Texas

The 5 Craziest Planks In Draft Texas GOP Platform: Ban Morning After Pill, Ending Direct Election Of Senators, Defunding ACORN

According to a draft party platform obtained by the Houston Chronicle, the Texas Republican Party is ready to support a sweeping right-wing agenda with planks related to the “Benghazi cover up,” the elimination of the minimum wage and “the myth of separation of church and state.”

Voting

Not only does the draft platform advocate for the abolition of the Federal Reserve, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Transportation Security Administration and the Departments of Education and Energy, but it also calls for an end to the direct election of U.S. Senators:

Full Repeal of the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: Return the appointment of U.S. Senators by the State Legislatures.

While the state GOP wants Texas voters to lose their right to elect their U.S. senators, the party does on the other hand “support our right to select our judges by direct vote.”

The party also wants to make it more difficult to register to vote and urges Congress to repeal the Voting Rights Act:

Voter registration: We support restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and Registration reducing voter fraud. We support repeal of all Motor Voter laws; re-registering voters every four years; requiring photo ID of all registrants; proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application; retention of the 30-day registration deadline; and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the election administrator in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.

VRA: We urge that the Voter [sic] Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.

Science And Education

The draft platform also targets schools, calling evolution a “controversial theory” that should be challenged in the classroom, demanding that schools restrict access to “community organizers” and encouraging schools to embrace “subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems.”

The platform also includes climate change denial: “While we all strive to be good stewards of the earth, 'climate change' is a political agenda which attempts to control every aspect of our lives. We urge government at all levels to ignore any plea for money to fund global climate change or ‘climate justice’ initiatives.”

The draft describes Agenda 21, a nonbinding United Nations agreement on sustainable development, as a threat to America and calls for “the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of U.N. headquarters from United States soil.”

Social Issues

Along with supporting “reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle,” the state party also wants to repeal Texas’ hate-crimes statute (or at least its “sexual orientation category”), block non-discrimination laws and seeks a “prohibition of the manufacturing and sale of abortifacients (e.g. morning after pill).”

The draft also calls for bans on “any form of reparation” and Sharia law, and limits to data gathering by the U.S. Census. It opposes “the use of Radio Frequency Identification Chips (RFID) on humans,” while reaffirming opposition to “any direct financial support of special interest organizations, such as ACORN and the ACLU, by any level of government.” ACORN, of course, hasn’t existed since 2010.

Guns

Unsurprisingly, the Texas GOP believes the state should be able to ignore federal gun laws:

All federal acts, laws, executive orders, and court orders which restrict or infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall be invalid in Texas, not be recognized by Texas, shall be specifically rejected by Texas, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Texas.

Just to clarify that they mean business, the party supports “the establishment and maintenance of a volunteer Constitutional State Militia with assistance from County Sheriffs.”

Vaccinations

To cap it off, Texas Republicans also have an anti-vaccination stance:

Immunizations: All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves, or their minor children, without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent.

Texas GOP Embraces Discredited Ex-Gay Therapy

We reported back in April that Eagle Forum, a staunchly anti-gay Religious Right group, announced that it would pressure the Texas GOP to back ex-gay therapy and other anti-gay measures in its party platform.

The Texas GOP convention, which banned conservative gay rights groups from participating, appears to have agreed on including ex-gay advocacy as part of its platform, according to a draft of the platform obtained by the Houston Chronicle:

We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman.

We support withholding jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family law, especially any changes in the definition of marriage.



We oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists.



Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin.

Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy. (emphasis added)

Texas GOP Debates Whether To Remove Anti-Gay Language From Platform, Risk 'Demise' Of Society

Updated

While subcommittees at the Texas GOP’s convention today rebuffed hardliners by removing some especially vicious anti-gay language from the state party’s platform and keeping an endorsement of an immigrant guest worker program, the debate over both issues continues.

Brian wrote earlier today about the efforts of Texas conservatives to bring back the party platform’s previous hardline anti-immigration language , including those of Texas Eagle Forum leader and former state party chairwoman Cathie Adams, who has warned that immigration reform will bring about the End Times .

A similar battle is unfolding over gay rights. Two conservative LGBT groups that were denied permission to sponsor booths at the convention are now calling on the party to remove language from its platform that states:

Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

While a subcommittee nixed the language today, the decision won’t be final until it’s approved by the full convention on Thursday night .

And in any case, the subcommittee appears to have kept the rest of the party’s anti-gay plank, which contains the actual policy prohibitions against equality, along with plenty of pointed scare quotes:

Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

One activist who will be fighting for the preservation of the platform’s original anti-gay language is Adams, who told the radio station KERA that backing down on gay rights would mean that the “society is well on its way to demise.”

Cathie Adams, executive director of Texas Eagle Forum, believes the platform currently reflects a position that’s biblical.

“When a culture descends to a point where homosexuality is openly accepted as a normal behavior, then a society is well on its way to demise," she said.

UPDATE: Adams might not have to worry too much. A draft platform leaked Thursday eliminated the "fabric of society" language but added an endorsement of the discredited practive of "ex-gay" therapy.

Texas Conservatives Mobilizing To Bring Back State GOP's Hardline Anti-Immigrant Platform

Just two years after the Texas GOP passed a resolution in support of a national guest-worker program, Republican activists are hoping to scrap the plank at this week’s state party convention.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that several delegates have complained that the provision amounts to “amnesty” and doesn’t send the message that “illegal immigration is illegal and shouldn’t be tolerated.”

While Texas Republicans have pledged to focus on outreach to immigrant communities, their gubernatorial nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has pushed anti-immigrant policies and once described South Texas as a “Third World country.”

The GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, has railed against the “illegal invasion,” linking undocumented immigrants to rape, murder and terrorism. He also accused immigrants of “bringing Third World diseases with them.”

“They threaten your family. They threaten your life. They threaten your business. They threaten our state,” he said.

One prominent Latino Republican activist blasted Patrick and dubbed him “the Pete Wilson of Texas,” adding: “I don't know of one Hispanic Republican who isn’t appalled by Dan Patrick.”

Among those advocating for the return to more hardline language is the Texas Eagle Forum, the group led by former state GOP chairwoman Cathie Adams. Its proposed resolution on “amnesty” explicitly opposes reform efforts:

WHEREAS, The United States takes in more legal immigrants than any nation in the world;

WHEREAS, according to recent estimates, 11-20 million people are in the U.S. illegally; and WHEREAS, illegal employment and illegal immigration have a negative effect on American workers actively seeking jobs, and taxpayers who are saddled with paying illegals’ healthcare, education and welfare benefits;

WHEREAS, President Obama and many Congressional leaders are calling for amnesty for the 11-20 million illegal immigrants, thereby negating millions of immigrants who have been patiently waiting to be admitted legally to the United States.

THEREFORE BE IT IS RESOLVED that we reject any and all calls for blanket or incremental amnesty and encourage the enforcement of existing state and federal laws regarding border security, national security, immigration and employment.

Adams is especially worried that immigration reform will bring about the End Times:

Texas Religious Right Leader Warns LGBT Protections Will 'Terrorize Women And Children'

Rejecting the claims of Religious Right activists who warned that Houston’s proposed Equal Rights Ordinance was a demonic attempt to aid sexual predators, the Houston City Council voted 11-6 this week to approve the LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measure.

In an appearance on “The Janet Mefferd Show" yesterday, Jonathan Saenz of the group Texas Values reacted to the city council’s decision by declaring that the ordinance presented a “public safety risk.” Saenz alleged that it would empower “sexual predators” to “terrorize women and children,” suggesting that “other cities” experienced such incidents after passing legal protections for the transgender community.

Despite his claims, there is no evidence linking transgender protections to sex crimes.

Rafael Cruz: Obama Promoting 'Social Justice' In Order To Create 'Vast, Dependent Society'

In a radio interview yesterday, Rafael Cruz accused President Obama of promoting the concepts of “hyphenated Americans” and “social justice” in order to “create a vast, dependent society” and establish a “permanent voting base.”

Boston radio host and Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner asked Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz and a Cuban immigrant, if he thought that immigrants today are different from those when he came to the country because they “hang on to their ethnic identity” and “don’t seem to be as grateful or as appreciative of all the benefits and opportunities and freedoms that we have here.”

Cruz agreed with Kuhner’s assessment, and blamed the supposed ingratitude of immigrants on the Obama administration and its commitment to “social justice.”

“One of the things that this administration has been doing is look at each one of those so-called groups as the victims of society and pushing them into a dependent status so that they can keep them under their thumb,” he said. “The whole concept is if they can create a vast, dependent society upon government, then they feel they have a permanent voting base to maintain them in power. “

Kuhner: When you look at America today, 2014, to when you came to the United States, how do we treat immigrants differently in terms of assimilating them? Because I listen to you and I hear a red-blooded American. I look at many immigrants who come today, and they hang on to their ethnic identity. They’re hyphenated Americans, they talk multiculturalism, they don’t seem to be as grateful or as appreciative of all the benefits and opportunities and freedoms that we have here. Have you seen a change in your lifetime over how immigrants are assimilated into the melting pot when you came and the immigrant experience today?

Cruz: Well, obviously there’s a change, but we have to realize where the change comes from. The change, it is a program change. This administration wants to promote the concept of ‘hyphenated Americans.’ This administration is bent on what they call ‘social justice.’ Now we need to define the terms. The term ‘social justice’ sounds very good, but basically, social justice is collectivism. It is the rights of the group, and it denies individual responsibility. So this whole concept of looking at all these different hyphenated groups, whether it is, and even any other groups, they even consider women as a separate group. So it is a divide and conquer concept.

And one of the things that this administration has been doing is look at each one of those so-called groups as the victims of society and pushing them into a dependent status so that they can keep them under their thumb. The whole concept is if they can create a vast, dependent society upon government, then they feel they have a permanent voting base to maintain them in power.

And I think we don’t need to be talking about hyphenated Americans, because we are all Americans and we all want the same thing.

Cathie Adams Claims Muslim-Americans Are Waging 'Stealth Jihad,' Will Shoot You 'In The Back'

Cathie Adams, the president of the Texas Eagle Forum and former chairwoman of the Texas GOP, claimed in speech to a Tea Party group this week that Muslim-Americans practice a “warring religion” and are waging a “stealth jihad.” She warned that you can never know if a Muslim is “going to turn radical,” if they are telling you the truth, or if “when you walk out of their home” you will be “shot in the back.”

The Cleburne Times-Review reports that Adams made the remarks at a meeting of the Texas Patriots Tea Party on Tuesday.

Adams also went after pastors who allow Muslims to speak to their congregations and attacked Republican leaders, including anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and President George W. Bush, who she sees as too friendly to Muslims. Last year, Adams speculated that Norquist is a Muslim himself because he has a beard.

The government and the culture of the United States are being infiltrated and undermined by “a warring religion,” and the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the drive, conservative political activist Cathie Adams warned those attending Tuesday’s meeting of the Texas Patriot Tea Party.

But Adams said that the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda includes creating a worldwide Islamic state, including the U.S., by overturning the laws and constitutions of other countries and replacing them all with Sharia law.

It’s motto, she said, is “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Adams told her audience on Tuesday not to be taken in by claims that Islam is a peaceful religion, adding that just listening to public statements by Muslim leaders and reading the tenets of Islam provides ample evidence to the contrary.

Sharia law, Adams said, tells Muslims everything on how to live, and that it is “held by every Muslim,” not just extremists. “How do you know who is going to turn radical when every Muslim embraces Sharia law” she said.

Adams said that while Islam teaches Muslims not to lie to other Muslims, on the other hand it demands that Muslims lie to non-Muslims when necessary to protect and promote Islam.

“If it’s a Muslim telling you something, you really don’t know if it’s the truth or a lie,” she said.

And while Muslims are “extremely hospitable when you are under their roof,” as required by their religion, that hospitality ends as soon as you leave their home. “Walk out of their home and you can be shot in the back,” Adams said.

Adams quoted conservative author and investigative journalist Paul Sperry, who wrote in his book “Infiltration” that in Islam, America is fighting “a perfect enemy” that exploits America’s own culture and its tax laws to undermine the government and culture. She said Muslims in the U.S. are staging a “stealth jihad” and waging political and psychological warfare on this country.

Political leaders are being manipulated and Muslim forces are using the schools to indoctrinate young people, Adams said. Even some churches are being taken in, she said, adding that some Christian pastors have allowed Muslims to speak from their pulpits.

“They say, ‘We all worship the same God.’ No, we do not,” Adams said. “Ultimately their god is represented by a black stone. Their prophet is dead and buried in the grave, and he did not rise on Easter. If you want to be kind to Muslims, be kind with the gospel.”

Even some people seen as conservative leaders are playing into the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda, Adams said, including Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist and former President George W. Bush.

“We’ve got trouble brewing,” Adams said. But, she added, “I am not discouraged, because he is still on his throne and he will overcome and we will be victorious.”

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.

Rafael Cruz Falsely Claims San Antonio Banned Pastors From Preaching From The Bible

Speaking on a Tea Party Unity conference call last week, Rafael Cruz said that pastors in San Antonio can be fined for preaching from the Bible, a patently false claim but part of a larger Religious Right smear campaign against the city’s non-discrimination ordinance [PDF].

The ordinance added sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing city policy prohibiting discrimination, a move opposed by many Republicans, including Rafael Cruz’s son, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The debate over the recently passed ordinance featured several over-the-top reactions, including a rant from a city councilwoman who called homosexuality “disgusting.”

While speaking on the call with extremist pastor and TPU founder Rick Scarborough, who introduced Ted Cruz at the 2012 Values Voter Summit, the elder Cruz claimed that pastors who preach Romans 1 — which some pastors interpret as a condemnation of homosexuality — can be fined $500 a day, a claim with no basis in reality.

“All we have to do is turn on the news and every day we see more and more encroachment upon pastors from this administration,” Cruz said. “All they have to do is be aware of what’s happening around us and to be aware, for example, that in the city of San Antonio, if a pastor speaks on Romans 1, he could be even fined $500 a day until he retracts what he said.”

Scarborough went on to warn that the “lesbian mayor of Houston” will impose a similar “sanctions [on pastors] if they preach the Bible.”

Cruz also suggested in the conference call that “wicked” people are currently in charge of the government: “We’ve stayed at home and we allowed the wicked to elect wicked politicians to rule us. We get what we deserve, Rick. We need to get up the charge that God is giving us and move to the forefront and call this nation to repentance and call this nation to righteousness.”

Cruz has previously alleged that Satan controls the US government.

Eagle Forum Hopes To Make The GOP Even More Hostile To Gay Rights

Remember how the Texas Republican Party’s 2012 platform drew national attention for its radical and bizarre political positions?

Well, if the Texas Eagle Forum has its way, the GOP state and county party committees would preserve their extremist stances and go even farther in embracing the far-right.

The group has unveiled its lists of proposed resolutions for party committees in hopes of shaping the state GOP’s 2014 platform, asking members to demand Congress impeach and remove judges who rule in favor of gay rights and urge the party to approve a resolution condemning homosexuality:

WHEREAS, the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit; and
WHEREAS, the practice of homosexuality is unhealthy and puts the American public at risk for disease; according to the CDC, homosexuals make up only 2% of the U.S. population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV, especially young men 13-24 years of age; and
WHEREAS, homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that homosexuality should not be presented as an acceptable lifestyle in public policy, and the “family” should not be redefined to include same-sex “couples.”
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin, and we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

The model resolution is almost exactly the same as the one found in the current Texas GOP platform [PDF], which reads:

We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

But the group, led by Cathie Adams, now wants the party to go one step further by endorsing the discredited practice of ex-gay therapy:

WHEREAS Reparative therapy and other Sexual Orientation Change Efforts are based on the understanding that healing emotional wounds and reducing shame will reduce same-sex attraction and empower individuals to live in accordance with their own faith and values;
WHEREAS, psychological and spiritual counseling have been well-documented in scientific and psychological literature to help individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions reduce and/or eliminate their unwanted homosexual feelings;
WHEREAS, laws have recently been passed in California and New Jersey severely restricting the free speech rights of licensed therapists who support counseling/therapy to change or reduce homosexual behavior in individuals who seek their help;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that licensed therapists, psychologists and counselors in the state of Texas cannot be forbidden or penalized by any licensing board for practicing reparative therapy and supporting clients of any age with sexual orientation change efforts.

Another proposed resolution warns that “religious liberty is under severe attack in our churches, schools, the military and the public arena by anti-religious organizations and the federal government,” calling on elected officials to reject “the ‘politically correct’ efforts by the Obama administration and anti-religious groups to intimidate, bully, and silence people of faith.”

Texas Eagle Forum’s recommended resolutions call for required drug testing for welfare recipients and sweeping opposition to gun safety laws while featuring warnings about the purported use of foreign laws in US courts, which are all resolutions that are part of the current Texas GOP platform.

The group also proposes a resolution asserting that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence” that humans have no influence on the climate and that “the earth has not warmed since 1998,” referring to climate change as a “non-existent theory of climate change [that] is a political agenda which attempts to control every aspect of our lives.” Similarly, Texas Republicans have a plank on “protections from extreme environmentalists.”

We strongly oppose all efforts of the extreme environmental groups that stymie legitimate business interests. We strongly oppose those efforts that attempt to use the environmental causes to purposefully disrupt and stop those interests within the oil and gas industry. We strongly support the immediate repeal of the Endangered Species Act. We strongly oppose the listing of the dune sage brush lizard either as a threatened or an endangered species. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished.

Rep. Lamar Smith Bashes DREAMers Who Want To Join Military, Claims Obama 'Aiding And Abetting' Immigrant Crime Spree

In an interview with anti-immigrant radio host Joyce Kaufmann yesterday, Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas expressed dismay at undocumented immigrants joining the military and cited a disputed study to claim that the Obama administration is “aiding and abetting crimes in America by intentionally releasing illegal aliens back into our communities.”

The interview took place at an annual event hosted by the extreme anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Smith, apparently citing a flawed study from the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies, claimed that the Obama administration “has released tens of thousands of criminal aliens”  and is “putting those folks back on the street” to go on and “commit crimes from murder on up and down.” The administration is “absolutely guilty of aiding and abetting crimes in America by intentionally releasing illegal aliens back into our communities,” he insisted.

Barletta also reacted poorly to a congressional proposal to allow DREAMers who enlist in the military to earn a path to citizenship. “Can you imagine illegal immigrants suddenly being eligible to put on a uniform and defend our borders?,” he asked incredulously.

We have a situation where they’re supporting efforts to give amnesty to illegal immigrants who join the military. Can you imagine illegal immigrants suddenly being eligible to put on a uniform and defend our borders?

You know, you have an administration who has released tens of thousands of criminal aliens, illegal aliens either charged with or guilty of crimes. They’re putting those folks back on the street. And we’ve got a list now of tens of thousands of additional crimes these folks have committed. Again, that is totally the responsibility, it’s more than the responsibility of the administration, they’re absolutely guilty of aiding and abetting crimes in America by intentionally releasing illegal aliens back into our communities. And they commit crimes from murder on up and down. And inexcusable, it could have been prevented, this administration has to take responsibility for their actions.

As Benjamin Johnson of the American Immigration Council explains, Smith's claim about the administration putting "tens of thousands of criminal aliens...back on the street" is far from the truth:

The claim in the CIS report that ICE has simply chosen to “release” 68,000 “criminal aliens” through the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” is inaccurate. Being released by ICE is not the equivalent of being set free. It often means being released with an ankle bracelet or under an order of supervision, or issued a notice to appear in court. Just as importantly, many of the immigrants being released have committed minor, non-violent offenses that do not constitute a threat to public safety. These details were conveniently left out of the CIS analysis.

In fact, research has shown that immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than the native-born population.

 

 

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?

That Person Who Was Mean To Rep. Pete Olson On Twitter Needs To 'Get The Heck Out Of America'

When the news broke earlier this week of another shooting at Fort Hood, Texas Republican Congressman Pete Olson's office sent out a tweet asking for people to pray, to which someone else on Twitter responded that what is needed is not prayer but for "cowardly congressman" to stand up to the NRA:

Apparently, this Twitter exchange was deeply upsetting to Olson because, when he appeared on Steve Malzberg's program yesterday to discuss the shooting, he brought it up four separate times during the ten minute interview.

Olson said he was experiencing a "deep anger" because this "cold, heartless liberal" did not support his call to prayer and instead sought to use the tragedy to promote a political agenda.

"Outrageous," Olson said. "Outrageous. So I'm angry about that."

Olson proceeded to mention this tweet several more times during the discussion and even closed out the interview by asking listeners of the program to go on to Twitter themselves and "respond to that women who gave the outrageous comment" and send her a message to "get the heck out of America":

Cruz, Huckabee & Abbott To Join Religious Right Leaders For Christian Nationalist Summit

The Texas state chapter of David Lane’s extremist American Renewal Project is set to host Sen. Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott, the state attorney general and GOP gubernatorial nominee, at a “Pastors’ Policy Briefing” next month. Cruz has also addressed the group’s chapters in Iowa and South Carolina, two early primary states.

Mike Huckabee, who like Cruz has also floated the possibility of running for president in 2016, will also appear at the event.

The Texas Freedom Network points out that at a Texas “Pastors’ Policy Briefing” in 2005, Dwight McKissic said that God used Hurricane Katrina “to purify our nation” from gay people.

Joining Cruz and Abbott will include Religious Right favorites including American Family Association founder Don Wildmon; pseudo-historian and anti-gay activist David Barton; anti-gay preacher Ken Graves; right-wing conspiracy theorist William Federer and Laurence White, who believes God is about to destroy America.

John Cornyn Meets With And Supports Dr. Steve Hotze

Just last week, Dr. Steve Hotze made news for sending out a Republican Party fundraising letter in which he declared that "our Founding Fathers would be furious to find out that the Constitution was being interpreted to allow sodomites to marry."

This sort of rhetoric is not at all surprising coming from someone like Hotze, who was responsible for anti-gay mailings that attacked Houston mayor Annise Parker and who believes that "medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin":

Hotze was able to better articulate his views in 1986, when he was one of dozens of ministers, professionals and laypersons who signed the Coalition on Revival's Manifesto for the Christian Church. The coalition claims on its Web site to be a national network of religious leaders aligned in a mission "to help the Church rebuild civilization on the principles of the Bible so God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven." They want all aspects of life -- government, science and education -- to adhere to fundamental biblical beliefs. These beliefs include the following:

• A wife may work outside the home only with her husband's consent

• "Biblical spanking" that results in "temporary or superficial bruises or welts" should not be considered a crime

• No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath

• All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve

• Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin

• "Increased longevity generally results from obedience to specific Biblical commands"

• Treatment of the "physical body" is not a doctor's highest priority

• Doctors have a priestly calling

• People receiving medical treatment are not immune from divine intervention or demonic forces

• Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health

So naturally, when Hotze was in Washington, DC last week, he was invited to have a personal meeting with Sen. John Cornyn to discuss Cornyn's support for Hotze's lawsuit against Obamacare:

The Cost Of Being Kris Kobach’s Guinea Pig

Yesterday, Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach suffered a double setback when the Supreme Court refused to hear appeals of decisions striking down two local anti-immigrant ordinances that Kobach had written and shepherded through the courts. Now, both towns are facing the possibility of paying legal fees for opponents on top of years of legal costs that they had already incurred.

Kobach was behind an ordinance in Farmers Branch, Texas, that required people to prove they were in the country legally in order to rent a home and one in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, that would have penalized people who rent to or employ undocumented immigrants. Both ordinances were struck down by federal courts, and neither town succeeded in appealing those decisions to the Supreme Court.

In August, the Dallas Morning News reported that Farmers Branch, a town of 29,000 people, had already spent $6 million defending the law since it was first passed in 2006, and expected to pay $2 million in legal fees for its opponents if it lost in the courts. The town has already been forced to cut back in other areas of its budget in order to keep up with the costs of defending the ordinance, despite a $500,000 contribution from real estate heir Trammell Crow.

Meanwhile, Hazleton reported last year that it had spent nearly $500,000 on legal fees since 2006, financed mostly from donations from an online fundraising campaign, along with a $50,000 gift from Crow. But the Hazleton Standard Speaker reports today that the city’s legal defense fund has dried up and it’s facing the possibility of paying millions of dollars in legal fees for civil rights groups that challenged the law. The town of 25,000 faces these costs on top of a pension fund deficit of over $28 million.

Even Kobach-backed ordinances that fare better in the courts can still present huge costs for cities that take up his anti-immigrant crusade. Residents of Fremont, Nebraska, voted last month to keep a similar Kobach-written anti-immigrant ordinance after it was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Since the ordinance was first passed in 2010, the town raised its property taxes in order to set aside $1.5 million to pay legal fees and implementation costs; the town also risks losing millions of dollars in future federal grants.

While Kobach uses small cities to push his anti-immigrant experiments, those cities are forced to foot the bill as they work through the courts. The cities sometimes even pay for Kobach's services. The Southern Poverty Law Center noted in 2011 that "Kobach has said that he normally charges about $50,000 a year to defend his ordinances against legal challenges. He described that rate as under market and said he wants to ensure 'the cities can afford it.'"

States that push Kobach's harsh anti-immigrant laws have also faced enormous costs. Arizona spent millions of dollars defending SB1070 before it was ultimately largely struck down by the Supreme Court, and lost an estimated $23 million in tax revenue and $350 in direct spending from a resulting economic boycott.

Kobach’s home state is hardly immune from this either – state election officials are now facing the possibility of having to set up a dual elections system in which 15,000 voters caught up in Kobach’s voter ID plan will be allowed to vote only in federal elections – a costly bureaucratic nightmare.

Religious Right Activists Promise 'Epic Battle' In Texas Marriage Case

Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values, who has called this week’s marriage equality ruling in Texas a “hollow victory,” yesterday called it “one of the most egregious forms of judicial activism of our generation.” “The federal judiciary is out of control,” Saenz told Family Research Council head Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch.

He promised that there would be an “epic battle” to defeat marriage equality in Texas.

Similarly irate, Perkins said that judges and the Obama administration believe they can “tear away at the foundation of the rule of law” when it comes to the issue of marriage equality, which he warned will lead to “anarchy” and a “breakdown of society altogether.”

Jeffress On Texas Marriage Ruling: 'No Nation Can Survive That Condones What God Has Condemned'

Robert Jeffress was interviewed yesterday about the decision by a federal judge striking down Texas' same-sex marriage ban. Not surprisingly, he did not agree with the ruling, declaring that there is no such thing as a constitutional right to marry, which is why siblings are not allow to marry one another.

It was God who created the institution of marriage to be between one man and one woman, Jeffress stated, warning that America will not survive if it continues to condone "what God has condemned."

"As an American," he said, "I also realize that no nation can survive that condones what God has condemned. And God has condemned homosexuality, just like he does adultery or per-marital sex, as being wrong and, as a nation, we cannot be blessed by God if we're rejecting God":

Oddly, we don't see a lot of Religious Right activists leading efforts to outlaw adultery and per-marital sex or make it legal to discriminate against people on such grounds.

Rafael Cruz: Obama Wants to 'Take Our God And Our Guns' To 'Impose A Dictatorship Upon Us'

In a 2012 campaign speech for his son, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Rafael Cruz warned that President Obama was pushing for gun violence prevention laws in order to “impose a dictatorship upon us.”

“They are trying to take our God and our guns,” he said in the speech, which was uploaded to YouTube in July 2012. “And if they do that, then they can impose a dictatorship upon us.”

Cruz also pushed the conspiracy theory that the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty would “impose a ban on guns.”

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