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Iowa Group Threatens Recall Campaign Against Judge In Abortion Rights Case

The Iowa Religious Right group that successfully campaigned to unseat three state supreme court justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality has set its sights on a new target: a judge who granted a stay in an influential abortion rights case.

The Family Leader, run by prominent conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats, gained national attention in 2010 when it ran a successful campaign, with plenty of funding from national Religious Right groups, to oust three state supreme court justices in retention elections after the court ruled unanimously to legalize marriage equality in the state. The group tried its luck against another justice last year, but the tide had turned enough that the judge held on to his seat.

Now, the group is taking aim at a District Judge Karen Romano, who ruled this week that Planned Parenthood could continue to use video conferencing to guide women through early-term abortions using abortion-inducing drugs – drugs that are widely considered safe to take at home during the early weeks of a pregnancy – while a ban on the practice is appealed. Planned Parenthood had challenged a ruling by the Iowa Board of Medicine banning telemedicine for chemical abortion,  but for no other medical practice. Judge Romano did not rule on the merits of the case.

Vander Plaats’ group issued a statement yesterday claiming that Judge Romano had “not learned a lesson” from the 2010 election and urged voters to remember the judge’s “activism” in her 2016 retention election.

The Family Leader’s Chuck Hurley told the Des Moines Register that his group is “open” to a recall campaign against Romano but hasn’t decided yet whether to go beyond the barely-veiled threats in its press release. Hurley did take the opportunity, however, to allege that Romano was biased because she was appointed by former Gov. Tom Vilsack who “notoriously and admittedly an activist who selects judges who support his liberal viewpoints.”

Romano said Wednesday afternoon that she was not shocked by the Family Leader’s statement.

“I think in the current climate, it doesn’t really surprise me,” she said in a brief interview.

She added, “I understand that the issue the case deals with is a volatile issue.” She said she couldn’t comment any further.

Chuck Hurley, the Family Leader’s vice president, said Wednesday that the group hasn’t decided whether to mount a recall campaign against Romano. “We are definitely discussing it and are open to it,” he said.

He added that he didn’t know much about Romano’s personal views, but he knows she was appointed in 2001 by former Gov. Tom Vilsack. Hurley said Vilsack, a Democrat, was “notoriously and admittedly an activist who selects judges who support his liberal viewpoints.”

UPDATE: The president of the Iowa State Bar Association has denounced Vander Plaats' move, calling it "political bullying," and the Des Moines Register spoke out against his "not-so-subtle" threat to Romano in an editorial

UPDATE 2: After telling the Register that his group would be "open" to launching a recall campaing against Romano, Hurley followed up with the paper and "clarified" that he in fact meant "we are not launching a campaign against Judge Romano nor do we have any plans to do so at this time. We were simply pointing out that it was this kind of judicial activism by Iowa judges that led to Iowans voting out three Iowa Supreme Court judges in 2010.” 

Bogus Copyright Claims From Gordon Klingenschmitt Take Down Right Wing Watch YouTube Account

Former chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who calls himself “Dr. Chaps,” got our YouTube account terminated today by filing copyright complaints against a handful of our videos, resulting in several thousand of our videos being taken down.

We have filed an appeal to YouTube and hope to get our channel restored shortly. If you would like to help, you can tweet @YouTube and urge them to expedite the review process.

Klingenschmitt has been filing complaints about our YouTube videos since he announced his bid for the Colorado legislature.

We are confident that our videos are protected under Fair Use, as has always been the case in our previous experience with these sorts of copyright complaints. But this just goes to show the lengths that right-wing activists will go to in an effort to conceal their extremist rhetoric.

UPDATE: Klingenschmitt has now even issued a press release declaring victory over us:

David Takes Down Goliath -- Anti-Jesus Group Right Wing Watch Terminated by YouTube After Chaplain Files Copyright Infringement Claims

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The anti-Christian group Right Wing Watch (RWW) had their YouTube account terminated today after repeated violations of copyright infringement, theft, and allowing followers to issue death threats against a Christian chaplain.

Former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD, who is now a candidate for state representative in Colorado successfully persuaded YouTube to terminate the anti-Christian group's account, after RWW repeatedly stole, copied, and re-published without permission as many as 90 videos created and copyrighted by Chaplain's corporation, The Pray In Jesus Name Project.

RWW has been a thorn in the side of countless Christian ministries for years, quoting out of context ministers like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and political leaders like Michelle Bachmann and Alan Keyes. Unless YouTube restores their account, years of defamatory RWW video archives against countless Christians have now been deleted, effectively silencing their hate-speech campaign.

"I reached out in good faith to RWW's leadership at People for the American Way, but instead they published death threats against me," said the Chaplain. "I asked them to stop their theft and piracy of my original content, but instead they blogged against me boasting they could steal without consequences."

RWW even mocked the Chaplain here, claiming he didn't know how the internet works, and daring him to file suit.

Instead, the chaplain politely notified YouTube about 6 of the 90 copyright infringement claims, which crossed their limit of 3 claims.

YouTube properly responded by terminating the RWW account and deleting all their videos, causing panic at RWW headquarters, who blamed others for their own arrogance and theft.

The Bible says pride comes before destruction. That's a lesson for them, in how the internet works.

Kevin Swanson 'Goes To Jail' But Will Never Stop Exposing Shakespeare For Ruining America With His Homosexuality

In a video advertisement for his new book, “Apostate,” Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson dresses up as a prisoner who former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has put in jail for quoting Leviticus 20:13.

Such ploys are nothing new: Religious Right activists have consistently warned that they will be imminently jailed for their beliefs.

The Colorado-based pastor and radio host already warned us that “demon-possessed” Mark Twain helped destroy America by writing books mocking Christian hypocrisy on the issue of slavery, and a laudatory WorldNetDaily review of his book informs us that William Shakespeare and Nathaniel Hawthorne are also to blame for the country’s looming collapse.

Swanson writes in “Apostate” that Shakespeare planted the “seedbeds for homosexual themes and homosexual behavior,” and takes issue with Hawthorne’s “psychotic” criticism of the Puritans.

Swanson’s analysis of the roles played by men like Charles Darwin (obvious), John Locke, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Dewey, and Nathaniel Hawthorne – among others – is so compelling, “Apostate” should be a Bible study in churches across the land.

In a supremely clever and eye-opening bit of writing, Swanson refers to these men as the “Nephilim,” which of course find their fame in the book of Genesis – the mysterious beings who sought to corrupt mankind. It is a precise and descriptive word to explain the dark agendas that unfold in this book.

Let’s take Hawthorne for example. As Swanson writes: “Nathaniel Hawthorne was the 19th century American literary giant who did more to shift the American culture away from its national Christian heritage than anyone else. His hatred of the Puritans was deeply personal, relentlessly bitter and marginally psychotic.”

And I just thought Hawthorne was stone-cold boring.



A lesser-known toxic presence – in the context of “Apostate” – was William Shakespeare.

Swanson has done his research, and shows that the Bard was a somewhat shadowy figure: “Mystery surrounds his education, religious background and his induction into the theater scene in London.”

Swanson also pulls back the curtain on a key plot point with regard to Shakespeare and the influence of theater (which of course has evolved in our day to film): “Since Shakespeare’s day, the theater and the fine arts have become seedbeds for homosexual themes and homosexual behavior.”

Swanson explores the relationship between Shakespeare and fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe, and notes that Shakespeare left his wife, Anne Hathaway.

These are among the amazing profiles Swanson addresses as he shines an important light on the roots of anti-Christian thought in Europe and even America. It’s a critical contribution to the literature and should be studied by anyone interested in the rise and fall of civilizations.

Erik Rush: Obama Will Begin Staging Hate Crimes

Citing the false claim that the Department of Justice used the George Zimmerman trial to aid “anti-Zimmerman activists,” WorldNetDaily’s Erik Rush predicts that President Obama may be collaborating with members of the press to stage a “‘false flag’ racial incident.”

Rush, who demanded that Mitt Romney put journalists in jail for treason if he won the presidency, warned that “starry-eyed, Obama-worshiping journalists” may help “create” bias crimes.

Last Friday, the New York Times published an item by John Harwood that similarly propagandized the state of race relations and the Republican Party’s deportment with regard to race. Employing clever if furtive suggestions that white Republicans disfavor Obamacare because the president is black, Harwood contextualized the comments of those Republicans he quoted to suit his account, a fanciful if desperately cynical and dangerous one.

As I mentioned, I might have taken this as routine far left race-baiting, but I’m inclined to think it’s more than that. In true community-organizer fashion, the Obama administration has been keenly adroit at capitalizing upon events in order to advance its objectives. If you’ll recall, Obama and Co. were on the February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin almost within hours, helping to shape the narrative that turned George Zimmerman from an American Latino defending himself against a belligerent young thug into a sinister Wagnerian Anglo huntsman, prowling the night looking for hapless black children to murder. The Department of Justice was even caught funneling funds and personnel to aid anti-Zimmerman activists during his trial.

Inasmuch as this crowd pioneered the orchestrated crisis, in my view it would be profoundly imprudent to dismiss the possibility that the administration might go beyond exploiting tense racial situations (or those that might be construed as such, even if remotely) and actually create some.

It’s been reported that in recent weeks that President Obama has conducted meetings with “select” members of the press. Obviously it’s natural for a president to wish to ingratiate himself to members of the press to some extent and convey his ideas to them, but considering his timing and characteristically aloof manner, I am inclined toward suspicion. The Associated Press recently expressed displeasure at being fed “propaganda” photos by the administration and only being given access to the president for photo ops twice in five years, and there have been other recent indicators that the press at large is finding this White House increasingly difficult to work with.

Then, there’s the fact that the identities of the individuals participating in these powwows have been kept secret.

Is it possible that our propagandist-in-chief “innocently” impressed upon certain starry-eyed, Obama-worshiping journalists how tenuous he believes things are with regard to race in order to manipulate them into bringing these issues to the collective top of mind through their reporting? Further, might he be doing so as a precursor to some manner of “false flag” racial incident or incidents that are in the works? It does seem interesting that in addition to the usual suspects (like Jesse Jackson), we are seeing an upsurge in race-related rhetoric and reportage, despite nothing in particular having transpired in this area lately.

While race-baiting is nothing new for the left, the aforementioned incidents appear to have come somewhat out of left field with regard to the news cycle. Should some high profile, highly unpleasant race-related incident occur in the near future, it wouldn’t be the first time such a thing happened at a juncture that proved to be advantageous to the administration.

At this particular juncture, one might say that the Obama administration could use all the help it can get, considering Americans’ anger over the Obamacare rollout, mounting concern with regard to the several scandals in which the president is involved, his plummeting approval rating and the growing alienation of the press.

Let’s just hope that “help” is not forthcoming, for all our sakes.

Fringe Activists Take Center Stage At Senate Hearing On Disabilities Treaty

Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the Senate failed to ratify last year thanks to a startlingly successful religious-right scare campaign.

Showing just how radical the opposition to the treaty is, nearly every witness testifying on behalf of the treaty was a Republican. Pro-treaty witnesses included Republican senators Mark Kirk and Kelly Ayotte, former Republican congressman and Bush homeland security secretary Tom Ridge and former Republican governor and attorney general Dick Thornburgh. Ayotte read a statement from former Republican senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole in support of the treaty, and former Republican senator Bill Frist lent his voice in support of the treaty in a Reuters op-ed published yesterday morning.

The fact that the treaty has wide support from mainstream Republicans left its opponents on the Foreign Relations Committee to reach into the right-wing fringe to find witnesses to testify against ratification.

Susan Yoshihara, vice president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute focused her testimony on her fear that the treaty’s protection for “sexual and reproductive health” would promote access to abortions – a major concern for a group dedicated to fighting protections for gay people and reproductive rights around the world.

Yoshihara’s claim has been thoroughly debunked, including by a major anti-choice group, and was debunked again by Frist in his op-ed:

The relevant provisions in the treaty regarding sexual and reproductive health demand nondiscrimination for persons with disabilities.

In many parts of the world, people with disabilities, regardless of age, are believed to be sexually immature or inactive. The assumption can make them targets for rape and other sexual crimes while, at the same time, gynecologic and obstetrical care are withheld and considered inappropriate and unnecessary. In other cases, they are forcibly sterilized or forced to have abortions, simply because they have a disability.

The treaty’s “sexual and reproductive health” language is a necessary provision to protect these people. It does not define services — a ratifying country’s existing law provides the definition. The agreement simply demands that those with disabilities not be denied any treatments based on their disability.

It does not create any new services not previously available or legally sanctioned in an adopting country.

Meanwhile, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association continued what Frist called his “impressive fear campaign” claiming that the treaty would somehow endanger the rights of American homeschoolers. Last year, Farris went so far as to claim that the treaty would allow the U.N. to come into American homes and seize children with glasses. At yesterday’s hearing, he claimed that a case involving a homeschooling German family that was denied asylum in the U.S. means that the Obama administration is hostile to homeschooling and would somehow us the disabilities treaty to overturn U.S. homeschooling laws.

In an exchange with Sen. Dick Durbin, Farris was unable to explain how the treaty, which is based on the already-implemented Americans with Disabilities Act and would require no changes to American laws, would in fact destroy homeschooling. 

“I struggle with the thought that we are going to stop this effort to extend the rights of the disabled around the world for fear of something which you can’t even clearly articulate when it comes to homeschooling,” Durbin responded.

Former senator Rick Santorum also revived his role in opposing the treaty yesterday, sending out an email claiming, absurdly, that the convention "threatens U.S. sovereignty and parental rights, and if ratified, it would effectively put us under international law when it comes to parenting our special needs children." Needless to say, none of those claims has any basis in reality.

Scenes from today's ENDA debate - final votes tomorrow

The final Senate votes on ENDA will take place tomorrow, starting at 11:45 am EST. Now is your last chance to call your senators. There are more instructions here and here, and you can always reach both of them by dialing 202-224-3121. Don’t forget to sign our petition. The time is now – say yes to common sense and no to anti-gay extremists – pass ENDA!
PFAW

Marco Rubio To Headline Anti-Gay Fundraiser

The Florida Family Policy Council announced today that it will host Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at its 2013 Annual Dinner. The FFPC is led by John Stemberger, the anti-gay activist who most recently helped launch a Boy Scouts splinter group that will ban openly gay youth, and the fundraiser will honor Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.

Stemberger and Staver are far outside of the mainstream, but with Rubio preparing for a possible presidential run in 2016 he may use this event, much like his speech at the Values Voter Summit, to soothe any doubts about his right-wing credentials.

Stemberger previously chaired Florida for Marriage, which spearheaded the campaign to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, and founded the anti-gay Boy Scout alternative Trail Life USA. Earlier in his career as a lawyer, he was widely criticized for misconduct in the Rifqa Barry case.

Stemberger has a long record of incendiary anti-gay rhetoric. He:

  • Said that people are gay because they think it is “hip” and “cool.”
  • Alleged that affirming LGBT youth is “tantamount to abuse” and “an abuse to that child.”

We noted Staver’s radicalism and involvement in a kidnapping case in our profile of him for the 2013 Values Voter Summit:

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has beenimplicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:

Peroutka: ENDA Will Ultimately Force People To Be Gay

Conservative talk show host Steve Deace spent yesterday talking with Michael Peroutka of the Institute on the Constitution, and asked Peroutka what he thought of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which Deace called “the single greatest threat to religious liberty.” After Deace ironically cited the Pilgrims as champions of religious freedom, Peroutka called ENDA an attempt in “federalizing perversion” that is unconstitutional…just like all civil rights laws.

Peroutka is a leader and board member of the white separatist League of the South, so his opposition to civil rights laws come as no surprise.

“Nobody has rights because of the kind of sex they engage in,” Peroutka said, “I would include the so-called civil rights laws are not law, they never should’ve been passed, they’re not law now, they weren’t law then, they aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.”

Later, Peroutka and Deace talked about the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa and its supposed devastating effects on the state.

Peroutka said the gay rights movement’s “full blown agenda” will lead to forced homosexuality: “There is no neutral ground, that’s a lie sold to you just to get you to go along with this particular accommodation or that particular accommodation. There is going to be no place left to stand except, I guess, eventually they are going to force you to engage in the perversion, that’s where this goes.”

Cuccinelli Backers: We Were Betrayed; Expel Bolling

With Ken Cuccinelli’s conservative backers already crying foul about their failed candidate’s supposed mistreatment, the GOP’s Civil War continues.

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is fantasizing about voter fraud despite offering absolutely no proof, and Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips wants Virginia’s Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — who refused to endorse Cuccinelli — expelled from the GOP:

The Republican Party of Virginia has bylaws that call for the automatic expulsion of members who support Democrats in contested elections. Bill Bolling’s support of Terry McAuliffe has been well documents [sic].



Had the Republican establishment not worked against Cuccinelli, he would be governor today. Conservatives need to make an example of Bolling. He should be persona non grata at any Republican function in Virginia. His name should be synonymous with being a sell out [sic].

And if the Republican Party of Virginia does not publicly expel Bolling, then conservatives need to find a new political party in Virginia.

Just to add some perspective, Phillips hailed Cuccinelli’s running mate E.W. Jackson as the “future of the conservative movement.” Jackson was soundly defeated 55-44%.

John Nolte of Breitbart News attacked Chris Christie for not helping Cuccinelli in Virginia and said that Cuccinelli’s defeat actually helped the Tea Party:

Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning, NBC's Chuck Todd reported that New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie refused to campaign for Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia Republican who narrowly lost his own governor's race to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. "They begged Christie, and you can make an argument," Todd said on Morning Joe. "That to bring a Chris Christie to Northern Virginia might have helped. But Chris Christie is worried about his own brand."

Part of Christie's brand problem, though, is his behavior during the closing days of last year's presidential campaign. After running one of the most divisive administrations and re-election campaigns in recent memory; in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Barack Obama went to New Jersey seeking bipartisan credibility. And in the eyes of many, Christie went above and beyond to give it to him.



Had Christie taken just a half-day to stump for Cuccinelli, not only would that have helped wash the Sandy stain away, it might have actually made him a hero to the base for both defying the Morning Joe crowd and helping to drag Cuccinelli over the finish line.



If Christie wins the 2016 Republican nomination but loses Virginia, and with it the general election, last night should be remembered as the most short-sighted and spiteful cutting off of the nose to spite the Tea Party in years.

The GOP Establishment and Morning Joe crowd keep lecturing the Tea Party about how it is all about winning elections. In Virginia last night that talking point was laid bare as nothing more than a lie.

Longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie maintained that Cuccinelli’s loss has nothing to do with his radical views. Viguerie even compared Cuccinelli to Goldwater, who lost the 1964 presidential election in a landslide:

What is clear is that Cuccinelli’s ideas weren’t rejected so much as he was drowned in the sea of money that flowed in to Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to keep Virginia government growing, taxes rising, to roll back the progress social conservatives have made in the state, and most importantly, to keep cronyism as the governing principle at the Virginia state Capitol building.



The betrayal of Ken Cuccinelli by Bolling and other nominal Republicans, such as political consultant Boyd Marcus, mirrors the betrayal of Barry Goldwater by the Republican establishment and their nominal allies in the business community.



George Will once wrote that Barry Goldwater didn't lose in 1964, it just took 16 years, until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, to count the votes. We expect that the same will be said of Ken Cuccinelli and we believe he will be vindicated in the future.

Ken Cuccinelli did not lose last night because he is a principled limited government constitutional conservative. Cuccinelli lost because he was drowned in a sea of money and undercut by a Republican establishment that would rather see a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion than end the good ole boy politics in Richmond and allow a real conservative anywhere near the levers of power that he might use to make good on Republican promises to govern as limited government constitutional conservatives.

Anti-choice activist Marjorie Dannenfelser said that Cuccinelli was hamstrung by the Star Scientific scandal and “misleading attack ads,” but insisted that the “Republican establishment” is to blame “for abandoning this race.”

Somehow, Dannenfelser thinks that Cuccinelli’s loss shows the need for candidates to emphasize their opposition to abortion rights, even though 61% of Virginia voters [PDF] said they are pro-choice.

In response to Ken Cuccinelli’s close defeat in the Virginia gubernatorial election tonight, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), told LifeNews that the race shows the pro-life movement needs to spend more time exposing how extreme candidates like McAuliffe are on abortion.

“Despite being woefully outspent and compromised both by the government shutdown and the ethics scandal faced by Governor Bob McDonnell, Cuccinelli came within inches of victory. The political prognosticators that can often drive election results by their predictions ought not to have given up on him. The results make clear that more support from outside groups in the final weeks could have changed the outcome. Shame on the Republican establishment for abandoning this race and failing to push Ken over the finish line.

“Terry McAuliffe spent well over $5 million on misleading attack ads about Ken Cuccinelli and the fictitious ‘war on women,’ including running more than 5,600 spots on the abortion issue alone. Attacks on Cuccinelli were left unanswered, or answered too late, and the negative message stuck.

“This election shows that it is imperative for pro-lifers to be on offense in 2014 against the distortions and extremism of the Left. The Democrat strategy for 2014 is set: demonize pro-life candidates and spend big on ‘war on women’ advertising. The party, candidates, and movement must aggressively expose the other side’s extremism and penchant for putting women and children at risk through their abortion policies.”

Women Speak Out – Virginia, the state PAC of the SBA List, raised and spent $870,000 in support of Ken Cuccinelli’s candidacy, working to turn out the pro-life base. The organization canvassed the homes of 69,700 voters, engaged in volunteer calls reaching 255,000 identified pro-life inconsistent voters, and had get out the vote calls reaching as many as 1 million homes.

UPDATE: Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage accused the Republican Party of abandoning Cuccinelli over his opposition to same-sex marriage:

"Too many leaders of the Republican Party have drunk the Kool-Aid of the consulting class that they should abandon conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli because they have taken principled stances on social issues such as preserving marriage and protecting life," said Brown. "How many elections do they need to lose before they realize they are implementing a disastrous election strategy and ruining their chances of success?"

Brown noted that when the marriage issue has been on the ballot, it has outpolled the Republican ticket by a significant margin. Support for traditional marriage polled an average of seven points higher than Mitt Romney did in the four states it was on the ballot in 2012.

"The GOP elite wants candidates to be silent about their views on marriage and other social issues, but election results show that is exactly the wrong thing to do," Brown said. "Election after election has shown that voters across America, including in deep blue states, support traditional marriage by a significantly higher margin than they support the GOP. For the second election in a row, Republican leaders and consultants have pursued a flawed strategy of urging silence on social issues that has cost their candidates. If they don’t wake up, they could face disaster next year."

The Religious Right Faces String Of Election And Gay Rights Defeats, Blown Narrative

After the 2012 election, right-wing activists immediately declared that Mitt Romney lost because he was not conservative enough and that Republican candidates must run to the right if they want to succeed in general elections.

Last night in the swing state of Virginia, however, two extremely conservative candidates both lost in their statewide bids, the first time since 1977 that a candidate from the party that lost the presidential election failed to win the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Not only did the Religious Right dream team in Virginia lose both races, but so did an Alabama Republican who ran even farther to the right than his conservative opponent. These defeats come at a time that the Senate is set to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with bipartisan support and two states—Illinois and Hawaii—are poised to legalize same-sex marriage.

Cuccinelli & Jackson Flop In Virginia

Virginia Republicans Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson, two Religious Right favorites, lose their races for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. Cuccinelli’s deeply anti-choice and anti-gay record hurt him according to exit polls [PDF]: 50% of voters claimed Cuccinelli was “too conservative” and 61% of voters said they supported abortion rights. During the campaign, Cuccinelli advocated for strict restrictions on abortion clinics and the restoration of unconstitutional sodomy laws, even though some conservative activists complained that he shied away from social issues or wasn’t conservative enough.

Jackson’s attempt to downplay his extremist and bigoted rhetoric and policy positions was even more pathetic to watch, as he insisted that criticisms of his candidacy and quoting him verbatim were unconstitutional and even resorted to lying to deny making remarks that are recorded on tape. Yet, he predicted that “disenfranchised” Christians would lead him to “a stunning victory.”

Don’t expect their defeats to change the Religious Right’s skewed mindset about what it takes to win. Cuccinelli surrogate Jim Bob Duggar, who campaigned throughout the state on a Family Research Council-paid tour, claimed that the “vast majority of people in America are pro-life” and conservative voters represent a “sleeping giant.” Despite having Cuccinelli and Jackson leading the ticket, white evangelical turnout dropped seven points, from 34% to 27% of the electorate, compared to the 2009 gubernatorial race.

The Cuccinelli complain will likely complain that he was abandoned by national Republicans (even though the Republican Governor Association donated $8 million to Cuccinelli) and could have won if the “establishment” offered him more support.

Dean Young Defeated

Dean Young, an ultraconservative birther with strong support from local Tea Party groups, lost to former state lawmaker Bradley Byrne, hardly a moderate himself, in the GOP primary for a special congressional election in Alabama. Young made opposition to gay rights a central part of his campaign: he urged his GOP rivals sign a pledge to oppose gay rights and to attend a church that opposes gay marriage, compared homosexuality to murder and demanded gay Alabamians leave the state.

He is also a senior aide for Roy Moore, the Alabama supreme court justice who refused to obey a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he had installed in the court rotunda and warned that gay rights will destroy America. Moore backed Young’s candidacy, as did Mark Levin, Phyllis Schlafly and Bryan Fischer, who fawned over him in an interview the day before the election, where Young continued to criticize “homosexuals pretending to be married” and warned that gay rights will lead to God’s judgment on America.

Young reportedly refused to call Byrne to concede defeat and announced that he may establish a national organization.

Marriage Equality Poised To Pass In Illinois, Hawaii

Anti-gay groups have consistently cited Illinois as an example that Religious Right has become more successful in fighting marriage equality. But the state legislature approved a marriage equality bill yesterday and the governor is a vocal supporter of legalizing same-sex marriage, which means that Americans For Truth About Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera will soon live in a state with marriage equality.

With Hawaii also expected to pass a marriage equality bill this week, the success of the two gay rights measures represent big setbacks for Religious Right groups such as the Illinois Family Institute and Hawaii Family Advocates, which both employed ugly smear campaigns against the marriage bills.

Scenes from the floor on the second day of ENDA debate

Today's speeches have already begun, and amendment votes are also in progress. Please keep calling the Senate. There are more instructions here and here, and you can always reach both of your senators by dialing 202-224-3121. Don’t forget to sign our petition. The time is now – say yes to common sense and no to anti-gay extremists – pass ENDA!
PFAW

WND: 'Obama Should Not Merely Be Impeached: He Should Be Imprisoned'

Even though WorldNetDaily’s Lord Monckton wants Canadian-born Ted Cruz to be the next president, he still believes that President Obama is ineligible because he was secretly born outside of the US. The irony seems to be lost on Monckton.

In his latest column, Monckton demands that Obama be both impeached and put in jail for the supposed birther scandal:

I call Hawaiigate the central ground of impeachment for two reasons. First, the dishonesty is shameless and in your face. Mr Obama’s advisers, once they realized the “birth certificate” was as bogus as a $3 bill, knew that if they simply went on pretending that $3 bills are legal tender the hard-left-dominated news media would carefully and continuously look the other way, pausing occasionally to sneer at anyone who pointed out that, in this constitutionally crucial respect, the “president” has no clothes.

Secondly, not one of the numerous agencies of state, as well as federal government, whose duty was and is to investigate the Mickey-Mouse “birth certificate” has bothered even to respond to the thousands of requests for investigation put forward by U.S. citizens.

In Hawaii last year, I watched as a senior former state senator called the police and, when they came, handed over to them compelling evidence that the “birth certificate” had been forged. The police, correctly, passed the file to the state’s attorney general, a “Democrat,” who did nothing about it.

In Washington, D.C., I watched as a concerned citizen from Texas telephoned the FBI and reported the “birth certificate” as being a forgery. They said they would send two agents to see him within the hour. No one came.



In every instance, the “president” and his fawning courtiers have gone well beyond the level of habitual mendacity that is characteristic of the lesser sort of politician. It is no longer possible for anyone to believe a word they say.

Contrast this shoddy, lying administration with that of the first man to grace the office that Mr. Obama now occupies. George Washington “could not tell a lie.” Barry Soetero, or whatever his real name is, cannot tell the truth. That observation is a measure of how far America under the “Democrats” has fallen from the high ideals and the noble example of the founding president of the United States.

On any objective test, Mr. Obama should not merely be impeached: he should be imprisoned. But no one will do anything to bring him to book. Corruption by inaction is the most corrosive corruption of all.

Our Country Deserves Better than ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

The following is a guest post from Elder Jabari Paul, a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action, following last week’s Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Stand Your Ground laws.

My perspective on Stand Your Ground laws (SYG) is shaped by my experience and calling as a young African American clergyman and as a native of Florida, the first state to pass this type of legislation. I believe that these laws raise important questions about the moral values of our country.

The debate around SYG comes during challenging times in America – times when the political landscape is starkly divided and mass slayings in public settings are much too frequent.  These laws have been divisive policies since the first one passed in October 2005 in Florida. Public contentiousness surrounding SYG can be traced back to the choices of many politicians to ignore the will of the majority on SYG laws and to push the agendas of powerful and moneyed interest groups, like the National Rifle Association. SYG has been a wedge issue because politicians, particularly conservatives, have supported such laws to placate their base in spite of a lack of need for these laws.

Stand Your Ground has been championed by its supporters as a type of law that is necessary to prevent crime in urban areas and to protect citizens from the violence of “thugs.” These arguments have clear racial undertones. Words like “urban” and “thug” have been used since America’s post-Reconstruction days to speak in coded language about African Americans and other minorities. SYG tramples upon the civil rights of those perceived to be a threat. The tragedy of these laws is compounded when the person attacked is killed and only their attacker has an opportunity to tell what happened.

As a Christian, minister and an African American male under 35, my views on SYG are shaped by my culture and my religious beliefs. I believe that SYG perpetuates violence in a society that already knows violence too well. Jesus Christ taught the opposite of violence – love. In His renowned “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” In these verses, Jesus is stressing that violence should be the last form of recourse in any situation. SYG, on the other hand, justifies and can even facilitate violence.

Our country deserves better than this. The United States of America is called, and no doubt is, the greatest nation in world. It’s time for our elected officials to drastically amend or repeal Stand Your Ground laws.

PFAW

Poll: Democrats Crush Republicans Among Latino and Asian American Voters in Virginia

By Gary Segura, Latino Decisions

With polls closed across the Commonwealth of Virginia, Latino Decisions can release the results of our 2013 Virginia Election Eve Survey of Latino and Asian American voters, commissioned by America’s Voice and the People for the American Way.  The poll finds a staggering margin of victory for Democrats within these two rapidly growing segments of the American electorate.

Complete topline results and full cross tabs.

Gubernatorial Race

Democrat Terry McAuliffe out paced his GOP opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, by a staggering 37-point margin.  Latino Decisions estimates McAuliffe received 66% of the Latino vote, compared with 29% for Ken Cuccinelli. Among Asian Americans, McAuliffe’s margin was 29 percentage points.

 

We estimate that Asian American voters gave the Democrat 63% of their vote, compared with 34% for the GOP nominee.McAuliffe’s performance among Latinos was even better than President Obama’s vote share (as estimated by exit polls) in 2008 (65%) and 2012 (64%).  By contrast, Ken Cuccinelli underperformed both John McCain (34%) and Mitt Romney (33%) in the state.

Attorney General’s Race

In the race to succeed Cuccinelli as Attorney General, the Democratic margin was even greater.  Latino Decisions estimates that Mark Herring, the Democratic nominee, out polled Mark Obenshain among Latinos by an even more impressive 40-point margin.  We estimate Herring with 69% of the Latino vote, compared with Obenshain’s 29%.

Among Asian Americans, the margin was 24 percentage points.  Latino Decisions estimates that Mark Herring received 61% of the Asian American vote while Obenshain received 37%. The importance of the minority vote is even greater in this race, widely seen as more hotly contested than that for Governor.

House of Delegates

And how about in the races for the Virginia House?  Latino Decisions estimates that Democrats out-polled Republicans among Latinos 65% to 32%, a 33-point margin, while among Asian Americans, Democrats led 58% to 42% for the GOP.

The Importance of Immigration

Voters from both immigrant-rich ethnic communities indicated the importance of immigration to their vote choices.  A majority of Latino voters—53%--indicated that immigration was one of the, if not the, most important issue in determining their vote.  Perhaps more surprising, among Asian American voters, 46% identified immigration as one of the issues most driving their voting decisions.  Only 18% of Latinos and 24% of Asian Americans said immigration did not affect their vote.

A Note about Asian American Voters

In 1992, when McAuliffe’s mentor Bill Clinton was elected to the presidency, he received only 31% of the Asian American vote nationally.  Last year, Barack Obama received 73% of the Asian vote nationally and 66% in Virginia.  This shift of Asian American voters from super-majority Republican to super-majority Democratic, in just one generation, is reflected again in tonight’s vote.

Complete topline results and full cross tabs.

About the Poll/Methodology

Latino Decisions interviewed 400 Latino voters and 400 Asian American voters participating in the Virginia 2013 general election. Voters were contacted by landline and cell phone between November 1- November 4. Latino respondents had the option to take the survey in English or Spanish and Asian American respondents had the option to take the survey in English, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, at their choosing. Initial sampling was based on Latinos and Asian Americans who had voted in the 2009 election, or newer registrants who voted in both the 2010 and 2012 general elections. To take the survey, respondents were asked if they had already voted early or by absentee ballot, or if not, if they were certain to vote in the Nov 5 election. Each ethnic group sample carries a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

Cross-posted from Latino Decisions.

Illinois to Become 15th Marriage Equality State

It’s been an exciting few days for supporters of LGBT equality. Following last night’s Senate cloture vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, today the Illinois House passed a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry, setting the stage for Illinois to become the 15th state in the nation with full marriage equality. One version of the bill has already been passed by the Illinois Senate, and Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign it. When he does, thirty percent of our nation’s states will have marriage equality.

PFAW has been on the ground in Illinois, supporting the push for marriage equality in any way we can. In addition to providing lobbying training materials so Illinois voters could bring their support for equality directly to their elected officials through calls, emails, and in-person visits, PFAW members joined thousands of friends in the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality last month.

In what the CEO of Equality Illinois has called the “national march toward full recognition of the dignity of all gay and lesbian couples,” Illinois has brought us one state closer to full marriage equality nationwide.  And while 15 states represents real momentum, we won’t stop until every committed couple in the country has access to the legal protections they need to take care of each other and their families.
 

PFAW

Ken Cuccinelli's Nativist Rhetoric Backfires Badly In General Election

Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli appears to be paying the price for his anti-immigrant record.
PFAW

Ken Cuccinelli's Nativist Rhetoric Backfires Badly In General Election

Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli appears to be paying the price for his anti-immigrant record. Cuccinelli backed Arizona’s draconian SB 1070 as the state attorney general and as a state senator he proposed several bills targeting immigrants and non-English speakers, and even equated US immigration policy to pest control. Cuccinelli’s harsh comparison was captured in this Spanish-language ad sponsored by People For the American Way:

While Cuccinelli’s nativism may have appealed to the Tea Party fringe, it has upset Latino voters — already alienated by the GOP’s extremist stance on immigration — and the majority of voters who back immigration reform.

But judging by interviews with Latino voters on Tuesday, the ad — which aired heavily on Spanish-language television in the weeks leading up to the election — resonated.

“He talks about our community with no respect,” said Umberto Adrian, a Manassas resident who was born in Bolivia and has lived in Virginia for 30 of his 60 years. “I can’t understand why a professional like him would refer to immigrants as if they are not human.”

Some Latino voters who said they were spurred to action by the commercial appeared to have their own interpretations of what Cuccinelli actually said.

“Cuccinelli called Hispanic people rats,” said Mary Alba, 74, a retired bakery worker. “I want people in office who know we need immigrant people. In this country we need people like immigrants, who work hard.”

Pedro Delcid, 40, perceived the remark in a slightly different, but equally derogatory, way. “This man was talking bad about our people. He said we reproduce like rats,” said Delcid, who lives in Manassas. “This is the one issue that brought me here today. I have an issue with the way he talks about immigrants.”

It’s not just anecdotal evidence either, as new polling from Latino Decisions sponsored by PFAW and America’s Voice reveals the extent of the damage from the GOP’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy positions:

Immigration weighs heavily in Latino and Asians’ voting decisions. Over half (53%) of Latinos rank immigration as the most important issue facing the Latino community that politicians should address. While the Asian community put other issues first, their voting choices are influenced by a candidate’s position on immigration reform. When asked about the role of immigration in their voting decisions, 53% of Latinos and 46% of Asians said it was either “the most important issue” or “one of the most important issues” in their “decision to vote, and who to vote for.”



Cuccinelli’s hardline immigration hurt not only him, but the Republican Party overall. After hearing a statement from Cuccinelli comparing immigrant families to rat families, 70% of Latinos and 59% of Asians said it made them look less favorably on the Republican Party as a whole. The comments were most salient to foreign-born Latinos and US-born Asians, who said it made them view the GOP more negatively at a rate of 75% and 74% respectively. After learning that Cuccinelli sponsored a bill as state Senator that would allow employers to fire any workers who did not speak English, 75% of Latinos and 67% of Asians said this made them less favorable to the Republican Party as a whole.



Added Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies, Stanford University and Co-Founder of Latino Decisions, "Hostility to immigrants--once a political wedge that worked for Republicans--has clearly now become an Achilles' heel for the Party. Latinos and Asians, climbing towards 10% of the electorate in Virginia, are clearly and profoundly put off by GOP rhetoric on this litmus-test issue for these immigrant-heavy communities. Continued antagonism toward immigration reform has the potential to erode or erase GOP competitiveness in this important and growing purple state."

Gaffney: Registering More People To Vote Will Mean 'The End America As We Have Known It'

With Republicans openly cheering for a low voter turnout and passing laws restricting the right to vote, it is no surprise that they are extremely upset that the Affordable Care Act website asks if the person applying for an insurance plan would like to registered to vote.

The voter registration question is actually mandated by federal law. “The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as ‘Motor Voter,’ requires public agencies that provide public assistance to offer voter registration opportunities,” Scott Keyes points out. “Nowhere are citizens told who to vote for, which party to register for, or even that they have to register at all.” 

But Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy said that registering more people to vote is “promoting creeping socialism” and voter fraud. By registering more “low-income voters,” Gaffney warns, “expect a permanent majority demanding government hand-outs—and the end of America as we have known it.”

That’s right, Gaffney thinks it is anti-American and wrong that low-income people might exercise their right to vote.

For some time, it’s been apparent that the Obama presidency is promoting creeping socialism. Obamacare’s intervention in, and substantial takeover of, one-sixth of our economy is a particularly ominous manifestation of the administration’s agenda – and evidence of its progress.

Not content with creeping, though, Team Obama’s socialists have broken into a full gallop. That’s the practical implication of a newly revealed facet of Obamacare: Whatever its other shortcomings and outright failings, the health care registration process is being used effectively to compel Americans to register to vote.

The process lends itself to abuse and fraud. And allies of the President say the goal is to register sixty-eight million, most low-income voters. If successful, expect a permanent majority demanding government hand-outs – and the end of America as we have known it.

Scenes from the floor on the first day of ENDA debate

From letters to alerts and more, the entire PFAW family has been working on ENDA. We still need your help. Please keep calling the Senate as this week's debate continues. There are more instructions here and here, and you can always reach both of your senators by dialing 202-224-3121. Don’t forget to sign our petition. The time is now – say yes to common sense and no to anti-gay extremists – pass ENDA!
PFAW

Virginia Latinos and Asian Americans to GOP: Politics of Exclusion Will Cost You Elections

**** Latino and Asian Election Eve Poll in Virginia****
***TODAY Poll Release in Two Parts***

**WED 11/6 Webinar at 12pm ET**

Virginia Latinos and Asians to GOP: Politics of Exclusion Will Cost You Elections
First Installment of New Poll Shows Virginia is a Test Case for the National GOP

Washington, DC – With Election Day in Virginia today and the gubernatorial candidates’ positioning on immigration reform on stark display, a new election-eve poll reveals how Virginia’s changing demographics are also changing the state’s politics. The polling data also present a sign of things to come for the national GOP in 2014 and beyond.

The first installment of the election-eve poll of extremely likely voters , conducted by Latino Decisions and sponsored by America’s Voice and People For the American Way (PFAW), shows that immigration policy and rhetoric are important factors in the voting decisions of Latino and Asian Americans.

A second installment of the election-eve poll, which includes candidate selection, will be released when the polls close in Virginia tonight at 7pm eastern. If you would like to receive an advanced copy of the embargoed results, please email Katy@newpartners.com. The entire poll will be discussed on Wednesday, November 6th, at a noon press call/webinar with Latino Decisions, People For the American Way, and America’s Voice.

Highlights of this first installment reveal the following (crosstabs also available here ):

Immigration weighs heavily in Latino and Asian Americans’ voting decisions. Over half (53%) of Latinos rank immigration as the most important issue facing the Latino community that politicians should address. While the Asian community put other issues first, their voting choices are influenced by a candidate’s position on immigration reform. 

When asked about the role of immigration in their voting decisions, 53% of Latinos and 46% of Asian Americans said it was either “the most important issue” or “one of the most important issues” in their “decision to vote, and who to vote for.”

Candidates’ positive and negative immigration positions move voters. After hearing Terry McAuliffe’s position on immigration, including his support for a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and for the Virginia state DREAM Act, 56% of Latinos and 40% of Asian Americans said that they were more enthusiastic about McAuliffe. After hearing that Ken Cuccinelli proposed a law to take away citizenship from children whose parents are undocumented and wanted to authorize local police to check the papers of anyone they think might be undocumented, 64% of Latinos and 50% of Asian Americans said this made them less enthusiastic about Cuccinelli.

As Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, put it: “Ken Cuccinelli is leaning heavily on the politics of exclusion, especially when it comes to Latinos and immigrants. This election will prove that if the Republican Party moves further in the exclusionary direction of the Tea Party, it will do so at its own peril.”

Cuccinelli’s hardline immigration hurt not only him, but the Republican Party overall. After hearing a statement from Cuccinelli comparing immigrant families to rat families, 70% of Latinos and 59% of Asian Americans said it made them look less favorably on the Republican Party as a whole.

The comments were most salient to foreign-born Latinos and US-born Asian Americans, who said it made them view the GOP more negatively at a rate of 75% and 74% respectively. After learning that Cuccinelli sponsored a bill as state Senator that would allow employers to fire any workers who did not speak English, 75% of Latinos and 67% of Asians said this made them less favorable to the Republican Party as a whole.

The good news for the GOP is that they can stop the bleeding, but they need to act. This evening, we will release candidate choice numbers for key VA races, but it’s safe to say that they will be less than stellar for the GOP candidates. In fact, a majority of Latino (58%) and Asian (68%) voters have voted for a Republican candidate at some point in their lives.

This is, in essence, the swing vote within the two electorates that could move toward the GOP if the Party stops immigrant bashing and starts passing immigration solutions. Also in the poll, 69% of Latinos and 47% of Asian Americans said they would be less favorable to the GOP if the House continues its current stance on immigration reform. If the House takes action, pluralities of Latinos (41%) and Asian Americans (43%) would have a better view of the Republican Party even if some of its members still oppose reform.

“The polls show that championing anti-immigrant positions and siding with extremists not only does serious damage to individual candidates, but the party as a whole. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Speaker John Boehner should be watching the results of the Virginia election closely. They can stop the bleeding, but they have to change course on immigration reform,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.

“Bring citizenship up for a vote on the House floor. We know we have the votes to pass it. The right policy for the country is actually the right political move for the GOP. As David Gergen put it just a year ago, immigration reform will happen because Democrats want it but Republicans need it,” Sharry concluded.

Added Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies, Stanford University and Co-Founder of Latino Decisions, "Hostility to immigrants--once a political wedge that worked for Republicans--has clearly now become an Achilles' heel for the Party. Latinos and Asians, climbing towards 10% of the electorate in Virginia, are clearly and profoundly put off by GOP rhetoric on this litmus-test issue for these immigrant-heavy communities. Continued antagonism toward immigration reform has the potential to erode or erase GOP competitiveness in this important and growing purple state."

The second installment of the poll of 400 Asian and 400 Latino “extremely likely” voters in Virginia, including candidate choice, is also now available to reporters (embargoed until 7pm). To request the full poll under embargo, email katy@newpartners.com.

All data will be public as the polls close in Virginia tonight, and can be found on the Latino Decisions website. Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 6th at 12pm ET, pollsters, civic engagement leaders and immigration experts will then analyze the full results on a press call/webinar. To participate in the noon Eastern press call/webinar on 11/6 call 1-866-952-7534; Passcode: VIRGINIA and follow the presentation here: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/connexevent/join?id=VIRGINIA&role=attend&... (meeting ID: VIRGINIA, entry code: ATTEND).

Press call speakers include Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies, Stanford University; Principal, Latino Decisions; Xavier Medina Vidal, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech; Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers Union and longtime civil rights and labor activist; Michael Keegan , President, People For the American Way; and Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice.

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