notion is the global warming or the climate change debate. The federal government starts with the premise that there’s man-made climate change and starts to impose its will through the EPA on everybody else, and out here in the cheap seats, we say, ‘Number one, you don’t have jurisdiction. Number two, you don’t have science on your side so this is just a big power grab.’ So everything that I just said gets reduced to the notion of ‘climate change, climate change, climate change,’ and the nuance of the argument gets left behind, just like when you say that the only thing these people were concerned about was slavery, which was the shortcut for everything I just mentioned, who owns what and whom and who’s in charge, who’s accountable to whom and what are the limits of the federal government. I think it’s way too simplistic to just reduce it to the one word, slavery.
Later in the program, after another heated debate with Bonekemper in which the radio host insisted that the Civil War was “all about money and tariffs and the propagandists in the North turned this into a slavery issue to cover their tracks much, much later,” he took on the issue of the Confederate flag.
“I got the sense when I lived [in South Carolina] that it’s a big FU to the North and they still are stinging from being an occupied nation 100 years later and they’re still mooning the North with it,” he said. “That’s basically it. There’s no slavery content to it, they just don’t like northerners.”
Falsely suggesting that the recent mass shooting at an Oregon community college took place in a gun-free zone, Sen. Rand Paul said yesterday that as president he would encourage every school in America to place stickers on its windows warning potential criminals that teachers are armed and “you will be shot.”
The Kentucky Republican told Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson that the Oregon shooting was “an incredible tragedy, but it’s even made worse by the president politicizing it and jumping in.” The president “doesn’t understand,” he said, that “the problem is mental illness and not necessarily gun registration or gun ownership.”
“The other common denominator, other than mental illness,” he added, “is that people are going to places where guns are prohibited. So when you have a gun-free zone at a school, it’s like an invitation, if you are crazy and want to shoot people, that’s where you go. I would do the opposite. I would have and encourage every school in American put stickers on every window going into the school saying, ‘We are armed. Come in at your own peril. We have concealed carry for teachers who have it and we also have armed security and you will be shot.’”
Such stickers should be placed on “every cockpit of every commercial airliner” and on “every school,” he said.
Paul said that he would support preventing “people who have exhibited criminal insanity” from owning guns, but that such laws would have to be made at the state level. But he added that broader issues, such as the lack of a “Christian foundation” in the country, may also be influencing mass shooting.
“I do think that we have generalized problems in our country that may somehow influence, I’m not sure they’re the answer, but I think that we lack a certain belief in right and wrong, a certain Christian foundation or religious foundation to our country anymore,” he said, “and I think some of this perversion is coming from that. But also there’s some things that are just inexplicable, that’s just mental illness, they’re not getting better with treatment and they’re not going to get necessarily better with religious influence as well.”
After Liberty Counsel made the Davis meeting into a national news story, the Vatican was forced to clarify that Davis was one of several people who had been brought to see the pope at the end of his visit and that the pontiff “did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects." The only “real audience” the pope granted, it turned out, was with a former student and his same-sex partner
But Mike Huckabee, who says he spoke with Davis about the meeting at the Values Voter Summit, insisted in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday that Davis and the pope “visited privately, just the two of them, for about 15 minutes” and that it is “elitist” forces in the Vatican who are trying to downplay the pope’s support for Davis’ cause. Outside of that “elitist world,” he said, people realize that Davis’ case could mark “the beginning of the criminalization of Christianity.”
“Now, why the Vatican is trying to downplay this meeting, the only thing I can figure is that many of the very liberal elements, not only of the media, but in some cases of the Catholic Church want to distance themselves because in their elitist world, Kim Davis is an unpopular figure,” Huckabee said. “But I’m telling you, wherever she goes and wherever I see people, in every airport I get on a plane and people say, ‘Thanks for standing up for Kim Davis.’ It’s very different because people realize that this is the beginning of the criminalization of Christianity if we don’t stand up to it.”
Scientific polls contradict Huckabee's anecdotal evidence about Davis’ popularity.
Huckabee later suggested that the pope fire the Vatican officials who have tried to downplay his meeting with Davis and paint him as more moderate on social issues: “I’d like to think that at some point the pope might start reading the press clips and maybe fire some of the people who are trying to represent him. I know, as a candidate, if I had press people that were out there misrepresenting my views, they wouldn’t be my press people any longer.”
Last week, Donald Trump said that he would “absolutely” bring his GOP rival Ben Carson on as part of his presidential administration if he were to win the 2016 election. Yesterday, Carson returned the compliment, telling Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg that he thought Trump “could bring some wisdom” to a Carson administration.
“I think Donald Trump is a very talented individual,” Carson said. “He certainly knows how to take advantage of situations, there’s no question about that, and I believe he could bring some wisdom somewhere along the line. I think there would be room for him somewhere.”
Carson wasn’t clear on what role Trump would fill with his wisdom, but suggested that perhaps the billionaire could act as a presidential adviser.
Russell Moore, an influential evangelical leader who serves as the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, has not been shy about his disapproval of Donald Trump, even as Trump continues to lead polls of Republican-leaning evangelical voters. It turns out that Moore’s predecessor, Richard Land, has similar feelings about The Donald, telling a Christian radio program this week that he was “dismayed” by Trump’s “mystifying and somewhat depressing” popularity among evangelicals.
“I guess I would have to say that I’m somewhat dismayed that Donald Trump is doing as well as he is among evangelicals,” Land told South Carolina pastor Kevin Boling on his radio program on Tuesday. “I frankly take that as a failure on our part to adequately disciple our people. I mean, Donald Trump’s a showman, Donald Trump’s a master at manipulating the media, but when we have so many good candidates, from an evangelical perspective, why perhaps as many as one fifth of evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump, who among other things is in his third marriage, has acknowledged that he’s never really had anything that he’s needed to ask God for forgiveness for, I find mystifying and somewhat depressing.”
Land said the better choices for evangelicals would be Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina.
Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. more than a decade ago. But in recent years, the highly infectious disease has cropped up in communities with low vaccination rates, most recently in North Texas.
There, 21 people — the majority of whom have not been immunized — have gotten the disease, which began at a vaccine-skeptical megachurch.
Most of the Eagle Mountain parishioners — and all of the children — who came down with measles had never been vaccinated.
Dr. Jason Terk, an infectious disease specialist in North Texas, says such communities can spread a disease quickly.
"This is a good example, unfortunately, of how birds of a feather flock together," Terk says. "If you have individuals who are vaccine-hesitant or vaccine-hostile, they congregate together, and that creates its own unique situation where a population of individuals is susceptible to getting the very disease that they decided they don't want to protect themselves from."
But something tells us that Trump’s meeting with Copeland may not prompt him to reflect on the disastrous consequences of Copeland’s anti-vaxxer preaching.
Despite his best efforts, Donald Trump did not receive the warmest of welcomes from the Religious Right activists at last week's Values Voter Summit, but he did find one segment of the movement that has seemingly embraced his message: Prosperity Gospel televangelists.
HBO's John Oliver recently did an entire segment on those who preach the Prosperity Gospel and grow insanely wealthy in the process, and two of its leading practitioners — Kenneth Copeland and Jan Crouch — were among a group of right-wing Christians who recently met with Trump at his office in New York City, where they laid hands on him and prayed for him.
As Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, explained to Politico, "the people that Trump has so far identified as his evangelical outreach are mostly prosperity gospel types, which are considered by mainstream evangelicals to be heretics," yet Trump had no qualms about courting them and allowing them to pray over him:
It is especially amazing that figures like Copeland and Crouch would be among the invited guests, as both lead highlycontroversial ministries that have faced serious questions about misuse of funds. On top of that, both Copeland and Crouch are the sorts of preachers who claim that they can, respectively, cure Ebola by speaking in tongues and bring a chicken back from the dead through prayer:
Earlier this month, Rick Santorum appeared on the Daystar program “Marcus and Joni” to promote his presidential bid and defend Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has been trying to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.
Santorum defended Davis, claiming that she should be “applauded” for her “courageous” actions and asserting that the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage is illegitimate since it violates biblical precepts.
“Clearly, the laws on marriage don’t follow the natural law, they don’t follow God’s law, so in Martin Luther King’s viewpoint, he would have said that this is a law that you have an obligation to resist and that’s what Kim Davis is doing,” he said. “She is standing up and saying, ‘I am not going to follow an unjust law.’”
Santorum also invoked the Nuremberg trials, suggesting that people who are demanding that Davis comply with the court’s order are using the same argument employed by Nazis at Nuremberg following World War II, that “we were just following the law.”
He said that people must defy court rulings like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, which he said is even more far-reaching than Roe because it is “forcing people to be complicit with something they find immoral,”and that Congress and the presidency must also “push back and change the law.”
On his radio program today, Glenn Beck revealed that he is trying to organize a Republican presidential primary debate that will feature only the candidates that he and his audience could support, thereby excluding the "progressives" like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Donald Trump.
Unfortunately for him, Reince Priebus and the RNC will not give Beck's network permission to host that type of a limited debate but Beck thinks he has found a loophole that will allow him to do so nonetheless ... though it may require him to start a church that will exist for all of one night.
As Beck explained, a loophole exists that allows churches to invite specific candidates to participate in a discussion forum or debate and so he intends to reach out to some of the megachurches in the Dallas area about hosting just such an event as a front so that Beck's network could then organize, conduct and broadcast it.
But if he can't find a church in which to host his debate, Beck might just have to start his own one-day church.
"I'm thinking about starting the Church of the Glenn," he said. "Now, I'm just going to try it out for a little while. I may not be interested in doing it for very long; it might be just like, one night, on a Thursday when we try it ... The Spirit moves me and sometimes the Spirit will say, 'Open a church' and the very next day, after we do a big event, it might say, 'Close down your church.'"
Jesus has told him, Beck continued, facetiously, "that I should open my church maybe in like a giant movie sound stage. Oh my gosh, I just realized, this is a giant movie sound stage! Who would have thunk? The first miracle of the Church of Glenn!"
Fiorina displayed her signature truthiness once again in an interview Friday with Iowa conservative radio host Jan Mickelson, who asked her to defend her statement that Supreme Court decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges are “the law of the land,” which he said would turn off voters in Iowa.
Fiorina insisted that she had never said that, speculating, “I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me,” and suggesting that Mickelson might be thinking of her Republican rival John Kasich.
In fact, Fiorina said those very words in an interview with the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts in May when asked about the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in the marriage equality case.
“I think the Supreme Court decision will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reverse it,” she said. “And I very much hope that we will come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision and at the same time support people’s right to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views.”
Fiorina told Mickelson that “there is an argument to be made for judicial engagement to rectify when the law begins to impinge on the personal immunities and privileges of citizens,” but seemed to imply that the denial of marriage rights was not such a case. Grasping onto the Right’s argument that LGBT equality undermines religious freedom, she called for the passage of state Religious Freedom Restoration Act laws similar to a controversial one passed and later amended in Indiana, which would have opened the door for anti-LGBT discrimination. She also called for the passage of such a law at “the federal level” — there is already a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so presumably Fiorina supports one that would expand the ability of people to discriminate against LGBT people.
Fiorina also promised that if she were to become president, she would “appoint the right justices” and “spend a lot of time” with potential nominees “to see how well they hold up to pressure, because people look like they’re one thing and then become another thing when they can’t take pressure.”
When Mickelson suggested that Sen. Ted Cruz might fit the bill for a Fiorina Supreme Court, Fiorina laughed: “Well, wouldn’t that be an interesting selection. He clearly can stand up to pressure.”
UPDATE: Fiorina appeared again on Mickelson’s program on Monday, where he confronted her a clip of her “law of the land” comments. Fiorina evaded the question, telling Mickelson that she had “no idea what reference that snippet was from,” but that if it was “about gay marriage” she was saying that “we profoundly disagree with this” and will focus on finding Supreme Court nominees who will overturn it.
What I said, for example, was we need to be, if that was about gay marriage, we profoundly disagree with this, we need to invest our political capital and our leadership now in protecting religious liberty all across this nation, which means every state needs to enact a religious freedom protection act, as we have a national act. And it also reminds us how important it is who’s on the Supreme Court. So, let’s focus our energies on making sure we have the right nominees and the right protections and liberties.
Donald Trump offered up his typical word salad to the Values Voter Summit today, but this time while hoisting his Bible in the air and claiming that it is “the reason” that he is leading among evangelical voters in Iowa and declaring that it is “the key” to saving America.
“The word ‘Christmas.’ I love Christmas," he said. "I love Christmas. You go to stores, you don’t see the word ‘Christmas.’ It says ‘Happy Holidays’ all over. I say, 'Where’s Christmas?’ I tell my wife, ‘Don’t go to those stores. I want to see Christmas. I want to see Christmas.’ Other people can have their holidays but Christmas is Christmas. I want to see ‘Merry Christmas.’ Remember the expression ‘Merry Christmas’? You don’t see it anymore. You’re going to see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now.”
Of course, Trump himself has waged war on Christmas:
Mike Huckabee continued his campaign of outrage against President Obama for daring to include pro-gay-rights and pro-choice Christians among the thousands of people invited to a reception with Pope Francis this week, telling Newsmax TV yesterday that the president was “disrespectful” and “not being a very gracious host.”
Huckabee was galled that Obama invited these “dissidents” to “instruct the pope on what the doctrine of the church should be,” especially since, he claimed, Obama goes out of his way to accommodate other world leads by bowing to heads of state and even “will often take on robes and various costumes to fit into the local culture.”
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.”
“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.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has spent the past decade in elected office, is trying his hardest to portray himself as a political outsider. He took this to a new level yesterday in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway , when he promised that if he were elected president he would not only call for the removal of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but would also try to “get rid of” all 535 members of the House and Senate.
In response to a caller who slammed Boehner and McConnell and asked if Jindal “would you do everything within your power to honestly get that man removed from the position of speaker of the House,” Jindal responded, “Absolutely, but I wouldn’t just stop there. More than that needs to go.”
Citing the fact that Republicans in Congress have not yet defunded Planned Parenthood and were unable to block the Iran nuclear deal, he said, “It’s ridiculous. I’m sure that there are 535 Americans in this country who are capable of serving, they’re not indispensable to the future of our country. So absolutely, not only do we need to change leadership, we need to get rid, I’m ready to fire them all.”
Those allegations do not hold water. CMP’s videos edited out many instances of Planned Parenthood employees making clear that the organization does not profit from fetal tissue donated to medical research. Several states launched investigations into Planned Parenthood after the videos were released, and every investigation to conclude so far has found no wrongdoing.
But the third lie, the truly astounding whopper, is that Planned Parenthood only offers abortions in order to sell fetal tissue for profit. Although this is the thought process that the Center for Medical Progress seems to hope that people will follow, only the farthest-right of the anti-choice fringe has put it into so many words.
Alveda King of Priests for Life alleged that Planned Parenthood makes “a lot of money” by using birth control to give women breast cancer and coercing women to have abortions so they can sell the fetal tissue. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made a similar claim when he suggested that Planned Parenthood opposes the 20-week abortion ban that was blocked in the Senate today because they can profit more off of fetuses in later stages of development: “This suggests why they may have been opposed to bans such as this, these five-month bans, because the longer the pregnancy goes, the more valuable the parts.”
Yes, not only does Rubio think that women who choose to terminate pregancies are “pushed into” it, but that the providers who are supposedly doing the pushing are doing it solely to protect a nonexistant fetal-tissue racket.
That’s something that we expect to hear from the farthest fringes of the anti-choice movement, not from a presidential candidate.
After using a “divide and conquer” strategy to push hard-right policies in Wisconsin, a record that he hoped would shore up right-wing support for his presidential bid, Gov. Scott Walker has reportedly decided to drop out of the race months before the first votes are even cast.
Walker’s tendency to take no positions on anything also came out during the last debate: When asked about the minimum wage, which he had previously called “lame,” Walker deflected to talk about cutting property taxes and repealing Obamacare.
He will likely also be the first of many candidates to drop out despite having previously insisted that God wanted them in the race. As Walker put it in one fundraising letter:
My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I pray and then take time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling.
As you can imagine, the months leading up to my announcement that I would run for President of the United States were filled with a lot of prayer and soul searching.
Here’s why: I needed to be certain that running was God’s calling -- not just man’s calling. I am certain: This is God’s plan for me and I am humbled to be a candidate for President of the United States.