Ted Cruz

Compassionate Conservative Ted Cruz Hands Out Teddy Bears At The Border, Then Moves On To Deporting Dreamers

Sen. Ted Cruz announced last week that his new “top priority” in Washington is to end President Obama’s deferred action program for DREAMers and start deporting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

But to show that he is approaching his new top priority in a compassionate way, Cruz made a stop at the border this weekend to help Glenn Beck hand out his truckload of teddy bears and soccer balls to children who have come to the southern border fleeing violence in Central America.

Cruz and some of his fellow Republicans are doing their best to pin the influx of Central American children on Obama's deferred action for DREAMers — although the evidence shows that that is not the case — and to thereby frame deporting DREAMers as the solution to the child refugee crisis.

Cruz told Beck’s The Blaze network that “our country has always been a country of compassion, of humanity,” but “as long as that promise of amnesty is there, more and more children will come.”

“In my view, it is altogether appropriate that private charities and private churches are showing Christian love, are caring for these children,” he said. “But at the same time we need to eliminate the promise of amnesty.”

 

 

 

Personhood Supporter Ted Cruz Shocked Anyone Thinks GOP Wants To Curtail Contraception Access

On Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz denounced Democratic legislation to ensure that employees receive contraception access in their health insurance plans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, accusing Democrats of fooling voters through “misdirection.”

Cruz told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that the GOP-blocked Senate bill to prevent employers from refusing to cover contraception was simply a way to “distract people” from President Obama’s purported litany of scandals.

“They tried to convince Americans, and sadly they succeeded in convincing a number of Americans, that were somehow some people in the political sphere out to stop people from using contraceptives,” Cruz said. “I have literally never met anybody who wants to prohibit Americans from using contraceptives if they so desire. The allegation that there is somehow any effort at all to restrict access to contraceptives is looney, in the U.S. Senate the number of Senators advocating doing that is zero, they never have.”

While Cruz seems to miss the link between Hobby Lobby and access to contraception, he also doesn’t seem to understand a bill that he pledged to support: the Life at Conception Act. Like other personhood bills, the Life at Conception Act would outlaw some forms of birth control, along with abortion in all cases.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists points out that “some of the most effective and reliable forms of contraception, such as oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and other forms of FDA-approved hormonal contraceptives could be banned” under personhood bills.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/11/14

  • Televangelist James Robison says “the border crisis again exemplifies the consequences of rejecting God and His Word,” warning readers that “you are about to witness ALL HELL BREAK OUT!”
  • According to Steve Deace, “the statist/Marxist Left has openly declared war on God.”
  • OneNewsNow asks readers: “What aspect of the Hobby Lobby decision has most angered the far left?”

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/24/14

  • Dylan Scott @ TPM: Grassley’s Hunt For An Obama Insider Trading Scandal Backfires On GOP.
  • David Weigel @ Slate: How Will Poll-Watchers in Mississippi Spot the Black Democrats Voting in the GOP Primary?

Fox News' Monica Crowley: Left At War With America

Monica Crowley of Fox News served as the emcee for a “legislative luncheon” that kicked off the “Road to Majority” conference sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The speakers’ lineup – Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Allen West, and John Bolton – promised a butcher shop’s worth of red meat for right-wing activists, and Crowley must have decided she didn’t want to be overshadowed.

She complained that she has both a Marxist president and mayor (New York’s Bill de Blasio) and asserted that “we are in a war…the left is waging a 24/7 war against this country.” She said the fight is not only against leftism and statism, but against “the ideology of control.” Health care reform was not about health care, but about government power and control. “Every day of this presidency has been an impeachable offense – every day.”

Crowley could be unintentionally funny, as when she railed, without any apparent sense of irony, that the left relies on divisiveness and “manufactured” crises, then a few moments later ticked off a set of the right wing’s favorite manufactured crises.  Or when she complained that the mainstream media is too partisan, saying that the Obama administration has gotten away with ravaging the Constitution because of “the protection racket of a corrupt and supine press.” Or when she called people like Ralph Reed and Ted Cruz “truth tellers.”

She managed to hit on just about every current right-wing meme, from Benghazi to the IRS, from illegal immigration to “the removal of God from public life.” The Obama administration, she says, is engaged in “the deliberate takedown of America.”

In introducing the “brilliant” and “beautiful” Crowley, Ralph Reed noted that she has recently been named online opinion editor for the Washington Times, a major sponsor of the anti-marriage-equality rally that the National Organization for Marriage was holding at that very moment in front of the US Capitol.

Ted Cruz And Rick Santorum To Join Iowa Pastor Who Predicted Marriage Equality Would Increase The Murder Rate, Destroy America

Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are slated to appear at a September “American Heritage Summit” in Washington, D.C., hosted by a right-wing Iowa pastor Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach.

Along with Gordon and the pair of likely presidential candidates, the guests include conservative pseudo-historian David Barton, Iowa-based talk show host Steve Deace and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.

Gordon became heavily involved in politics during the 2010 campaign to remove Iowa Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality, and he endorsed Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign, helping the former Pennsylvania senator to win the Iowa caucuses.

At an anti-gay marriage rally in 2011, Gordon described marriage equality as a demonic attempt that would bring about America’s destruction, warning that Iowans must “protect the virtue of true Americanism from our own mental barbarians who attack our minds with the God-hating secularism of Europe” or risk being “extinguished from the earth.”

Gordon even predicted that gay marriage would increase the murder rate: “The natural problem that causes is an overt immorality. The crime rates go up, people suffer, people are stealing and murdering and [doing] all the things morality tells you not to do.”

The pastor, insisting that it is a “glaringly obvious fact that being ‘gay’ is a behavior, and has nothing to do with civil rights,” charged in a 2010 blog post that the same-sex marriage ruling put Iowa on the road to Nazism: “True pastors, in the fashion of Christ, will not and cannot bow before the arrogance of Caesar and Herod. We have learned from our past mistakes. We will not repeat the mistake made by Lutheran pastors when confronted with German fascism.”

“[T]o the intelligent religious man, homosexuality will always be un-natural for a myriad of obvious reasons one shouldn’t have to explain,” Gordon wrote. “To the intelligent evolutionist, it will NEVER agree with the doctrine of ‘survival of the fittest.’”

Gordon’s church also released a video asserting that same-sex marriage would legalize incest, pedophilia and bestiality.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/6/14

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/6/14

  • The Texas Eagle Forum had quite the line-up for its "Patriotic Banquet at the 2014 GOP Convention" with Ted Cruz, David Barton, and Tom DeLay all speaking.
  • Listening to anti-gay activists continually insist that "it was through a terrible misuse of the Bible that the African slave trade was sanctioned" is getting really tiresome.
  • Matt Walsh is outraged by "transgendered toddlers," saying it's "A tragedy. A tragedy of nonsense. Horrible, abusive, pathetic, sad, bizarre, tragic nonsense."
  • Watching the Religious Right frame efforts to control the amount of money in politics as a repeal of the Bill of Rights is fascinating.
  • Finally, a flag that flew upon one of the ships during D-Day sold at auction yesterday for $350,000 ... to Glenn Beck.

The 10 Most Absurd Arguments Against The Udall Citizens United Amendment

While good-government groups have been calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s dismantling of campaign finance laws since the day the Court handed down Citizens United in 2010, the issue has been largely off the radar of conservative activists – and has actually enjoyed broad bipartisan support in an array of polls and in state and municipal ballot measures.

It was largely off their radar, that is, until this week. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a proposal by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., to send a constitutional amendment to the states restoring to Congress and state governments the ability to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections. In response, Republican politicians and conservative activists have kicked into gear and are starting to try out new talking points to get their movement to oppose efforts to lessen the influence of big money in politics.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, launched the misleading campaign two weeks ago when he warned a group of pastors that the Udall proposal would “repeal the First Amendment” and allow Congress to “muzzle” the free speech of clergy. In advance of the hearing today, conservative groups including the Family Research Council, Eagle Forum, Tea Party Patriots and the Home School Legal Defense Association started to mobilize against the amendment. Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation held a panel discussion to test out arguments against the amendment, featuring Bobby Burchfield, the attorney who argued the McCutcheon case before the Supreme Court, controversial former FEC chairman Don McGahn, and infamous voter-fraud conspiracy theorist Hans van Spakovsky .

Here, we’ve collected some of the most deceptive arguments that have been launched so far against the Udall amendment.

1. Democrats want to repeal the First Amendment!

When we first heard Ted Cruz  tell a stunned group of pastors that Democrats in the Senate were planning to “repeal the First Amendment,” we knew that we would be hearing that line again and again.

And we were right. Tea Party Patriots adopted the line in mobilizing its activists, as did the Eagle Forum. The Family Research Council claimed the Udall amendment would “strip political speech out of the First Amendment,” and von Spakovsky told the Heritage panel that the amendment would “roll back” the Bill of Rights.

Burchfield and McGahn both argued that the introduction of the constitutional amendment means, in the words of McGahn, that campaign finance law advocates are “admitting” that campaign finance regulations are “unconstitutional.”

On the surface, this is the opposition’s strongest argument, because it sounds so scary. But it’s just not true. Whether you support the Udall amendment or not, it’s dishonest to suggest that it would amount to a “repeal of the First Amendment.” Instead, proponents argue that it strengthens the First Amendment by undoing the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence declaring that spending on elections, including from corporate treasuries, cannot be limited. Proponents of the Udall amendment hold that this jurisprudence, including recent decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, represented a radical reinterpretation of the First Amendment; undoing them would simply re-establish the ability of Congress and the states to set reasonable regulations on the raising and spending of money to influence elections.

2. Amendment supporters want to ‘silence critics’ and ‘cling to power’!

The Heritage panelists repeatedly claimed that the Udall amendment is an attempt to protect incumbency by preventing challengers from raising enough money to win elections. McGahn insisted that it was an effort by Democratic incumbents “desperately clinging to power.”

“They want to change the rules of the game and prevent people from criticizing them, not unlike England did before our revolution, and which led to our revolution,” he added.

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios also invoked the American Revolution in an interview with von Spakovsky yesterday, saying, “The First Amendment, the rights to free speech – particularly the right to political speech – were the right to criticize the king, criticize the authorities over you.”

In a later interview with Rios, Tea Party Patriots spokesman Scott Hogenson even managed to connect the Udall amendment with immigration reform, claiming that both are part of a “larger, concerted effort to maintain the Democratic Party’s control of American politics and eventually move to one-party rule.”

In reality, it’s unlimited campaign spending that tends to be a boon for incumbents, who on average are able to raise far more than challengers. For instance, in Texas, a state with few campaign finance limits, incumbents who win on average raise more than twelve times the average amount raised by challengers. By contrast, in Colorado, which has relatively low individual contribution limits, incumbents on average raise less than three times what challengers are able to raise [pdf].

3. Liberals just want to protect the lame-stream media!

In his speech to the pastors' group, Ted Cruz seized on the Udall proposal’s stipulation that “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press” to claim that the amendment carved out an exemption to protect the New York Times.

Von Spakovsky also played up conservative conspiracy theories about the “liberal media,” telling Rios, “No surprise, there’s a glaring exception in this proposed amendment for the press. And that means that MSNBC or the New York Times Company, which are big corporations, they could spend as much newsprint or airtime as they wanted going after and criticizing candidates or talking about political issues.”

These arguments fail to recognize one key distinction, which is that there is a difference between the New York Times publishing an editorial (which would be protected under the proposed amendment, as it is now) and the corporate managers of the New York Times taking $50 million out of their corporate treasury to buy ads to influence an election (which would not be protected).

4. They’ll go after pastors!

Opponents of the constitutional amendment have also been trying to tie the proposal to the right-wing paranoia about the impending persecution of America’s Christian majority .

It’s no coincidence that Cruz rolled out his criticism of the Udall proposal at a pastors’ event organized by the Family Research Council, a main theme of which was the supposed assault on the religious liberty of Christians in America. Cruz told the pastors that the Udall measure would “muzzle” clergy and was being proposed because “they don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”

Likewise, McGahn said at the Heritage event that the amendment would endanger the religious liberty of clergy: “What about pastors and churches? This is an issue that comes up once in a while. Can the government get in there and tell a priest he can’t talk to his congregation because it may somehow have something to do with politics?”

This might be true if the proposal would, in fact, “repeal the First Amendment.” In fact, the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty would remain in place.

Of course, that didn’t stop the FRC’s Tony Perkins from somehow linking the Udall amendment to the imprisonment of a Christian woman in Sudan:

5. It’s like the Alien & Sedition Acts!

Along with comparisons to British control before the American Revolution, amendment opponents are trying to link the Udall proposal to the 18th century Alien & Sedition Acts.

In his interview with Rios yesterday, van Spakovsky claimed that “the last time Congress tried to do something like this was when they passed the Alien & Sedition Act in 1798 that criminalized criticism of the government.” Multiple GOP senators at today’s hearing, including Judiciary Committeee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, repeated the talking point.

Of course, the amendment does nothing to reduce the right of individuals to criticize the government or politicians.

6. The polls are skewed!

When an audience member at yesterday’s Heritage Foundation panel asked about polls showing overwhelming opposition to the Citizens United decision, McGahn replied that the questions in the polls were “skewed.”

You can judge for yourself whether this question from a recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll  – which found 80 percent opposition to the Citizens United decision  – is “skewed” on behalf of campaign finance law proponents:

(image via Buzzfeed)

7. What about disclosure?

In one of the least self-aware moments we’ve witnessed in the last few days, McGahn told the Heritage audience that campaign finance reform proponents could have just worked for tougher disclosure requirements, which the Supreme Court’s majority has consistently endorsed as a way to prevent corruption:

What’s interesting is the courts have upheld some disclosure of independent speech, which six months ago was supposed to be the answer, a year ago was supposed to be the answer – remember the DISCLOSE Act, Part 1 and Part 2? Well, that was supposed to cure all the ills in our democracy, but unfortunately I guess they’ve given up on that and they’ve moved to the more radical change, which is the constitutional amendment.

Of course, the DISCLOSE Act – which would have exposed the source of some of the “dark money” behind large campaign expenditures – was blocked by Senate Republicans. And McGahn, when he was at the FEC, fought hard against disclosure requirements proposed in the wake of the Citizens United decision, even though the decision explicitly sanctioned such requirements.

8. The poor don’t participate anyway!

Speaking to the Heritage audience, Burchfield  presented the curious argument that the Udall amendment would demand to "equalize debate among the haves and have-nots,” and since “the portion is small” of “those with limited means” who participate in electoral debates, this would require “severe restrictions.”

The rich do not advocate a single viewpoint. Think of Sheldon Adelson and George Soros, they don’t agree on anything. There are strong voices on the left and on the right, not just in privately funded campaign advertisements, but also in the broadcast and print media. Only a small portion of those with significant resources even bother to participate in the debate. And among those with limited means, the portion is small indeed. In order to equalize debate among the haves and the have-nots, severe restrictions would be necessary. The quantity and quality of discourse would certainly suffer.

The amendment under consideration doesn’t require that everybody be heard an equal amount; instead, it gives Congress and the states the ability to create a more even platform for those who wish to be heard, regardless of their financial means.  

Burchfield's reasoning echoes the arguments of voter-suppression proponents who claim that their laws only inconvenience people who don’t really care about voting anyway.

9. It’s voter suppression!

Although many of the advocates of unlimited, undisclosed money in politics are the same people pushing harmful voter suppression laws, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas yesterday insisted that it’s actually amendment proponents who are advocating “voter suppression” and want to “silence” critics.

10. Blame Saul Alinsky!

Inevitably, anti-amendment activists have begun invoking the right-wing bogey-man Saul Alinsky.

Hogenson told Rios that the Udall amendment is “just taken right out of Saul Alinksy’s book, ‘Rules for Radicals,’ it just makes up a gigantic lie and perpetuates it, that somehow democracy needs to be restored.”

Von Spakovsky also invoked Alinsky in his interview with Rios, claiming that criticism of the enormous political spending of the Koch brothers is an Alinskyite plot: “What’s really going on here is, look, if you look at Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals,’ one of the rules that he sets out is you pick a villain and you basically blame those villains for all of the problems. It’s a way of distracting the public, it’s a way of diverting attention, and that’s exactly what Harry Reid and the Democrats are doing here.”

Paranoia-Rama: End Of The First Amendment, Liberals Promoting Child Rape, Gay Marriage To Blame For Shooting

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

As the Radical Right continues its never-ending quest to stoop to new lows, this week conservative activists and Republican politicians claimed that progressives are sanctioning rape, planning to scrap the First Amendment and causing mass shootings by supporting marriage equality.

5) First Amendment About To Be Repealed

It seems that Ted Cruz isn’t even trying to pretend that he is anything more than a shameless con artist. The Texas senator told a summit of Religious Right pastors this week that “Senate Democrats are going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment” as part of their plan to “muzzle” pastors who “speak the truth.”

Cruz’s audience gasped in surprise at this bombshell announcement. It seems they hadn’t heard of this diabolical plan before – perhaps because it doesn’t exist.

It turns out that Cruz was referring to a proposed constitutional amendment that would overturn the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and related decisions such as this year’s McCutcheon ruling. The amendment seeks to restore to Congress and state legislatures the authority to reduce the role of unchecked and often undisclosed campaign donations from corporations and wealthy individuals.

But Cruz blatantly misrepresented these efforts to claim that Senate leaders are “repealing the First Amendment” because they want to quash the church and “don’t like it when the citizenry in their community has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done.”

4) Immigration Reform All About Hating America

Rush Limbaugh has a new theory that he hopes will incite conservative opposition to immigration reform: Democrats support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants because they hate America, hope to demonize the country and “undermine, sabotage if you will, elements of this nation’s founding.”

3. Liberals Want To Rape Your Kids

“Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt has a history of sending out insanely anti-LGBT screeds to members of his Religious Right group, Pray In Jesus Name, and this week no was no different.

Klingenschmitt, a Republican candidate for the Colorado House, warned members that liberals want to “rape” children by defending the rights of LGBT students: “‘Transgenders’ want your children. Liberals demand public access to rape your girls, at least visually in public bathrooms, or to expose themselves to your girls at school, without parental consent or protection of any kind.”

This latest rant should come as no surprise, as Klingenschmitt once accused a same-sex couple of looking at their infant with “lust” and speculated that gay people have “something unhman inside of them.”

2. Houston Promoting Violence Against Women

Despite the attempts of anti-LGBT activists  to derail an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston, the city council approved the measure this week in an 11-6 vote.

Opponents of the nondiscrimination measure waged a nasty campaign linking the ordinance to Satanchild abuseassault and rape.

As always, conservatives pushed false claims about purported negative effects of nondiscrimination laws on religious freedom, with Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values warning that “these laws will be used as a weapon to actually run over people’s religious liberty rights” and Mike Huckabee suggesting that “this ordinance will take away your rights to live what you believe.”

1. Isla Vista Shooting: Blame Gay Marriage

It was only a matter of time until right-wing pundits blamed women’s rights advocates for the Isla Vista shooting spree by Elliot Rodger, who said he was driven by his hatred of women.

Media Matters points out that Fox News contributor Erick Erickson connected Rodger’s actions to the purported “war on masculinity” and gender equality, while another network commentator accused women tweeting under the #YesAllWomen hashtag of “man-hating.”

Glenn Beck similarly mocked women posting under #YesAllWomen for “man-bashing.”

But the Right also returned to one of their favorite targets: gay people.

Another Fox News guest, Dr. Robi Ludwig, alleged that Rodger was motivated by repressed “homosexual impulses.”

She wasn’t the only one to link the shooting to homosexuality: Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council connected Rodger’s massacre to gay marriage. Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state and GOP gubernatorial candidate, also serves on the board of the National Rifle Association.

Ted Cruz Claims Citizens United Repeal Would 'Muzzle' Pastors

When Sen. Ted Cruz told the conservative pastors gathered at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference yesterday that “the Senate Democrats are going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment,” he was met with an audible gasp. He earned more gasps when he warned that this amendment would suppress the political speech rights of the “citizenry” and “muzzle” pastors in their pulpits.

We were surprised too. That would be news!

But then it became clear what he was talking about: Senate leadership is planning to hold a vote on a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and rulings in related campaign finance cases such as this year’s McCutcheon case, which have steadily eliminated the limits on election spending by corporations and wealthy individuals.

The amendment, written by Sen. Tom Udall, would give the federal government and states the “power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents” in elections, as it was allowed to do before the Supreme Court started dismantling campaign finance regulations.

In other words, the amendment would allow Congress and state governments to set limits on the amount that corporations and wealthy individuals can spend to support and oppose candidates. So, unless a pastor also runs a super PAC, it would not affect his life all that much, much less “muzzle” him. But Cruz, employing the Religious Right’s persecution rhetoric, claims that “41 Democrats have signed on to repealing the First Amendment” because “they don’t like it when the citizenry in their community has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done” and “they don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”

GOP's Bad Bet: Right-Wing Lionization Of Cliven Bundy Backfires In Wake Of Racist Outburst

Cliven Bundy, the lawless Nevada rancher whom conservatives touted as a champion of freedom akin to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., said at a press conference attended by the New York Times yesterday that slavery helped the “Negro” people feel free by learning “how to pick cotton” and stop going to jail, collecting welfare and having abortions.

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Likely Republican presidential candidates including Rand Paul and Ted Cruz hailed Bundy’s cause and Nevada Republicans, including Senator Dean Heller, rallied around Bundy and allied militia groups. Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate and former congressman Tom Tancredo said Bundy was defending the “rule of law” against the “anarchist” President Obama even while the rancher was in defiance of several court orders.

As it is often the case, Fox News took the lead in creating the new GOP rock star by fetishizing the Bundy armed standoff as a triumph of ordinary patriots who, in the mode of the Founding Fathers, stood up to evil Big Government…seeming to forget the Founders also played a role in quashing Shay’s Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion. Fox commentators like Sean Hannity and Todd Starnes touted Bundy even as the rancher’s group was making violent threats against the government.

Fox also took the lead in hailing Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson after he claimed that black people were well treated and “happy” during the Jim Crow era and that problems in the black community are only a result of government welfare.

Gun groups, Tea Partyers, Religious Right activists, and the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity all joined Fox News in lauding Bundy as a hero who stood up to Obama.

No one should be surprised that a violent, militia-aligned, anti-government extremist turned out to be a racist nostalgic for slavery, and neither should anyone be surprised that Republicans jumped on his cause.

During the Iowa caucus campaign, two Republican presidential candidates signed a Religious Right group’s declaration which said the black family was stronger under slavery, and attacking government programs as slavery has become a common right-wing talking point.

Now that Republicans and Fox News commentators may move to distance themselves from Bundy, it will serve as a reminder for the next time the GOP decides to get in bed with an anti-Obama extremist for freedom’s sake.

Ted Cruz: Bundy Ranch Standoff 'Tragic Culmination' Of Obama's 'Jackboot of Authoritarianism'

In an interview with Texas radio host Chad Hasty yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz said that the armed standoff between anti-government militias and the Bureau of Land Management at a Nevada ranch is the “unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government upon.”

Rancher Cliven Bundy failed to pay federal grazing fees for over 20 years because he refused to recognize federal authority over the land he was using. When the Bureau of Land Management started to remove Bundy’s cattle from federal land, militia members gathered at his ranch and staged an armed standoff with federal officials, which Bundy threatened could turn into a “range war” or another Waco. The agency eventually backed down in order to prevent violence, but militia members havestayed at the ranch and the event has emboldened the anti-government militia movement.

When Hasty asked Cruz about the Bundy standoff, the senator conceded that “the details of the Bundy matter may be complicated,” but insisted “the reason this issue is resonating…is that for five years, we have seen our liberty under assault. We have seen our liberty under assault from a federal government that seems hell-bent on expanding its authority over every aspect of our lives.”

“It is in that context that people are viewing this battle with the federal government,” he said. “We should have a federal government protecting the liberty of the citizens, not using the jackboot of authoritarianism to come against the citizens. And I think this is the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government upon.”

Cruz: Obama Provoked 'Constitutional Crisis' With Marriage Equality, Immigration, Drug Sentencing Moves

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas joined Frank Gaffney yesterday to discuss Cruz’s bill aimed at stopping Iran’s new United Nations ambassador, who had been involved in the Iranian hostage crisis, from entering the United States. The bill was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President Obama, who had already refused to grant a visa to the Iranian official, but that didn’t keep Gaffney and Cruz from using the issue to criticize the president.

Like President George H.W. Bush had done with a similar bill, the president noted in a signing statement that the bill might not pass constitutional muster because only the president — not Congress — has constitutional authority to receive ambassadors, so he would have to take the bill as “advisory.”

This led Cruz to berate the president for his refusal to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in the courts (both Republican and Democratic administrations have refused to defend laws they believe to be unconstitutional), his executive orderdeferring deportations of some DREAMers, his widely misrepresented decision to grant the request of Republican governors to modify welfare-to-work requirements, and the attorney general’s move to broaden clemency opportunities for nonviolent offenders serving time for drug crimes.

When Gaffney asked if such actions “constitute a Constitutional crisis in our time,” Cruz responded, “That is exactly right.”

Cruz: You’re right, he did put out that signing statement, and if nothing else I have to praise him for his candor. Because one of the most dismaying aspects of the Obama administration has been that this president seems to regard all legislation as advisory. And so he said so explicitly here that the legislation was now written in the law books as part of the US code, but if he so desires he might ignore it sometime in the future. None of that surprises me because that has been the approach President Obama has taken to the entire rest of the US code, whether it has been immigration laws or marriage laws or drug laws or welfare laws or Obamacare, which he 30 times has ignored the text of the law and disregarded it.

Gaffney: Or rewritten it on his own authority. This raises the question – and I think you’ve very directly addressed it in the past, and I’d invite you to do so again – does this constitute a Constitutional crisis in our time as the result of the man simply departing from his oath, sworn responsibilities to uphold the Constitution, which clearly makes it the Congress’s role to enact legislation.

Cruz: That is exactly right.

Your Occasional Reminder That Larry Pratt Is An Actually Influential Person In Washington

Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt is one of those people we wish we could ignore. Every interview he gives devolves into a mess of anti-government conspiracy theories, thinly veiled racism, and good-guy-with-a-gun revenge fantasies. This puts him at around the extremism level of 9/11 truther Alex Jones and unhinged Internet newscaster Stan Solomon…both of whom regularly host Pratt on their programs.

But we can’t ignore Larry Pratt because, as we are reminded every few weeks, he remains one of the country’s most influential gun lobbyists. Today’s reminder of this unsavory fact came from the New York Times’ report on Michael Bloomberg’s plan to spend $50 million promoting gun safety laws this year. The NRA declined to comment, so the Times called the second best option: Larry Pratt.

“He’s got the money to waste,” Mr. Pratt said of Bloomberg. “So I guess he’s free to do so. But frankly, I think he’s going to find out why his side keeps losing.”

It was also the New York Times that reported last year that Gun Owners of America was “emerging as an influential force” in the effort to defeat new gun laws. The Times quoted Sen. Ted Cruz praising GOA, noting that Cruz was the group’s “key ally in the Senate.” (Pratt, for his part, returns the praise every chance he gets).

In the past year, Pratt has appeared on CNN and MSNBC. And just a few months ago, when Fox News Sunday hosted Gabrielle Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly to speak on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, they decided that Larry Pratt would be the perfect person to join him with an opposing view.

That Larry Pratt is an influential Republican lobbyist who is regularly quoted by mainstream news sources shows that it is basically impossible to be too extreme to be taken seriously in today’s right wing.

After all, back in 1996, Pratt was too extreme for even Pat Buchanan. Pratt stepped down from his role in Buchanan’s presidential campaign after his ties to white supremacists and promotion of the right-wing militia movement came to light. As Southern Poverty Law Center director Morris Dees said at the time, “He's got one foot in that far-right fringe and another foot in mainstream Washington, which makes him really dangerous."

That certainly hasn’t changed. In just the past couple of years, Pratt

Yet none of this makes Pratt too extreme to be a leading gun lobbyist who is influential on Capitol Hill, praised by Tea Party leader Ted Cruz, and regularly quoted in the mainstream media.

Ted Cruz, Who Said Uninsured Should Just Get Health Care From ERs, Backs Group That Wants ERs To Turn Away Uninsured People

When he was running for office two years ago, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas insisted that rather than expanding Medicaid, Texas should just let the uninsured get all their health care from emergency rooms. The argument that emergency rooms are an acceptable backup for the uninsured has also been used by Mitt Romney, Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint and many other prominent Republicans.

But now, some members of the GOP are trying to keep the uninsured from using emergency rooms at all. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is pushing Congress to allow hospitals to turn people away from emergency rooms, and Georgia congressman and US Senate candidate Paul Broun – who previously cited ERs to claim that “everyone has access” to health care – has introduced a bill that would allow ERs to treat only patients who they determine have an “emergency medical condition.”

Now, the Madison Project, a Tea Party group that has earned the high-profile backing of Sen. Cruz in its effort to defeat three sitting GOP senators in primaries this year, is also advocating for allowing emergency rooms to turn away anybody not deemed to need immediate emergency care.

In a blog post on the group’s website yesterday, Madison Project policy director Daniel Horowitz writes of taking his son to the emergency room only to encounter a waiting room “full of illegals” (although he doesn’t specify how he knew the citizenship status of his fellow patients), including “adults who, let’s just say, did not look like they were about to keel over.”

My wife and I were entreated to the chaos of emergency room care last night after our two-year-old son slipped while climbing onto a high kitchen counter and banged his head on the floor. He had a massive lump on his forehead and we were concerned about internal bleeding. When we drove to the closest hospital, the waiting room was full of illegals. Most of them were adults who, let’s just say, did not look like they were about to keel over. Opting not to wait all night simply for a decision whether to put our son through a CT scan, we drove for a half hour in the rain to a hospital that was less likely to be full of those who use ERs for regular care.

Thank God our son recovered and there was no internal bleeding, but in a different situation that extra time could have been critical. Also, if you ever wonder why you get hosed with outrageous bills simply for stepping foot in a hospital, look no farther than the “undocumented” costs of illegal aliens.

The solution for this, Horowitz concludes, is to allow hospitals “to turn away people from ERs if they do not have an immediate need for emergency care” thereby “solv[ing] the problem of illegal immigrants using ERs for primary care.”

The problems with illegal immigrants and emergency hospital care also provide us with an opportunity to examine true free market healthcare reform. Any GOP healthcare proposal must be predicated not on “replacing” Obamacare, but on fixing even some of the anti-market federal policies that existed before passage of the monstrosity.

One of those policies is the mandate on hospitals to treat everyone who comes to an ER – including illegal immigrants – irrespective of whether they are suffering from a real emergency. In 1986, Congress passed The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Recon­ciliation Act (COBRA), which was ostensibly the first act in universal healthcare mandates.

If we ever plan to curb skyrocketing hospital costs and improve access to emergency care, we must address this massive unfunded federal mandate of EMTALA. Among the provisions of Rep. Paul Broun’s Patient Option Act, which is one of the best healthcare reform proposals, are some good reforms of emergency and indigent care. Under Broun’s proposal, hospitals would be allowed to turn away people from ERs if they do not have an immediate need for emergency care. This would solve the problem of illegal immigrants using ERs for primary care.

Could it be that Tea Party leaders like Sen. Cruz never actually thought that emergency rooms were suitable alternatives for the uninsured and were instead just looking for any excuse not to expand insurance coverage?

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/2/14

  • Tristan Emmanuel attacks the "so-called Christians" who criticized him for saying that Bill Maher should be publicly flogged for blasphemy.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz spoke at Liberty University today where he warned that "religious liberty has never been more under assault" blah, blah, blah.
  • Matt Barber demands that the Department of Justice and the FBI "publicly repudiate the propaganda and extremism perpetrated by the Southern Poverty Law Center."
  • Phyllis Schlafly will be heading to court against her own nephew in a copyright battle over the rights to the name "Schlafly."
  • "Will This Be ‘The Most Viral Video For 2014′?" We have no idea, but probably not. We didn't watch it, BarbWire.

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/31/14

  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas will deliver the keynote address at Liberty University’s Convocation on Wednesday.
  • This is a phrase that ought to automatically disqualify anyone who is running for office: "Dan Bongino: Guest of honor at WND Christmas party."
  • Scott Lively has now taken up the case of Justina Pelletier and is challenging his fellow gubernatorial candidates to do the same.
  • Phyllis Schlafly has "endorsed Bob Marshall for Congress in the upcoming April 26 primary to fill the vacancy left by Congressman Frank Wolf’s retirement in Virginia's 10th Congressional District."
  • Finally, Matt Barber is calling for revolution: "Look around. We are no longer the United States of America. We have become The Communist States of America. Which means, for those who love liberty, revolution is once again at hand."

Ted Cruz Cites Dubious Cases To Prove Obama's 'Hostility To Religious Liberty'

While speaking yesterday with right-wing Iowa talk show host Steve Deace, Sen. Ted Cruz listed a litany of “tragic” incidents which he said are proof that “we have never seen an administration more hostile to religious liberty than the Obama administration.”

“Whether it is threatening punishment for service men and women who share their faith, whether it is just recently ordering a young service man to take off a scripture verse from outside his room on a white board that was an open forum for speech, whether it was ordering an Air Force chaplain in Alaska to delete from his blog posting the phrase ‘there are no atheists in foxholes,’ or whether it is most astonishingly persecuting the Little Sisters of the Poor,” he said.

Cruz’s claim that service members face punishment for “sharing their faith” relies on a completely discredited crusade by Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who repeatedly misrepresents Defense Department guidelines on proselytizing and religious bias that actually date back to the Bush administration.

The Texas senator also mentioned a case at the Air Force Academy where a cadet in a leadership position wrote a Bible verse on a dormitory white board. Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson explained that the cadet voluntarily decided to erase the verse “following discussion over the issue,” and noted that the verse “could cause subordinates to doubt the leader’s religious impartiality. With the mentorship of the active duty commanding officer as part of the discussion, the cadet squadron commander raised this potential perception and the cadet voluntarily elected to erase the scripture.” Military.com adds that “a female cadet’s attempt to show the verse was improper by writing ‘there is no evidence that God ever existed’ on the whiteboard outside her room led to two senior cadets forcibly holding her back while they wiped the board clean.”

In the other incident of supposed persecution, the website of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska posted an essay with the title “No Atheists in Foxholes.” After the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which also complained about an ‘Ask An Atheist Day,’ said that the posting was demeaning to non-religious service members, the essay was briefly removed from the website but later restored, this time with a disclaimer that the comments “are strictly those of the author and do not convey endorsement by the U.S. government.”

As for the Little Sisters of the Poor, the legal challenge isn’t about trying to “force individual citizens to violate tenets of their faith” by purchasing a health insurance plan that includes contraception coverage. The Little Sisters are in a church plan, Christian Brothers Trust, that is not required to provide the contraception coverage.

But according to Cruz, these are the “astonishing” cases that demonstrates the Obama administration’s supposed hostility to religious freedom.

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/19/14

  • Phyllis Schlafly must protect her good name from her own nephew because "alcohol has a connotation that is the opposite of conservative values."
  • Bryan Fischer sours on Rand Paul and warms to Ted Cruz.
  • Speaking of Cruz, he told a gathering of home-schoolers in Iowa that "school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century."
  • A homicide detective will apply "his cold case investigation skills to the Bible" to determine if the evidence of "Jesus' death [will] stand up to today's standards for reliable eyewitness testimony" at a series of events called "Cold Case Christianity."
  • Finally, Peter LaBarbera is upset that a transgender contestant was named "Miss Congeniality": "The saddest thing of all is that people like this, even young men and girls, are championed and celebrated when they demonstrate this sort of gender confusion and sexual confusion. It's a sad day in America to see these kinds of cases celebrated."
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Ted Cruz Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Monday 07/21/2014, 4:32pm
Sen. Ted Cruz announced last week that his new “top priority” in Washington is to end President Obama’s deferred action program for DREAMers and start deporting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. But to show that he is approaching his new top priority in a compassionate way, Cruz made a stop at the border this weekend to help Glenn Beck hand out his truckload of teddy bears and soccer balls to children who have come to the southern border fleeing violence in Central America. Cruz and some of his fellow Republicans are doing their best to pin the influx... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/21/2014, 12:15pm
On Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz denounced Democratic legislation to ensure that employees receive contraception access in their health insurance plans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, accusing Democrats of fooling voters through “misdirection.” Cruz told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that the GOP-blocked Senate bill to prevent employers from refusing to cover contraception was simply a way to “distract people” from President Obama’s purported litany of scandals. “They tried to convince Americans, and sadly they... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 07/11/2014, 5:10pm
The consistently debunked right-wing claim about a Benghazi “stand-down order” has been, once again, debunked. Of course, we don’t expect this to stop conservatives from mentioning it. Ted Cruz is pushing the House GOP to impeach Eric Holder. Televangelist James Robison says “the border crisis again exemplifies the consequences of rejecting God and His Word,” warning readers that “you are about to witness ALL HELL BREAK OUT!” According to Steve Deace, “the statist/Marxist Left has openly declared war on God.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/24/2014, 6:00pm
Dylan Scott @ TPM: Grassley’s Hunt For An Obama Insider Trading Scandal Backfires On GOP. Josh Israel @ Think Progress: Prominent Republican Lawyer Says Ted Cruz Sounds Like A Racist. David Weigel @ Slate: How Will Poll-Watchers in Mississippi Spot the Black Democrats Voting in the GOP Primary? Luke Brinker @ Media Matters: Texas Values’ Jonathan Saenz: Gay Activists Are Trying To “Put People In Jail.” Suzanne Calulu @ No Longer Quivering: Paul and Gena Suarez, Old Schoolhouse Publishers, Accused of Protecting Known Child Predators. MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Thursday 06/19/2014, 4:29pm
Monica Crowley of Fox News served as the emcee for a “legislative luncheon” that kicked off the “Road to Majority” conference sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. The speakers’ lineup – Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Allen West, and John Bolton – promised a butcher shop’s worth of red meat for right-wing activists, and Crowley must have decided she didn’t want to be overshadowed. She complained that she has both a Marxist president and mayor (New York’s Bill de Blasio) and asserted that “we are in a... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/10/2014, 4:10pm
Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are slated to appear at a September “American Heritage Summit” in Washington, D.C., hosted by a right-wing Iowa pastor Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach. Along with Gordon and the pair of likely presidential candidates, the guests include conservative pseudo-historian David Barton, Iowa-based talk show host Steve Deace and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King. Gordon became heavily involved in politics during the 2010 campaign to remove Iowa Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality, and he endorsed Santorum’s 2012... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/06/2014, 5:34pm
Libby Anne @ Love, Joy, Feminism: Farris: Patriarchy Makes Kids Gay and Atheists. Josh Feldman @ Mediaite: Here’s a Video of Glenn Beck Talking About a Box of Dildos. Luke Brinker @ Equality Matters: Meet Jonathan Saenz, The Anti-Gay Extremist Fighting Houston’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance. Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: An Evangelical Leader's Lonely Fight to End an "Unholy Alliance" With the NRA. Eric W. Dolan @ Raw Story: Alabama chief justice cites Pledge of Allegiance to show courts need God to function. Tim Murphy @ Mother Jones:... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/06/2014, 5:30pm
The Texas Eagle Forum had quite the line-up for its "Patriotic Banquet at the 2014 GOP Convention" with Ted Cruz, David Barton, and Tom DeLay all speaking. Listening to anti-gay activists continually insist that "it was through a terrible misuse of the Bible that the African slave trade was sanctioned" is getting really tiresome. Matt Walsh is outraged by "transgendered toddlers," saying it's "A tragedy. A tragedy of nonsense. Horrible, abusive, pathetic, sad, bizarre, tragic nonsense." Watching the Religious Right frame efforts to... MORE >