Fighting the Right

Rachel Campos-Duffy: Michelle Obama Is The Real Plagiarist

After several lines of Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention last week were found to have been plagiarized from a speech that Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic convention, some of the Trump campaign’s defenders went to absurd lengths to defend or deny the plagiarism.

Among them was Rachel Campos-Duffy, a spokeswoman for the Koch-funded conservative Latino group Libre Initiative and an RNC speaker, who told the Catholic TV news network EWTN on Thursday that if anyone had plagiarized it was Michelle Obama, because she lifted her 2008 speech from “the opportunity message that has been the platform of the Republican Party.”

In an interview inside the convention hall, EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo asked Campos-Duffy and her husband, Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, about the plagiarism incident.

Sean Duffy responded that it was all the fault of the media, which wanted “to create a controversy out of nothing,” but Campos-Duffy quickly cut in.

“But I’m not sure, I mean, I’m not sure that she plagiarized,” she said. “I mean, when I saw the two speeches together, I thought, wow, Michelle Obama has really plagiarized the opportunity message that has been the platform of the Republican Party.”

When Arroyo pointed out that “they used the same line at some point,” Campos-Duffy responded that it was “pretty generic stuff” and that the media was simply trying to distract from the fact that Melania Trump “looked spectacular.”

Sean Duffy then alleged that Trump has to avoid every “misstep” because the media is being especially critical of him: “But it goes to the point that Donald Trump has to be better. You can’t open yourself up for these kind of attacks because the media will take them, they’ll run with them, and they’ll run over your story and your message. So be better.”

In an interview with TMZ on the day of Melania Trump’s speech, Sean Duffy attempted to deny that there had been any plagiarism at all, saying, “These are common phrases about family and support of family and ideas about our country, so I don’t think they were so unique a phrase that only a Democrat says it, only a Republican, it’s a lot of common themes that a lot of us share.”

Political Correctness And Political Awkwardness At The RNC

The Republican National Convention and the constellation of right-wing events scheduled during and around the official gathering included plenty of downright disturbing examples of racism, misogyny, religious bigotry, and Mussolini-wannabe-ism. It also included some intensely awkward moments, not all of them caught on television cameras.

Picture Sen. Jeff Sessions sitting on stage with four other speakers on a panel organized by the American Conservative Union Foundation to address the question, “Will conservatives support Trump?”

OK, now picture Sen. Sessions’ face as he tries to remain calm and composed while fellow panelist Heather Higgins, head of Independent Women’s Voice and a Wall Street Journal contributor, tells this joke:

There was a man who was lying in his hospital bed, quite sick, oxygen mask on his nose and mouth. And a young nurse comes in … to give him a sponge bath. And she hears him mumble through his mask, “Nurse, can you check, are my testicles black?”

She is embarrassed at this and kind of horrified, and she says, “Sir, all I’m supposed to do is wash your upper body and your feet.” And he tries again, and says, “Please, please can you check, are my testicles black?”

And so she decides that she doesn’t want his blood pressure to go up and him to be agitated by worrying about this, so she just steels herself for the embarrassment, pulls back the bed clothes, lifts up his hospital gown, takes him in one hand and checks, and she says, ‘Sir, you’re fine. You’re magnificent…

And he takes off his oxygen mask and he says, “Thank you, that was wonderful, nurse. But let me say this again slowly: are my test results back?”

Higgins was trying to make a humorous point about messaging, and people not hearing what you’re trying to say. But she also seemed to be demonstrating the gleeful contempt for “political correctness” that was on display all last week in Cleveland. The attitude seems to be that people should just “have a sense of humor” rather than take offense when something inappropriate or offensive has been said.

As others have noted, conservatives who complain about “political correctness” often seem to be longing for a time when it was acceptable to openly traffic in stereotypes or worse – or in the words of comedian Samantha Bee, to be free of the “cruel shackles of empathy and mutual respect.”

Back to Higgins. In response to a question about Trump’s promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico, Higgins reminded people that Trump has said his wall would have a big door. “Who else would run the golf courses?” she snarked. That comment drew some groans and a loud “whoa” from fellow panelist KT McFarland, and someone else chimed in, “I think it’s Eric Trump, actually.” Rather than letting it go, Higgins added, “No, I meant manage the day-to-day maintenance.”

Higgins said that some conservatives oppose Trump because they don’t genuinely believe him to be conservative; others she described as “ever snob” – people who have a “social discomfort” with the way Trump talks and presents himself and “can’t see themselves or their friends every finding it socially acceptable to say that they’re for Trump.”

She said that those snobby people might never tell a pollster they are a Trump “supporter,” but that if a pollster asks whether they are thinking about voting for Trump they will get a much higher number, because in the end it comes down to a binary choice between him and Hillary Clinton. While many conservatives who backed other candidates are still working their way through the stages of grief, Higgins said, by October and November they’ll get to “acceptance” and vote for Trump.

 

David Barton Falsely Claims That 'The Declaration Of Independence Had Two Clauses Condemning Slavery'

Last month, David Barton delivered a presentation at Calvary Chapel in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he falsely claimed that the Founding Fathers denounced slavery in the Declaration of Independence.

"Great Britain would not allow us to end slavery," Barton said. "A number of the states passed anti-slavery laws and King George III struck them all down, said, 'No, no, no, you're part of the British Empire, as long as you're part of the British Empire you're going to have slavery,' which is why a number of Founding Fathers got involved because they did not want slavery. That's why the Declaration of Independence had two clauses condemning slavery as a reason we were leaving Great Britain. Now, we always hear about taxation without representation, that's one clause, but twice as often in there you'll hear about slavery being an issue. We don't cover that."

Of course, anyone can read the Declaration and discover for themselves that "the final document makes no mention of slavery or African Americans."

What Barton conveniently failed to mention was that while the original draft did contain a passage on slavery, it was removed from the final version, as the Heritage Foundation explains:

Jefferson's draft constitution for the state of Virginia forbade the importation of slaves, and his draft of the Declaration of Independence — written at a time when he himself had inherited about 200 slaves — included a paragraph condemning the British king for introducing slavery into the colonies and continuing the slave trade:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of a CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

These words were especially offensive to delegates from Georgia and South Carolina, who were unwilling to acknowledge that slavery went so far as to violate the "most sacred rights of life and liberty." So, like some of Jefferson's more expressive phrases attacking the king, these lines were dropped in the editing process.

Revealed: The Right-Wing Movement’s Agenda For Trump’s First 180 Days

The Conservative Action Project is a network of more than 100 right-wing leaders created in 2008 as “an offshoot” of the secretive far-right Council for National Policy, making it part of an array of conservative coalitions that bloomed around and after the election of Barack Obama. Originally chaired by Edwin Meese, the Conservative Action Project is now headed by Becky Norton Dunlop, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. It includes leaders of all of what are often described as the three legs of the conservative movement: social, economic, and national security conservatives.

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that the Conservative Action Project was helping fuel closer coordination across the multifaceted conservative coalition with its weekly Wednesday morning meetings at the Family Research Council. The group also promotes shared messaging and strategy with its “Memos for the Movement.” Now this collection of right-wing leaders has identified its policy priorities for the first 180 days of a new administration.

At a forum organized by the American Conservative Union Foundation at the Republican National Convention, participants were given of a set of pocket cards containing policy proposals, quick facts and “market tested messages” on the one dozen highest priorities selected by Conservative Action Project leaders. The 12 priorities are divided into four categories: Constitutional Issues and the Judiciary; Preserving and Protecting Our Culture; Freeing Our Economy so Everyone Can Win; and Defending Our Freedoms.

The package provides a clear picture of the ideas that right-wing organizations are pushing Trump to embrace. Some are vague, like, “The President should revive Public Diplomacy,” but others are quite specific. Taken together, they’re a pretty good indication of what we’d have in store on the policy front with Trump in the White House. 

Among the proposals, which signal the intense desire of right-wing organizations to infuse their priorities throughout the federal government’s executive branch agencies:

  • Immediately rescind all Obama Executive Orders consistent with recommendations by Constitutional and trusted advisors such as The Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation, and other conservative advisors and transition committees.
  • Terminate all executive branch individuals still within their probationary period and freeze hiring for all regulatory positions.
  • The President should eliminate taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood using executive action and seek a permanent legislative solution.
  • The President should freeze and withdraw all regulatory activity on the Obama energy and climate agenda.
  • Submit legislation to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.
  • The President should support the rule of law and reject amnesty proposals and fully enforce and strengthen interior enforcement measures in the United States.

The policy proposals listed under “Restore Religious Freedom” include calls for the president to ensure passage of the First Amendment Defense Act, which carves out exceptions from nondiscrimination laws for people who claim anti-LGBT religious beliefs, and to “issue an Executive Order requiring that the Executive branch respect the 1st Amendment and provisions of the First Amendment Defense Act.”

The package proposes a new tax code that is “simpler, fairer, flatter and stimulates growth,” insisting that all tax reform “should lower individual and business tax rates, particularly the top marginal rates, to encourage saving and investing.”

It says senators “should vigorously question judicial nominees about their intent to remain faithful to the original meaning of the Constitution and laws.”

On education, the movement’s priority is to “Advance School Choice,” and it calls on the president to appoint “a movement conservative” as secretary of education. It wants the president to “champion the policy of dollars following the children,” language used by advocates for private school vouchers and other forms of public school privatization.

The Conservative Action Project’s “memos for the movement” provide a further sense of the group’s worldview.  For example, it responded to last year’s marriage equality decision by the Supreme Court in apocalyptic terms, saying, “The Court’s abuse of power is of such historic proportions that the conservative movement, and indeed every American who cherishes liberty must now address the serious damage done to the cause of freedom and the very foundation of our civil society.”

The group has intensely opposed efforts to expand disclosure requirements for political “dark money,” portraying conservatives as “a persecuted class” who are “bullied to either conform or suffer retribution.”

Among its 2016 releases was a March memo urging Senate Republicans to be resolute in refusing to consider a nominee from President Obama to fill the Supreme Court seat that became vacant with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Here’s an excerpt from the group’s thoughtful and rational rhetoric:

The president and his liberal allies know what is at stake and so do we.  It is nothing short of their intent to eradicate precious constitutional rights. These leftists have made clear their first target is our 1st Amendment right to political speech and the silencing of conservative voices. They mock the 2nd Amendment right of the people to protect themselves and their families and are determined to take away our constitutional right to bear arms. They welcome the prospect of unleashing unaccountable federal agencies like the IRS and EPA to impose a liberal policy agenda that will harm Americans and punish any who dare to disagree with their worldview. And not least of all, they vow to use the Court’s power to impose an “unconditional surrender” in their cultural war against our fundamental institutions of faith, family, marriage, home, and school — and will wipe out any pro-life protections, instead imposing abortion on-demand, up to the moment of birth, paid for by the taxpayers.

 

Rick Joyner Still Has No Idea What He Is Talking About

Earlier this month, we posted a clip of Rick Joyner praising Donald Trump for pledging to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a provision in the tax code that has long restricted the ability of nonprofit organizations, including churches, to engage in explicitly political activities and endorse or oppose candidates for office.

Joyner claimed that the provision was inserted into the tax code by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson specifically to "muzzle the church" because he was angry that Christian leaders had criticized him during his run for office. As we pointed out last time, this is entirely untrue:

That alternate version of history must come as a surprise to groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, which launched its "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" initiative back in 2008 to challenge the Johnson Amendment on the grounds that it was never intended to apply to churches.

As the ADF explained in this video it made back in 2012, Johnson was upset that two wealthy businessmen had used nonprofit organizations they had created to attack him when he ran for re-election in 1954 on the grounds that he was too soft on communism. In response, Johnson inserted an amendment into a bill overhauling the tax code that restricted the ability of nonprofit organizations to engage in overtly political activities.

According to the ADF, and contrary to Joyner's claim, "Johnson never had churches in mind" when he added this amendment.

But just because this claim is false, that's obviously not going to stop Joyner from repeating it, which he did on yesterday's "Prophetic Perspectives on Current Events" program.

Johnson inserted this provision "specifically to muzzle churches, muzzle Christian leaders because he had personally been attacked by them so much in his campaigns," Joyner falsely claimed. "He came up with this scheme and he was very open about it."

Trump Rally Closes In Prayer Asking Him To Stand Firm Against Satan

After repeatedly claiming that pastors are forbidden by law to speak about politics, Donald Trump had a pastor in the audience of his Roanoke, Virginia, rally today close out the event in prayer. The pastor, who did not give his name, called on God to help Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, to fight the spiritual forces of Satan and save freedom in America:

Lord, we thank you so much for what these men represent in this country. We thank you that your hand is upon them and they are called up and raised up for this time. We are asking right now that they will be able to stand firm against the viles [sic] of the enemy, against Satan; we live in a supernatural world. Look at this ball we’re on. We’re held down by gravity. Two inches closer to the sun, we’d all burn, two inches further away, we’d all freeze. So we just ask right now, God, that we’ll humble ourselves and realize that we are created and we need your help and your support to make them the vessels that they need to be to stand up for freedom, the freedom that you authored in our Constitution.

Trump then promised to appoint Supreme Court justices from his recently released list of conservative jurists, warning that “if you put the wrong people” on the court, “you’re back to Venezuela.”

Flip Benham Says He Warned America About 9/11 But No One Listened

Flip Benham, the former head of the anti-abortion, anti-gay protest group Operation Save America who is now enjoying a renaissance as the father of right-wing culture-war heroes David and Jason Benham, made a surprise appearance at OSA’s “Summer of Justice” in Wichita last week, where he spoke at a rally for participants on Saturday night.

Benham recalled that he had been arrested in front of the White House just days before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which he said was a prophetic warning about the punishment that God was about to mete out on America for legal abortion.

On the day of the Sept. 11 attacks, Benham issued a statement directly linking the attacks to legal abortion:

The horrific attack on America this morning was no coincidence. Reminiscent of accounts in the Old Testament when God used prophets to warn nations of their wicked ways, America has been given its own warning over the shedding of innocent blood. The most recent national rebuke was this past weekend when a prophetic word was spoken to the White House and President George W. Bush on Saturday, September 8, 2001.

Rev. Flip Benham and 18 other pro-life pastors and leaders from across the nation gathered in the nation's capital to bring a prophetic warning that if we continue to sow bloodshed in the womb, we will reap it in ever increasing horror in our streets.

The astounding events of this morning are just another sign of the judgment of God upon our nation. We have turned our backs on God and we are now reaping the horrible consequences of our error. The President of the United States of America asked this morning for a "moment silence" to remember those in harm's way. There was not one mention of crying out to the only One who can save us, Jesus Christ!"

Benham returned to the theme in his speech last week, recalling his arrest in front of the White House in September, 2001, along with fellow anti-abortion activist Cal Zastrow. As police arrested them after a number of warnings, Benham said, an OSA protester read officers a passage from Deuteronomy in which God threatens to heap calamities upon those who defy Him.

“Do you know how many of us were arrested?” Benham asked. “How many? Nineteen. Nineteen of us. We come home on Sunday the 9th … and we get back home, and then on Tuesday, what happened? Nineteen men with box cutters tore us apart, crashed into the World Trade Center, both buildings, slammed into the Pentagon. God had given a warning! God had given a warning. Was there anybody that listened? But God was making himself known.”

Operation Save America Declares SCOTUS Rulings On Abortion & Gay Rights 'Null And Void'

A major theme at last week’s “Summer of Justice,” an event that Operation Save America convened in Wichita to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy, was the idea that laws that violate a particular reading of the Bible are not real laws and therefore should be ignored by elected officials.

As such, organizers convened an “ecclesiastical court” in front of Wichita’s federal courthouse on Thursday to hold the federal courts and the Supreme Court in “contempt” of God’s law, as determined by them. Eight OSA members, holding coffin-shaped signs with the names of Supreme Court cases on church-state separation, reproductive rights and LGBT equality, took turns coming to the microphone to read “charges” against the federal courts. The proceedings followed a script that the group used at a similar “ecclesiastical court” in Alabama last year.

The “charge” based on Roe v. Wade held that “America has committed domestic terrorism in the womb, and we are reaping terrorism in our streets.” The charge based on Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the central finding of Roe, linked the case to the 1999 Columbine school shooting, saying that the court “declared that man can determine his own reality, standards and meanings apart from the objective truth of Almighty God,” as the Columbine shooters did.

On Lawrence v. Texas, the case striking down bans on consensual sex between adults of the same sex: “Homosexuality means the burning out of man. It will destroy those who practice this perversion and nations that condone it.”

OSA leader Rusty Thomas closed the proceedings by declaring that “the Supreme Court of the United States of America has sinned against God” in issuing decisions protecting reproductive rights and LGBT rights (or, as he put it, “sodomy”) and accusing the court of “high treason against God and our nation.”

“Yes, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has betrayed our God, our nation, our people, our children, and has invited the wrath of Almighty God to come  upon us — all of us,” he said.

The Supreme Court, he said, has “forfeited all moral authority” and therefore “by the authority invested in us as ministers of the gospel of the kingdom,” OSA would render these objectionable rulings null and void.

He led the crowd in declaring: “We cancel these wicked decisions. We render them null and void. We prohibit their enforcement upon America and its citizens. We declare with one voice that these wicked decrees are no longer binding upon us, our children or our nation.”

“You’re literally acting today like a Moses to Pharaoh” by “telling our government what you are doing is not lawful in the eyes of God,” Thomas said.

 

Bachmann: 'Treasonous' Media Covering For 'Godless' Hillary

Last Saturday, Michele Bachmann appeared on “Understanding the Times with Jan Markell,” where she declared that Hillary Clinton “has innocent blood on her hands” because of her handling of the 2012 Benghazi attack.

“She’s a dangerous woman with bad ideas,” she said.

Bachmann also took issue with the release of another congressional report clearing Clinton of wrongdoing in the incident, blaming the media for not getting tough on the presumptive Democratic nominee: “It’s sick. The media is treasonous in this country. They are part of the treasonous process. I’m sick of the media, like I’m sure most of your audience is. They’re lying, they’re dishonest. Trump’s exactly right about that.”

The former Minnesota congresswoman said that Clinton is trying to “keep Christians at home” on Election Day, arguing that past GOP presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and John McCain only lost because they weren’t true conservatives who failed to inspire a large Christian turnout. (Bachmann’s sixth-place finish in the 2012 Iowa caucus seems to undermine her theory that only far-right candidates can win major elections).

Bachmann said that Clinton is “the most godless woman” in politics who “should’ve been doing time,” before lamenting that America is under God’s judgment.

David Barton Brags That He Helped Craft 'The Most Biblically Friendly' GOP Platform He's Ever Seen

Right-wing political operative and pseudo-historian David Barton played a key role in drafting the Republican platform ahead of the GOP convention earlier this month and has been bragging that the platform committee ended up producing "the most conservative platform in modern history."

Over the weekend, Barton spoke at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen, Texas, where he stated that his main goal in helping to draft GOP platforms is to "make sure that I get as many biblical principles in as possible" and boasted that he has been historically successful at doing so.

The current platform is "the most biblically friendly platform we've had in my lifetime," Barton stated, and that is because he has been able to convince the platform committee to adopt just about every amendment that he has ever recommended.

"They tell me that I have set the record for platform writing," Barton crowed. "Four years ago when we wrote it, I made 140 amendments to the platform — staff writes it and then we edit it — and all but one of those amendments were accepted. This year there was something like 70-something amendments and every one of them was accepted, which tells me that we have a somewhat friendly audience because I kept inserting stuff about the Constitution, the Declaration, and God and the Bible and they keep voting it up."

Trump Lawyer Who Trashed Campaign Finance Laws: SCOTUS List Shows How Trump Will Govern

Among the events hosted by right-wing groups during the Republican National Convention was “The Conservative Pit Stop,” sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation with an assist from its friends at the National Rifle Association. The ACU hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which attracts thousands of participants and a host of Republican officials.

The RNC event consisted of two panel discussions and a surprise keynote from vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. Among the speakers, on different panels, were U.S. senators from opposite ends of the Trump train: early Trump booster Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Utah’s Mike Lee, who was involved in the raucous, unsuccessful Day 1 effort to force a roll-call vote on the convention rules in an attempt to undermine Trump.

Also speaking: Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland, Heather Higgins of Independent Women’s Voice, GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway, Heritage Foundation VP for Policy Promotion Ed Corrigan, platform committee policy director Andrew Bremberg and former chairman of the Federal Election Commission Don McGahn, a Jones Day attorney who is the lawyer for Trump’s campaign.

The two questions formally on the table were “Will conservatives support Trump?” and “Can we reverse the Obama imperial presidency?” For these panelists, not surprisingly, the answers were “yes” and “yes.” Lee said it is in Trump’s power to win over Cruz supporters like him by adding to the campaign’s message a clear stand on reversing the trend of allowing the federal government and executive branch to accumulate too much power.

The Supreme Court was a major topic at the event, as it was throughout the convention, where the court was cited frequently as the ultimate reason for conservative voters to back Trump despite whatever qualms they might have.

Making that point most extensively was Trump counsel McGahn, who called the list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees released by the Trump campaign the most important insight into how Trump will govern. “For those conservatives who are on the fence…I would counsel them to take a very hard look at this list and I would also counsel them to take a very hard look at what’s at stake in this election.”

McGahn said the list presents “a defining moment” and “a very, very, very clear choice for Americans.” It contains no moderate or “squishy” judges, he said, “no stealth candidates” and “no David Souters.” A number of them, he noted, clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas or the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Everyone on the list is already wearing a black robe,” McGhan said. He explained that there were a number of state Supreme Court justices on the list because many conservative “rising stars” whose age puts them in the “sweet spot” for a Supreme Court nomination are not on the federal bench:

Frankly, anyone in what I consider to be the sweet spot barely had an opportunity to be considered for chance to be considered for a federal court appointment in the last Republican administration so I think the rising stars who are conservative, conservative-libertarian, movement conservative, whatever one wants to label themselves, constitutionalist, textualist, etc., etc., are really going to be found on the state courts, simply because that’s where we are generationally.

McGahn did praise by name a few of the federal judges on the list, including William Pryor and Diane Sykes. And he mentioned state Supreme Court justices Allison Eid of Colorado and Don Willett of Texas, an anti-regulatory judge whose opinion in a Texas licensing case McGahn called “a manifesto on economic liberty we have not seen in our lifetime.”

Sessions also praised Trump’s “great list” of judges, saying it contains “no Souters or Kennedys.”

While everyone on the panel loved Trump’s list, the Heritage Foundation’s Corrigan had one more suggestion: In response to a question about what a President Trump should do on his first day in office, Corrigan suggested that he nominate Sen. Mike Lee to the Supreme Court. (Not long ago we discussed Lee's extreme views about the Constitution.)

Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees was reportedly drawn up with help from right-wing powerhouses the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. McGahn also seems to have played a role as Trump’s liaison to the conservative and Washington establishments in putting that list together; in his introduction, the ACU’s Dan Schneider said McGahn “gets a lot of credit for those 11 judges.” McGahn also reportedly helped broker Trump’s March meeting with GOP congressional leaders.

What do we know about McGahn? He is a partner at the Jones Day law firm. His uncle Paddy was an Atlantic City power broker who helped Trump cut real estate deals in that town. As a Republican appointee to the Federal Election Commission, McGahn actively resisted enforcement of campaign finance laws and sought to “chip away at election rules and regulations.” MSNBC’s Zachary Roth has said, “if you don’t like today’s almost-anything-goes campaign funding landscape, you can lay part of the blame on McGahn.” 

McGahn has bragged that others have called his tenure “the most consequential of any commissioner.” Says Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, “He was consequential like a sledgehammer was consequential. He did his best to undermine the law.”

PFAW's Peter Montgomery Discusses the Trump-Pence Ticket and the RNC on Democracy Now!

Last week People For the American Way Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery was in Cleveland, Ohio, covering this year’s Republican National Convention for Right Wing Watch.

On Thursday, he joined Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! to discuss Donald Trump’s selection of Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, the Religious Right’s response to this choice, and Montgomery’s recent piece in Right Wing Watch entitled, “How Would Religious Right Respond to Pence as VP?” Montgomery told Goodman:

“I think he [Trump] probably chose Mike Pence because Mike Pence is close to both the Koch brothers’ political network and to the Religious Right. And those are two hugely important parts of the Republican infrastructure that have not been uniformly excited about Trump.”

While on the program, Montgomery also detailed some instances of hate speech and intolerance that he observed in Cleveland, including misogynistic rhetoric about Hillary Clinton, attacks on Black Lives Matter activists, and attacks on immigrants. “It’s really been a disturbing show,” Montgomery said.

You can watch the full interview here:

[https://publish.dvlabs.com/democracynow/360/dn2016-0721.mp4?start=4548&end=5065]

PFAW

Bryan Fischer: The NBA Is Punishing North Carolina For Refusing To 'Take The Mark Of The Beast'

Bryan Fischer kicked off his radio program on Friday with a Bible study on the Book of Revelation, during which he once again warned that "Satan is working overtime" through the LGBT rights community in an effort to impose the Mark of the Beast on Christians.

"This is the Mark of the Beast in our culture right now," Fischer declared. "If you want to know what the Mark of the Beast is today in America, it is the embrace of the homosexual agenda. If you want to buy, if you want to sell, if you want to engage in business, you have to embrace the god of homosexuality, you have got to embrace the agenda of homosexuality or you will not be allowed to buy or sell. That's the Mark of the Beast."

Fischer said that the NBA, in deciding to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte in response to a new North Carolina anti-LGBT law, is punishing the state for refusing to "take the Mark of the Beast."

"If you will not take the Mark of the Beast," he said, "that is embrace the homosexual agenda, you will not be able to buy or sell, you will be closed down, you will be shut down, you will be fired, you will be punished."

Former KKK Leader David Duke Is Running For Senate Because Donald Trump Is Championing His Issues

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke announced today a bid for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, and he is thanking Donald Trump for inspiring his run.

Duke thanked Trump — who initially refused to renounce Duke’s endorsement but eventually reversed his stance amid immense criticism — for bringing his views into the “GOP mainstream.”

“I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years,” he said. “My slogan is, ‘America First.’”

Duke also loved Trump’s convention speech: “Couldn't have said it better!” 

Jerry Falwell Had A Dream

Last night, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. addressed the Republican National Convention, where he showered praise on Donald Trump while warning that Hillary Clinton’s appointments to the Supreme Court would represent a “fatal blow to our republic.”

He also repeated a joke from his father, televangelist Jerry Falwell: "Chelsea Clinton had interviewed him about the three greatest threats facing this nation. He replied, ‘Those three greatest threats are Osama, Obama and yo’ mama.’

“Osama is now gone, Obama has six months left in his term and the only way to make America great— and one — again is to tell Chelsea’s mama, ‘You’re fired!’” he said.

Of course, Falwell, Jr. didn’t mention it was the Obama administration that made sure “Osama is now gone.”

Trump: "I alone can fix this."

Trump's campaign is trying desperately to con voters with fear.
PFAW

Far-Right Pastor: Donald Trump Will Help Us 'Retake The Culture'

Carl Gallups, an End Times pastor and Donald Trump presidential campaign surrogate, told WorldNetDaily yesterday that electing Trump president would give conservative Christians an “opportunity” to “retake the culture.”

He said that we are witnessing “a great spiritual civil war in our nation, perhaps one like never before,” but a Trump presidency could undercut the forces “trying to persecute us.”

“If we back Trump, maybe, just maybe, with the grace and mercy of God’s answers to our prayers, we can get some breathing room,” Gallups said. “We can once again have the opportunity as Christians to retake the culture. We can once again live under a government that isn’t deliberately trying to persecute us and drive us out of the public square. And if we can get that, maybe we can even make America great and safe again.”

“You will never find a candidate with whom you have perfect agreement,” Gallups counseled. “I too have issues with some of Trump’s platform. But, here is the foundational truth of the matter – which candidate is saying, ‘Let’s Make America Great Again,’ and appears to sincerely mean that, and which candidate is promising more of Obama’s policies, ramped up on political steroids? That’s the bottom line real choice we have to make, regardless of specific differences we may have.”

Gallups said even when there are differences, conservatives have a chance to influence Donald Trump or even change his mind. He believes that is simply not an option when it comes to Hillary Clinton.

However, ultimately, Gallups argues Christians are facing a real time of danger. The real issue, the pastor said, goes beyond politics. It’s about the need for Christians to get some “breathing room” in a culture that is rapidly turning against them.

“In my opinion, this particular election is right up there with the presidential elections before and during the Civil War,” said Gallups. “We are in a kind of societal civil war right now! And we are certainly in a great spiritual civil war in our nation, perhaps one like never before.

“It’s no great act of morality or conscience to opt out of this. If we back Trump, maybe, just maybe, with the grace and mercy of God’s answers to our prayers, we can get some breathing room. We can once again have the opportunity as Christians to retake the culture. We can once again live under a government that isn’t deliberately trying to persecute us and drive us out of the public square. And if we can get that, maybe we can even make America great and safe again.”

5 Conservatives Who've Admitted Trump Won't Actually Build A Border Wall

Donald Trump's acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention was high on fear-mongering and low on policy specifics. Not surprisingly, one specific policy he did bring up was his promise to "build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities." (Although, as the Washington Post pointed out, he left out his promise to make Mexico pay for it.)

Trump's promise to build a wall along the entire border with Mexico has been a cornerstone of a campaign that has cast Mexicans and Mexican Americans as frightening outsiders and criminals. It's not a serious policy proposal. Instead, it's rhetorical prop for a campaign that relies on stirring up fear of outsider.

As the Anti-Defamation League has explained, building a wall along the entire border would be "impractical and very likely ineffective":

A wall or a fence along the entire border with Mexico would be impractical and very likely ineffective. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. It spans difficult terrain, including deserts and mountains. Rivers flow along two thirds of the border. Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners to build a fence or wall, and many do not want to sell the land. The logistics alone make building a wall very difficult, if not impossible.

A handful of conservatives, recognizing this reality, have recently attempted to give Trump an out by acknowledging that he won't actually build a wall but is instead talking about a "virtual" or metaphorical wall.

Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, an enthusiastic supporter of Trump, said earlier this month that "it's going to end up having to be a virtual wall," saying that aerial surveillance and "strategically placed walls" in urban areas are a more effective border control strategy than a literal wall along 2,000 miles of border. "You can buy a predator drone for what two miles of wall costs," he said.

Another Republican congressman who's supporting Trump, Rep. Chris Collins of New York, has also claimed that Trump's wall will be "virtual," telling a newspaper, “Maybe we will be building a wall over some aspects of it; I don’t know.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has also endorsed Trump, has also claimed that Trump is speaking only metaphorically about a wall, saying, "It’s a wall, but it’s a technological wall, it’s a digital wall … There are some that hear this is going to be 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso, 30-foot high, and listen, I know you can’t do that. ”

Even Dan Stein, the head of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform, has acknowledged that Trump's wall isn't a real thing.

“The wall is a surrogate for getting the border under control,” Stein said last month. “There have been physical structures in place down there since the 1980s. You need physical structures at certain high entry points to channel traffic. Ranchers who are out there in the middle of nowhere, they don’t see why you would need a border wall.”

“The wall is a surrogate for border control operations,” Stein added. “What [Trump’s] saying is he’s gonna get the job done. People who believe he’s actually gonna put a brick on every centimeter of 2,000 miles are in a sense mistaking his intention. The language he’s using is what you use in a political campaign, and if you take Hillary Clinton at her word, then she wants to embrace a limitless immigration platform.”

None other than manic Trump supporter Alex Jones has also admitted that Trump's wall promise is baloney, telling The New Republic, "The border wall is just a metaphor. It’s ridiculous."

These aren't people who object to Trump's fiercely anti-immigrant agenda. But they do acknowledge that his wall proposal would be an ineffective way to achieve even his draconian anti-immigrant goals.

Trump is conning his supporters with tales of his building prowess and vows to build a "big, fat, beautiful wall."

He isn't proposing a border wall as a serious solution to a serious problem. Instead, it's a rhetorical prop in his campaign of demonizing and scapegoating immigrants, and even some of his allies are admitting it.

Donald Trump And The Appeal To White Voters

The 2016 Republican convention began with Iowa Rep. Steve King making an explicit case for white supremacy and ended with Donald Trump making not-so-subtle appeals to the racial resentments of white voters.

Trump began his speech pledging to “be a country of law and order.” The GOP nominee exclaimed, “The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, will come to an end. Beginning on January 20, 2017, safety will be restored.”

Thus Trump capped off the one cogent message of the 2016 Republican convention: Be afraid, be very afraid. Be afraid of terrorism, be afraid of crime, but most of all be afraid of people who look or sound different from you, or come from other countries. This was taken to the extreme by former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell who told the convention Monday, “The world outside of our borders is a dark place — a scary place.”

Trump’s appeal to these basest of instincts was also based on a lie. There is no rising crime wave plaguing America. As Politifact said in rating Trump’s claim “Pants on Fire,” “If you look at overall violent and property crimes — the only categories that would seem inclusive enough to qualify as "crime," as Trump put it — he is flat wrong. In fact, crime rates have been falling almost without fail for roughly a quarter-century.”

More abhorrent, this “law and order” message is an implicit appeal to our basest and most divisive instincts. It is an appeal begging white voters  to show up at the polls in great enough numbers to overwhelm a voting population that is growing more diverse by the year. It is evidence of the narrow path Republicans believe they must take to win the White House in 2016. Yet it further condemns the party to failure in national elections.

Twenty-eight years ago, on August 1, 1988, the Rush Limbaugh show went national. Republicans had won at least a plurality of the vote in four of the six preceding presidential elections. Democrats have won a plurality of the vote in five of the six presidential elections that have taken place since. Yet Republicans still are trying to win based on the votes of Limbaugh listeners.  

As The Atlantic noted shortly after the last presidential election, “In 1988, Michael Dukakis lost the white vote by 19 points and won 111 electoral votes. In 2012, Barack Obama lost the white vote by a worse margin — 20 points — and tripled Dukakis with 332 electoral votes.”

Prior to the convention, Republican strategist Rick Wilson pointed out on MSNBC that "racism is baked in the cake" of the Trump campaign. Republicans in Cleveland could have moved away from subtle and not-so-subtle appeals based on race. But clearly they took a different course. From the convention committee promoting white supremacist tweets, to attacks on Black Lives Matter, their "baked-in" racism was on display again and again.

Trump’s speech was a capstone on this week and a clear indication that his campaign believes that only white voters matter.

Dolores Huerta, Lizet Ocampo Respond to Trump’s Acceptance of Republican Nomination

After Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination for president at the RNC, civil rights leader and People For the American Way (PFAW) board member Dolores Huerta released the following statement:

"With Donald Trump as the official Republican nominee and leader of the Republican Party, our work is cut out for us: get registered and ready to vote. During Trump's campaign, he's demonized our communities by calling immigrants "rapists," and "killers," and he doesn't think we can serve as objective judges - yet the Republican Party continues to support him.

"We'll reject Trump and his party's anti-immigrant hate, anti-worker policies, and anti-women agenda by voting against him in record numbers. Through this voting power, we'll ensure that this Republican presidential nominee who believes in dividing our country never gets to the White House."

PFAW Director of Latinos Vote! Lizet Ocampo stated:

“Tonight, Trump continued his campaign of hate, depicting immigrants as criminals and job-takers. Throughout the convention, he's shown that the Republican Party is the Party of Trump by highlighting the most xenophobic voices in the country, including Sheriff Arpaio's tonight. Trump believes that by demonizing our communities and other communities of color, he can divide our country and win the presidency. This shameful tactic should deeply trouble us all.

“And his economic policies are no better. In fact, what he proposes would tank our economy and hurt working families. In November, we’ll strongly reject Trump’s and the Republican Party's hateful rhetoric and damaging policies at the ballot box.”

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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