In a Senate Banking Committee haering last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren was unrelenting in her questioning of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, who was giving testimony on the bank's fraudulent practice of opening unauthorized accounts for customers in order to help meet sales goals.
Sen. Warren is an ardent champion of policies that protect everyday Americans from bilking at the hands of wealthy special interests, especially those in the financial sector. In her questioning, Warren called out Stumpf for making millions of dollars in the Wells Fargo scam, and for showing "gutless leadership" by refusing to resign, fire any senior executives, or even return any of his earnings.
This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. This just isn't right.
Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson advised a viewer not to let her son attend a haunted house on Halloween and instead to explain to him that the devil is using the holiday to try to “destroy you.”
“Mother, don’t let your babies grow up to be demon-worshippers, if I can quote from Willie Nelson,” he said. “Don’t let him do it.”
Robertson said churches should organize their own alternative events with “all the nice, pretty girls and all the handsome boys” where “they’re praising the Lord instead of worshiping Satan.”
“Halloween has become a night when the devil rejoices,” Robertson added.
Much has already been written about the dangers that a Supreme Court with even one or two Donald Trump-appointed justices would pose to all our rights and liberties. Trump’s latest list of 10 more possible nominees makes that even clearer. In making his announcement last Friday, Trump proclaimed he was using the late Justice Antonin Scalia as a model for his picks, delighting the far Right. A quick look at these potential nominees’ records shows that they would in fact swing the court far to the right, maybe even further than Justice Scalia, on issues like the environment, voting rights, money in politics, consumer rights, gun violence, LGBT and reproductive rights and more. For the sake of all our rights and liberties, Trump cannot be given the opportunity to nominate Supreme Court justices.
Most of the attention so far has focused on Trump’s naming of Sen. Mike Lee as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Among his many other radical positions, Lee has denounced Supreme Court decisions upholding marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose, and has claimed that Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, minimum wage and child labor laws, and many more are unconstitutional. Although Lee has indicated he is satisfied with his current job, at least for now, the prospect of Lee on the court has excited the far Right.
The lesser-known candidates on Trump’s list are similarly alarming. Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady, who as a member of the House helped lead the fight to impeach President Clinton in the Senate, has been dubbed one of the Florida Court’s “Scalia-Thomas duo” because of far-right dissents he and one other conservative have written. These included one dissent that would have invalidated state restrictions on soliciting campaign contributions by state judges, and another that would have reversed a decision protecting vulnerable seniors from mandatory arbitration rules by nursing homes.
Another new Trump candidate, Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, recently argued that the Supreme Court’s Chevron decision, under which courts defer to environmental and other agency interpretations of ambiguous laws and which even Justice Scalia had supported, is unconstitutional and should be overruled. Tim Tymkovich, another 10th Circuit judge on Trump’s new list, argued in a dissent that a federal regulation banning the carrying and storing of guns on U.S. Postal Service property should be partially struck down as unconstitutional.
Perhaps the best summary of Trump’s new list was offered by Carrie Severino of the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network. Trump “continues to take unprecedented steps,” she proclaimed, to show that he would nominate people “like Scalia, Thomas, and Alito” to the Supreme Court. Severino and Trump are clearly hoping that this will shore up Trump’s support on the far Right. In fact, it has already helped secure Trump’s endorsement by former rival and right-wing Sen. Ted Cruz. But for all other Americans, the prospect of Trump nominees to the Supreme Court is truly frightening. This November, voters need to ensure that Donald Trump does not become President Trump.
Last week, Rick Joyner revealed to his fellow conservative televangelist Jim Bakker that he is giving spiritual advice to Donald Trump.
Joyner, it seems, has been spending so much time with Trump that he has even adopted his rhetoricalstyle, claiming that a lot of people are saying that President Obama is a secret Muslim and he is just asking whether Obama is using taqiyya to keep his true faith a secret.
After insisting that approximately 400 million Muslims are radicals bent on murdering Americans, Joyner said, “I know there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence and a lot of people believe he is a Muslim and using taqiyya.”
Regardless of whether Obama is secretly Muslim or has been deceived by dark spirits, he added, it is clear that the president’s work is “doing great damage to us, great damage to Christianity and great damage to our country.”
When Piper asked Franks about President Obama’s opposition to so-called “born-alive” bills that are a favorite ofanti-choice activists, Franks responded that the president “knows that if this country ever wakes up and realizes that we’re in the center storm of the greatest human genocide in the history of humanity, what we’re doing to unborn children and newborn children, that there won’t be a Democrat left standing in the northern hemisphere… in an election, that is, if there’s ever a realization of what the Democrat Party has stood for.”
“It’s so sad, because we’re just not students of history, Doctor,” he continued. “You know, the left gets very angry when we use the slavery parallel, but the parallel is so profoundly appropriate. Because the Supreme Court said in Dred Scott that the slave was not a person, that they were chattel, and you could do whatever you want.
“And there were a group of people, they called them Republicans, they began to coalesce as a new party, that said, no, these slaves are children of God and we as Americans stand for the notion that we’re all created equal and that includes slaves. And we stood up for them and the left was so committed to it that it precipitated a bloody civil war and we ended up shooting ourselves to doll rags. That’s how committed an irrational conclusion can become when there is an investment of these kinds of political proportions in a certain narrative.”
Franks is far from the first conservative politician to conveniently forget the history of the last half century to declare that today’s Democrats are the party of slavery and Jim Crow.
On Friday, Ted Cruz officially endorsed Donald Trump and the news did not sit well with Glenn Beck, who had campaigned for Cruz during the Republican primaries on the grounds that he had been anointed by God to save America, and who has vowed never to support Trump.
Cruz appeared on Beck's radio show today to try and justify his decision and it did not go well for Cruz.
Beck grilled the Texas senator on what could have changed about Trump to convince him that he can now support the man he once called an utterly amoral pathological liar. Cruz defended himself almost entirely by citing Trump's latest promise to appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court, which Beck wasn't buying because Trump first made that promise months ago and yet Cruz still refused to endorse Trump when he spoke at the Republican National Convention in July.
"I'm asking you for new information," Beck said. "Why now?"
Upon returning from a commercial break, Beck unloaded on Cruz and his disingenuous justification for endorsing Trump, declaring that Cruz had said things during their interview that Beck personally knows to be untrue.
"For the very first time, I heard Ted Cruz calculate and when that happened, the whole thing fell apart for me," Beck said, declaring that he blames himself for thinking that Cruz was a man of principle instead of just another politician.
Eventually, Beck's fury got the better of him as he worked himself up into a bellowing frenzy.
"We have become PETA. Shame on all of us," Beck fumed over being repeatedly told by Cruz that this election represents a "binary choice" between Hillary Clinton and Trump, outraged that on every issue, the only thing that seems to matter now is that you agree with the people on your side. "Why not, if you won't vote for Hillary or you won't vote for Trump, why not just cover me in a bucket of blood?"
"Why not just shame me in the public square?" Beck thundered. "There is no difference between the two teams any more ... Which one is for the idea that all men are created equal? That all men have a right to pursue their own happiness and make their own goddamn decisions? Which one? Which one? I contend neither of them and so we will just soak each other in buckets of blood. We'll be a happy little bumper-sticker community that shames one another to make sure you walk in goosestep with all the other Hillary supporters or walk in goosestep with all the other Trump supporters."
Yesterday, longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone spoke with conspiracy theory broadcaster Alex Jones about potential “October surprise” events that the “globalists” might concoct to prevent a Trump victory in the presidential election.
“I fear for Trump’s physical safety,” Stone said, which caused Jones to ask about the prospect of “a fake attempted assassination on Hitlery.”
Stone, an informal adviser to Trump, warned that since “the globalists” have “killed John Kennedy” and “infiltrated the Watergate burglar teams to botch the mission and bring Nixon down,” they “will do anything” to achieve their goals.
Jones’ co-host, Lee Ann McAdoo, had an even bleaker outlook, wondering if the New World Order would start a nuclear war: “They’re already planning World War III behind the scenes. This might be the October surprise, that we’re all going to get nuked before anyone gets into office.”
A group of Religious Right activists, including prominent advocates of dominionism, have joined together to circulate a “Declaration of Dependence upon God and His Holy Bible” in which signers vow to “refuse any mandate by the government that forces us to fund or support abortion” and to “oppose same-sex marriage, polygamy, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion prohibited by Holy Scripture.
Colorado Springs pastor Andrew Wommack, who wrote the pledge, says that he will spend $500,000 promoting it online and in newspaper ads. On Sunday, Wommack’s ministry bought a pricey full-page ad in the New York Times that showed the full text of the “declaration” and some of its most prominent signers.
Among those who have signed Wommack’s pledge, according to the ad, is Religious Right activist David Barton, who has been teaching students at a Bible college run by Wommack to retake the “mountain” of government in accordance with the Seven Mountains dominionist belief that conservative Christians must take control of the seven areas, or “mountains,” of society.
Other signers are Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council; Focus on the Family founder James Dobson; prominent televangelist Kenneth Copeland; leading Seven Mountains advocate Lance Wallnau; prosperity gospel preacher Creflo Dollar; and Kelly Shackelford, whose First Liberty Institute has been at the forefront of the narrative that conservative Christians are losing their religious liberty in America.
Another notable signer is Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm, who earlier this year sponsored a bill to make abortion a felony in the state, which was vetoed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.
Among the signers are some prominent supporters of Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Dobson and Copeland are members of Trump’s evangelical advisory board. Boykin was recently one of the retired military leaders to sign a letter supporting Trump, which was promoted by the GOP nominee’s campaign. Wallnau is a member of the “National Diversity Coalition for Trump” who has argued that Trump can help reclaim the “seven mountains” from Satan.
In a video message, Wommack says that he believes he was “divinely inspired” to write the declaration, warning that “Satan is fighting for the heart and soul of this nation.”
Another video promoting the declaration shows Fox News pundit Todd Starnes reacting to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision means gay rights now trump religious liberty. If you think the cultural purging of the southern states has been breathtaking, wait until you see what the activists are about to release on American Christians.” In the video, a young girl turns to her grandfather and asks, “Grandpa, we’re Christians, aren’t we?”
Wommack’s declaration reads like a shorter version of the Manhattan Declaration, a 2009 document that joined conservative Catholic and evangelical leaders in a pledge to commit civil disobedience in the face of the supposed impending government persecution of Christians.
Here’s the full text of the “Declaration of Dependence upon God and His Holy Bible”:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Since our Creator gave us these rights, we declare that no government has the right to take them away. Among these rights is the right to exercise our Christian beliefs as put forth in God’s Holy Bible.
We therefore declare that God grants life at conception and no one has the right to take that life unless it is a direct threat to the life of the mother.
Marriage was instituted by God between one man and one woman. The Lord gave only this family unit the responsibility to have children and raise them in the fear of the Lord.
We therefore respectfully reserve the right to refuse any mandate by the government that forces us to fund or support abortion. We also oppose same-sex marriage, polygamy, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion prohibited by Holy Scripture.
We proclaim that Jesus has provided the cure for all sin and therefore reach out to the sinner in love, but do not embrace the sin, knowing its destructive nature.
Therefore, we, the undersigned—not only as Christians but also believing we have the constitutional rights as Americans to follow these time honored Christian beliefs—commit to conducting our churches, ministries, businesses, and personal lives in accordance with our Christian faith and choose to obey God rather than man.
In spite of the column’s title, Erickson uses the colum to reaffirm his unwillingness to vote for Trump, whose campaign he calls un-American. He writes that he sees Trump “corrupting the virtuous and fostering hatred, racism, and dangerous strains of nationalism.” (He also says, for the benefit of those who accuse him of being pro-Clinton, that he believes her campaign is anti-American.)
That I see so many Christians justifying Donald Trump’s immorality, defining deviancy down, and turning to anger and despondency about the future tells me I cannot in good faith support Donald Trump because his victory would have lasting, damaging consequences for Christianity in America. We harm our witness and the testimony of the strength of our Lord by embracing the immoral, unrepentant strong man. We harm our American virtue by buying into the idea that one man can make America great again. Further, we risk losing Donald Trump’s soul for the sake of our selfishness.
Erickson also slams Wayne Grudem for trying to justify support for Trump after having written in 2012 that if evangelicals didn’t support Romney, they would end up with Rudy Giuliani, “a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate who is on his third marriage and had a messy affair prior to his divorce from his second wife. Then we will lose any high moral ground and the enthusiasm of the evangelical vote.” Asks Erickson, “How now can Grudem advance his witness to questioning unbelievers? He now praises an unrepentant man both guilty of and proud of the very sins he attacked Giuliani for.”
In response to a question from Deace about conservative fear-mongering about the consequences of the election—that the country could not survive a Clinton presidency—Erickson noted the same was said about Obama. Erickson says he tries not to demonize his opponents, saying that while he believes Hillary Clinton should be in jail, “she’s no Vladimir Putin.”
“This election is not the end of the world,” said Erickson, adding that the question that people will be asking the day after the election will be “who sold their soul and who didn’t?”
When Deace asked what his vocal opposition to Trump has cost him, Erickson said his radio show has lost advertisers, his kids have been yelled at in the grocery store, and he has had to hire armed guards to protect his house.
As we have notedseveraltimesbefore, American Family Radio's Bryan Fischer has an understanding of the First Amendment that makes absolutely no sense, as he regularly insists that it only applies to Congress ... except for all the times when he insists that it applies to all sorts of government entities.
Fischer's incoherence has been on full display regarding the case of Joe Kennedy, a high school football coach from Washington state who was fired after he refused to stop praying with players and students after games. Despite the fact that Fischer has repeatedly declared that "it is constitutionally and historically impossible for a school to violate the First Amendment ... [b]ecause a school is not Congress," he simultaneously insists that the school district has violated Kennedy's First Amendment rights by not allowing him to pray after games.
"Good for you, coach Joe Kennedy," Fischer declared. "He's taking the district to court for violating his First Amendment rights, which is exactly what they've done ... What does the First Amendment say? It says that Congress—and Bremerton [School District,] they interpret that to mean any governmental authority, that would include schools because they're government schools—is not allowed to prohibit the free exercise of religion. What did Bremerton School District do when they told Joe Kennedy, 'You can't pray at midfield after a game'? They prohibited his free exercise of religion! They told him, 'Your constitutional right—even though this is government property and the government is specifically prohibited from infringing on your free exercise rights—we are going to destroy the First Amendment here, doesn't apply in Bremerton, doesn't apply on a football field, you have lost that right. You have not only lost that right, you have lost your job.'"
Today, Fischer posted a column blasting a report recently released by the United States Commission on Civil Rights that further undermines his argument in the Kennedy case, as he explicitly states that a school district can never be guilty of violating the First Amendment:
The very first word in the First Amendment is “Congress.” The First Amendment was intended as a restraint on Congress and Congress alone. It is simply impossible for any other entity - be it a state, a county, a city, a school district, a school teacher, or a student - to violate the First Amendment for the simple reason that it wasn’t written to restrain them.
Only Congress can violate the Founders’ Constitution, and it can do so in only two ways. First, it can violate the Establishment Clause by picking one Christian denomination and making it the official church of the United States. As long as Congress doesn’t do that, it can do anything it wants with regard to religious expression. It can pay a chaplain to pray Christian prayers and proclaim as many national days of prayer as it would like.
States under the Founders’ Constitution are free to regulate religious expression in any way they would like without any interference from the federal government. States can even have an established religion if they want to, and at the time of the Founding, 10 of them did.
Secondly, only Congress can violate the Free Exercise clause because it applies specifically and exclusively to Congress. Congress - and by extension the entire federal government, including the judiciary - is flatly prohibited from interfering with the free exercise of the Christian religion in any way, shape or form. Any such effort on the part of any branch of the federal government, whether it’s the legislative branch, the executive branch, or the judicial branch, is flatly and permanently forbidden by the Founders’ Constitution.
The federal government has zero authority to tell schools what they may and may not do with regard to Bible reading in classrooms, prayer at assemblies and graduation ceremonies, or the posting of the Ten Commandments on school room walls. Those matters are for state and local authorities to decide. Period.
Just last month, Fischer accused the Bremerton School District of violating the First Amendment, but today, he stated that it is "impossible" for a school district to ever violate the First Amendment.
Unless Fischer is arguing that he believes that local public schools are also "Congress," then his argument makes no sense, especially since he asserts in his latest piece that states are "free to regulate religious expression in any way they would like."
Under Fischer's own argument, any state would be free to prohibit Kennedy or anyone else from exercising their religion for any reason, or, for that matter, to restrict the freedom of speech, freedom of the press or the right to peaceably assemble, which are also protected by the First Amendment.
Fischer's outrage over the Kennedy case proves that he clearly does't believe, or possibly doesn't even understand, his own stated position.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., had an unusual take yesterday on recent protests around the police shootings of African-American men in North Carolina and Oklahoma, saying that while Black Lives Matter is made up of “radical groups” and “confused people,” the real “institutional racism” is policies that removed government-sponsored religious teaching from public schools.
Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks asked Brat yesterday, “Help me understand, what is Black Lives Matter rioting about in Charlotte?”
“Well, that’s just sub-groups,” Brat responded, “some of these radical groups that are funded out of George Soros’ pot of money and just some confused people.”
In contrast, he said, he recently visited a prison and met with former heroin addicts who told him that they wanted him to “get the Bible back in the classroom and religion back in the classroom so my kids and grandkids don’t end up like me.” Because of the lack of religious instruction, he said, these men were “never taught what was good and bad in life in the public school system.”
“The Democrat policy in education is holding back an entire generation from being successful,” he said, “and then you end up with this racial system when your school system … [is] teaching them about isosceles triangles but we’re not giving them any hope.”
“There is institutional racism,” Brat told Fredericks, “and if Obama and Hillary want to talk about institutionalized racism, I just mentioned the source of it. It’s their own policies. that’s where the institutional racism is, right? When you don’t tell people what is ethically good and bad, right, if you cannot even define what a morally good life is anymore and you block the Bible and you block the Judeo-Christian tradition and you block the Baptist church, which is fundamental in the African-American community, from being the voice of power and the only hope you give is a broken federal system of government …”
He added that since Martin Luther King Jr., we haven’t had “any nationally prominent philosophers or theologians out there promoting the Judeo-Christian tradition in the African-American community and across the board in education.”
Yesterday, the Guardian published an article in which Trump Mahoning County Chair Kathy Miller made comments including that “I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected.” Following the article’s publication, Miller resigned her position. In response to Miller’s remarks and subsequent resignation, Dr. Carolyn Hurst, an Ohio doctor, clergywoman and member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action, released the following statement:
“While I’m thankful that Kathy Miller has resigned and apologized for her reprehensible remarks, the incident speaks to the troubling rise in racism from Donald Trump’s campaign. Miller’s comments go hand-in-hand with other racist language that Trump and his allies use and uplift.
“It’s scary to imagine how much worse this could get for all Americans, especially those of color, if Donald Trump became president. This November, it’s up to Ohioans to reject bigotry, racism, and discrimination through the casting of their votes for one who works to unite us as Americans and not divide us.”
Trump and his campaign and companies have a long history of racism. As just a few examples: His companies engaged in racial discrimination, Trump delayed in condemning former KKK grand wizard David Duke, and Trump has repeatedly elevated white supremacists throughout his campaign.
The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has been attempting to mobilize U.S. support for activists in Mexico who are trying to stop President Enrique Peña Nieto from putting marriage equality into the country’s constitution.
However, like a lot of NOM’s recentefforts, this one doesn’t seem to quite be catching on.
Today, NOM hosted a rally in front of the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C., along with the World Congress of Families, which Brown also now leads, and CitizenGo, an international petition platform whose board Brown sits on.
The rally drew a grand total of 11 people, not counting a handful of children in strollers, bystanders and reporters:
At the rally, activists read a letter that they said they were delivering to the Mexican ambassador announcing that they were joining “in spirit” the protests this weekend led by the National Front for the Family.
The letter stated the group’s support for “natural marriage as a stable relationship between one man and one woman,” saying that “several scientific research studies” have shown that this is the best environment for children. It claimed that “extracting marriage from its procreative and educative purpose … weakens the legal, social and cultural fabric” of a society. The letter also included a reference to adoption by gay couples and a plea to keep “content and ideologies that do not belong to the public educative sphere” out of school curricula, instead demanding that curricula be based on “scientific criteria.”
Right-wing activist Jesse Lee Peterson recently delivered a sermon in which he warned his congregation not to become intellectuals because intellectualism is responsible for foisting things like gay marriage upon America.
"I notice that the people who are really into the intellect are nutcases," Peterson said. "Absolute nutcases. Because of this intellectual thing taking over and the people rule us, we now have so-called same-sex marriage. That wouldn't happen if we weren't into the intellect. Common sense would dictate that is not going to happen and common sense wouldn't care what you thought about it because we would know that that's wrong."
Intellectuals are also responsible for the fact that "we now have drag queens running around in the military," Peterson added.
"Can you imagine jumping down in a foxhole, running from bin Laden, and there is a man in there with a dress and lipstick on? It would shock you. You would rather be out with bin Laden," Peterson stated, apparently so dedicated to being anti-intellectual that he's totally unaware that Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
People simply need to rely "on the intellect of God," he recommended, because human intellect is a tool of the devil, which is why "all intellectual people are insecure people ... because their father is weak, their father Satan is a deceiver."
According to news reports, Donald Trump is set to release today more names of individuals whom he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if elected, a key part of his strategy to win over the Religious Right and the conservative establishment.
The new list includes Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who, as Peter noted earlier this year, is not only a staunch social conservative but also believes that large parts of the federal social safety net are unconstitutional:
Lee also has some ideas about how he’d like to change the Constitution. We wrote when Lee was running for Senate in the Tea Party wave of 2010:
He wants to eliminate capital gains taxes and make the current tax system more regressive – more reliant on lower income taxpayers – and says his favorite approach to taxation would actually be to repeal the 16th amendment altogether, strip the federal government of the power to tax income, and leave it to the states to determine how they would tax their own citizens to pay for the limited federal government that would be left.
He’s a constitutional lawyer who’d like to make lots of changes to the Constitution: he has said he supports repeal of the 17th Amendment, which calls for popular election of U S Senators; he wants to "clarify" the 14th Amendment through legislation to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to parents who are not citizens or legal residents; he wants to amend the Constitution to require a balanced federal budget and to impose congressional term limits.
Other names on Trump’s expanded list are also sure to please those who are hoping to radically reshape American law.
The Trump campaign’s statement boasts that one potential pick, Michigan Chief Justice Robert Young, is part of a court majority that has “embraced originalism and led what one scholar described as a ‘textualism revolution.’” The article in question notes that much of the Michigan majority’s philosophy draws on the arguments of the late Justice Antonin Scalia (while differing with Scalia in some ways).
In 2007, Young wrote a majority opinion upholding Michigan’s voter ID law, writing that it was a “reasonable, nondiscriminatory restriction designed to preserve the purity of elections and to prevent abuses of the electoral franchise."
The new list also includes Charles Canady, a Florida Supreme Court justice who served four terms as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s. In the House, Canady was the first to introduce the so-called ban on “partial-birth” abortion, a term that had been newly coined by anti-choice activists to stir up opposition to a specific abortion procedure and prompt a legal challenge to undermine Roe v. Wade.
Also on Trump’s list is Timothy Tymkovich, the chief judge of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, who wrote that court’s opinion in favor of Hobby Lobby’s attempt to cite religious objections to deny its employees health insurance coverage for contraception. That case later made it to the Supreme Court, resulting in a dramatic reinterpretation of the idea of religious liberty in America.
Trump’s new Supreme Court list is, like his original list released in May, clearly aimed at pacifying social conservatives who want assurance that his federal judges will uphold their policy priorities and by conservative legal groups intent on remaking American law.
Televangelist Jim Bakker hosted Robert Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Family Research Council senior fellow on his program today, and questioned Maginnis about President Obama’s nomination of a Muslim-American attorney to be a federal judge.
Bakker saw the nomination as a sign that the Obama administration gives “preferential treatment” to Muslims while “the cross is being degraded in America, the Christians are being—the very thing Jesus said would happen in the Last Days, that we would be, because we serve God, we would be attacked, we would be hated for the name of Christ’s sake. It seems like our nation is kinder to other faiths and Christianity is being put down further and further and further.”
Maginnis wholeheartedly agreed, claiming that “the persecution against Christians” is rampant in the Pentagon and that the Obama administration “is aggressive against Christians.”
He even said that he had “personally met” with witches who told him that they are advising high-ranking government officials in Washington, D.C. “I know that there’s demonic forces in that city,” he said. “I have personally met people that refer to themselves as witches, people that say they advise the senior leadership of the country. We invite within the federal government people to advise us and often some of those advisers, I think, have evil motivations, things that you and I would not approve of.”
So naturally, it was only a matter of time before Donald Trump added his ignorant voice to the mix by declaring his opposition to "the President’s intent to cede control to international interests, including countries like China and Russia, which have a long track record of trying to impose online censorship" and called on Congress to stop the transition.
Perhaps nothing quite demonstrates the rampant ignorance fueling this ill-informed right-wing freak-out like the discussion about this issue that occurred between J.D. Hayworth and Tom DeLay on "Newsmax Prime" yesterday, in which the two former congressmen wildly speculated that the move was part of some effort by Obama to allow foreign nations to hack our election through voter fraud.
"To have the international community take over the internet in late October, just prior to the first week in November," Hayworth said, "man, the timing of this is really suspect!"
DeLay, who admitted that he is so ignorant when it comes to technological issues that he can barely turn on his own computer, was nevertheless outraged by the transition, calling it "patently dangerous."
"It just boggles my mind that we would give up control of the internet, of all things," DeLay said. "I know that whatever agreement has been made by this administration is not going to benefit the United States and is not going to benefit the American people, so we have got to find a way to put this off until the next president is put into office."
Yesterday, three board members from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit organization that is at the center of this upcoming transition, published an op-ed in The Hill explaining that the fear mongering that is currently being whipped up around it is rooted in misinformation and ignorance:
IANA transition does not affect the security of your website, your email, or the Domain Name System.
The security of websites has been and remains the responsibility of the owners and operators of the websites - ICANN is not involved in protecting web sites or tracking down hackers. If websites are compromised, law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcement actions. The IANA transition changes none of the roles and responsibilities of the various actors already engaged in protecting the security and stability of the Internet.
The statement that control of ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) would change hands as a result of the IANA transition is also wrong and misleading. The SSAC is not a “security guard” for the Internet. The SSAC has no enforcement power, and the value of its advice is based on the strength of the facts underlying such advice.
The Security and Stability Advisory Committee advises the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the security and integrity of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. Our recent work include advisories on a wide range of topics such as internationalized domain names, protecting domain name owners and operators, best practices for domain name registrars, analysis on the changing nature of IPv4 address semantics, and advice on matters pertaining to the correct and reliable operation of the root name system and other issues (see https://ssac.icann.org/ for more details). The SSAC neither operates as a security guard for the Internet, nor does it aspire to.
The IANA transition has no practical effect on the work and activities of the SSAC. Nor does the transition have any effect on the security and stability of website owners worldwide. The risk of compromise of a website owner does not increase as a result of the IANA transition, since ICANN and IANA do not control either the ownership of websites or the content on websites. Leading technical experts, industry associations, and civil society groups agree that allowing the IANA contract to expire is the best possible way to protect and promote the continued integrity of the Internet.
There is simply no relationship between ICANN and the current U.S. election process. Assertions of this sort are misleading and irresponsible. On the other hand, attempt to connect ICANN to the U.S. political process play directly into the hands of the enemies of an open Internet who would like to see ICANN and other Internet bodies put under the control of the United Nations or, worse yet, broken up into separate, government-controlled networks that do not interoperate smoothly around the world.
Jim Simpson, a conservative writer who works closely with the Center for Security Policy, told the Center’s Jim Hanson in an interview yesterday that refugee resettlement to the U.S. must be stopped because liberals are using it as a ploy to bring in “people from all over the world that do not share our culture and our values” because they know that the “beliefs that we as Americans hold stand directly in the way of them gaining power.”
Hanson, who was guest hosting the group’s “Secure Freedom Radio” program, asked Simpson about a discredited poll his organization produced that purported to show a high prevalence of extremist beliefs among American Muslims, a poll that Donald Trump cited in his call for a ban on Muslim immigration last year.
Trump’s more recent proposal to ban immigration from what he called “terror nations,” Hanson said, “seems like a common-sense solution to me.”
Simpson agreed that “it’s absolutely a common-sense solution” but said that more can be done, such as an effort to “curtail if not halt entirely the refugee resettlement program.” The refugee program, he said, is “so out of control” and is “driven by very malevolent motives” from resettlement contractors (many of which are religious groups), which he said just want to make money, and from the “radical left.”
“[T]he radical left and the Democratic Party, primarily if not exclusively, benefit directly from bringing in people from all over the world that do not share our culture and our values,” he said. “Gradually, our unique culture, our unique values that have made us the envy of the world for 200 years are being watered down and diluted to the point of irrelevance because we are bringing in people from all over the world that do not share those values. And that is and has been a long-term goal of the radical left in this country, because the left knows that those cultures, those traditions, those beliefs that we as Americans hold stand directly in the way of them gaining power.”
In an interview with West Virginia talk radio host Tom Roten yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul lamented that race relations seem to have “gotten worse” during Barack Obama’s presidency when “you would think we would have gotten beyond race, in a way” during his administration.
Roten, speaking of protests following police shootings of African American men in Oklahoma and North Carolina, told Paul that he thought “race relations have grown worse since we’ve twice elected a black U.S. president.”
“You know, I think we try to make everything about race and so we wind up with a lot of racial tension because of that,” the Kentucky Republican responded.
He added that there is “no question that African Americans have been on the receiving end of violence more than whites have” from police and that “the police have to do a better job at figuring out when they use deadly force.”
“It just seems like, though, that there’s a mindset that I don’t recall us having in this country eight years ago,” Roten said.
“It certainly hasn’t gotten better,” Paul responded. “You would think we would have gotten beyond race, in a way, and in many ways it seems to have gotten worse.”