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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Citizens United & Breitbart Debut New 'Christian War Film' At RNC

Right-wing moviemaking has been a growth industry in recent years, as conservative activists set out to challenge what they see as the damaging cultural impact of liberalism’s dominance in Hollywood. The latest example is “Torchbearer,” which director Steve Bannon called “a Christian war film” in remarks before a screening in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention last week.

“Torchbearer” stars Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch who became a folk hero in the right-wing war on “political correctness” when the show was temporarily suspended by A&E amid controversy over Robertson's inflammatory remarks about homosexuality and black people in the pre-civil-rights-movement Louisiana. The movie was shown to distributors in Cannes and will be released in theaters in August.

The hour-long film is a collaboration between well-known right-wing groups. Bannon is executive chairman of Breitbart News; the script was written by a Breitbart editor, Rebecca Mansour. It was produced by Citizens United, the organization whose movie attacking Hillary Clinton was used by conservatives on the Supreme Court to gut regulation of political money in Citizens United the court ruling. Religious Right political operative Ralph Reed attended the premiere, and at a reception following the screening, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., took the opportunity to slam Clinton and praise the work of Citizens United.

The idea for “Torchbearer” came from Robertson’s nephew Zach Dasher, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014. The plan began to gel during conversations at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, at which Robertson was honored with the Andrew Breitbart Award. The film includes a clip from Robertson’s CPAC speech warning about sexually transmitted diseases.

Dasher introduced other pre-movie speakers, calling Citizens United’s David Bossie “Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare” and celebrating that “Breitbart is waging war on liberalism in America.” Bossie said “Torchbearer” is the sixth collaboration between Citizens United and Bannon.

Dasher said he didn’t want to make a “typical cheesy Christian film.” Judging by that standard, you would have to say the movie succeeds. But it is hard to imagine anyone, even people who share Robertson’s evangelical faith and political beliefs, could enjoy the film very far beyond the opening sequences, which intersperse shots of Robertson calmly boating, fishing and hunting with sneering critics calling him bigoted and stupid, clearly meant to set up the narrator as a common-man hero despised by the cultural elites.

The film combines Robertson presenting an evangelical message of salvation through Jesus Christ with a theory about religion’s role in human history and society. Says Robertson, “When you take out God as the anchor of your civilization you open the door to tyranny and instead of human rights you have the will to power of the ruler who makes himself the sole determiner of what is true and just. Might makes right.”

More specifically, it is a warning to Americans that societies not grounded in reverence and fear for the Judeo-Christian God, and His teachings on right and wrong, inevitably descend into depravity and brutality.

Robertson says the Scopes trial on the teaching of evolution, during which H.L. Mencken mocked religious opponents of teaching evolution in schools, was “a watershed event that would slowly unravel the bond that wove the Creator into the very fabric of American life. God would be cast out of the public square, out of education, out of national discourse, out of the popular culture altogether.”

It is hard to describe how disturbing this movie is, on multiple levels.

Firstly, it visually and emotionally assaults the viewer by lingering on gruesome images of violence and death, using reenactments and animation as well as the most graphic historical footage from Auschwitz and more recent images of victims of ISIS and Boko Haram being beaten, shot and burned to death. I would call the movie’s infliction of trauma gratuitous, but it seems a very purposeful act meant to provoke and inflame and generate a rage to war.

Also jarring are the vast leaps through time and the excising of inconvenient truths that would undermine the moviemakers’ message, which seems to be that the history of the last 2015 years is a story of barbarity inflicted on Christians and others by those who have abandoned God or worship the wrong God or gods.

The movie’s timeline starts in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve inviting evil into the world with their disobedience of God. Then we’re in Athens to talk about Aristotle’s belief in a “first cause” and four centuries later the apostle Paul’s trip there; then to Rome for the execution of Peter and Paul, the emperor Nero’s brutal massacres of Christians, and the Roman empire’s continued persecution of Christians over their refusal to adhere to the “civic religion” (dog-whistle alert) of the time, which required treating the emperor as a god.

From there, we hop to the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, conveniently skipping over a millennium-plus of history that includes abundant butchery carried out by people and societies fervent in their religious beliefs, particularly European Christians in wars against heretics and each other and during the conquest of the Americas.

Then it’s a short hop to the American Revolution. Robertson contrasts the American founders’ reverence for God with the atheistic French Revolution and Robespierre’s bloody reign of terror. The movie does not address the American Civil War, in which God-fearing Christians on both sides engaged in bloody combat.

At the turn of the 20th century, Robertson says, “worship of science becomes the new religion.” The film includes a segment on the development of the atomic bomb, “the first weapon of mass destruction.” It features a clip of nuclear scientist Robert Oppenheimer reciting language from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Robertson responds, “So fallen man, unanchored by God, uses the power of creation to destroy. Mechanized war is upon us.”

It is not entirely clear how this segment fits the movie’s thesis that without the Judeo-Christian God as an anchor, there is no protection for human rights and human dignity. Are the filmmakers suggesting that Franklin Delano Roosevelt — whose public prayers for the D-Day invasion are cited admiringly in the film — was “unanchored by God” and was wrong to back development of the atomic bomb in fierce competition with Nazi scientists?

Speaking of Nazis, the movie devotes significant time to Auschwitz, where Robertson talks at length about the details of the horrific, systematized mass murder that took place there, which he blames in part on philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s claim that God is dead.

To be sure, the Holocaust is a brutal historical reality that should continue to be examined and understood as a warning about the way evil can be fostered and carried out at a national level, something that has been on many people’s minds during this political season. But this movie’s use of the stories and images of the people murdered at Auschwitz feels shamefully exploitative, especially in light of the fact that the film contains not a word about the long history of Christian anti-Semitism. Acknowledging centuries of deadly violence against Jews by Christians and in the name of Christianity would, again, undermine or at least complicate the movie’s central claim, and so it is simply ignored.

The same could be said of the film’s use of the civil rights era in the United States. The movie shows footage of the brutality meted out against those who were peacefully protesting segregation, but portrays this as another example of what happens when societies have rejected God and the weak and powerless are vulnerable to the man “with the biggest stick.”

But the big-stick brutality of Jim Crow and the official violence that enforced it were not being waged by a people who had rejected God. They were carried out by people who declared themselves to be acting in His name. Robertson himself has said that black people were more “godly” and “happy” under Jim Crow.

The movie quotes Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail as an example of religious faith in the service of public righteousness. But it utterly neglects how much slavery and Jim Crow were also justified by religious arguments, and how intensely the civil rights movement was seen by many white Christian leaders in the south as an attack on their faith as well as their culture. The late Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., whose son had a prominent speaking role at the RNC, preached that the Supreme Court justices who ruled against segregated schools were not heeding God’s word.

Moving to the present era, Robertson warns against poll-driven morality – a not-too-subtle reference to growing support for LGBT people – and says a “sentimental need to be nice to each other” is not enough to ward off barbarism. Warning that “sentimentalism falls prey to nihilism,” Robertson says of the Hippies, “what started out as free love and flowers in your hair ended up with the Manson murders.” The movie includes footage of abortion activists’ anti-Planned Parenthood “sting” videos as well as American pop stars in sensual performances. “We are crotch-driven animals following our instincts,” he complains. “The sexual experience is now the high summit of our happiness.”

As the movie nears an end, viewers are subjected to graphic images of brutality and genocide being carried out by ISIS and affiliated terrorist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria; Robertson reads from the biblical Book of Revelation.

And then there’s an abrupt shift back into the bayou made famous by Robertson and his family. Robertson wades into the water, where one at a time, people walk out to join him and be baptized. It is strikingly peaceful end to a “war movie.” Even if one is not tempted to join the line of people being baptized by Robertson, the idea of a soothing dip is very appealing after being subjected to “Torchbearer.”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Rick Santorum: Vote Trump To Avoid A Progressive Supreme Court

On “The Eric Metaxas Show” yesterday, Rick Santorum urged listeners to vote for Donald Trump to avoid Hillary Clinton’s nomination of progressive Supreme Court justices who he said would ignore the Constitution. 

“I sat at [Antonin Scalia’s] funeral and it just hit me as a wave that the next president of the United States is going to have the chance to replace him and probably two other justices, if it’s a Hillary Clinton, two other justices, and put three more progressives,” Santorum said. “When I say two other justices, I mean Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, both of whom are old and will retire during the Clinton administration, if she’s elected.”

Regarding Trump’s recent tweet in which he claimed Ginsburg’s “mind is shot,” Santorum said: “He breaks the rules and he gets away with it and that’s great. That’s one of the reasons conservatives love him, because he’s able to break the rules, say things that conservatives can’t get away with that are true, and gets away with it.”

“With the two 50-year-old progressives on the court, Sotomayor and Kagan, plus three that Clinton will add, that’ll be five 50-year-olds who will be on the court for 25 to 30 years, and they will all subscribe to this theory of judicial practice which is, the Constitution is whatever we say it is,” Santorum continued.

Santorum also argued that within a few years, the progressive justices would “just reference their old opinions and say, ‘Well, what we really meant here was this,’ and not even tether it to the Constitution anymore. So if you believe that America is better off governed by five elites who are detached from any kind of control by anybody, then vote for Hillary Clinton.”

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

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

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

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

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

Jerry Falwell Had A Dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump And The Appeal To White Voters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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