Glenn Beck, who has spent months openly attacking Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Donald Trump and the entire GOP, is now asking the RNC to allow his network to host a GOP primary debate in February.
Bad news for Andrew Shirvell: "The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former lawyer for the state of Michigan who lost a defamation lawsuit filed by a gay student at the University of Michigan."
Last week, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles lashed out at Chick-fil-A for yielding to the “Obamanista homosexual communists” that “went after Chick-fil-A with a vengeance” several years ago over the company’s ties to anti-LGBT groups, calling events like “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day” a mistake.
Wiles was especially angry that the restaurant sponsored a Pride Parade and LGBT film festival (the twoevents were sponsored by franchise owners, not the company itself), and that CEO and president Dan Cathy expressed regret about how the company became involved in the marriage debate.
“He said, ‘Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by recognizing the mistakes that you make, and you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.’ Well, we learned a lot about you too, Mr. Cathy,” Wiles said. “Personally, I think Chick-fil-A should add another meat to the menu: Yellow-bellied weasel.” AUDIO
If you ever think that courts don’t matter, ask yourself this: Why are major corporations and arch-conservative judges going to such lengths to prevent you from having your day in court when someone has violated your legal rights?
The New York Times has an in-depth three-part series of reports on arbitration, the system by which ordinary people are increasingly being coerced into surrendering their right to the protections provided by the American judicial system.
Agreements to resolve disputes by arbitration are increasingly becoming a standard part of the all-or-nothing contracts that enormous corporations force individuals to sign as a condition of doing business with them. With private arbitration, you surrender your right to a courtroom with a neutral judge and a wide variety of substantive and procedural protections for all parties.
Instead, the company picks a private arbitrator whose living depends on getting cases from corporate interests. The protections of the court system are cast aside. And you can’t have class action lawsuits, which are often the only way to hold wrongdoers accountable when they harm large numbers of individuals relatively small amounts, so it is often not worthwhile for a wronged party to pursue arbitration.
Contracts have existed for centuries. In theory, they are negotiated by two people or businesses in a process of give-and-take, where both parties fully understand what they are agreeing to. But as anyone who has cable TV or a cell phone can tell you, most contracts we sign are handed to us “as is,” take it or leave it.
If you don’t agree to the terms imposed by some enormous corporation with millions of customers, the cost to you (life without a phone) is a lot more than the cost to the company (the loss of one of millions of customers). With vastly unequal bargaining power, the consumer has little choice but to agree. And, in fact, most people sign consumer contracts or click the “I agree” box online with little to no knowledge or understanding of the agreement.
As the Times reports:
By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.
Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration. The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.
By banning class actions, companies have essentially disabled consumer challenges to practices like predatory lending, wage theft and discrimination, court records show.
“This is among the most profound shifts in our legal history,” William G. Young, a federal judge in Boston who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “Ominously, business has a good chance of opting out of the legal system altogether and misbehaving without reproach.”
How did we reach a point where individuals can be routinely victimized by large corporations and denied access to the courts to vindicate their legal rights?
To a great extent, the blame can be laid at the feet of five people: The conservative majority of the Supreme Court. Their devastating 5-4 rulings like those eviscerating the Voting Rights Act or allowing billionaires and special interests to spend unlimited money in politics are well known. Less well known are 5-4 decisions in arbitration cases. Particularly notorious are AT&T v. Concepcion, where the conservatives ruled that giant corporations can use arbitration agreements to undermine state consumer protection laws across the country, and American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, where the conservatives empowered monopolists to use arbitration agreements to bypass federal antitrust laws.
As if this weren’t bad enough, arbitration is hardly the only weapon corporate interests are using to block their victims from vindicating their rights in court.
In fact, just today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Spokeo v. Robins, where corporate interests claim that their victims can’t sue in federal court if their “only” injury is that a right created by Congress was violated.
Last month, the Court heard oral arguments in Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez, where a large company argued for the power to terminate a class action suit against it early on by quickly offering a settlement to the lead plaintiff representing the class.
Fair and just courts are vitally important in providing equal justice under the law to those who would otherwise be powerless against the enormous entities who have so much more power and resources. So it is no surprise that those powerful interests are so dedicated to blocking ordinary people from having their day in court.
David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County and a risingmedia star on the Right, claimed yesterday that President Obama is a “heartless, soulless bastard” because he has spoken out about “goons” and “criminal creep[s]” who have been killed by law enforcement officers, falsely claiming that the president had not spoken out about the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer.
Clarke launched into the rant on his weekly program on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze radio network, declaring that “black-on-black crime is a human rights abuse and should be investigated as such by the United Nations” and that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States,” not police brutality.
He lit into a New York judge who had sentenced the police officer’s killer to rehab rather than prison time for a recent drug crime, calling her a “criminal-coddling, criminal-advocating, empathy-for-the-criminal, despicable human being.”
“By the way, we still have not heard from President Obama, that heartless, soulless bastard who wastes no time taking to the microphone to stick up for a criminal creep like Mike Brown, like Eric Garner, like Freddie Gray, like Trayvon Martin and communicating empathy for those goons and yet he has to be prodded, he has to be prodded to say something when a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty,” Clarke continued. In fact, Obama spoke about the slain officer, Randolph Holder, to a gathering of police chiefs last week.
Therefore, we were less than surprised to hear him say in a radio broadcast last month that HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people and a good thing!
While discussing a World magazine article on treatments for people with HIV/AIDS, Swanson said that gay people are receiving too much help from the government, saying they are “especially favored by the government and given a fair amount of support for their homosexual activity and the disease that seems to accommodate their activity.” He went on to say that HIV/AIDS is “God’s retribution to their sexual habit,” citing Paul’s Letter to the Romans and dismissing other interpretations of Paul’s writing as erroneous.
Swanson added that gay people should be glad that God punished them with HIV/AIDS, explaining that it is a sign of “God’s kindness” as it gives them time to think things over and renounce homosexuality, thus saving them from Hell.
“It’s also a wakeup call,” he said. “Be thankful that God doesn’t kill you all at once. He slows you down for a moment, he makes you sick, he gives you a heads-up.”
He urged gay people to learn from Kelly Gissendaner and Karla Faye Tucker, two women on death row who converted to Christianity before being executed for murder.
Tomorrow, the city of Houston will vote on the future of its nondiscrimination measure, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
The way anti-LGBT activists see it, the law will destroy religious freedom and jeopardize the safety of women and children, dramatic events that haven’t occurred in the hundreds of cities and counties with similar nondiscrimination measures. Of course, regularly telling outright falsehoods about the supposed threats of the LGBT community has never held back the Religious Right.
We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the most absurd attacks used by right-wing activists who hope to lie their way to victory tomorrow.
5) Josh Duggar Weighs In
Before resigning from his post at the Family Research Council following revelations about child sexual abuse and, later, extramarital affairs, Josh Duggar was an outspoken opponent of nondiscrimination ordinances, which he said would harm women and children. Duggar told one FRC event that the HERO ordinance represents “injustice and evil” as it reveals an effort to “put us behind bars.”
4) ‘The Country’s Gone’
Televangelist Pat Robertson has also promoted baseless claims that Houstonians will no longer have religious freedom if HERO survives tomorrow’s referendum, railing against its supporters as “terrorists” and warning that nondiscrimination measures could bring about God’s wrath.
“If people are having all these sex changes, what do you do with them?” he asked. “You’ve got Bruce Jenner, he was the guy on the Wheaties box, and he gets ‘Woman of the Year’ after a sex change operation?”
A “700 Club” reporter then spoke with Houston pastor Ed Young, who said that if Christians do not defeat the ordinance, “we are gone in the 21st century.”
“We are being discriminated against, not the other way around,” he said.
Steven Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas added: “If Houston falls and Texas falls to the homosexual political movement on this issue, the country’s gone.”
3) HERO Activists Like ISIS
Another televangelist targeting the measure, Donnie Swaggart, said that Houstonians need to rise up before they find out that the Bible has been banned in the city.
“The war on the church and Christianity and our beliefs and the war on God, all of this is to shut the Bible up, they want the Bible gone,” he said. “These people that are trying to do this in Houston, the only difference between them and ISIS, those thugs in Iraq, is those here cannot chop our heads off. That’s the only difference. The heart is the same. The heart is the same. If they could silence us that way to intimidate others, that’s exactly what they would do.”
2) Don’t Vote For Satan
Colorado state legislator and televangelist Gordon Klingenschmitt believes that HERO will be defeated, in part because people will stand up to the transgender women who he says seek to “expose themselves to little girls” in restrooms and are possessed by “a demonic spirit.”
“Father, save the children from the perverts in Houston,” he prayed.
1) ‘Appalling’ That ‘We Have A Homosexual Mayor’
Rafael Cruz, Texas senator Ted Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate, has traveled around the country warning about the supposed dangers of the HERO ordinance, which he called “absolutely crazy.” His son’s own denouncement of the equal rights measure, he said, was proof that “the hand of God” is working in the anti-HERO campaign.
He also revealed that much of the Religious Right’s work is driven by contempt for Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian. “It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor,” he said.
One Houston pastor, Dave Welch, similarly declared that Mayor Parker is a sinister figure who is waging a spiritual war against Christians.
“We allowed a lesbian mayor to be elected because most of the churches were asleep and just didn’t care.” he said. “They didn’t understand the consequences of putting somebody in political power, with the authority of the sword, who has literally rejected every element of the created order of God and his word and his moral truths. Why would we expect somebody to act lawfully when they are living lawlessly?”
He claimed that the U.S. is turning into Sodom now that it has “enshrined sodomy into the United States Constitution” and cities like Houston are trying to “force women to go into men’s bathrooms and men to go into women’s bathrooms.”
“Now it’s a constitutional right for sodomites to marry each other,” he lamented, warning that “the wrath of God is revealed against this stuff.” He explained: “I don’t want the wrath of God to hit this country, it’s a great country, I’d like to see America continue strong, but this is one way of weakening it. First of all, we’re going to have this financial collapse. We’re setting up for a massive financial collapse and I think if God is going to hurt this country that’s probably the way he’d do it.”
On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program recently, Colorado Republican state Rep. Gordon Kilngenschmitt offered up a scientific test that can prove the existence of God once and for all.
Responding to a recent interview in which atheist Richard Dawkins said that he would change his mind about the existence of God as soon as someone shows him some evidence, Klingenschmitt eagerly took up the challenge.
"You want evidence of God?," he asked. "I can give you evidence of God. In fact, I'll show you God; all you've got to do is repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and invite him to come into your heart. Now this is a scientific method. I'm giving you step A: you repent; step B: you believe; step C: you invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart as Lord and Savior. Follow that scientific method and I guarantee you will see Jesus Christ."
Those who refuse to follow this "scientific method," Klingenschmitt explained, will never discover the proof of God's existence because they have have not "followed the method that works."
"You want evidence? I'll give you evidence," he said, "but you've got to do what Christ commands."
In a trip to Russia last week, U.S. Religious Right leader Franklin Graham praised President Vladimir Putin’s protection of “traditional Christianity,” including the passage of the 2013 “gay propaganda” law that effectively criminalizes pro-gay-rights speech and advocacy.
In an interview with the Moskoviskij Komsomolets newspaper, Graham criticized President Obama for supporting “policies that contradict the teachings of God” and repeated his praise of Putin for “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda,” adding that “homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children,” according to a transcript the newspaper provided of the interview:
I heard that you called Barack Obama ‘the leader of the antichrist movement.’ Is that true? What do you think about the current president of the United States?
I have met the president on several occasions. He’s a very nice person. But he supports and promotes policies that contradict the teachings of God. As a Christian I believe that abortion is murder, he supports it. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage — those are sins against God, and the president is promoting them. I’m not against homosexuals as people. But God commanded that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves. Again, homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children. I believe that President Obama (and I’ll repeat, he’s a very nice person) is leading America down the wrong road. He’s taking a stand against God.
Graham echoed the messaging of Putin, who as the Washington Post notes, “has anchored his political brand in religious nationalism, centered on the Russian Orthodox Church,” telling the paper that as Americans have been “losing many religious freedoms,” there have been “positive changes” in that area in Russia.
[T]he situation in the US regarding religion is in decline. Secularism, which is almost no different from communism, is an atheistic movement. Our country is becoming more and more secular, more atheist, taking God out of government, taking God out of schools. We are witnessing America losing many religious freedoms. In your country over the past 30 years, we have seen positive changes. But over this same period of time in the US, the changes have been negative.
In a meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was widely reported in the Russian news media, Graham reportedly told the Orthodox primate: “When I was a young man, we worried that the world would become atheist under the influence of communism, but while communism fell, atheism didn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately my own president promotes atheism … I spoke about this with President Obama, but he did not understand. Unfortunately he does not have a Christian worldview.”
According to another report, Graham told Patriarch Kirill, “Many churches in America have started to support homosexuality. This is terrible, it’s a sin and it’s against God.”
“I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity,” Graham reportedly said.
Graham took part in a forum on “religion and peace” with a number of religious leaders, and Graham and Patriarch Kirill announced their plans to organize an international conference on Christian persecution in the Middle East.