On Friday, the Cincinnati Enquirerendorsed Hillary Clinton, the first Democrat for president the paper has endorsed in almost 100 years.
"The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century—a tradition this editorial board doesn't take lightly," the editorial board wrote. "But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst."
With this unexpected endorsement, the Enquirer joins several other newspapers who, due to fears of a Trump presidency, have bucked years of tradition and chosen not to endorse the GOP nominee: Earlier this month, the Dallas Morning Newsendorsed Clinton, the first Democratic nominee for president they've endorsed in 75 years. The New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed libertarian Gary Johnson, after endorsing Republican candidates for a century.
The Enquirer's editorial outlines Hillary Clinton's "proven track record of governing," including her work fighting for women's rights, children's health coverage, LGBT equality, and to secure care for 9/11 first responders.
Of Trump, the editorial board points out that he has no history of governance—and rather than acknowledging his novice status, he purports to know more than the experts:
Trump is a clear and present danger to our country. He has no history of governance that should engender any confidence from voters. Trump has no foreign policy experience, and the fact that he doesn't recognize it—instead insisting that, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do"—is even more troubling. His wild threats to blow Iranian ships out of the water if they make rude gestures at U.S. ships is just the type of reckless, cowboy diplomacy Americans should fear from a Trump presidency.
The editorial board acknowledges their reservations about Clinton, including her lack of transparency, and it makes clear that any reservations they have about Clinton "pale in comparison to our fears about Trump." The board goes on to outline a host of other concerns about Trump: his insults about women, his offensive comments about Latino and African-American communities, his support of dictatorial leaders like Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein, his endorsements from white supremacist groups, and much more.
"Of late, Trump has toned down his divisive rhetoric, sticking to carefully constructed scripts and teleprompters," the Enquirer notes. "But going two weeks without saying something misogynistic, racist or xenophobic is hardly a qualification for the most important job in the world. Why should anyone believe that a Trump presidency would look markedly different from his offensive, erratic, stance-shifting presidential campaign?"
The pastor has been accused of pushing questionable investment advice and heavy tithing.
Hannah LevintovaSep. 22, 2016 5:08 PM
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a lifelong Christian and conservative, has worked hard over the last few months to shore up Donald Trump's bona fides on the religious right, addressing groups of evangelicals and making bold promises on issues like abortion. But on Thursday, he may be putting a dent in the Trump campaign's promise to "save the middle class." The Republican vice presidential nominee will be speaking at a mega-church whose founding pastor has been accused by some of his congregants of causing church members to lose thousands of dollars on bad investments—in part by preaching a philosophy that tied members' donations to the church to God's blessing of their investments.
Pence will be holding a campaign rally at the Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona. The church was founded by Dr. Tom Anderson and today has a congregation of about 8,000, a $10 million property with three sanctuaries, and two additional locations in the Phoenix area.
Anderson has made a name for himself by preaching about prosperity, both at his church and in his writings. His best-selling book, Becoming a Millionaire God's Way, seeks to give Christians both the financial tools and the biblical context they need to achieve prosperity. The book argues that God alone won't provide abundance—hard work and smart investments are also necessary—but that investing in God by tithing will help Christians achieve earthly prosperity.
"What should you invest in?" Anderson asks in the book. "The first thing should be in God. Get into the habit of taking your tithes and offerings off the top of your paycheck. Next, pay yourself. Lastly, pay expenses. If there is not enough money to do all three, then leave yourself out and pay God first, then expenses."
He adds later, "You can give what you feel like giving, but if you don't tithe ten percent, the devil will steal what you have."
"You can give what you feel like giving, but if you don't tithe ten percent, the devil will steal what you have."
In the book, Anderson explains that although the tithe required by scripture is 10 percent of a person's income, there are biblical examples of figures giving "offerings" beyond that amount—and prospering proportionately as a result. "The tithe protected their possessions," he writes of one biblical anecdote. "The rest of the offering brought blessing."
According to Don Enevoldsen, a former member of the church, Anderson brought similar ideas to the Living Word Bible Church—and some congregants suffered financially by following them.
Enevoldsen ghost-wrote several of Anderson's books, including Becoming a Millionaire God's Way, and he summed up Anderson's philosophy to the local CBS affiliate in 2012: "If you tithe, God will protect all your stuff so the Devil can't take it away from you. If you give offerings over and above the tithe, which would be 10 percent of your income, that opens the windows of heaven and pours out a blessing and you have to invest in something for that blessing to have something to multiply, and that investment would usually be real estate."
Enevoldsen said that Anderson would give specific financial advice, recommending profitable neighborhoods for real estate investments, telling his followers when to buy and sell houses and cars, and providing stock-market advice. He told CBS that many of the congregants followed Anderson's advice—and when the economy crashed, they still believed their investments were good "because God would bless their investments because they had tithed and gave offerings." Enevoldsen said some congregants "ended up upside down a half-million dollars or more in just a matter of a month or two because they believed what the pastor said."
Anderson did not respond to a list of questions from Mother Jones. He acknowledged to CBS that people have lost money following his advice, "because stuff happens in this world. It just means that whatever you get stolen you can get back seven times."
Another former member of the church, Preston Gaiser, told CBS that he lost $60,000. While working as a personal security guard for Anderson at the church, Gaiser says he became close with Anderson and followed his advice to take out equity on his current house to buy another one, which he then planned to resell in three to six months. Even after losing money on that investment, Gaiser told CBS he kept listening to Anderson, because he believed that God would reward his tithes and improve the situation.
Anderson has also discussed his teachings internationally. In his 2010 book, C Street, author Jeff Sharlet describes how Ugandan associates of the Fellowship, a US-based religious group with ties to Uganda's infamous "Kill the Gays" bill, invited Anderson and his son to come to Uganda to preach about prosperity. "Both men were going to instruct Ugandans on how to get wealthy by getting godly," Sharlet writes. A leader of the country's anti-gay movement summed up Anderson's talk to a Ugandan reporter. It included the gospel of punctuality, the gospel of work, the gospel of God-fearing, and "the Gospel of Purity: Ugandans, he said, have a special opportunity. They can stop the homosexuals before they get started."
The practice has been found to racially profile minorities—and to not work.
Hannah LevintovaSep. 21, 2016 4:00 PM
Donald Trump has a solution to crime in America's black neighborhoods: stop-and-frisk.
Trump was in Cleveland on Wednesday for a conference of pastors at a local church, along with Fox News host Sean Hannity. As part of the event, Trump attended a town hall meeting on "African-American concerns," according to the church's website, that is slated to air Wednesday night on Hannity's show. An excerpt of the transcript from the town hall shows an audience member asking Trump what he would do to help decrease violence in the black community.
Trump's answer? Stop-and-frisk on a national level.
"We did it in New York—it worked incredibly well," Trump said of the practice, which empowered police officers to stop a person on the street for a pat-down if they suspected him or her of wrongdoing. In fact, data showed that the practice effectively turned into racial profiling that disproportionately targeted black New Yorkers. Studies also found that stop-and-frisk was ineffective in catching criminals or preventing crime. A federal judge ruled it unconstitutional in 2013.
"You should resign…You should be criminally investigated."
Hannah LevintovaSep. 20, 2016 1:19 PM
The Senate Banking Committee conducted a hearing Tuesday about the massive scandal currently engulfing Wells Fargo. The word "fraud" was used repeatedly by senators on both sides of the aisle when describing the bank's creation of millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts for existing customers.
Fallout from the account scandal continues to pile up. The bank is also facing an investigation by the House Financial Services Committee, subpoenas from the Department of Justice, and at least one potential class-action lawsuit.
First up at Tuesday's Senate hearing was Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, who was grilled by the committee for almost three hours.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren—a longtime advocate for more stringent regulation of Wall Street—tore into Stumpf, describingthe unauthorized accounts as a "massive, yearslong scam." She asked Stumpf what he has done to take responsibility for his bank's actions. "You have said repeatedly, 'I am accountable,'" she said. "But what have you done to actually hold yourself accountable? Have you resigned?"
Stumpf avoided answering the question directly, prompting Warren to repeat her question, her voice rising, at least three times.
Warren proceeded to pummel Stumpf with more questions. "Have you returned one nickel of the money you earned while this scam was going on?" she asked. Stumpf evaded the question several times. (Stumpf said earlier in the hearing that he earned $19.3 million last year.) Finally, an exasperated Warren said, "I'll take that as a 'no.'"
She then asked if he'd fired any members of his senior management. Stumpf initially began by describing the firing of regional branch managers, but Warren stopped him, emphasizing that her question was not about low-level leadership but about the people at the top. Again, Stumpf's answer was no.
When Warren asked Stumpf if he knew how much the value of his bank's stock had gone up over the time that the unauthorized accounts were created and maintained, Stumpf replied the information was in the public record. "You're right, it is all in the public records," Warren said, "because I looked it up." She continued: "While this scam was going on, you personally held an average of 6.75 million shares of Wells stock." The share price went up by about $30 in that time frame, Warren pointed out, "which comes out to more than $200 million in gains, all for you personally."
Warren ended her speech by calling on Stumpf to resign and for both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the CEO. Here's an excerpt of her speech:
You know, here's what really gets me about this, Mr. Stumpf. If one of your tellers took a handful of $20 bills out of the cash drawer, they'd probably be looking at criminal charges for theft. They could end up in prison. But you squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket. And when it all blew up, you kept your job, you kept your multimillion-dollar bonuses, and you went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich. This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated.
The Trump supporter once said there are "widespread and legitimate concerns that the President is constitutionally ineligible to hold office."
Hannah LevintovaSep. 16, 2016 2:17 PM
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gave a speech at his newly opened eponymous Washington, DC, hotel today in which he acknowledged that President Barack Obama was indeed born in the United States. In his three-sentence statement, he falsely accused Hillary Clinton of starting the birther movement and lied about his own role in ending it. "Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy," Trump said. "I finished it."
Trump also didn't mention that he has stoked conspiracy theories for years about Obama's birth certificate, raising questions about its authenticity and peddling the idea that the president was, in fact, born in Kenya.
While Trump may have backed off his long-held position today, one of the people he shared the stage with has himself promoted birther conspiracies: Thomas McInerney, a retired lieutenant general of the Air Force and a Fox News military analyst who introduced Trump at the event.
In 2010, McInerney filed an affidavit in support of an army officer who was awaiting trial for refusing to obey orders from his commanding officers until Obama produced his long-form birth certificate. McInerney said in the affidavit he has "widespread and legitimate concerns that the President is constitutionally ineligible to hold office."
In the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama released his birth certificate, but that did little to stop the conspiracy theorists' calls for Obama to release the long-form version of the document.
The officer in question in the 2010 case, Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin, had refused to show up for duty in Afghanistan and was subsequently charged with disobeying orders. McInerney filed his affidavit in support of Lakin's attorneys' request for discovery, which sought Obama's "birth records" in Hawaii. McInerney explained that the request for records was essential for the functioning of the military, and the officer's "request for discovery relating to the President's birth records in Hawaii is absolutely essential to determining…once and for all for this President whether his service as Commander in Chief is Constitutionally proper."
McInerney continued in the affidavit: "He is the one single person in the Chain of Command that the Constitution demands proof of natural born citizenship. This determination is fundamental to our Republic, where civilian control over the military is the rule. According to the Constitution, the Commander is Chief must now, in the face of serious—and widely-held—concerns that he is ineligible, either voluntarily establish his eligibility by authorizing release of his birth records or this court must authorize their discovery. The invasion of his privacy is utterly trivial compared to the issues at stake here."
At the hotel event today, McInerney didn't mention anything about Obama's birth certificates, instead praising Trump's plans to expand defense spending. "There is only one candidate that can rebuild the United States military," he said, "and make us great again."