Televangelist Jim Bakker declared on his television program last week that only a “sick” person would believe that God is blessing America. He suggested that God is punishing America with an uptick in earthquakes due to the legalization of abortion (rather than the fracking process), and that America is now in the time of “sorrows,” noting that “we don’t know the difference between boys and girls, that’s how sick we are.”
“You think grown men should go into girls’ bathrooms?” he asked. “Is that what you all believe? Are you in agreement? This nation is sick, people. I’m not against anybody who is going through a problem or serious situations. But we as Americans, 99 percent of the people do not have to give up their sanity because 1 percent want to be insane.”
Bakker added that God told him that “certain things” will happen in the future but he doesn’t know what exactly.
“It’s coming apart,” he said. “There’s going to be things hit. We’re going to see some major things. God spoke to me 24 hours ago. There’s going to be certain things that are going to be like pre-earthquakes, they’re going to be — a smaller crisis, even part of the grid may go down. I don’t know for sure what it’s all about but I know God is speaking to my heart. The people are warning, he warns them, but they won’t listen, and God says I’m going to have to shake the people to get them to obey me.”
Bakker said God also spoke to him about Donald Trump, but he is holding back on revealing exactly what God told him.
Bakker’s cohost Zach Drew warned that if Democrats win the White House, the Supreme Court will become more liberal, which means “less rights as a Christian for you” and “more rights for the gay community and more abortion.”
Bakker, meanwhile, lamented Sadiq Khan’s election as mayor of London, seeming to imply that Khan supports terrorism: “London, a week or so ago, elected a Muslim mayor for London. I’m not against people. I am against when people have a plan to kill you and me.”
Next month, Donald Trump will host a meeting with some of the country’s most radical anti-LGBT and anti-choice leaders in New York City.
Trump, who has already recruited a variety of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists to his campaign, is set to take part in a convening organized by Ben Carson, a former rival turned campaign surrogate, aimed at bringing reluctant Religious Right leaders to his side.
According to a copy of the invitation to the event obtained by the National Review, Trump will be joined by Religious Right activists including Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Penny Nance, Jim Garlow, Rick Scarborough, Phil Burress, Ken Cuccinelli, Lila Rose, E.W Jackson, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Cindy Jacobs.
The meeting will be cohosted by the Family Research Council, Vision America and AFA Action, the political arm of the American Family Association, three of the most vicious anti-LGBT hate groups in the country.
Trump has already pledged to use nominees to the Supreme Court to pave the way for the reversal of the landmark rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality and has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, key priorities of right-wing activists.
Here is a brief introduction to some of the far-right extremists Trump will be meeting with next month.
Whenever Glenn Beck's candidate of choice fails to become president, he responds by literally going back to the drawing board and dreaming up ambitious plans to fundamentally reshape America from the ground up.
After President Obama was re-elected in 2012, Beck's strategy to save this nation involved everything from "completely redesigning the media, preparing and strengthening families, protecting Israel, defending the Constitution and liberty, and even finding new sources of energy."
Beck's plans were so grandiose that they even involved the creation of a massive $2 billion city that would be used to "deprogram" the American people and teach them "the truth."
None of those plans ever materialized, of course, and instead Beck placed all his hopes in the presidential campaign of Ted Cruz, only to see them dashed when Cruz dropped out of the race.
Predictably, Beck has now decided that it's once again up to him to come up with another grand scheme that'll change the tide; this time by bringing together the "greatest thinkers in conservative/libertarian minds today" to lay out "a 100-year plan" for how to save America.
Those who are willing to sell out their principles in support of Donald Trump will not be invited, Beck said, as he instead plans to reach out to people like Mary Matalin, Mark Levin, George Will and Robbie George and invite them to a two-day meeting where they will be tasked with coming up with a 100-year plan for how the conservative movement can rebuild the nation in the decades to come.
Earlier this month, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said that it was the job of white nationalists like himself to give Donald Trump “space” so that he can eventually publicly embrace anti-Semitism.
Jared Taylor, the leading white nationalist who heads the organization American Renaissance, expressed a similar hope in a May 16 interview on an “alt-right” podcast, saying that he could “imagine” a scenario in which Trump, once president, would publicly back “white people wanting to remain a majority in their own country” and endorse bogus theories about racial differences in intelligence. Taylor also predicted that Trump would hire people “at all sorts of levels in his administration” who “think the way we do.”
The blog Hail to the Gynocracy, which tracks the alt-right, captured segments of the interview that Taylor gave to the “This Alt-Right Life” podcast, hosted by Matt Forney.
“I’m more optimistic now than I have been at any point in 25 years of trying to wake white people up to this terrible crisis that they face,” Taylor said. “I think that Donald Trump is certainly an important ingredient in that.”
Trump, Taylor said, is saying things that he has been saying for years, only it’s impossible for people to ignore him because he’s raising these questions at “a level at which they’ve never been raised ever before.”
I’ve been saying for 25 years we don’t need any more Muslims, but I can be ignored. The SPLC can say I’m a hatemonger and then people will ignore me. The SPLC can say all it wants that Donald Trump is a hatemonger, but if he is the Republican nominee, then he is in an entirely different position.
And when people start thinking in those terms, Well, wait a minute, are Muslims really of any use to the United States? Then the next step, of course, is to say, Well, are there any other groups that are of no use to the United States? What do, oh, Guatemalans, for example, bring to our country? What do Somalis bring to our country? What do Haitians bring to America? Do we really need 30,000,000 Mexicans living in this country? When you start thinking in terms of group differences, then the camel’s nose is under the tent. That opens the door to all kinds, all kinds of anti-orthodox, subversive thinking. And so Donald Trump has played a huge role in breaking down the gates of orthodoxy and making it possible to raise these questions in a way that they’ve never been raised, at a level at which they’ve never been raised ever before.
Taylor said that although Trump is not a “sophisticated racialist,” he has “good instincts.” He said he could imagine a scenario in which Trump goes beyond his promises to deport undocumented immigrants and ban Muslims from entering the country and specifically embraces white nationalism.
I think that he has committed himself so strongly to those ideas that it would look very bad if he were to back out on them. Even if he did only those things and nothing more, that would be a radical transformation of the way America does politics when it comes to immigration, and that would be a wonderful thing.
We can then imagine a Donald Trump who goes even further. Donald Trump is the only candidate in the last 50 years of whom I could realistically imagine his tossing off to a group of journalists a question such as, Well, what’s wrong with white people wanting to remain a majority in their own country? I can imagine him saying that. He will not necessarily, but I can imagine it. I cannot imagine any other candidate ever saying such a thing.
I can even imagine him saying, Well you know, ultimately, you just can’t expect as many blacks per capita to be in the advanced placement courses because they’re just not as smart. I mean I can imagine that with a little bit greater difficulty than the remark about being majorities, but that too is not an utterly inconceivable thing for Donald Trump to say. And if the president of the United States makes remarks of that kind, they simply cannot be brushed aside.
Taylor added that he was confident that a Trump administration would be stacked with people who “think the way we do” and “read our web pages” and “listen to our podcasts.”
On the other hand, there is an aspect of this that very few people are talking about. If there actually is a Trump presidency, he will attract, at all sorts of levels in his administration, people who do think the way we do. Even though they’re not publicly associated with racial dissidents, or white advocacy. He will attract people who read our web pages, who listen to our podcasts, and they will work in all sorts of very, very useful ways in all levels of his administration to bring about sensible policies.
I think I can also imagine that some of them, they will be caught out, oh, saying rude things about blacks or rude things about Mexico, and there will be little scandals here and there. But there will be a great number who will infiltrate his administration, his campaign, his advisers in ways that cannot but be extremely useful both to Trump and to us.
In his latest video, extremist right-wing activist Theodore Shoebat blasted Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin for vetoing legislation that would have made it a felony to perform an abortion in any situation other than to save the life of a pregnant woman and criticized Donald Trump for backing away from his statement that women who receive abortions should face some sort of punishment.
Shoebat, who was recently featured in Janet Porter's anti-gay documentary "Light Wins" along with several Republican presidential candidates, members of Congress and leading anti-gay activists, insisted that Trump was right when he initially said that women who get abortions should be punished but then was pressured into issuing a "bullcrap" clarification only because he wants to win the election.
"He should have never retracted his statement," Shoebat asserted, because "if you really believe it's murder, then the woman has to be punished. That is the logical conclusion."
A woman who has an abortion is not the victim, he said, "she's a selfish slut who needs to be punished."
Shoebat blasted Fallin as a "witch" for vetoing this piece of legislation, insisting that the three-year prison term the law would have carried "is not really a big deal" and, in fact, does not go far enough.
It makes no sense to punish only doctors for performing abortions, Shoebat declared, "because the woman is actually more guilty" and "the biggest criminal" since without her consent, no abortion would ever take place.
As such, both women who have abortions and doctors who perform them should be lined up before a firing squad and shot, he said.
"Yeah, arrest all the abortion doctors and put them before a firing squad and kill 'em," Shoebat said, "but do not exempt the woman. The woman also needs to be in front of that firing squad as well."
Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton spoke at the Family Research Council Monday on “The Scientific Objectivity and Universality of Gender Difference.” The context, explained in FRC’s promotion for the talk, was the Obama administration’s directive on transgender students’ access to facilities that match their gender identity — or, in FRC’s words, the administration’s “working to elevate the cause of these individuals who believe their observable, biological sex does not match their gender identity.”
Stanton, whose education is in philosophy and religion, spent the better part of an hour making his case, drawing on a New Yorker cartoon as well as a series of books and scientific studies by socio-biologists, evolutionary psychologists, and “secular anthropologists” to argue that there is “a universal male and female nature.”
Stanton discussed books on differences between male and female brains, suggesting that the gender divide in Silicon Valley does not reflect sexism but the fact that the female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy, while the male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems. Among other differences he said hold true across cultures: women smile more; women see danger where men see challenges; men are more interested in the world outside their village; women attempt suicide more often but men do so more violently and successfully.
But Stanton utterly failed to link all this to the conclusion that he and FRC are drawing about gender identity and public policy. In fact, the whole exercise left me thinking: So what? How would the existence of some predominant traits in men and women deny the reality of those whose sexual orientation or gender identity falls outside the norm? And how would it justify denial of humane treatment or legal equality?
It may be true that some traits predominate across cultures in men more than women. But that hardly makes them “universal.” There are male pacifists and female warriors; effective female executives and happy stay-at-home dads. Stanton acknowledged that there are many ways to be male — mentioning Clint Eastwood and Mr. Rogers. And, he said, some women can do “man things.” He cited Richard Simmons as someone who intentionally presents himself in a way that doesn’t clearly fit the “objective” way to be male and female. But he brushed all those aside, saying they do not challenge the universal binary norm.
Similarly, in response to a question about Native American cultures that recognized androgynous figures, and even considered them to play a sacred role, Stanton acknowledged the existence of such figures, such as the berdache, which he said have been “co-opted by the gay and lesbian community.” But he clearly could not make this reality fit his universalizing theory.
“Typically,” Stanton said, “that individual tends to be more of a she-male. It’s sort of, if you will, the Richard Simmons type, maybe the Mr. Rogers type, a man who is physically male, but he’s got clear kind of identities for the feminine. He’s — we would call, not in a nice way, in our culture, the Nancy boys, growing up.”
Furthermore, Stanton said, “They do not fit either in the male or the female category, but they are a mix of the two.” But rather than admitting that such a figure undermines his thesis, he claimed that they somehow “prove the rule” because “we understand them based on the binary.”
Some Republican lawmakers in Georgia are objecting to an art exhibit at Kennesaw State University called “Art AIDS America” that “introduces and explores the whole spectrum of artistic responses to AIDS, from the politically outspoken to the quietly mournful, surveying works from the early 1980s to the present.”
The Marietta Daily Journal reported last week that state Republican lawmakers are calling the exhibit “sickening,” “trash” and “garbage”:
State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, who chairs the Georgia House committee that funds universities, called the exhibit “sickening” and “a blatant political statement.”
Ehrhart said he called KSU president Dan Papp to complain about the exhibit this week.
Papp did not return calls from the Journal by press time.
Moving forward, don’t expect to see such exhibits at KSU in the future, Ehrhart said.
“I’m going to make it real clear, let’s just put it that way. I had a lot of success in getting Tech’s attention in spending taxpayer money on ridiculous things,” said Ehrhart, referring to his criticism of how the Georgia Institute of Technology handles accusations of sexual assault. Ehrhart said when Georgia Tech ignored his requests, he eliminated the university’s request for a $47 million building.
State Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-west Cobb, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said after visiting the museum he was both disappointed and disgusted.
“Typically, communities send their garbage to the dump and dispose of their body waste at the local sewage treatment plant,” Tippins said. “KSU has chosen to celebrate and elevate it to an ‘art’ exhibit. Trash is trash. I think it speaks for itself.”
State Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, said the exhibit undermines the university’s reputation.
“Making this kind of trash publicly undermines the otherwise great work that’s happening at Kennesaw State University and makes it much more difficult for those who love the university to talk about the great things that are happening there,” Setzler said Thursday. “I think this sadly trivializes the very serious issue of AIDS, which is something that we as a nation are committed to dealing with in a serious way.”
Ehrhart believes “a fully loaded porta-potty would be a better artistic expression” than the exhibit at Kennesaw State.
The lawmakers reportedly particularly object to “a painting by Jerome Caja of a naked man wearing a clown mask engaged in a sex act with a skeleton” and “a mixed-media installation that includes pictures of the late President Ronald Reagan, conservative godfather William F. Buckley Jr., conservative Sen. Jesse Helms and televangelist Jerry Falwell, mixed in with what appear to be Nazi storm troopers under a pink triangle.”
The criticism is reminiscent of the right-wing outrage over a National Portrait Gallery exhibit on the gay and lesbian experience in American art in 2011.
Donald Trump frequently attempts to get away with spouting wild conspiracy theories by claiming that he doesn’t necessarily believe in the conspiracy theories in question, but is simply asking the question.
This rhetorical trick, one perfected by Fox News hosts and right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck, enables Trump to insert a conspiracy theory into the news narrative without taking any responsibility as to whether the allegation is true or not.
Take, for example, his interview yesterday with the Washington Post, where he mentioned the thoroughlydiscredited claim that Bill and Hillary Clinton murdered Vincent Foster, a former aide who died of suicide. While bringing up the debunked conspiracy theory, Trump insisted that he wasn’t bringing it up, but was only saying that other people have said Foster was killed.
“He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide,” Trump said. “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
“It’s the one thing with her, whether it’s Whitewater or whether it’s Vince or whether it’s Benghazi. It’s always a mess with Hillary,” Trump said in the interview.
One issue on Trump’s radar is the 1993 death of Foster, which has been ruled a suicide by law enforcement officials and a subsequent federal investigation. But some voices on the far right have long argued that the Clintons may have been involved in a conspiracy that led to Foster’s death.
When asked in an interview last week about the Foster case, Trump dealt with it as he has with many edgy topics — raising doubts about the official version of events even as he says he does not plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.
He called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.”
“He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said, speaking of Foster’s relationship with the Clintons at the time. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”
He added, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
Having already adopted the language of the anti-abortion movement and received the endorsements of its leaders such as Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, Priests for Life's National Director Frank Pavone, and Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, along with culture warriors such as Phyllis Schlafly, Donald Trump will now do what Donald Trump does best: get paid.
Bloomberg News reports that Trump has set a goal of soliciting 200,000 contributions from the evangelical community.
The article goes on to describe some odd contortions that some of Trump’s conservative Christian supporters are going through to justify their endorsements of the thrice-married New York businessman.
Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli and Jennifer Jacobs write:
At one recent meeting with Trump, evangelical leaders noted how he often flashes a signature hand gesture, with a thumb out and a finger point to the sky, as he enters and exits rallies.
"You see athletes do it all the time and it's their chance to point to the sky, to thank God for their success," said Pastor Mark Burns, CEO of a Christian television network based in South Carolina. "Trump does this all of the time, too. He's giving reverence to the man upstairs."
"Even with Mr. Trump's billions of dollars, he too still submits himself to God," said Burns, who has become a top Trump surrogate and a staple on the campaign trail, frequently introducing the candidate at rallies. "We should all chip in to help him out. You know, even a billionaire needs some cash flow."
The article also notes that according to Burns, he sees “Mr. Trump's personal and professional connection to his faith at every rally where I introduce him."
The truth is these justifications should be unnecessary. Politically, Trump has bent over backwards to please the Christian Right, which initially had been quite skeptical of his candidacy.
Since becoming the Republican nominee Trump has adopted the language and policies of the antiabortion movement. He also hired former hill staffer John Mashburn as his policy director, to the rave reviews of anti-abortion leaders, and he recently released a slate of Supreme Court picks, any one of whom would shift the court far to the Right and all of whom anti-choice activists seem to be confident would help them to roll back reproductive rights.
Furthermore, Trump’s declaration that “we are going to staring saying Merry Christmas again” is drawn directly from the rhetoric of the Christian conservative movement, which has taken to claiming that sales clerks wishing their customers “happy holidays” amounts to a “war on Christmas.” He also promised to create a Christian "lobby" by removing IRS regulations that prevent churches from engaging in partisan politics.
This all makes sense in the context of Donald Trump. If he is going to have to cite “two Corinthians” in a speech, he might as well profit from it.
Andrea Lafferty, the anti-LGBT crusader who runs the Traditional Values Coalition, visited “Breitbart News Daily” this morning, where she warned parents not to “let your young girls and teen girls buy their summer clothes or bathing suits at Target” because of the company’s transgender-inclusive facilities policy.
She added that Target and Hershey Park have now become “pedophile magnets and pervert magnets” because they allow people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.
Lafferty then suggested that customers go into Target and fill up their shopping carts, go to the register, and say “Uh, I’m not going to buy this. Look at how much money I would have spent.’”
Alex Jones is continuing to escalate his feudwithGlennBeck, as the two far-right conspiracy theorists have repeatedly mocked and criticized one another as maniacal and insane.
In a video clip posted yesterday, Jones suggested that Beck is a “marionette” who is being controlled by “spiritual slave masters,” adding that he has cried on air over Beck’s actions “because when you see a Judas Iscariot tarot card, an archetype, when you actually see Judas Iscariot in the modern world, a true Benedict Arnold, and just the spirit of deception and true manifest evil, it’s very painful.”
“He is a very evil person,” Jones said. “Very evil.”
Jones particularly took issue with how Beck acted during a meeting between conservative activists and Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, after allegations surfaced that the social media giant suppressed posts from conservative outlets.
“Like a rat leaving a sinking ship, he’s scurrying into the arms of Zuckerberg, who just is the very vision of a vampire,” Jones said of Beck. “We can put a photo of him up. Not just the giant canine teeth, the psycho eyes. You can look at him and see an evil that may rival Beck’s. Look at Hillary. These are monsters.”
Progressives like Zuckerberg and Clinton, Jones explained, are using people like Beck to lead a “false opposition” in order to usher in a one-world government and destroy humanity.
“Where we’re going,” he warned. “Is a place like hell on earth.”
Jones added: “Beck is the government, Beck is the Democratic Party, Beck has always been Zuckerberg’s buddy, they’ve always been this snickering, evil team. He is a narcissistic, power-mad Satanist in my view…. The guy is literally such a predator. He looks like a serial killer. My cells cry out against him.”
Glenn Beck kicked off his radio program today by reacting to the announcement by Hershey Park that its guests and employees are allowed to use the restrooms that match the gender with which they identify by declaring that the next step will be the normalization of pedophilia.
"If you don't stand up now," Beck declared, "I guarantee you the next thing that will be mainstreamed" will be pedophilia.
The push for transgender equality is "not normal," Beck insisted, unlike the fight for gay marriage, which was something he claimed that the American public would have accepted within the next few years on its own.
"Transgender bathrooms have come out of nowhere," he stated, "and are being jammed down our throat. I guarantee you, I guarantee you the next stop on this train is pedophilia. I guarantee it. They will normalize pedophilia."
Amedia, who was once implicated in a bribery scandal in which he attempted to help a car-dealer friend avoid prosecution, is now a self-proclaimed “apostle” who says that he once single-handedly stopped a tsunami from hitting an island in Hawaii.
Amedia, who says he is a former Jew, now identifies as an “apostle” himself. Until recently, his biography on his church’s website read:
Frank Amedia is called as an Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Evangelist, Teacher, and Minister in sound biblical doctrine with gifts of knowledge, healing, and discernment … For over two decades, his clarity of vision, prophetic insight, and revelations of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God in the scriptures have been an enormous blessing to a worldwide audience. Enabled by this extensive experience, Pastor Frank has a unique perspective on the parallel journey of the Church and Israel as he is called as one to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. Thousands of wondrous records of miraculous testimonies of healings, deliverances, re-creative miracles, and physical gifts follow him wherever he goes, even as he gives all of the Glory to God his Father, Jesus his Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.
Like other self-proclaimed apostles and prophets, Amedia claims to be able to control natural events. On Maldonado’s TBN program in 2012, Amedia claimed to have single-handedly stopped waves from the 2011 tsunami in Japan from hitting a Hawaiian island where his daughter was at the time. He boasted that the waves instead moved on to devastate another island:
I stood at the edge of my bed and I said, ‘In the name of Jesus, I declare that tsunami to stop now.’ And I specifically said, ‘I declare those waters to recede,’ and I said, ‘Father, that is my child, I am your child, I’m coming to you now and asking you to preserve her.’ Apostle, it was seen by 400 people on a cliff. It was on YouTube, it was actually on the news that that tsunami stopped 200 feet off of shore. Even after having sucked the waters in, it churned and it went on and did devastation in the next island.
As part of Amedia’s ministry, he runs a North American affiliate of Isaac TV, a Christian evangelist network based in Pakistan. In an undated program broadcast on the station, which was posted on YouTube late last year, Amedia discussed with viewers how faith in Christ could save them from “generational curses,” “traditions and cultures that keep us away from God,” and “an evil lifestyle.”
He went on to discuss how AIDS is the result of “unnatural sex” and can be avoided by practicing a "wholesome life”:
We know that many of the diseases today are avoidable if only we practiced a wholesome life. AIDS is a disease that comes because of unnatural sex. We understand that many of the diseases that we receive is because of exposure that we have to things that we should not be exposed to, lifestyles that are unhealthy or things in our spirit that cause us to become bitter.
He told viewers of a friend of his who “began to hate some people” and then he “lost his mind and he died a horrible death.”
Later in the program, Amedia doled out some faith healings, healing a viewer with “cancer in your tongue” and another who had chapped lips:
True to the spirit of Trump, Amedia has at least one shady business deal in his past. In 2001, he was granted immunity to testify that he had helped try to bribe a prosecutor to drop a case against a car-dealer friend in Ohio who had allegedly been rolling back car odometers. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review recapped the case in a 2011 article about an unrelated case in which Amedia testified:
"Did you not enter into a conspiracy to fix a court case in Mahoning County (Ohio)?" said Jeffrey Wilhelm, a Reed Smith attorney representing BlackRock. He referred to Amedia as "the bag man" in the incident, and said Amedia's admission "demonstrates his dishonesty."
The pointed question referred to Amedia's testimony in 2001 that he tried to bribe a prosecutor in 1994 not to pursue charges against a Youngstown car dealer for rolling back odometers on vehicles.
Amedia admitted he helped arrange a payment of $250,000 through a prominent local businessman, Anthony Saadey. Amedia gave the money to Russell Saddey Jr., Anthony Saadey's nephew, whom Amedia understood was an investigator for the Mahoning County prosecutor's office.
Amedia was never charged in the incident and moved to Florida in 2000. He admitted the attempted bribery in 2001 under grant of immunity for testimony in the prosecution of Russell Saddey on racketeering and other charges.
"I didn't ask for immunity; only that my family be protected," said Amedia yesterday, holding back tears. He said his family members were subjected to "death threats" by mobsters involved in the incident, and noted he received no money for his role in the bribery attempt.
We reported last week on Amedia’s mission work in Haiti after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake, when he linked the country’s troubles to “the curse of Voodoo” and said that he might give up providing aid to Haitians who did not renounce Voodoo.
Conciliatory and respectful are clearly in the eyes of the beholder. Trump’s two-and-a-half minute video, apparently shot on a cell phone while he sat in his private jet reading from a piece of paper, included no apologies for any of the harsh rhetoric that Rodriguez has complained about.
Instead, Trump made the kind of broad promises that have characterized his campaign — creating good schools, safe communities and providing “massive tax cuts” for the middle class — without many details about how he would do so, other than controlling immigration and making “great trade deals.” Hillary Clinton’s video did address Trump’s rhetoric without mentioning him by name, saying, “That is not who we are as a people.”
Trump told Hispanics that poor people would pay nothing under his tax plan: “You’re going to start paying taxes after you’re making a lot of money, and hopefully that is going to be soon.” Other tidbits from his video:
“The world is taking our jobs and we’ve got to stop it. We’re going to take care of minority unemployment. It’s a huge problem, it’s really unfair to minorities, and we are going to solve that problem.”
“National. Hispanic. Christian. Three great words. We’re gonna to take care of you, we’re gonna work with you, you’re gonna be very happy, you’re gonna like president Trump.”
“I’m going to win and we’re going to take care of everybody. Our country is going to be unified for the first time in a long time”
"He told us in the meeting that he's very, very concerned that Christians are losing their rights in America, that we no longer can even speak or express what we believe," Bramnick said. "And he did say that if he becomes president, he's going to change things to make sure that we as Christians have our religious liberties restored. He said he's concerned about Christians, he's concerned about Jews, and he wants to help."
Father, awaken the sleeping the church. Unite us. We come against the diabolic spirit of division in the body of Christ, that spirit that would put us to sleep, spirits of anti-Christ and witchcraft, and we declare out of Orlando, the church of Jesus Christ is arising, not by power, not by might, but by your spirit. And father we declare out of Orlando, shift for Florida, shift for the United States, and the man you have selected to be our next president, shall be elected president of the United States, and shall usher in the Third Great Awakening…
It’s not just the NHCLC giving Trump another look. Some other Latino conservatives are showing some willingness to rally around him. The Hill’s Ben Kamisar noted over the weekend that last October, Alfonso Aguilar, a former Bush White House official who now heads the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said Trump was “done” in the eyes of the Latino community. Aguilar declared, “If Donald Trump is the GOP candidate, we won’t work to support him and we are sure he will lose the general election because there’s no way a GOP candidate can win the White House if they don’t get more support from Latino voters.” But now that Trump is the nominee, Aguilar is singing a different tune, saying that if Trump were to “seek my support and show he’s willing to change his tone and be open to some form of legalization, I would be willing to reconsider my position.”
BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo recently noted that there are a lot of major conferences coming up. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have both sent formal invitations but “have had difficulties getting responses from the Trump campaign.” The National Council of La Raza has not yet decided whether to invite Trump to its July conference.
On Saturday, anti-gay Religious Right activists rallied in Montgomery in support of Alabama Supreme court chief justice Roy Moore, who has been suspended from his position by the state's judicial inquiry committee for attempting to defy federal court rulings on marriage equality.
The event kicked off with a prayer from pastor Rusty Johnson, who called upon God to not only bless the rally and Justice Moore, but also "to stand against this militant homosexual movement that is invading our land, stand against the demonic influences that have come not only to the state of Alabama but across the United States of America" by granting to Christians "the power and authority" to "cast these wicked spirits out of our society."
Kayla Moore, who is the wife of Justice Moore and currently runs the the Foundation for Moral Law that he started, delivered the keynote address, during which she spent several minutes attacking Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen who was a member of the coalition that filed a complaint against Moore.
Conflating Moore's suspension with the current right-wing outrage over transgender equality, Moore declared that she will not stand by and watch as men are allowed to enter the restroom with one of her granddaughters, which then prompted her to voice her outrage that her husband has been removed from the bench based on a complaint filed by "a man dressed as a woman."
"This man dresses as a woman, with makeup, a blonde wig, a dress, jewelry and calls himself a drag queen," Moore complained, as she demanded that the press investigate and expose him. "He works a regular job during the day and, at night, dresses as a woman and goes into nightclubs and bars. Now, I ask the press, who is he? Who is this man who hides his true identity? I charge you, find out who he is and let us know."
After declaring that her husband did not serve in Vietnam to protect the rights of people like Starling "because up to the last couple of years ago, it was a mental illness," she then read a reworked version of Martin Niemöller's famous "First They Came For The Socialists" anti-Nazi quote.
"First they came for the bakers, but we sat back because we don't bake cakes. Then they came for the florists and we sat back because we don't arrange flowers. Then they came for the clerks and the judges and we sat back because we don't issue marriage licenses and we don't judge. But then they came for me and there was no one left to defend me."
Televangelist Jim Bakker offered yet another extremely vague prophecy while pitching his survival food buckets last week, telling viewers to purchase his $100 “30-Day Fiesta bucket” because God told him that “major events” will occur at some point in the future.
After recounting the Mexican food items in the Fiesta Bucket, which he says “passes the official Mexican test” and “is Mexican food that real-life Mexicans approve of,” Bakker told viewers, “I believe there’s going to be some events take place.”
“I believe there’s going to be major events that’s literally going to, like a shot across the bow, is going to warn us,” he said. “God’s been dealing with me. I’m so unrestful about it because I know things are coming.”
Last week, we noted that Family Research Council executive vice president Jerry Boykin announced that he had been fired from a teaching position he held at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Boykin asserted that he had lost his job because of comments he had made earlier in the year at a Religious Right conference where he had voiced his opposition to transgender protection efforts by declaring that "the first man that walks in my daughter’s bathroom, he ain't going to have to worry about surgery."
Predictably, the incident became a rallying cry for the likes of Ted Cruz, who used it to fundraise for his own Senate re-election bid, and Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who wrote a column decrying the upposed persecution of Boykin.
Thanks to the outcry from Christian conservatives, Hampden-Sydney backed down and rehired Boykin, who called it "a victory for academic freedom and free thought on a college campus."
Interestingly, Andrew Beaujon of The Washingtonian reported today that the entire story of Boykin's alleged firing was apparently an utter misrepresentation of what actually took place and was seemingly whipped up for the purpose of browbeating the college into re-hiring Boykin.
According to Hampden-Sydney College, the position held by Boykin "was created to be a rotating position, allowing Hampden-Sydney to bring distinguished individuals from a wide variety of professional backgrounds to the campus."
The decision not to renew Boykin's contract had reportedly been made back in March, well before concerns had even been raised about his "jokingly" violent remarks:
If the “LGBT community” indeed went after Boykin, its campaign was remarkably incompetent. Asked about the existence of such an effort, Hampden-Sydney spokesperson Tommy Shomo says, “There was a letter from Hampden-Sydney constituents expressing concerns over some of Gen. Boykin’s public remarks, recent and past, and questioning his association with the College.” Shomo says the letter was received in April, after the college had already decided, in March, not to renew.
After discussions with Hampden-Sydney College, Gen. Jerry Boykin has accepted another year's contract to teach in the College's Military Leadership and National Security minor as Wheat Professor. Boykin stated, he "loves the college and its students and would be honored to teach for another year."
Interim President Dennis Stevens said he was pleased that General Boykin will be with Hampden-Sydney for one more year.
At the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, the College will continue with its plan to restore the Wheat Professorship to short-term appointments in order to bring multiple perspectives on leadership to its students.
None of this should come as a surprise, since constantly alleging that he's been the victim of anti-Christian persecution has been a hallmark of Boykin's career.
From the moment Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, certain members of the media have been eagerly predicting his pivot away from the far right into the mainstream of American politics.
Today, while collecting the National Rifle Association’s endorsement at the group’s annual convention, he continued to keep both his campaign and his rhetoric firmly rooted in the policies and rhetoric of the far right.
Trump began his speech by claiming that Hillary Clinton wants to “abolish the Second Amendment.” Politifact rated this Trump claim “false” nine days ago.
In uttering this lie, Trump aligns himself with a longstanding NRA strategy. In both 2008 and 2012, the organization and its leadership made similar claims about Barack Obama, yet none of them ever came to pass. NRA board member Grover Norquist even acknowledged these statements were hyperbole.
Creating a climate of fear around the notion that a Democratic president will strip Americans of gun rights is not only designed to whip conservative voters into a frenzy, it also benefits the bottom line of the NRA’s benefactors in the gun industry.
There is no divorcing the politics of guns from their profits. America’s gun lobby and gun industry both benefit from creating a fearful vision of life in the United States—a picture of criminals constantly menacing our families and a government hellbent on taking our guns—that is very effective at selling weapons. In fact, in large part because of the way anxieties about his gun policies have been manipulated, the Obama era has been a golden age for firearms manufacturers, and the run-up to Election 2012 could be for Glock and Remington what the Christmas shopping season is for Macy’s and Sears: a time to cash in before the narrative changes.
This sentiment was reflected by gun industry analyst Jim Barrett, who told The Blaze in 2012, “The driver [of the gun industry's financial success] is President Obama. He is the best thing that ever happened to the firearm industry.”
The Blaze reported in the run-up to the 2012 election:
Major gun company stock prices are up. The number of federally licensed, retail gun dealers is increasing for the first time in nearly 20 years. The U.S. gun lobby is bursting with cash and political clout.
The NRA’s endorsement, if nothing else, means that Donald Trump will attempt to keep this gravy train of fear fueling the bottom line for gun manufacturers for another four years.
Christian-nation advocate David Lane and dominionist Doug Stringer have organized a series of prayer rallies with Republican governors, starting with the 2011 event in Houston that served as an unofficial launching pad for Rick Perry’s failed 2012 presidential bid. Now they’re planning their next one in Cleveland, Ohio, just before the Republican convention.
On Thursday, Stringer and other organizers held a conference call to discuss plans for the Cleveland rally — like others it is going by the name “The Response” — and to ask pastors to get their congregants to take part. “There is a battle for the soul of a generation,” Stringer said, “the soul of our nation.”
Stringer, a far-right preacher who once linked the September 11 attacks to homosexuality, told pastors that the Response is not about promoting politicians or political agendas, only about lifting up the name of Jesus, repenting as individuals and as a nation, and praying for God’s mercy and blessing on the country. This is the “bait” part of the “bait-and-switch” nature of these Response events, as we have previously described:
The rallies are in effect a series of bait-and-switch events. They are disingenuously promoted as non-political gatherings to create Christian unity by bringing people together across denominational and racial lines to pray for the state and the country. And while that promise of ecumenical prayer and worship is undoubtedly what brought many people to the event in Charlotte, the “non-political” veneer was discarded almost immediately.
Lane and Stringer took the Response to Charlotte, North Carolina, in September 2015. At this “nonpolitical” event, Religious Right rock star David Benham talked about gay rights groups who he said were out to “force” their agenda on the country, portraying a “spiritual battle that is now waging before us in this nation, the home of the brave and the land of the free.” Lane opened the “nonpolitical” North Carolina Response rally with a prayer that talked about the lack prayer and Bible reading in the public schools, abortion, and “homosexuals praying at the inauguration.” Another speaker prayed for God to “help us be like Kim Davis, obeying the Constitution and defying federal criminals.”
It’s not surprising that the events take on a political cast given that organizer David Lane is a self-described political operative who is recruiting “an army” of conservative pastors to run for office in an effort to boost engagement and voting by conservative Christians. Lane is putting his faith in Trump, according to TIME Magazine:
“I’m going to choose to believe that Donald Trump can be one of the top 4 presidents in American history,” he recently wrote to his followers. “We intend Evangelical and Pro-Life Catholic Christians to bring biblical-based values to the public square, bucking up a Trump Administration willing to confront totalitarian ‘Political Correctness.’”
Stringer said participants would be supported by more than 2 million prayer intercessors from around the world. Another organizer asked people to consider joining the prayer force that would be engaging in weeks of prayer ending in a fast.
Not content with just spreading birther conspiracy theories about the president, at least one far-right broadcaster is now looking into whether Michelle Obama is lying about her gender, while conservative “investigator” James O’Keefe blows his latest operation.