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."

GOP Lawmaker Dick Black: Hillary Clinton's Immigration Policy Is 'Ethnic Cleansing'

On Friday’s episode of “The John Fredericks Show,” Virginia state Sen. Dick Black, a far-right extremist who served as Ted Cruz’s Virginia campaign co-chair, said that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are using immigration to commit “ethnic cleansing,” accusing Democrats of bringing only Middle Eastern Muslims into the country so that “nobody can organize against them.”

“The Democrats have a laser focus,” Black said. “Everybody they put on that [Supreme] Court is a wicked SOB and they never change. They could care less what the law says. They’re there as politicians and they’re there to do the bidding of their party. And so anybody who thinks that we can count on having fair elections in four years and redoing things, that’s a pipe dream, it’s not going to happen because Hillary Clinton is going to keep the borders open, we’re undergoing this immense immigration, which really amounts to ethnic cleansing. That’s what they’re trying to do.

“They’re trying to shatter the cohesion of the American people, not only in terms of ethnicity but also in terms of religion,” he continued. “They’re bringing in people from the Middle East, zero, zero Christians. They will not allow Christians to come in. All of them have to be Muslim. What they’re trying to do is just shatter any cohesion so that nobody can organize against them.”

If Republicans lose this election, Black said, “our children, our grandchildren, they may never face another free and fair election in the United States after this, if Hillary wins.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/25/16

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/25/16

  • Michele Bachmann says that Donald Trump will "protect innocent women and children and vulnerable older women from men gaining entrance into bathrooms. This is is an issue where while it might not seem that important on a world scale, it is important to normal people going about their daily lives, because they really are upset about the other sex walking into their bathroom, and rightfully so."
  • Sylvia Thompson is "convinced that Donald Trump is the force necessary to begin eradication of the poison that is leftist progressivism in this country" but is also worried that he might not be anti-gay enough.
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser says that Trump is "not afraid to make mistakes, he’s also not afraid to admit when he’s wrong." What world is she living in?
  • Don Feder offers some reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton: "Vote for Hillary if you think Botox is beautiful and are turned on by a Stepford Wives' smile."
  • Bryan Fischer blasts the GOP for allowing Peter Thiel, the gay conservative founder of PayPal, to speak at the convention.
  • Finally, OneMillionMoms is going to war against Nickelodeon over a new program featuring a married same-sex couple.

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.

 

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