Ted Cruz

Paranoia-Rama: Right-Wing's Net Neutrality Meltdown

Conservative pundits are downright furious about the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to preserve net neutrality, ensuring that internet service providers treat all data equally. But their anger seems driven more by reflexive hostility to any proposal that President Obama supports rather than an understanding of the principle behind net neutrality.

Ted Cruz Jokes Bill Clinton Will Lead 'Youth Outreach'

After Sen. Ted Cruz’s speech at CPAC today, Sean Hannity came out to interview him, asking him such hardball questions as “Why does Ted Cruz love America?” 

Hannity also asked Cruz a series of rapid-fire questions, asking for the first word that came to the senator’s mind when he said a name.

For Hillary Clinton, Cruz responded “Washington.” For Bill Clinton, he responded “youth outreach”…after Hannity did his best impression of Clinton hitting on a member of the audience.Hannity then asked for Cruz’s first impression of “Barack Hussein Obama,” to which Cruz responded “lawless imperator.” 

Ted Cruz Claims Net Neutrality Destroys 'Freedom Online'

Sen. Ted Cruz told the CPAC audience today that he will be the one to “bring back the miracle that is America” by reassembling the “Reagan coalition" and uniting voters against universal health care, immigration reform, and net neutrality.

Net neutrality, he claimed, undermines “freedom online” by giving Washington “power over the internet.”

“How do we do that?” he asked. “We do that fundamentally by standing with the people and not with Washington. Washington wants Obamacare. The people want liberty. Washington wants amnesty. The people want rule of law. Washington wants power over the internet. The people want freedom online. And don’t believe President Obama when he says, ‘If you like your internet, you can keep your internet’!”

It seems that after calling net neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet,” Cruz still hasn’t found out what it actually is.

PFAW And Allies Call On GOP Presidential Candidates To Distance Themselves From CPAC’s White Nationalist Sponsor

Today, People For the American Way, America’s Voice and ColorOfChange.org called on GOP presidential candidates to distance themselves from Conservative Political Action Conference’s ties to ProEnglish, a group led by white nationalist Robert Vandervoort.

As we reported last week, ProEnglish is sponsoring a booth in the event’s exhibit hall, which costs $4,000. ProEnglish has been allowed to sponsor the event for the past several years, despite Vandervoort’s well documented ties with white nationalist groups. Nearly every major Republican presidential contender is scheduled to speak at the event this weekend.

Here is the full text of the open letter from PFAW, America’s Voice and ColorOfChange.org:

Dear Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Santorum, and Gov. Scott Walker:

We understand that you are scheduled to speak at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, an event which is being partially sponsored by ProEnglish, a group led by white nationalist Bob Vandervoort. We urge you to decline to speak at CPAC unless it cuts ties with ProEnglish and Vandervoort.

ProEnglish has sponsored CPAC for the past several years, despite Vandervoort’s well documented ties to the white nationalist movement. As the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights has reported, Vandervoort is the former leader of Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, a group dedicated to supporting the ideals of the infamous white nationalist publication American Renaissance. One member of the group described its mission as encouraging “white survival and maintaining white majorities.”

Vandervoort’s own writings reflect these views. He has expressed concern about the need to “halt the cultural and racial dispossession of the West's historic people” and expounded on “racial differences” in “intelligence and temperament.” He has wondered how “race realists and pro-Western Civ nationalists” like himself can counter historical comparisons to the Holocaust and slavery.

CPAC has a troubling history of welcoming white nationalists. In 2012, the conference hosted a panel on race featuring Vandervoort and fellow white nationalist writer Peter Brimelow. And ProEnglish has continued to be allowed to sponsor the event even after civil rights groups have raised concerns.

Clearly, Robert Vandervoort and his group should have no place as a financial sponsor of the nation’s largest convention of conservatives. We urge you to distance yourself from Vandervoort’s views and refuse to speak at CPAC unless ProEnglish’s sponsorship is withdrawn.

Sincerely,

Michael Keegan, President

People For the American Way

Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director

America’s Voice

Rashad Robinson, Executive Director

ColorOfChange.org

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/23/15

  • Glenn Beck reported today that God has miraculously healed him of his various mysterious ailments.
  • Speaking of Beck, he also predicted that if net neutrality is preserved, Apple and Microsoft will "mark my words, move out of the United States." Consider them marked!
  • Jesse Lee Peterson asks a reasonable question: "Is Rudy Giuliani today's Winston Churchill?"
  • Phyllis Schlafly knows that undocumented children "didn’t make the trip north to the United States on their own. This was an organized invasion."
  • Larry Klayman warns that "if the courts do not help patriots restore the nation to greatness, the alternative is revolution."
  • Finally, FRC will be hosting a conference in May at which Sen. Ted Cruz will be sharing the stage with radical anti-abortion/anti-Islam activist Flip Benham.

Cruz: It Would Be A 'Travesty' To Hold A Vote On Loretta Lynch

In an interview with Newsmax posted online today, Sen. Ted Cruz said that it would be a “travesty” for the Senate to hold a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be U.S. attorney general, saying she would be “materially worse” than Attorney General Holder.

Cruz told Newsmax host John Bachman, “We have the ability to defeat this nomination, and there are two ways to do so. Number one, if every Republican on the Judiciary Committee simply votes no, the nomination is dead.”

“Secondly,” he added, “even if the committee votes on her nomination, leadership has the authority simply not to report the nomination to the floor.”

“If leadership brings it to the floor, the Republican Senate will have put in place an attorney general who will continue the lawlessness and abuse of power of President Obama,” he said. “I think that would be a travesty, I think it would be an abdication of our responsibility, I certainly hope we don’t do that.”

Cruz And Jindal Join Far-Right Activists at Frank Gaffney 'Defeat Jihad' Forum

Last week, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy hosted a who’s who of far-right activists including Rick Joyner, Jerry Boykin, Diana West, Andy McCarthy, Clare Lopez and others at an all-day “Defeat Jihad Summit” meant to be a conservative alternative to President Obama’s summit on violent extremism today.

Joining them were a number of prominent Republican politicians, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who submitted a speech by video. Also speaking at the summit were Republican Reps. Steve King, Mike Pompeo and Scott Perry, who used the opportunity to accuse Obama of siding with “the enemy of freedom” in the Mideast. 

A major theme in the speeches at the summit was that “political correctness” has forced American leaders, including Republicans, into failing to criticize Islam as a whole, rather than just violent extremists who claim to represent Islam.

One speaker, Stephen Coughlin, who was fired as a Pentagon contractor under President Bush, urged Republicans to resist kneeling “at the altar of racism, sexism and homophobia” because “political correctness” is just a way to “mainstream Islamic slander law in America.”

Another speaker, conservative pundit Diana West, also cautioned Republicans against “political correctness,” saying that the fact that politicians criticize Islamic radicalism rather than Islam in general shows that “we are operating under Islamic slander law that prohibits the criticism of Islam.”

She drew several parallels to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s efforts to root out communists in the U.S. government, which she said has been unfairly maligned.

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/11/15

CPAC Superheroes: Who's The Hulk?

If “superhero” is not the word that comes to mind when you think of Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, or Rick Perry, you clearly aren’t CPAC material. The Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual right-wing gathering hosted by the American Conservative Union, is promoting this year’s event with a graphic inspired by the movie “Avengers” – or Disney’s animated series “Avengers Assemble.”

As in the Marvel universe, there are some household names, and some clearly second- or third-tier heroes. We’ll leave it to you to speculate on the superpowers wielded by Bobby Jindal, John Bolton, Laura Ingraham, Ben Carson, and others.

Meet David Lane: The Anti-Gay, Christian-Nation Extremist Of The RNC

Last night, Rachel Maddow reported that the American Family Association has fired Bryan Fischer as its official spokesman, while letting Fischer keep his radio show on the organization’s radio network. The move apparently came as a result of growing controversy surrounding a trip to Israel for Republican National Committee delegates bankrolled by the AFA.

It didn’t look good for the RNC that the group paying the tab for the trip to Israel has a spokesman and radio host who believes that gay people are modern-day Nazis who are responsible for the Holocaust, demands Jewish conversion to Christianity (and wants to require conversion for Jewish and other non-Christian immigrants), and insists that non-Christians have no First Amendment rights: “Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity, have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of the religion.”

However, the RNC trip’s chief organizer, David Lane of the American Renewal Project, which has close ties to the AFA, is no less radical than Fischer … but his extreme views haven’t stopped Republicans from embracing Lane.

lane

Priebus, center. Lane, far right. Via The Brody File.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has appeared at Lane’s political gatherings and praised his radical anti-LGBT activism. In fact, potential Republican presidential candidates like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Mike Pence have either appeared at Lane’s events, which typically take place in early primary states, or participated in election-themed advertisements for Lane’s group.

Bobby Jindal, who has participated in both ventures, even hosted a prayer rally last weekend that was organized by Lane and funded by the AFA.

Lane and the AFA also organized an earlier visit to Israel for Paul and Perry, and Lane also organized Huckabee’s recent trip to Europe.

Lane, who describes himself as a political operative who prefers working behind the scenes, shares Fischer’s view that God is preparing to violently punish America for its tolerance of homosexuality. Lane, like Fischer, also believes that gay Republicans and gay rights supporters in the GOP are dangerous figures who will help bring the country down. He has:

  • Feared that God might destroy the U.S. just as he punished Nazi Germany: “If we get judgment like Nazi Germany, I’m assuming we go to rebel, and God says ‘I’m done.’”
  • Favorably quoted a Christian author who said that “same-sex marriage practiced universally is suicide. To survive gays and lesbians are parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.”
  • Explained why homosexuality is a threat to freedom: “Homosexuality is debauchery. God’s loyalty and fidelity — that guard the nation — make sustainable freedom dependent on seeking virtue.”
  • Predicted that homosexuality will lead to the destruction of America: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and — more so — is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.... The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin — which leads to the death.”
  • Compared Republicans who support marriage equality to politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.

“What is our aim?” Lane asked in a 2013 op-ed. “One word only: victory, in spite of all intimidation and terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, America will ultimately collapse.”

He has set his sights at the separation of church and state, warning that “America is lost, one has to think through and devise a strategy to recapture our Christian heritage and reestablish our Christian culture.” Lane has also outlined his strategy to further entrench his radical ideology in the Republican Party by holding prayer rallies like “The Response,” sponsoring events featuring GOP leaders, known as “restoration” and “renewal” events or “pastor policy briefings,” and recruiting 1,000 pastors to run for elected office.

Urging conservatives to “wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands,” Lane wants conservatives to embrace his exclusionary Christian Nationalist beliefs and abolish the separation of church and state. Lane:

  • Called the separation of church and state a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.”
  • Claimed that while “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.”
  • Said America needs a “thorough cleaning from pornography, abortion, homosexuality, filth from TV and Hollywood, racism, and injustice.”
  • Congratulated a pastor for exposing Mitt Romney’s belief in the “false god of Mormonism” during the 2012 GOP primaries.
  • Lamented that the “‘religion of secularism’ has produced red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the Inauguration, tax-funded abortion, homosexual marriage in several States, Evangelicals held in contempt, and God expelled from the classrooms of America — and the public square.”
  • Warned that while America has “grovel to the false god of Islam,” “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.”

National School Choice Week: PR For Privatizers?

On Wednesday morning, a roomful of school children were herded into a congressional meeting room and required to sit through an hour and a half worth of speeches by conservative Members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, Sens. Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Patrick McHenry, Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline of Minnesota, and a handful of others. Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana was the emcee.

The Capitol Hill event was in honor of National School Choice Week, whose organizers describe it as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan “independent public awareness campaign” promoting the idea that every child deserves access to an excellent education. Who would disagree?

In other words, it’s a PR campaign, one that wraps itself in the moral mantle of children. But the bright yellow scarves it wraps around its participants are meant to distract attention from the fact that sponsors of this week’s thousands of events include many anti-public education, anti-union, anti-government ideologues, including the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Heritage Foundation, the Alliance for Prosperity and others. The President of National School Choice Week, Andrew Campanella, used to work at the Alliance for School Choice, whose board is chaired by deep-pocketed right-wing activist Betsy DeVos and is funded by a who’s who of right-wing foundations.

As we noted during last year’s NSCW:

Education policy is a vast, complicated, and hotly contested arena. Terms like “education reform” and “school choice” sound good, but they are so broad as to be almost meaningless. They can be applied to genuine efforts to strengthen teaching and educational opportunity as well as cynical schemes to destroy public employee unions and dismantle public education altogether.

In particular, “school choice” encompasses a huge array of education policies, from public charter and magnet schools to taxpayer-funded for-profit cyberschools and homeschooling.  Even a seemingly specific term like “charter schools” cloaks a more complex reality that ranges from innovation labs co-located in public schools to for-profit chain operations.  

Indeed, this year, Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter published “A Smarter Charter: Finding What works for Charter Schools and Public Education.” The book documents that the original vision for charter schools – teachers empowered to be creative in diverse schools that could identify ways to strengthen public education – has been turned on its head. Rather than a teacher-empowering and collaborative paradigm, charter schools are often noted for tightly controlled teachers in highly segregated schools dominated by an ideology of competition with public schools. 

There are more collaborative models, just as there are charter schools with strong academic track records as well as those that lag behind the public schools that choice advocates consistently disparage. Important distinctions get lost under the big, vague, banner of school choice. And that’s intentional.

NSCW is about painting in broad strokes and drawing no distinctions, for example, between public magnet schools and for-profit corporations cashing in on the “reform” movement. No distinction is made between giving students choice among their district’s public schools and diverting education dollars into religious academies and online homeschooling via vouchers and other schemes.  These do not have the same impact on public schools, or the same levels of public accountability, but in the interest of keeping things simple, and winning public support for across-the-board expansion of these programs, they’re all “choice.”

As we wrote last year:

The problem with this “collective messaging” approach is that it hides the anti-public-education agenda of some “reformers.” Celebrating “school choice” across the board lends credibility to organizations pushing for destructive policies that are not at all popular with the American public. In spite of decades of right-wing-funded attacks on public education, for example, Americans oppose privatization plans like vouchers that transfer public education funds to private schools.

Self-proclaimed reformers often dismiss concerns about privatization as a “red herring.” But you can’t embrace the Milton Friedman Foundation as a partner and then pretend that privatization is only an imaginary threat dreamed up by teachers unions.  Friedman has an explicit goal of getting rid of public schools altogether; they see programs like vouchers for poor kids as a tactical stepping stone toward that ultimate goal.

Other supporters of National School Choice Week have included companies that want to tap into the huge flow of public dollars spent every year on education. K12, a member of the “choice”-promoting American Legislative Exchange Council and a company the New York Times has described as “the biggest player in the online-school business,” paid its president more than $5.5. million last year; two other executives each made more than $4 million. A November 2014 investigation by Bloomberg focused on the company’s efforts to turn around “subpar test scores” and declining enrollments.

National School Choice Week promoters say it is nonpolitical and has no legislative agenda, but that’s hard to take seriously given the agendas of its backers. At this week’s event on Capitol Hill, the only Democratic Member of Congress to join the Republican parade was Illinois’ Dan Lipinski, who declined to endorse Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. (Former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford also spoke.)

Members of Congress at Wednesday’s event talked about pushing legislation this year to expand “school choice” programs, meaning that battles over vouchers, charter schools, and other education issues will be on the agenda this year, including February’s Senate markup of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “There are currently private school voucher and tuition tax credit programs in 23 states and at least 10 states are looking to create new or expanding existing school voucher programs this year.”

Obviously, not everyone who participates in National School Choice Week activities is an anti-public-education ideologue. People from across the political spectrum are eager to strengthen schools and give students an opportunity for a great education. That includes public school teachers, administrators, and school board members – people who are collectively smeared as “the blob” by some “reformers.” People who are seeking to strengthen public education and make schools better for all children should think twice about making common cause with organizations that see public education as something to be dismantled and corporations that see students as the means to a bigger bottom line.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

Alex Jones Envisions Paul-Cruz Dream Ticket: 'Rand Paul Is The Best'

Sen. Rand Paul has scored a big endorsement for his potential presidential candidacy…from legendary conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Paul has appeared a number of times on Jones’s program and has said he relies on the “Infowars” host for information on the Bilderbergers and the “people who are promoting this globalist agenda," so it came as no surprise when Jones endorsed him for president yesterday, citing their years of friendship.

Jones’ endorsement came after an interview with the senator’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, who warned of an imminent economic collapse and foreign calamities.

“Rand Paul is the best,” Jones said after the interview concluded. “I trust him. I’ve known him for 19 years and he’s the guy for president.”

Jones also had an idea for the candidate Paul should pick as his running mate: Sen. Ted Cruz.

“Ted Cruz will make a good VP," Jones said. "I’m telling you, Ted Cruz is getting more aggressive. That’s why, in polls, he’s now number one. In real polls, Ted Cruz has now taken the lead because he’s being aggressive and that’s what people want.”

The “InfoWars” host has previously boasted of his nearly two-decade relationship with Sen. Paul while cautioning that “he’s got a real shot at [the presidency] except for the electronic voting machine fraud.”

Ted Cruz: Your Two-Time Equine Posterior Achievement Award Winner

Congratulations to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has won this year’s Equine Posterior Achievement Award, People For the American Way’s annual prize for the country's most extreme right-wing politician. Cruz won by a 21-point margin in a poll of PFAW members and Right Wing Watch readers, repeating his 2013 victory, when he beat out the likes of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin for the coveted award. The Texas Board of Education came in second place this year, emerging as a serious contender as a result of another round of historical revisionism, denial of climate change science and flirtation with Creationism.

Cruz ended the year by embarrassing himself when he pulled a stunt that backfired badly. The Texas senator and Tea Party darling hoped to humiliate President Obama and congressional leaders by challenging a bipartisan budget bill as a way to show his anger with the president’s recent executive actions on immigration.

Instead, Cruz’s maneuver was easily defeated, but it did give Senate Democrats the opportunity to put several judicial and executive nominees up for a vote before Republicans took control of the chamber, delighting Democrats while fomenting anger amongst Cruz’s fellow Republicans.

Such attention-grabbing political stunts are typical of Cruz, who spearheaded the opposition to a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision by falsely claiming that the amendment would throw comedians in jail and muzzle pastors.

An anti-gay crusader, Cruz threatened civil disobedience to block the enforcement of gay rights measures, introduced new measures to prevent marriage equality, said same-sex marriage is “heartbreaking” and causes his heart to weep and alleged that gay rights laws will put pastors in prison.

Cruz also stood by lawless rancher Cliven Bundy , notorious for his racist remarks and refusal to recognize the U.S. government’s authority, while at the same time torpedoing the nomination of a noted civil rights attorney , whom he accused of “fanning…flames of racial tension.” Now, Cruz wants to go to war with net neutrality , although he doesn’t seem to have a clue about what net neutrality actually means.

So congratulations Sen. Cruz, or something.

The Year In Homophobia: Ten Of The Worst Anti-LGBT Stories Of 2014

Supporters of marriage equality made tremendous progress this year in striking down discriminatory bans on same-sex marriages while, on the local level, more municipalities have enacted legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Radical Right, however, sees these changes as a reason to find new strategies to fight what it believes is a tyrannical government bent on persecuting conservatives and inviting divine punishment. Facing losses in court and at the ballot box, many conservatives hope that their brand of anti-gay politics may find more success overseas.

Just in case you thought that the debate over gay rights was “over,” we decided to look back on some of the anti-gay Right’s worst moments of 2014.

10. Comparing LGBT Americans To Nazis And Terrorists

There’s nothing that Religious Right activists love more than to pretend they are being oppressed by the LGBT community. This year, Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel and Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association all said opponents of LGBT rights today are facing a situation reminiscent of the oppression African Americans endured under Jim Crow, while other anti-LGBT activists shamelessly compared themselves to Jewish people living in Nazi Germany. More recently, Religious Right activists compared supporters of gay rights to ISIS members bent on beheading Christians, and Pat Robertson described gay rights supporters as terrorists.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wondered when gay people and gay rights advocates would “start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians,” and “Trunews” host Rick Wiles even warned that LGBT rights activists in the U.S. are hoping to fulfill Adolf Hitler’s dream of creating “a race of super gay male soldiers.”

9. Civil Disobedience To Stop Gay Rights

While conservatives rail against civil disobedience to protest police brutality, they are hopeful that the anti-gay movement will launch its own civil disobedience campaigns. In 2014, Sen. Ted Cruz urged gay rights opponents to “disregard unjust edicts from the government” and Fox News pundit Todd Starnes predicted that conservatives would take part in acts of civil disobedience and marches reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement. Pat BuchananLinda Harvey and Jeff Allen also joined calls for mass civil disobedience to protest LGBT equality, while Peter LaBarbera proposed protests to stop same-sex weddings.

Janet Mefferd hoped that an anti-gay Rosa Parks would soon emerge, while Matt Barber, who has pledged to bring back “some of the civil disobedience that we saw in the 60s during those civil rights struggles” to stop the “LGBT sexual orientation agenda,” said that anti-gay activists will be acting just like Martin Luther King Jr. by demonstrating against gay rights.

8. Breakaway Anti-Gay Nation

Upset over recent gay rights victories, former Reagan administration official Douglas MacKinnon seems ready to give up on America and start a new country composed of conservative Southern states that will secede from the U.S. as a way to preserve their bans on same-sex marriage. MacKinnon outlined his plan in his book, “The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country . . . Now,” and in an interview with right-wing talk show host Janet Mefferd, he defended the South’s original attempt at secession during the Civil War.

MacKinnon said that if the secession plan actually worked, he would name the country “Reagan.”

7. Dave Agema’s ‘Common Sense’

It wasn’t a good year for Dave Agema, the Michigan GOP politician and a member of the Republican National Committee. Not only did Agema lose his lawsuit against People For the American Way, the notoriously anti-gay activist made waves after he endorsed Russia’s criminalization of speech in favor of gay rights as a “common sense” measure and faced calls to resign from the RNC after attacking Muslim-Americans in a Facebook post. Last year, Agema posted a bizarre pseudo-scientific survey on how homosexuality is “filthy” on his Facebook page.

Agema became a right-wing martyr after people dared to criticize his bigoted statements, and he refused to step down despite statements from top GOP leaders urging him to leave his position. Instead, Agema only amped up the rhetoric, blasting people for “shoving this idea down our throat that we have to accept this homosexual lifestyle” and warning that gay rights will destroy America.

6. Duggars Show ‘Love’ For Gays By Fighting Gay Rights

While the Duggar family usually campaigns for Republican candidates across the country come election time, in 2014 they worked in their home state of Arkansas to repeal an ordinance in the city of Fayetteville that added the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to existing bans on discrimination in areas such as commerce, housing and employment.

Michelle Duggar recorded a highly misleading robocall for the successful anti-LGBT campaign, suggesting that the ordinance would undermine public safety and empower “child predators.”

But Josh Duggar, who claims that God sent him to Washington D.C. to work with Family Research Council in opposing LGBT rights, defended their work to strip LGBT people of their rights and legal protections because it is done out of love for the LGBT community.

5. Rick Perry Goes There

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign flamed out after a series of poor debate performances, he used gay-baiting TV ads in one last desperate attempt to win the GOP nomination. Now, as Perry prepares for the 2016 campaign, it seems that by wearing new eyeglasses he is all of a sudden the new wonky candidate. He showed off this new-found knowledge during an appearance in California where he reacted to the news that the Texas GOP had adopted a resolution endorsing “reparative therapy and treatment” to help people “escape from the homosexual lifestyle” by comparing gay people to alcoholics.

“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry told the Commonwealth Club of California to audible groans from the crowd. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

Of course it wasn’t the first time Perry made such a claim, and other potential presidential candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have made similar arguments. 

4. Ted Cruz’s New DOMA

After the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, marriage equality opponents looked to their allies in Washington D.C. to try to reverse the court’s decision. Sen. Ted Cruz was more than happy to help, and the Texas senator joined Mike Lee, Utah’s freshman senator, in introducing the State Marriage Defense Act. The bill’s stated purpose is to undercut federal recognition of married same-sex couples, and while it didn’t gain much traction in Congress, it did give Cruz an opportunity to grandstand about his dreams of curtailing gay rights. He told right-wing radio hosts that his “heart weeps” due to same-sex couples’ legal victories, calling rulings in favor of marriage equality “heartbreaking” and a sign “that our constitutional liberties are being eroded.”

After the Supreme Court recently refused to hear appeals in several cases involving same-sex marriage rights, Cruz decided to introduce a constitutional amendment to ensure that the 14th Amendment cannot be used in cases involving equal rights for gays and lesbians.

3. Still Angry About Repeal Of DADT

Anti-gay activists issued countless dire predictions about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which officially ended in the summer of 2011, warning about everything from a return to the draft to a “virtual genocide” of Christian service members. None of their claims ever materialized, but conservatives are now just acting as if they did.

One American Family Association radio host blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the U.S. military’s “sissification,” and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council linked the lifting of the ban on gay service members to what he called the “absolute destruction of our military readiness and our military morale.” Gordon Klingenschmitt read a statement on his “Pray In Jesus Name” program from a press release alleging that gay service members will soon be “taking breaks on the combat field to change diapers all because their treacherous sin causes them to lose control of their bowels.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, captured the mood best when he alleged that the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will make the U.S. more “vulnerable to terrorism” because gay soldiers will take after the ancient Greeks in bringing their lovers to the frontlines so they can “give them massages before they go into battle.”

2. ‘Forced’ To Watch Michael Sam’s Kiss

This year, the far Right leveled an all-out attack against openly gay athlete Michael Sam, who is apparently paving the way for the Antichristbrainwashing children, Satanic and part of a “plan to destroy black America” by “emasculating its men.” After ESPN aired footage of him kissing his boyfriend when he was notified that he was drafted into the NFL, right-wing activists denounced his “slobber-knocker of a kiss” as “sewer filth”; “yucky”; “gross”; “cringe-inducing” and “nauseating.”

Some conservatives claimed that they were actually forced to watch Sam kiss his boyfriend, while other conservatives vowed to boycott the NFL. Rush Limbaugh feared that Sam’s decision to come out of the closet is evidence that heterosexuals are “under assault,” and one right-wing outlet warned of “the gayification of professional sports.”

1. Cheering On Uganda And Russia

This year, Uganda’s president signed into law a new version of the country’s “Anti-Homosexuality Act” which imposed extreme penalties for the crime of being gay (though dropping its provision making homosexuality a death penalty offense in certain cases). American anti-gay activists mostly offered praise to the East African nation. At least one group thought that Uganda should have kept its death penalty plank.

While the country’s top court ultimately struck down the law on technical grounds, organizations such as Concerned Women for AmericaLiberty Counsel and the American Family Association defended Uganda, with the latter condemning criticisms of the law as Satanic. Pastor Scott Lively, who helped craft the original anti-gay bill, spoke out in favor of the new law.

Glenn Grothman, a Wisconsin lawmaker who last month won his race for an open seat in the U.S. House, also attacked opponents of Uganda’s anti-gay law, warning that people like Sec. John Kerry will bring about God’s judgment on America for his criticisms of Uganda.

The Uganda news came at a time when many U.S.-based activists were already pleased with new laws in Russia criminalizing speech in favor of gay rights and enthralled with Vladimir Putin, demanding that America enact similar laws.

Bryan Fischer Bonus

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer’s daily cascade of anti-gay bigotry is difficult to summarize, but rest assured that throughout 2014 he remained in “fine form” when it came to maliciously attacking the LGBT community. Insisting that his hostility to homosexuality is just something that he was born with, Fischer regularly uses his radio program to rail against gay rights as the “greatest threat” America has ever seen and a precursor to the End Times. Fischer has even suggested that God will uses ISIS terrorists to “discipline the United States” for supporting gay rights and urged the government to ban gay people from ever holding public office.

The 2014 Equine Posterior Award: Vote For Your Favorite Right-Wing Extremist

It’s time to cast your vote for the winner of People For the American Way’s annual Equine Posterior Achievement Award, which recognizes the worst of the worst in right-wing extremism.

Our 2014 nominees outdid themselves this year in promoting conspiracy theories, inventing persecution myths and pushing bigotry, and now it’s your turn to decide who wins this year’s coveted award.

Ted Cruz: Last year's EPAA winner Ted Cruz didn’t run for office in 2014, but that didn’t stop him from rallying Religious Right voters. The possible 2016 presidential hopeful spent the year supporting anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy and helping to block the nomination of Debo Adegbile.

Cruz was an outspoken opponent of the proposed amendment to overturn Citizens United, claiming it would “repeal the First Amendment” and “muzzle” pastors. Also threatening the free speech of pastors, Cruz contended, are equal rights for LGBT people, to which he is as vehemently opposed as ever.

The Benham Brothers: After reporting on HGTV’s plans for a new home improvement reality show starring notorious anti-gay, anti-choice extremist David Benham and his brother Jason back in May, the Benham brothers have now taken their tale of "persecution!" throughout the Religious Right speaking circuit.

When HGTV dropped the show just hours after our first reporting on their anti-gay activism, including their claims that homosexuality is “destructive” and “demonic, Religious Right leaders from Pat Robertson to Bryan Fischer wasted no time in drumming up a “Christian persecution” narrative and declaring the Benhams modern-day martyrs. The Benhams enthusiastically embraced their new role, repeatedly likening themselves to ISIS beheading victims and making an appearance at the 2014 Values Voter Summit.

Gordon Klingenschmitt: What a year for Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt! Klingenschmitt, whose whole career has been based on a myth about his supposed religious persecution in the military, used his “Pray in Jesus Name” program this year to spread the word that it’s basically child abuse for a kid to be raised by gay parents, and that transgender people are just in need of an exorcism and a spanking. (Of course, this is a man who once tried to perform an exorcism on President Obama.)

But in between spouting anti-gay vitriol and denouncing Obamacare, Klingenschmitt somehow managed to run a campaign for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives and won! Congratulations to Colorado’s new anti-gay, demon hunting state legislator.

Jody Hice: Jody Hice is a Georgia Republican who won a seat in the U.S. House this year despite saying that women should ask their husbands for permission before entering politics, that homosexuality “enslaves” people, and that Muslims shouldn’t have First Amendment rights. He blamed everything from the Sandy Hook School shooting to the Penn State abuse scandal on the separation of church and state. He’s a big believer in the power of “blood moons” and he thinks our public schools are a lot like Nazi Germany.

And, again, he will soon be a member of Congress.

Texas State Board of Education: This year, we nominate the Texas State Board of Education for an Equine Posterior Achievement Award for their approval of social studies textbooks that were more about the ideological beliefs of the board members than, you know, actual history.

While the approved textbooks were an improvement on the original proposed content, which included blatant denial of climate change and negative stereotypes of Islam as a violent religion, the final editions emphasize the biblical influence in America’s founding, even going so far as to reference Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy.

Glenn Beck: This year Glenn Beck assured his viewers that his many prophetic visions and predictions would finally, definitely come true. It’s hard to imagine where Beck found the time for all his clairvoyance and divine inspiration, what with everything else he accomplished this year including devising plans to fix the VA and destroy ISIS. But 2014 hasn’t been a banner year for Beck. In March, he was sued for defamation after falsely accusing one of the victims injured in the Boston Marathon bombing of being behind the attack. (Unfortunately for Beck, a federal judge recently allowed the lawsuit to move forward.)

Pat Robertson: This year, EPAA staple Pat Robertson kept up the HIV fear-mongering with his assertion that you can get AIDS from a towel -- you may remember last year, when he accused gay people of intentionally spreading HIV by cutting people with special rings.

There was hardly a news story this year that Robertson didn’t weigh in on, from Michael Brown’s death to marijuana legalization, and even Robin Williams’ suicide. He spread the word about the demonic threat posed by Ouija boards and the serious risk of fighting climate change. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Pat Robertson his show can cure the neck injuries and asthma of its viewers, after all.

Ben Carson: Right-wing activist and potential presidential candidate Ben Carson kicked off 2014 with a rousing CPAC speech denouncing “extra rights” like marriage equality for gay people. Despite repeatedly speaking out against marriage equality and calling it a Marxist plot, Carson believes that gay rights supporters are trying to inhibit his right to free speech. Carson also shared his many opinions on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, blaming Michael Brown’s death on his lack of a father figure, and accusing protestors of being part of a “me generation” started by women’s libbers.

Bryan Fischer: Bryan Fischer spent a lot of 2014 being grossed out, horrified, and otherwise offended by openly gay football player Michael Sam. After that, he said that commemorating Harvey Milk is a lot like honoring Jeffrey Dahmer, asked Michelle Obama to start an anti-lesbian campaign, and expressed his preference for sharia law and displeasure with Pope Francis. Perennial EPAA nominee Fischer also chimed in on Ferguson, claiming that Michael Brown was possessed by a homicidal demon.

Kevin Swanson: Religious Right broadcaster Kevin Swanson took to the airwaves in 2014 to warn his audience about the sinister motives of “The Hunger Games” movies, the potential for LGBT nondiscrimination laws to protect murderers and rapists, and the threat of “Antichrist” Presbyterians. But maybe most memorable were Swanson’s ruminations on popular culture, including his speculation that Beyonce may be possessed by a demonic spirit, and his claim that the Disney movie “Frozen” is a Satanic movie that turns kids gay.

Ted Cruz: Too Extreme For Pat Robertson

Ted Cruz handed Senate Democrats a major victory this weekend when he forced an unsuccessful vote challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, a move that badly backfired since it allowed Democrats to move forward with votes to confirm several of Obama’s nominees that Republicans hoped to block.

While Cruz’s ploy gave Democrats a reason to celebrate, it upset right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson, who said that he won’t put up with the Texas senator and Tea Party leader’s “nonsense.”

“I tell ya’, this Ted Cruz, a lot of people in Texas just think he’s wonderful and I don’t want to rain on their parade but what he did was this, he held the Senate open by his delaying tactics and in the process Harry Reid says, ‘Oh, we’ve got some time, let’s rush through some appointees.’ So they started approving one after the other, left-wing appointments that Barack Obama had made that a more deliberative process would’ve held up, that was what Mr. Cruz gave us,” Robertson said.

“This bomb-throwing stuff and ‘I’ll be a lone wolf and I’m the man in the Senate who is going to be like Jimmy Stewart and I’m just going to Washington to represent the people,’ it’s nonsense.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/26/14

Ted Cruz Vows to Damage Texas Courts in Response to Obama's Immigration Action

In response to President Obama's upcoming action on immigration, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has vowed to retaliate by sabotaging the federal court system in his own state.

No, that's not how he phrased it, but that would be the impact of his vow. Yesterday in Politico, Cruz wrote how he thinks the Senate should respond to the president's policy decisions on immigration enforcement:

If the president announces executive amnesty, the new Senate majority leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee—executive or judicial—outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.

While such a refusal to perform one of the basic functions of the Senate would harm the entire nation, the damage in Texas would be particularly severe. No state has more judicial vacancies than the Lone Star State. No state even comes close.

As of today, Texas is suffering from eleven current federal court vacancies, with another four known to be opening in the next few months. The White House has worked closely with Sens. Cruz and Cornyn to identify potential nominees, but progress has been slow: Only six of the vacancies even have nominees; three of these have not yet had their committee hearings.

But the other three – for the Eastern and Western Districts – advanced through the Judiciary Committee this morning and are now ready for a confirmation vote by the full Senate. All three would fill vacancies formally designated as judicial emergencies by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. Confirming them would be a good start at addressing the vacancy crisis in Texas.

And that's what is it: a crisis. As we wrote earlier this month in a Huffington Post piece entitled Lame Duck Opportunity and Obligation: Confirm Judges:

The situation is even more dire in Texas, where the Senate has a chance to fill three vacancies in the Eastern and Western Districts. The Western District judgeship has been vacant since 2008, and the Judicial Conference has asked for five new judgeships there to carry the load on top of filling all the existing vacancies. Chief Judge Fred Biery discussed the need for new judges last year, saying, "It would be nice to get some help. We are pedaling as fast as we can on an increasingly rickety bicycle." Judge David Ezra, formerly of Hawaii, explained why he was moving to Texas to hear cases in the Western District: "This is corollary to having a big wild fire in the Southwest Border states, and fire fighters from Hawaii going there to help put out the fire."

The Eastern District of Texas is in similar need of getting its vacancies filled during the lame duck: Of the nation's 94 federal districts, only two have had more weighted filings per judgeship than the Eastern District, according to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts' most recent statistics. Small wonder, then, that the Judicial Conference has asked for two new judgeships there: Even if every judgeship were filled, that just isn't enough. To make matters worse, two more judges in the Eastern District have announced their intention to retire or take senior status next year, making it all the more important to fill the current vacancies now.

Even if the three nominees are confirmed during the lame duck, as they should be, more vacancies in both of those districts will open up early next year. Texas would still have eight vacancies, a number that would rise to twelve in the next few months.

To express his fury at President Obama and rally his right-wing base, Cruz would work to make sure that all these vacancies remain unfilled, which would hurt a lot of innocent Texans.

Cross-posted from the PFAW blog.

Five Conservatives Who Don't Understand Net Neutrality…But Are Definitely Against It!

On Monday, President Obama publicly urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strong rules preserving net neutrality, the principle that internet service providers must treat all data equally.

Obama’s comments placed a previously fairly niche technical issue right into the middle of the national political debate, forcing commentators to take a side on something many of them did not seem to understand. But luckily, many conservative politicians and pundits have an easy way of deciding where to stand on an issue: if Obama is for it, it will destroy America and they are against it!

1. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz got the right-wing net neutrality pile-on started with a tweet calling the proposal “Obamacare for the Internet."

It didn’t really make sense, but as Matt Yglesias notes, that wasn’t the point: “What, if anything, that phrase means is difficult to say. But its political significance is easy to grasp. All true conservatives hate Obamacare, so if net neutrality is Obamacare for the internet, all true conservatives should rally against it.”

2. Bryan Fischer

As soon as Cruz spoke out, his far-right acolytes seem to have felt obligated to follow. On his radio program on Monday, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer struggled to grasp the proposal that he was definitely against, claiming that it would ban internet providers from charging customers more for faster service — something that already happens and that has nothing to do with net neutrality.

3. Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is outraged that President Obama wants to end “the freedom of the internet” and ruin something that’s “working pretty well” because “the government is not involved in it at all.” Apparently unaware that current FCC regulations allow his online network, The Blaze, to stream on an open internet, Beck claimed that regulations preserving net neutrality would end this supposedly government-free system in which he operates his business.

Beck’s cohost Pat Gray accidentally debunked his own point by comparing Internet regulation to the interstate highway system, which he seems to also think remains open and accessible because it’s free from government interference.

4. FreedomWorks

The Tea Party group FreedomWorks got into the game yesterday with a video “clearing up” net neutrality for its supporters.

As Consumerist explains, FreedomWorks’ net neutrality explanation is basically a work of fiction:

“Supporters of the plan call it a [uses finger quotes] ‘free and open Internet’ but in reality it’s anything but,” says Somberg. “What net neutrality does is force providers to treat all Web content equally — the same speeds, the same prices, the same access.”

This is simply untrue.

Net neutrality merely says that ISPs can’t slow down, block, or prioritize any content. It doesn’t mean that everything gets treated with the same speed — just that an ISP does nothing to impede or boost any particular content company’s speed. So if it’s fast coming in from the company, it should be fast going out to the end-user. And if the host is slow, then it remains slow.

5. Alex Jones

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones added his own special twist to the net neutrality debate, claiming that it is a “high tech version of what the Soviets and the Nazis and the Chinese Communists and Fidel Castro and every other nut ball did.” 

Bonus: David Barton

While net neutrality might have just recently crossed the radar of many right-wing commentators, make-believe historian David Barton has been beating the anti-net-neutrality drum for years. In 2011, Barton called net neutrality “socialism on the internet” and “redistribution of wealth through the internet” and insisted that it is "wicked stuff" that goes against the dictates of the Bible and the Founding Fathers.

This launched Barton into a discourse on the concept of “fairness,” which he said “is a word no Christian should ever use in their vocabulary” because “what happened to Jesus wasn’t fair.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 11/10/14

  • Apparently Ingrid Schlueter is in danger of being sued by her own father, Vic Eliason of VCY America.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz clearly does not understand Net Neutrality.
  • Matt Barber says that just as "there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny ... There is no such thing as 'same-sex marriage.'"
  • The National Organization for Marriage has announced that they "will set their sights on defeating Sen. Rob Portman for reelection in 2016, or if he decides to run for president."
  • Finally, more claims that President Obama is not a Christian: "[I]f Obama is anything, he is a Politician. His religion is politics; his pursuit is power."
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Ted Cruz Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 02/27/2015, 5:30pm
Conservative pundits are downright furious about the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to preserve net neutrality, ensuring that internet service providers treat all data equally. But their anger seems driven more by reflexive hostility to any proposal that President Obama supports rather than an understanding of the principle behind net neutrality. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 02/26/2015, 3:30pm
After Sen. Ted Cruz’s speech at CPAC today, Sean Hannity came out to interview him, asking him such hardball questions as “Why does Ted Cruz love America?”  Hannity also asked Cruz a series of rapid-fire questions, asking for the first word that came to the senator’s mind when he said a name. For Hillary Clinton, Cruz responded “Washington.” For Bill Clinton, he responded “youth outreach”…after Hannity did his best impression of Clinton hitting on a member of the audience.Hannity then asked for Cruz’s first impression of... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 02/26/2015, 2:27pm
Sen. Ted Cruz told the CPAC audience today that he will be the one to “bring back the miracle that is America” by reassembling the “Reagan coalition" and uniting voters against universal health care, immigration reform, and net neutrality. Net neutrality, he claimed, undermines “freedom online” by giving Washington “power over the internet.” “How do we do that?” he asked. “We do that fundamentally by standing with the people and not with Washington. Washington wants Obamacare. The people want liberty. Washington wants amnesty.... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 02/25/2015, 12:35pm
Today, People For the American Way, America’s Voice and ColorOfChange.org called on GOP presidential candidates to distance themselves from Conservative Political Action Conference’s ties to ProEnglish, a group led by white nationalist Robert Vandervoort. As we reported last week, ProEnglish is sponsoring a booth in the event’s exhibit hall, which costs $4,000. ProEnglish has been allowed to sponsor the event for the past several years, despite Vandervoort’s well documented ties with white nationalist groups. Nearly every major Republican presidential contender is... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 02/23/2015, 5:30pm
Glenn Beck reported today that God has miraculously healed him of his various mysterious ailments. Speaking of Beck, he also predicted that if net neutrality is preserved, Apple and Microsoft will "mark my words, move out of the United States." Consider them marked! Jesse Lee Peterson asks a reasonable question: "Is Rudy Giuliani today's Winston Churchill?" Phyllis Schlafly knows that undocumented children "didn’t make the trip north to the United States on their own. This was an organized invasion." Larry Klayman warns that "if... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 02/23/2015, 3:42pm
In an interview with Newsmax posted online today, Sen. Ted Cruz said that it would be a “travesty” for the Senate to hold a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be U.S. attorney general, saying she would be “materially worse” than Attorney General Holder. Cruz told Newsmax host John Bachman, “We have the ability to defeat this nomination, and there are two ways to do so. Number one, if every Republican on the Judiciary Committee simply votes no, the nomination is dead.” “Secondly,” he added, “even if the committee votes on her... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 02/18/2015, 4:09pm
Last week, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy hosted a who’s who of far-right activists including Rick Joyner, Jerry Boykin, Diana West, Andy McCarthy, Clare Lopez and others at an all-day “Defeat Jihad Summit” meant to be a conservative alternative to President Obama’s summit on violent extremism today. Joining them were a number of prominent Republican politicians, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who submitted a speech by video. Also speaking at the summit were Republican Reps. Steve King, Mike Pompeo and... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/11/2015, 5:32pm
David Corn @ Mother Jones: As a Lawyer, Ted Cruz Defended Huge Jury Awards. As a Politician, He Opposed Them. John Wright @ Towleroad: Ted Cruz Reintroduces Anti-Gay Bill That Would 'Defend' States' Right To Regulate Marriage. Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Close Encounters With Roy Moore. Warren Throckmorton: More of the Story Behind the Demise of David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies. Tara Culp-Ressler @ Think Progress: The Massive Push To Restrict Abortion In 2015. Luke Brinker @ Salon: Sam Brownback’s latest outrage: Governor strips LGBT... MORE >