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Hidden-Camera Investigation: Bachmann Clinic Practices Ex-Gay Therapy

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Marcus Bachmann, husband of Republican 2012 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, has been accused — although he has publicly denied it – of practicing an unethical and scientifically-unsubstiantied treatment often called “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy, designed to “cure” someone of homosexuality. But an undercover hidden-camera investigation finds proof that Marcus Bachmann’s “Christian counseling” center, Bachmann and Associates, indeed practices “ex-gay” therapy.

READ: 10 Questions Bachmann’s Husband Must Answer About “Christian Counseling”

In, “I Received ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy at Marcus Bachmann’s Clinic,” John M. Becker, Director of Communications & Development for Truth Wins Out (TWO), writes, “there can no longer be any doubt that Marcus Bachmann’s state- and federally-funded clinic endorses and practices reparative therapy aimed at changing a gay person’s sexual orientation, despite the fact that such ‘therapy’ is widely discredited by the scientific and medical communities.”

Becker details his experiences, saying he had five hidden-camera sessions at Bachmann’s Lake Elmo, MN clinic, beginning June 23, with Timothy Wiertzema, who “introduced himself as a licensed marriage and family therapist who enjoys working with men, adolescents, kids, and married couples.”

In an email exchange, Becker told The New Civil Rights Movement that during his visits to Bachmann and Associates, “[i]t was clear … that homosexuality was viewed as a correctable condition (and a lamentable “choice”) as opposed to an intrinsic part of a person’s humanity.” Becker also added that Wiertzema, “is not a doctor, but has his master’s degree from a place called Argosy University.”

Argosy University is very popular with Bachmann and Associates. Four of their counselors have degrees from the University.

An examination of Argosy University online reveals it as a for-profit university with branches in thirteen states, as well as with an online program. The school has been the subject of much controversy, and reportedly is under investigation in Florida for “[a]lleged misrepresentations regarding financial aid; alleged unfair/deceptive practices regarding recruitment, enrollment, accreditation, placement, graduation rates, etc.” and reportedly was sued in 2009 for fraud in Dallas. The university was profiled in a Frontline exposé also.

At TWO, Becker writes he told Wiertzema he “had been struggling with homosexuality for a long time and tried a lot of things, up to and including suicide, to make it go away.”

“What I wanted, though, was to get rid of my homosexuality and eventually marry a woman,” Becker says he told Wiertzema.

Wiertzema’s bio at Bachmann and Associates says, “I believe my calling is to facilitate an environment of hope and healing through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Second Corinthians 1:4 says: The Lord comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

As The New Civil Rights Movement reported earlier, Marcus Bachmann claims all his counselors “identify as Christians.” But the work they are doing is not very Christian at all.

 


Becker’s therapist (another of Marcus Bachmann’s employees) repeatedly assured him that homosexuality could be overcome. “At the core value…in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual,” he explained, according to the footage. “God has created you for heterosexuality.”


 

“I was never told that every professional medical and mental health association rejects ‘ex-gay’ therapy including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Counseling Association, or that the treatment I was seeking was totally unsupported by research,” Becker explains.

“I was never informed about possible alternative treatment options such as gay-affirmative therapy. Nobody ever told me about the potential for harmful side effects like depression and suicidal thoughts. And although I was asked to sign a treatment plan outlining my problem, desired outcome, and treatment strategy, I was never given nor asked to sign any kind of informed consent document that disclosed the above information about ‘ex-gay’ therapy. As such, I believe Bachmann & Associates to be practicing unethically, even by the standards of the American Association of Christian Counselors. This is particularly disconcerting given the fact that Marcus Bachmann’s clinic has received significant funding from the State of Minnesota and the federal government.”

Disconcerting as well, since Bachmann has denied his clinics practice ex-gay therapy.

“The results of our investigation should end all doubt whether Marcus Bachmann’s clinic endorses and practices reparative therapy aimed at changing a gay person’s sexual orientation,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The facts plainly show that Bachmann’s clinic does try to cure gay people and he is being evasive when he claims otherwise.”

READ: Michele Bachmann’s Top Ten Anti-Gay Quotes

In a companion article published Friday at The Nation, writer Mariah Blake details a 2004 reparative therapy attempt made on Andrew Ramirez, a high school senior whose “parents marched him into the office of Bachmann & Associates, a Christian counseling center in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, which is owned by Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus. From the outset, Ramirez says, his therapist—one of roughly twenty employed at the Lake Elmo clinic—made it clear that renouncing his sexual orientation was the only moral choice. “He basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes,” Ramirez recalls. According to Ramirez, his therapist then set about trying to “cure” him. Among other things, he urged Ramirez to pray and read the Bible, particularly verses that cast homosexuality as an abomination, and referred him to a local church for people who had given up the “gay lifestyle.”

Blake also discusses Becker’s experiences. “In late June, a Truth Wins Out activist named John Becker donned two hidden cameras—one embedded in a wristwatch—and attended five treatment sessions at Bachmann’s Lake Elmo clinic. Becker, who is openly gay, presented himself as a committed Christian who was struggling with homosexuality. The video he collected seems to confirm Ramirez’s allegations that staff members at Bachmann & Associates try to change sexual orientation. Becker’s therapist (another of Marcus Bachmann’s employees) repeatedly assured him that homosexuality could be overcome.

“At the core value…in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual,” he explained, according to the footage. “God has created you for heterosexuality.” The therapist also mined Becker’s personal history for traumatic experiences that might have turned him gay. To curb Becker’s gay impulses, the therapist urged him to pray and read Scripture and suggested Becker “develop” his masculinity. He also encouraged him to find a “heterosexual guy” to act as act as an AA-type sponsor. Later, he referred Becker to Outpost Ministries, a church that helps “the sexually and relationally broken”—in other words, homosexuals—“find healing and restoration through relationship with Jesus Christ.”

In the Nation article, Blake adds, “Less well known is the Bachmanns’ fondness for ex-gay ideology. One sign of this is the close bond they have cultivated with Janet Boynes, an African-American woman who claims that she was driven to drugs and lesbianism by the abuse she suffered as a child—among other things, she was raped by an altar boy. She says she broke free of the “lesbian lifestyle” after an encounter with a Christian woman in a grocery store parking lot set her on the path to salvation. Boynes has since come out strongly against gay rights. For instance, she was featured in a national ad campaign against hate-crimes protection for gays and has argued that “it is a mockery to everything blacks suffered and the rights we won to claim that homosexuality is a civil rights issue.”

Marcus and Michele Bachmann have a great deal of explaining to do. As Truth Wins Out’s John Becker says, “They owe it to all Americans to provide a full and honest explanation for their embrace of these dangerous and fraudulent practices.”

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OPINION

Speaker Johnson: Marjorie Taylor Greene Turned Me Into a ‘Mental Health Counselor’

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Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the House, admitted to a local Louisiana radio station talk show that U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and some others in the GOP conference force him to spend “half” his day “as a mental health counselor.”

Appearing on KEEL’s “Mike & McCarthy” show, as Daily Mail reported, Speaker Johnson on Tuesday was asked if he and the far-right Christian nationalist congresswoman had “kissed and made up” after she tried to oust him in a dramatically failed “motion to vacate.”

“Oh good grief. You know me, I don’t I don’t carry grudges,” Johnson replied. “I don’t you know, you know, I don’t keep a record of wrongs. I went up to her right after her ridiculous tirade and said, ‘You know what, still gotta work together, Marjorie. … How about training some of that energy against the Democrats?'”

“Look. This is all gonna work out. I spend half my day as Speaker of the House and the other half as a mental health counselor,” getting everybody “through their issues.”

Daily Mail also reported that “in November, McCarthy had a piece of advice for his successor: ‘Bring in a psychiatrist for many of these members.'”

READ MORE: ‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

In addition to his remarks about the Georgia Republican, Speaker Johnson went after President Joe Biden.

Asked about the southern border, Johnson defended House Republicans, insisting, “we’ve been fighting since Joe Biden walked into the Oval Office and started issuing executive orders to open it wide.

That’s false, there are no executive orders “to open it wide.”

He also ignored how in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans worked for months and came together to craft a tough immigration and border security bill that was supported by President Biden, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and senators on both sides of the aisle – until Donald Trump killed it.

Johnson appeared uninterested in working with Democrats, whom he said he told Congresswoman Greene to fight.

He also insisted House Republicans have been “fighting tooth and nail” against Democrats.

“Here’s the problem. Everybody has to remember. We have the smallest majority and only one chamber of Congress and I have a one vote margin, right,” Johnson lamented. “So I can pass things in the House. But it doesn’t mean it’s gonna become law, because the progressive Democrats run the White House and the Senate and so we sit over our legislation, we pass resolutions. We impeached Secretary Mayorkas at Department of Homeland Security. First time a Cabinet Secretary has been impeached in the history of the United States.”

That too is false. In 1876 the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Secretary of War William Belknap.

Johnson also falsely claimed President Biden and the Democrats “wanted us to not fund the government and [to] shut it down. Because they know that [would be] blamed on Republicans, it would be very painful for the American people and then that would that would make sure that we lost the House majority, the narrow majority that we have, in November.”

During Speaker Johnson’s tenure and during his predecessor’s, Democrats joined with Republicans to keep the federal government open and running, while far-right extremists, including Rep. Greene, wanted to shut it down.

One fact Speaker Johnson neglected to mention: Democrats saved his job when Congresswoman Greene tried to oust him.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

 

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News

‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

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A prosecutor in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s state prosecution of Donald Trump is being praised for his closing argument Tuesday by a top legal scholar who says the ex-president’s crime was “arguably the biggest felony in American history.”

Trump is on trial in lower Manhattan, facing 34 felony counts. Lawfare’s Anna Bower had summed up the case earlier on Tuesday: “Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified business records in order to commit or cover-up a conspiracy to promote his election to the Presidency by ‘unlawful means.'”

Calling his closing argument “devastating,” Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, a professor of law and top constitutional scholar, quoted New York prosecutor Josh Steinglass.

READ MORE: ‘Wildly Lawless’: Judge Cannon’s Removal Predicted by Top Legal Scholar

“This scheme could very well be what got President Trump elected,” Steinglass told the jury.

Professor Tribe then remarked: “Think this was a minor crime? Think again! It was arguably the biggest felony in American history. Certainly the most harmful.”

MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang offered some background.

Referring to AMI, then the parent company of the National Enquirer, she writes:

“STEINGLASS: Once AMI purchased stories on a candidate’s behalf and in coordination with the campaign, those purchases became unlawful campaign contributions. I suggest to you that the value of this corrupt bargain at the Trump Tower meeting cannot be overstated. It turned out to be one of the most valuable contributions ever made…. ‘This scheme, cooked up by these men…could very well be what got President Trump elected…'”

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

 

 

 

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News

‘Wildly Lawless’: Judge Cannon’s Removal Predicted by Top Legal Scholar

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will be removed from overseeing the trial in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Espionage Act case against Donald Trump, predicts a top constitutional scholar who is calling her rejection of an urgent request from federal prosecutors to place additional restrictions on the ex-president “wildly lawless,” and a “smoking gun.”

Last week Donald Trump, his campaign, and almost immediately his supporters, falsely claimed President Joe Biden had tried to assassinate the ex-president in 2022 when FBI agents executed a legal and lawful search warrant on Mar-a-Lago. Trump had been storing well over 1000 White House items he had taken, including hundreds of classified documents, at his Florida residence and resort. Among those were some of the nation’s top nuclear secrets.

In a fundraising email one week ago Trump’s campaign claimed, “Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.” Trump was out of state when the FBI entered Mar-a-Lago. Federal agents had conferred with Secret Service, and had planned for the search warrant to be executed when the ex-president was not at the club.

READ MORE: ‘The State is Not God’: DeSantis Paid Educators to Teach ‘Christian Nationalism’ Report Says

“Cannon’s wildly lawless rejection of Special Counsel Smith’s clearly correct request for a gag order against fake and dangerous claims that the FBI was ordered to assassinate him is good news,” declared University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe, a professor of law and top constitutional scholar who wrote a major textbook on the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s the smoking gun that will finally lead to her removal from the stolen secrets case,” Professor Tribe added.

Not responding to the substance of the Special Counsel’s request to order the ex-president to not make any statements that could be dangerous to law enforcement, Judge Cannon instead rejected the motion on the grounds Smith’s attorneys should have conferred with Trump’s attorneys before making the request, as ABC News reports.

“The Government moves to modify defendant Donald J. Trump’s conditions of release, to make clear that he may not make statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” federal prosecutors wrote in the filing that Judge Cannon rejected.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

While the Special Counsel’s prosecutors did confer with Trump’s attorney, Judge Cannon claimed their efforts were “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy,” according to ABC News. “Trump’s lawyers argued that the special counsel violated Local Rule 88.9, which says both parties must ‘meet and confer’ before flings motions so the court and the parties’ time is used efficiently. In a filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked Cannon to strike the special counsel’s request and impose sanctions on any prosecutors involved in filing their motion.”

Trump’s attorney had wanted to delay any meeting to confer over the issue until Monday, but federal prosecutors, concerned about Trump’s recent remarks, said they could not wait.

“As we also tried to explain earlier, our judgment was that the situation your client has created necessitated a prompt request for relief that could not wait the weekend to file,” Special Counsel prosecutor David Harbach told Trump’s lawyers via email, according to ABC News. “We understand your position and represented to the court that you do not believe the government has engaged in adequate conferral here.”

READ MORE: Trump’s Scheme for Absolute Immunity From State Prosecutions Forever: Report

 

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