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Nearly Everything Ted Cruz Said At Saturday's Debate Was A Lie

Marco Rubio’s robotic recitation of anti-Obama talking points may have been the biggest story coming out of Saturday’s GOP presidential debate, but at least one candidate stood out with his unrelenting dishonesty: Ted Cruz.

Following his opening statement, almost every remark from Cruz was either completely misleading or flat-out wrong.

1) Dirty Tricks

Cruz kicked things off by flatly lying about his campaign’s role in propagating a rumor about one of his rivals leaving the race during last week’s Iowa caucuses.

Shortly before Iowans started casting votes, the Cruz campaign urged its supporters to tell caucus-goers that Ben Carson was likely dropping out of the race and that his supporters should back Cruz instead.

At the debate, Cruz blamed a CNN report for suggesting that Carson was withdrawing from the race, claiming that it was an honest mistake from his campaign and blaming the network for only having “corrected” its reporting several hours later in the evening.

Cruz’s claim is bogus, and seeing that the dirty tricks story has been in the news for days, he must know by now that it is not true.

CNN never reported that Carson was quitting the presidential campaign. Its first report on Carson’s plan to fly to his Florida home after the caucuses, apparently so he could get a fresh set of clothes, stated that the neurosurgeon planned “to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight.”

“CNN never reported that Carson was suspending his campaign and never issued a correction, because there was no need to do so,” Dylan Byers notes. CNN itself strongly rebutted Cruz’s claim: “What Senator Cruz said tonight in the debate is categorically false. CNN never corrected its reporting because CNN never had anything to correct. The Cruz campaign's actions the night of the Iowa caucuses had nothing to do with CNN's reporting. The fact that Senator Cruz continues to knowingly mislead the voters about this is astonishing.”

The Texas senator’s campaign, it seems, is trying to cover up one lie with another.

2) North Korea

On the topic of North Korea, Cruz said that the Clinton administration allowed “billions of dollars” to flow into North Korea and that “the lead negotiator in that failed North Korea sanctions deal was a woman named Wendy Sherman who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton promptly recruited to come back to be the lead negotiator with Iran.”

The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee writes that Cruz’s statement “significantly overstates the monetary benefits of the Clinton deal to North Korea.” As part of a limited accord known as the Agreed Framework, the North Korean government agreed to replace a “plutonium reactor with two light-water reactors,” and in return the U.S. supplied the country “with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil every year to make up for the theoretical loss of the reactor while the new ones were built.” Any money involved in the deal, writes the Post’s Glenn Kessler, went to companies outside of North Korea.

“It’s simply false that Clinton eased sanctions that led to billions of dollars flowing into North Korea, allowing it to build a nuclear weapon,” Kessler writes. “Virtually no funds were received by North Korea as a result of the Agreed Framework. He also notes that Cruz’s claim about Sherman is “also wrong,” since “she did not negotiate the Agreed Framework.”

Cruz finished his remarks by alleging that North Korea or another state could then use a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack to “take down the entire electrical grid on the Eastern seaboard, potentially killing millions,” a notion roundly dismissed as overblown by security experts but is popular in right-wing media.

3) Immigration

After receiving applause for suggesting that he would task Donald Trump with building a wall along America’s southern border, Cruz said he would offer no path to legal status for any of the undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., instead promising to deport them all through existing law.

“I will enforce the law, and for everyone who says you can’t possibly do that, I would note that in eight years, Bill Clinton deported 12 million people,” he said. “In eight years, George W. Bush deported 10 million people. Enforcing the law — we can do it. What is missing is the political will.”

The Associated Press reports that Cruz’s figures on past administrations are just plain wrong: “Statistics from Immigration and Customs Enforcement show that roughly 1.6 million were deported under Bush, not 11 million. Under Clinton, about 870,000 immigrants were deported, not 12 million, according to the Migration Policy Institute. So far, about 2.4 million have been deported under the Obama administration.”

He also falsely claimed that undocumented immigrants are eligible for federal welfare benefits.

Cruz, unsurprisingly, is no stranger to telling falsehoods about immigration.

4) Health care

Cruz’s rant against the “disaster” of “socialized medicine,” in which he warned of health care rationing and doctor shortages, was so egregious that Jonathan Cohn of the Huffington Post laid out a six-point debunking of his claims.

Cohn notes that “countries with ‘socialized medicine’ seem to be getting results that are as good if not better than what the U.S. gets from its health care system — and they do so while spending far less money” and tend to have more physicians per capita than the U.S.

The rationing claim, reminiscent of the “death panel” smear, is also misleading, as countries with “socialized medicine” perform just as well if not better in providing services like hip replacements, while de facto rationing already exists America, as many people cannot afford or are unable to access health services.

5) Terrorism

When asked about his remarks mocking Donald Trump’s temperament, Cruz pivoted to criticizing President Obama, whom he said “is unwilling even to acknowledge the enemy we’re facing.” “[Obama] will not even use the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ much less focus on defeating the enemy,” he said.

Cruz’s insistence that the Obama administration is ignoring the threat from terrorism came amidst news that a U.S. drone strike killed a senior commander of Al Qaeda and that ISIS is losing territory and followers in the Mideast in the wake of a U.S.-backed campaign against the terrorist organization.

He seems to think that the problem could be solved just by uttering the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” even though many experts caution that using such terms could be a huge propaganda victory for terrorists who try to claim that they are the true Muslims fighting against western powers that are warring against Islam, along with isolating the vast majority of Muslims and Muslim-led governments that oppose groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Cruz also misled on what he called the “generally recognized” definition of torture in his defense of waterboarding. 

6) Iran

After criticizing the “James [sic] Bergdahl deal,” Cruz also denounced the Obama administration for releasing or ending the prosecution of “up to 21 terrorists or potential terrorists” as part of a deal with Iran to secure the release of four American prisoners.

Cruz was wrong on both counts: The U.S. only released seven people who were convicted or prosecuted for violating trade sanctions on Iran or, in one case, hacking a Vermont engineering business. The other 14 were only facing extradition and do not reside in the U.S.

Naturally, Cruz also used debunked revisionist history to extol the Reagan administration's dealings with Iran.

Of course, we’ve known for quite a long time that Cruz has a difficult time with the truth.

GOP Obstruction of the DC Circuit: Infographics

Share these infographics to help set the record straight on the DC Circuit.

The Critically Important DC Circuit Court

Despite progressive victories in 2012, the Right’s outsized influence on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit gives it the power to undermine progressive laws and thwart the agenda that Americans elected President Obama to pursue.

Donald Trump Agrees to PFAW’s Call to Return Contribution from White Nationalist

Today, as reported by The Hill, Donald Trump said in response to a question asked by People For the American Way (PFAW) New Hampshire Campaign Coordinator Lindsay Jakows that he would return a contribution from White Nationalist William Daniel Johnson. As Jakows referenced in the question, last week, PFAW had called on Trump to return the contribution.

PFAW President Michael B. Keegan stated:

“We’re very glad to hear that Donald Trump responded to public pressure and will return the contribution from self-described white nationalist William Daniel Johnson. This is a good first step, but Trump should follow up by renouncing the racist policies he’s been espousing on the campaign trail. Xenophobia and racism should have no place in any campaign, but we’ve seen far too much of it during the 2016 Republican presidential primary.”

Audio of the question from Lindsay Jakows:



Johnson, who refers to himself as a “white nationalist” and has specifically said that he wants “a white ethno-state, a country made up of only white people,” recorded robocalls in December 2015 to Iowans to support Donald Trump because of his bigoted stance on immigration. Earlier this month, it was revealed that he also donated to the Trump campaign.

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NRA's Ted Nugent Posts Anti-Semitic Photo On Facebook

NRA board member Ted Nugent posted a photo of Jewish leaders on his Facebook page today with the caption “So who is really behind gun control?” alleging that “these punks” support stricter gun laws because they “hate freedom.” Just to drive home the point that the pictured activists and politicians are Jewish, the photo includes an Israeli flag emblem by each person’s face.

“Tell every1 you know how evil they are,” Nugent wrote. “Let us raise maximum hell to shut them down!”

The leaders listed include the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.); Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Sen. Mark Levin (D-Mich.); Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; attorney and pundit Alan Dershowitz; Boston developer John Rosenthal, who founded the group Stop Handgun Violence; Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; and Max Nacheman, the former executive director of CeaseFire PA.

This isn’t Nugent’s first foray into anti-Semitic imagery.

Frank Gaffney: Obama Speaking Out Against Islamophobia Will 'Get More Of Us Killed'

Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney joined Indianapolis radio host Tom Rose on Friday to discuss President Obama’s recent visit to an American mosque and comments pushing back against anti-Muslim prejudice, which Gaffney said would ultimately just “get more of us killed.”

“Am I totally out of bounds in saying that if this guy worked half as hard evangelizing for America as he does evangelizing for Islam we’d all be a lot better off?” Rose asked.

“We’d not only be a lot better off, we’d be safer,” Gaffney responded. “The trouble is the way that this is read, this behavior, this endless effort at the very least to excuse and appease the Islamic supremacists, the way they read that is not that it is, you know, some magnanimous gesture motivated by a heightened sense of multiculturalism or diversity sensitivity or political correctness.”

“But, Tom,” he continued, “this is read by them as an act of submission … And when you engage in submission when you’re an infidel, the way the Sharia doctrine commands the Islamists who subscribe to it to respond is to make them feel subdued, to use the term out of the Koran, which means to use violence actually, to effect the final status of dhimmitude, the permanent submission to which we are ultimately to be consigned. So far from this doing anything to ameliorate the situation or, as you put it, to help us be better off, this is actually going to get more of us killed.”

We’ll just repeat that six days after 9/11 George W. Bush appeared at a mosque to denounce violence and prejudice against American Muslims.

PFAW Statement on Jeb Bush’s Citizens United Remarks

Following reports today that GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush supports overturning Citizens United but wants to allow unlimited contributions to candidates, People For the American Way executive vice president Marge Baker released the following statement:

“The vast majority of Americans oppose the Citizens United decision, including eight in ten Republicans, so it’s understandable that any candidate would want to go on the record opposing it. But replacing unlimited outside spending with unlimited contributions to candidates’ campaigns would not be real reform – not even close. The bottom line, which Bush still seems to miss, is that billionaires and wealthy special interests should not be able to pour unlimited money into our elections, period.”

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Rafael Cruz: 'The New Religion Of America Is Secular Humanism'

Anti-gay activist Michael Brown endorsed Ted Cruz for president last year and on Wednesday welcomed the Texas senator’s father, Rafael Cruz, to his “Line of Fire” radio program to discuss the campaign.

After Cruz gave his standard spiel about Ted’s candidacy awakening millions of “missing” evangelical voters all while uniting diverse constituencies in order to replicate Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory, Brown asked him how he would respond to people who say that some of what he says “sounds like you’re advocating a theocracy.”

“Well, we’re not talking about theocracy,” the elder Cruz responded, “we’re talking about people who have been the background of America, the moral fiber of America, have been divorced from the political process. We have had over 50 percent of evangelicals not even voting, so you have a large percentage of the population that have been absent from the political process. All we are saying is we need everyone who has a desire to see America restored to become involved.”

In fact, he implied, America is currently a theocracy of “secular humanism,” which has become the “new religion of America.”

“We’re talking about restoring America back to the foundations,” he said. “The Bible says, ‘If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ Our foundations have been eroded by secular humanism, by … just destroying the family, by basically the moral values that have made America great have been practically destroyed and we have secularized America and the new religion of America is secular humanism.”

He added that in public schools, children are “being brainwashed not only with secular humanism but with socialism.”

Correction: The interview took place on Wednesday, February 3, not Friday, February 5. 

Michele Bachmann: Muslim Migrants Rape Women To Commit Jihad And 'Destroy Western Christendom'

Michele Bachmann spoke with End Times radio hosts Jan Markell and Eric Barger on Saturday about the migration of Muslims into Western Europe and the United States, calling it a “planned invasion” meant to destroy “Western Christendom.”

“This clearly is an invasion,” Bachmann said. “This is a planned invasion, not only in Europe but also in the United States, I believe for the specific purpose of destroying Western Christendom.” Bachmann said that countries with large Muslim minorities like France now experience “Islamic jihad 24/7, terrorist bloodbath attacks 24/7,” warning that the same thing is coming to the U.S. unless we decide to have “no more immigration into the United States.”

Now, Bachmann said, Muslim migrants are raping Western women as part of their religious terrorism.

“The more that come in, the more they act upon their religious convictions and their stated religious convictions,” she said. “The imams from the original countries that they come from, they recruit and send these guys to come in and to bring about this destruction. Right now in Europe it’s called a ‘rape culture’ that’s coming into Sweden and Germany and all across Europe for the specific purpose of Islamizing these countries, and they are falling.”

“Islamists have a plan,” Bachmann later added. “They have a plan to destroy Western Christendom. It’s called civilization jihad. By bringing Islamists into our country and destroying us from in, they don’t need to just have a nuclear bomb. If they send their invading army into our countries and if young men are doing what they did on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany, and other places where they are literally sexually attacking and raping and groping women and causing them to fear, we are looking at a completely ramped-up level of invasion one like we have never seen before.”

“Not only is Europe getting that, the United States is getting that, but we need to recognize what is happening,” she said. “This isn’t unintentional. This is intentional and it’s meant to destroy Western Christendom.”

The former congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate then said that Muslim migrants from countries like Pakistan and Iran may pose as Central American refugees in order to enter the U.S., all thanks to Obama’s refugee policy.

Earlier in the same interview, Bachmann suggested that President Obama is an Antichrist-like figure bringing about the Last Days.

Don't Be Fooled: Marco Rubio And Rick Santorum Are Two Of A Kind

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Some were taken by surprise when former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum endorsed his former opponent Marco Rubio as soon as he dropped out of the Republican presidential race on Wednesday. But it shouldn’t come as a shock that the conservative true believer, notorious for his anti-gay and anti-abortion crusades, would back the supposedly “mainstream” Florida senator.

While the press likes to portray Santorum as a kooky culture warrior and Rubio as an establishment square, the two hold many of the exact same positions.

The similarities start with their dangerous views on abortion rights. Rubio wants to ban all abortions with no exceptions even for survivors of rape and incest or for women withlife-endangering pregnancies. In the very first 2016 Republican presidential debate, Rubio went so far as to suggest that the U.S. Constitution may already ban abortion. Rubio has hailed anti-abortion activists as similar to those who fought for the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and civil rights for African Americans and has pledged to “immediately” re-impose the Mexico City Policy, which would block crucial funding to women’s health groups outside of the U.S. A vocal critic of Planned Parenthood, Rubio once made the absurd claim that women at Planned Parenthood clinics are “pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit.”

He told one conservative pundit that because “there is no way that you can read that Constitution and deduce from it that there is constitutional right to an abortion,” he would only appoint Supreme Court justices who see Roe v. Wade as a “flawed” decision.

The Florida senator is aggressively courting the Religious Right, which should come as no surprise since his stances on social issues are barely distinguishable from Santorum’s.

Rubio joined Santorum and four other Republican presidential candidates in pledgingto sign legislation making it legal to discriminate against same-sex couples. He even implied his support for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who attempted to use her county office to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, by claiming that people can and should “ignore” laws or court rulings that do not “adhere to God’s rules” because “God’s rules always win.” “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin,” he said.

Rubio has called same-sex marriage “a real and present danger” to freedom and religion, arguing that only someone who has a “ridiculous and absurd reading of the U.S. Constitution” would agree with the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision and promising that his nominees to the Supreme Court would disagree with the ruling.

The potential for a President Rubio to be nominating the next few Supreme Court justices could prove especially frightening seeing that the senator, in an address to afar-right Florida grouprejected the separation of church and state as unconstitutional.

He has also embraced the Right’s phony religious persecution rhetoric, running campaign ads and delivering speeches about how conservative Christians like himself who oppose gay marriage are the real victims of discrimination in America. During Saturday’s debate, he said that Christians in America face far more discrimination than Muslim-Americans.

On the economy, Rubio might even be furtherto the right of many in the GOP. For starters, as New York Times reporter Josh Barrow explained, Rubio “would impose no tax at all on interest, dividends or capital gain income from stocks” as part of a larger tax-slashing regimen that Barro called “a big tax cut for people who are already doing well.” Think of it as the Bush tax cuts on steroids: disproportionate government aid to the ones who need it the least that costs the government trillions of dollars in revenue.

Rubio, who was first elected to the Senate as a Tea Party favorite, has also vowed torepeal Wall Street reform and oppose any increase in the minimum wage, and has adopted a “do-nothing” and denialist approach to climate change.  

Despite this record, the media has given Rubio flattering coverage, portraying him as a mainstream candidate who can thwart radicals like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Part of Rubio’s reputation as somehow more “moderate” or “mainstream” comes from his previous support for a bipartisan immigration reform bill. But of course Rubio ended uprenouncing the bill and tacking further to the right on immigration than many of his Republican colleagues.

Even though Santorum, when asked last week, couldn’t name a single legislative accomplishment of Rubio’s, it is obvious that Rubio has succeeded in doing at least one thing: embracing the ideology of the GOP’s extremist wing without being held accountable for it.

PFAW

Listen To Michele Bachmann Discuss Whether Obama Is The Antichrist

Last week, Michele Bachmann claimed that the world is rushing into Armageddon, citing a dubious report from a Kuwaiti newspaper, which alleged that President Obama is attempting to lead the United Nations after leaving office but that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is thwarting his effort.

Bachmann told radio hosts Jan Markell and Eric Barger that Obama will turn the UN into an enormously powerful global institution, which she said will pave the way for a joint Russian-Iranian invasion of Israel. The anti-Israel alliance, she said, “lines up with scripture.”

In a follow-up interview that aired on Saturday, Markell came right out and said that while she isn’t sure that Obama is the Antichrist, the Antichrist would be a such a global leader.

Bachmann, in turn, claimed that Obama will make a deal with Russia and Islamic nations such as Iran to create a “super UN” that will run the entire world.

This is not the first time that the former congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate has said that Obama is ushering in the End Times.

New Report Looks at Wins on Money in Politics Reform Since Citizens United

It’s no secret that the Supreme Court’s misguided Citizens United decision in 2010 opened the floodgates for an influx of money into our elections. But a new report released today by PFAW and six other organizations highlights what else it did: energize a movement to fight big money in politics that’s made real progress in the six years since the decision was handed down.

As the report notes, since 2010:

  • More than 5 million people have signed petitions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United. Sixteen states and more than 680 cities and towns – as well as a majority of the U.S. Senate in 2014 – have called for an amendment.
  • At least 23 states have put in place disclosure rules to ensure the peoples’ right to know about the big donors trying to buy political influence.
  • States and cities across the country have acted to pass or strengthen publicly funded election systems to amplify the voices of small donors, including Seattle and Maine in 2015.

As the 2016 presidential race sees an increasing focus on the problem of big money in politics, the magnitude of our country’s current crisis can make progress seem unlikely, or even impossible. But as this report outlines, change is already happening in cities and states across the country, as people organize in their own communities for solutions to make sure that our democracy is working for everyone – not just for billionaires and corporations.

You can read the full report here.

PFAW

Cruz Forced To Defend Contraception Comments In Catholic Media

At a campaign event in Iowa in December, Sen. Ted Cruz laughed off the idea that Republicans were threatening access to birth control, saying, “I have never met anybody, any conservative, who wants to ban contraceptives. As I noted, Heidi and I, we have two little girls. I’m very glad we don’t have 17.”

As we noted at the time, Cruz’s comments were disingenuous. But it turns out that they were also not well received by some in one group that Cruz has been trying to court: conservative Catholics.

When Cruz gave an interview last week to the Catholic news network EWTN, host Raymond Arroyo played back the birth control comments, telling Cruz that “a lot of our viewers sent me emails” about the comments and that “some larger families took offense at that statement, they say it’s less than pro-life.”

Cruz scrambled to defend himself, saying that it was “a little snippet that’s taken out of context” and that he was pushing back against a Democratic “political attack that was deliberately deceptive.”

“I am unequivically pro-life, I believe that every life is a precious gift from God that needs to be protected from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death,” he said. “But the Democrats didn’t raise that battle on the issue of life; instead they did it on contraceptives, and it was deliberately deceptive, they were trying to scare young women into thinking some politician is going to come take their birth control away from them.”

“And the point I was making through humor – and humor is often a very effective way to communicate – is that nobody was talking about banning birth control for anyone,” he said.

He then pivoted to the Little Sisters of the Poor case, in which a number of religious nonprofits are claiming that having to fill out a form exempting themselves from a contraceptive insurance coverage mandate violates their religious beliefs because they’re making it possible for employees to get contraceptive coverage elsewhere.

The issue of contraception has sometimes been a sticking point in the anti-abortion alliance between Catholics and evangelicals. In the early days of the anti-abortion movement, some Catholic leaders of the movement presented the issues of abortion and contraception as two sides of the same coin. Conservative evangelicals, who came late to the anti-abortion movement, generally have more permissive doctrines involving birth control. Yet the two groups have united in recent years in fighting contraception access on “religious liberty” grounds, exemplified by the alliance of Catholic and evangelical leaders who drafted the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, which called for broad exemptions from and civil disobedience against civil laws on LGBT rights and reproductive freedom.

PFAW and Allies Release Report on Money in Politics Reform Victories Since Citizens United

WASHINGTON – In a new report released today, “Our Voices, Our Democracy: Victories Since Citizens United and the Road Ahead Empowering Voters Over Wealthy Special Interests,” People For the American Way and six other national organizations leading the effort to empower voters over wealthy special interests document a national movement gaining steady momentum since the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United.

Citizens United did more than usher in unprecedented outside spending – it also invigorated a national movement to ensure democracy for all that’s seen some real wins in the past six years,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way. “Heading into the 2016 election, it’s critical that we continue to build on that momentum across the country.”

As the report notes: “Opportunities to reduce the influence of big money in elections are everywhere – in local towns and communities, in city halls and state legislatures, and in the White House and in Congress.”

According to the report:

  • From California to South Dakota, there are more ballot initiatives in 2016 to rebalance the system so it works for voters than in any previous election cycle.
  • After receiving more than one million petition signatures in support, President Obama is “seriously considering” signing an executive order to disclose political spending by federal contractors.
  • Thousands of Americans organized by hundreds of organizations representing a diverse array of constituencies will pour into Washington D.C. between April 11-18 for mass civil disobedience, demonstrations, concerts, teach-ins, a rally, lobbying and more.
  • More than 200,000 Americans have called on the presidential candidates to get serious about fighting big money in elections. For the first time ever, every Democratic candidate for president has publicly embraced a comprehensive plan to fight big money and many Republicans are embracing solutions of their own.

In addition to outlining a strong, coordinated plan of action that will make 2016 a critical year for ensuring a government truly of, by, and for the people, the report summarizes the range of nationwide victories building momentum for change.

According to the report:

  • More than 5 million people have signed petitions urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United since 2010. Moreover, sixteen states, the District of Columbia, more than 680 cities and towns, and a majority of the U.S. Senate in 2014 have called for an amendment.
  • At least 23 states have enacted new disclosure rules since 2010 to ensure the public’s right to know the big donors trying to influence our elections.
  • States and cities have acted to pass, defend, and strengthen citizen-funded election systems that amplify the voices of small donors, including in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland’s Montgomery County, Seattle, and Tallahassee.

The organizations that authored the report – Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause, Demos, Every Voice, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG – conclude, “The debate about the problem of money in politics is over. The question is not ‘if’ but ‘when and how’ we will reform our democracy. The movement for common-sense, winnable solutions is paving the way forward – to a government truly of, by, and for the people.”

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Paranoia-Rama: Bernie's Prison Camps, Bachmann's Nightmare And Obama's 'Jihad'

Following a much needed mental health break, Paranoia-Rama is back! However, there may not be much time left for us since, as Michele Bachmann explained this week, the Battle of Armageddon is imminent.

Anti-Abortion Groups Argue That Restrictive Texas Law 'Prevents Discrimination' Against Women

In an amicus brief filed at the Supreme Court yesterday, the anti-abortion-rights groups Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America argue that a restrictive Texas law that threatens to shut almost all of the state’s abortion clinics is actually meant to prevent discrimination against women seeking abortions.

In the brief, written by former Family Research Council official Ken Klukowski on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union, the groups argue that HB2, the Texas law being considered in the case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in fact “prevents discrimination” against women seeking abortions by “ensuring that women seeking an abortion receive medical care that is equal in quality to the medical care provided to men”:

By ensuring that women seeking an abortion receive medical care that is equal in quality to the medical care provided to men, HB2 prevents discrimination against those women. To the extent challengers to HB2 might suggest HB2 is a form of sex discrimination, it is actually a statute that prevents discrimination. As such, invalidating HB2 would carry the opposite consequence of effectuating discrimination against women.

HB2’s ASC [ambulatory surgical center] provision commands that “the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards . . . for ambulatory surgical centers.” … Only women are patients at abortion facilities, but ASCs treat both women and men. This provision thus ensures that the women at one facility are entitled to the same quality of care that men at the other facility receive.

The groups conclude that “invalidating HB2 would subject women to second-class medical treatment, thus effectuating discrimination against women seeking an abortion.”

As we’ve noted, HB2 is one of a spate of state laws that have been passed in recent years by anti-choice lawmakers seeking to cut off access to abortion under the guise of protecting women’s health.

Among other restrictions, the Texas law requires that facilities providing abortions meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) even, as Think Progress has noted, at facilities that provide only medication abortion and don’t perform surgeries. The Guttmacher Institute explains that ambulatory surgical centers are subject to more restrictive regulations because they generally perform riskier and more invasive procedures than surgical abortion.

Anti-Abortion Group Furious At Christie & Bush Campaigns For Mentioning Rape Exceptions

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-choice campaign group the Susan B. Anthony List, sent a letter yesterday to all of the remaining Republican presidential candidates, except for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, warning them against criticizing Cruz and Rubio for their extreme, no-exceptions stances on abortion rights.

Although Dannenfelser didn’t name names, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who endorsed Jeb Bush after dropping out of the presidential race himself, and Gov. Chris Christie both attacked Cruz and Rubio over their opposition to rape exceptions in separate Morning Joe interviews this week.

Graham said on the program that although he’s “pro-life,” he thinks Ted Cruz’s stance on exceptions would be “a hard sell with young women.”

"I may be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, but I think it’s going to be very hard to grow the party among women if you’re gonna tell young women, ‘If you get raped, you’re gotta carry the child of the rapist,’” he said. “Most pro-life people don't go there.”

Christie, meanwhile, said that Rubio’s no-exceptions policy is “the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about.”

The spat gets to the heart of the anti-choice movement’s long-running debate about whether to tolerate the inclusion of certain exceptions in legislation aimed at curtailing abortion rights in an attempt to broaden their appeal and give political cover to vulnerable lawmakers.

Dannenfelser has called rape exceptions “abominable,” “regrettable” and “intellectually dishonest,” but has made it clear that her group will back bills that include exceptions if they deem it necessary for those bills to pass. Graham takes a similarly pragmatic approach to the issue, pleading after a 20-week abortion ban he sponsored got caught up in a debate about the wording of its rape exception that the movement needed to “find a way out of this definitional problem with rape.”

But what Dannefelser seems to be most upset about is the fact that Christie and Graham talked about rape at all, which she says plays right into “Planned Parenthood’s talking points.” Indeed, after Republican Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock made disastrous comments about pregnancy from rape in 2012, Dannenfelser held trainings for Republicans to teach them how to avoid the subject.

In her letter to the candidates, Dannefelser notes that her organization, along with Rubio and Cruz, have supported legislation that includes exceptions, but purely as a political compromise. Attacking those candidates for their no-exceptions ideology, she says, is “incredibly damaging to the prolife movement at a point in which momentum is on our side.”

“Let me be clear: An attack on this aspect of these candidates’ pro-life positions is an attack on the pro-life movement as a whole,” she warned.

Dear Candidates:

On behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List and our 465,000 members across the country, I am writing to you today to urge a swift and decisive end to the attacks other candidates and their surrogates are making concerning the courageous pro-life positions of Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. These attacks ill-serve a party that has pledged, in one form or another, since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 “to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children.”

While Senators Cruz and Rubio have supported SBA List-backed legislation that includes certain exceptions, they personally believe – as do we – that unborn children conceived in even the most difficult circumstances deserve the same legal protections that every other unborn child deserves. They know that you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy.

Let me be clear: An attack on this aspect of these candidates’ pro-life positions is an attack on the pro-life movement as a whole.

These tactical broadsides for perceived short-term advantage are incredibly damaging to the prolife movement at a point in which momentum is on our side. Our movement has worked diligently, especially in the wake of the 2012 elections, to put pro-life candidates on offense and pro-abortion candidates on defense.

As a movement, we have put forward legislative proposals that not only save lives, but also have the strong backing of the American public, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would protect babies after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy. During the 2014 election cycle this legislation dramatized the extreme position of abortion advocates, and it will have the same effect once again this cycle – largely thanks to the public support it enjoys from every single one of you.

To conclude, I urge you and your campaigns to reject Planned Parenthood’s talking points and instead keep the pro-life movement on offense by focusing on exposing the extreme position held by the other side: Abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth, for any reason, paid for by the taxpayer. This is the winning message that will result in a pro-life president who will sign into law life-saving protections for the most vulnerable in our society.

Alex Jones: Bernie Sanders Supporters Like Nazis Clamoring For Adolf Hitler

Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones, broadcasting from a dim, bunker-like studio yesterday, pleaded with Bernie Sanders supporters to abandon their candidate, telling them that Sanders is aiding a scheme devised by “European royalty” to “scapegoat the free market as the problem and to sell communism and socialism and wealth-redistribution as a solution.”

As Jones puts it, the super-super-rich intend to use socialism to seize the wealth of the regular rich, thus consolidating their power.

Jones later added that Sanders fans are like the Germans who supported Adolf Hitler: “This is the most ganged-mentality, dumbed-down, it’s like, ‘We want to elect Hitler, he says he’ll invade France and give us free stuff.’”

The InfoWars broadcaster previously said that Sanders wants to throw people him into forced labor camps.

Maryland House Stands Up for Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated Persons

2/5/16 Update: PFAW has sent a new veto override message to the Maryland Senate. Their vote was to have taken place on January 21, but was postponed to today, and is now not expected until next week.
PFAW

Ben Carson: Flying To Florida To Get New Clothes Proves I'll Make A Great President

Ben Carson spoke yesterday with Fox News pundit Todd Starnes about the debacle in Iowa on Monday when Carson’s campaign announced, just before Republican caucus-goers started casting their votes, that the candidate would be traveling from Iowa to his Florida home rather than directly to another early primary state like New Hampshire or South Carolina.

The campaign immediately insisted that Carson was only making the Florida stop in order to get “a fresh set of clothes” and that he wasn’t dropping out of the race. However, Ted Cruz’s campaign seized on the news to urge its supporters to tell Carson backers at caucus sites, falsely, that the neurosurgeon was leaving the race and that they should vote for Cruz instead.

While this latest controversy seemed like the latest misstep in a presidential campaign already ridden by infighting and accusations of scamming donors, not to mention the candidate’s own bizarre rantings, Carson is now trying to use it to attack Cruz, suggesting that the Texas senator is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Carson told Starnes that Cruz’s indifference to his campaign’s alleged dirty tricks was reminiscent of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response to the 2012 Benghazi attack. “It’s sort of like if Hillary Clinton said after Benghazi, ‘What difference does it make?’” he said. (Clinton was not talking about the terrorist attack, as Carson implied, but was responding to GOP criticisms of the administration’s talking points following the attack).

Carson went on to note that he wasn’t comparing Cruz’s actions to Benghazi, but was merely saying that he demonstrated “the same kind of attitude, the attitude being, ‘It’s water under the bridge, it’s gone by, let’s not deal with it.’”

Carson also addressed his post-Iowa trip to his Florida home.

He told Starnes that he did indeed get a fresh change of clothes rather than buy new ones and “just throw away the clothes that needed to be dry cleaned or washed,” proving that he would make a fiscally conservative president who wouldn’t “go out and spend the taxpayers’ money willy-nilly.”

We hate to have to point out to Carson that a trip to a dry cleaner in New Hampshire would likely have cost far less money than a plane ticket to Florida and would have prevented this whole commotion in the first place.

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