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PFAW to Corporations: Get out of ALEC!

As the American people become more and more aware of the damage caused by the extreme pro-corporate agenda pushed in state legislatures by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the more evident it becomes that this organization is undermining our democracy by advocating for special interest bills that benefit the wealthy few at the expense of the many.

But ALEC can’t do this on their own. They need complicit state legislators to introduce the corporate lobbyist-drafted model bills in state legislatures, but they also rely on the millions of dollars paid annually by major corporations for membership in the organization. That’s why PFAW and a number of other advocacy organization have launched a petition calling on ALEC members like State Farm, Johnson & Johnson and McDonald’s to disassociate from the organization. Over 68,000 people have signed it so far.

ALEC’s agenda is so extreme that the organization is becoming unpalatable even for the corporations that fund it. The Coca-Cola company, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Intuit have already ditched the group, and the Gates Foundation has decided that they will no longer provide grants to ALEC. We need to tell major corporations that funding a secretive organization that hawks legislation that is not in the American people’s interest is not in their interest either. As PFAW Foundation president Michael Keegan said,

“Corporate membership in ALEC isn’t just destructive to democracy, it’s also bad for business. Corporations that currently support ALEC have a choice to make: they can continue to underwrite reckless assaults on our rights and wellbeing, or they can stand up for their customers by leaving ALEC immediately.”

ALEC can be tied to the proliferation of “Stand Your Ground” laws like the one that is hindering bringing justice for Trayvon Martin, as well as tons of model bills that are aimed at increasing corporate profits by privatizing schools and prisons, weakening environmental protections, dismantling unions, disenfranchising voters and making it harder to seek justice in a court of law. The American people want nothing more to do with ALEC, and neither should the corporations we support.

PFAW Foundation

Barton: The Constitution Quotes the Bible 'Verbatim'

I admit to being utterly fascinated by David Barton's continuing insistence that all sorts of elements of our society and our form of government came directly out of the Bible.

We have addressed these claims several times before, but Barton continues to make them ... only now, he is insisting that specific provisions in the Constitution were taken verbatim from the Bible:

For the record, here is the language in Article II:

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President.

Compare that to any of the various translations of Deuteronomy 17:15:

You shall surely set him king over you, whom the LORD your God shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set king over you: you may not set a stranger over you, who is not your brother.

Not exactly verbatim, now are they?

Advocacy Groups Launch Petition Drive Urging Companies to Quit ALEC

State Farm, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s targeted by coalition

Washington, D.C -- A  coalition of civil rights and government watchdog groups with members in all 50 states elevated the ongoing campaign to pressure corporations to withdraw from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) by calling today on three prominent companies to join the list of firms departing ALEC.

Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way Foundation, Progress Now, the Center for Media and Democracy, and CREDO said their members will be petitioning State Farm Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s – all of whom play a prominent leadership role in ALEC to leave the organization immediately.

“Corporate membership in ALEC isn’t just destructive to democracy, it’s also bad for business. Corporations that currently support ALEC have a choice to make: they can continue to underwrite reckless assaults on our rights and wellbeing, or they can stand up for their customers by leaving ALEC immediately,” said Michael Keegan, President of People for the American Way Foundation.

“It’s increasingly clear that ALEC applies the economic clout of some of our country’s largest corporations on behalf of public policies that limit voting rights, undermine our public schools, assault collective bargaining and weaken laws protecting our environment,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. “This is neither good business nor responsible corporate citizenship.”

Many Americans have learned about ALEC in recent weeks through news stories detailing its role in the proliferation of “Stand Your Ground” laws similar to the Florida statute at issue in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

"Major corporations like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Kraft understand that supporting voter suppression efforts and dangerous 'Stand Your Ground' legislation puts their brands at great risk in the Black community," said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org. "We hope that McDonald's, Johnson and Johnson, and State Farm also get that message. Today, our members are flooding these companies with phone calls to demand that they stop supporting ALEC."

"The funding of these and other corporations makes ALEC's operations and agenda possible, including closed door meetings where corporate and special interest lobbyists actually vote as equals with elected officials on 'model' bills to change gun laws and make it more difficult for American citizens to vote," said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy/ALECexposed.org, adding "The American people have a right to know about this corporate bill mill and a right to hold the corporations and politicians to account."

“ALEC’s companies and lobbyists wine-and-dine our elected officials at expense-paid ‘seminars,’ write legislation for them and then fade quietly into the background as that legislation is introduced and passed in statehouses across the country,” said Anna Scholl of Progress Virginia. “People we elect to represent all of us end up representing just a few, driven by their pursuit of profit and/or a radical ideological agenda.” Progress Virginia recently released a report detailing ALEC’s undue influence in the Commonwealth.

"If you're a consumer who believes in civil rights you don't want to give your money to companies that fund the organization leading the attack on voting rights," said Becky Bond, Political Director of CREDO Action. "Our members are prepared to hold companies accountable if they continue funding ALEC."

Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo and Intuit confirmed last week that they’ve already withdrawn from ALEC. On Monday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that they will no longer be making grants to ALEC.

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People For the American Way Foundation is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way.

Beck: We Have a 'Righteous Calling' to Lead a 'New Civil Rights Movement'

As we noted yesterday, Glenn Beck is the featured guest on the "Life Today" television program all week, sharing his tear-filled conspiracy theories mixed with grandiose pronouncements with James Robison's audience.

On today's episode, Beck warned that fascism and dictatorship were coming to Europe because "they're dead inside" and America faces the same danger ... but we can be saved because people like Beck have the "righteous calling" to lead "the new civil rights movement":

Liberty U Professor Judith Reisman Wants Pornography Outlawed

Judith Reisman is the Liberty Counsel's favorite "expert" on issues pertaining to sexuality and the organization regularly offers her a platform from which to spew her theories about how gays are part of the “pedophile movement” which seeks "to obtain sex with as many boys as possible” and that the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network is a “modern version of the Hitler Youth.”

In fact, Liberty Counsel is so enamored with Reisman that she also serves at a visiting professor of law at Liberty University, despite the fact that she received her Ph.D in Communications.

In Reisman's view, everything can be traced back to the research and findings of Alfred Kinsey and she was recently featured on CSPAN's BookTV where she discussed her book "Sexual Sabotage: How One Mad Scientist Unleashed a Plague of Corruption and Contagion on America."

During the discussion, Reisman was asked if pornography ought to be outlawed, to which she responded with an enthusiastic "yes," saying there is absolutely no question that pornography has "had a huge impact on child sexual abuse": 

Harry Jackson Call for a 'Fifth Column' to 'Undermine the Resistance from Within'

On Saturday, Charisma Magazine published a long and truly strange piece by Harry Jackson on the need for another Great Awakening in America.  In it, Jackson called on church leaders "to push back on the political forces that have worked hard to minimize Christian influence in the nation ... from the removal of prayer in public schools to the redefinition of marriage and legalization of abortion, secularizing forces have sought to divorce Christian morality from American government."

Jackson began by falsely claiming that the tax code regulations which prohibit churches from engaging in partisan political activity was put in place because "political power brokers were so threatened by the unity of the African-American church in the 1950s during the Civil Rights Movement."  That is, as we pointed out the last time that Jackson said it, patently false.

Jackson then used the fight over marriage equality in Maryland as an example of what can happen when the church stands up and gets involved:

After months of meeting with various pastors, we were grateful to see God open eyes and hearts to see how vital it was to prevent this bill from passing. With this growing coalition of Christians across political lines, we began speaking to legislators. We let them know their constituents would not stand for the dismantling of traditional marriage. Slowly and often painfully, we were able to convince enough of them to change their votes. The Maryland bill went down in defeat to the shock of many.

But, Jackson warned, the fight is not over because there are politicans and activists who are still seeking to pass this "legislative abomination" ... bizarrely ignoring the fact that this legislation was passed and signed into law last month.

But things got really strange when Jackson set out the key steps that Christians need to take in order to save his nation, such as running for office and supporting Religious Right organizations like the Family Research Council, when he called for the formation of a "fifth column" that will "undermine the resistance from within":

While there are no specific Bible verses that speak to issues like federal funding for embryonic stem cell research or a local proposal to reroute a sewer line through a particular field, well-informed Christians can effectively reason through such issues if they understand what the Bible teaches about human dignity, private property and the role of civil government in a free society. What the church in America needs is a fifth column of believers. The term “fifth column” originated during the Spanish Civil War.

Emilio Mola used the term during his 1936 radio address as he announced there were four columns advancing on the city of Madrid. But they would be joined by a fifth column of supporters inside the city who would undermine the resistance from within. We need to work inside all spheres of our culture to act in fifth-column style, changing our culture from within.

It is pretty telling - and remarkable - that Jackson would call for conservative Christians to form a "fifth column" in American considering that the term generally refers to clandestine forces that seek to sabotage and weaken a society from within for the benefit of those who seek to overthrown it.

Pat Robertson Tells Man to Tithe Against Wife's Wishes because 'You are the Boss'

Last October, televangelist Pat Robertson told a woman who was “struggling financially” that she must continue to tithe or else she will lose “God as your financial partner.” Today on the 700 Club, Robertson urged a man also facing financial stress to continue tithing and also to shoot down his wife’s objections, telling him, “you know big man, you are the boss.” Robertson said that as the “high priest of the family” and the “man of the house,” the husband should “man up” and shouldn’t “vacillate” in the face of his wife’s doubts about tithing despite the family’s tight budget.

Watch:

Herman Cain and his 'Army of Davids' to Descend on DC

Heretofore unbeknownst to us, Herman Cain has been organizing an event in Washington DC called "Cain’s Revolution on the Hill Rally and Patriot Summit." Scheduled to kick off this Sunday with a "Welcome Reception and Opening Program Dedicated to the Memory of Andrew Breitbart – An American Patriot," Cain will then organize an "army of Davids [to] descend upon the Goliath called Capitol Hill" on Monday to lobby members of Congress to adopt Cain's 9-9-9 Plan because "we want our power back!":

According to an email sent out by Cain's PAC, confirmed speakers for the event include Alveda King, Dick Morris, Steve Moore, John Fund, Dinesh D’Souza, Krista Branch, Ralph Reed, and Ken Hoagland.

Beck Recounts his Effort to Unify Religious Right Leaders

Glenn Beck is the guest all this week on James Robison's "Life Today" television program where he is discussing his book on on George Washington and other issues in between crying jags over how much he loves America.

Today, Beck recounted the first meeting he organized several years ago where he gathered together some thirty Religious Right leaders to tell them that God was calling them all to stand together in order to save this nation. That meeting eventually gave rise to the Black Robe Regiment and Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally on the National Mall, as Beck began to implore the leaders to come together and take a stand, just as Martin Luther King had done ... non-politically, of course:

Three years ago, I called a meeting together in Washington, D.C., and the only one I knew would come were you guys. Ralph Reed, who helped put the Christian Coalition together helped put this meeting together. You were there at the first Christian Coalition and these things, if they become political, they just -- God's spirit withdraws. And he was walking into the room and he said, "Glenn, I don't know how long they'll stay but they're all in one room." There were about 30 of you; remember?

I said, "All I need is 15 minutes. I just want to bear my testimony." I did, and then I told these religious leaders, I held up a picture of Martin Luther King. I said, "Look at the eyes of all the people standing around him. He was terrified and so were all the people around him. And I am terrified because I don't know what I'm doing.

I know that God is calling us together; not our theology, but he is calling us together. We're supposed to stand together."

I sat down and the room kind of held its breath until James said, "Shame on all of us!" He said, "We've all heard the same thing and we didn't answer the call so God gave it to an alcoholic Mormon!" 

P.S. Obama is a dictator. Love, Phyllis Schlafly

Here's an addition to our recap of right-wing direct mail, this time from Phyllis Schlafly, the long-time anti-feminist and all-around right wing activist.  Like most of the other recent mail, the letter from Schlafly is about raising money with over-the-top rhetoric about the tyranny being visited upon America by President Obama. "He's taken control of your healthcare and stolen your money. Now he wants to dictate to your church," warns the envelope. "Stop Obama's War on Faith." Inside, more of the same:

The culture of dicatorship is rearing its ugly head. The forcef of imperial government and totalitarian treatment of American citizens are growing stronger every day.

 

Under the guise of "health care" and "tolerance" and "equality," Barack Obama is using all the power he can grasp in order to control how we live and what we believe. He is exploiting eveyr legal and illegal loophole to consolidate governmenet power into his own hands.

He's trying to control our standard of living by restricting our energy use. Hey's trying to control theminds of our children by imposing a national curriculum in the schools. And now, he's using his hated ObamaCare health law to assault religious liberty....

Let there be no doubt about it. Barack Obama is at war with the vast majority of Americans who believe in God and the freedom to worship. Now it the time for you and me to stand up for religious liberty....

If Obama wins this battle and gets his way, religiously affiliated hospitals, schools, colleges, and charities all over America will be forced to pay for abortion drugs, sterilization procedures, and contraceptives.

 

If Obama gets by with thisk you can be sure that the next steps will be ordering priests, ministers and rabbis to perform same-sex marriages. God will be stripped out of the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" will be banished to the dustbin of history."

Bilge from the In-box

Here’s a Friday treat: highlights from recent right-wing direct mail. In the past week or so, in addition to an invitation to this September’s Values Voter Summit:

Jerome Corsi, a rabidly Obama-hating birther and crazy-theory-promoter extraordinaire sent a VERY CONFIDENTIAL emergency request for money for his Freedom’s Defense Fund. Although Corsi told me that it’s “imperative that the media not know what Freedom’s Defense Fund has planned,” I’m going to let you in on the secret. Corsi says he’s going to “saturate the television with attacks aimed directly at Obama.” Corsi’s letter accuses Obama of “race-baiting” and “class warfare,” which isn’t surprising given that the president is, in Corsi’s words, “nothing more than a Socialist agitator in the mold of Sol Alinsky.” According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets website, Freedom’s Defense Fund raised and spent nearly $3 million in the 2010 election cycle. 

From the prolific folks at the American Family Association, a “declaration of spiritual emergency.” According to the AFA’s Tim Wildmon, the nation’s problems, including “the Obama administration’s blatant attempt to destroy religious freedom in this country” are evidence of what’s wrong with our nation: “As a people, we have divorced ourselves from God.”  Wildmon warns that “the ‘internal invader’ that threatens to destroy our nation is, in a word, secularism!” Wildmon’s letter is evidence of the increasingly close political alliance between the Religious Right and the Catholic Right in their joint effort to portray Obama as an enemy of religious liberty: it includes a quote from the pope himself complaining about new “cultural currents” in America “which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council contributes yet another screed warning that President Obama’s “war on religion” could “irreversibly transform America.” Perkins says of Obama: “His vision is to plant a dense forest of secularism (a non-Christian America) and socialism (a government-run America) that can never, ever be cut down or uprooted.”

Barton: Schools Don't Teach History ... Because of Evolution

We will probably be hearing a lot from David Barton in the coming weeks as he makes the rounds promoting his new book " The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson."

Technically, the book is not even supposed to be released until next week, but I have already received the copy I ordered and Chris Rodda has even read through it and produced a nearly two hour video debunking Barton's claims.

Yesterday, Barton was a on "In The Market with Janet Parshall" where he spent the entire hour discussing his book and making many of the claims we have heard him make before.  But Barton did make one interesting assertion when he was asked why public school textbooks don't teach about the Founding Fathers and he blamed it on evolution:

We've taken the evolution thing and kept it as a science debate, and it's not. Evolution [versus] creation is not a science, it is a worldview. If I take evolution and say you know, man's always evolving, moving forward, then I've got to say well, then we need a Constitution that evolves and moves forward with us. And so we get a living Constitution whereby who cares what the Constitution says, here's what we think about Obamacare or gay marriage or anything else.

If I take and apply [the evolutionary worldview] to history, I'd have to say that in public schools, history is the most worthless subject there is if you believe evolution because, if we are evolving, what can we learn from two hundred years ago? My gosh, those guys didn't even have internet back then! They rode horses; let's get up with the real century. And so under that worldview of evolution, history has got to be the first casualty. And it is, quite frankly.

The Utterly Clueless Bryan Fischer

As we have noted several times before, Bryan Fischer is a lot of things ... but self-aware is not one of them.

And nothing better demonstrates this fact than this clip from his program yesterday where he revisited a false claim that a caller had made during a debate the two had on the program the day before, with Fischer concluding that "people on the Left" never check their facts and simply repeat false information ... which is something he would never do:

This is the same Bryan Fischer who, in recent months, has declared that Hitler was gay, the Tea Party ended slavery in America, HIV does not cause AIDS, JC Penney was causing for breast cancer and suicide, and Bill Clinton was responsible for the rise in oral cancer.

Barton: Contraception Mandate Spells the End of Separation of Church and State

Today's episode of "WallBuilders Live" was dedicated to discussing the on-going fight over the Obama Administration's contraception mandate, with David Barton vowing to "go to the mat" fighting it because it is unbiblical and, if it stands, it spells the end of separation of church and state and the United States will have essentially established an official state church, as Rick Green warned that it was nothing short of totalitarianism:

Barton: I'm going to the mat on this one. I may or may not go to the mat on the healthcare side; that's a political issue and we can deal with that. This is a fundamental constitutional, religious, and biblical issue - there's thirty verses in the New Testament alone that tell you to protect the rights of conscience - that's no small, lightweight thing.

Green: So biblically you got to do it; as patriots for freedom we got to do 'cause the Founders talked about it  ...

Barton: Biblically and constitutionally ... oh wait, that's the same thing oftentimes; those biblical principles under-gird the Constitution. And so the Founders did talk about the biblical rights of conscience when the gave Constitutional protection for conscience. And if you lose rights of conscience, you have lost separation of church and state. You might as well just be England; you might as well just have Henry the Eighth declaring an official state church, because that's what's happening.

Green: This may not be a textbook definition, but, to me, totalitarianism is making you do something that's against the very core of what you believe.

Schlafly Tells Male Students at The Citadel not to Date Feminists

Yesterday, Phyllis Schlafly traveled to South Carolina to speak to at The Citadel, which now offers a course entitled the "Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America."

Speaking to an all-male audience, Schlafly assured them that women don't care about the issue of contraception and warned them not to date feminists:

The recent political flap about contraception being an important issue for women is completely contrived by Democrats and the media to divert attention from abortion and other important issues, said conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly.

“Contraception is not controversial,” she said. “The issue is not access. It’s who’s going to pay for it.”

...

Most women are concerned about issues such as jobs and religious liberty, Schlafly said, not issues being drummed up by feminists to foster support for President Barack Obama.

And feminists are working through the media and other channels because the American public no longer seems to strongly support their agenda, Schlafly said. “Feminists are having a hard time being elected because they essentially are unlikable,” she said.

Schlafly talked to a group of Citadel students about the culture of conservatism and the history of the religious right. She told the all-male group that “feminist is a bad word and everything they stand for is bad.”

And she warned them about having personal relationships with feminists. “Find out if your girlfriend is a feminist before you get too far into it,” she said. “Some of them are pretty. They don’t all look like Bella Abzug.”

Fischer: Obama 'Despises the Constitution'

Earlier this week, Brian posted audio of AFA 's Bryan Fischer proclaiming that President Obama does not believe that the Constitution has any "moral authority and therefore it does not need to be obeyed."

This is a theme that Fischer has been hammering away at all week and yesterday he played a radio interview Obama gave back in 2001 in which he said that while the Constitution is a remarkable document, it is also an "imperfect document" as it contained "an enormous blind spot" when it came to the issue of slavery.

Which, for Fischer, means that Obama "despises the Constitution":

Stripped of Dignity by the Roberts Court

The Supreme Court's five conservatives allow degrading strip searches of people arrested for minor infractions.
PFAW Foundation

More Barton Falsehoods: Mentions of God were not Banned at Veterans' Funerals

As we have noted several times in recent weeks, David Barton has a problem accurately reporting on contemporary issues that are easily verifiable, which calls into question his reliability, especially when it comes to the pseudo-history he uses to promote his political agenda.

And he did the same thing again today on his "WallBuilders Live" program where he read from his recent "America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President" document about President Obama, which he claimed represented a "Declaration of Independence[-like] chain of abuses,"  as he asserted that the Department of Veterans Affairs under Obama had banned mentions of God and Jesus during funerals:

2011: the Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial [ceremonies] at Houston National Cemetery.

I'm sorry. You may be buried there as a veteran, but the government is not running your funeral. You have other people come and do your funeral but the government is saying that since you're being buried on Veteran land, your preacher, your rabbi, your priest can't use Jesus or God during the funeral ceremony.

Really? At your own funeral? It's my husband, it's my brother, it's my uncle, somebody being buried and I can't use Jesus or God? No, you can't.

That is, of course, entirely false.  As we pointed out last year, the Bush administration instituted a policy in 2007 that "prohibits volunteer honor guards from reading recitations — including religious ones — in their funeral rituals, unless families specifically request them." In essence, the policy stated that volunteer groups were not allowed to attend military funerals and inject their religion in to it unless their presence is requested by the family. Conversely, if a family does want to included such prayers in the service, they have every right to so.

Nobody was being told that there could be no mention of God or Jesus during a funeral ... but, as with so many other issues, Barton portrayed the issue in an utterly misleading manner in order to promote his right-wing political agenda.

Co-opting King: Why the Right Tries to Claim MLK

Today’s conservatives are claiming Dr. Martin Luther King’s moral authority as their own, positioning themselves as inheritors of his righteous struggle.
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