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Ben Carson Sorta Dropping Out. It’s Confusing

Ben Carson

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the debate sponsored by CNN for the 2016 Republican U.S. presidential candidates in Houston, Texas, February 25, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said Wednesday that he sees no “path forward” for his presidential campaign and announced that he will not be attending Thursday night’s presidential debate in his hometown of Detroit.

The 64-year-old retired pediatric neurosurgeon released a statement to his supporters acknowledging the fact that it is all but impossible for him to win the Republican presidential nomination now that he has failed to win a single primary or caucus and has won only a handful of delegates through Super Tuesday.

In his statement, however, Carson stopped short of officially suspending his presidential bid.

“I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results,” Carson’s statement reads. “However, this grassroots movement on behalf of ‘We the People’ will continue. Along with millions of patriots who have supported my campaign for President, I remain committed to Saving America for Future Generations.”

The statement explained that Carson will give a speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside of Washington, D.C. to address his political future, which could possibly be where Carson formally announces the suspension of his presidential campaign.

Carson’s statement comes after GOP operatives told CNN earlier in the day that they were going to call on Carson to end his presidential campaign and encourage him to run for Florida’s open Senate seat, which is currently being held by fellow Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

Also on Wednesday morning, Carson’s longtime friend and business manager Armstrong Williams told Politico that “there is no pathway” for Carson to win the GOP nomination. Williams added that there was no timetable for Carson to announce the end of his campaign.

On Monday, Carson’s wife, Candy, told students at Lee University in Tennessee that her husband will only suspend his presidential campaign if God tells him to do so. She added that God told her husband to run for president in order to bring a voice on issues like national security and the federal government’s enormous $19 trillion debt.

Along with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, Carson was seen as a popular anti-establishment candidate among many conservatives. The height of Carson’s campaign came last fall when he rose to second place in a number of GOP nomination polls and even claimed the top-spot in other polls for a short period of time.

“I appreciate the support, financial and otherwise, from all corners of America,” Carson’s Wednesday statement continued. “Gratefully, my campaign decisions are not constrained by finances; rather by what is in the best interests of the American people.”

Carson’s campaign success began to falter at the end of 2015 when questions arose about his knowledge on foreign policy. For example, Carson stumbled in December by pronouncing the Palestinian militant group Hamas like the edible snack spread “hummus.”

Carson’s drop in the polls led to campaign infighting. Ultimately, over 20 staff members quit from Carson’s campaign on Dec. 31.

Donald Trump’s Un-Christ-Like Behavior Leaves Falwell Sr. Friend Baffled by Falwell Jr. Endorsement

Donald Trump and Jerry Falwell Jr.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Jerry Falwell Jr. speak in the Orpheum Theatre during a campaign event in Sioux City, Iowa January 31 2016.

The executive committee chairman of Liberty University’s Board of Directors said it was a mistake for Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. to endorse Donald Trump for president, saying that the billionaire’s tactics contrast with the Christian values promoted by the institution.

After Falwell Jr. announced his endorsement for the Manhattan real estate mogul in January, he drew the ire of many members of the prominent evangelical school’s community even though his endorsement was private and not intended to speak for the university.

Among those disappointed by Falwell Jr.’s endorsement is a former adviser to Falwell Jr.’s father, the late founder of school, Jerry Falwell Sr.

Mark DeMoss, Falwell Sr.’s former chief of staff, spoke to the Washington Post on Monday about Falwell Jr.’s endorsement. DeMoss argued that the Trump’s constant use of insults on the campaign trail shows that the Republican frontrunner boldly rejects the basic Christian morals that Falwell Sr. espoused and the principles that Liberty University presses upon its students.

“Donald Trump is the only candidate who has dealt almost exclusively in the politics of personal insult,” DeMoss explained. “The bullying tactics of personal insult have no defense — and certainly not for anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ.”

“That’s what’s disturbing to so many people,” DeMoss added. “It’s not Christ-like behavior that Liberty has spent 40 years promoting with its students.”

As Trump has had no trouble winning the support of evangelicals throughout the various primary contests thus far, Falwell’s endorsement proves to be one of Trump’s most prominent endorsements from an evangelical leader.

Although it took DeMoss over a month to publicly criticize Falwell Jr. for his endorsement, he said he simply couldn’t hold his silence about the endorsement any longer.

“I’ve been concerned for Liberty University for a couple of months now, and I’ve held my tongue,” DeMoss, who through his work as a public affairs executive has ties to the evangelical community throughout the United States, said.

“I think a lot of what we’ve seen from Donald Trump will prove to be difficult to explain by evangelicals who have backed him,” DeMoss continued.

DeMoss, who said he was going to vote for Rubio in Tuesday’s Virginia Republican primary, criticized Trump for not disavowing the support of former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke in an interview on CNN over the weekend.

“Watching last weekend’s escapades about the KKK, I don’t see how an evangelical backer can feel good about that,” DeMoss said, although the Washington Post reports that Trump did denounce Duke at a press conference days prior to the CNN interview.

DeMoss further criticized Falwell Jr. for comparing Trump to his late father.

“It bothered me that he said Donald Trump reminded him of his father,” DeMoss said. “Donald Trump certainly does not demonstrate Jerry Falwell Sr.’s graciousness and love for people. Jerry Falwell Sr. would never have made fun of a political opponent’s face or makeup or ears. He would not have personally insulted anybody — ever.”

DeMoss said he has talked privately with Falwell Jr. about his endorsement but it “appears to be something we’re just going to disagree on.”

DeMoss felt the need to speak out against Falwell’s endorsement in order to represent the many Liberty alumni who are appalled by Falwell’s endorsement.

DeMoss even explained that one alumnus returned his diploma to the Liberty’s board of directors because he was so ashamed by Falwell’s endorsement.

Falwell Jr. told the Washington Post that he finds DeMoss’ comments about his endorsement disappointing and “puzzling.”

“Any time you support a candidate, and you’re an official at a university, you just have to accept the fact that a large percentage of the community is not going to agree with you,” Falwell Jr. stated. “I think our community is mature enough that they understand that all the administrators and faculty have their own personal political views.”

Falwell defended his comparison of Trump to his father. He asserted that sometimes his father would insult local politicians from the pulpit who opposed Liberty University zoning.

“The only way Mr. Trump was like my father was one, he made politically incorrect statements and didn’t care who disagreed with him, and two, he was very generous to strangers,” Falwell explained.

Robert Jeffress: Christians Not Voting for Donald Trump if He’s the Nominee Are Foolish, Prideful

Donald Trump, RObert Jeffress

Texas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress (L) and Donald Trump (R)

Pastor Robert Jeffress, leader of the influential 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas declared Wednesday that Republicans who have vowed never to support Donald Trump if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee are “fools.”

“I think the Bible has a word for people like that — it’s fools,” said Jeffress in an interview with The Christian Post Wednesday.

Jeffress was responding to the #NeverTrump hashtag revolt which has been steadily gaining momentum over the weekend and got the endorsement of Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska on Sunday.

“It is absolutely foolish to do anything that would allow Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States … at least Donald Trump has voiced a belief in a pro-life movement, he has at least talked about religious liberty as he did last Friday, you don’t hear either things coming from the lips of Hillary Clinton,” he continued.

“I believe any Christian who would sit at home and not vote for the Republican nominee … that person is being motivated by pride rather than principle and I think it would be a shame for people to allow Hillary Clinton four or eight years in the White House,” he said.

Jeffress who has been a staunch promoter of the GOP presidential frontrunner from the early days of his campaign reacted to a number of questions in the interview with CP covering faith, politics, the Republican Party and the allure of Donald Trump.

At a rally for the billionaire which featured an endorsement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Dallas on Friday, Jeffress gave a passionate speech in support of the candidate many prominent evangelicals have rejected as a poser.

Trump does not espouse true Christian values, they say, despite his popularity among a broad cross-section of disenchanted evangelical voters who have been fueling his rise in the polls.

“You know, one time when Ronald Reagan was running for president of the United States, the first time, he met with a group of evangelical leaders, and he said, although you can’t endorse me, I want you to know I endorse you. And I have met — I have met with Mr. Trump on several occasions, and I can tell you from personal experience, if Donald Trump is elected president of the United States, we who are evangelical Christians are going to have a true friend in the White House. God bless Donald Trump!” Jeffress declared at the rally.

When asked if he was trading his own values for a “true friend in the White House?” based on advice he doled out during prior elections, Jeffress said that isn’t the case.

In a 2011 interview leading up to the 2012 Republican primary season, Jeffress cited the words of Founding Father and first Chief Justice of the United States, John Jay, who said:

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

In that interview, he explained why then Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who would eventually become the 2012 Republican nominee, wouldn’t be his choice for nominee because of his Mormon faith. Even though Romney wasn’t his choice, said Jeffress, it didn’t prevent him from casting a vote for him when he became the Republican presidential nominee. He predicted however that Romney would lose.

“I frankly believe that if Gov. Romney is the nominee, I believe Barack Obama will be the next president. Now remember this. In 2008, 30 million evangelical voters sat home and did not vote because they were not energized by John McCain. Barack Obama won by 10 million votes. I believe the same thing will happen in 2012,” warned Jeffress. “I do not think evangelical voters are going to be motivated to go out and vote for Mitt Romney.”

With Trump in 2016, said Jeffress, voters are motivated and that should count for something, not just his Christianity.

“A candidate’s faith is certainly one consideration for choosing the candidate for who they are going to vote. It is not the only consideration,” said Jeffress on Wednesday.

“I will remind you also that when it came down to a choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, I said I would support Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon,” he continued.

“He (Romney) may not have been a Christian and Barack Obama was a professing Christian and yet in that instance I said there was a case in voting for somebody who may not be a Christian over a Christian. So a candidate’s faith is one consideration. It’s not the only consideration,” Jeffress explained.

“Secondly, I would remind people, that in 1980, voters had a choice between two candidates. One was a truly born-again Christian who taught Sunday school in his Baptist Church and was faithfully married to one woman. His name was Jimmy Carter.

“The other choice was a twice-married, Hollywood actor who as Governor of California signed the most liberal abortion bill in California history and whose wife followed astrology and used it to influence him. His name was Ronald Reagan,” he said.

“Evangelicals overwhelmingly voted for Ronald Reagan, not because he was the most religious candidate but he possessed the quality evangelicals felt like was most important and that is leadership,” added Jeffress.

He noted that while the Bible does not specifically address how Christians should vote, Christians should apply faith and reason in deciding how they vote this election season as it isn’t a simple decision.

“If the Bible gave a checklist for how to choose a candidate, how to vote for a candidate, it would be a simple matter but the Bible provides no such checklist because voting didn’t exist when the Bible was written,” he said.

“You didn’t get to vote for kings or for emperors. And I believe there are a lot of criteria that ought to be used in selecting a candidate.

“His faith is one issue, his character, his leadership ability, his electability are all legitimate criteria to use in selecting a candidate,” he explained.

When it comes to Christians making decisions on what they perceive to been the authenticity of where someone stands in their faith he urged caution.

“Every Christian has the right to choose a candidate he thinks is best. But no Christian has the right to make his preference a litmus test for somebody else’s Christianity or spirituality,” said Jeffress.

“I believe the country has moved far to the left even in the last four years, since the time Mitt Romney was running. And because of that, I think it is going to be harder and harder to try to elect the kind of candidate we all would like to have as president of the United States,” he continued.

“And look, I understand, some Christians doubt whether Mr. Trump’s pro-life conversion is real and doubt what kind of appointments he would make to the Supreme Court. I understand that. But what I would remind people is, Hillary Clinton does not even claim any pro-life conversion and there is certainly no doubt as to what kind of judges she would appoint. So I do think electability is a question, I think people have to take that into consideration,” he said.

“I’m not here trying to convince anybody to vote for Donald Trump. I think every Christian needs to make up his own mind about this issue,” he added.

Pro-Lifers Concerned Supreme Court May Strike Down Texas Abortion Law

Supreme Court abortion

A protester holds up a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the morning the court takes up a major abortion case focusing on whether a Texas law that imposes strict regulations on abortion doctors and clinic buildings interferes with the constitutional right of a woman to end her pregnancy, in Washington March 2, 2016.

Pro-life activists and legal experts who witnessed arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Texas’ controversial abortion law are unsure how the high court may rule.

Oral arguments were heard by the eight justices on Wednesday in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the lawsuit challenging Texas’s House Bill 2, a sweeping pro-life law passed in 2013.

John Seago, legislative director at Texas Right to life, told The Christian Post that the arguments “were lively” as the justices questioned the two sides.

“They pretty clearly showed the divide that exists on the court between four justices and three conservative justices,” said Seago.

Paul RyanSpeaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks to pro-life demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We saw that Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan were very aggressive. They were very outspoken in trying to undermine the solicitor general’s arguments for the law, but overall it was a good hour of arguments and we think that the state did a good job of defending the law.”

Seago told CP that Justice Anthony Kennedy will “be critical to a victory in this case”, with the noted swing justice described as “engaged” and asking “a lot of questions of both sides.”

“Justice Kennedy was going to be critical when we had Justice Scalia on the court. However even now we still depend upon him to side with the other three conservative Justices to have a four-four tie,” continued Seago.

In July 2013, then Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed into law House Bill 2, which among other things banned abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation and required abortion clinic owners to upgrade their facilities to meet the same standards as outpatient surgical centers.

Soon after it became law, HB 2 endured a series of legal challenges as many clinics in the Lone Star State closed due to their inability to fulfill the safety requirements of the new law.

Supreme Court abortionProtesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last June a three judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld nearly all of HB 2, allowing only an injunction on behalf of Whole Women’s Health.

In November the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, making it the first major abortion related case the justices heard in several years.

Steven H. Aden, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told CP that he believed Kennedy was good at hiding his opinions on a case during arguments.

“Justice Kennedy has a judicial demeanor that precludes one from reading him,” said Aden, who serves as director of Life Alliances for ADF.

“He’s wise to the knowledge that people will take everything he says and his gestures and the looks on his face as a signaling one way or the other. So he does not disclose by verbal or nonverbal means his position.”

Family Research Council Senior Fellow Cathy Ruse provided CP with comments regarding what she observed during the arguments, which was that she agreed Kennedy’s views were uncertain.

“No one hearing arguments today could come away with a clear idea of how Justice Kennedy is likely to vote. Even when he is very vocal, Kennedy’s comments and questions serve as poor predictors of his votes,” said Ruse.

“He did seem concerned about the abortion centers’ lack of evidence to support their claims that the Texas regulations deprive women of adequate abortion centers. Chief Justice Roberts shared this concern, asking in response to several related assertions by the abortion centers’ lawyer: ‘Where is the evidence?'”

Super Tuesday: Rubio Backers Spend Big in Texas to Rival Ted Cruz in His Home State

Sen. Marco Rubio

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks at a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas, February 26, 2016.

Backers of Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio have spent nearly as much money in the weeks leading up to Super Tuesday’s nominating contests as all of his rivals combined, including an outsized spend in Texas.

The Super PAC supporting the U.S. senator from Florida, Conservative Solutions, poured $4.2 million into 10 Super Tuesday states between Feb. 10 and Feb. 27, almost twice as much as groups backing rival Ted Cruz, according to a Reuters analysis of Federal Election Commission filings.

Super PACs supporting all candidates combined, including Rubio, spent $8.8 million in those states during that period.

The biggest chunk of money from Rubio’s allied Super PAC was $1.5 million targeting U.S. Senator Cruz’s home state of Texas, the biggest prize among the Super Tuesday states in terms of the number of delegates up for grabs. (Click here for a graphic: http://tmsnrt.rs/1Lr2J0c )

Sen. Ted Cruz

Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at a rally at the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows in Reno, Nevada, February 22, 2016.

Cruz is poised to defeat Republican front-runner Donald Trump in Texas by a double-digit margin, with Rubio running a distant third in opinion polls.

Efforts to reach an official at Conservative Solutions were unsuccessful, but experts said the spending could be an effort to prevent Cruz from reaching a threshold of victory that would allow him to sweep the state’s 155 delegates.

“Given the delegate allocation, if Rubio can keep Trump or Cruz under 50 percent in some districts, he stops them from getting all the delegates in that district,” said University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus. In the Texas Republican primary, delegates are allocated proportionally by congressional district.

Texas-based Republican strategist Joe Brettell said a strong showing by Rubio in the state could also help the 44-year-old senator justify another run for the presidency in 2020 if he should fail to win the nomination this time.

Rubio has emerged as the Republican establishment’s favored candidate to take on Trump for the presidential nomination, drawing a flood of endorsements and donor cash since former Florida Governor Jeb Bush dropped out on Feb. 20.

But the senator has struggled to distinguish himself from Cruz in both the polls and recent nominating contests.

Cruz’s allied Super PAC spent $738,000 in his home state during the period. Trump’s campaign is largely self-funded and he does not have an allied Super PAC.

The review of Super PAC spending does not include money spent by campaigns, which are set to disclose their February spending on March 20. Super PACs supporting the candidates, as well as other outside groups trying to influence voters, are required to notify the Federal Election Commission shortly after purchasing ads.

Super PACs, which were created after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money but are barred from coordinating with the campaigns.

This year is shaping up to be one of the most expensive elections in American history. And a lot of the money lately has been spent targeting Trump.

Between the Super PACs supporting Rubio and Cruz as well as other groups that are working to bring down Trump, $7.2 million has been spent in Super Tuesday states and in national ad buys attacking the New York real estate billionaire, according to the Reuters review.

One of the ads the Conservative Solutions PAC is running in Texas takes aim at Trump University, a for-profit program he launched that is now the subject of lawsuits from unhappy attendees. Trump called for the ad to be taken down, saying it was inaccurate.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson and Grant Smith; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Jonathan Oatis)

Prominent Evangelical Leaders Won’t Drop Ted Cruz for Marco Rubio, Tony Perkins Says

 

  • Sen. Marco RubioSouth Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (L) and U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio react on stage during a campaign event in Chapin, South Carolina, February 17, 2016. Haley announced her endorsement of Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination.
  • Ted Cruz campaign rallyA homemade campaign sign is seen at a rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, February 28, 2016.
  • Marco RubioA combination photo shows U.S. Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio (L) in North Las Vegas, Nevada on February 21, 2016, Donald Trump in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on February 20, 2016 and Ted Cruz (R) in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 22, 2016. In South Carolina last weekend, exit polls showed Trump comfortably beat both his closest rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among evangelical voters, despite their more consistent appeals to Christian values.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and other evangelical leaders who’ve endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president are denying a claim that prominent Cruz supporters have discussed switching to endorse Florida Sen. Marco Rubio should Cruz tank on Super Tuesday.

With over 12 Republican primary elections and caucuses to be held on Tuesday, the day marks a pivotal moment in the campaigns of Cruz and Rubio. Both campaigns are looking for big results to help make a dent into Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s 65-delegate lead and keep them in the running to win the Republican nomination.

Although over 50 prominent social conservative and evangelical leaders, including Perkins, voted to coalesce their support around Cruz in December in hopes it would unite the evangelical voters around one candidate, the voting bloc has been nothing close to united thus far.

While Cruz was able to win the Iowa Caucus on Feb 1, he has failed to win the majority of evangelical support in each of the last three state results, and exit polls show that more evangelicals appear to be voting for Trump and a growing number are voting for Rubio.

Ted Cruz campaign rallyA homemade campaign sign is seen at a rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, February 28, 2016.

After Cruz finished third overall in the South Carolina Republican primary with just 26 percent of the evangelical vote to Trump’s 36 percent, the National Review reported that some of the 50-plus evangelical leaders who voted in December to unite around Cruz held a phone call last Tuesday to discuss dropping their support for Cruz and endorse Rubio instead.

The phone call was reportedly held on the same day Trump was victorious in the Nevada caucuses and benefited from 40 percent of the evangelical vote in that state.

The National Review report cites sources familiar with the situation who said that if Cruz is not successful on Tuesday and does not at the very least win his home state of Texas, “some of his prominent backers are prepared to defect to Rubio,” in what could be a “pragmatic charge to stop Trump.”

In a statement on his Facebook page following the publication of the National Review piece, Perkins rejected the idea that any phone conference was held by Cruz supporters to discuss endorsing Rubio. He added that the report is based off “lies from the Rubio camp.”

“I will stand 100 percent behind my endorsement of Ted Cruz through the convention because he understands the Constitution better than any candidate in this race and is exactly the leader America needs to lead this nation to greatness again,” Perkins wrote. “I was on no conference call as insinuated by an anonymous online report. I am deeply troubled that anyone would stoop to this level in an effort to boost Marco Rubio.”

“Bottom line: There is not a snowball’s chance that I’m changing my endorsement,” Perkins added.

An update to the National Review‘s report claims that while Perkins and others deny taking part in the reported phone call, Cruz’s most loyal supporters were not invited to take part in the call.

Other prominent Cruz-supporting evangelical leaders like ConservativeHQ.com Chairman Richard Viguerie and Iowa social conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats also decried the report in statements.

“The idea that conservatives will shift their support from Cruz to Rubio is preposterous given Marco Rubio’s many betrayals of the conservative movement going back to when he served in the Florida House,” Viguerie said in a statement. “Senator Rubio’s support for amnesty for illegal aliens, his support for the Obama-Hillary Clinton disasters in the Middle East, and his long record of supporting big spending and intrusive government has rendered him unacceptable to key elements of the conservative coalition that elected Ronald Reagan and powered Republicans to historic victories in the 2010 and 2014 elections.”

“Tony Perkins had it right; these are nothing but lies from the Rubio camp,” Viguerie added. “Ted Cruz is the only candidate for president that, if elected, I trust to govern according to limited government constitutional conservative principles.”

President of Family Talk and founder of Focus on the Family James Dobson, a Cruz supporter who was also included in the December meeting, said in a statement shared with CP that he plans to continue urging conservatives and people of faith to vote for Cruz because he “has the moral and spiritual foundations to lead our nation with excellence.”

Vander Plaats, who is the national co-chair of Cruz’s campaign, was highly critical of the reporting done by the National Review, saying in his statement that there is “no way any sensible movement conservative would support anyone else” but Cruz.

“There has been a pattern of false reporting from [National Review’s] Tim Alberta in which he continually hides behind unnamed Rubio supporters,” Vander Plaats argued.

Ted Cruz at NRB: ‘Best Cure for Poverty Is …’

Ted Cruz

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz greets supporters after a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, February 28, 2016.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz spoke about curing poverty at the National Religious Broadcasters annual meeting.

At the Christian media gathering in Nashville, Tennessee, Senator Cruz took part in a presidential forum on Friday and was asked questions on a wide range of topics.

Conservative writer and anti-poverty activist Star Parker asked about how to deal with growing poverty in America, especially in relation to broken families.

“The best cure for poverty is a secure two parent home with a mother and father caring for those children,” answered Cruz.

NRB convention

Cruz went on to say that “many of these issues are not going to be cured by government” in light of many public sector efforts like Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.”

“Many of these are issues for the church or issues for the community to work to encourage and build strong marriages as really the foundation of the family, of the community, of where we live,” continued Cruz.

“I do think government policies can be changed so that they’re not attacking marriage, so they’re not undermining marriage.”

During his remarks Cruz also noted that the presidency is a “powerful bully-pulpit” for which to “speak out of the virtues” of having fathers taking responsibility for their children.

“I think faith-based approaches make enormous differences,” added Cruz, saying they are effective for those who are “going to change someone’s heart and mind.”

Cruz’s comments came as part of the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, known as “Proclaim 16.”

Held last week and featuring about 200 Christian media organizations, Proclaim 16 featured several prominent speakers.

In addition to Cruz, other speakers included Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, actress and producer Roma Downey, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham, Fox News social commentator Judge Jeannie Pirro, and former Iraqi-based Anglican clergyman Canon Andrew White.

Cruz gave some remarks to the NRB audience and then took questions from moderator Eric Metaxas, as well as Parker, who serves as president of Center for Urban Renewal and Education, and Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA.

Cruz was not the only Republican presidential hopeful to address Proclaim 16. Dr. Ben Carson also addressed the evangelical gathering.

Carson and Cruz both addressed NRB before Super Tuesday, when several states hold their primaries, is slated to take place.

#NeverTrump: Republican Ben Sasse Declares He’ll Never Vote for Donald Trump

Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

The #NeverTrump hashtag revolt against Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, which has been steadily gaining momentum over the weekend, got the endorsement of Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska on Sunday, making him the first elected Republican to do so.

The hashtag reportedly began with conservative pundit Erick Erickson. It grew rapidly Friday evening, inspiring tweets from across the political spectrum to become the top trend on Twitter not only in the U.S., but worldwide reports BuzzFeed. And on Sunday night, Sasse declared that he would not support Trump for president despite his popularity among Republican voters.

“The Trump coalition is broad and complicated, but I believe many Trump fans are well-meaning. I have spoken at length with many of you, both inside and outside Nebraska. You are rightly worried about our national direction. You ache about a crony-capitalist leadership class that is not urgent about tackling our crises. You are right to be angry,” he began in a lengthy Facebook post.

“I’m as frustrated and saddened as you are about what’s happening to our country. But I cannot support Donald Trump,” he declared.

“Please understand: I’m not an establishment Republican, and I will never support Hillary Clinton. I’m a movement conservative who was elected over the objections of the GOP establishment. My current answer for who I would support in a hypothetical matchup between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton is: Neither of them. I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option,” he noted.

Donald Trump

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22, 2016.

Sasse then said Trump is divisive and likened him to President Barack Obama.

“Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation. Much like President Obama, he displays essentially no understanding of the fact that, in the American system, we have a constitutional system of checks and balances, with three separate but co-equal branches of government,” he said.

“And the task of public officials is to be public ‘servants.’ The law is king, and the people are boss. But have you noticed how Mr. Trump uses the word ‘Reign’ – like he thinks he’s running for King? It’s creepy, actually. Nebraskans are not looking for a king. We yearn instead for the recovery of a Constitutional Republic,” he added.

In an op-ed for the Conservative Review published Monday, Iowa conservative radio host Steve Deace also declared will never vote for Trump.

“On national television Sunday morning, the current frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination refused to disavow being publicly supported by racists not once, not twice, but three times. Just another in a multitude of reasons why I will #NeverTrump – even if he is the Republican nominee,” wrote Deace.

“And spare me your sanctimonious rambling about, ‘but if he’s the nominee we have to vote for him or Hillary will win.’ First of all, most of the thumb-suckers saying this have sat on the sidelines during this primary process, refusing to get their hands dirty doing everything they could to stop the GOP from nominating another sure-fire progressive loser/betrayer once more,” he continued.

Deace, who is a supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said he and his wife went the extra mile to help Cruz win in Iowa by mortgaging “every asset and resource” they have.

“My wife and I mortgaged every asset and resource we have to help Ted Cruz win the Iowa Caucuses. And we’ve got the sleepless nights, as well as the scabs from the pretend friends who stabbed us in the back, to prove it,” he wrote.

“Funny thing is, I don’t remember seeing much of the Team GOP sycophant crowd those many months while the bullets were flying. So if you didn’t do whatever you could to help someone who actually stands for what we’re supposedly fighting for, whether that be Cruz or one of the other candidates not named Trump in the race, spare me your whining. As the great prophet Travis Tritt once sang, ‘Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares,'” he added.

California’s Drought Is So Bad That Thousands Are Living Without Running Water

e-porterville-lady
Vickie Yorba, 94, stands next to a water tank outside her home in East Porterville, California.

Most of us are feeling the effects of the California drought from a distance, if at all: Our produce is a little more expensive, our news feeds are filled with images of cracked earth. But thousands of people in California’s Central Valley are feeling the drought much more acutely, because water has literally ceased running from their taps. The drought in these communities resembles a never-ending natural disaster, says Andrew Lockman, manager of the county’s Office of Emergency Services. Most disasters are “sudden onset, they run their course over hours or days, and then you clean up the mess. This thing has been growing for 18 months and it’s not slowing down.”

Here’s what you need to know about California’s most parched places:

What do you mean by “no running water”?
No water is coming through the pipes, so when residents turn on the tap or the shower, or try to flush the toilet or run the washing machine, water doesn’t come out.

Who doesn’t have running water?
While a handful of communities across the state are dealing with municipal water contamination and shortages, the area that’s hardest hit—and routinely referred to as the “ground zero of the drought”—is Tulare County, a rural, agriculture-heavy region in the Central Valley that’s roughly the size of Connecticut. As of this week, 5,433 people in the county don’t have running water, according to Lockman. Most of those individuals live in East Porterville, a small farming community in the Sierra Foothills. East Porterville is one of the poorest communities in California: over a third of the population lives below the federal poverty line, and 56 percent of adults didn’t make it through high school. About three quarters of residents are Latino, andabout a third say they don’t speak English “very well.”

Why don’t they have running water?
Many Tulare homes aren’t connected to a public water system—either because they are too rural or, in the case of East Porterville, because when the community was incorporated in the late 1970s, there wasn’t enough surface water available to serve the community. Until recently, this wasn’t a problem: the homes have private wells, and residents had a seemingly unlimited supply of groundwater. Most domestic wells in East Porterville are relatively shallow—between 25 and 50 feet deep—because water wasn’t far below ground level.

With California in its fourth year of drought, there’s been little groundwater resupply and a lot more demand—particularly as farmers resort to pumping for water—leading the water table to drop dramatically and wells to go dry. Those with money can dig deeper wells, but this generally costs between $10,000 and $30,000—a cost that’s prohibitive for many Tulare residents.

If they don’t have running water, how do they function?
Of the roughly 1,200 Tulare homes reporting dry wells, about 1,000 of them have signed up for a free bottled water delivery service coordinated by the county. Homes receive deliveries every two weeks; each resident is allotted half a gallon of drinking water per day. The county has also set up three large tanks of nonpotable water, where residents can fill up storage containers for things like showering, flushing toilets, or doing dishes. Portable showers, toilets, and sinks have been set up in front of a church in East Porterville.

Wait, people are showering outside a church?
Yup. Some residents have been living without water for over a year, says Susana De Anda, the director of the Community Water Center, a non-profit serving the area. “It’s a huge hygiene issue where we don’t have running water. It kind of reminds me of Katrina,” she says. “The relief came but it came kind of late.”

The state’s offering temporary help, right?
To provide interim relief, the county is also working to install water storage tanks outside of homes with dry wells. The 2,500-gallon tanks, usually set up in yards, are filled with potable water and connected to the home, giving a rough semblance of running water. Only about 170 such tanks have been installed so far, in part because the process for installing the tanks is so laborious. Applicants need to prove ownership of the house, open their home to a site assessment, and more—with each step of the process involving a days or weeks long queue. Some 1,300 homes still don’t have tanks installed.

Hundreds of rental properties don’t have running water, and because domestic water storage tanks aren’t set up at rental units, migrant workers aren’t likely to reap the benefits of this interim solution. Another challenge is misinformation: The free water programs are open to residents regardless of citizenship, but myths still prevents some from taking advantage of the services. When the portable showers were first installed in front of the church, says Lockman, many people suspected they were an immigration enforcement trap. Some parents haven’t been sending their children to school, having heard that child welfare services would take away kids from families that don’t have running water.

Who’s working on this?
This year, the state has set aside $19 million to be spent on emergency drinking water. In Tulare, the Office of Emergency Services, which coordinates a network of contractors covering the needs of half a million people, currently has a staff of four people. (Three more positions were approved this week.)

In the long term, community leaders are working to build an infrastructure so that homes can be linked to a municipal water supply. But that work is “slow and expensive,” says Melissa Withnell, a county spokesperson.

Are farmers taking the water?
Yes, but it’s hard to blame them. Tulare County is among the biggest agricultural producers in the country, growing everything from pistachios and almonds to grapes and livestock. “If you were to just look at the landscape, it’s very green,” says De Anda. “You wouldn’t think we were in a drought.” The industry brings in nearly 8 billion dollars per year, employing many of those individuals who currently lack running water. Permits to drill new wells have skyrocketed—just this year, nearly 700 irrigation wells have been permitted, compared to about 200 domestic wells. (Wells permits are issued on a first come, first served basis.) “It’s like one big punch bowl that’s not getting refilled but everybody’s been slowly drinking out of it and now we have a thirsty football team at the same punch bowl as everybody else,” says Lockman. “Do we have sustainability problems? Oh yeah, absolutely.”

Source: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/07/drought-5000-californians-dont-have-running-water 

Gun Insanity: Activists Call to Ban Gun Emoji

Gun control group jumps shark by going after pixels

Believe it or not, symbols in text messages are the next target for fervent anti-gun activists in New York.

Under the “Disarm the iPhone” campaign, “New Yorkers Against Gun Violence” is calling on Apple to remove the gun emoji from their iPhone devices.

An accompanying video for the ad campaign, which we assure you is real, tries to sell the idea that getting rid of the emoji would somehow lead to less gun deaths.

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