Fighting the Right

Today's Republican Reality Revealed In 90 Seconds

It’s rare beyond measure that 90 seconds of Fox and Friends can be said to offer real insights into our current political climate. But this morning’s broadcast did just that.

The first insight came courtesy of Ted Cruz’s father. Rafael Cruz told Indiana’s Christian voters that they must choose between voting for God’s candidate – his son – and “the destruction of America.”

I exhort every member of the body of Christ to vote according to the word of God and vote for the candidate that stands on the word of God and on the Constitution of the United States of America. And I am convinced that man is my son Ted Cruz. The alternative could be the destruction of America.

The only thing new about Rafael Cruz’s rhetoric is that it was broadcast on Fox and Friends. He says this kind of stuff – and worse – all the time in his role as a valuable campaign surrogate. Rafael has spent so much time on the Religious Right circuit that he’s become a folk hero of sorts in his own right.

Rafael is an ardent Christian nationalist whose book spouts the discredited theories of Religious Right “historian” David Barton. Rafael, like his son’s other most ardent supporter, broadcaster Glenn Beck, believes Ted Cruz has been anointed by God to lead America. It’s one reason Cruz won the Christian-nation primary, lining up endorsements from the overwhelming majority of Religious Right organizational and political leaders.

When Fox asked Donald Trump about Rafael’s comments, he responded, “It's disgraceful that his father can go out and do that. And just – so many people are angry about it. And the evangelicals are angry about it the way he does that.”

Trump might have stopped right there, making the point that he does in fact get a lot of votes from self-described evangelicals (mostly those who don’t go to church that faithfully) and that it’s a bad idea for the Cruz campaign to claim God’s endorsement. That would have left us in the unfamiliar and somewhat uncomfortable position of agreeing with Trump. (Although not with Trump’s suggestion had Rafael should not be “allowed to say it.”)

But Trump did not stop there. He went on to spout a conspiracy theory — recently elevated by the National Enquirer after floating around the dark corners of the far-right internet — linking Rafael Cruz with the CIA and JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald based on an old photograph that some people think looks like Rafael:

You know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. I mean, they don't even talk about that. That was reported and nobody talks about it.

Coming from Trump, you might say this was disgraceful but hardly surprising. Trump, of course, was an early and ardent birther who harangued the White House about President Obama’s birth certificate, and has since embraced a wide array of conspiracy theories on everything from Justice Scalia’s death to Muslim residents of New Jersey celebrating on 9/11.

And Trump has appeared on the radio show of Alex Jones, who Right Wing Watch has called “one of the most notorious and, frankly bizarre conspiracy theorists out there.” Jones, for example, promotes the idea that the shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school was “staged” as a “false flag” operation designed to ease the way for Obama to confiscate Americans’ guns. Oh, and the fact that flies are “always landing on him” is evidence that Obama is “a demonic creature.”

When he appeared on the show, Trump gushed to Jones, “Your reputation is amazing.” And Jones has continued to return the favor, praising Trump and warning that Democrats are planning to go “full-authoritarian” and that if Trump loses, “this really could be one of the last real elections.” Trump confidant Roger Stone has repeatedly made the case for Trump on Jones’ show.

So there, in one and a half minutes, is today’s Republican Party, whose two frontrunners for the presidential nomination are a Christian-nation candidate who complains that people of faith have allowed “nonbelievers” to set the nation’s course and a conspiracy-theory-promoting demagogue who will say anything he thinks will help him take power.

Congratulations, GOP!

Video captured by TPM

A Lou Engle Hit Parade

Lou Engle's public demeanor is unforgettable, often rocking back and forth, almost always shouting in a raspy voice. Here's a selection of video, audio, and printed resources. You may find yourself unable to stop watching!

Right-Wing Lawyer Urges Governors To Enforce Abortion Bans In Defiance Of Roe

Herb Titus, a Christian Reconstructionist attorney and longtime lawyer for Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, spoke to a radical anti-abortion conference last month, where he called on governors and other state officials to defy Roe v. Wade and enforce prohibitions on abortions in their states.

Titus gave a Skype interview to Arizona pastor Jeff Durbin, which Durbin played at a conference he hosted in April called “#EndAbortionNow,” at which speakers — all male — urged elected officials to ignore the federal courts and enforce criminal penalties for abortion. Also speaking at the conference were Matt Trewhella, a signer of the infamous 1993 “defensive action statement” justifying violence against abortion providers; Rusty Thomas of the anti-abortion, anti-LGBT group Operation Save America; and Joel McDurmon, a Christian Reconstructionist who has advocated the death penalty for homosexuality and who shared a conference stage last year with Sen. Ted Cruz.

Durbin and Titus discussed what should be done about states that still have criminal prohibitions on abortion on their books that aren’t being enforced because of Roe v. Wade, agreeing that those prohibitions are still valid if state officials would be brave enough to enforce them.

“You’re dealing with two different courts,” Titus said. “The court of public opinion, it’s very important to disabuse people thinking that Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. That’s impossible. That’s impossible. The court can’t make straight what God has made crooked, they can’t deny to a baby the full protection of laws prohibiting homicide, it just simply isn’t true. So the rhetoric we engage in is very, very important or otherwise people would think that we’re challenging a legal rule. No, we’re not, we’re challenging a rule that is based upon illegitimate statement of facts and assumption of law.”

He added that “lower magistrates” such as governors and attorneys general must “interpose” themselves to prevent the enforcement of an unjust court decision and instead continue to enforce their state’s unconstitutional abortion bans.

“The governors of states in today’s political climate are very reluctant to interpose between the people of the state and of the Congress or of the court,” he said, “and there has to be a cultivation amongst the lower magistrates, such as governors and attorneys general, to recognize that they have a moral and legal obligation to stand on the law and not just hide behind the skirts of the court that has decided a case in the wrong way.”

“It’s extremely important for the states to step up to the plate and get back to the business of protecting innocent life and not allow the federal courts to push them around,” he added.

Sandy Rios: Pray That God Delivers A Ted Cruz Victory In Indiana

Earlier today, Sandy Rios of the American Family Association spoke with Micah Clark, the head of the group’s Indiana affiliate, about the state’s Republican primary, which is taking place today.

Rios and Clark, who have both endorsed Ted Cruz, appeared despondent about predictions that the Texas senator will be defeated by Donald Trump in the state, blaming pastors for not getting involved and preaching about politics.

These silent and apolitical pastors, they warned, have left voters in the dark about how God wants them to vote or think about political issues and as a result, a true conservative like Cruz hasn’t won enough support to defeat a phony like Trump.

“Many of us are concerned that God — we’ve lost God’s favor,” Rios said. “I think that’s why, you know, in this particular election, we are encouraging, especially those of you listening in Indiana this morning, make sure that you go out and vote because there is nothing that God can’t do and we don’t know for sure, it certainly seems like we’re trending toward a very bad ending here, but we know that. God has often heard the prayers of his people and spared them the trouble that they so fully deserve. So we are asking for God’s mercy today and also asking for His favor in Indiana in this coming vote.”

Anne Graham Lotz: LGBT Rights Helping Lead To God's Judgment, End Times

Anne Graham Lotz, the evangelist daughter of Billy Graham, warned in an interview with Christian broadcaster Janet Mefferd last month that the terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino and “things that are happening in our weather” are “wake-up calls” from God to Christians who have turned away from Him and failed to stop such things as advances in LGBT rights in America.

Lotz told Mefferd that conservative Christians have to “stop being judgmental and stop being self-righteous and stop pointing our finger at them” and instead take on some of the blame for what she sees as a turning away from God.

She pointed to the negative reaction to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT bill HB2, saying that it is “evidence of rebellion in the human heart against God.”

“When we look at our nation and we are just provoking God’s judgment,” she said, “and He is righteous and that’s how I know we’re coming under judgment, because His character demands that He would judge our sin. But at the same time, He’s loving and merciful and if we would just plead to him, He’s so tender-hearted, I believe that He would turn back to us and He would once again protect us and bless us and give us His favor.”

“So I don’t think it’s too late yet, Janet,” she said, “but I believe we’re reaching that tipping point. I honestly believe we’re dangerously close to reaching a point where there’ll be no return and judgment will fall.”

She went on to warn that terrorist attacks and “things that are happening in our weather or in our political situation” are God’s “wake-up calls” to the church as He prepares for the return of Christ and “the end of human history as we know it.”

“I pray for the revival of God’s people and that God would wake them up,” she said. “And that may be what San Bernardino is about, or Brussels, or Paris, you know, we can’t ignore these wake-up calls, or things that are happening in our weather or in our political situation, they’re wake-up calls. God is telling the church, I believe, to wake up and it’s time to hit your knees and pray because I believe we’re looking at the end of human history as we know it. I believe everything is ratcheting up, preparing for the return of Jesus, but before He comes back, it’s going to get very ugly.”

“I believe something is about ready to break and something’s getting ready to blow, and it’s time for God’s people to pre-prayer, it’s time for us to pray before that happens,” she said.

Anti-LGBT Activist Can't Name A Single Case Of Nondiscrimination Policies Leading To Sexual Assault

Last month, Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver said that she plans on “taking a Glock .45 to the ladies room” after Target announced a new policy prohibiting discrimination against transgender customers.

Liberty Counsel is a notorious anti-LGBT group that has taken credit for shaping discriminatory laws such as North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2.

In an interview with Alan Colmes that was posted online today, she repeated her claim that women should take their firearms while out shopping in order to “prepare for predators that might be in the restroom.”

When Colmes asked if she could name any cases of crimes that have occurred as a result of states states adopting LGBT nondiscrimination laws, Staver was unable to name any.

“I’m not a statistician,” she said.

However, she did claim that there have been around 20 crimes committed in Target restrooms, although she didn’t say whether any of those alleged crimes had anything to do with the store policy, and said that she was personally a victim of attempted assault.

Colmes responded: “I’m very sorry that happened to you, but the question is whether or not these laws have led to increased incidents of assault. And in state after state, whether it’s Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa, they’ve all said, statements from those states, no additional incidents since laws in those states have gone into effect. So it seems like it’s a solution in search of a problem.”

Staver nonetheless said that Target has “caused predators to know that women are easy prey in these places” and “put a bullseye on the women by highly publicizing this policy and that’s caused predators to go around in these different states in the country and target women.”

She then falsely claimed that a man in Washington state exposed himself to a girls’ swim team and conceded that “there may not have been increases in the past, but I guarantee you there will be with the national attention that we have.” 

Ted Cruz Laments 'Hatred' In Politics As He Demonizes The Transgender Community

Yesterday, Ted Cruz chatted with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, one of his presidential campaign advisers and surrogates, about the upcoming Indiana primary, and Perkins gave him a chance to address “how loony the left is in pushing these genderless bathroom bills.”

Cruz, who has been running television ads smearing transgender women as potential sexual predators, said that transgender nondiscrimination policies defy “basic common sense” and accused Donald Trump of caving to “the PC police” when he criticized North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law and expressed partial support for Planned Parenthood.

He went on to recount a story about “two little kids” who “gave me envelopes filled with change because they set up a lemonade stand and they gave me all the money they raised at the lemonade stand,” citing the incident as proof that people are “ready to crawl over broken glass” for his campaign, knowing that “our nation is hanging in the balance.”

Just minutes after denigrating transgender people, Cruz said that a vote for him would be a vote against “anger and hatred” in politics. Cruz urged voters to pray over their decision, hoping they come to the realization that he is a proven conservative warrior while Trump is simply a poser.

“The stakes [have] never been higher,” he said. “Our basic rights. Our religious liberty. The right to life. The Second Amendment. All of our rights hang in the balance if we get this wrong.”

Todd Starnes: Undocumented Immigrants Are 'Enemy' 'Invaders'

Fox News personality and Religious Right conference fixture Todd Starnes is not happy with recent protests of Donald Trump inCalifornia and Indiana, taking to the Fox website yesterday to pen a column smearing undocumented immigrants as “invaders” and the “enemy” who are “living off our tax dollars” and “causing mayhem in our streets.”

We “used to fight wars” against such “invaders,” he wrote:

There was a time in this nation’s history when having 13 million people breach your border would have been considered an invasion. We used to fight wars over such a hostile act.

But these days instead of repelling the invaders, the Obama administration gave them food stamps, free health care, and a voter registration card .

We’ve been invaded and our government has provided aid and comfort to the enemy.

In both Indiana and California the protesters tried to bully and intimidate law-abiding Americans into silent submission. They tried – but they failed.

You see, the illegals need to understand something – “We the People” will no longer be silent. We will not allow our sovereignty to be violated anymore.

The American taxpayers have reached a boiling point. We are tired of illegals taking American jobs. We are tired of illegals living off our tax dollars. We are tired of illegals causing mayhem in our streets.

And more than anything, we are tired of lawmakers who refuse to defend American sovereignty.

The truth is we don’t know who or what has been coming across our southern border. We don’t know what dangers lurk in our neighborhoods.

Starnes discussed his column with St. Louis radio host Jamie Allman this morning, adding, “I think the American people are just so frustrated with their tax dollars being used to take care of illegals. They see that there are illegals here doing nefarious things; there seems to be one set of laws for them and one set of laws for us. And people are saying, you know what, that’s not right. And the only person that seems to be talking about this and resonating, his message is resonating, is Donald Trump.”

Glenn Beck Says Carly Fiorina Is On Board With Plan To Control The Senate From The Cruz White House

Yesterday, we noted that Glenn Beck and David Barton, both close friends of Ted Cruz and key supporters of his presidential campaign, have been promoting a plan under which if Cruz becomes president, his vice president, Carly Fiorina, would essentially take over the role of the Senate majority leader in order to give the White House direct control over the Senate.

Citing the provision in the Constitution naming the vice president as the president of the Senate, Barton and Beck have envisioned a scenario in which Fiorina greatly expands what has traditionally been a largely ceremonial role into one where she literally takes control of one half of Congress, creating a situation in which, in Beck's words, "the White House is running the Senate as well."

While campaigning for Cruz in Indiana yesterday, Beck introduced Fiorina at a rally and revealed that he had discussed this very plan with her and that she was totally on board.

"What she knows is, when Thomas Jefferson was vice president, he went in and wrote all of the Senate rules," Beck said. "A true vice president, constitutionally, can walk in and look at somebody like [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and say, 'Mitch, you're in my seat.'"

UPDATE: Beck discussed this idea again on his radio program today, saying that he would like to see Fiorina be "the president of the Senate in more than just title" and use this constitutional provision to "actually control the Senate."

Fiorina would "use the position to move things forward," Beck said, because President Cruz would not utilize executive orders to enact his agenda but would instead take control of the Senate through his vice president in order to "restore the balance of power through Congress."

Such a move, Beck said, would allow Cruz to ensure that nobody in his own party would be able to thwart his agenda. "If you have the president of the Senate being your partner as the vice president, you can actually move things through the Senate, which I think would be exceptional."

Only in Beck's bizarro world is the prospect of the Oval Office displacing the Senate majority leader and taking control of one half of Congress seen as an effort to "restore the balance of power."

Glenn Beck: Mocking Me For Asking For Fasting And Prayer Is A Sign That America Is 'Done'

Campaigning for Ted Cruz in Indiana, Glenn Beck is once again asking his supporters to engage in prayer and fasting before the Republican primary, writing on Facebook yesterday:

I have asked for this in the past and was mocked. It is okay.

I would like to ask that you, your family and friends join me for a day of prayers, fasting and humility. To beg the Lord to not remove His hand from us. To turn to Him and ask that He will heal our land.

Beginning Monday night and running for 24 hours ending on Tuesday will you pray and if possible fast like you have never done before?

Beck's plea yesterday was linked to by the Drudge Report, which predictably upset Beck, who declared on his radio program that the fact that he gets mocked for asking for prayer is a sign that America is "done."

Beck has been feuding with the right-wing website as he campaigns for Cruz and regularly complains the Drudge is engaging in anti-Christian bigotry by supposedly mocking him for his repeated declarations that Cruz has been anointed by God to save America.

Saying that fasting and prayer turned the tide during the Civil War, Beck declared that America must humble itself before God because we are mocking Him at every turn.

When "conservative bastions," Beck said, "are coming out and mocking people who believe in God, who believe in divine providence, who believe that the Constitution and Declaration are divine documents, when you mock that, we're done."

GOP Taking Supreme Court Orders From Radical Gun Group

Among the groups pressuring Republicans in the Senate to continue their blockade of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is Gun Owners of America, a gun lobby group that holds considerable sway on Capitol Hill despite its history of promoting wild conspiracy theories, frequent warnings to elected officials that they should fear assassination and deep ties to radical militia groups and white supremacists.

GOA has circulated a petition to its members claiming that Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, “would reverse your ability to own a gun” and “hates the Second Amendment,” basing its claims on exceedingly thin evidenceWhile these attacks on Garland’s record have been widely discreditedseveral Republican senators have pointed to the judge’s supposed disrespect for the Second Amendment as a reason to oppose him.

GOA’s general counsel, Michael Hammond, brought these claims to an op-ed in USA Today on Sunday, which GOA followed up with a video claiming again that Garland “hates the Second Amendment” and that if he gets on the court “good people will go to prison for exercising their constitutional rights.” Obama’s nomination of Garland, the video warns, is “the most significant step in his sordid trail towards transforming our nation.”

This paranoid and exaggerated language is typical of a group that has ties to the violent militia fringes of the Right and stays afloat by promoting conspiracy theories about various federal plots to snatch law-abiding people’s guns.

Tim Macy, the group’s chairman and the head of a “Second Amendment Coalition” on Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, used similar rhetoric in March when he said that the Garland nomination was Obama’s “last-ditch effort” to “ruin the Second Amendment and destroy this country.”

The group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, went even further when he implied that Garland should fear assassination if he displeases gun groups. “Happily, the Second Amendment is all about people like Judge Garland, so there is a limit to how far he can go, I think,” Pratt told radical radio host Rick Wiles.

Pratt frequently makes similar comments. We wrote last year:

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!”

On his weekly radio program last year, Pratt said that President Obama should learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason in the 17th century:

Pratt’s view of the Second Amendment as a tool for a well-armed minority of insurrectionists to take on a government they disagree with comes straight from the fringe militia movement, which Pratt helped shape in the 1990s.

And that’s not all. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “In 1996, Pratt was forced to resign as co-chairman of Patrick J. Buchanan's presidential campaign when it was publicized that he had been a speaker at the 1992 Gathering of Christian Men in Estes Park, Colo., where he rubbed shoulders with neo-Nazis, Klansmen, adherents of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology, and other radicals.”

More recently, Pratt was a cheerleader for the armed militias who staged a standoff with the federal government at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada, saying that the incident came “very close” to provoking “a civil war between the people and the government.”

In his role at the helm of GOA, Pratt is happy to stir up conspiracy theories and anti-government paranoia in an effort to turn his group’s membership against any attempt at reasonable gun law reform.

He has humored radical radio hosts who have suggested that the Sandy Hook school and Aurora movie theater massacres were inside jobs designed by the government.

And, as we wrote last year, Pratt has plenty of conspiracy theories of his own:

… He has claimed that Obama is building up a private security force within the Department of Homeland Security to use for his own purposes “if he can’t actually commandeer the military”; warned that Obama will enlist undocumented immigrants into a private “ Praetorian guard” and advise police officers to go after people with conservative bumper stickers ; said Obamacare will ultimately “take away your guns”; feared Obama is stockpiling “anti-personnel rounds” because he “ seems to view the American people as the enemy”; claimed that Obama “had to steal” the 2012 presidential election and even buys into the fringe birther theory that holds that the president’s “real father” was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis.

Here is Pratt talking with fringe radio host Stan Solomon about the possibility that President Obama will start a race war:

This is who the GOP wants to listen to on the Supreme Court?

How Many Senators Is Mitch McConnell Willing To Sacrifice?

Another day brings another terrible poll for Senate Republicans.

This time the bad news for the GOP comes from Ohio, where former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland* is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

Public Policy Polling notes, “The Senate race in Ohio remains very tight, with Rob Portman and Ted Strickland each at 38%, and 23% of voters undecided. Rob Portman has just a 32/40 approval spread.” They explain, “That puts him well behind Sherrod Brown's 42/33 spread for honors as Ohio's more popular Senator (Brown also has an early 47/33 lead in a hypothetical rematch in 2018 against Josh Mandel.)”

Why are voters turning so strongly against the incumbent? According to PPP, “one issue percolating right now that really has the potential to hurt Portman is the Supreme Court seat. 53% of voters want to see the seat filled this year to only 39% who don't, including a 60/31 spread with independents in favor of filling it this year.”

Most interestingly, “where voters are really mad with Senate Republicans is the issue of holding hearings and at least giving Merrick Garland a fair shot. 65% of voters think the Senate should have hearings on Garland's nomination to only 21% of voters opposed to doing so.”

This is just one in a string of states in which Republican obstruction is tanking the poll numbers of GOP senators. Incumbents in New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania all find themselves in electoral hot water. Even Arizona’s John McCain is now in a tight reelection contest and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has seen a 29-point drop in net approval ratings in his home state.

This polling collapse is driven by a miscalculation by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership team. They believed independent voters would see their blockade of Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court appointment as standard ideological bickering and at worst declare “a pox on both your houses.”

In this case, though, voters recognize that the dysfunction they despise in Washington is the fault of Senate Republicans serving the whims of the extremes of their party.

With Donald Trump now the likely Republican nominee, senators up for reelection are painted into an even tighter box.

As we get closer to November, McConnell’s position becomes more and more untenable. Campaign dollars will be spread thin as previously safe races, like McCain’s, require great financial commitment. This will pull resources away from at-risk incumbents like Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and from open seats in Florida and Nevada.

If McConnell doesn’t reverse course soon and begin confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland soon, the question will be how many Senate seats he is willing to sacrifice to placate his party’s far-right flank.

* Full disclosure: I worked in Ted Strickland’s congressional office from 2001-2003.

Is President Cruz Planning To Use Carly Fiorina To Strong-Arm The Senate? It Sure Sounds Like It

Last month, Glenn Beck explained to a live studio audience about how Ted Cruz, if elected president, could use the constitutional provision declaring that "the Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate" to essentially use his vice president to take complete control of the Senate.

Claiming that he had "no information on this" and was just "thinking outside of the box," Beck envisioned a scenario in which Cruz would name a "pit bull" like Carly Fiorina as his running mate and then instruct her to "go run the Senate," creating a situation in which "the White House is running the Senate as well."

Like Beck, right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton has very close ties to Cruz and his presidential campaign, and last week he spoke to a small group at Liberty University. That speech was attended by a Liberty graduate student who reported that Barton floated the exact same plan:

Barton spoke strongly in support of Ted Cruz’s decision to appoint Carly Fiorina as his running mate and suggested that her role in a Cruz presidency will be much more significant than the Vice President’s role in years past. If elected, the Cruz campaign plans to reinstate the VP’s reign over the Senate in the hopes of nullifying the influence of the president pro tempore, who commonly acts in the VP’s absence. This is another interesting development given the history of Cruz’s clashes with the GOP establishment.

While Beck initially presented this scenario as something of a hypothetical idea, the report on Barton suggests that this is something that he either learned directly from Cruz or his campaign or something that has at least been discussed among top-level Cruz supporters.

The fact that two key Cruz backers are promoting this idea raises the question of whether this is something that the Cruz campaign is actually planning on carrying out if the Texas senator, notorious for his poor relationships with senators on both sides of the aisles\, wins the White House.

Cruz, who has been campaigning in Indiana alongside Beck, has not yet been asked if he plans to put his surrogates' idea into action if elected.

Michael Savage Sees 'God's Hand' In Donald Trump's Rise To The Presidency

On Friday, Donald Trump chatted with Michael Savage about his deep admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, falsely claiming that Russia has been actively bombing ISIS in Syria.

Savage, meanwhile, spent the time leading up to the interview expressing his admiration for Trump.

“I personally think that after this is all over and Trump becomes the next president of the United States, I personally believe you’ll look back and you will see that there’s God’s hand in all of this,” Savage said.

Explaining that he sees “spiritual elements” in the election, Savage said that President Obama “was put here to show us just what could happen under a corrupt, left-wing administration” and that “Trump is the counterpoint to these eight years of corruption and communism in the United States of America.”

President Obama, Savage said, “goes to sleep dreaming of how to run America down” and “how to destroy America one more time, to get in one more round of smackdowns on this country and everybody sees that and Trump is the antidote to these eight years of hatred for this dear nation.”

Fox News' Favorite Sheriff Will Speak To Radical Anti-Government Oath Keepers

David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and a favorite of Fox News and the right-wing media, will deliver the keynote address to a meeting of the New York chapter of the radical anti-government group Oath Keepers next month, according to an invitation on the group’s website.

Clarke’s association with the anti-government fringe is nothing new: In 2013, he accepted the “Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group that believes that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and have a duty to defy federal laws on issues like gun control and health care. At that event, he shared the stage with Oath Keepers head Stewart Rhodes and a number of other radical activists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers as “a fiercely antigovernment, militaristic group” summarizing the group’s philosophy like this:

The core idea of the group is that its members vow to forever support the oaths they took on joining law enforcement or the military to defend the Constitution. But just as central is the group’s list of 10 “Orders We Will Not Obey,” a compendium of much-feared but entirely imaginary threats from the government — orders, for instance, to force Americans into concentration camps, confiscate their guns, or cooperate with foreign troops in the United States. These supposed threats are, in fact, part of the central conspiracy theory advocated by the antigovernment “Patriot” movement of which the Oath Keepers is a part — the baseless claim that the federal government plans to impose martial law, seize Americans’ weapons, force those who resist into concentration camps, and, ultimately, push the country into a one-world socialistic government known as the “New World Order.” In 2013, the group took on a more aggressive stance, announcing the planned formation of “Citizen Preservation” militias meant to defend Americans against the New World Order.

Rhodes, the group’s founder, regularly turns to the far-right media to promote conspiracy theories about a coming civil war in which the federal government will use some combination of race war, Jade Helm 15gun lawsEboladeath campsBlack Lives Matter and radical Islamists to subdue an unarmed and unprepared population.

Speaking at a New York Oath Keepers event last year, Rhodes warned of a government plan to “cause chaos, and in the middle of all that chaos, spark a race war, and in the middle of that, unleash these ISIS cells that are now all over the country”:

At a gathering in Arizona last year, Rhodes said that Sen. John McCain “should be hung by the neck until dead” for being “a traitor to the Constitution.”

Clarke has been embraced by Fox News, and even by politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, in part because of his fiery dismissal of critiques of the criminal justice system and in particular of the Black Lives Matter movement. They are seemingly willing to ignore Clarke’s association with an extremist fringe movement.

Once Again, Glenn Beck Has No Idea What He Is Talking About

On several occasions, we have noted that the claims made by right-wing pseudo-historian and pro-Ted Cruz super PAC leader David Barton are so misleading, if not outright false, that it has gotten to the point where we have to fact check just about every assertion that he makes. 

Barton, of course, is extremely close friends with his fellow Cruz booster Glenn Beck and it seems as if his habit of utterly misrepresenting information for the purpose of promoting his own agenda has been rubbing off on the right-wing radio host. 

For the last week or so, Beck has repeatedly claimed that Microsoft's Bill Gates recently asserted that the biggest mistake he made when starting his company was failing to hire lobbyists. To Beck, this is a sign that government regulation is out of control, as he explained again today on his radio broadcast.

"Bill Gates just said recently he would not be able to start Microsoft here in America any more," Beck said. "He wouldn't be able to do it because the regulations have gotten so out of control. And, in one of the saddest comments I've ever heard, he said that the problem with Microsoft was that, at the very beginning, Bill Gates did not believe in going to Washington and getting a lobbyist group. Apple did and so, from the beginning, Apple went and hired lobbyists to make sure their interests were protected in Washington. Bill Gates was of the opinion that Washington has nothing to do with the computing business, they have nothing to do with Microsoft, so he didn't hire lobbyists. He says that's the difference between the wild success and the ease of doing business between Apple and Microsoft. That's not America."

After hearing Beck make this same point several times, we decided to look into it and, of course, Gates said nothing of the sort. 

What actually happened was that Brad Silverberg, who served as senior vice president at Microsoft for nine years, was asked "what were Bill Gates's worst decisions as CEO?" and he suggested that not hiring lobbyists was a key mistake:

Top of the list for me is that Bill did not engage – either himself or the company – in the political process early enough.  When Microsoft’s competitors were effectively lobbying the government, Bill’s attitude was the government should just go away and leave Microsoft alone.  In his view the company was competing hard but fairly; it was creating value for customers and that should be enough.  Well, this approach of not constructively engaging the government and concerned politicians, of not alleviating  concerns that were not going to go away, was a disaster.  The US federal government, many states, and the EU all essentially declared war on Microsoft, and Microsoft paid a devastating price.

Intel did a better job figuring out how to negotiate with the government and avoided the catastrophic fate Microsoft suffered.  Google has done a better job with the US government but it seems the EU is on Google’s case now.

Gates didn't say that failing to hire lobbyists was the worst mistake he ever made, nor did he claim that he couldn't start Microsoft today because there is too much regulation. Those were things that Beck simply made up after apparently misreading news articles and then, as usual, proceeding to making false declarations based on his own lack of information.

Ted Cruz Joins Forces With Yet Another Anti-LGBT Extremist

On Friday, days before the crucial GOP presidential primary in Indiana, Ted Cruz announced the endorsements of 50 clergy members from the state.

In a press release, the Cruz campaign highlighted the support of Micah Clark of the American Family Association’s Indiana chapter.

“We always encourage people to vote their values,” said Micah Clark, Executive Director of the American Family Association of Indiana. “We encourage people of faith to look at a person’s record. Ted Cruz is the only truly pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom candidate for president, from either party. Ted Cruz is a true conservative champion for change.”

“I am honored to earn the support of these leaders,” said Ted Cruz. “Hoosiers want a president they can trust. They are eager to see sanity restored in Washington, and our message of jobs, freedom, and security is resonating. Carly Fiorina and I look forward to bringing common sense Hoosier values to Washington.”

Clark, like his fellow AFA leaders, has quite the record of anti-LGBT activism.

He believes that homosexuality is “has no societal benefit” and is “individually destructive and dangerous.” He’s criticized rulings that allow gay people to recognize their spouses on their death certificates and suggested that employee benefit plans recognizing same-sex couples are “subsidizing homosexual sex.”

When the Boy Scouts ended its ban on gay youth members, Clark harshly criticized the move: “What did Christ say about harming the least of these? He said it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown in the sea on the day of judgement than to cause a child to stumble into sin. And if we’re going to support organizations telling kids that homosexuality is okay — which is treatable, changeable, you don’t have to be homosexual, but if you are, you are at significantly higher risks of mental harm, psychical harm, emotional harm and spiritual harm — we can’t be a part of that.”

Clark once joined a letter calling on schools not to “allow ‘gay-straight alliances,’ homosexual indoctrination programs, permission for use of opposite sex restrooms, and any of the other ridiculous demands of the ‘gay’ lobby” because they would “aid child corruption.”

He attacked a fundraising campaign for a LGBT youth group by claiming that the organization “recruits teens into the homosexual lifestyle,” reprimanded a girl who wanted to wear a tuxedo to her school prom for trying to make “a sexual statement,” and encouraged LGBT young people to seek ex-gay therapy.

As we’ve said before, it seems that no anti-LGBT activist is too extreme for Ted Cruz.

Glenn Beck Says God Has Raised Up Ted Cruz And Is Asking Us To Choose Between Good & Evil

Fresh from smearing his face with Cheetos in a bizarre attempt to mock Donald Trump, Glenn Beck headed back out on the campaign trail yesterday on behalf of Ted Cruz, declaring at a rally in Le Porte, Indiana, that God is dragging out the Republican primary in order to give everyone a chance to go on the record in choosing between good and evil. And the choice is obvious, Beck said, because God has raised up Cruz to save this nation just as He raised up George Washington and the Founding Fathers.

"Make no mistake, we are being watched," Beck said. "We're being watched by our maker ... Every single state is being required and I believe — and they're going to rake me over the coals for saying it; so be it — I believe that's the Almighty God saying, 'Each one of you, I want you to stand and you choose: good or evil? Which way will we go? Am I still your God and are you still my people? Choose who you serve.'"

"Before I walked out on stage, Ted and I got down on our knees and we prayed," he continued. "And we didn't pray for us, we prayed for the nation and for you. He is a servant at heart. He is a man who was raised for these times. People don't believe that stuff any more, but I do. If God raised George Washington and Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, if He put that collection together, He is the Almighty, I think He can send us one guy!"

Anti-LGBT Activists 'Testing' Target By Sending Men Into Women's Rooms

It turns out that anti-LGBT activists are right that men are taking advantage of a transgender-inclusive policy at Target to go into women’s restrooms — and those men are anti-LGBT activists.

In an interview this morning with “Breitbart News Daily,” the American Family Association's director of governmental affairs, Sandy Rios, said that activists have been “testing” Target’s policy by sending men into women’s rooms at the retail chain.

Rios' group has been leading a boycott of Target after the company said it would allow transgender people to use the restroom that matches their gender identity, which it claims will lead to open season for “sexual predators.”

The program’s host, Stephen Bannon, contended that rather than being inclusive, Target is “trying to exclude people who are decent, hard-working people who don’t want their four-year-old daughter to have to go into a bathroom with a guy with a beard in a dress.”

“I think there’s no question that when you say that there are no barriers in the bathroom,” Rios said, “and that if men or women feel like they are men or women, the opposition of however they are equipped, and you have no restrictions, the net effect will be that people will not be stopped. We’ve already had people testing this, going into Targets and men trying to go into bathrooms. There is absolutely no barrier.”

“And so the chief concern,” she continued, “even more than just, I think, trauma, certainly for little girls of having men dressed like women coming in their bathrooms, the chief concern of the American Family Association is the predators who will take advantage.”

Trump Praises Putin In Interview With Far-Right Conspiracy Theorist

Donald Trump has made no secret of his admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the feeling seems to be mutual. So Trump naturally brought the subject up again in an interview with far-right conspiracy theorist radio host Michael Savage after speaking to the GOP state convention in California today.

“Look, you know, Russia can do a lot of good for us,” Trump told Savage. “I mean, when I heard six months ago they wanted to bomb the hell out of ISIS and maybe they had other things in mind also — because, you know, they have a different view on Syria than our so-called leaders and, you know, frankly, they start to start thinking, our people ought to start rethinking their whole policy. But ISIS, they want to bomb it and we’ve got people saying, ‘We don’t want them to bomb ISIS,’ and I’m saying what are these people thinking about?”

The Republican presidential front-runner then repeated his boast that Putin had called him a “genius.”

“Here’s the thing, Michael,” he said, “wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia? You know, Putin said very nice things about me but it has zero influence — he actually called me a genius, but that’s okay, has zero influence on me, Michael, zero.”

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