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Udall Constitutional Amendment to Restore Our Democracy: PFAW Member Telebriefing

The day after Sen. Tom Udall’s proposed constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics was considered at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Udall joined People For the American Way activists, supporters, and staff members on a member telebriefing to discuss the amendment and what Americans can do to support it.

Sen. Udall noted in his introduction that together we have come a long way in the movement to get big money out of politics, due in part to the work of People For the American Way. He said that in the last few years, our nation’s campaign finance laws have come under increasing attack. There are only two ways, Sen. Udall said, to have lasting reform on this issue: either the Court can reverse itself, or we can amend the Constitution to overturn cases like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC. Sen. Udall pointed out that elections should be about the quality of ideas, not the size of bank accounts. 

When asked by a participant to address the false claim pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz and other right-wing politicians and activists that this amendment is an attack on the First Amendment, Sen. Udall explained: “This is about restoring the First Amendment so it applies equally to all Americans.” He pointed out that our access to constitutional rights and our ability to participate in the democratic process should not be based on our net worth. 

Sen. Udall urged activists on the call to voice their support at every opportunity they have. Specifically, he encouraged advocates to get a copy of the amendment and urge their local officials to support it by passing resolutions. Despite the lengthy process of amending the Constitution, Sen. Udall asked participants not to be discouraged; with a strong grassroots movement, he said, we can make it happen.

PFAW executive vice president Marge Baker also fielded questions from participants on the call. She urged activists to connect campaign finance reform to the issues most important to them and their communities, whether that’s fighting for health and safety on the job, defending the environment, or protecting voting rights. On voting rights, Baker pointed out that the Supreme Court’s attacks on campaign finance laws go hand in hand with their attacks on the right to cast a vote; both have the effect of disempowering average Americans in our democracy. This is why, Baker pointed out, we must take on the Supreme Court and reclaim our political system – making it a democracy truly of, by, and for the people. 

You can listen to the call here:

PFAW

Franklin Graham Warns Hollywood And 'Spirit Of Anti-Christ' In Government Are Bringing About The End Times

Franklin Graham sat down with TBN host Jan Crouch last week to discuss how “we are on the edge” of the End Times.

Graham cited America’s supposed persecution of Christians, Hollywood’s “demonization of people of faith” that is “poisoning the minds of people against the church,” and “the spirit of Anti-Christ at the government level” as proof that we are experiencing the Last Days.

Graham previously said that members of the Obama administration “are anti-Christ in what they say and what they do.”

Kris Kobach: Military Would 'Put Aside' Its High Standards By Admitting DREAMers

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an influential activist against voting rights and immigration reform, last week ripped into a Republican-authored proposal to allow undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children to join the military, saying that allowing DREAMers to serve would mean that the military’s “high standards will have to be put aside” to admit “lawbreakers.”

Speaking on his weekly broadcast on Kansas City’s KCMO on May 25, Kobach said of DREAMers, “This is a person who is not a U.S. citizen and whose, most likely, first act upon entering the United States was to commit a crime of entering illegally. So, this is a person we want to serve in the U.S. military? Normally, you don’t put lawbreakers into the U.S. military.”

“The U.S. military has very high standards,” he added. “I guess those high standards will have to be put aside because the political agenda of the Obama White House is to have pictures of illegal aliens serving in the military in large numbers and they don’t have those pictures now.”

Anne Paulk: Homosexuality Is Like Being Stuck In A 'Roach Motel'

Right-wing radio broadcaster Linda Harvey brought “ex-gay” activist Anne Paulk on the air this past weekend to discuss the impermanence of being or identifying as LGBT.

A repeat guest on the “Mission: America” program, Paulk spent half an hour hawking the work of her organization, Restored Hope Network, which is a collection of interdenominational ministries that promote “conversion therapy.”

Harvey was all ears as Paulk charged that LGBT people are responsible for “a great deal of grief” in their families, and asserted that the decision to come out of the closet “is like a death knell of all the future hopes of a parent.”

Paulk then compared identifying as gay to being trapped in a “roach motel,” which might lead people to “consider suicide.”

Unfortunately, not everyone could be successfully “saved” by the Restored Hope Network.

The 5 Craziest Planks In Draft Texas GOP Platform: Ban Morning After Pill, Ending Direct Election Of Senators, Defunding ACORN

According to a draft party platform obtained by the Houston Chronicle, the Texas Republican Party is ready to support a sweeping right-wing agenda with planks related to the “Benghazi cover up,” the elimination of the minimum wage and “the myth of separation of church and state.”

Voting

Not only does the draft platform advocate for the abolition of the Federal Reserve, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Transportation Security Administration and the Departments of Education and Energy, but it also calls for an end to the direct election of U.S. Senators:

Full Repeal of the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: Return the appointment of U.S. Senators by the State Legislatures.

While the state GOP wants Texas voters to lose their right to elect their U.S. senators, the party does on the other hand “support our right to select our judges by direct vote.”

The party also wants to make it more difficult to register to vote and urges Congress to repeal the Voting Rights Act:

Voter registration: We support restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and Registration reducing voter fraud. We support repeal of all Motor Voter laws; re-registering voters every four years; requiring photo ID of all registrants; proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application; retention of the 30-day registration deadline; and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the election administrator in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.

VRA: We urge that the Voter [sic] Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.

Science And Education

The draft platform also targets schools, calling evolution a “controversial theory” that should be challenged in the classroom, demanding that schools restrict access to “community organizers” and encouraging schools to embrace “subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded and which form the basis of America’s legal, political and economic systems.”

The platform also includes climate change denial: “While we all strive to be good stewards of the earth, 'climate change' is a political agenda which attempts to control every aspect of our lives. We urge government at all levels to ignore any plea for money to fund global climate change or ‘climate justice’ initiatives.”

The draft describes Agenda 21, a nonbinding United Nations agreement on sustainable development, as a threat to America and calls for “the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of U.N. headquarters from United States soil.”

Social Issues

Along with supporting “reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle,” the state party also wants to repeal Texas’ hate-crimes statute (or at least its “sexual orientation category”), block non-discrimination laws and seeks a “prohibition of the manufacturing and sale of abortifacients (e.g. morning after pill).”

The draft also calls for bans on “any form of reparation” and Sharia law, and limits to data gathering by the U.S. Census. It opposes “the use of Radio Frequency Identification Chips (RFID) on humans,” while reaffirming opposition to “any direct financial support of special interest organizations, such as ACORN and the ACLU, by any level of government.” ACORN, of course, hasn’t existed since 2010.

Guns

Unsurprisingly, the Texas GOP believes the state should be able to ignore federal gun laws:

All federal acts, laws, executive orders, and court orders which restrict or infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall be invalid in Texas, not be recognized by Texas, shall be specifically rejected by Texas, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Texas.

Just to clarify that they mean business, the party supports “the establishment and maintenance of a volunteer Constitutional State Militia with assistance from County Sheriffs.”

Vaccinations

To cap it off, Texas Republicans also have an anti-vaccination stance:

Immunizations: All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves, or their minor children, without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent.

Texas GOP Embraces Discredited Ex-Gay Therapy

We reported back in April that Eagle Forum, a staunchly anti-gay Religious Right group, announced that it would pressure the Texas GOP to back ex-gay therapy and other anti-gay measures in its party platform.

The Texas GOP convention, which banned conservative gay rights groups from participating, appears to have agreed on including ex-gay advocacy as part of its platform, according to a draft of the platform obtained by the Houston Chronicle:

We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman.

We support withholding jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family law, especially any changes in the definition of marriage.



We oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists.



Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin.

Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy. (emphasis added)

Mike Huckabee Marks Tiananmen Square Protests By Comparing US To Communist China

Mike Huckabee, who back in April remarked that people in North Korea have more freedoms than Americans, today marked the anniversary of the Chinese government’s violent suppression of the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 by alleging that the United States is turning into Communist China.

In an interview on Newsmax TV, Huckabee insisted that “China is becoming more like the United States used to be and the United States is becoming more like China used to be.”

“We’re getting to the place where our government is controlling much more of what we say, what we think, what we do and they’re invading our privacy,” he said. “That ought to scare the daylights out of Americans.”

Texas GOP Debates Whether To Remove Anti-Gay Language From Platform, Risk 'Demise' Of Society

Updated

While subcommittees at the Texas GOP’s convention today rebuffed hardliners by removing some especially vicious anti-gay language from the state party’s platform and keeping an endorsement of an immigrant guest worker program, the debate over both issues continues.

Brian wrote earlier today about the efforts of Texas conservatives to bring back the party platform’s previous hardline anti-immigration language , including those of Texas Eagle Forum leader and former state party chairwoman Cathie Adams, who has warned that immigration reform will bring about the End Times .

A similar battle is unfolding over gay rights. Two conservative LGBT groups that were denied permission to sponsor booths at the convention are now calling on the party to remove language from its platform that states:

Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

While a subcommittee nixed the language today, the decision won’t be final until it’s approved by the full convention on Thursday night .

And in any case, the subcommittee appears to have kept the rest of the party’s anti-gay plank, which contains the actual policy prohibitions against equality, along with plenty of pointed scare quotes:

Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

One activist who will be fighting for the preservation of the platform’s original anti-gay language is Adams, who told the radio station KERA that backing down on gay rights would mean that the “society is well on its way to demise.”

Cathie Adams, executive director of Texas Eagle Forum, believes the platform currently reflects a position that’s biblical.

“When a culture descends to a point where homosexuality is openly accepted as a normal behavior, then a society is well on its way to demise," she said.

UPDATE: Adams might not have to worry too much. A draft platform leaked Thursday eliminated the "fabric of society" language but added an endorsement of the discredited practive of "ex-gay" therapy.

Chris Christie To Join Ralph Reed Summit To Dispel Moderate 'Myth'

Today, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition announced that Gov. Chris Christie will speak at its “Road to Majority” conference this month, where perhaps Reed can offer the embattled governor advice on how to downplay scandals.

But the director of the New Jersey Faith and Freedom Coalition, Larry Cirignano, doesn’t seem to be much of a fan of his state’s governor.

On his Facebook page, Cirignano has posted columns attacking Christie from the right, including articles titled “Chris Christie dooms NJ to judicial activism and himself to obscurity” and “Chris Christie’s court pick has a pro-choice, anti-free press record,” which criticizes the governor for having “rolled over” on nominees for the Supreme Court.

Cirignano also shared a post “exposing ‘Republican’ Christie” as a secret Democrat for backing a “radical pro-abortion and pro-gun control” judicial nominee.

Last year, Christie was accused of snubbing the “Road to Majority” summit to attend a Clinton Global Initiative event.

Right-wing pundits have expressed outrage and disgust over Christie’s decision to sign a law banning ex-gay therapy for minors, even linking it to the bridge scandal, and lashed out at the governor for declining to appeal a court ruling in favor of marriage equality and appointing a Muslim-American to a judgeship.

At CPAC earlier this year, Christie emphasized his anti-choice stances and told the Christian Broadcasting Network that it is a “myth” that he is a moderate.

Larry Pratt: Elliot Rodger's Manifesto 'Reflects The Thinking Of A Person Like Our President'

According to Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, the unhinged, misogynist manifesto written by Elliot Rodger before he killed six people and himself in a mass shooting outside of Santa Barbara “reflects the thinking of a person like our president.” 

In an interview last week with Stan Solomon, the GOA executive director reacted to Rodger's shooting spree the way he reacts to every mass shooting – by finding anything to blame other than guns.

Solomon ripped into Richard Martinez, who criticized the NRA after losing his son in the shooting, calling the bereaved father a “stupid son of a bitch” and asking “what the hell is wrong with you?” Mistakenly thinking that Martinez lost a daughter in the shooting, he added, “If you had taught your daughter how to have and use a weapon, she might still be alive.”

Pratt responded by blaming Rodger’s lack of a “traditional kind of family life” for the shooting, adding, “I think that the parents deserve a lot of the credit slash blame for bringing up a son like that.” (Pratt has also blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on his “broken family”).

The two then discussed Rodger’s manifesto, in which he railed at women for refusing to have sex with him, which Pratt said reminded him of President Obama.

The manifesto, Pratt said, “clearly reflects the thinking of a person like our president, who’s extremely narcissistic and it’s all about me, all about me.”

Dinesh D'Souza Says There Would Have Been 'A Massive Revolt' Against Obama If It Hadn't Been For The Meddling Media

In case you thought that Dinesh D’Souza’s sex scandal would get him in trouble with his supporters in the Religious Right, rest assured that the “pro-family” movement is still enthralled by his outlandish anti-Obama rhetoric.

For example, D’Souza told right-wing broadcaster Janet Mefferd yesterday that “under normal circumstances, we would actually have a massive revolt in this country right now” against President Obama if it wasn’t for the “sycophantic, lapdog media” that treats Obama like “the second coming.”

Oh, so that’s why events built around forcing Obama out of office – like Operation American Spring and Reclaim America Now – were miserable failures. It was the media’s fault!

The Sun Sets On GOProud

After denying reports that it was dissolving, the conservative LGBT organization GOProud released a statement on Monday announcing its closure after five years.

To deflect a story alleging that the organization planned to shut its doors as part of a rebranding effort following years of financial woes and stagnancy, the organization took to social media to claim that “nothing could be further from the truth” and insist that “GOProud is not closing. It is growing.”

But just a day later, the group’s leaders reneged on their denials. “I posted what I had to on Facebook so I wouldn’t scare our members and thwart our fundraising efforts,” executive director Matthew Bechstein told The Bilerico Project in an interview, explaining that not all contributors and members were made aware of the decision to shut down prior to the news breaking. “I wanted to mitigate a disaster,” he said.

Bechstein spoke with The Bilerico Project’s Bil Browning about the next steps for GOProud, which has been mired in controversy since its inception and has struggled to gain a strong foothold in either conservative or LGBT political circles.

“There have been concerns among our members and investors about whether or not we can continue to grow and be effective without severing ourselves from past controversies," Bechstein said in a separately emailed statement.

He also conceded that GOProud’s strategy – which has included a series of failed attempts to ally with inhospitable right-wing groups –might not have been the best course of action to mobilize LGBT support within the conservative movement.

"The fact is, in order to continue promoting the conservative principles upon which this organization was founded, change is needed. One of the changes under discussion is a switch to a different legal type of organization - basic paperwork that requires dissolution and immediate subsequent reorganization. Technically, as some argue, this would be a legal closure," he emailed. "But if it were to actually happen, it would only be momentary and certainly not the end of our organization."

BarbWire Pundit Says Transgender Boy Is Possessed By Demons

Writing today for BarbWire, ex-gay activist Matt Moore concedes that he does not “understand what people with gender identity issues experience,” but is still more than comfortable declaring that transgender people, specifically the six-year-old transgender boy Ryland Whittington, are possessed by the Devil:

With all that said, I get angry because of stories about kids like Ryland. Angry at people. Angry as sin. Angry at Satan.

I am not the type of person that believes Satan is hiding behind every rock, but I do think that there is a demonic element at play when little girls actually start to think they’re little boys, or little boys actually start to think they’re little girls. Actually, I’m sure that demons are all up in that. God created men and women to reflect His image and Satan is all about distorting God’s image. How better a way to do that than to get the image bearers to go against their own physical and biological make up? So-called transgender-ism is a literal rejection of God’s creation and image. Satan loves it.

But Satan is not only to blame for this confusion. We are too.



I hope that in the days to come — where sexual and gender identity confusion is going to abound more and more — followers of Jesus will be just as vocal with the truth as Satan and the world are with lies. I hope we won’t begin to give up on people or on our culture. I hope we won’t begin to disbelieve in God’s transforming mercy, grace and love available in Christ. I hope we won’t believe that He’s done working in the world and that we’re just here to “wait it out” among all the evil and confusion until he comes. I hope we won’t cower down, shrivel up and shrink back. I hope we don’t get hateful and bitter. I hope we don’t start pronouncing condemnation and judgment instead of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus.

45 Senators Support Amendment Strategy to Get Money Out of Elections

45 US Senators now support a constititutional amendment to undo the harm of decisions like Citizens United and McCutcheon. Do yours?


State Senator

Alaska

Sen. Mark Begich

California

Sen. Barbara Boxer

California Sen. Diane Feinstein
Colorado Sen. Michael F. Bennet
Colorado

Sen. Mark Udall

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal
Connecticut Sen. Christopher Murphy
Delaware

Sen. Thomas R. Carper

Delaware Sen. Christopher A. Coons
Hawaii Sen. Mazie K. Hirono
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz
Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin
Maine Sen. Angus S. King, Jr.
Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin
Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski
Massachusetts

Sen. Edward J. Markey

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Michigan

Sen. Debbie Stabenow

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Montana Sen. Jon Tester
Montana Sen. John E. Walsh
Nevada Sen. Harry Reid
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
New Jersey Sen. Cory A. Booker
New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall
New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich
New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley
Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed
Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy
Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders
Washington Sen. Patty Murray
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin
West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller, IV

For more elected officials who support an amendment, visit United4thePeople.org.

PFAW

PFAW and Allies Deliver to Senate Hearing Two Million Petitions for an Amendment to #GetMoneyOut

Before yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a proposed campaign finance constitutional amendment had even begun, advocates from People For the American Way and partner organizations had already delivered a powerful message from the American people. Carrying signs saying “Restore the First Amendment” and “Amend the Constitution to #GetMoneyOut,” activists rolled in stacked boxes of more than two million petitions in support of an amendment to get big money out of politics.

 

In his opening remarks, Sen. Patrick Leahy noted that these petitions serve as a “tangible reminder that Americans are calling on Congress to act.”

In an rare move that underscored the importance of the proposed amendment, both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell testified at the hearing. Sen. Reid issued a call to action for the amendment, urging Americans to work together to restore the basic principle of one American, one vote. “Our involvement in government should not be dependent on our bank account balances,” he said.

Sen. McConnell, on the other hand, used the platform to claim that the proposed amendment is about shutting people up, calling it the “latest proposal to weaken the First Amendment.” Later, Sen. Ted Cruz continued to push the false claim that the amendment would “repeal the free speech protections of the First Amendment” and “muzzle” Americans.

But other witnesses were quick to debunk this myth, including constitutional law expert Jamie Raskin, who is also a senior fellow at People For the American Way. In his testimony, Raskin noted:

[E]ven as our huge majorities of Americans support reclaiming our democracy, opponents of the Amendment are waving the flag of the First Amendment, as if political democracy and free speech are enemies. But the Citizens United era has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with plutocratic power. Citizens United did not increase the rights of a single citizen to express his or her views with speech or with money. Before the decision, all citizens, including CEOs, could express themselves freely, make contributions, and spend all the money they had to promote their politics. They could band together with the help of the corporation and form a PAC. All Citizens United did was confer a power on CEOs to write corporate treasury checks for political expenditures, without a vote of the shareholders, prior consultation or even disclosure.

In terms of real world consequences, Raskin went on to note, these damaging Supreme Court decisions did not “expand the political freedom of citizens but… reduce[d] the political power of citizens.”

North Carolina State Senator Floyd McKissick described some of those real world effects, noting that he can divide his time in the state legislature into two distinct periods: “before Citizens United, and after”:

Suddenly, no matter what the race was, money came flooding in. Even elected officials who had been in office for decades told me they’d never seen anything like it. We were barraged by television ads that were uglier and less honest than I would have thought possible. And they all seemed to be coming from groups with names we had never even heard of. But it was clear that corporations and individuals who could write giant checks had a new level of power in the state.

PFAW

Tony Perkins Claims ENDA Will Turn America Into Nazi Germany, Do Away With First Amendment

With right-wing opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) becoming increasingly unhinged, it was no surprise that Family Research Council president Tony Perkins warned members in an email today that ENDA would destroy businesses, entire communities, and the First Amendment.

Perkins writes that ENDA, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to current non-discrimination protections such as race, religion, gender and disability, would “banish” Christians from society and have them “stripped of their livelihood” while turning America into Nazi Germany.

They're pushing ENDA again -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- which would strip Americans of their religious liberties. No longer will an employer be able to make employment decisions based on what qualities or characteristics are most relevant to a particular job. Instead, ENDA will grant special rights and privileges, special power over an employer's religious convictions, to an entire group of people -- simply because of their preference for a certain type of sexual activity.

This is the most perverse distortion of the Constitution of the United States imaginable. And is more likely to impact you personally than ever before. Because ENDA is the federal government forcing a pro-homosexual point of view upon the entire (supposedly "free") marketplace.



You enjoy working in a Christian-owned business, for example. It's a great place to work, a good family-friendly environment. If your company does any work with the federal government, or if you're a subcontractor to a business holding a federal contract, you could suddenly find that your company's policies, if they reflect biblical views and values, are considered a violation -- and the company could lose that contract. Company revenues plummet. People get laid off. Maybe the company has to close its doors altogether and you are out of work.

As businesses are boarded up, whole communities will be affected. But the powerful anti-Christian lobby will dust off their hands: mission accomplished.

ENDA takes the chilling concept of "Big Brother" one diabolical step further . . . to "Big Bully." The federal government becomes the "enforcer" for liberal activists, driving anyone with a traditional view of natural marriage into the shadows ... because of the threat of a federal lawsuit.

You no longer enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom of association. The First Amendment is dead to you -- because of your biblical views on the sin of homosexuality.



If the federal government can coerce you to comply with its views . . . cooperate with its policies . . . contribute to its plans for the transformation of America . . .

. . . well, sadly, this looks more and more like totalitarianism. We only have to look back to 1930 in Germany, or the USSR in the 1950s, to see what happens when leaders impose a totalitarian state on the people.



They are pushing for America to conform to their ideology. Freedom of speech and religion have no place in their vision. We can't let it happen.



. . . then anyone in America can be targeted ... called out ... pilloried in the public square . . . stripped of their livelihood ... branded as a "bigot" and banished from "society."

The 10 Most Absurd Arguments Against The Udall Citizens United Amendment

While good-government groups have been calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s dismantling of campaign finance laws since the day the Court handed down Citizens United in 2010, the issue has been largely off the radar of conservative activists – and has actually enjoyed broad bipartisan support in an array of polls and in state and municipal ballot measures.

It was largely off their radar, that is, until this week. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a proposal by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., to send a constitutional amendment to the states restoring to Congress and state governments the ability to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections. In response, Republican politicians and conservative activists have kicked into gear and are starting to try out new talking points to get their movement to oppose efforts to lessen the influence of big money in politics.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, launched the misleading campaign two weeks ago when he warned a group of pastors that the Udall proposal would “repeal the First Amendment” and allow Congress to “muzzle” the free speech of clergy. In advance of the hearing today, conservative groups including the Family Research Council, Eagle Forum, Tea Party Patriots and the Home School Legal Defense Association started to mobilize against the amendment. Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation held a panel discussion to test out arguments against the amendment, featuring Bobby Burchfield, the attorney who argued the McCutcheon case before the Supreme Court, controversial former FEC chairman Don McGahn, and infamous voter-fraud conspiracy theorist Hans van Spakovsky .

Here, we’ve collected some of the most deceptive arguments that have been launched so far against the Udall amendment.

1. Democrats want to repeal the First Amendment!

When we first heard Ted Cruz  tell a stunned group of pastors that Democrats in the Senate were planning to “repeal the First Amendment,” we knew that we would be hearing that line again and again.

And we were right. Tea Party Patriots adopted the line in mobilizing its activists, as did the Eagle Forum. The Family Research Council claimed the Udall amendment would “strip political speech out of the First Amendment,” and von Spakovsky told the Heritage panel that the amendment would “roll back” the Bill of Rights.

Burchfield and McGahn both argued that the introduction of the constitutional amendment means, in the words of McGahn, that campaign finance law advocates are “admitting” that campaign finance regulations are “unconstitutional.”

On the surface, this is the opposition’s strongest argument, because it sounds so scary. But it’s just not true. Whether you support the Udall amendment or not, it’s dishonest to suggest that it would amount to a “repeal of the First Amendment.” Instead, proponents argue that it strengthens the First Amendment by undoing the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence declaring that spending on elections, including from corporate treasuries, cannot be limited. Proponents of the Udall amendment hold that this jurisprudence, including recent decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, represented a radical reinterpretation of the First Amendment; undoing them would simply re-establish the ability of Congress and the states to set reasonable regulations on the raising and spending of money to influence elections.

2. Amendment supporters want to ‘silence critics’ and ‘cling to power’!

The Heritage panelists repeatedly claimed that the Udall amendment is an attempt to protect incumbency by preventing challengers from raising enough money to win elections. McGahn insisted that it was an effort by Democratic incumbents “desperately clinging to power.”

“They want to change the rules of the game and prevent people from criticizing them, not unlike England did before our revolution, and which led to our revolution,” he added.

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios also invoked the American Revolution in an interview with von Spakovsky yesterday, saying, “The First Amendment, the rights to free speech – particularly the right to political speech – were the right to criticize the king, criticize the authorities over you.”

In a later interview with Rios, Tea Party Patriots spokesman Scott Hogenson even managed to connect the Udall amendment with immigration reform, claiming that both are part of a “larger, concerted effort to maintain the Democratic Party’s control of American politics and eventually move to one-party rule.”

In reality, it’s unlimited campaign spending that tends to be a boon for incumbents, who on average are able to raise far more than challengers. For instance, in Texas, a state with few campaign finance limits, incumbents who win on average raise more than twelve times the average amount raised by challengers. By contrast, in Colorado, which has relatively low individual contribution limits, incumbents on average raise less than three times what challengers are able to raise [pdf].

3. Liberals just want to protect the lame-stream media!

In his speech to the pastors' group, Ted Cruz seized on the Udall proposal’s stipulation that “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press” to claim that the amendment carved out an exemption to protect the New York Times.

Von Spakovsky also played up conservative conspiracy theories about the “liberal media,” telling Rios, “No surprise, there’s a glaring exception in this proposed amendment for the press. And that means that MSNBC or the New York Times Company, which are big corporations, they could spend as much newsprint or airtime as they wanted going after and criticizing candidates or talking about political issues.”

These arguments fail to recognize one key distinction, which is that there is a difference between the New York Times publishing an editorial (which would be protected under the proposed amendment, as it is now) and the corporate managers of the New York Times taking $50 million out of their corporate treasury to buy ads to influence an election (which would not be protected).

4. They’ll go after pastors!

Opponents of the constitutional amendment have also been trying to tie the proposal to the right-wing paranoia about the impending persecution of America’s Christian majority .

It’s no coincidence that Cruz rolled out his criticism of the Udall proposal at a pastors’ event organized by the Family Research Council, a main theme of which was the supposed assault on the religious liberty of Christians in America. Cruz told the pastors that the Udall measure would “muzzle” clergy and was being proposed because “they don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”

Likewise, McGahn said at the Heritage event that the amendment would endanger the religious liberty of clergy: “What about pastors and churches? This is an issue that comes up once in a while. Can the government get in there and tell a priest he can’t talk to his congregation because it may somehow have something to do with politics?”

This might be true if the proposal would, in fact, “repeal the First Amendment.” In fact, the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty would remain in place.

Of course, that didn’t stop the FRC’s Tony Perkins from somehow linking the Udall amendment to the imprisonment of a Christian woman in Sudan:

5. It’s like the Alien & Sedition Acts!

Along with comparisons to British control before the American Revolution, amendment opponents are trying to link the Udall proposal to the 18th century Alien & Sedition Acts.

In his interview with Rios yesterday, van Spakovsky claimed that “the last time Congress tried to do something like this was when they passed the Alien & Sedition Act in 1798 that criminalized criticism of the government.” Multiple GOP senators at today’s hearing, including Judiciary Committeee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, repeated the talking point.

Of course, the amendment does nothing to reduce the right of individuals to criticize the government or politicians.

6. The polls are skewed!

When an audience member at yesterday’s Heritage Foundation panel asked about polls showing overwhelming opposition to the Citizens United decision, McGahn replied that the questions in the polls were “skewed.”

You can judge for yourself whether this question from a recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll  – which found 80 percent opposition to the Citizens United decision  – is “skewed” on behalf of campaign finance law proponents:

(image via Buzzfeed)

7. What about disclosure?

In one of the least self-aware moments we’ve witnessed in the last few days, McGahn told the Heritage audience that campaign finance reform proponents could have just worked for tougher disclosure requirements, which the Supreme Court’s majority has consistently endorsed as a way to prevent corruption:

What’s interesting is the courts have upheld some disclosure of independent speech, which six months ago was supposed to be the answer, a year ago was supposed to be the answer – remember the DISCLOSE Act, Part 1 and Part 2? Well, that was supposed to cure all the ills in our democracy, but unfortunately I guess they’ve given up on that and they’ve moved to the more radical change, which is the constitutional amendment.

Of course, the DISCLOSE Act – which would have exposed the source of some of the “dark money” behind large campaign expenditures – was blocked by Senate Republicans. And McGahn, when he was at the FEC, fought hard against disclosure requirements proposed in the wake of the Citizens United decision, even though the decision explicitly sanctioned such requirements.

8. The poor don’t participate anyway!

Speaking to the Heritage audience, Burchfield  presented the curious argument that the Udall amendment would demand to "equalize debate among the haves and have-nots,” and since “the portion is small” of “those with limited means” who participate in electoral debates, this would require “severe restrictions.”

The rich do not advocate a single viewpoint. Think of Sheldon Adelson and George Soros, they don’t agree on anything. There are strong voices on the left and on the right, not just in privately funded campaign advertisements, but also in the broadcast and print media. Only a small portion of those with significant resources even bother to participate in the debate. And among those with limited means, the portion is small indeed. In order to equalize debate among the haves and the have-nots, severe restrictions would be necessary. The quantity and quality of discourse would certainly suffer.

The amendment under consideration doesn’t require that everybody be heard an equal amount; instead, it gives Congress and the states the ability to create a more even platform for those who wish to be heard, regardless of their financial means.  

Burchfield's reasoning echoes the arguments of voter-suppression proponents who claim that their laws only inconvenience people who don’t really care about voting anyway.

9. It’s voter suppression!

Although many of the advocates of unlimited, undisclosed money in politics are the same people pushing harmful voter suppression laws, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas yesterday insisted that it’s actually amendment proponents who are advocating “voter suppression” and want to “silence” critics.

10. Blame Saul Alinsky!

Inevitably, anti-amendment activists have begun invoking the right-wing bogey-man Saul Alinsky.

Hogenson told Rios that the Udall amendment is “just taken right out of Saul Alinksy’s book, ‘Rules for Radicals,’ it just makes up a gigantic lie and perpetuates it, that somehow democracy needs to be restored.”

Von Spakovsky also invoked Alinsky in his interview with Rios, claiming that criticism of the enormous political spending of the Koch brothers is an Alinskyite plot: “What’s really going on here is, look, if you look at Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals,’ one of the rules that he sets out is you pick a villain and you basically blame those villains for all of the problems. It’s a way of distracting the public, it’s a way of diverting attention, and that’s exactly what Harry Reid and the Democrats are doing here.”

Oliver North (Yes, Oliver North) Accuses Obama Of 'Financing A Terrorist Organization' With Bergdahl Release

Newsmax host and former Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth added his voice today to the growing right-wing outrage over the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a prisoner exchange with the Taliban, and what better person to discuss the situation with than Oliver North!

North demanded that the media ask the Obama administration if there was “a ransom, a fiscal, financial, money transaction,” with the Taliban as part of the deal. “Was there a ransom paid? Did the government of the United States, either directly or indirectly, finance a terrorist organization?”

North, of course, was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, in which Reagan administration officials unlawfully sold arms to Iran in hopes of releasing American hostages and used the proceeds of the sale to illegally fund Contra militants in Nicaragua, and then attempted to cover up their work.

The independent counsel report of the scandal details North’s involvement:

The Iran/contra affair concerned two secret Reagan Administration policies whose operations were coordinated by National Security Council staff. The Iran operation involved efforts in 1985 and 1986 to obtain the release of Americans held hostage in the Middle East through the sale of U.S. weapons to Iran, despite an embargo on such sales. The contra operations from 1984 through most of 1986 involved the secret governmental support of contra military and paramilitary activities in Nicaragua, despite congressional prohibition of this support.

The Iran and contra operations were merged when funds generated from the sale of weapons to Iran were diverted to support the contra effort in Nicaragua. Although this ``diversion'' may be the most dramatic aspect of Iran/contra, it is important to emphasize that both the Iran and contra operations, separately, violated United States policy and law.2 The ignorance of the ``diversion'' asserted by President Reagan and his Cabinet officers on the National Security Council in no way absolves them of responsibility for the underlying Iran and contra operations.



The operational conspiracy was the basis for Count One of the 23-count indictment returned by the Grand Jury March 16, 1988, against Poindexter, North, Secord, and Hakim. It charged the four with conspiracy to defraud the United States by deceitfully:

(1) supporting military operations in Nicaragua in defiance of congressional controls;

(2) using the Iran arms sales to raise funds to be spent at the direction of North, rather than the U.S. Government; and

(3) endangering the Administration's hostage-release effort by overcharging Iran for the arms to generate unauthorized profits to fund the contras and for other purposes.



The illegal activities of the private citizens involved with the North and Secord operations are discussed in detail in Part V. The off-the-books conduct of the two highly secret operations circumvented normal Administration accountability and congressional oversight associated with covert ventures and presented fertile ground for financial wrongdoing. There were several funding sources for the contras' weapons purchases from the covert-action Enterprise formed by North, Secord and Hakim:

(1) donations from foreign countries;

(2) contributions from wealthy Americans sympathetic to President Reagan's contra support policies; and

(3) the diversion of proceeds from the sale of arms to Iran.

Ultimately, all of these funds fell under the control of North, and through him, Secord and Hakim.

North used political fundraisers Carl R. Channell and Richard R. Miller to raise millions of dollars from wealthy Americans, illegally using a tax-exempt organization to do so. These funds, along with the private contributions, were run through a network of corporations and Swiss bank accounts put at North's disposal by Secord and Hakim, through which transactions were concealed and laundered. In late 1985 through 1986 the Enterprise became centrally involved in the arms sales to Iran. As a result of both the Iran and contra operations, more than $47 million flowed through Enterprise accounts.

Rick Wiles: Pat Robertson Becoming An 'Embarrassment' For Questioning Creationism

Rick Wiles, the End Times radio host who thinks the Sandy Hook and Columbine shootings were carried out by CIA “mind-control assassins” and that Adolf Hitler’s "race of super gay male soldiers” is taking over America, is angry at Pat Robertson for saying “crazy things” and becoming an “embarrassment” to the conservative movement.

Which of Robertson’s “crazy” statements is Wiles upset about? Is it his advice that a man divorce his wife if she has Alzheimer’s? Or his infamous “gay AIDS ring” theory? No, of course. Wiles is upset by the televangelist’s condemnation of Young Earth Creationism, the claim that the Earth is just 6,000 years old.

On his TruNews program on Friday, Wiles lamented that he used to look up to Robertson, but “in recent years, Dr. Robertson has been saying some really crazy things” about Creationism and is “becoming an embarrassment to those of us who are upholding the ancient faith handed down in the Book of Genesis.”

Wiles was joined by the Creation Museum’s Terry Mortenson, who explained that modern geology and the big bang theory were developed by “godless men or professing Christians who didn’t pay attention to what the Bible said.”

He added that scientists who fail to take the Bible literally are"really, really irresponsible" and like police detectives who ignore eyewitness testimony, because “God’s eyewitness testimony in the scripture is the key evidence for unravelling the rocks of the earth.”

Wiles spent the first half of his program presenting the totally reasonable theories that the Bilderberg Group is controlling U.S. presidential elections and that the Federal Reserve is going to start cutting off the bank accounts of same-sex marriage opponents. 

Rick Wiles Wonders If 'Bilderberg Boys' Already Picked Hillary Clinton To Be The Next President

In just a few minutes of Rick Wiles’ TruNews program on Friday, we learned that Hillary Clinton “covered up Vince Foster’s murder” and was chosen by the “Bilderberg boys” to be president; that the federal government is collecting bank account information in preparation to “steal” and “redistribute” wealth; that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is planning to cut off the bank accounts of same-sex marriage opponents and global warming deniers; and that something mysterious is up with the appointment of U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Stanley Fischer to be the vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Wiles started off the program by speculating that Clinton and “Barack ‘Benghazi’ Obama” met last week “to get their story straight” about the 2012 Benghazi attack. “But that’s no big deal for Hillary,” Wiles said. “I’m sure she told Obama how she covered up Vince Foster’s murder.” He also invoked the conspiracy theory that the Netherlands-based Bilderberg Group, which is meeting this year in Copenhagen, is secretly controlling world affairs and has “chosen” Clinton to be the next president.

Hillary Clinton and Barack ‘Benghazi’ Obama held a secret meeting yesterday. Most likely, they need to get their story straight about what happened on the night of September 11, 2012, when Obama and Clinton let four Americans die at the hands of Islamic murderers. But that’s no big deal for Hillary. I’m sure she told Obama how she covered up Vince Foster’s murder. Or Hillary informed Obama that the Bilderberg boys called from Copenhagen and told her she’s been chosen to be president in 2016.

The U.S. federal government is building a massive database with personal financial information on every American citizen, all of your mortgage information, loans and credit card payments, account balances, credit history, late payments, minimum payments, account balances, racial and ethnic data, gender, marital status, religion, education, employment history, military status, the number of people in your home, your wealth, your assets, will be stored for Washington’s snoopy eyes. You see, the communists must first identify who has the wealth before they can steal it and redistribute it.

Later, during an interview with Gun Owners of America president Larry Pratt, Wiles wondered how “the governor of the Bank of Israel move over to the United States and become the deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve, and nobody said a word?” Stanley Fischer, President Obama’s nominee to the Fed position, is a dual U.S. and Israel citizen.

He also launched off allegations that the FDIC is scrutinizing gun sellers to claim that the government will soon “start cutting off the bank accounts of churches that uphold same-sex marriage” or of global warming deniers.

If this continues, with the Federal Reserve – and by the way, did you notice how last week, the Federal Reserve approved Stanley Fischer of the governor – deputy governor or deputy chairman – of the Federal Reserve? Who is Stanley Fischer? He was the governor of the Bank of Israel. Hello! How does the governor of the Bank of Israel move over to the United States and become the deputy chairman of the federal reserve, and nobody said a word?

That’s another topic, but if they are allowed to do this kind of stuff, this harassment, using the power of the federal reserve, the FDIC, to cut off the credit of legitmate businesses, Larry, they’re going to extend this to political correctness. For example, they’ll start cutting off the bank accounts of churches that uphold same-sex marriage. They’ll choose their topics: ‘Oh, you’re a global warming denier. We’re going to have to cut off your credit.’

Yesterday, Wiles’ guest was Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

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