Howard Phillips, one of the main architects of the Moral Majority and, more generally, the American religious right, died Saturday at the age of 72. According to the Christian News Network, he had been suffering from dementia.
Phillips had a long history in conservative and right-wing movements, including three runs as a third-party presidential candidate. He sat on the board of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and worked on Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful 1964 presidential campaign. He then went on to get involved in the administration of Richard Nixon, who appointed him head of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO).
According to left-leaning sociologist Sara Diamond, Phillips was convinced that the OEO was a vehicle for radical leftist recipients, so he encouraged Nixon to appoint other conservative activists from YAF and the American Conservative Union with the aim of eliminating many OEO programs. He launched a public relations campaign, eliminated the OEO’s regional offices, and de-funded anti-poverty programs — until a federal court ruled his actions illegal because his appointment had not been confirmed by the Senate, sparking Phillips’ resignation. Phillips went on to found or help found several key right-wing organizations and networks, including Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority.
During the Reagan Administration, Phillips founded and headed the influential Conservative Caucus. He was a founding member of the secretive and influential conservative Council for National Policy, and served as a senior editor at the Conservative Digest. By the 1990s, Phillips had grown dissatisfied with the Republican Party (it wasn’t right-wing enough) and founded the U.S. Taxpayers Party in 1992. USTP later morphed into the still-extant Constitution Party, whose goal is to implement Biblical law in America and to “limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries” and on whose presidential ticket Phillips ran. The party platform includes pushing states to “proscribe sexually offensive behaviors” including homosexuality; calling on U.S. troops to protect states against invasion by immigrants; opposing abortion in any circumstance; banning pornography; abolishing the IRS and the Department of Education; preventing the federal government from restricting the acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of liberty, law, and government; and returning all lands “held by the federal government without authorization of the Constitution” to the people.
Fear mongering populist demagogues can only maintain large followings in desperate times, and these times are not that. Rand Paul has found his niche so I’m just waiting for the crazy arm flapping, whining, and gesticulations to start as he realizes his irrelevance later in life.
Tea party leaders are turning to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, to deliver their message following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, a speech that will compete with the official Republican response.
Paul will make his remarks soon after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, wraps up the GOP response Tuesday night, a Paul spokeswoman confirms to CNN.
“We are giving a voice to the tea party movement when the mainstream media and the Republican establishment wants to write us off as dead,” said Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express. This is the third year in a row that Kremer’s organization has sponsored the tea party response.
The dueling GOP speeches come at a time when a very public rift is developing between the Republican establishment and conservative activists over the direction of the party. Some grassroots activists are specifically angry at Karl Rove and other Republicans for stating that they will choose sides in upcoming Republican primaries and only financially help candidates who have a chance of winning in the general election.
President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.
Chart: Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Theory Ever
On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body’s majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.’”
The North Carolina public school system whose innovative and nationally lauded desegregation policy was targeted for elimination by conservative activists is embroiled in fresh controversy, as the new Democratic-led school board majority has fired the superintendent hired by the previous Republican-controlled board.
The move complicates relations with the Republican-led county commission that funds the schools — and that could mean trouble for the fast-growing district, which was created by the legislature’s forced 1976 merger of the largely white Wake County school system and the largely minority Raleigh City schools.
The Wake County School Board voted this week to fire Superintendent Tony Tata — a former U.S. Army Brigadier General, military fiction writer and conservative commentator — after less than two years into his four-year contract. Tata previously served as the chief operating officer of the Washington, D.C. public schools under controversial former chancellor Michelle Rhee, known for her aggressive reform efforts and anti-union sentiments. Tata is a graduate of Broad Superintendents Academy, a program founded by businessman, philanthropist and school reform advocate Eli Broad to train corporate executives, military leaders and other non-educators to lead public school systems.
Board leaders blamed the firing on strained relationships with Tata and problems with bus logistics and a botched rollout of a new school assignment plan. He leaves with a severance package of $253,625 to cover a year’s salary and other costs. His temporary replacement is Stephen Gainey, the district’s human resources chief.
The latest political unrest roiling North Carolina’s largest school system can be traced back to 2009, when elections were held for four of nine officially nonpartisan school board seats. Conservative candidates won all of those races, joining an ally already on the board to create a new conservative majority. The acknowledged architect of the conservative takeover was former state Rep. Art Pope — a businessman, leading conservative donor, and backer of groups that advocate school privatization. Pope is also a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, whose North Carolina chapter worked on behalf of the conservative candidates.
Hate Group Leader to Serve as California State Judge
by Leah Nelson
June 20, 2012
In a 2011 fundraising letter for USJF, Kreep suggested that the president is a ‘stealth jihadist,’ Marxist, and ‘strident enemy of America,’ who ‘is working to destroy our sovereign republic.’
Gary Kreep, a longtime antigovernment activist, ‘birther’ and hate group leader who uses anti-Obama rhetoric as a proxy for anti-Muslim hate, has emerged victorious in a tight race for a seat on San Diego’s Superior Court, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Kreep, who received the San Diego County Bar Association’s lowest rating of ‘lacking qualifications,’ beat opponent Garland Peed, a deputy district attorney of 27 years who received the county bar association’s highest rating and who was supported by local police unions and sitting judges.
The San Diego Superior Court is part of the state’s trial court system, which handles a wide variety of cases, including civil lawsuits and felony criminal cases. Kreep will serve a six-year term and earn an annual salary of $178,789.
Gary Kreep leads highly endorsed Dep. DA Garland Peed by 1,500 votes, with 1,000 left to count. U.S. Supreme Court denied Kreep a hearing on Obama case in June.
by Julie Pendray
June 20, 2012
It appears Gary Kreep is about to make history.
Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court denied him a hearing on his birth certificate case against President Obama, it looks like the conservative constitutional attorney will land a seat on the Superior Court bench in San Diego county.
Voters countywide have given him a lead of 1,569 votes over highly endorsed longtime Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed, with 1,000 ballots countywide still to be counted. His lead is less than 1 percent.
Peed was endorsed by many the Superior Court judges and had been given a high qualification ranking by the San Diego County Bar Association. The Bar Association gave Kreep a low ranking, noting that his opinions were swayed too much by his religious beliefs.
Kreep heads up the U.S. Justice Foundation, a conservative political group based in Ramona, which has nationwide support.
From Source Watch: Gary Kreep on “Political Assassinations”:
In October 2001 the conservative online news service WorldNetDaily reported on a paper written by Gary Kreep, the executive director of the group, and Richard D. Ackerman, the then litigation counsel for the organization supporting the lifting of the executive orders 11905 and 12333, signed by President Gerald Ford in 1976, that banned political assassinations.
The report cited an article - not available online - which argued that “the use of violence in defense of the United States should be a right of the leaders of our nation. The right to assassinate a foreign leader is qualified by certain critical factors, including, but not limited to, reasonableness of the force or threat, the interests sought to be protected by the use of violence, and the personal morality of our leaders.
The revival of an ability to defend our nation by assassination of rogue leaders is more than justified given the present threats of biological, chemical and nuclear violence against the United States by foreign states.”
In the two months since Eric Fehrnstrom’s “etch-a-sketch” gaffe, many political observers have waited for the iconic moment when Romney would move to the center or distance himself from the toxic conservative ideological battles of the primary season. But without much notice, that etch-a-sketch moment has already happened.
No, Romney has not shifted positions. Nor has he disrespected the conservative activists whose votes and trust he sought so relentlessly since 2007. What his campaign has done, however, is radically narrow its focus to a single message, one particularly attractive to swing voters: that this election is purely and simply a referendum on Obama’s economy. This focus comes at the expense of the philosophical, social, and cultural topics that dominated the primary season from beginning to end. There’s one problem though: His party’s conservative base may not let him get away with it.
Barely an hour goes by these days without a Romney surrogate staring into a camera and intoning like an incantation that the election is about nothing other than Obama’s responsibility for a poor economy. As Jonathan Chait recently noted, even the much-asked question on Romney’s poor standing with Hispanic voters is routinely answered by citing the economic sufferings of Hispanics and the certainty that they, too, will ignore every other factor and vote for Mr. Fix-It.
Kansas Republicans, under the leadership of “compassionate conservative” Sam Brownback, are working hard to stick it to the poor:
A Kansas House tax committee passed a bill in which anyone making less than $25,000 a year — roughly half a million of the state’s 2.9 million residents — will pay an average of $72 more in taxes, while those making more than $250,000 — about 21,000 people — will see a $1,500 cut, according to Kansas Department of Revenue estimates cited by the Kansas City Star.
The hike would come from the elimination of tax credits typically benefiting the poor.
I can’t help but see this as a continuation of the conservative meme that its the poor who don’t pay their “fair share.” Last fall, as the Occupy movement gained steam, it became common for conservatives to complain about the 47 percent of Americans who “don’t pay taxes.” Presidential candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry complained about it in speeches and debate performances, while conservative activists (Redstate’s Erick Erickson comes to mind) touted it in response to the Occupy movement.
Of course, the claim was misleading to the extreme; all Americans pay something to the government—sales taxes, payroll taxes, and various state taxes—but only some make enough money to owe federal income taxes. Those that don’t, as Annie Lowrey explained for Slate, are either poor