Fighting the Right

Ben Stein: Michael Brown 'Wasn't Unarmed. He Was Armed With His Incredibly Strong, Scary Self'

In an interview with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg yesterday, conservative pundit Ben Stein insisted that Michael Brown, the black teenager who was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, “wasn’t unarmed” because he was “armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.”

“The idea of calling this poor man ‘unarmed’ when he was six-foot-four, 300 pounds, full of muscles, apparently — from what I read in the New York Times — on marijuana, to call him unarmed is like calling Sonny Liston unarmed or Cassius Clay unarmed,” Stein said.

He went on to accuse Attorney General Eric Holder of leading a “lynching” of the police officer who killed Brown, alleging that the deaths of Brown and of Trayvon Martin were cases of a “very large so-called victim attacking a policeman.”

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!

Leaked Recording Highlights Mitch McConnell’s Devotion to Billionaires Rather Than to Ordinary Kentuckians

In response to the newly-released recordings of Mitch McConnell’s remarks at a secret gathering of conservative donors convened by the Koch brothers, People For the American Way Political Director Randy Borntrager released the following statement:

“These recordings make it crystal clear that Mitch McConnell cares more about pandering to the likes of the Koch brothers than he does about fighting for everyday Kentuckians.

“Rather than whining to billionaires about raising the minimum wage — which, by the way, people in Kentucky favor nearly 2-to-1 — Sen. McConnell should be listening to the needs of his constituents. We need elected officials who are going to fight for the priorities of ordinary Americans, not just pander to wealthy special interests.”

This summer, People For the American Way has been organizing in Kentucky to expose Sen. McConnell’s support of big money in politics.

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Pamela Geller: Obama Says 'ISIL' To 'Deceive And Disarm' Americans

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller believes that President Obama and other administration officials use the translation “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) instead of “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) to describe the Middle Eastern extremist group because he wants to trick Americans who don’t know what or where the Levant is. After telling conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd yesterday that Obama aided Islamic extremists, Geller alleged that the president is trying to trick the American people by using the translation “ISIL.” 

“He says ‘ISIL,’ and why ‘ISIL’ over ‘ISIS’? In my opinion, because it’s to distract, dissemble, deceive and disarm the American people,” Geller said. “The Islamic State of Levant, if anyone looks it up they see Levant and they are like, ‘What’s Levant?’ He knows this.”

The last word in the name “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,” has been translated as both “Syria” and “the Levant,” or the eastern Mediterranean. The New York Times notes that “al-Sham takes in not just Syria but also Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, and even a part of southeastern Turkey.”

If Geller’s analysis is correct, she has also been aiding the group, as she has regularly used the terms “ISIL” and “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” on her blog Atlas Shrugs, where she repeatedly wrote that ISIL, and not ISIS, is the correct name for the group:

The media had amended the name of the Islamic army tearing through Syria and Iraq to ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq). But the correct name is ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). What is the the Levant? The geographical area they mean to rule. The Levant includes Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and parts of Turkey.

Bryan Fischer: Robin Williams Was Demon Possessed

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said today that Robin Williams, much like Beyoncé, gave himself over to Satan in order to help his career, which ultimately led to his death by suicide.

Speaking on his radio show “Focal Point,” Fischer cited an article by evangelist Joe Schimmel, who argued that Williams “opened himself up to transformative demonic powers,” adding that the demonic spirits that possessed Williams are responsible for his suicide.

“I think the chances were very, very good that Robin Williams was demonized, that Robin Williams was afflicted, oppressed by demons, and that Robin Williams himself acknowledged that,” Fischer said. “Was Robin Williams demon possessed? And the answer to that question, using the vernacular, is very likely, the answer to that question is yes.”

Fischer: 'The Most Patriotic Thing We Can Do Today Is To Worship The Lord Our God'

Bryan Fischer began his radio broadcast today with a reading from Leviticus 26 and a discussion about how this passage teaches that one must be a Christian in order to be a patriotic American.

Citing the passage from Leviticus in which God says that he will bless a nation "if you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands," Fischer declared that if someone wants to be a patriotic American today, that means they must "worship the Lord your God and serve him only."

"No counterfeit religions, no cults, no counterfeit versions of Christianity, no occultic Eastern religions," Fischer proclaimed. "You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only."

Given that Fischer believes that every faith that differs from him the one he holds is a counterfeit faith, it stands to reason that those who do not share his faith must also be incapable of being true American patriots, like Fischer.

"So that's the most patriotic thing you can do today, ladies and gentlemen," he concluded, "is worship God and obey him. And when you do that, you will be making the biggest contribution you can make to the country you love":

Tony Perkins: It's Obama's Fault People Think He's A Muslim

On yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that if people believe President Obama is a Muslim, then that is Obama’s own fault.

In response to a caller who insisted that Obama is “a Muslim and every time he does something he’s scoring brownie points for his side, that’s why he can go golfing and not have no problems,” Perkins said that it is reasonable to believe that the president is in fact a Muslim or at least “sympathetic to Muslims.”

Perkins said Obama’s actions as president “only give credence to those that say” that he’s a Muslim, arguing that he did nothing to help Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian and wife of a U.S. citizen who was imprisoned for apostasy until she was ultimately released.

However, administration officials worked to secure Ibrahim’s release and condemned Sudan’s government over the incident, and even Fox News reported that the government was “fully engaged” in the case. A Republican congressman who appeared on Perkins’ radio show back in June told him that “a number of agencies across the board [were] working hand-in-glove to make sure” that Ibrahim was released, and he was “hearted” and “really encouraged that this is a government that cares about people.”

Jody Hice Now Outraged By The Very Thing He Sought To Provoke

Back in 2008, The Alliance Defending Freedom launched a project called Pulpit Freedom Sunday that encouraged pastors to explicitly discuss political issues and candidates during their Sunday sermons in an effort to provoke the IRS into revoking their church's tax-exempt status so that the ADF could then take the IRS to court in order to challenge regulations prohibiting tax-exempt churches from engaging in direct, partisan political activism.

Among the pastors who agreed to participate was Jody Hice, a right-wing radio host who is now the GOP nominee for an open House seat from Georgia, who openly brags about his involvement on his campaign website:

In September 2008 – and in years since, Dr. Hice joined with pastors across the nation in challenging an IRS code that he considers an attack upon religious liberty. The IRS threatened churches with loss of tax-exempt status and with criminal sanctions if political issues were addressed from the pulpit. Hice took his bold stand by formally endorsing a candidate in a Sunday message and sending a copy of it to the IRS. The IRS backed down.

This Pulpit Freedom Sunday effort has taken place every year since 2008 and the IRS has consistently refused to take action against any of the churches or pastors who participated, much to the dismay of church-state separation organizations.

Eventually the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed its own lawsuit against the IRS, seeking to compel the agency to enforce these regulations and then withdrew the lawsuit after the IRS convinced the FRFF that it had not been ignoring the issue.

As Sarah Posner explained today, this latest development is now being spun by the Religious Right to claim that the IRS is colluding with atheist groups in order to target and persecute churches.

Among those fuming about this supposed persecution is none other than Jody Hice, who spent an entire radio broadcast last week declaring that it is a violation of the separation of church and state and accusing the IRS of threatening, bullying, and intimidating Christians into silence:

Of course, the entire point of the Pulpit Freedom Sunday was to get the IRS to take action against churches so that ADF could sue. And now that it looks like the IRS might actually do the very thing that ADF has been trying to provoke it to do for several years, Hice is livid even though he has personally participated in the effort to bring about this very result!

Pat Robertson: Robin Williams Died By Suicide Because 'Heathens' Are Idol Worshipers

Pat Robertson explained today that Robin Williams died by suicide because he didn’t know God and was destined for ruin.

“You see these very popular people in the media who commit suicide like Robin Williams recently and you say, what is the deal with him? What happened?” Robertson said on “The 700 Club.” “You see, the god of the heathen are idols and everything that you seek in life can ruin you unless that somebody is God himself.”

“You won’t want to commit suicide after you have come to him,” he concluded.

Pat Robertson Baffled That The Stock Market Is Going Up Under Obama

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones posted record gains yesterday, utterly astonishing televangelist Pat Robertson, who found himself unable to explain how the stock market is going up under President Obama.

On “The 700 Club” this morning, Robertson argued both that such positive economic news comes in spite of Obama’s purportedly disastrous leadership — because “Obama and his crew are doing everything they can to cripple our industry” — and that gains on Wall Street are the result of quantitative easing and shouldn’t actually be believed.

“Good grief, I don’t see how it’s possible,” he said.

Secret McConnell Recording Shows Need for Money in Politics Reform

This post was originally published at the Huffington Post. 

Early this morning, The Nation published a leaked recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's remarks at a secret meeting of major conservative donors put together by the Koch brothers.

While the first reactions to the recording may highlight what this means for McConnell's Senate race against Alison Lundergan Grimes, the story carries deeper implications as well. At its core, this is a story about why we need to reform the way we finance elections.

In the audio recording, Sen. McConnell says everything that the Koch brothers want to hear. At the beginning of his remarks, he gushes to the brothers: "I don't know where we'd be without you." He rails against Senate votes on raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, and tackling student debt. It's no coincidence that he has received heaps of cash from wealthy special interests that oppose action on those issues. (Reporting today from The Huffington Post shows that at the same Koch retreat, Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and state Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa -- both Republican nominees for U.S. Senate -- "directly credited donors present...for propelling them forward.")

This is increasingly what our political system looks like. Those who can bankroll candidates can help set the political agenda -- even if that agenda looks nothing like what the majority of Americans want it to look like. Research has shown that the wealthy have fundamentally different political priorities than those of everyday Americans, but when the preferences of ordinary Americans conflict with those of billionaire donors like the Koch brothers, it's the rich whose preferences carry the day.

And no one is a more vocal supporter of our broken campaign finance system than Mitch McConnell himself. In the secret tapes, Sen. McConnell says that the Citizens United decision (which paved the way for unlimited corporate political spending) simply "level[ed] the playing field for corporate speech," even calling the proposed constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United "an act of true radicalism" from people who want to "use the power of the government to quiet the voices of their critics."

But Americans know that it's not billionaires or corporations who need the playing field to be leveled. Their priorities are coming through loud and clear in our democracy, thanks to politicians like Sen. McConnell who are fighting to ensure that those with the most to spend can continue to buy our elections. It's ordinary Americans, who increasingly cannot be heard over the roar of big money, whose voices need to be protected. And that "radical" push for a constitutional amendment, which will be voted on in the Senate on September 8, is actually supported by nearly three in four voters.

Maybe if Mitch McConnell weren't so busy pandering to billionaire donors, he'd be able to see the tremendous grassroots call to reform our money in politics system, with 16 states and more than 550 cities and towns already on record in support of an amendment. Then again, with true money in politics reform, maybe our senators wouldn't need to pander to billionaires at all.

PFAW

Kirk Cameron Will Win The War On Christmas With His Latest Movie

After making a “documentary” about how America needs to return to the values of the Pilgrims, Kirk Cameron is now starring in a film about the “War on Christmas.”

Cameron told Glenn Beck’s outlet The Blaze that he seeks to save the holiday from a barrage of attacks from those who seek to “snuff out the holy root” Christmas.

But don’t worry, he insists that the movie is not an “angry rant about the culture war.”

Cameron, who is also one of the film’s stars, told TheBlaze that he decided to make “Saving Christmas” to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season, while also pushing back against those who wish to “snuff out [the holiday's] holy root.”

“Christmas is probably my favorite time of year,” he said. “It seems to be the time of year when even cranky, grumpy people seem to be touched by the spirit of generosity and kindness and brotherly love and I know that that ultimately stems from the true reason for the season, which is Christ.”

Cameron continued, “It’s obvious that there is a deliberate attempt to snuff out the holy root that has produced all this wonderful Christmas-time fruit. I think it’s about time someone spoke out and made a movie about this.”

The “Growing Pains” actor, who has gone on to direct and produce numerous faith-themed films, said that atheist activists’ attempts to diminish the true nature of the holiday by taking aim at nativities and other symbols of faith amounts to political correctness run amok.

“[It is] offensive to 90 percent of people in our country who want to see nativity scenes and who know the birth of the Christ child is the fundamental root of Christianity, which is the ideology that built this country,” Cameron said.

“Saving Christmas” isn’t an “angry rant about the culture war,” he said. Instead, it’s a celebration of the holiday and of the Christian faith.

Ted Nugent Loves Insane Pastor James David Manning's Racist Rant

What a surprise that Ted Nugent is a fan of the extremist Harlem pastor who has made a name for himself with his insane anti-Obama rants and calls to kill gay people. Nugent posted excerpts of a James David Manning sermon on his Facebook page today, commenting (in all caps, of course), “TRUER LOVE THERE HAS NEVER BEEN.”

“You niggas are crazy,” Manning says about black voters who supported Obama in the sermon posted by Nugent. “We’re not going to ever get anywhere until we get in the mind of a black man, he doesn’t think correctly, he can be doctor, he can be an astrophysicist, the nigga ain’t got no sense.”

“The worst thing that ever happened to South Africa was when they gave it to Nelson Mandela and black folk,” he added. “Black folk don’t know how to run no nation.”

Kevin Sorbo And Rick Wiles Agree: Atheists Are Angry Because They Know God Exists

D-list actor Kevin Sorbo recently had a leading role in the right-wing Christian film "God Is Not Dead," in which he played a smug atheist college professor who seeks to destroy the faith of his students.

In promoting the film, which is now out on DVD, Sorbo has been making the rounds on Christian television and radio programs, saying that he based his portrayal in the film on all the angry and bitter atheists that he is always seeing on television.

Yesterday, Sorbo was a guest on End Times fanatic Rick Wiles' radio program, where the two concluded that atheists are so angry because they secretly know that God does exist and hate him for "judging how they live their life."

Sorbo said he doesn't understand why atheists are so "filled with just hatred and anger," saying that he feels sorry for them but also can't help but laugh at them for spending "so much time ranting and raving about something that they don't believe in."

Wiles agreed, saying that he doesn't "believe in the Tooth Fairy but I don't spend all my time from trying to stop people from believing in the Tooth Fairy."

Of course, one could just as well make the same point in response to Sorbo and Wiles, noting that while they don't believe in atheism, they sure do seem to be spending a lot of time ranting and raving about it.

In the end, both Wiles and Sorbo agreed that the real reason atheists are so angry is because, deep down, they know that God exists.

"The truth is," Wiles said, "they know he exists and they hate him. That's what it's all about."

"That is exactly what it is," Sorbo responded. "I know these guys must believe in something, otherwise they wouldn't get so angry about it and they don't like the fact that there is a higher power out there that is judging how they live their life":

Tony Perkins Praises Strict Gun Laws … In Israel

There is a trend among Religious Right activists to cheer on Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian territories while conveniently ignoring other Israeli programs, such as government subsidies for abortion coverage.

But on his radio show “Washington Watch” yesterday, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins went all in to praise an Israeli domestic policy that is at odds with what American conservatives are pushing at home, hailing Israeli gun laws and saying that Israeli cities are much safer than their American counterparts.

Does this mean that Perkins, of all people, is now a supporter of Israel’s very strict gun laws? Or does he just not understand what he’s talking about?

Back in 2012, the Washington Post attempted to clear up American conservatives’ “long-held misunderstanding of Israeli gun laws.”

The only problem is that Israel actually has quite strong gun restrictions and very low gun ownership rates, some of the lowest in the developed world. This confusion has gotten so bad that even Israeli government officials are now chiming in to knock back the claims, though the NRA is seen as a close ally of the U.S. Republican party, which positions itself as strongly backing Israel.



Israeli guns laws, it turns out, are much stricter than America's gun laws. This may help explain why Israeli gun ownership is just one thirteenth of what it is in the U.S. To bring that number into focus, it would likely be even lower if not for mandatory military service, which means Israelis are more likely to be familiar with guns. Israel's unique security challenges and its periodic bouts with terrorism would also seem to bolster an NRA-style case for allowing more privately owned guns so that more citizens can defend themselves. And yet, there are far fewer guns in private citizens' hands, and far less gun crime.

Truth In Action Ministries: Gays Run Public Schools

The right-wing group Truth In Action Ministries is out with a new film warning parents that public schools are run by gay rights activists who are out to destroy religious freedom. The film features such experts as radio talk show host Janet Parshall and conservative legal activists Greg Baylor and Dee Wampler.

“So, mom and dad, if you have a school district where in fact they are introducing pernicious ideas that are antithetical to the word of God, then you are going to ask yourself who you are going to serve: Mammon or God,” Parshall asks.

Wampler, for his part, quotes Patrick Henry in urging students to refuse to complete class assignments dealing with gay rights issues, which she alleged violate their First Amendment rights.

Watch excerpts here:

Alabama GOP Chairman: Obama Is A Sociopath, Probably

We last checked in with Alabama Republican Chairman Bill Armistead during the 2012 presidential campaign, when he was promoting the bizarre alternate birther theory that President Obama’s real father was labor organizer Frank Marshall Davis. Armistead had picked up the idea from a smear film made by right-wing filmmaker Joel Gilbert, and was very impressed, saying he had “verified that it is factual, all of it.”

Now, Armistead has gotten on board with another fringe right-wing theory about President Obama, this time echoing Wayne Allyn Root’s suggestion that the president might actually be a diagnosable sociopath because of the fact that he was on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard last week.

In an email on Monday, Armistead approvingly cited Root’s most recent column to ask, "Is Obama a sociopath?

Elsewhere in Root’s article, Armistead will have learned the activist’s signature theory that President Obama picked up a secret plan to destroy America while attending Columbia University, while simultaneously never attending Columbia classes.

Armistead is not the first GOP leader to take a shine to Root’s unhinged anti-Obama activism: Root campaigned for Mississippi Tea Party Senate candidate Chris McDaniel this summer, where he speculated that Obama “cut his Afro” in order to become an anti-American “Manchurian candidate.”

Flip Benham: Homosexuality Is Satan's 'Pink-Colored Glove'

On last week’s edition of the “Faith & Liberty” radio program, Flip Benham of the extremist right-wing group Operation Save America spoke with host Dave Garrison about the allegedly demonic trinity of legal abortion, LGBT rights, and Islam.

Benham characterized the Religious Right’s opposition to reproductive rights, LGBT equality and the free exercise rights of Muslims as a consolidated effort to win in a “gospel battle” against Satan.

Benham even threw together a helpful analogy to properly identify evil wherever it may lurk. He explained that homosexuality, abortion and Islam represent different incarnations of “the devil’s fist.” While “the homosexual agenda is the pink-colored glove” covering “the fist of the Devil,” abortion is Satan’s “crimson glove stained with the blood of almost 60 million little baby boys and girls.” Islam, simply enough, is “the black glove of death” that Satan uses to keep its followers trapped in “bondage.”

Later, Benham surmised that the three issues are “three of the greatest physical manifestations of the battle between two seeds – the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman.”

He lamented that while the Religious Right has been successful in rolling back reproductive health rights throughout the country, they still have their work cut out for them as far as LGBT rights are concerned. “It’s the same battle, it’s the same fist, we’re fighting the Devil and his lies in the world and the flesh, and moving it to a thing called the homosexual agenda – and it’s the Devil’s agenda.”

Fischer: Valerie Jarrett Ordered Bin Laden Raid Without Even Consulting President Obama

On his radio broadcast yesterday, Bryan Fischer eagerly helped spread the emerging right-wing narrative that murdered journalist James Foley could have easily been rescued but President Obama was too busy playing golf to approve the rescue mission in time to save him.

But in Fischer's telling, the tale grew even more bizarre when he then asserted that it was really White House advisor Valerie Jarrett who ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and did so without even telling President Obama.

"The best information we have," Fischer stated, "is that Valerie Jarrett pulled the trigger and told the Seal Team Six 'you got to go in and get him.' It was Valerie Jarrett that said 'look, we have an opportunity here, we can't afford to pass up this opportunity. I'm not even going to consult with Barack Obama. I'm not even going to consult with the president on this one, he's out playing golf, I'm just going to give the go signal' ... So Valerie Jarrett was functioning as the de facto Commander in Chief":

While this bizarre theory plays into Fischer's long-held belief that President Obama was so uninvolved in the Bin Laden raid that he had to be Photoshopped into the iconic photo of the situation room, it rather conflicts with the other right-wing conspiracy theory that it was Jarrett who repeatedly thwarted attempts to capture or kill Bin Laden.

That claim is not true either, but Fischer ought to at least try a little harder to get his conspiracy theories straight.

Pat Robertson: Possibly Gay Teenager Will Be Straight If He Has A Man In His Life

On today’s edition of the “700 Club,” a viewer told Robertson that her 13-year-old step-son, who “lives with his mother most of the time,” has “crushes on boys” and wanted the televangelist’s help.

Repeating the myth that homosexuality is the result of a lack of parental bonding, Robertson said “his attraction is now toward other men because he’s raised by a woman.”

“I would get him male companions, I’d get him some man to help him, some mentor, someone who cares about young men,” Robertson advised. “He is being raised by a single woman and that is skewing his orientation.”

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