5 Shameful Right-Wing Moments This Week: Ted Cruz Celebrates Guns!

Nothing says Christmas like a family cradling their firearms.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Janet Allon

Emphasis Mine

1. Ted Cruz has a banner week.

Ted Cruz is rising in the polls. He cannot catch Donald Trump, who according to CNN has 36 percent. But Cruz has cruised to second, with 16 percent by CNN’s count, edging out the once-popular Ben Carson, whose gaffe-filled couple of weeks (Hamas is not to be confused with hummus) has been amusing but costly to the good doc. Cruz’s formula for newfound success with the ever-wise Republican base? Just be as big a douchebag as possible—in other words for Cruz, be yourself. No one does it better.

Cruz picked up some nice gun-wingnut support by hosting a celebration of gun culture just days after the San Bernardino killings. Technically, he had scheduled his National 2nd Amendment Coalition at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa in advance of the California tragedy, but his timing could not have been better. (For its part Crossroads Shooting Sports has said that part of its mission is to “glorify God in all we do.” Glorifying God by shooting things, where have we heard of that before?) In any case, when it comes to Cruz’s timing, the sad fact is you don’t have to be exactly prescient in this country to schedule a gun celebration to coincide with a mass shooting. Because guns, like America, are great. That’s why we’re number 1.

Cruz found plenty of other topics to be creepy about this week. He talked to supporters about how condoms are readily available, and how he’s glad because he and his wife have two daughters instead of 17 of them. Despite the fact that no one in the entire world, including Ted Cruz supporters, wants to hear about his sex life or envision it in any way, he rattled on about the lack of a “rubber shortage” and how he—well, not him, but people—could just buy condoms right out of a machine in dormitory bathrooms in college. (Seriously, do those machines ever work? Definitely not when they’re dispensing


Cruz capped off yet another week of stellar ass-hattery by asserting to his supporters that the “overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats,” apropos of nothing and based on even less.

And the primary voters lapped it up.

2. New York Post openly peddles racism.

There was absolutely no subtlety to the blatant hatemongering Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post engaged in the day after the mass shootings in San Bernardino. Rather than call it mass murder, or even a bloody massacre, which is more tabloidy and would have sold papers, the Post went all in for Islamophobic race-baiting with the gigantic headline, “Muslim Murder,” over a picture of a female victim’s bloody, partially undressed body.

Does this signal a new editorial policy on the part of the paper to feature crime perpetrators’ religion over all else? Can we expect headlines about Christian robbers and Jewish killers? No, we all know we cannot. Do the editors of the New York Post think for a second about their utter hypocrisy and their deliberate endangerment of hundreds of thousands of innocent, peace-loving people just living their lives in America?

No, it is safe to say they do not.

3. Louie Gohmert has a theory and it all makes perfect sense.

As is fairly well known now, Texas tea partier Louie Gohmert is not a terribly clever man. Unless by clever you mean capable of cooking up absurd conspiracy theories about immigrants and President Obama. The less than intelectually gifted Republican representative claimed Friday that the Obama administration has purposely “let loose” criminals and brought “massive” numbers of “violent terrorists” into the country so that the mean old president can tell Americans to “give up your Second Amendment rights because I let all these terrorists in.”


Gohmert described this elaborate and diabolical plot on the part of the president (and would-be president Clinton) at great length while guest-hosting crazy Christian crusader Tony Perkins’ “Washington Watch.” Gohmert’s rant was just as fact-free and scare-mongering as you might imagine, with claims that refugees have been brought into this country and charged with terrorism and that the people pouring over our “porous border” are committing crimes in mass quantities. Yet the sole example of an undocumented immigrant harming someone is the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle—which authorities have said was a tragic accident.

It’s not just the porous border, Gohmert further claimed; the Department of Homeland Security is in on the plot too, and is deliberately distributing criminals all over the country.

Jiminy cricket!

It’s all part of one gigantic brilliant plan to restrict gun sales to terrorists just so the gub-mint can take all the guns away from everyone and impose Sharia law.

Amen brother. It all makes total and perfect sense when you lay it out like that.

4. Nevada lawmaker posts festive, armed-to-the-teeth Christmas card.

Nothing says Christmas like a family cradling their firearms.

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore captured the true meaning of Christmas with her 2015 family Christmas card, which she posted on Facebook this week. In it, every member of her clan above the age of toddlerhood is packing. And so many different kinds of weapons to choose from! There’s a Beretta, some Glocks, a Walther P22 for 5-year-old Jake, and for Michele, a Serbu Super-Shorty 12-gauge shotgun. Woohoo. This marvelous public servant was a big supporter of wonderful, law-abiding Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. She told MSNBC, “Don’t come here with guns and expect the American people not to fire back.”

For the holidays, she went with a much sweeter tone. “It’s up to Americans to protect America,” her festive message said. “We’re just your ordinary American family.”

Oh, good God, no.

holiday joy
holiday joy

5. Kim Davis’ right-wing Christian lawyer thinks she should be Time magazine’s person of the year.

Because, of course he does.

Just not for the same reason that sane people think she might merit

For the holidays, she went with a much sweeter tone. “It’s up to Americans to protect America,” her festive message said. “We’re just your ordinary American family.”

Oh, good God, no.

Because, of course he does.

Just not for the same reason that sane people think she might merit that distinction.


See: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/5-shameful-right-wing-moments-week-ted-cruz-celebrates-guns?akid=13741.123424.rHkGmA&rd=1&src=newsletter1046852&t=4

Actress Jennifer Lawrence Rips Trump, Kim Davis & Republican Bigots In Epic Interview

final_newsletter_imageSource: occupy democrats.com

Author:Colin Taylor

Emphasis Mine

World-famous actress Jennifer Lawrence was raised a Republican – but is horrified by the monster the Grand Old Party has become today. In a recent interview with Vogue, Lawrence slammed the conservative party for their downright backward attitudes towards women’s rights and the rising power of religious zealots within the movement.

“I was raised a Republican but I just can’t imagine supporting a party that doesn’t support women’s basic rights. It’s 2015 and gay people can get married and we think that we’ve come so far, so, yay! But have we? I don’t want to stay quiet about that stuff.

My view on the election is pretty cut-and-dried. If Donald Trump is president of the United States, it will be the end of the world. And he’s also the best thing to happen to the Democrats ever.”

It truly is appalling how a party attempting to make a case for the presidency of the United States treats a full half of the electorate with such condascending disdain. From Sen. Marco Rubio‘s (R-FL) horrendous assertions that women are “getting pregnant to sell the fetus to Planned Parenthood” to Ben Carson’s comparison of rape victims who have abortions to slave owners, the GOP simply refuses to rid itself of the rampant misogyny that one expects to hear from a religious extremist group like the Taliban but not a political party seeking election in a global superpower. 

Lawrence also took aim at embattled bigot Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who made headlines when she was jailed for refusing to do her job and sign marriage licenses for LGBT couples. The Hunger Games actress did not mince her words: “Kim Davis? Don’t even say her name in this house. [She is a] lady who makes me embarrassed to be from Kentucky. All those people holding their crucifixes, which may as well be pitchforks, thinking they’re fighting the good fight. I grew up in Kentucky. I know how they are.”

Lawrence is one of many Republican across the nation who are very distraught with the Republican Party’s slide into the depths of delusional extremism. We welcome her to the side of empathy, rationality, and reason.

See: http://wp.me/p3h8WX-5Hn

The GOP’s Vicious Religious Warfare: The Arms Race for Extremists’ Hearts and Minds

Trump, Cruz, Huckabee & Carson are engaging in a heated campaign to get the support of the religious right.

Source: Salon, via AlterNet

Author: Heather Digby Parton

Emphasis Mine

Trump, Cruz, Huckabee & Carson are engaging in a heated campaign to get the support of the religious right.

There is a lot of talk in the political media about the “invisible primary,” which is the lining up of big donors and establishment endorsements. On the Democratic side, the winner of this invisible primary so far is Hillary Clinton, who has gathered many endorsements and has collected a healthy amount of major Democratic donor money. On the Republican side the invisible primary is almost as fractious as the campaign itself, with Bush, Walker, Kasich, Rubio and the rest of the allegedly establishment candidates wooing and being wooed by Republican billionaires of all stripes — conservative, ultra-conservative and extreme. Trump is already a big winner of his own invisible primary; at yesterday’s Iran rally he promised even more declaring,  “I’ll win so much, you’ll get bored with winning”.

But there’s another invisible primary going on as well and it’s an important one: the Evangelical primary. I’ve written here before about how important this constituency is to the GOP base. Indeed, one might even say that white Evangelical voters and the churches to which they belong are as important to the Republicans as the unions are to the Democrats. They are the footsoldiers. And as much as the elites may want to keep them under control and out of sight when the national zeitgeist shifts against conservative morality (it goes back and forth), since at least 1980 they know they cannot alienate them. And any conservative politician who is building himself or herself a long career needs to cultivate them carefully.

So, in this hugely populated race for the GOP presidential nomination, this invisible Evangelical primary could be more salient than usual. While the field is full of religious-right candidates — like Scott Walker, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal, just to name three also-rans — it is Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson who are the clear favorites. (Walker polls in the middle of the field but he’s been having problems with Christian conservatives for some time, despite his impressive evangelical bona fides.)

Trump is currently polling well among Evangelicals, but it’s unlikely that a serial divorcer with a shaky record on abortion can hold this whole group no matter how many times he declares that the Bible is his favorite book. But as I wrote here, it won’t be for lack of trying. Trump has been doing outreach with the Christian right since 2012 and spent a lot of money and time cultivating their support.

Nonetheless, Ben Carson leads the invisible evangelical primary in Iowa at the moment. Polls show him gaining significantly on Trump there and with such a large contingent of religious right voters, the very pious Carson is a natural favorite. He is a political  extremist, but then so are they. The big question has been if Carson could do as well in evangelical circles in southern states. If the new PPP poll is correct, he’s certainly doing better than any of the others in South Carolina, so that’s a good sign. Trump has almost double his support though, which is perhaps why Carson challenged the sincerity of Trump’s faith yesterday.

But what of the other two big Christian right contenders, Huckabee and Cruz? Well, they seem to be going head to head, fighting for pre-eminence among the more militant of religious conservatives. This week we saw quite a spectacle with Cruz nearly coming to blows with a Huckabee staffer at the Kim Davis rally when Cruz tried to join the group onstage. Huckabee’s campaign had reportedly done all the leg work for the rally and perhaps they thought that Cruz was crashing their event like some Code Pink protester. In any case, the little contretemps showed just how important it is for candidates of the Christian right to be seen as warriors for family values and religious liberty. Kim Davis and her stand against gay marriage was an excellent way to show fealty to the cause.

Unfortunately, there was only room for one Christian soldier on that stage, and Huckabee used all of it, strutting around unctuously begging the authorities to let Kim Davis go and take him instead — even though Davis was a free woman standing right there on the the side of the stage. Judging by the response at right-wing Twitter aggregation site Twitchy, conservatives were divided on who won that round, with some calling Huckabee disgraceful and others saying “if Ted Cruz can’t stand up to Mike Huckabee …”

Cruz pouted for a bit and then headed back to Washington to join the rally against the Iran peace agreement and once again call the president “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.” He seemed a bit overshadowed at that event as well, as Trump and Sarah Palin took the spotlight and competed for who could serve the best word-salad for lunch.

However, Cruz did have some very good news yesterday, which may just put him over the top of the invisible Evangelical primary when all is said and done:

David Barton, an influential Christian author and activist, is taking charge of the leading super-PAC supporting Ted Cruz.

The super-PAC, Keep the Promise PAC, is the umbrella for a group of related pro-Cruz political committees that raised $38 million in the first half of the year, more than the super-PACs supporting any other candidate with the exception of Jeb Bush.

Barton’s appointment highlights the role that Evangelical Christians are playing in the Cruz campaign. The Texas senator is the son of a preacher and announced his presidential bid at Liberty University, a Christian institution founded by the televangelist Jerry Falwell.

Barton is a self-taught historian, former school administrator and the founder of Wallbuilders, a group dedicated to the idea that the U.S. was established as a Christian nation and should embrace those roots. Time Magazine named him one of the country’s top 25 most influential Evangelicals in 2005.

There is no one more responsible than David Barton for the vast amounts of misinformation and downright lies the evangelical right believes about the fundamental nature of the U.S. constitution and the founders’ intentions. He has quite literally written a parallel history, using phony documents and misconstrued facts to prove that the American Revolution was a religious crusade for the express purpose of creating a Christian nation. He was most recently exposed as a fraud when constitutional scholars of all political persuasions proved that  his book “The Jefferson Lies” was riddled with errors and his publisher withdrew it from the shelves. Not that it mattered. As usual in these cases, Barton insisted he was a persecuted martyr and his stock among the Christian conservatives went way up.

If Mike Huckabee thought he won a battle by keeping Cruz off the stage down there in Tennessee, Cruz knew he won the war. Barton is not only a Christian right superstar; he also has a huge boatload of money to spend on him. His “Keep the Promise” PAC is is funded by some extremely wealthy conservative energy billionaires from Texas and one hugely wealthy hedge fund billionaire from New York, who mainly wants to abolish the IRS. Their investment makes the statement announcing Barton’s appointment downright hilarious:

“From the outset, the Keep the Promise PACs made their mission to provide a voice for the millions of courageous conservatives who are looking to change the direction of the country. Barton’s involvement is an important step signaling that the effort will not be run by a D.C. consultant but by a grassroots activist.”

Nothing says “grassroots” like fracking billionaires and hedge-fund tycoons. But in a way it’s a perfect amalgam of the invisible donor primary and the invisible Evangelical primary. Big money and big Christian Right cred. It’s probably too early to declare that Cruz has scored a win — after all, “the Evangelicals love Trump” too and Carson remains a threat. But he’s definitely a player. And whatever happens in the presidential race, that makes Cruz an even more powerful figure on the right.



Source: Religion Dispatches

Author: Sarah Posner

Emphasis Mine

Years ago, I remember Christian right leaders fretting about pastors going to jail if they expressed their anti-gay views; when that didn’t come to pass, they fretted about churches losing their tax-exempt status. These worst case scenarios never happened, because we have this thing called the First Amendment, which protects peoples’ and churches’ right to say gay people are going to hell, or shouldn’t be able to get married, or should be cured by divine redemption.

Years later, the Christian right finally has its martyr in Kim Davis. Thanks to United States district judge David Bunning—who, despite having other options for securing marriage licenses for all Rowan County, Kentucky residents, ordered Davis to jail for six days—a new heroine was born.

Yet while Davis is most obviously a symbol for a Christian right bent on claiming its religious freedom is under siege, she is really a symbol of something else entirely. The Republican Party, and even its most reliable base of support, the Christian right, is being forced to move on when it comes to the marriage issue. According to a 2014 Pew survey, 58 percent of Republican millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) favor gay marriage. A Public Religion Research Institute survey conducted last year found “white evangelical Protestant Millennials are more than twice as likely to favor same-sex marriage as the oldest generation of white evangelical Protestants (43% vs. 19%).” That’s not a majority of millennial white evangelicals, but it’s certainly significant, given that this demographic has long been one of the staunchest opponents of marriage equality.

Davis, then, is a little late to the party, an anachronism delivered to the doorstep of the party’s most desperate presidential candidates. Her host and chief supporter Mike Huckabee reminded us at yesterday’s rally in Grayson, Kentucky, that Davis came to Christ just four and a half years ago. To her, everything is new again, but to evangelicals who have either embraced marriage equality or acquiesced to its inevitability, her rebirth as a celebrity victim of Rowan County’s gay and lesbian betrotheds and of the judiciary’s “tyranny” must feel a bit stale.

The Davis phenomenon has some Republicans worried, as Sahil Kapur and Greg Stohr report at Bloomberg. “I think the longer this lingers, the worse it is for the Republican Party and for the conservative movement,” John Feehery, a Republican strategist and lobbyist, told Bloomberg, adding that Davis’s stance “smacks of bigotry.”

Then there is the matter of the law. Yesterday Davis embraced Huckabee and lawyer Mat Staver, both of whom have pronounced the Supreme Court to be without authority to decide constitutional questions like whether bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Even Fox News host Gregg Jarrett called this view “stunningly obtuse” and his guest Sharon Liko, a lawyer, called it “ridiculously stupid.” Piling on, the network’s Shepard Smith described the entire spectacle as a “religious play” and criticized Davis’s refusal to accept an accommodation, adding, “Haters are going to hate. We thought what this woman wanted was an accommodation, which they’ve granted her, something that worked for everybody. But it’s not what they want.”

While not a majority view among a group of evangelical thought leaders interviewed for the web site Breakpoint, Hunter Baker, a lawyer and political science professor at Union University, opined, “Kim Davis’s office is obligated to perform the state function of issuing wedding certificates. She disagrees that marriage can exist between two people of the same sex. I agree with her.” But, Baker maintained, “the state of Kentucky has little choice other than to respect the ruling of the Supreme Court.”

Who else agrees with that statement? None other than Donald Trump, who called the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges “the law of the land.”

Trump’s perch atop the GOP field is, of course, driving his adversaries in search of a potent boost from the fractured evangelical base. At yesterday’s rally, a Huckabee aide did the Christ-like thing of blocking Ted Cruz from a key photo opportunity with Davis; after all, the Bible does say those polling in the single-digits shall reap the glory of exploitative publicity stunts.

While Trump’s summertime standing with evangelicals was thought to be a blip, it has persisted into September—along with continued analyses of why. “Mr. Trump’s criticism of the Obama administration and of Republican Party leaders has many social conservatives cheering for him,” theWall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Writing on the Fox News website, Robert Jeffress, the Texas megachurch pastor who in 2011 called Mormonism a “cult,” maintains, “No Evangelical I know is expecting Trump to lead our nation in a spiritual revival.” But, he goes on, President Barack Obama has “drastically lowered the threshold of spiritual expectations Evangelicals have of their president. No longer do they require their president to be one of them. Evangelicals will settle for someone who doesn’t HATE them like the current occupant of the Oval Office appears to.”

Do evangelicals need Kim Davis, political motivator? She may very well have missed her moment.



See: http://religiondispatches.org/why-kim-davis-has-missed-her-moment/?utm_source=Religion+Dispatches+Newsletter&utm_campaign=340945f750-RD_Daily_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_742d86f519-340945f750-42427517

The Kim Davis debacle reveals a frightening truth about a desperate, radicalized christian right

They don’t have the numbers anymore, so they are turning to scarier and more radical demands to seize power in any way that they can.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte

Emphasis Mine

The saga of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for a weekend rather than sign off on same-sex marriage certificates, might seem like it’s a last gasp for the anti-gay right; an attempt to eke out some kind of victory after having lost their two-decade fight against same-sex marriage. Unable to stop same-sex couples from marrying, Davis, along with a handful of anti-gay florists and bakers, strives instead to just make getting the license an embarrassing hassle. It’s childish sore loser behavior, the equivalent of a baseball player pouting in the dugout and refusing to shake hands with his opponent because he didn’t win the game.

Because of this, liberals can be forgiven for laughing and moving on, not particularly worried about Davis, whose temper tantrum isn’t even preventing the licenses from being issued any longer, as the judge authorized her deputies to hand them out. Unfortunately, though, Davis’s behavior isn’t just a bratty tantrum. This whole incident is also a sign of a troubling development in the religious right: As their cultural power declines in the face of growing diversity and liberalism, religious conservatives are embracing scary levels of radicalism. They don’t have the numbers anymore, so they are turning to scarier and more radical demands to seize power in any way that they can.

No doubt Davis is a comical figure whose self-righteousness is only equaled by her ignorance both of the text of the Bible she clings to and what it means to have a job as a government employee. But she’s being used by her legal team and other religious right leaders to spread the idea that religious conservatives are entitled to ignore –– or even overthrow — democracy and seize power just because they feel like it.

Some supporters, like Ryan Anderson of the New York Times, are claiming that Davis wants an “accommodation” for her religious beliefs. This is, to put it bluntly, a lie. Davis was offered just such an accommodation and told that she doesn’t have to personally issue the licenses so long as her deputies were allowed to do so. She declined that compromise, insisting that she be able to actually prevent same-sex couples from getting licenses in her county altogether.

What Davis is asking for is not an accommodation at all, but for the right to declare, by fiat, that Rowan County, Kentucky, is a mini-theocracy not beholden to the laws of the land, but by the whims of Kim Davis. Her legal team wants you to see her as a sweet but faithful woman, but in fact she’s trying to pull a coup here, claiming that “God’s authority” — read Kim Davis’s authority — trumps our entire democratic system.

It’s not just her, either. Rena Lindevaldsen, who works for the Liberty Counsel that is handling Davis’s case, has taken to boldly arguing that Christians have the right to overthrow the democratically elected government and simply impose their will by fiat. “Whether it’s zoning or taxes or marriage or abortion, in those issues, government doesn’t have authority to say that these things are appropriate because they’re contrary to Scripture,” Lindevaldsen recently argued in front of Liberty University. Which is to say that even though the government has declared abortion legal, if you decide you don’t want your neighbors getting abortions, you should be able to declare yourself a God-appointed authority and simply shut it down. If you don’t want to pay taxes, declare yourself a “sovereign citizen.”

Mike Huckabee has been at the frontlines of pushing the claim that Christian conservatives simply have the right to ignore or overturn democracy to impose their will, and not just because he’s been running around Kentucky, trying to get himself on camera as much as possible in support of Davis’s attempt to ban gay marriage by fiat. He’s also been using the campaign trail to argue that the president should be able to simply end rule of law and start ruling like a dictator.

He doesn’t just the word dictator, of course, but make no mistake, Huckabee has repeatedly and shamelessly promised that if he is elected president, he will start declaring his beliefs to be the law of the land without the cooperation of Congress. In a Google hangout, he laid out the scheme: Declare as president that there are “constitutional rights of the unborn” and simply ban abortion by fiat. He claimed a similar authority during the Republican debate, a moment that got startlingly little play even though it was literally a candidate for president arguing that he would make himself a dictator.

Despite his regular references to the constitution when making these proclamations, Huckabee’s scheme would mean voiding out the constitution, as well, and not just because, despite his claims to the contrary, there is not a single word in it that gives citizenship status to embryos. It’s also because his scheme would mean ending the balance of powers, concentrating all the power of the legislature and the courts into the hands of the president.

And once you believe that your interpretation of what God wants trumps rule of law, not just for yourself but for your neighbors, then it follows very quickly that you are entitled to use force and even violence to get your way.

Some religious right leaders are, in fact, making noises that sound very much like justifying the use of violent force in order to overturn the social progress brought upon the U.S. from the democratic system. “No one should want it and no one, myself included, does want it,” conservative pundit Erick Erickson argued in an op-ed about the Davis case. “But how much longer until we have another civil war?” You can be forgiven for being skeptical of his claim not to want this, of course. On the contrary, it reads very much like a threat: Either give up the gains made under the democratic system or face violent overthrow by religious fanatics.

Huckabee plays the same game of fantasizing about violent struggle to overturn democracy while pretending to abhor violence. In his Google hangout, he said that he expected that banning abortion by fiat would likely result in “extraordinary pushback, and goodness, perhaps riots in the streets.” He’s not wrong that simply dissolving rule of law and declaring yourself the sole authority would likely result in people resisting, but he shrugged this off as merely the price of doing business.

To be clear, all these fantasies of governmental overthrow to stop gay couples from marrying will likely remain fantasies. The religious right is aging and losing numbers quickly. This is why they’re getting increasingly fanatical in their rhetoric, of course, but it also makes it hard to imagine they could really get it together to act out their fantasies of seizing power by force.

Still, this isn’t just talk. The Republicans are still beholden to the religious right in many ways. The fact that so many Republican candidates were afraid to defend the rule of law and denounce Davis for her actions is a troubling symptom of this. The Christian right may not be up to armed revolution, but they are increasingly demanding that Republicans turn their backs on the basic rules of democracy to cater to a theocratic minority. That Republicans are listening is a danger to us all.