GOP Picks 'Voter Fraud' Conspiracy Theorist, 'Constitutional Sheriff' To Testify In Loretta Lynch Hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee has released a list of the witnesses who will testify at this week's hearings on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general, and two of them signal the GOP’s intention to tie Lynch to their criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder’s efforts to combat racial discrimination in voting rights and law enforcement.

Among them is Catherine Engelbrecht, a Tea Party activist who founded the group True the Vote to promote the myth of widespread voter fraud and who has clashed with Holder over his defense of voting rights, or what she calls his “radical, racialist assault on voters' rights across America.”

Also included is David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee county, who has become a Tea Party hero for his criticism of protests of racial inequality in the justice system following a series of police killings of unarmed black men.

Both have become prominent Tea Party figures by voicing the line that racial inequality no longer exists in the U.S. and that the Justice Department’s efforts to stop voter suppression laws and combat discrimination in the criminal justice system are themselves racist. The Right cast Holder as the primary villain in this narrative, and prominent Holder critics such as the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky are using some of the same arguments to attack Lynch.

Engelbrecht’s attitude toward voting rights protections was perhaps most clearly illustrated with her reaction to a bipartisan bill meant to restore the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court gutted it in 2013.

In an email to supporters, Engelbrecht claimed that the effort to restore the Voting Rights Act — one of the great achievements of the Civil Rights Movement — was in fact a “terrible race based bill” that would “exclude millions of Americans from full protection of the law — based solely on the color of their skin.” She fumed that restoring federal voting rights oversight to areas with a history of racial discrimination in election laws should be called the “Voting Rights Segregation Act.”

Engelbrecht has worked to drum up support for harsh voting restrictions that disproportionately affect racial minorities by hyping fears of widespread “voter fraud” and recruiting armies of volunteers to root out suspected fraud in their communities. These efforts haven’t exactly uncovered the evidence they’ve been looking for, although they have created hassles for legitimate voters targeted by True the Vote volunteers.

Sheriff Clarke, meanwhile, has been a leading conservative voice against protests against police brutality and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, and has expressed outrage that President Obama and Holder have expressed some support for the protests. Clarke, who is African American, went on Fox News in November to accuse the president of fueling “racial animosity between people” by supporting the protests and even suggested that Obama was encouraging protesters to riot “with a wink and a nod."

He also contended that Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “coconspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.”

Clarke has ties to the radical “constitutional sheriffs” movement who believe that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the land and have the power to defy federal laws and arrest federal officials for enforcing laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In 2013, Clarke accepted the “Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association after he had made headlines by running radio ads encouraging his constituents to arm themselves rather than rely on calling 911 in an emergency.

Other witnesses signal the intention of Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to focus on what they argue are constitutional oversteps by Holder. Engelbrecht claims that the IRS has targeted her since she started her political activism and fellow witness Sharyl Attkinson claims that Holder’s Justice Department hacked into her personal computer. (A computer security expert reviewing Attkinson’s evidence for Media Matters said it looked more like a malfunction caused by a frozen backspace key.)

GOP Rep.: Marijuana Reform Will Lead To Dystopian Future Of Meth Addiction, Government Dependency

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., brought his crusade against reforming marijuana laws to the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” yesterday, telling FRC President Tony Perkins that people who use pot will likely end up as meth addicts and become dependent on government assistance.

“Marijuana is a gateway drug, we have proven that scientifically,” Fleming said. “To think that today’s meth user was not yesterday’s marijuana user is actually just a flight of fantasy.”

He then warned that the government will begin arresting cigarette smokers while ignoring marijuana use: “Pretty soon you’ll see someone stopped on the street corner who is smoking and the policeman says, ‘I’m going to have to fine you or arrest you for smoking a cigarette,’ and they go, ‘no that’s marijuana,’ ‘oh that’s ok, it’s just marijuana.’ That’s really the direction we’re heading in.”

Fleming also disputed libertarian arguments in favor of reforming drug laws, arguing that liberalizing drug laws will make Americans less free and more reliant on government because people will be “disabled” as a result of marijuana use. 

They say, ‘you should be free to do whatever you want,’ well that’s fine but when society has to pick up the pieces and take care of you and your health and your family and support you through a very, very thick safety net system because you are now addicted or you have poor health and you can’t support yourself, then all you’re going to do is see a system, a society, if you will, that becomes more and more disabled and more and more supported by the government,” Fleming said. “How can you make a libertarian argument for that? But that is the future if we allow people to go irresponsibly into the future legalizing such dangerous substances, which inevitably are going to make their way into the homes and, when they do, children are going to be using them as well.”

David Lane Is Mobilizing 1,000 Pastors To Run For Office Because This Is 'Our Appointed Time Of God'

The night before Gov. Bobby Jindal's prayer rally, at which several speakers called upon right-wing Christians to get more involved in politics and take complete control over the government, Jindal and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma spoke at an event organized by secretive Religious Right activist David Lane, who is seeking to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for political office in 2016.

Inspired by the example set by his own pastor, Rob McCoy of Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California, who ran his own, ultimately unsuccessful, bid for state assembly, Lane realized that if he could get 1,000 pastors to run for office all across America, and each one of those campaigns could mobilize 300 volunteers, then right-wing Christians could finally take control of this nation through the electoral process.

And that was the rather creepy message that Lane delivered earlier this month in a video he posted on his American Renewal Project's Vimeo page.

"Nobody's confused that politicians are going to save America," Lane said. "But what they've done, in [1963] when they took the Bible and prayer from public schools, they removed the sword of the spirit. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. The principle part of knowledge is the fear of the Lord. They removed it. The transmission agent of wisdom - the Word - they removed from public school. Men and women of Issachar who know the times and know what to do have to engage the culture. This is where we are. This is our kairos: appointed time of God":

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/26/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 1/26/15

  • David Lane declares that "The Idol of Secularism Must be Toppled": "Secularism — the false idol instituted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 —- has finally bloomed, blossomed, and produced fruit, it's stench is nauseating."
  • Speaking of Lane, he recently reminded CBN's David Brody that he is not a pastor but rather a full-blown right-wing political activist who is working to get a thousand pastors elected to public office.
  • Scott Lively warns that America must not accept any Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage: "[S]ilence equals death to marriage, and by extension to Christian civilization."
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert is positive that the Obama administration is persecuting David Petraeus in order to keep him from providing "devastating testimony" on Benghazi to Congress.
  • Finally, Matt Barber explains, using logic, that "gay marriage is Satanic."

Louie Gohmert: God Will Punish America For Obama's Tense Relationship With Netanyahu

Rep. Louie Gohmert warned President Obama last week that his “disdain” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may cause God to punish America, insisting that the president “would have that same disdain for anyone who was a strong leader for the nation of Israel and especially if they didn’t bow down and worship at the altar of the White House.”

While speaking with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch,” Gohmert said that Obama should reverse his decision not to meet with Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister is in Washington, D.C., to give a controversial speech to Congress in the middle of his reelection campaign.

The Texas congressman said that since Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress “is important for eternity,” Obama’s decision not to meet with the Israeli leader might bring about the judgment of God: “There is judgment that will come for nations that attempt to divide the nation of Israel and this White House seems determined to do that.”

Last year, Gohmert delivered a similar warning about divine judgment.

Fischer: You'll Never 'Find A More Directly Demonic Energy Than When You Deal With The Homosexual Agenda'

As Peter noted in the analysis piece he wrote this morning about Gov. Bobby Jindal's recent prayer rally, "one of the biggest problems with treating politics as spiritual warfare is that you turn your political opponents into spiritual enemies. People who disagree with you on public policy issues are not just wrong, but evil, or even satanic."

As if to help prove this very point, Bryan Fischer said on his radio broadcast today that the people who were protesting Jindal's event were literally driven by demonic spirits.

Fischer — whose employer, the American Family Association, sponsored Jindal’s rally — took a call from a listener who attended the prayer rally and who asserted that "the Devil is mad [about Jindal's rally] and that's why he sent those protesters there" and Fischer, of course, agreed.

"I don't think you will ever find a more directly demonic energy than when you deal with the homosexual agenda," he said. "They're vicious. They are mean. You literally are staring into virtually the unvarnished energy of Satan himself when you come up against the forces that are pushing the homosexual agenda forward":

Frank Gaffney Claims Dearborn, Michigan, Is Now A 'Muslim-Only' No-Go Zone

Not only did anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney use his interview on “Washington Watch” last week to compare President Obama to Osama bin Laden, but he also claimed that Sharia law has popped up in the U.S.

According to Gaffney, Dearborn, Michigan — a regular target of debunked claims about Sharia law that Gaffney calls “Dearbornistan” — has become a “ghetto enclave in which it’s Muslim-only and others, if they are not effectively proscribed or prevented from going in, know that it is too dangerous to go.”

Perkins, for his part, has previously claimed that both Dearborn and parts of Minneapolis are Islamic no-go zones.

The two also railed against the criticism directed at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for declaring that no-go zones are sweeping across Europe — an allegation for which Jindal offered no evidence besides anecdotal stories he claimed to have heard from people he met — and stating that Muslim faith leaders who condemned terrorist attacks didn’t go far enough because they didn’t specifically say that the culprits are going to Hell.

Gaffney said the “clueless” people criticizing Jindal want to impose a “rhetorical equivalent of a no-go zone.”

Gaffney also said that criticizing Jindal’s remarks amounts to enforcing Sharia blasphemy laws, decrying the “people who are trying to silence him, effectively to try to put Sharia blasphemy restrictions on his speech and his political prospects.”

Frank Gaffney: Obama Sounds Just Like Osama Bin Laden

Last week on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins invited anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and birther Frank Gaffney to discuss the so-called “no-go zones” in Europe, neighborhoods that anti-Muslim activists claim are run according to Sharia law and remain off-limits to police and governmental authority.

Perkins asked Gaffney if President Obama is aiding terrorists because he won’t blame terrorist attacks on Islam, prompting Gaffney to say that Obama is a Sharia law proponent who sounds just like Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the leaders of Boko Haram.

“When the president says at the United Nations, ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,’ we could’ve found those words coming out of the mouths of Osama bin Laden, or Mullah Omar of the Taliban, or the leaders of Boko Haram or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of Islamic State,” Gaffney said. “This is the doctrine of Sharia and its blasphemy codes. So it not only gives people latitude to say, ‘The president is saying we mustn’t exercise our freedom of speech or maybe we should give it up altogether lest it offend these folks.’ It is also, and this is really in a way much worse, emboldening our enemies, who when they see this behavior, they think we’re submitting to them.”

Gaffney, of course, is leaving out the fact Obama’s 2012 UN speech was all about the importance of the freedom of speech and opposition to blasphemy laws:

Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day and I will always defend their right to do so.

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.

We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech -- the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

Gaffney also conveniently left out the sentence immediately following the president’s remark on “those who slander the prophet of Islam”: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”

Glenn Beck Is Taking His Family To See Europe This Summer ... Before It Is All Destroyed

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck announced that he and his co-host Pat Gray will be taking their families on vacation to Europe this summer so that their kids can see England, France, Germany and Greece before they are all destroyed when the world goes up in flames in the coming years.

"Pat and I truly believe that we are in the 1930s," Beck explained. "I don't know where, but we're in the 1930s — maybe its '39, maybe it's '35, I don't know, but history is repeating itself."

Beck went on to say that if people did not travel to Europe before World War II broke out, they were most likely unable to travel there again until the 1950s, by which point many great landmarks had been destroyed by the war and everything was in the process of being rebuilt.

"Because of what is happening, I believe London, France, Germany, Greece; I believe these things could be destroyed in what is coming," he warned, saying that he wants his family to see places like Notre Dame Cathedral before Islamic radicals blow it up and France is no longer a free nation:

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