Yesterday, PFAW Foundation Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin previewed his upcoming report, The Supreme Court in the Citizens United Era, during a member telebriefing. Executive Vice President Marge Baker and Senior Legislative Counsel Paul Gordon also joined the call to answer questions from members and discuss PFAW efforts to promote fair and just courts. Drew Courtney, Director of Communications for PFAW, moderated.
To kick off the call, Raskin reviewed another period during which the Court granted unprecedented constitutional rights to corporations. Lochner v. NY, Raskin explained, began an era in which government at every level was prevented from interfering with corporate contracts—and thereby prevented from passing sensible health and safety regulations.
Today, said Raskin, we’re in an analogous period, with the Supreme Court now using the First Amendment as an excuse for expanding or inventing the political and religious rights of corporations. This time, it’s beyond what we’ve ever seen before; the Citizens United and the Hobby Lobby cases both demonstrate how the Court is putting the interests of corporations over the rights of people and making it more difficult to hold corporations accountable for their actions. Other cases allow corporations to insulate themselves through a host of legal immunities while at the same time, they’re able to spend unlimited amounts of money influencing who gets elected to office.
In responding to a question from a PFAW member, Baker outlined the two key ways to fight the Court’s trend of empowering corporations over people: Elect Presidents who will nominate, and Senators who will confirm, Justices who share the ideology that corporations shouldn’t be favored in their legal rights over people; and amend the Constitution, which PFAW and other groups are working on now. She also directed PFAW members to www.united4thepeople.org and www.getmoneyoutaction.org to get more involved in these issues.
Last night, Glenn Beck dedicated his entire television program to laying out his case that anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood which, in typical Beck fashion, involved a good bit of grandstanding, lots of conjecture and insinuation, and several chalkboard's worth of guilt-by-association.
On his radio program today, Beck continued to hammer away at Norquist, whom he wants to see removed from the board of the NRA, declaring that "we're at the beginning of a Van Jones thing"when it comes to exposing Norquist's nefarious network, calling him "the Muslim Brotherhood's Tides Foundation."
Not surprisingly, Beck's crusade against Norquist has now expanded to include Karl Rove, with whom he has been publicly feuding for the last week.
As Beck sees it, the only reason that Rove criticized him last week for supposedly leaving the GOP is because Beck was working to expose Norquist, with whom Rove has close ties.
"Isn't it interesting that Karl Rove decides to open up another front while I have Grover Norquist going as well?" Beck asked. "We're now fighting a battle on two fronts and I believe they are connected. I believe that Karl Rove and Grover Norquist are joined at the hip and there's something very bad here":
Like other Religious Right activists, Gordon Klingenschmitt is outraged that a Planet Fitness franchise in Michigan revoked the membership of a customer who wouldn't stop complaining after a transgender woman hung up her coat and purse in the women’s locker room and so he is now calling for a national boycott of the fitness chain.
On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program today, the Colorado Republican state legislator said that "there is a demonic spirit of lying" inside of transgender people, whom he said are "parading their parts" in front of small children because they are driven by "a predatory spirit of sexual exploitation."
Klingenschmitt then once again asserted that since the Bible says that transgender people are not allowed in church, they should likewise be banned from using public facilities, saying that "if they can't enter the assembly of the Lord, why should they be able to enter your women's locker room."
Klingenschmitt concluded by praying that children would be protected from "predators" like this and that millions of Americans would boycott Planet Fitness "until that corporation changes their policy":
Last week, a pregnant woman in Colorado was attacked by a stranger who stabbed her in the stomach and cut her baby out of her womb, and Republican state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt is attributing the attack to God's curse upon America for the sin of legal abortion.
On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program today, Klingenschmitt discussed the story and tied it to a passage from Hosea in which God curses the people of Samaria for their rebellion by declaring that "their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open."
"I wonder if there is prophetic significance to America today in that scripture," he said. "This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open":
On yesterday's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber accused President Obama of engaging in a "sinister" and "treasonous" plot to destroy Israel and America by trying to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.
After hailing the recent victory by Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party in Israel's election, Staver declared that Israeli citizens who support "land for peace" are simply "stupid," whereas Obama is "sinister" for opposing Netnayahu and dealing with Iran.
"I think he has, ultimately, an objective," Staver said. "He doesn't like America. He doesn't like Israel. He doesn't stand with our allies in the Middle East. He has sympathies that ultimately undermine the Judeo-Christian values that we support and that connect us with the land of Israel."
Barber was in complete agreement, declaring that Obama is "dealing with Iran right now to enable them and help them obtain the means to destroy Israel."
"That's not a matter of opinion, that's a matter of fact," Barber said. "It's treasonous! ... It exposes the fact that this president hates Israel [and] I believe, as you just stated, that he hates America as well":
As Brian mentioned earlier, the American Family Association placed a full-page ad in The Washington Post today urging the Supreme Court not to strike down gay marriage bans because "only God can define marriage."
Bryan Fischer invited AFA president Tim Wildmon on to his radio program today to discuss the ad, which Wildmon said was necessary because someone needed to remind "the Supreme Court of the United States [that if the court] is going to force homosexual quote 'marriage' on America, then they are going against God."
"If the Supreme Court does this and foists unnatural quote 'marriage' on all of America," he said, "it will be an incredible constitutional injustice, it'll represent more of a power grab by the federal bench, and it'll be a fist in the face of God Almighty."
Fischer then chimed in to declare that in placing the ad, the AFA was upholding "the best of the prophetic tradition" found in the Old Testament.
"If there was a king that was out of line, the prophet was the one who was called by God to stand up and say 'what you are doing is evil in the eyes of the Lord," Fischer said, declaring that AFA ran this ad because "there was a need for someone to speak with a prophetic voice to our Supreme Court":
Ted Cruz personally called Glenn Beck last Friday night to inform him that he was going to be announcing his run for the presidency on Monday morning. As Cruz walked off the stage at Liberty University yesterday after making the announcement, he immediately called into Beck's radio program. Beck's entire programlast night was dedicated to hailing and defending Cruz. Today, Cruz once again called into Beck's radio show where he declared that he is "very proud" to "stand together happily" with Beck while making his run for the White House.
After declaring that his presidential announcement was "electric" and "inspiring," Cruz told Beck that it was made even better by the fact that "the very first voice I spoke to after the announcement speech was you."
After Beck noted that "being our friend" might not necessarily be a good thing for Cruz's campaign, Cruz assured him that "I am very proud to dance with who brung me."
Since spending three hours on radio and one hour on television every day is obviously not enough time for the world to know what Glenn Beck thinks about everything, his network has been uploading weekly "Conversations With Glenn" videos to its YouTube channel for the last several months in which staffers lob softball questions at him while Beck expounds on the state of his soul.
On Friday's installment, Beck explained that he has been contemplating launching "Torah Tuesday" programs in which his audience and he would learn more about the Hebrew Bible because "the answer for everything we are looking for comes from God."
"I want to know the New Testament, I want to know the Old Testament," Beck said, "and I want to know another Testament, the one my faith has."
Learning more about the Book of Deuteronomy, he said, is especially important because "thirty percent of all of our federal documents, thirty percent [are] based in Deuteronomy."
"The Founders knew how important Deuteronomy was," Beck said:
This is now the third time that we have seen Beck repeat this blatantly false claim.
As we explained the last twotimes he said this, Beck is utterly misrepresenting a 1984 study by a University of Houston professor who found that, among the documents published during the founding era, the Bible was the most frequently cited source.
Of the identifiable quotes from the documents analyzed in this study, a third reportedly came from the Bible and of those identifiable Bible quotes, Deuteronomy was the most frequently cited book.
The study in no way found that "thirty percent of all of federal documents" came out of Deuteronomy, but Beck nonetheless continues to repeat this false claim over and over again.
In the quick unraveling of Rep. Aaron Schock's political career, some have questioned if Millennials are ready for Congress, but it’s wrong to conclude that Schock’s youth was the reason for his mistakes. And it’s even worse to write off young people as unfit for public office.
To the contrary, electing Millennials to public office has the potential to be tremendously beneficial to our country. As Tina Nguyen at Mediaite puts it “Hell, there needs to be more Millennials in Congress, but ones that demonstrate other millennial virtues — tech-savvy, ambitious, and striving to be self-sufficient.” I couldn’t agree more.
And while it’s easy to celebrate the potential that young people could bring to the business of governing, no one should think that it is only future “potential” that young people have. A quick look at communities around the country demonstrates the striking impact that young people in public office are already having. I know, because I see it up close every day. As Mayor of Tallahassee and as Director of Youth Leadership Programs for People For the American Way Foundation, I’ve collaborated with young elected officials who work diligently and effectively for their constituents and communities, while progress by their – literally – senior counterparts in Washington stalls. (This Congress has one of the oldest median ages on the books, so anyone who thinks that longer life experience is all it takes to be an effective legislator hasn’t been reading the news.)
While Congress’s inability to govern has been on display time and time again, I’m constantly amazed at the ability of young people at the state and local level to actually get things done. We don’t expect to see an increased federal minimum wage anytime soon, but young electeds have sponsored both living wage ordinances and minimum wage legislation across the country. One of our members, Rep. Matt Lesser, co-sponsored and successfully advocated for the historic minimum wage increase in Connecticut. A cohort of young electeds pushed for a minimum wage increase in Wisconsin tied to inflation.
Young legislators in Colorado have tackled what seem to be losing battles in Congress: universal pre-K and Head Start funding. Rep. Crisanta Duran sponsored a bill to provide affordable child care for low-income families, and Rep. Dominick Moreno helped create the “Breakfast After the Bell” legislation that now gives more than 80,000 kids free breakfast in Colorado, a state where one in five children experience hunger.
And across the country, young people in public office bring innovative solutions to the problems their communities face. Nebraska State Senator Amanda McGill has worked on initiating telehealth services in schools. Cambridge Councilman Leland Cheung created incentives for start-ups in mixed use zoning areas. Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak in Pittsburgh has championed open data and transparent government.
Everywhere I go, I meet people of every age eager to tell me about some extraordinary young elected official they know, as if that experience is unique to their community. It’s up to me to tell them that dedicated, effective young people in government aren’t the exception in communities across the country -- they’re the rule.
In all 50 states, young people are offering new perspectives and outside-the-box solutions. In a country that’s seemingly more divided than ever, we need more young people lending their voice and stepping up for public service. Don’t look to Aaron Schock as the face of young politicians – look in your own backyard.
Around here, James David Manning is mostly known for his insane anti-gay rants and for promoting wild theories about President Obama, so it came as no surprise to learn that he is also viciously anti-Mormon, as he amply demonstrated in a video that he posted yesterday in which he alleged that Glenn Beck's announcement last week that he was done with the Republican Party means that Beck is planning on launching his own bid for president.
Repeatedly referring to him as "Glenn Crybaby Beck," Manning warned that Beck is "a sneaky, deceitful person" who has dishonesty in his genes. Manning slammed Beck for not supporting birther attacks on Obama and even for supposedly destroying his friendship with Bill O'Reilly before warning America that Beck's abandonment of the GOP was nothing more than a self-serving move so that he can run for president.
"I want to just warn America about this snake in the grass, Glenn Beck," Manning thundered, as he bragged that he had personally denounced the GOP long before Beck made his announcement. "I'm eight years ahead of him about the ills of the Republican Party. I was right then and boom shakalaka, boom shakalaka, boom shakalaka, and boom boom shakalaka goes right there! I was right eight years ago about the Republican Party ... and I'm right now about Glenn Beck."
"You can still worship at the altar of this Mormon crybaby, if you will," Manning continued. "I have never seen such lunacy across America as is at present ... He is unstable in all this ways and anybody who follows Glenn Beck will follow him to the Mormon section of Hell! There's a special section of Hell for Mormons, those that call themselves Christians but yet will listen to the teachings of a Mormon!"
"Glenn Beck, unstable in all his ways, is now testing the waters to run for president," he concluded. "Lord have mercy":
Earlier this month we noted how Chuck Pierce, a self-proclaimed modern-day "prophet" and top leader within the New Apostolic Reformation, claimed that his prayer efforts were responsible for the re-election of Gov. Sam Brownback in Kansas. Such accomplishments are nothing new for Pierce, considering that his prayers are so powerful that they have caused earthquakes and captured Saddam Hussein ... and now they are even bringing Glenn Beck into the fold.
Yesterday, Beck attended Pierce's church in Corinth, Texas, where Pierce personally presented him with a "new mantle for the future":
Not surprisingly, the fact that Pierce was presenting such a mantle to a Mormon like Beck caused some alarm among his followers, which prompted Pierce to post a note on his Facebook page today comparing Beck to Cyrus, the Persian king in the Bible who ended Jewish exile and authorized the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem:
At Global Spheres, we are called to host revival.
Concerning Glenn Beck and his family, I enjoyed being with them. Jesus would have done the same. Glenn is a Mormon. However, many prophets have prophesied that those in the Mormon religion will have revival. How would that ever happen without someone like Falma praying and someone like me opening my heart to embrace the opportunity. I honestly know that it is "not by might nor by power but by the Spirit" that any of this can change.
Glenn Beck, like Cyrus has a voice to change this nation. Cyrus had God's mantle to do so. Mr. Beck also has a mantle now that can be used to spread a new fire in this land. He has a heart to see our nation continue to embrace Israel. That is our common ground. If he continues to embrace the God of Israel, then he will eventually know His fullness.
Be blessed today as you pray!
P.S. Yesterday we also had visitors that were Catholic, carnal, and lost. They are all searching. They are all welcome! Romans says, "how can they know without a preacher?"
Former House GOP leader Tom DeLay was the guest on the "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, where he warned that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the both the White House and Congress and then declared that every Muslim who runs for political office must be grilled on whether they are willing to pledge allegiance to the flag and support the Constitution.
After insisting that President Obama has filled his administration with Muslim Brotherhood operatives and fretting that "we have two Muslims in the House of Representatives right now," including one who is sitting on the Intelligence Committee, DeLay warned that "this is getting very dangerous."
Later in the program, he said that every candidate running for office at any level must be asked "tough questions" because "we've got people running for office right now that I question their motives."
"If you are a Muslim, for instance, and you are running for office," DeLay said, "will you pledge allegiance to the flag? When you take that oath of office to support the Constitution, which constitution are you supporting? The United States Constitution or the constitution outlined in the Koran? Those are very important things to be asking right now":
As Peter noted in his write-up of the American Pastors Network conference in Pennsylvania last week, Mike Huckabee was unable to attend the event and instead sent a video greeting featuring him standing on Mt. Carmel in Israel, overlooking the valley in which the End Times battle of Armageddon is supposed to occur.
In his message, Huckabee focused on another story involving Mt. Carmel as he highlighted the Old Testament showdown in which the Prophet Elijah called down the fire of God and then destroyed several hundred prophets of Baal, which Huckabee used to urge his audience to be willing to take a stand for God just as Elijah did.
"God wants us to stand in the gap," Huckabee said. "And sometimes my heart's broken because, in our own country, a lot of pastors will stand in the pulpit but they won't stand in the gap ... We wonder why our culture has turned godless. We wonder why people don't grow up understanding the fundamentals of natural law, the moral basis of our Judeo-Christian founding as a nation. Might it be that the problem is not the history classes in our high schools but the pulpits of America who have not taken what they even believe and applied it to the pulpit and to the people?"
"I stand here on Mt. Carmel today," he concluded, "and I hope that, if called upon, I would be willing to stand all by myself [and] to call fire from Heaven and believe that God will answer even if there are hundreds and hundreds of false prophets on the other side."
"You may stand here someday," he said, pointing back to the Valley of Armageddon below, "and be called upon to call the fire from Heaven. I hope you're ready to believe that God will answer that prayer."
Earlier today, Sen. Ted Cruz announced his campaign for president at Liberty University (LU), the ultraconservative school established by Jerry Falwell. His decision to choose Liberty is rather telling, considering that LU is a radically right-wing university with a law school staffed by some of the most viciously anti-gay Religious Right activists operating today.
Of course, given that LU itself was founded by Falwell, who blamed gay people for 9/11, this should not come as much of a surprise.
Staver continues to call for a revolution to fight gay marriage and is currently leading an effort to get anti-gay Christians to ignore any Supreme Court decision striking down gay marriage bans, saying that refusing to obey such a ruling is like refusing to turn a Jew over to the Nazis:
When Staver announced his resignation from Liberty's law school last year, LU President Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced that Rena Lindevaldsen would take over as interim dean. Lindevaldsen previously served as senior litigation counsel at Liberty Counsel, where she was the lead attorney in a custody case involving Lisa Miller, an "ex-gay" woman who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country rather than abide by court-ordered custody arrangements with her former partner. Lindevaldsen even wrote a book about the saga while she and Liberty Counsel continue to insist that they have no knowledge of Miller's whereabouts, despite the fact that she was reportedly living at a home in Nicaragua owned by the father of an administrative assistant working at the Liberty University Law School.
Furthermore, Staver and Lindevaldsen even reportedly taught a class at Liberty based on the Miller case in which students were instructed that the "right" thing for a Christian lawyer to do in a case such as this would be to counsel their client that they have an obligation to ignore the law and court orders and instead engage in "civil disobedience" to uphold God's law. In 2012, the school was hit with a lawsuit over its alleged involvement in Miller's kidnapping.
When Lindevaldsen spoke at a right-wing conference earlier this month, she told the audience at a breakout panel on "sexual rebellion" that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the "big deal" is about LGBT rights, she responds that "it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God." Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is "the heart of where Satan’s attacking":
Matt Barber is another Liberty University/Liberty Counsel crossover. He formerly served as vice president of Liberty Counsel Action and still co-hosts Liberty Counsel's daily radio program with Staver, while also holding positions as associate dean and adjunct professor at Liberty.
Baber happens to be one of the most viciously anti-gay bigots operating today, as demonstrated by his view that homosexuality is nothing more than "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it "love.'"
He has said that marriage equality mocks God and desecrates the Church, declared that the Defense of Marriage Act was necessary to prevent children from becoming gay and getting AIDS, said that gay teens end their own lives because they "know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] immoral," proclaimed gay adoption to be "tragic," "unconscionable," and "reprehensible," and warned that gay activists are seeking to poison the minds of children and are "running interference for the pedophile movement."
He has supported repressive anti-LGBT regimes around the world, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay crackdown and saying he'd like to see a ban on "gay propaganda" in the U.S., as well as defending Uganda's harsh criminal penalties for LGBT people.
Several other anti-gay activists also hold teaching positions at Liberty University, including Shawn Akers, who has said that measures to prevent the bullying of LGBT youth are "a form of indoctrination and reeducation that smacks of socialist and Communist countries" and accused gay rights advocates of bullying Christians and persecuting them in the same way as Adolf Hitler persecuted Jews.
Any way you cut it, it is clear that Liberty University is home of a slew of anti-gay bigots. The fact that Ted Cruz chose this as the venue at which to announce his presidential campaign speaks volumes.
Religious Right activists and pastors gathered today for a conference titled "U-Turn: A Conversation with Pastors on Society, Culture and Leadership" that was organized by the Pennsylvania Pastors Network.
Among the participants was Sandy Rios, the American Family Association's director of governmental affairs and daily radio host, who repeated her warning to those in attendance that they had better "prepare for martyrdom" if marriage equality becomes legal throughout the country.
"There is persecution afoot," she declared, citing various examples of Christian business owners who are supposedly being persecuted by laws banning discrimination in public services. Eventually, she warned that the push for marriage equality would gravely impact "your wives, your sisters, your children who now are going to be forced to go into public restrooms and share them with men dressed like women."
"In Massachusetts, where homosexual marriage has been legal for ten years," she said, "the stories would make the hair stand up on the back of your neck."
Rios went on to state that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage, it will force every Christian in American to make a choice and so they had better be prepared to take a stand.
"You must prepare for martyrdom," she said. "I don't know what it 's going to look like, but it's coming":
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio show, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber declared that Ben Carson has effectively destroyed his presidential chances by apologizing for his statement that prison sex proves that homosexuality is a choice and vowing not to talk about the issue of gay rights anymore.
Barber blasted Carson for backtracking after he had "rightly" stated that being gay is a choice, saying "it took, I think, a day for him to come out with hat-in-hand and give this blathering mea culpa, just apologizing and saying how he'll never do this again and then promising never to talk about this issue again. So they have intimidated him into silence. From a political standpoint, now Ben Carson is dead in my eyes."
Staver agreed, saying that there is no way that Carson can refuse to talk about this issue "because it is a real threat against our faith and freedom and we can't ignore it."
"We need politicians and we need leaders who can speak boldly on this issue and who will not shrink," Staver said. "Saying that you're never going to speak on it and apologizing is not the kind of leadership you need":
On his radio program today, Glenn Beck declared that the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party in yesterday's Israeli election proves that "the Lord does exist."
Repeating the bogus right-wing claim that the Obama administration had used tax dollars to fund an anti-Netanyahu election campaign, Beck declared that "our administration is completely out of control and criminal," but that God carried Likud to victory despite the president's dirty tricks.
"The Lord does exist and he is sitting on his throne," Beck declared, saying that there was no way that Netanyahu should have won the election and the fact that he did is proof that "God exists."
"God exists for us as well," he continued. "No matter what they have, no matter how dirty they play it, if we do what we're supposed to do, the scales will be even. God will have his thumb on the scale":
Glenn Beck is outraged over the fact that Elton John has called for a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana after the fashion designers voiced their opposition to same-sex families and in vitro fertilization, saying that such a boycott is like locking Galileo in a tower for opposing the conventional science of the day.
Beck spent the opening monologue of his television program last night warning that "we are on the path of putting Galileo back in the tower" because progressives are out to destroy anyone who holds different opinions and cited the Dolce & Gabbana boycott as evidence.
"Is this the kind of freedom that we're at?" Beck asked. "Anyone who feels the same as Dolce and Gabbana, let me ask you, are they empowered to express their view or are they now afraid that Hollywood and progressives will come after them? The party of progress is making progress indeed, back to the Dark Ages, back to the days when differing scientific views were labeled heresy and black magic. As the march toward conformity continues, America gets farther and farther away from the place where those who will change the world with art and science and music, those who will bring on the next Renaissance just might find themselves locked up in a tower and sadly never paint the next Mona Lisa":
As we have noted before, as long as Bryan Fischer has some source that he can cite, he is willing to treat even the most unverified and baseless statements as fact, so long as they support his agenda or conspiracy theories.
Fischer demonstrated this trait once again on his radio program yesterday, citing the bogus claim put forth by discredited right-wing journalist Ed Klein that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett was responsible for leaking the Hillary Clinton email story to the media as evidence of his theory that President Obama doesn't want Clinton to become the next president so that he can continue his efforts to destroy America.
As Fischer sees it, since Obama's mission is to weaken and undermine America, he will be better positioned to continue doing that once he is out of office if there is a Republican in the White House.
"He can criticize at will," Fischer said. "He can tee off, he can complain, he can whine, he can condemn, he can criticize, he can fly all over the world as a former president, running down this country to anybody who will pay him a handsome fee to come and speak."
"If his agenda is to weaken this country," he continued, "if his agenda is to transform this country into something that you and I don't recognize, I believe he feels he can do that better if Hillary Clinton loses than if Hillary Clinton wins. I think this is all about President Obama wanting to preserve his ability to continue to be a community agitator":