Fighting the Right

Ted Cruz Says He Won't Attack Any Republican Rival, Proceeds To Attack All Other Republicans In The Race

Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody today posted clips from a recent interview with Sen. Ted Cruz, in which the typically sycophantic Brody thanked the Republican presidential candidate for refusing to criticize his GOP rivals, a frequent Cruz talking point.

Of course, in the very next clip, Cruz proceeded to criticize his opponents for refusing to bravely fight against Planned Parenthood, unlike Ted Cruz.

Five Of The GOP's Craziest 'Benghazi Cover-Up' Conspiracy Theories

The 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, was viewed by some on the Right as the subject of “the biggest cover-up in history” and a sign of the coming apocalypse, so it came as no surprise that House Republicans eventually organized a special committee to investigate the attack, which had already been examined by several other congressional and executive panels.

Republicans have tried for years to use the terrorist attack — which led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens — to go after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is testifying before the committee today. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently admitted that the special committee was formed to bring down Clinton’s popularity in advance of the 2016 presidential election.

Of course, uncovering facts has never been the GOP’s primary motivation when it comes to Benghazi (or much else). As these five instances show, Republicans and their allies in the conservative media have been much more concerned with creating bizarre scenarios to claim that the administration, and fellow Republicans, are suppressing the truth of the attack.

1) ‘No Evidence’ But What The Hell…

Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch unveiled an elaborate conspiracy theory earlier this year, alleging that the Obama administration wanted Libyan militants to kidnap Stevens in order to then do a prisoner swap for terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted in the U.S. for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. However, the compound attackers botched the job after Stevens died, Fitton said, and therefore we can never know if the administration was actually ready to release Abdel-Rahman.

Fitton conceded in an interview with WorldNetDaily’s Jerome Corsi, a fellow Benghazi truther, that there is “no evidence” to support his theory.

“Given what we know now, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the terrorist attack on Benghazi could have been a kidnapping attempt aimed at releasing the Blind Sheik,” Fitton said.

He noted, however, there is “no evidence” that the Obama administration may have been complicit in any kidnapping plot related to the Benghazi attack.

And since he can’t find any evidence to substantiate this claim, Fitton is pretty sure that there must have been a cover-up, insinuating that the State Department was trying to stop his group from receiving corroborating information.

2) Cover-Up Of The Cover-Up!

When President Obama first proposed bombing the Syrian regime after it used chemical weapons on civilians in Ghouta, Glenn Beck knew that Obama didn’t want to stop such war crimes — but instead wanted to cover up what really happened in Benghazi.

According to one conspiracy theory, Stevens was actually organizing an operation to transfer weapons from Libya to Syria to aid Islamic extremists (which of course raises the question of why these extremists would then want to attack the American post in the first place).

Seizing on that conspiracy theory, Beck speculated that it wasn’t the Assad regime that used the chemical weapons in Ghouta, but rebels using weapons delivered from the U.S. via Benghazi. Now, Beck reasoned, Obama wanted to bomb Syria because he was “covering the trail of the lost weapons from Benghazi.”

Beck later claimed that David Petraeus stepped down as CIA director not because he leaked classified information to his mistress but because he was about to blow the Benghazi scandal wide open. Beck’s theory ran into a slight hitch when Petraeus publicly praised Clinton’s response to the attack.

Beck has also alleged that the administration “let them die” in Benghazi after issuing a stand-down order, an accusation refuted on his very own news website.

3) ‘I Don’t Have Any Proof’

The arms-running conspiracy theory cited by Beck emerged in the right-wing outlet WorldNetDaily, a home of credible journalism such as “Is Obama Biblical ‘Lord of the Flies’?” and “Does Bible Code Predict President Romney?.”

While we weren’t surprised that Beck would pick up a conspiracy theory from such a website, it was a bit more shocking when a U.S. senator brought up WND’s conspiracy theory in a hearing with Clinton. At a 2013 hearing, Sen. Rand Paul demanded that a dumbfounded Clinton tell him if the U.S. was transferring weapons from Libya into Syria via Turkey.

Paul admitted that he didn’t “have any proof” before suggesting that the gun-running scheme was what was really happening “and the cover-up was an attempt to massage and get over this issue without getting into the gun trade.”

Investigations, including one led by Republicans, have found that Stevens was trying to find weapons, but in order to keep them out of the hands of extremists, with no evidence at all that he then sent those weapons to Syrian groups.

4) Marijuana A Benghazi Distraction!

Ben Carson is very upset about the Obama administration’s push to reform American drug laws. The GOP presidential candidate told Joseph Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily (notice a theme?), that the administration’s push to liberalize laws on marijuana, along with its stance on the trademark of the Washington Redskins, is all part of a plot to “distract people” from the Benghazi attack.

Carson told Farah last year that most people now just think Benghazi “is a singer.”

“And these people vote and they have no idea,” he lamented.

Carson isn’t the only one to latch onto the “distraction” theme. Conservative activist Robert Knight of the American Civil Rights Union dedicated a column in the Washington Times about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s since-lifted suspension by insisting that the “Deflategate” scandal was part of an effort to distract people from Benghazi. Iowa radio broadcaster Steve Deace similarly wonder if NFL prospect Michael Sam’s decision to come out of the closet was also just a Benghazi distraction.

5) Benghazi Special Committee Is Part Of The Benghazi Cover-Up!

Since every single official committee, including ones led by Republicans, that has investigated the Benghazi attack has ended up debunking the conspiracy theories percolating through the right-wing media, a group of conservative activists has launched the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi to find the real truth.

This unofficial committee has embraced so many conspiracy theories surrounding the attack that its members even believe that the GOP-led Benghazi Special Committee is aiding the cover-up!

One member, Ret. Navy Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, told, guess who, WorldNetDaily, that committee chairman Trey Gowdy needs to go, lamenting that “this is a continued cover-up.”

Enjoy This Catchy Jingle On Judicial Power, Starring Bjork

One of the more bizarre things that we’ve ever come across in our daily monitoring is this video, posted yesterday on Dave Daubenmire’s News with Views YouTube page, featuring a song called “Courts Cannot Make Law” written by Christian Reconstructionist and Maryland Republican politician Michael Peroutka superimposed on a scene from Lars von Trier’s 2000 film “ Dancer in the Dark,” staring Bjork.

Peroutka, who has said that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis gave “the entire country a civics lesson” when she defied federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because “any purported law that is not harmonious with [God’s] word can’t be law and is not law,” includes lyrics such as:

There’s a battle going on, a war for your soul

It’s a devil’s deal, it’s mind control

They want you to believe that you have no hope

They’re counting on the fact that you are a dope

And:

You won’t learn the truth in government schools

It’s up to you to know the rules

What The World Congress Of Families' 'Natural Family' Means For Women

This is the third in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here and an exploration of WCF’s anti-LGBT politics here.

While the World Congress of Families has become well known in the U.S. for its anti-LGBT activism, that is just one part of its larger vision of promoting what it calls the “natural family” throughout the world. In fact, in keeping with the vision that Allan Carlson and Paul Mero laid out in their "natural family" manifesto, this year’s conference will feature not just anti-LGBT activists, but opponents of abortion rights, contraception, sex education and liberalized divorce laws.

These issues are closely intertwined in this worldview. One scheduled WCF speaker, Evan Lenow of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, explained it clearly in a 2011 lecture on “The Challenge of Homosexuality For Gender Roles.” Lenow laid out the argument that the Bible prescribes separate but equal roles for men and women in marriage, with women required to “submit themselves to the leadership of their husbands, just as the church submits to Christ.” Same-sex marriages, where gender roles are by necessity “egalitarian,” he said, “subvert” this biblically ordained relationship.

For many of these activists, all manner of evils date back to the “sexual revolution” and, in particular, the widespread availability and use of contraception.

Allan Carlson, WCF’s founder and a speaker at the Utah event, has been a strong critic of the role of contraception in changing the roles of women and families in society, including speaking at a 2006 anti-contraception conference and appearing in the anti-contraception film “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?

A panel on “Understanding the Sexual and Cultural Revolution” will feature the Family Research Council’s Pat Fagan, who has argued that the Supreme Court decision ending bans on contraception for unmarried people was wrong because “functioning societies” ought to “punish” and “shame” people who have sex out of wedlock. Fagan links the “contraceptive mindset” to any number of social ills. “Since the introduction of contraception, everything else has fallen,” he has said.

Joining Fagan on the “sexual and cultural revolution” panel will be the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Katie McCoy, who has argued strongly against efforts to allow women to serve as Southern Baptist pastors.

A forum on “The Beneficial and Harmful Influences of Feminism,” moderated by WCF’s Larry Jacobs, will feature declared anti-feminist activists Babette Francis of the Australian Endeavor Forum and Gayle Ruzicka, the head of the Utah chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, who is also a radical anti-gay activist.

WCF has set aside time to showcase the latest round of attacks against Planned Parenthood, with a panel featuring Live Action’s Lila Rose, Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest (who happens to be the daughter of WCF head Janice Shaw Crouse), and Priests for Life’s Alveda King. King has falsely claimed that hormonal birth control “exposes” women to breast cancer and insisted that this is part of an elaborate money-making scheme by Planned Parenthood. Moderating the panel will be a representative of Heartbeat International, a network of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that claims it can replace Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that it does not prescribe birth control.

A discussion on “International Pro-Life Initiatives” will feature Keith Mason who, through his group Personhood USA, advocates fetal “personhood” initiatives that would outlaw all abortion and could even threaten legal contraception. Mason’s group has become active in fighting reproductive rights advances at the United Nations and has begun pouring money into unspecified projects in Europe.

The fight against legal abortion, contraception and egalitarian gender roles is tied in with a founding principle of the World Congress of Families: the fear that demographic change is dooming European and American culture.

A panel on “demography,” moderated by Personhood USA’s Keith Mason and notably consisting entirely of men, will likely address some of these fears, and in particular the idea that contraception is the root cause of a perceived cultural decline. The panel will include Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute, who has argued that “[i]n its own way, contraception is an even greater tragedy than abortion” because it “involves the deliberate rejection of God’s creative power.”

Also speaking on the panel will be WCF’s Don Feder, who told a WCF event in Belgrade earlier this year that contraception leads to “death” by “preventing life from happening,” and who warned at the Moscow conference last year that humanity is financing “ its own extinction” through birth control.

Joining them will be Igor Beloborodov, a Russian demographer who warned at a 2011 demographic forum featuring a number of American activists that birthrates were falling as a result of people who want to “push up sales of contraceptives, to increase the number of abortions, to make homosexuality more popular.” He presented this slide listing “global threats to family and life,” including “small families,” “homosexuality” and “feminism”:

The World Congress of Families will also include staunch opponents of comprehensive sex education in schools, including Dr. Miriam Grossman and the Eagle Forum’s Gayle Ruzicka, who have both supported instituting abstinence-only sex-ed in Utah. This is an especially interesting dynamic given that WCF extended an invitation to Elizabeth Smart, an abduction survivor turned anti-sex-trafficking advocate from Utah who has spoken about how the lessons she had learned in abstinence-only sex-ed contributed to her reluctance to flee her captor.

Also speaking at the event will be proponents of rolling back no-fault divorce laws, a little-noticed flip side to the conservative campaign against marriage equality for LGBT people. Repealing state no-fault divorce laws, which allow married couples to end their marriages without one party being found to be at fault, is a plank of Carlson and Mero’s “natural family” manifesto. A panel on divorce at the Utah summit will include Beverly Willett, the cofounder of the Coalition for Divorce Reform, which aims to make it more legally difficult for most couples to divorce and Michael McManus, who has also advocated against no-fault divorce laws.

Rand Paul: The Polls Are Skewed!

Sen. Rand Paul has been trailing in Republican presidential polls, with a new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa placing him with single-digit support, behind Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

But the Kentucky Republican isn’t giving up hope, telling Newsmax TV in an interview posted online yesterday that the polls have been “skewed” by the presence of “a celebrity reality TV star.”

Ron Paul Warns Of Imminent Dictatorship In Alex Jones Interview

Republican politicians Rand and Ron Paul have long been big fans of radical conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, so it is no surprise that Ron Paul was a guest on Jones’ “InfoWars” program today, discussing renewed calls to pass gun restrictions following the recent string of mass shootings.

The elder Paul told Jones that eventually the people will be driven to violence, which would then lead to calls for authoritarian government and gun confiscation.

“If push comes to shove and there’s violence in the street, they’re going to look for a strongman, they’re going to look for somebody who is an authoritarian and said the violence in the cities won’t last, and then people will say, yeah, that’s right, we can’t have anarchy, and they will capitulate,” he said. “The day will come.”

The only form of gun control that’s appropriate, he said, “is taking the guns away from the bureaucrats, the government and taking the guns or restricting the guns use of the president starting wars.”

Right-Wing Pundits: Bernie Sanders' Popularity Is A Sign of The End Times

Rick Wiles invited climate change denier and End Times predictor Cliff Harris on his “TruNews” program last week to talk about the climate change debate, which they agreed was a “hoax” being used to grow the size of government.

Wiles warned that leaders like Pope Francis, Al Gore and Bernie Sanders are part of a plan to “use global warming to impose global socialism” during which they will “take control of property, eliminate private property rights take control of natural resources.” Wiles said the pupose of this plan is to impose “a centralized global government controlling the activities of every human being on the planet. That’s what Al Gore and all those socialists are after, and they’re using the climate as the justification.”

Wiles also proposed that this is a sign of the second coming of Christ, “this is evidence of Jesus Christ coming back.” Harris offered that mass support for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is also evidence that the second coming is imminent.

Harris warned that a leader like Sanders would be disastrous because he would allow ISIS to infiltrate the United States “in a big wave” with Syrian refugees. “If we do not elect, in this country, in 2016, elect somebody that’s strong, somebody that’s godly… I believe we are in for a horrendous time in this country,” Harris said. “If people think things are bad now, they haven’t seen anything, Rick.

Liberty Counsel Outraged It Was Called Out On Its Anti-LGBT Extremism

Liberty Counsel is incensed that the Associated Press noted in a recent article that its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, once threatened to sue a library for encouraging kids to read “Harry Potter” and that he recently falsely claimed that 100,000 people in Peru gathered to pray for Kim Davis. The AP also dared to note that Liberty Counsel has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

All three claims are true, but Staver insisted in a letter to the AP’s assistant general counsel on Monday that the article was “defamatory” because it delivered an “unmistakable message to a reasonable person” that “Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel are liars and haters.”

“At a minimum, AP should permanently remove the link and the cache,” Staver wrote.

The AP is, of course, correct in its report: Staver used a photo from an unrelated event in 2014 as supposed proof that there was recently a massive prayer rally in Peru for Davis; it is well documented that he threatened a Jacksonville library in 2000 for promoting “witchcraft” to kids through the Harry Potter series; and the SPLC does in fact list Liberty Counsel as a hate group.

While Staver claims that the SPLC only lists Liberty Counsel as a hate group due to its biblical beliefs, the SPLC makes clear that its listing of anti-LGBT hate groups is “based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”

The AP included in its story a quote from Staver disputing Liberty Counsel’s hate group designation, but the designation was well-earned, as the right-wing legal group has a record of spreading misinformation about the LGBT community. Staver alone has:

  • Predicted that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act “will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.”

Nonetheless, Staver would like everybody to believe that the SPLC labeled Liberty Counsel as a hate group because it had a religious disagreement with same-sex marriage.

And don’t get us started on Staver’s radio show co-host Matt Barber...

Ben Carson: 'The Power Of God' Is Behind My Presidential Campaign

Yesterday on Daystar’s “Marcus and Joni,” Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson lashed out at critics who said that he would never have a chance to win the presidency.

He said that instead of retiring, God opened the door for him to enter the presidential race “much to the consternation of all the professional class and all the pundits” who said it was “impossible” for a “political neophyte” like him to build a national campaign.

“And yet, you see, it’s happening,” Carson said. “They don’t understand the power of God.”

Pat Robertson: Leave Church That Favors Gay Marriage

Televangelist Pat Robertson advised a “700 Club” viewer today to leave his church if it approves of same-sex marriage, warning that such a church is satanic as homosexuality represents the “last phase in human rebellion against God.”

“You got two of these people and you’re going to marry them and you somehow going to think that’s in the church?” he asked. “If I were you, I’d complain bitterly and I’d get out of that church as fast as I could. I mean, what fellowship has Christ with Belial? You don’t want to have fellowship with those people.”

Barton: Teach Riflery In Public Schools To Eliminate Gun Violence And Accidents

In the wake of the Charleston church shooting earlier this year, David Barton appeared on the "Up For Debate" radio program to discuss the question of whether Christians should support gun control.

Given that Barton believes there should literally be no limits on the Second Amendment and that individual citizens have the right to own a tank or even a fighter jet, it was not a surprise to hear him argue that Christians should not, in fact, support any sort of gun control efforts.

In fact, Barton said that the only sort of change needed in America is to return to the days when public schools taught riflery in P.E. class because, he insisted, back then there were no gun accidents or violent crime.

"In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s," he said, "in the P.E. books in school, we had a chapter on riflery and we should students all about how to use guns, how to unload guns, how to shoot guns, how to create indoor ranges. We talked about gun safety, gun responsibility; we had such an emphasis on that aspect of training and education that you'll find in the '50s and '60s, gun accidents nearly never existed and violent crime, outside of organized crime, was just almost nonexistent."

World Congress of Families In Denial Over Promoting Homophobia Globally

This is the second in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here.

The World Congress of Families has been stung by intense criticism over its promotion of anti-gay bias and policies around the world, and has mounted a public relations campaign portraying itself as interested in civil discourse and uninterested in slamming gay people. If only it were true.

WCF Executive Director Janet Shaw Crouse has said the group’s support for traditional notions of family “does not mean disrespect for anyone else.” Crouse says, “We do not and will not engage in ‘gay-bashing’ or ‘hate’ language." In its 2014 “Call for Civic Dialogue” WCF said:

In its history, the WCF has never taken a position for or against anti-sodomy laws, nor has it attempted to roll back the rights gained by these individuals and organizations…. The WCF never has and never will advocate for any policy that brings harm to innocent individuals….

These assertions are grossly disingenuous and deceptive. WCF depends on, and celebrates, its association with what it calls “exemplary” anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, and many others who aggressively resist the advance of LGBT equality in the U.S. and overseas -- and promote policies that most definitely bring harm to innocent individuals. For example, WCF and its allies played a significant role in organizing the stridently anti-gay “pro-family” movement in Russia. And not taking a position on laws that subject LGBT people to long jail terms and worse is hardly something to brag about.  

WCF’s “civil dialogue” claim is laughable on its face, especially given that the group is providing a speaking platform to Rafael Cruz, who has no policy expertise to share but has gained folk-hero status on the Religious Right with outlandishly inflammatory attacks on LGBT people and other political opponents. Cruz, father to presidential candidate Ted Cruz, called it “appalling” that a gay woman could win elected office, said that Satan controls the U.S. government and that the devil was responsible for the with Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. He has repeatedly lied about religious freedom, claiming that the government will force churches to hire homosexual pastors and perform homosexual marriages. Cruz has suggested that President Obama is intent on seizing Americans’ guns because, like Stalin and Mao, Obama is pursuing a totalitarian government – and that the American left is out to do away with the entire Bill of Rights.

Sadly, Cruz is not an outlier. WCF and the speakers it provides with a platform have a long record of resisting protections for the rights of LGBT people. Last year WCF initiated a letter signed by 120 Religious Right figures from around the world in “vigorous protest” of the U.S. Embassy’s participation in a gay pride celebration in the Czech Republic. It refers to marriage equality as a “pseudo-right” that debases human freedom and dignity. The letter concludes, “We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the ‘gay’ agenda on societies with traditional values.”

More to the point, WCF’s own Africa regional director, Theresa Okafor, who is being honored at the event, supported a harsh anti-gay law in Nigeria that not only provides for long jail sentences for gay sex, but also bans gay people from meeting in groups. Okafor has suggested that pro-equality groups from the west are allied with the violent Islamist Boko Haram in a conspiracy to silence Christians.

WCF Executive Director Crouse has her own track record. She has said children being raised by gay couples are being “used as guinea pigs.” She has praised Russia’s anti-gay right, saying approvingly, “I wouldn’t bet on the Russians capitulating to western LGBTIQ fascists without a fight.” At a 2013 Howard Center press conference, Crouse said American gay-rights activists are “turning into thugs who are destroying freedom of speech, destroying religious liberty.” She praised anti-gay activists in France, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Nigeria. And while Crouse portrays American gays as enemies of free speech, she enthusiastically backed the prosecution and jailing of Pussy Riot activists over their anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Among other anti-gay speakers who will be given a platform at WCF:

  • Peter Sprigg represents the stridently anti-gay Family Research Council, whose leader Tony Perkins once defended Uganda’s notorious “kill the gays” bill as an effort to uphold morality. Sprigg, who once said he would like to “export” homosexuals from the U.S., complained this year about Randy Berry, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, for traveling to Uganda and Jamaica. Sprigg criticized the Obama administration for trying to “force this American-style homosexual agenda down the throats of other countries” like Uganda, “which is one of the countries that has been most bitterly attacked by homosexual activists around the world.”
  • Robert Knight, a Religious Right pundit and former FRC staffer, has argued that judges who rule in favor of marriage equality should be impeached.
  • Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage has not only pushed for anti-equality legislation in the U.S., he has supported anti-gay efforts globally and encouraged legislators in Russia to pass legislation banning adoption by gay couples.
  • Errol Naidoo received training from the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C before founding the Family Policy Institute in South Africa in response to the legalization of marriage equality, which he had lobbied against. He blames abortion and “the homosexual agenda” for creating a “culture of death” that is “slowly killing off the human family in Western civilization.”
  • Glenn Stanton, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, has called marriage equality a “pernicious lie of Satan” and said that “quite literally there is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is that homosexuality is just who we are.”
  • Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, formerly affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, says the “sexual revolution” is a “totalitarian” movement” and “a pagan ideology” that Christians should refuse to compromise with. She says “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism.”
  • Mark Regnerus: His New Family Structures Study, funded by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, has been widely discredited, but continues to be cited by right-wing as if it provided scientific evidence for harm caused by gay parenting. It was used extensively as justification for passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.
  • Frank Schubert is a political communications strategist notorious as the mastermind of the strategy to ground the campaign for California’s Prop 8 in fear-mongering about gay people and couples being a threat to children. Schubert was paid handsomely to take that destructive strategy to other states.

 

Pat Robertson: How Dare Muslims Try To Impose Religious Law On America! That's My Job

Irony died a little bit today on “The 700 Club” when televangelist Pat Robertson defended Ben Carson’s statement he would never vote for a Muslim candidate for president unless that candidate renounced their religion, warning that a Muslim president would be dangerous because any “committed Muslim” would try to impose religious law on America.

Hailing Carson for “telling the truth” about Islam, Robertson said that “a committed Muslim would do exactly what ISIS is doing” and “put in Sharia law.”

Of course, this is the same preacher who believes the U.S. must align its laws with his reading of the Bible and abandon the separation of church and state or face God’s wrath.

Bobby Jindal Wants The EPA To Go After Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared on “Washington Watch” to blast a federal court decision blocking his effort to defund Planned Parenthood in the state.

“They sued us, the Obama administration sued us in federal court, he can’t watch the video but he has time to send his attorneys to Baton Rouge,” he told the program’s host, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They can send the entire Department of Justice, we won’t be intimidated from defending innocent human life.” (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not the Department of Justice, sued Louisiana in the case.)

He later claimed that if all the Republican governors in the country followed his lead, they could succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood. “They can’t come after every governor,” he said. “We have 31 Republican governors. If just the Republican governors would all do this, they can’t come after us all. Let’s fight for our rights. The left fights, they force socialism down our throats, why won’t we fight for pro-life, for conservative principles?”

Jindal then voiced a litany of falsehoods, suggesting that Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer dollars in its fetal tissue donation programs (it doesn’t) and claiming that its two Louisiana clinics offer abortion services (they don’t).

He said that if he gets elected president, he would direct the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to target Planned Parenthood.

Rand Paul Says He Isn't Comparing Bernie Sanders To Pol Pot … Yet

Last week, Sen. Rand Paul went after Sen. Bernie Sanders, comparing the Democratic presidential candidate to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and warning that his ideology could likewise lead to “mass genocide.”

In an interview yesterday with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, the Republican senator and presidential candidate doubled down on his warning, but clarified that he wasn’t comparing Sanders to Pol Pot … “yet.”

I want to go head to head with this, I think, crazy notion of collectivism, crazy notion of socialism. And I want to make sure that all these young people realize is what socialism is is a lack of choice. You won’t be able to make what you want, you won’t be able to buy what you want. It’ll be controlled by the government. If you disobey, you’ll be fined. If you do it again, you’ll be imprisoned. If you continue doing it, what has often happened under socialism is the inherent force morphs into something even more dastardly. And that’s what happened under Stalin, under Mao, under Pol Pot.

And people say, ‘You’re calling Bernie Pol Pot.’ Not yet. But what I’m saying is the underpinnings of the belief in socialism is the implication of force in that you will force people to do what the states want them to do and that you take away their choices. And I think if young people knew that it was anti-choice, that socialism took away their choices to buy, sell, and do and work where they want to work, I think they’d be running away from it. But Bernie’s offering a version to them where he doesn’t quite inform them of the horrors of socialism.

Rubio: Bush Is Not At Fault Because The 'Plot To Conduct 9/11 ... Happened Under The Watch Of President Clinton'

Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on Newsmax TV yesterday, where he was asked about Donald Trump's rather obvious assertion that the 9/11 attack happened on George W. Bush's "watch."

Newsmax host Ed Berliner asked the GOP presidential hopeful to comment on whether it was "reprehensible for Donald Trump to dredge up 9/11 and dredge up that day and try to use it for political gain." Fully expecting Rubio to agree that it was indeed reprehensible to use 9/11 for the purpose of launching a political attack, Berliner was probably surprised when Rubio responded by doing exactly that ... but shifting the blame onto President Bill Clinton.

Trump's attack on Bush was "wrong," Rubio said, because "the truth is that George W. Bush inherited all sorts of things from the Clinton administration, including intelligence agencies and others who were not doing a very good job and were siloing off and not sharing information across agencies, including a government under President Clinton that had not taken seriously al Qaeda and the threat that they posed, even after the USS Cole, even after the first Trade Center bombings, and all of the other challenges that we faced around world."

"President Bush was only in office nine months when this happened," Rubio continued, omitting the fact that the Bush administration ignored al Qaeda threats before the 9/11 attacks, "but that plot to conduct 9/11 and the steps that it took to bring it about, those began well before he was even sworn into office. It happened under the watch of President Clinton":

Why Is Jeb Bush Courting Pat Robertson?

This piece originally appeared in The Huffington Post.

Jeb Bush, battling slumping poll numbers, will travel to Regent University this Friday for an interview with the school's founder, televangelist Pat Robertson.

Jeb's decision may be mystifying, particularly to millennial voters who knowRobertson mostly as a televised buffoon given to outrageous and embarrassing comments, bad advice, faulty predictions, and personal conversations with God about presidential politics. But while Robertson's influence has diminished over the years, he has had a lasting (and damaging) impact on American culture and politics.

Like the late Jerry Falwell, Robertson was a pioneer in the use of television to build a Christian ministry, and Robertson joined Falwell and other televangelists who teamed up in the late 1970s to create the Religious Right political movement. Falwell was a fundamentalist Baptist and Robertson a charismatic Pentecostal, but they found common ground in promoting a sustained, religion-based attack on separation of church and state, feminism, gay rights, unions, and other enemies of the right-wing political strategists, like Paul Weyrich, who recruited them into politics

Robertson actually ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. He didn't get very far as a candidate, but he built a huge list of supporters. Political operative Ralph Reed turned that list into the Christian Coalition, which at the beginning of the 1990s set itself the goal of taking working control of the Republican Party.

Pat Robertson, in other words, helped create today's polarized politics -- a Republican Party that is much further to the right than Ronald Reagan's and far less willing to engage in the compromises required to govern, and a Religious Right movement that continues to poison our political climate by treating politics as spiritual warfare and political opponents as demonic enemies of faith and freedom.

A memorable example of that attitude came just after the 9/11 attacks, in which Robertson joined Jerry Falwell in blaming the attacks on gays, feminists, defenders of church-state separation, and People For the American Way. But we can hear the same attitude from GOP candidates and right-wing activists every day.

Regent University, where Jeb Bush will speak on Friday, is part of the massive cultural and political infrastructure that Religious Right leaders like Robertson have built in recent decades. Religious Right schools of government and law produce people like Michele Bachmann and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who see public office as a way to make America conform to their "biblical worldview."

Another part of Robertson's infrastructure is the American Center for Law and Justice, which he created to be a Religious Right counterpart to the ACLU. The ACLJ has undermined church-state separation in the U.S. and promotes global culture war through offices in Europe, Russia, and Africa. While it portrays itself as a champion of religious freedom, the ACLJ fought bitterly against the building of a Muslim community center that was falsely dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque." 

ACLJ founder and chief counsel Jay Sekulow is scheduled to moderate the audience Q&A at Bush's appearance. He may or may not mention that his son Jordan, executive director of the organization, was hired earlier this year as an adviser to Jeb's Right to Rise PAC.

Jordan Sekulow's hiring was seen as a signal that the Bush campaign was serious about competing for conservative evangelical voters who might initially be more excited about other candidates. Bush's pilgrimage to Regent University is another sign that even "establishment" Republican candidates are dependent on the Religious Right activists who make up a big part of the party's base.

And Bush, whose plans to run as the financially dominant above-it-all powerhouse were derailed by Donald Trump, is back to the GOP primary slog. And he's looking for support from Religious Right leaders with their own political agenda, one that threatens the rights of women, LGBT people, religious minorities, and anyone who doesn't meet their definition of a real American.

PFAW

Religious Right Activists Argue For Recriminalization Of Birth Control In 'The Birth Control Movie'

A couple of years ago, we heard about a new movie called “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” when its director, Kevin Peeples, appeared on the radio program of one of its stars, Kevin Swanson, and Swanson asserted that “wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

We stumbled on the movie again recently while researching the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, which will feature some of the activists who appeared in Peeples’ film, including WCF founder Allan Carlson and anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose. This is hardly surprising, since one of the tenets of the “natural family” ideology promoted by WCF is resistance to contraception in order to create large families governed by traditional gender roles.

This time, in preparation for WCF, we decided to watch the whole movie. It is mostly taken up by historical arguments against Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and hero worship of Anthony Comstock, the famous crusader against legal birth control whose laws were struck down after a campaign by Sanger. (The movie’s creators have also produced an animated account of Comstock’s life called “Fighter” aimed at painting Comstock as a role model for young boys.) The film makes the argument that Protestant churches that oppose legal abortion must also, by necessity, oppose birth control and laments the social movements and Supreme Court decisions that led to the decriminalization of birth control in the U.S.

Rose, an anti-abortion activist and mentor of anti-Planned Parenthood activist David Daleiden, makes the argument in the film that birth control has “led in many ways to abortion in our country” whereas “there was a time when birth control was unthinkable, when contraception was unthinkable because, people who got married, a beautiful part of marriage was the hope for children together.”

(No matter that abortion rates have been plummeting in recent years, thanks in part to widely available contraception.)

Rose also claims that Planned Parenthood is “encouraging sexual activity and experimentation at early ages” in order to increase the number of abortions it provides to “resolve the sexual activity that was started and encouraged by Planned Parenthood in the first place.”

As it happens, “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” premiered at the 2013 World Congress of Families in Sydney, accompanied by a panel discussion with Peeples, Carlson and Scott Matthew Dix, one of the film’s producers.

Steve Hotze: Trans People Like Those Who Think They're Cows And Cockroaches

Anti-LGBT activist Steve Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas spoke to Sam Malone earlier this month to promote the campaign to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which he suggested will lead to a wave of sexual violence against women.

Hotze also attacked transgender women as perverts who want “special rights.”

Think about it, some strange men, some perverted men, perverted in their thinking who think they’re women. You can think whatever you want to think, you can think you’re a frog, you can think you’re a cockroach, you can think you’re a cow and you may moo all day long, but the long and the short of it is you’re not, you’re a male. If you’re born with male parts, you’re a male, your sex is male, your gender is male no matter what you think. And this idea that we’re going to give special rights and privileges based on a person’s perverted thinking about whether or not they’re a man or a woman is just absolute nonsense.

Hotze later said that the ordinance will let “perverted men” be “as strange, as weird, as perverted, as deviant as you want to be,” which led him to berate Caitlyn Jenner.

“You can be like Bruce Jenner and dress up like a woman and get on a stage and talk with a low voice and get an award because you had courage to dress like a woman,” he said. “That’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I thought to myself when they gave him that award and those people stood up and cheered for them, ‘Have they got rocks in their heads? What’s going on here? Is everything in the world is upside down?’”

He added that the Bible predicted that the “fruitcakes” defending Houston ordinance would then criticize people like him as “perverted” and “the ones who don’t think straight.”

GOP Congressman Ties Kim Davis To UCC Shooting Victims

Earlier this month, Rep. Pete Olson appeared on Houston’s “The Sam Malone Show” to attack President Obama over his reaction to the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon.

The Texas Republican said that the president spoke with “no factual information” about the massacre and simply thought, “Hey, it’s a crisis and that’s good politics for me.”

After addressing the conflicting reports about whether the perpetrator targeted Christians, Olson managed to link the massacre to Obama’s response to the case of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was temporarily placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals after she repeatedly refused court orders to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“Enough of our President Obama about bigotry, about attacking people for their religions,” he said, “I mean good gosh, he sat on the sidelines with Ms. Davis there in Kentucky, he just sat by and sat by and let her get thrown in prison for following her religious beliefs.”

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