Ted Cruz – Climbing the Mountain

We knew it was only a matter of time until they climbed that mountain!

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Ben Carson – The Second Elephant in the Room

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Donald Trump has intrigued the world with his bombastic and bigoted approach to American politics. I say “intrigued” because not since George Wallace have the American people heard such hatred and venom spewed from a national presidential candidate. And never before have we witnessed any single candidate control and manipulate the media as adroitly as Donald Trump.

To many, he is an anomaly. To others he is a savior. And to the rest of us he is a buffoon who has bought his way into the political arena, and thinks that he can buy the White House. Is he a flash-in-the-pan? Will he tank in the near future? Quite possibly. If that should happen, what then? Who is next in the line of 17 potential Republican candidates? Interestingly, at this point in time, all signs point to Dr. Ben Carson.

While not the ostentatious windbag that Trump is, Carson should still give the American voter pause for his political and religious views. As a distinguished, retired neurosurgeon with no political experience, and with no party affiliation, Carson became a Republican in 2014, in what he called a “pragmatic move,” because he was considering a run for the presidency.

Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist with very strong religious views and a platform that is built around his beliefs. His popularity with Republican some voters is a reflection of this. When it comes to pressing issues, his stands are ultra-conservative and, in many instances Bible-based.

When it comes to abortion and a woman’s right to choose, Carson is vehemently anti-abortion, believing that life begins at conception. He is firmly against stem-cell research, even though it has recently come to light that he engaged in that same research earlier in his career.

Carson has long been an opponent of same-sex marriage. At one point, he was listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the extremists to watch. After a lot of pressure, the SPLC removed the label and the article and apologized to Carson. However, in a 2013, interview with FOX News, Carson made the following statement. “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Association, a group advocating pedophilia], be they people who believe in bestiality—it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition.”

He would later go on to make comments indicating that he believed homosexuality is a choice, and that many people go into prison straight and come out gay.

Carson would certainly be supported by the NRA should he be successful in securing the nomination. His stance on gun-ownership, and his repeated statements about martial law, would earn him the NRA’s coveted A rating. Last year on Washington Times Radio, Carson made the following statement: “Citizens should be able to own weapons, they should not have to report what weapons they own so that somebody can come and collect those weapons before, you know, they start their martial law.”

Additionally, Carson believes that we must keep the detention center at Gitmo open to protect the American people; he wants Obamacare repealed and equates it to slavery; he thinks that Russia is a huge threat, and says that “All options should remain on the table when dealing with international bullies such as President Putin;” and he says that the United States should always stand with Israel and her people.

On the issue of immigration, Carson opposes birthright citizenship. In 2014, he wrote, “We must create a system that disincentivizes [sic] illegal immigration and upholds the rule of law while providing us with a steady stream of immigrants from other nations who will strengthen our society. Let’s solve the problem and stop playing political football,”

Perhaps one of the most prominent of his positions is his staunch belief that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and that progressive activists are “attempting to drive faith out of our society. He recovers quickly by saying that all faiths should have a right to pray, “in private.”

Donald Trump brags about his enormous wealth, while Carson often speaks of his meager beginnings in rural Georgia. Trump rants and raves and says outrageous things to baits the media with his bodacious sound bites, while Carson is much lower keyed, and garners less attention. However, Carson is being heard by a good sized segment of the right-wing population and he is closing the gap with Trump.

While it is quite early in this election cycle, and it’s still anyone’s game, one thing is becoming abundantly clear – even Republican voters are dissatisfied with establishment politics, and have no stomach for dynasties. To Democrats and liberals, another thing is becoming very evident – and that is unless they want to give up the White House to the likes of a Donald Trump or Ben Carson, it is imperative that they turn out in record numbers to vote.

 

 

THE PROGRESSIVE & LIBERAL CASTRATION

 

by Nicole Nichols

Liberal JFKYou say you are a “Progressive.” Just what the hell does that mean? You claim to be a liberal. Define liberal. Don’t just give me some mamby-pamby bullshit answer about being for the little guy, or being pro-choice, or standing for equal rights. Define those terms as they relate to you. Do some introspective detective work. Ask yourself the really hard questions. How liberal or how progressive are you, really?

The liberals and progressives that I used to know had some balls – you know, cajones! Big brass ones! They really did stand for something, and they never caved on their beliefs. Never! No matter how beat down they were, no matter how much ridicule, or opposition they encountered, they just kept getting up and coming back at you. They knew who they were and they fought until the very last gasp had escaped them.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe we have taken our last breath. Maybe we are in the throes of the death rattle.

Right now, as I ponder this, we are at a major turning point in history. Progressives and true liberals have an opportunity to turn this country into something that it should be – or, we can send it right into the arms of the Grim Reaper. Given the current state of affairs, and the current tide of castrated liberals who inhabit the so-called left, I’m inclined to believe that the latter will be the choice of day.

On a daily basis we take to the internet and bemoan the current state of affairs. We lick our wounds and beg for a Band-Aid, hoping that we will also get a pat on the head and a hug from our online friends. Meanwhile the Republican “clown car” chugs along picking up all sorts of steam. What the hell happened to us? Where’s the fight? Where’s the do-or-die attitude? How many times are we going to roll over? Maybe we just got tired. Maybe we just threw in the towel.

Now, we finally have something to get excited about. Now, we have a real shot at showing the world what we know to be right. Now, we have a voice. But only if we are willing to fight. Instead, like a herd of geldings being led to the slaughter we whinny and whine – and we settle. We just acquiesce and tell ourselves it’s the best we can do.

On the one hand, we have a 2016, presidential candidate who cozies up to Wall Street and big corporate money. Her ties with Monsanto and the bio-tech industry are in glaring contrast to the values and beliefs of true liberals. She is hawkish and a good friend of the Military Industrialist Complex. But, that’s okay, because she’s better than any of the GOP candidates.

While that is true, what does it say about the liberals and progressives who sing that song?

For so long, we have felt that we had little choice in selecting our political candidates. How many times have I heard the complaint, and said the same thing myself, about having to hold our noses and vote for the lesser of the two evils? Then, of course, there are those who choose to “make a statement” by not voting, or voting for some obscure party or candidate who might be on the ballot in five states. That works out real well, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, we have a candidate long admired by liberals and progressives for his strong stands against Citizens United and the corporate take-over of America. A candidate who is the guardian of the middle class. A candidate who truly believes that government should work for the people. A liberal. A progressive.

Yet, the reaction of those on the left has been one of utter contradictions and defeatism. While the large majority of liberals agree and lament that he will never get the nomination, there is also a contingent that will work tirelessly towards the insuring their prophecy comes true.

What’s wrong with this picture? Where’s the fight? Where’s the determination? Where’s the heart?

There are those who claim that Bernie Sanders cannot beat Hillary Clinton, but that his candidacy is a good thing because, at least, there will be a national dialogue about the issues that liberals hold dear. Seriously? Is that the best you’ve got? Is that the most we can accomplish? We can talk the talk – but whatever happened to walking the walk?

Others think that even though it’s a losing battle, at the very least, he will pull Clinton further to the left. Really? Has anyone been paying attention? Have we slipped so far into that black hole of despair that we actually believe anything we say, or are we just trying to appease each other with platitudes and tepid hope?

Sure, the “dialogue” and the pressure might cause Clinton to emerge from that Republican-light cocoon that she is all wrapped up in, at least, for campaign purposes. But, what about the long haul? Does any true liberal or progressive honestly believe that her emergence would be long-lived? Do you, really? Dig deep, friends. Do you honestly believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton would relinquish her ties to corporate America…to all of that money…to all of that power that she has been immersed in for so long, to suddenly become the beacon of liberal America?

Are you a liberal? Define liberal. Are you a progressive? What the hell does that even mean? It used to be that most people who identified themselves as such affiliated themselves with the Democratic Party for voting purposes. That was before the Party morphed into a right-leaning monolith of conniving deception and way before the corporate coup that has crippled the nation. Today, however, the Party has found its comfort zone in capitulation and submission to the radical right-wing, thereby rendering itself ineffectual in liberal or progressive movements.

In short, they are impotent. Castrated. Also, apparently, they have taken a goodly number of previously left-leaning, courageous, and stalwart liberals with them.

It’s a sad day in the United States. We are inundated with religious right-wing bravado and rhetoric. We have allowed the Wall Street tycoons to lull us into docility. We have been “fixed.” Neutered. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the nominee for president because we, quite simply, gave up. As one Facebook poster so aptly predicted:

“The Democrats…will crush the Left into submission, sacrificing it on the Altar of Plutocracy at the Church of Lesser Evils.” (Johann Ivan)

 

 

Are we liberal, or progressive, even wise enough to do the right thing? Or, have we been conditioned into fatalistic acceptance of the status-quo? Are we courageous enough to fight back, or have we lost all semblance of that tenacity and fortitude that has always been our hallmark? Are you a liberal? Are you a progressive? Are you really?

 

 

 

 

2016 Senatorial Elections Are Crucial to Democrats, Liberals, & Progressives

 

All eyes and media focus are currently on the 2016, presidential election. election-2016-buttonPrecious little attention is being given to the crucial senate races that will be waged in the next national election. This is an egregious error considering the current right-wing stranglehold on our government.

Once it became evident to the right that Barack Obama would be a two-term president, the financial guru’s who really run this country began to back congressional and state candidates, and to pave the way for the 2016 elections. Now that they have a majority, they clearly intend to buy the White House. That is why it is imperative that liberals and progressives begin today grooming and promoting viable Senate and House candidates who represent their interests. We do not have the luxury of waiting. Now it begins…

KELLY ANN AYOTE – Republican Senator from New Hampshire

Kelly AyotteAyotte is a first-term Senator whose seat will be up in 2016, for reelection. She is the former State Attorney General. Her name came up as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney in 2012, and the next year Newsmax magazine listed her as number 11 among the 25 most influential women in the Republican Party. They called her “an emerging force in Congress. 1

In a tight race during the 2010, elections, Ayotte drew the endorsements of such party notables as John McCain, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour, Tom Coburn, and Rick Santorum.

In 2012, a scathing article appeared in Addicting Info which claimed:

“As Junior Senator, Ayotte voted against the United States Postal Amendments meant to save the Post Office, and against repealing tax deductions for oil companies. She voted for the Keystone XL Project, to extend the Bush tax cuts, and to reduce the corporate tax rate. She voted to remove all regulations regarding electronic debit card transactions and against emergency disaster relief appropriations, Ayotte is pro-fracking, pro-CISPA, and has an A rating from the NRA for her position on gun control. She is married to Lt. Joe Daley, a reservist fighter pilot, who flew combat missions in Iraq, and the mother of two children. Ms. Ayotte is on the front lines of the battle to treat captured terrorist suspects as prisoners of war rather than criminals. “We don’t want to tell a terrorist you have the right to remain silent, she says, “that’s the issue here.” Sarah Palin calls Kelly Ayotte, “a Granite State Mama grizzly who has broken barriers.”2

Upon careful review, I found those claims to be quite accurate. Ayotte is also pro-life and receives a consistent 100% rating from the National Right To Life Committee.

Her biggest donations came from Elliott Management Corporation which the management affiliate of hedge funds Elliott Associates, L.P. which is run by C.E.O., Paul Singer. In 2014, it was estimated that Singer had a net worth of $1.9 billion.

Interestingly, Singer, whose son is currently in a same-sex marriage, has donated millions of dollars to various organizations supporting LGBT rights, yet Kelly Ayotte is vehemently against gay marriage and gay adoptions.

Senator Kelly Ayotte is the goddess of right-wing conservatives. With close ties to Goldman Sachs, the Koch Brothers and much of corporate America it might be very hard to unseat her. However, if the left chooses to get its act together, it might not be impossible.

ROY DEAN BLUNT – Republican Senator from Missouri

roy bluntBlunt is a former member of the United States House of Representatives (1997-2011) who won a Senate seat in 2010. Back in 2006, at the height of the scandal involving Jack Abramoff, Blunt’s name was thrown into the mix and his involvement with both Abramoff and Tom Delay came into question.3

He has been endorsed in the past by Missouri National Right to Life, the Susan B. Anthony List, Michele Bachmann, Red State, and the National Rifle Association. His political action committee the Rely on Your Beliefs Fund has met with it’s own scandal when Blunt accepted more than $1.1 million from corporations donated by the same companies that were implicated in the indictment of his friend and colleague Tom DeLay.

Blunt is a staunch pro-life, Southern Baptist. In 2012, he proposed the “Blunt Amendment” that was piggy-backed onto a highway appropriations bill. The amendment would have blocked part of the Affordable Care Act that requires all insurance plans to cover the birth control pill. The proposed amendment would have allowed not only religious organizations, but any employer with a “moral objection” to opt out of birth control coverage. The amendment was ultimately defeated.4

Earning a 92% rating from the Christian Coalition, Blunt has voted against same-sex marriage and gay adoptions. He has voted in favor of defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Additionally, he takes strong stands against the Separation of Church and State and Affirmative Action while advocating for the privatization of Social Security, faith-based initiatives, and an absolute right to gun ownership.

While in past elections he has won easily, there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction that has been growing within the party regarding Blunt. Many Tea Party members and ultra-right-wingers are questioning his efficacy. That dissention could prove to be a real factor in unseating him. However, it could also mean that he could be replaced with someone even more radically conservative. It should signal Missouri Democrats and Progressives that this is a Republican seat that could be won by the right liberal. The time to start is yesterday.

JOHN NICHOLS BOOZMAN – Republican Senator from Arkansas

John BoozmanBoozman is an Optometrist and former United States Representative (2002-2010). In 2010, Boozman was the first Republican to be elected to the Senate since Reconstruction. So, how is that working out for them?

Being a true Southern Baptist, and a true hard-core conservative, John Boozman takes a very strong stand against abortion, women’s rights, LGBT issues, the separation of church and state, and immigration. He is a staunch gun-rights advocate and favors expanding the military.

His previous endorsements came from the Susan B. Anthony List, the National Rifle Association, Wal-Mart Stores, and Elliott Management. Earlier this year, Boozman was one of the 47 Republican senators to sign the controversial letter to Iranian leaders in an attempt to hinder negotiations with that country.

Last year, Boozman suffered a heart attack and underwent heart surgery, however, it doesn’t appear that he is slowing down, nor has there been any indication that he plans to retire. In August of last year the Arkansas Times published the following statement:

John Boozman meanwhile is one of the lowest profile Senators in the country. A plurality of voters in the state- 38%- have no opinion about him one way or the other. 34% approve of him to 28% who disapprove. Boozman’s big victory in 2010 was really a reflection on voters disliking Blanche Lincoln more than anything else, and it doesn’t appear that Boozman has made much of an impression in his own right.”5

The fact that Governor Beebe could beat Boozman in a “what if” scenario, however, is not indicative of anything on the horizon. The fact that there were 38% of those polled who had no opinion about him, could however, indicate that Arkansas voters are becoming more apathetic, or that they just don’t know what he is all about. At any rate, his seat will be up for grabs. It Democrats and Liberals put their skills to work, they really could pull this off.

RICHARD MAZUE BURR – Republican Senator from North Carolina

Richard BurrA former sales manager for Carswell Distributors, Burr has been in the United States Senate since 2005. Prior to that, he served 10 years in the House of Representatives.

Another hard-core conservative, Burr stands opposed to abortion, women’s rights and LGBT rights. While he opposes same-sex marriage on a personal level, he says that the decision should be up to individual states. He does not support the separation of church and state and believes in public school prayer as well as faith-based initiatives. He is a Second Amendment Advocate and wants to privatize social security.

Last year, as the ranking member on the Senate Committee of Veterans Affairs, Burr penned an angry letter to American veteran organizations for their failure to condemn the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Erick Shinseki, for his part in the VA scandal, claiming that the leaders of these groups did not care about the health and well-being of their members.6

Burr was also one of the 47 Republicans who signed the controversial, and some say, treasonous, letter to Iranian officials.

In January of this year, Burr took over as the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Just prior to his becoming Chairman, then Chairwoman, Diane Feinstein had released the executive summary of the CIA’s torture program. The full report was sent to the President. As one of Burr’s first acts, he sent a letter to Obama asking him to return all copies of the report signaling his dedication to maintaining secrecy and curtailing transparency.7

Although there have been rumors that Burr was planning on retiring, he recently quashed our hopes by announcing that he intended to run again in 2016. As far as the polls are concerned, there is almost a dead even split among those counted with a 36% approval rate, 37% who disapprove. Given the controversy surrounding Burr’s recent maneuverings, one can only hope that this long-time politician will be relegated to the farm. But, Democrats had better have someone really strong waiting in the wings.

DANIEL RAY “DAN” COATS – Republican Senator from Indiana (Retiring)

Dan CoatsSo, in Indiana we have a hard-core Republican retiring from the United States Senate. But…don’t get too excited. There are a few others hoping to fill that seat, not the least of which is Coats’ congressional staffer, Eric Holcomb who has already announced.

While this race promises to spawn a lot of candidates, it is important to note that Eric Holcomb is very well known in Indiana as the former chairman of the state Republican Party, and where Mitt Romney carried the day by 10 points in the 2012 elections. He will have the same support and funding that propelled former Governor Mitch Daniels through two elections.

It is pretty safe to assume that Holcomb embraces the same right-wing values as Senator Dan Coats, and will continue down much the same path. There are several other Republicans who are considering, but who also might be apprehensive about challenging such a powerful figure. While no democrats have announced yet, Evan Bayh, former Governor and Senator, is mentioned quite frequently as a potential candidate. This will be a tough race, but Democrats need to get their ducks in a row quickly.

MICHAEL DEAN “MIKE” CRAPO – Republican Senator from Idaho

Mike CrapoCrapo is an attorney and former United States Representative (1993-1999). He has been in United States Senate since 1999.

Crapo is a Mormon, a bishop in the Church of Latter Day Saints, and although he previously publicly stated that he didn’t drink alcohol, he was arrested in 2012, and plead guilty to a DUI.8

In 2011, it was reported that Crapo was one of the members of the “Gang of Six,” a bi-partisan group charged with coming up with solutions to reduce the American deficit.9

He is a strong advocate for firearms ownership and voted against any expansion of background checks, so of course, the National Rifle Association has supported Crapo as well as the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Crapo is a very hard-core conservative and conducts himself as such, standing firm against women’s and LGBT rights, he is supportive of a school-prayer amendment, faith-based initiatives, and the privatization of Social Security. He is also against raising taxes on the wealthy and providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals.

The only declared candidate in opposition to Crapo at this time is Independent Timothy A. Raty. Crapo’s DUI charge could have hurt him with the voters, but he has a pretty good stronghold on that seat, and some very deep pockets supporting him. However, a Democratic run at this seat should be launched immediately. It’s time to send the right a very big message.

CHARLES ERNEST “CHUCK” GRASSLEY – Republican Senator from Iowa

Chuck GrassleyThis 81 year-old politician is a former United States Representative (1975-1981). He previously served in the Iowa State Legislature (1959-1974). He has been in the United States Senate since 1981. Obviously, he has been very popular in that state.

In the past, a good portion of his funding has come from the oil producing industry, and insurance companies. Contributions from Monsanto have also been noted. He has been endorsed by Americans for Legal Immigration, Campaign for Working Families, Huck PAC, Iowa National Federation of Independent Business, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, and National Right to Life Committee. All of these reflect this hard-core conservative’s views.

Chuck Grassley has been representing Iowa in his Senate seat for 34 years, and in D.C. for 40 years. It is inconceivable to me that he would want to shoot for another six, or that the voters would even consider him to still be a viable option. It is equally incomprehensible that the Democratic Party cannot field a candidate who could beat him in 2016. Come on, people! Get it together, and make this right!

JOHN HENRY HOEVEN – Republican Senator from North Dakota

John HoevenHoeven is a former banker and governor of North Dakota. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

Hoeven is somewhat of an enigma in a couple of ways. In 2010, as he was paving the way for his Senate bid, it was reported that in 1996, he had been a Democrat:

“I have always been moderate in my political views, but now that I am considering elective office, I realize I must join a political party and stick to it,” Hoeven wrote in 1996. “I have decided to join the Democratic-NPL Party because I believe that is the best fit for my views.” Also in his 1996 letter, Hoeven strongly rejected the suggestion that he could be a Republican: “What people don’t want is partisan politics as usual. The effort by overly partisan members of the Republican Party to cast me as one of their own is just that, partisan politics as usual.”10

According to his campaign manager, Don Larson, at the time he was going to run for Governor, he realized that his views were more in line with the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party.

While Hoeven is pro-life except in certain situations, and anti-LGBT rights, favoring and Amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, he strongly believes in Affirmative Action. He is against school vouchers and proposes an increase in pay for teachers, he doesn’t take a firm stand on the separation of church and state, or prayer in public schools. He does, however, favor faith-based initiatives.

Hoeven is a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights, and doesn’t favor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals.

In his last bid for senate he was endorsed by Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Huck PAC, National Education Association, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, and National Right to Life Committee.

While Hoeven seems more moderate than many of the Senators on some issues, it is imperative to remember that he is supported and funded by several unsavory and extremely right-wing people and groups. Unfortunately, given the fact that Hoeven won his seat by a 3 to 1 margin in 2010, and the total lack of apparent candidates from the Democratic Party, I think this one would be very hard, if not impossible to pull off.

JOHN HARDY “JOHNNY” ISAKSON – Republican Senator from Georgia

Johnny IsaksonIsakson is a former president of a large real estate company, and a former United States Representative (1999-2005). He became a United States Senator in 2005.

Interestingly enough – and to demonstrate just how far right the Republican Party has gone – many within the rank and file have designated Isakson as a Republican in Name Only, a RINO. Yet, he consistently receives 100% ratings as well as endorsements from the National Right to Life Committee, Campaign for Working Families, National Federation of Independent Business, United States Chamber of Commerce, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Americans for Prosperity. American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Gun Owners of America, National Rifle Association, Numbers USA, American Family Association, Christian Coalition of America, Family Research Council, and ACT! For America – just to name a few.

Isakson has been backed, endorsed, sponsored, and funded by almost every major right-wing outfit in existence. Johnny Isakson is a hard-nosed, hard-core, right wing conservative who is owned by his handlers and makes all the right moves.

It is highly unlikely that Isakson will be unseated. I say this, not because he is wildly popular, but because he is a Republican in the State of Georgia, and, unfortunately, if the Democratic Party continues to insist that only moderate, middle of the road, Democrats stand a chance, the voters will be presented with little to no choice but to dance with the guy they went with. Pathetic truth.

RONALD HAROLD “RON” JOHNSON – Republican Senator from Wisconsin

Ron JohnsonJohnson is the former CEO of a polyester and plastics manufacturing company. In 2010 he beat out then Senator, Russ Feingold, for the Senate seat. He claims that he “sprung out of the Tea Party.”

Johnson is a Club for Growth tool. Because he had no political history and no voting record, he has been referred to as a “Blank Slate.” In truth, Johnson portrayed himself as a “moderate” during his campaign, and the voters bought it.

In 2011, a controversy arose over what was termed a “deferred compensation agreement” with his former employer. That “agreement” garnered Johnson $10 million – $9 million of that was spent on his campaign. He came under intense scrutiny over whether or not campaign finance rules had been broken. He refused to stipulate the terms of the agreement.

And, more controversy erupted a little over a month ago when it was reported that Johnson’s office sat on complaints about a VA medical center over-prescribing medications.11

Johnson takes the same right-wing, ultra conservative stands as his other Republican cohorts and rubs elbows with all the same money people. Wisconsin is home to a lot of Democrats who, right now, are very dissatisfied with the representation that he is providing. The Washington Post has called Johnson the “most vulnerable candidate on the map.”12

I agree that he is vulnerable. It is widely speculated that Russ Feingold might very well consider running against Johnson again. Whatever happens, this is a Senate seat that the Democrats need to take back.

MARK STEVEN KIRK – Republican Senator from Illinois

Mark KirkKirk is an attorney and former United States Representative (2001-2010). From 1995-1999, he served as counsel to the House International Relations Committee. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

Mark Kirk is among the more moderate Republicans in the senate at this time. He favors a woman’s right to choose, Affirmative Action, and same-sex marriage. He has a very low rating from the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, and favors providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals.

On the flip-side, he opposes Obamacare and favors the privatizing of Social Security. He also favors prayer in public schools as well as faith-based initiatives.

During his political career he has been endorsed by Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Citizens United Political Fund, Combat Veterans for Congress, ConservAmerica, Illinois National Federation of Independent Business, National Defense PAC, National Federation of Independent Business, National Education Association, Ocean Champions, Republican Main Street Partnership, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

In spite of his moderate stands, it should be remembered that Illinois is, generally speaking, more Democrat than Republican. Additionally, he has created his own downfall in many ways. Kirk is a decorated Navy reservist, but back in 2010, Kirk was giving a speech to a gathering of experts on U.S. Chinese relations when he stated, “In my role in the military, I command the war room in the Pentagon.” Completely untrue.13 Also, it was determined that another statement of braggadocio made by Kirk was equally as erroneous. Since 2002, Kirk has been telling audiences that he was the recipient of am “Intelligence Officer of the Year” award. What Kirk had received was actually the Vice Admiral Rufus L. Taylor Award.14

With the unfortunate claims made by Kirk, came the revelation that during a speech he delivered on the floor of the United States House of Representatives in 2003, he claimed, ““The last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet, and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us”. Well, of course that didn’t happen. He would later retract that statement in the Chicago Sun-Times by saying, “I simply misremembered [sic] it wrong.” The fact is, the Pentagon has no record of Kirk’s transport ever being fired upon.

This kind of dishonesty is indicative of Kirk’s character and may very well not be lost on the voters of Illinois. Additionally, Kirk has recently come under fired for comments that can only be construed as racist.

In 2012, Mark Kirk had a stroke. His full recovery was in question for quite a little period of time.

This is definitely a senate seat just waiting for a Democrat to occupy. Democratic Representative Tammy Duckworth has already thrown her hat in the ring. It’s time for liberals to step up in Illinois.

JAMES PAUL LANKFORD – Senator from Oklahoma

James LankfordLankford is a Baptist youth worker and former United States Representative (2011-2015). He won the senate seat last year during a special election after the resignation of Tom Coburn. Lankford qualifies as a ReBiblican, for certain.

Lankford tows the political line of the extremist right, and stands squarely in the realm of theoretical rule, claiming that his “Biblical Worldview” will guide him in his decision making.17

In 2012, Lankford opposed protection of gay employees against discrimination. He argued that homosexuality is a choice that could be changed. When he became highly criticized for that comment, he claimed that he was being singled out because he was a Christian. Lankford has continued to attempt to block any and all legislation protecting LGBT rights, citing the Bible as his reason.18

Lankford recieves superior ratings from all of the usual conservative sources. His funding an support generally comes from American Council of Engineering Companies Oklahoma, Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Family Research Council, House Conservatives Fund, National Rifle Association, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, National Right to Life, Campaign for Working Families, Eagle Forum, and the Christian Coalition of America.

There is little doubt that Lankford will be re-elected to the Senate. After all, we are talking about Oklahoma, perhaps the reddest state in the nation. It is also unlikely that the Democrats will be able to field a candidate who would provide the voters with much of fa choice. The Oklahoma Democratic party has become nothing more than weak and anemic, hence it’s doubtful that the Sooners will have any relief from the choke-hold that evangelicals and extremists have on them.

 

MICHAEL SHUMWAY “MIKE” LEE – Republican Senator from Utah

Mike LeeLee is an attorney who was elected to the United States Senate in 2010. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk for now Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito. In 2005, he began serving as the general counsel for then Utah Governor John Huntsman. He is the son of Rex E. Lee, Reagan administration Solicitor General.

Suffice it to say, Lee is every bit as right-wing as his senatorial colleagues. After all, he is a Tea Party darling who aligned himself with Ted Cruz during the government shut-down. For many in the GOP, Lee is even too far to the right. Even John Huntsman, a hard-core conservative has indicated that he is considering supporting someone less radical.19 In spite of that, he still has a large support base and a lot of money at his disposal.

Lee is endorsed and funded by Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund, Republican Senatorial Committee, Americans for Legal Immigration, Freedom Works, LibertySlate, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life Committee, One Nation PAC, Republican Liberty Caucus, Tea Party Express, and Utah National Federation of Independent Business.

In a speech he gave last week, Lee characterized the three of the GOP candidates, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz as three of his closest allies.20

The State of Utah is probably too Republican for Democrats to expect to mount a real political challenge to Mike Lee. More than likely, the best we can hope for is that he will have opposition in the form of a primary by a candidate less extreme and with less ties to the radical groups engineering the outcomes of our elections.

JOHN SIDNEY MCCAIN, III – Republican Senator from Arizona

John McCainMcCain is a former Navy captain, Viet Nam Prisoner of War, United States Representative (1982-1986), and current United States Senator. Earlier this month, he announced that he would run again for this seat. McCain is currently 78 year-old, and has been a Senator for 29 years. In 2008, he ran for President, with Sarah Palin as his running mate.

McCain has been described as a “libertarian leaning conservative. He is an advocate of overturning Roe v. Wade and only providing abortions under certain circumstances. Yet he believes in Affirmative Action and is comfortable with same-sex marriage. He receives an 83% rating from the Christian Coalition, and favors prayer in schools along with vouchers and faith-based initiatives. He is an opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Mc Cain also favors the privatization of Social Security and an absolute right to gun ownership. He is vehemently against raising taxes on the wealthy, and for expansion of the United States military.

In past elections he has been endorsed and supported by Campaign for Working Families, National Right to Life Committee, Arizona Right to Life Committee, Arizona National Federation of Independent Business, Combat Veterans for Congress, National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Rifle Association, among others.

McCain will be challenged in a primary. While all of the players have yet to be revealed, a couple have emerged so far – Alex Melusky, and current Arizona State Senator, Dr. Kelli Ward. Both are hard-core conservatives. No Democrat has announced as of yet. It is important to remember that a Senate seat hasn’t been won in Arizona since 1988. Given the current mind-set of the Democratic Party, and it’s failure to endorse and support candidates in tough races, this could be a deciding factor. It is also important to note that McCain already has $3.5 million in his war chest.

There are a few names being bandied about in Democratic quarters, but none have taken the bait at this juncture.

JERRY MORAN – Republican Senator from Kansas

Jerry MoranMoran is an attorney and former Kansas State Senator, as well as former United States Representative (1997-2011). After his senatorial win, he served as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee which, in 2014, produced the first Republican Senate majority since 2006.

In 2014, Moran lost some favor with the GOP when he teamed up with Ted Cruz and other Tea Partiers to try and defeat the omnibus spending bill.21

Additionally, Moran was one of the 47 Republicans who signed and sent the controversial letter to Iranian leaders. He would later explain this action thusly:

“The letter makes clear that any long-standing agreement must be reviewed by the Legislative Branch, and input from the Senate should be seriously considered by the Administration before any agreement with Iran is reached.”22

Moran’s previous endorsements and support has come from, National Right to Life Committee, Kansas National Federation of Independent Business, Kansas Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association, Campaign for Working Families, National Federation of Independent Business, Republican Liberty Caucus, American Security Council Foundation, and Partnership for America.

Given the fact that the last Democrat to be elected to the United States Senate by the voters in the State of Kansas was George McGill in 1932, it’s unlikely that it will happen in 2016. Given that incredible statistic, it is also unlikely that the Democratic Party will put much emphasis on fielding or supporting a challenger.

LISA ANN MURKOWSKI – Republican Senator for Alaska

Lisa MurkowskiMurkowski is an attorney who was first appointed to her senate seat in 2002, by her father, Frank Murkowski, then Governor of Alaska. In 2010, Murkowski lost in a primary. She then entered the race as a write-in candidate winning that election.

Murkowski is somewhat of an anomaly among senate Republicans. She is pro-choice, and a member of the Republican Majority For Choice. However, she voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She was one of only five Republican senators who voted for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and she voted for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Yet, in 2004, she voted in favor of a federal constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. In 2013, however she announced that her opinions were ‘evolving,’ and that she would now support same-sex marriage.

In true Republican fashion, however, she is no friend of the environment, supporting oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She also receives high marks from the Christian Coalition for her stand against the separation of church and state.

Also true to form, Murkowski is against raising taxes on the wealthy, favors the privatization of social security, stands firmly behind Second Amendment rights, and is against a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Murkowski is quite popular in Alaska, and you can bet that after her primary loss in 2010, she has been busy building that popularity and getting ready for 2016. We can only wonder if her old nemesis, Tea Party favorite, Joe Miller, will decide to give it another go. The Democrats do have one hope – Mark Begich, former United States Senator as well as former Mayor of Anchorage.

Rand PaulRANDAL HOWARD “RAND” PAUL – Republican Senator from Kentucky

Paul is an ophthalmologist and son of former United States Representative, Ron Paul. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010, and is currently running for President of the United States.

Rand Paul is a Tea Party darling who considers himself a “constitutional conservative. He believes that life begins at conception and is against abortion in all circumstances unless the mother’s life is in danger. He has called same-sex marriage a “moral crisis” and says that it “offends myself and a lot of people.”23

In February, Paul took a stand against states requiring children to be vaccinated. He believes that parents have the right to decide that without government mandates.

“I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they are a good thing. But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.”24

Paul claims that women won the “war on women,” and are “no longer downtrodden,” and that it is illegal to impose racial segregation on the private sector. He stands in opposition to the separation of church and state, and favors faith-based intitiatives.

Rand Paul opposes all restrictions placed on gun ownership and assault rifles. In short, he is the consummate right-wing extremist.

Should Paul get the Republican nomination for President, his senate seat will become vacant. Should he not succeed in his presidency bid, he will be up for reelection. Either way, this a good opportunity to rid our government of a very unstable and unsavory individual. In many ways, his nomination by the Republican Party would be the optimal situation. There is little chance that he could win against a strong Democratic candidate. A senate race, however, that is solely dependent upon the Kentucky voters is a whole other story.

Rob PortmanROB PORTMAN – Republican Senator from Ohio

Portman is an attorney and former United States Representative (1993-2005). He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

Portman is a typical right-wing Republican in many aspects. However, his stand on same-sex marriage rapidly changed when his son announced to both Rob and his mother that he was gay. Portman did a complete about face.

While Portman is pro-life, and takes the same stands as most of the GOP on other issues, his flip-flop on same-sex marriage has put him at odds with the fundamentalist Christians and various “family-oriented” organizations. But, someone loves him.

At the close of the first quarter of this year, it was disclosed that Portman now has $8 million in his war chest. In February he published a list of about 500 Republican officials across the State of Ohio who have endorsed him.

This is a golden, and I do mean golden, opportunity for Democrats to wrest a senate seat from that clutches of the GOP. Former Governor Ted Strickland and City Councilman, P.G. Sittenfield are both expected to run against Portman. It would, undoubtedly, be in the best interest of the Democratic Party to encourage Sittenfield to bow out, as Strickland has garnered the support of Bill Clinton and promises to give Portman a run for his money. At any rate, the Democrats can win this election if they play their cards right.

MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO – Republican Senator from Florida

marco-rubioRubio is an attorney and former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010, beating out Governor Charlie Christ for the nomination. He is also currently a candidate for President of the United States. He will not seek reelection to the Senate.

Rubio is a hard-core conservative who is far right of center. In 2013, he claimed to believe in protecting life, but was quick to say “I’m not a chauvinist.” He wants to expand birth control exemption for faith-based organizations, and to require ultrasounds before abortions. He supports giving legal protection to unborn children. Consequently, he has a 100% rating and endorsement from both Campaign for American Families and the National Right to Life Association.

He supports an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but until that time, would leave it up to the states. He supports prayer in public schools, vouchers and charter schools, an absolute right to gun ownership, and the privatization of Social Security.

Rubio initially claimed that his parents had fled Cuba to escape Castro’s regime. This was later proven false when it came to light that they had arrived in the United States years before that time. This embellishment of the facts didn’t sit very well with the large Cuban population residing in Florida.

For a few years, as he was growing up, his family attended the Church of Latter Day Saints. In fact, he was baptized in the Mormon Church. He would later revert back to Catholicism.

Rubio is well known for his distortion and embellishment of facts.25 How well Rubio will do as a Presidential candidate remains to be seen, of course. However, he can be certain that these words will come back to haunt him.

While many believe that he has a lock on the Hispanic vote, it must be noted that non-Cuban Hispanics often hold deep grudges against the preferential treatment that has been given to Cuban immigrants.

As to who will inherit his senate seat, there are a number of Democrats who will certainly vie for that position. We can only hope that the Democratic Party in Florida is strong enough, and wise enough to get out there early and back candidates who will have the best interests of, not only Floridians, but the country at heart.

TIMOTHY EUGENE “TIM” SCOTT – Republican Senator from South Carolina

TimScottScott is a realtor and financial advisor and former United States Representative (2011-2013). He was appointed to his senate seat by Governor Nikki Haley in 2013, upon the resignation of Jim DeMint. He is the first Republican African-American from South Carolina, and one of only two serving in the United States Senate. In 2014, he won a special election to fill out the term of DeMint.

Unfortunately, there is no other way to describe Scott than to call him and evangelical, hard-right, Republican who tows the party line, and brings his Biblical beliefs to the party.

When asked about poverty and welfare, Tim Scott said:

I started my small business, in a small apartment with some friends. I was a poor kid growing up in a single parent household. I was losing myself. I had lost my way. I flunked out of high school as a freshman. I failed World Geography, Civics. Now think about that; a United States Senator who failed Civics. I used to think I was the only one, and when I became a member of the Senate, I realized that there might be a few more who didn’t pass Civics either, and then I failed Spanish and English. Now, when you fail Spanish AND English, they don’t call you bi-lingual. Nope, they call you bi-ignorant, because you can’t speak any language, and that’s where I found myself.

“That why I give so much credit to [my mentor] John Monis, a Chick-Fil-A operator. He came along at the right time. John Monise taught me that you can think your way out of poverty. That Citadel graduate taught me that if you really want to escape poverty, it comes through the power of education.”26

He has been previously endorse by American Conservative Union, American Veterinary Medical Association, Eagle Forum, FreedomWorks, National Rifle Association, South Carolina National Federation of Independent Business, and Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance.

As of yet, he has drawn no opposition from either party, and given South Carolina’s conservative nature, it is doubtful that a Democrat could be successful against the power and the money behind Scott. But, we can be hopeful – right?

RICHARD CRAIG SHELBY – Republican Senator from Alabama

Richard ShelbyShelby is a former attorney and former United States Representative (1979-1987). He has been a United States Senator since 1987. Initially, Shelby was a Democrat and part of a group of Conservative Democrats known as the Boll Weevils. During his second term in office, he switched to the Republican Party. That was, undoubtedly, the best fit for Shelby.

As another hard-core conservative he stands with the party, and the religious right, on all issues. His endorsements and support come from Americans for Legal Immigration, Campaign for Working Families, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life Committee, and the Christian Coalition.

We are talking about Alabama here. The likelihood that much is going to change is almost non-existent. Shelby has a pretty good lock on that Senate seat, and thus far, it appears that he will face little to no challenge. One Democratic candidate has filed – Ron Crumpton. I can pretty much guarantee that he will receive zilch in the way of backing. He is not very well known, stands on pretty much one issue – the legalization of marijuana – has no money, and promises to fizzle very quickly.

 

JOHN RANDOLPH THUNE – Republican Senator from South Dakota

John ThuneThune is a former United States Representative (1997-2003) He was elected to the Senate in 2004. His name has consistently been raised for both a Vice Presidential and Presidential candidacy.

Thune is another hard-core conservative, evangelical who votes consistently along those lines. He has raised $800,000 in the first quarter, but that’s not all – that $800,000 brought the amount in his coffers to over $10 million.27

The Democrats have a history of not even trying in South Dakota. It appears that might very well be the case again. Shame on them. So far, Thune hasn’t gained any challengers – wonder what he is going to spend all that money on.

 

PATRICK JOSEPH “PAT” TOOMEY – Republican Senator from Pennsylvania

Pat ToomeyToomey is a businessman and former United States Representative (1999-2005). After that he served as the president of the Club for Growth. He was first elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

According to Politico: “…the Club for Growth is the pre-eminent institution promoting Republican adherence to a free-market, free-trade, anti-rregulation agenda.”28

Toomey is certainly a corporate tool, and a formidable fundraiser. He is endorses and supported by Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Campaign for Working Families, Catholic Families USA, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Firearms Owners Against Crime, FreedomWorks, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life Committee, One Nation PAC, Pennsylvania National Federation of Independent Business, Republican Liberty Caucus, Senate Conservatives Fund, and the Club for Growth.

This is going to be one of the most interesting campaigns of the 2016 elections. Toomey will meet Everett Stern, a Security Intelligence Consultant and whistleblower, in a primary. Ed Pawlowski, former Allentown Mayor and gubernatorial candidate, and Joe Sestak, former Congressman and retired Navy Admiral, both Democrats, have entered the race. Anything is possible, but there will be drama.

 

DAVID BRUCE VITTER – Republican Senator from Louisiana

David VitterVitter is a lawyer and former adjunct professor as well as a former United States Representative (1999-2005) He was elected to the United States Senate in 2005.

In 2007, Vitter found himself in all kinds of hot water when it was revealed that his phone number had shown up on the D.C. Madam’s list. Of course, he would later publicly take responsibility for his “sin” with his wife standing by his side.

His penchant for a little on the side doesn’t temper his politics, however, he is the epitome of conservatism believing he protecting family values with his stands against abortion and same-sex marriage. As part of his penance for his lascivious behaviors, a few months after the scandal Vitter would earmark $100,000 for a the Louisiana Family Forum. The group’s focus was on challenging the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Vitter would explain that it was his way to help promote better science education.29

Vitter has lots of money behind him because he does the bidding of those to whom he is beholden. But, here’s the deal…Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, has reached his term limit. Vitter has announced his candidacy for that position. In his announcement he made the following statement:

“After much prayer, thought, and discussion with Wendy and our children, I have decided to run for governor of Louisiana in 2015,” Vitter said in his video announcement. “Let me first assure you that this decision will in no way limit the critical work I’m doing today in the U.S. Senate—representing you and your family will continue to be my top priority, but I believe as our next governor I can have a bigger impact addressing the unique challenges and problems we face in Louisiana.”30

The Louisiana Gubernatorial election will take place on October 24, 2015, with four candidates seeking that seat. Should Vitter win, he would then appoint someone to fill out his term.

This one will be a very interesting race. Why would anyone in Louisiana vote for a Republican? Well, why would any woman or minority vote for a Republican? Your guess is as good as mine.

Citations

  1. Meyers, Jim. “Newsmax Exclusive: The 25 Influential Women of the GOP” “http://www.newsmax.com/politics/newsmax-top-25-women/2013/07/31/id/518085/
  2. Middle Aged Woman Talking. Will Romney Choose Another Sarah Palin as an Answer to the War on Women? http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/02/will-romney-choose-another-sarah-palin-as-an-answer-to-the-war-on-women/
  3. USA Today. Blunt, Delay Shared Connections to Lobbyist Abramoff January 11, 2006. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-01-11-blunt-delay_x.htm
  4. Brown, Elizabeth & Knott, Alex. The Indictment of a System. http://www.publicintegrity.org/2005/11/21/5535/indictment-system
  5. Brantley, Max. Arkansas polling: Beebe could beat Boozman; Hillary falls to all Republicans. http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/08/06/arkansas-polling-beebe-could-beat-boozman-hillary-falls-to-all-republicans
  6. Stein, Sam. Veterans Groups Rip Into Sen. Richard Burr for Questioning Their Priorities. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/25/richard-burr-veterans_n_5389296.html
  7. Eaton, Joshua. Powerful Senate Republican Tamping Down Torture Disclosures. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/25/key-senate-republican-tamping-down-torture-disclosures.html
  8. Miller, Jake. CBS News. Senator Mike Crapo pleads guilty to DUI charge. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sen-mike-crapo-pleads-guilty-to-dui-charge/
  9. Meet the Gang of Six. http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ef45ghifi/mike-crapo-republican-2/
  10. Kleefeld, Eric. Flashback: Republican Candidate Hoeven Rejected GOP and Declared Himself a Democrat in 1996. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/flashback-republican-senate-candidate-hoeven-rejected-gop-and-declared-himself-a-democrat-in-1996
  11. Hess, Hannah. Rep. Johnson Denies His Office Sat on Whistleblower Tips. http://blogs.rollcall.com/hill-blotter/ron-johnson-denies-his-office-sat-on-whistleblower-tips/
  12. Chris Cillizza. Aaron Blake, & Sean Sullivan. Why Republicans’ Senate Majority Could be Very Short-Lived. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/11/07/why-republicans-senate-majority-could-be-very-short-lived/
  13. Smith, Ben. Politico. Kirk: ‘I command the war room in the pentagon.’ http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0510/Kirk_I_command_the_war_room_in_the_Pentagon.html
  14. Bryant, Steve. 5 NBC Chicago. What Would Kirk Be Saying if the Post Hadn’t Mentioned Giannoulias? http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/What-Would-Kirk-Be-Saying-if-the-Post-Hadnt-Mentioned-Giannoulias-95292714.html
  15. Todd Lightly, John Chase and Rick Pearson. Chicago Tribune. Lirk apologizes for misstatements about military career. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-06-03/news/ct-met-mark-kirk-military-record-060420100603_1_military-gulf-war-democratic-senate
  16. Pallasch, Abdon. Kirk says he ‘misremembered’ military record. http://chicago.suntimes.com/
  17. Dolan, Eric W. Raw Story. Oklahoma’s Senator Elect to use ‘biblical worldview’ to defeat the national debt. http://www.rawstory.com/2014/11/oklahomas-senator-elect-to-use-biblical-worldview-to-defeat-the-national-debt/
  18. Israel, Josh. Think Progress. What the Oklahoma Congressman Who Just Announced A Senate Campaign Thinks About LGBT Americans. http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/01/21/3184661/anti-lgbt-james-lankford/
  19. Raju, Manu. Politico. Tea partier braces for primary challenge from the establishment. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/mike-lee-tea-party-2016-elections-113730.html
  20. Arkin, James. Real Clear Politics. Mike Lee on 3 GOP Candidates’ Strengths, Weaknesses. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/04/10/mike_lee_on_3_gop_candidates_strengths_weaknesses_126222.html
  21. Wise, Lindsay. McClatchy Washington Bureau. Conservatives take notice of Jerry Moran’s vote with Senator Ted Cruz on omnibus spending bill. http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article4732188.html
  22. Hancock, Peter. LJWorld.com. Sens. Roberts and Moran explain signing letter to Iran. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2015/mar/14/sens-roberts-and-moran-defend-signing-letter-iran/
  23. New York Times. April 7, 2015. Rand Paul on the Issues. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/us/politics/rand-paul-on-the-issues.html?_r=1
  24. Weinberg, Ali. ABC News. Rand Paul No-Show at Senate Vaccine Hearing in The Wake of Controversial Comments. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rand-paul-show-senate-vaccine-hearing-controversial-comments/story?id=28868892
  25. Farley, Robert. FactCheck.org. April 13, 2015. FactChecking Marco Rubio. http://www.factcheck.org/2015/04/factchecking-marco-rubio/
  26. Speech at 2014 CPAC Convention. March 6, 2014. http://www.ontheissues.org/2014_CPAC.htm
  27. Doering, Christopher. Argus Leader. April 20, 2015. Thune raised $800,000 in first quarter. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/20/thune-raises-first-quarter/26095001/
  28. Burns, Alexander & Palmer, Anna. Politico.com. April 7, 2014. Inside the Club for Growth’s art of war. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/inside-the-club-for-growths-art-of-war-105415.html
  29. Eggler, Bruce. The Times-Picayune. September 22, 2007. Vitter earmarked federal money for creationist group. http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/09/vitter_earmarked_federal_money.html
  30. Izadi, Elahe. National Journal. January 21, 2014. Sen. David Vitter Makes His 2015 Run for Governor Official. http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/sen-david-vitter-makes-his-2015-run-for-governor-official-20140121

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAUX CHRISTIANS WEEK IN REVIEW 12/22/2014 – 12/27/2014

wolf3

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

This week, the Faux Christians have, once again, made headlines:

 

 

Daily KosU.S. Senate Gives Black Eye to House Fundamentalist Christians – “In what we can only describe as an amazing early holiday present for servicemembers, Constitutional loyalists, and those who value the separation of Church and State, an obscure, but extremely detrimental amendment to the House-passed H.R. 4435 version of the bill “miraculously” disappeared from the final version of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (FY2015 NDAA).”

Forward Progressive – Sarah Palin Pathetically Tries to Exploit Christ For Money – ““Oh, I am so excited for people to get to read this Christmas book, while protecting the heart of Christmas,” Palin says. Yes, because nothing says you’re trying to save the “heart of Christmas” quite like exploiting the holiday season to try to push people to buy a Christmas book.”

The Washington Times – Bobby Jindal: Time for pastors to ‘reset the course of American governance’ – “There is a great need for the kind of leaders we read about in the Old Testament, ‘The Men of Issachar’ (1 Chronicles 12:32). We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America.”

Barbwire – So You Don’t Think There’s A War On Christians? – Dr. Don Boys claims that there is a “concerted effort to hurt our (Christian) efforts and halt our evangelism. He says that the attacks are coming from “heathens, homosexuals, and humanists.”

Huffington Post – A Word to White and Black Evangelicals in America – An African-American pastor speaks out : “If you want to truly care for this population you will face the causes of fatherlessness. It is not only a cause. It is a result; our fatherlessness is the result of generations of segregation, ghettoization, job deprivation, housing discrimination, education discrimination, mass incarceration, over-policing and police brutality. In a word, African America suffers from societal humiliation and shame.”

Politicususa –  David Barton Disciple Joining U.S. House Next Year Vows Holy War on Nonbelievers – “Georgia’s Republican soon-to-be Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, who was endorsed by none other than David Barton, probably because Loudermilk repeats Barton verbatim at every opportunity, appeared on Washington Watch with Josh Duggar to tell Georgians that he will fight the good fight against people who think they have a right to ruin Christmas by not being Christians like everybody else.”

Patheos –   Jury Rules Against Diocese That Fired A Teacher for the “Grave, Immoral” sin of Fertility Treatments – “. This was on the grounds that she was a “grave, immoral sinner” for seeking fertility treatments, who had in doing so violated the morality proscribed in her school’s employment contract.”

CNN – GOP moves early to court conservative Christians – “The first votes of the 2016 campaign won’t be cast for another year but there’s already a race well underway: The Christian primary.”

PoliticusUSA –  “As a secular humanist, one always hopes that the “goodwill toward mankind” sentiment some people express at Christmas would last throughout the year, but that presupposes the Christian-mindset is founded on Jesus’s commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Newsweek –  “They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.”

 

 

 

 

Christians At War Over Christmas

war on christmasWell, it’s the holiday season again, and, of course, the sky is falling! The religious right-wing zealots are absolutely out of their minds with visions of Jesus dancing in their heads. After all, Christ is under attack, and Christians are being persecuted, and by God this is a Christian nation!

“Atheists” are aspiring to deconstruct the whole idea of Christmas and the Christmas tradition, don’t you know!

We seem to go through this every year, it seems. And, now, those who are creating the biggest stink over the use of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” have been getting a little pushback from the more mainstream and rational Christians. That resistance to this ridiculous tirade has the zealots really pissed off.

One of the groups leading the pack of disgruntled Evangelical’s is the American Family Association, an extreme hate group who continuously spews its venom toward all things non-Christian, non-heterosexual, secular, and logical.

According to Right-Wing Watch, an article in this month’s AFA journal makes the following statement:

“… over the last couple of years, AFA has found itself being targeted – either implicitly or explicitly – by other Christians. Whether it’s from Rachel Held Evans on the evangelical left or Russell Moore on the evangelical right, some Christians have chided and condemned AFA’s pro-Christmas campaigns.”

Finally, it appears that the “Real Christians” are starting to speak out against the intolerance, bigotry, and outlandish behaviors of the extremists who have cast a very dark cloud over the whole of the Christian religion.

With that in mind, I will take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season or a very Merry Christmas. However you celebrate the season (or don’t) is fine with us at Crooked Crosses.

 

 

 

 

OKLAHOMA 2014 MID-TERM ELECTIONS

OKLAHOMA 2014 MID-TERM ELECTIONS

GOVERNOR

Mary Fallin (R) – Fallin is the current Governor of Oklahoma. Need I say Fallinmore? Fallin is listed as a “Libertarian-Leaning Conservative.” Residents of Oklahoma consider her to be a hard-core conservative, but more than a little flakey. She is staunchly pro-life; firmly against same-sex marriage and LGBT rights; strongly against the separation of church and state; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-Obamacare; pro-school vouchers and charter schools; anti-clean energy; a friend of big oil and gas; favors faith-based initiatives; anti-immigration.

Joe Dorman (D) – Dorman is running a strong race against Mary Fallin in the Dormanvery Red State of Oklahoma. He is currently a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Dorman is considered a moderate Democrat. He is: pro-life; anti-separation of church and state; pro-Obamacare; favors the privatization of Social Security; pro-public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; pro-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti- immigration and pathway to citizenship.

NOTE: Apparently, Dorman is the closest thing to a Republican that the Oklahoma Democratic Party could come up with. Considering that Oklahoma is one of the most conservative states in the nation, that is not too surprising. Interestingly, he has come under criticism from many liberals and democrats for his failure to address a number of social issues as well as his obvious conservative stands on others. However, Mary Fallin has come under fire from a number of public-education and parental groups recently which could severely hurt her chances at re-election. Dorman, on the other hand, seems to put most of his eggs into one basket – and that is public education. While pandering to those groups might garner him a lot of support, his failure to address issues of importance to the liberals and progressives in Oklahoma might cost him somewhat. The other thing to consider is his stand on the privatization of Social Security which isn’t playing well to the senior population.

As far as I can tell, this one is up for grabs. A couple of things are for certain, however. A changing of the guard is sorely needed in Oklahoma, and, while less than ideal, Joe Dorman is the only hope this state has for moving forward at this time.

UNTIED STATES SENATE

Jim Inhofe (R) – James Mountain Inhofe is the current United States Senator Senate Committee Kicks off Climate Change Hearingsfrom Oklahoma, and former United States Representative. The soon to be octogenarian was first elected to the Senate in 1994.  He is one of the most conservative members of Congress – and one of the most controversial. He is infamous for his steadfast assertion that human activity does not create climate change and that global warming is a hoax.

Additionally, Inhofe has repeatedly voted against federal disaster aid for states hit by natural disasters – unless, of course, the state happens to be Oklahoma.

Senator Inhofe has also been called “The Family’s Missionary in Uganda,” The Family being the secretive C-Street group of which Inhofe is a member. In February, 2014, World News reported:

“Sen. Inhofe has traveled to Africa at least 20 times since 1999, at a cost of at least $187,000 to taxpayers (not including the cost of military aircraft) for what the Senator described as “a Jesus thing.”  In Uganda, Inhofe attended Bahati’s Ugandan prayer breakfasts and invited Bahati to the United States three times. Inhofe, who once boasted of being “proud” that there was not a single gay relationship in the “recorded history of our family,” also boasted that he “adopted” Uganda.  And yet Sen. Inhofe has denied knowing Bahati and, eventually, reluctantly, condemned the country’s anti-gay law.”

In spite of the many controversies over the last three decades, however, Oklahoma voters have still supported James Inhofe. Will this year be different?

On the issues, Inhofe is nothing less than a hard-core conservative. He is: pro-life; anti-same-sex marriage and LGBT rights; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; pro-vouchers and charter schools; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-immigration; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; pro-military expansion; and anti-green energy.

Matt Silverstein (D) – Silverstein is a Real Estate agency owner and financial Silverstienplanner out of Bixby, Oklahoma. Very little is known about Matt, other than by October, 2013, just 4 months after announcing his candidacy, he had raised over $200,000.  We can say that he is a somewhat moderate or middle-of-the road Democrat. He is: pro-women and equal rights; supporter of marriage equality and equal rights for the LGBT community; pro-Obamacare; against Social Security privatization; firmly for public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; against higher taxes on the wealthy; favors military expansion; and favors stricter Voter ID Laws.

NOTE: While Silverstein is certainly not a progressive Democrat, and has some less than desirable views on a couple of the issues, he is, certainly, more palatable that Jim Inhofe. We can only hope that the voters in Oklahoma have come to their senses in this next election and will send Inhofe to the farm. While Silverstein is running an admirable social media campaign, we can’t overlook the fact that mid-terms notoriously bring out  small crowds – and many people vote for familiarity.

James Lankford (R) – Lankford is currently the United States Representative lankfordfor the 5th District. He is running to fill the Senate seat that will be vacated by Tom Coburn. To begin – Lankford was the student ministries and evangelism specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and he was director of the Falls Creek youth programming at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Davis, Oklahoma.

Lankford is probably even further to right of Tom Coburn, and probably even more extreme in his views, if you can believe that. He is also the darling of right-wing, conservative, Oklahoma voters. He is: pro-life believing that life begins at fertilization; anti-Affirmative Action and women’s rights to equality; anti-same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. He wants anti-same sex marriage opinions to be “protected as free speech;” anti-separation of church and state. He wants the first week in May designated as “Ten Commandments Week,” and wants abstinence only taught in public schools; anti-Obamacare; pro-vouchers and charter schools; pro-absolute right to gun ownership. Believes that more guns means less crime; opposes higher taxes on the wealthy; opposes amnesty and a pathway to citizenship; opposes green energy; and favors military expansion.

Connie Johnson (D) – Constance Johnson is currently an Oklahoma State JohnsonSenator first elected in 2005. According to Wikipedia:

“In June 2014, Senator Johnson and attorney David Slane announced the filing of an initiative petition for a proposed amendment to the Constitution of Oklahoma which would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of recreational marijuana and three ounces of medical marijuana. According to Johnson, “We’re putting forth Genesis 1:29 as the basis of this campaign. God created this wonderful, miraculous plant and we know that it has been vilified for the last 100 years, and it’s time to change that in Oklahoma.”

Aside from being the first African American woman nominee for the United States Senate from Oklahoma, Johnson is very liberal in her views. These two factors make her quite the anomaly in this state. She is pro-life, pro-LGBT and same-sex marriage, pro-separation of church and state, pro-Obamacare, and pro-public education.

NOTE: Connie Johnson is the liberal’s dream candidate. It is unfortunate that she is currently pitted against the religious-right’s darling in this race – especially in Oklahoma. She will secure a majority of the African-American vote, as well as some Native American supporters, and, of course, the vote of what few liberals and progressives live in the area. Will it be enough? Only if ALL of those groups mentioned turn out in record numbers. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but I won’t hold my breath.

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

District 1

Jim Bridenstine (R) – District 1 Republican nominee who didn’t draw a BridenstienDemocratic opponent. Bridenstine is the current U.S. Representative for the state of Oklahoma. Bridenstine is a Southern Baptist and member of the Tea Party.  He is uber-conservative in all areas. While the district is solidly Republican, the fact that someone like Bridenstine goes unchallenged by Democrats is really troublesome to me.

District 2

Markwayne Mullin (R) – Mullin is the current United States Representative Mullinfor the 2nd District. He is a business owner and member of the Cherokee Nation. As a staunch Pentecostal, Mullin is pro-life and anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. From his website:

“Our nation was founded on conservative principles that are enduring. Yet our federal government, through this Administration and its liberal allies, is attempting to force people of faith to violate their core religious beliefs and to silence those who disagree with their liberal agenda.

“The liberal media, modern culture and the Obama Administration are attempting to redefine our values – such as the definition of marriage. As Christians, it is our responsibility to stand up for our beliefs and our values.

“I will always defend religious freedom, traditional marriage between one man and one woman and the sanctity of life.”

He is one of the newcomers on the political scene, and is is the epitome of Oklahoma small-town politics. Markwayne Mullin adheres to the dogma of the far religious right, and is a member of the “Birther” regime.

Earl Everett (D) – An 80 year old candidate living in Ft. Gibson. Everett ran Everettlast year and lost. This year he has filed, but failed to do much else. Apparently, the Oklahoma State Democratic Party didn’t want to put any energy into this campaign.

District 3

Frank Lucas (R) – Lucas is the current United States Representative for the Lucas3rd District. He has represented Oklahoma since 1994. He is another far-right, hard core conservative. On the issues he is: pro-life (wants to grant the preborn 14th Amendment Rights); anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage (also wants to ban gay adoptions); anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; anti-public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-immigration; wants English declared the official language of the United States; pro-military expansion; pro-Voter ID laws; pro-big oil and gas and anti-green energy.

Frankie Robbins (D) – Robbins is running primarily on two issues: Oil Robbinsindependence and addressing climate change. His positions on social issues and issues concerning foreign policy, social security, etc. have not been publicized. Unfortunately, this is not unusual amongst Democratic candidates in the State of Oklahoma. Often they feel that their positions, if known, in this conservative state might cost them votes.

NOTE: Frank Lucas is the far-right, dominionist candidate that people in District 3 love. The chances of him being upset are pretty slim. It all depends on how disgruntled the voting population is on November 4th.

District 4

Tom Cole (R) – Cole is the current United States Representative for the 4th ColeDistrict who has been serving since 2003. Cole is another of Oklahoma’s ultra-conservative politicians. Accordingly, on the issues he is: pro-life (wants to grant the preborn 14th Amendment Rights); anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; anti-public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-immigration; pro-military expansion; pro-Voter ID laws; pro-big oil and gas and anti-green energy.

Bert Smith (D) – Smith says he is a “Populist Democrat” and a “Yellow Dog SmithDemocrat.” He is a former Math teacher and a retired U.S. Army  Lieutenant Colonel. His main issue is supporting and defending the Affordable Care Act.

NOTE: Bert Smith doesn’t have much of a political presence in Oklahoma. He has run for office before, but never successfully. Tom Cole, on the other hand, maintains a high profile, and has the funds to actually campaign – not that he will have to do much of that this time around.

District 5

Steve Russell (R) –  Steve Russell is a former Oklahoma State Senator, and Russellretired soldier. Russell is also the owner and founder of Two Rivers Arms, a small rifle manufacturing business that makes copies of the Iraqi Tabuk AK-47. He is seeking the seat vacated by James Lankford.

Russell is a Southern Baptist and very much opposed to abortion. He is also a gun-rights advocate. He pledges to fight against Obamacare and to curb government.  Additionally, he is a major fan of the Oil & Gas Industry.

Al McAffrey (D) – McAffrey is currently an Oklahoma State Senator and McAffreyformer State Representative. McAffrey is the first openly gay man to ever be elected to the Oklahoma State Legislature. He is a liberal, and very strong Democrat.

Robert Murphy (L) – Murphy is running as a Libertarian. On the issues he is: Murphypro-choice; pro-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; pro-legalization of marijuana; etc.

Buddy Ray (I) – Buddy Ray is running as an Independent and is a member of Raythe Tea Party. He claims to be running a “Christ-Focused Campaign.” He also says that most of his Congressional salary will go toward Christian education and personal needs of poor and minority children.

NOTE: This will be a very tough race between Russell and McAffrey. The very fact that Lankford is now running for the U.S. Senate, and is very popular among Republicans in this district puts both candidates in awkward positions. McAffrey is a very popular candidate with Liberals and Progressives, while Russell is equally as popular with Republicans. While the District has historically leaned Republican, there is currently a climate of general dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs among voters. Native American voters are upset over the racism exhibited by Governor Fallin. The Hispanic community is not happy with some of the egregious racial profiling and immigration laws. The LGBT community has continuously been degraded and maligned by the current administration. This election will come down to voter turn-out in this district. Democrats have a shot at this one, but only if they flood the polls on November 4th.