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PFAW Foundation Memo: Key Cases In The Supreme Court's New Term

To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way Foundation
Date: October 3, 2013

Re: Key Cases in the Supreme Court's New Term

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has not shied away from taking on cases with enormous impact on American laws and American lives, and the term that starts on Monday will be no exception.

In just the last term, the Court’s conservative majority dismantled a key portion of the landmark Voting Rights Act, removed important anti-discrimination protections for workers, and made it harder for consumers to sue corporations that have hurt them. One exception to the Court’s sweeping conservative activism justifiably attracted plenty of attention – the decision in which conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the Court’s four more moderate Justices to strike down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. But that remarkable victory for individual freedom, which was powered by the Court’s moderates, should not obscure the Roberts Court’s larger, well-documented goal of shifting American law to benefit corporations over individuals and the privileged over the struggling.

The cases on the Supreme Court’s docket for the coming term are no less consequential. The Court will consider whether to continue its project of dismantling campaign finance regulations; it will take on yet more cases on the rights of individuals to hold corporations accountable for their actions; it will weigh laws protecting workers against abusive and discriminatory employers; it will decide whether to uphold the far-right DC Circuit’s decision striking down clean air protections; and it may limit or reverse precedents protecting women's reproductive choice.

Below is a preview of some of the most wide-reaching cases the Supreme Court will consider this year, and how the Roberts Court may choose to approach them.

MONEY OUT / VOTERS IN

McCutcheon v. FEC: The Court is being asked to eliminate aggregate federal campaign contribution limits.

You’ll be hearing a lot about this case in the coming weeks, months, and perhaps years. While Citizens United involved independent expenditures to affect elections, this case involves the aggregate caps on contributions made to candidates, political parties, and PACs. Currently, a donor’s individual contributions to a party’s candidates and affiliated committees during the 2013-2014 election cycle, are capped at $123,200 (on an inflation-adjusted basis). Without the cap, that number would skyrocket to $3.6 million, vastly increasing the influence of wealthy donors on our democracy and correspondingly limiting the influence of the people, who are supposed to be sovereign in our democracy. That is the goal of high-pocketed donor Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee, who are asking the Court to strike down the aggregate caps as violating their First Amendment free speech rights.

Beginning in the 1970’s and in a number of cases since, the Court has upheld the constitutionality of regulating campaign contributions, recognizing how important such regulations are in preventing both real and perceived corruption. That Court has also recognized the value of aggregate caps on contributions as a means of preventing wealthy donors from indirectly bypassing the individual limits. That’s why the decision was a no-brainer for the lower court judges – even the far-right Janice Rogers Brown. The fact that the Supreme Court even took the case is disturbing, suggesting that the conservative Justices’ hunger for enhancing the power of the powerful and shutting the rest of us out of our own electoral democracy has not yet been sated.

RECESS APPOINTMENTS

NLRB v. Noel Canning: The Court is being asked to severely limit the president’s power to make recess appointments.

This case challenges President Obama’s recess appointments of National Labor Relations Board members in January of 2012 on the day after the 112th Congress’s second session officially began. He acted because Republicans had been blocking the Senate from voting on his nominees, leaving the NLRB without enough members to constitute a quorum. The president bypassed this cynical GOP effort to sabotage an agency dedicated to the rights of workers by making recess appointments. The NLRB was therefore able to act, including in a case involving Noel Canning, which disputes the legitimacy of the recess appointments.

The appointments occurred at a time when the Senate was meeting for pro forma sessions for a few minutes, once every few days, to maintain the fiction that it wasn’t on recess (i.e., to prevent recess appointments). Most debate in the public and on Capitol Hill centered on the narrow question of whether the holding of the pro forma sessions meant the Senate was not in recess. Indeed, the fact that congressional Republicans insisted on the pro forma sessions indicated their recognition of the president’s broad authority to make recess appointments when the Senate is on break. Noel Canning itself noted that the DC Circuit could decide the case based on the narrow question of the relevance of the pro forma sessions, thereby bypassing even larger constitutional questions. But the DC Circuit issued a sweeping opinion overturning the understanding of presidents and senators from the country’s earliest years: The court ruled not only that recess appointments can only be made during the annual break between sessions of Congress, but also that they can only be made during the recess in which the vacancy first occurred. These restrictions would invalidate recess appointments going back to the time of President George Washington. Affirming the DC Circuit would empower Senate minorities to prevent the president from filling vital executive branch positions. Some agencies that require certain Senate-confirmed officials to be present in order to exercise their full powers (like the NLRB or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) would be crippled.

ACCESS TO ABORTION

McCullen v. Coakley: The Court may overrule a 2000 precedent upholding buffer zones around reproductive health clinics.

This involves a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive health clinics (with exceptions for employees, patients, and others with business there). Within this area, only those with business at the clinic (essentially, clients and employees) could stand within a certain radius of the clinic. Anti-choice advocates claim this violates their freedom of speech because it restricts only people with a particular viewpoint. The lower courts disagreed, citing the 2000 case of Hill v. Colorado, where the Supreme Court upheld a buffer zone making it illegal to approach people at clinics for the purpose of counseling, education, or protesting. That 6-3 decision analyzed the law as a content-neutral regulation of speech that was reasonable in light of the importance of protecting unwilling people’s right to avoid unwanted conversations and their right to pass without obstruction. However, two of the conservatives Justices in the 6-3 majority have been replaced by far more conservative Bush nominees:  Rehnquist (by Roberts) and O’Connor (by Alito). Since Justices Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas dissented in the 2000 case, there are five likely votes to strike down the Massachusetts buffer zone and possibly overrule Hill completely.

Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice: The Court may uphold a state “drug safety” law that restricts women’s access to medical abortions and perhaps overrule the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision protecting a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

An Oklahoma law pushed by anti-choice groups requires misoprostol and methotrexate, medications used to terminate early pregnancies, to be prescribed only as directed by the FDA; any variation from that (called “off label” use) is made illegal. But in the years since these drugs were approved by the FDA, doctors through experience have determined that such “off label” uses are more effective, safe, and convenient for women. Such “off label” uses also allow for abortion later in a pregnancy than FDA-approved use does.

The general right of a state to regulate off-label uses of FDA-approved drugs is not being contested in this case. Oklahoma’s stated goal is to protect women from unsafe and unapproved use of medications, but this is clearly a pretense for limiting women’s access to medical abortions. Under the 1992 Casey decision, states cannot place an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck the law down as obviously unconstitutional. Ominously, the Supreme Court accepted the appeal.

Because of a procedural hurdle, it is possible the case might not be heard. The Supreme Court has asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to clarify exactly which medications and under what circumstances the statute applies. Only after the Oklahoma Supreme Court responds will the Supreme Court decide whether to schedule oral arguments. If it proceeds, the case provides a dangerous opportunity for the Roberts Court to overrule Casey or, as in the more recent “partial birth abortion” case (2007’s Gonzales v. Carhart), to simply ignore Casey and open the floodgates to more restrictive legislation.

LIMITING CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY

Bond v. United States: The Court is being asked to overrule a 1920 precedent recognizing Congress’ broad authority to enact legislation implementing a treaty, and to sharply restrict congressional authority under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause.

The case involves a woman who repeatedly tried to poison her husband’s mistress and was convicted of violating a federal criminal law prohibiting the possession and use of chemical weapons, a law passed to implement a treaty on chemical weapons. Carol Bond argues that the administration of criminal justice is a purely state responsibility except for where Congress, exercising one of the powers enumerated by the Constitution (like the Commerce Clause), creates an offense against the United States. Therefore, she says, the law violates the Tenth Amendment and constitutional principles of federalism.

But a 1920 precedent says exactly the opposite. Missouri v. Holland recognized that if you have a properly signed and ratified treaty, the Necessary and Proper Clause authorizes Congress to pass laws implementing the treaty. The enactment does not have to also be based on one of the specific powers enumerated in Article I Section 8.

If the Supreme Court rules for Bond, it might do so narrowly, holding that her use of chemicals was not part of the purpose of the chemical weapons treaty. But the Roberts Court may also see this as an opportunity to issue a broad ruling that overrules the 1920 precedent and limits longstanding congressional authority under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause.

RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND FAIRNESS

Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action: The Court is being asked to significantly weaken federal laws prohibiting housing discrimination.

In this case, a town government wants to redevelop a housing development occupied primarily by low- and moderate-income minority families and replace it with more expensive housing. Residents sued under the Fair Housing Act, alleging that the plan had a disproportionate impact on minorities.

For 40 years, the Fair Housing Act has been a key tool to address unfair mortgage lending practices, insurance redlining, discriminatory zoning ordinances, and other obstacles to equal housing. Under the FHA, a practice that has a discriminatory effect – even if it does not have a discriminatory purpose – can be judged to violate the law. This is called “disparate impact.”  All 11 circuits to have considered the question have agreed that disparate impact cases are covered under the Fair Housing Act. These cases go back to the 1970s and 1980s, and Congress has never amended the law to say otherwise. Although different circuits vary in the details, most follow a process in which, once a plaintiff shows that an action will have a racially disparate impact, the burden shifts to the defendant to show a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its actions. In some cases, the defendant must also show that it can’t accomplish the same thing with less discriminatory results. The “burden shifting” disparate approach makes it much easier to fulfill the FHA’s goal of protecting Americans from housing discrimination. HUD regulations also interpret the FHA to include claims of disparate impact. A contrary interpretation by the Roberts Court could lead to the reversal of decades of progress in eliminating housing discrimination, the goal of the Fair Housing Act.

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action: The Court will decide if states can adopt constitutional amendments prohibiting Affirmative Action in public colleges and universities.

The constitutionality of Affirmative Action is not an issue in this case. Instead, the question is whether the Constitution allows states to amend their own constitutions to prohibit Affirmative Action.

In 2006, Ward Connerly succeeded in getting an anti-Affirmative Action measure on the ballot in Michigan, and it was passed by the voters. It prohibits the consideration of race, sex, ethnicity, and national origin in individualized admissions decisions by public colleges and universities. The Sixth Circuit struck down the measure, noting that no other factors (like legacy, geographic diversity, or athletic skill) were similarly made unconstitutional. As a result, an applicant who wants her alumni connections to be considered can ask the university to adopt a legacy-conscious admission program, but an African American applicant who wants a race-conscious admissions policy must persuade the entire electorate to adopt a constitutional amendment. The circuit court characterized this as a structural burden that violates the Equal Protection Clause.

Justice Kagan is recused from this case, which may affect how the Court rules.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Town of Greece v. Galloway: Legislative Prayer – The Court will decide if a town’s consistent use of sectarian prayer at town meetings violates the Establishment Clause, even if it shows that the town endorses a particular religion.

Over the course of many years, the town of Greece, NY, officially opened monthly public Town Board meetings with prayers. For years, the local members of the clergy who delivered the prayer were always specifically invited by the town supervisor to do so. Only Christian clergy were invited and mostly sectarian prayers were delivered. When two citizens complained that it appeared the town was officially aligning itself with Christianity, officials told them that anyone who wanted to could ask to deliver the prayer and do so regardless of content. Yet the town never publicized this alleged policy, and only four times subsequently did non-Christians deliver the prayer.

The Supreme Court held in 1983’s Marsh v. Chambers that legislative prayers do not automatically violate the Establishment Clause, but that they should not be exploited to proselytize or advance any one religion, faith or belief, or to disparage any such belief. And in other contexts (like public crèche displays), the Court has ruled that under the Establishment Clause, the government may not appear to endorse any one specific faith.

With Justice O’Connor having been replaced by Justice Alito, the Court’s Establishment Clause cases may take a sharp turn to the right. There may now be a majority that would vastly expand government’s ability to endorse not only religion in general but also specific sectarian beliefs.

WORKERS’ RIGHTS

Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. and Wal-Mart Stores: The Court is being asked to rule that the statute of limitations to challenge an employer’s denial of disability benefits begins to run before the claim has finally been resolved.

Julie Heimeshoff had been working for Wal-Mart for nearly 20 years when she developed pain and fatigue due to fibromyalgia and other conditions. Within a few months, she was unable to work and she filed for long-term disability benefits, which Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company administers for Wal-Mart. Heimeshoff’s disability claim was denied.

Courts interpreting the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) have ruled that under the law, you cannot challenge the denial of benefits until you exhaust your remedies under your company’s benefits plan. Wal-Mart and Hartford’s plan sets a three-year statute of limitations for those who are denied benefits to sue, beginning as soon as Hartford requires the employee to provide proof of their disability. So the clock was ticking while the mandatory internal resolution process continued. In 2007, Heimeshoff was informed that Hartford was still denying her claim, and that this was its final decision. She sued in 2010, within three years of this final determination but more than three years after she was first required to prove the extent of her disability.

The Court will decide if a benefits plan can require the clock to start ticking before the plan has resolved the claims, or whether the clock can start ticking only when the worker has exhausted her plan remedies and can actually sue. In other words, does ERISA let employers and insurers impose a plan that makes it harder for employees to vindicate their ERISA rights in the courts?

Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall: The Court is being asked to limit the ability of workers and management to make agreements that facilitate the formation of unions.

In this case, a company and union agreed that management would remain neutral on efforts to organize workers to form a union, let the union have limited access to non-work areas to talk to employees, and give the union the employees’ names and home addresses for the same purpose. In return, the union promised that it would not picket, boycott, or act to economically harm the business. Such recognition-process agreements are fair and orderly ways to facilitate union organizing that benefit both workers and employers.

The question is whether this violates Section 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act, which makes it a criminal act for an employer to “pay, lend, or deliver … any money or other thing of value” to a labor union seeking to represent employees. The law was adopted in the 1940s to prevent corruption from distorting the process of forming a labor union. The employer and the union assert that their agreement is legal, because the employer’s agreement is not a “thing of value” as contemplated by Taft-Hartley. To the contrary, they claim that it furthers the statute’s goal of encouraging peaceful and honest labor organizing. But Mulhall claims the agreement falls within Taft-Hartley’s criminal provisions.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

EPA v. EME Homer City Generation and American Lung Association v. EME Homer City Generation: The Court is being asked to strike down EPA rules on cross-state air pollution.

The Clean Air Act requires states to adopt plans that not only bring their own states into compliance with federal safety standards, but also prevent pollution that “contributes significantly” to air pollution in downwind states. Under the law, states that fail to implement a sufficient (or any) plan must then implement a plan designed by the EPA.

In this case, the EPA designed such plans, which reflected the extreme technical complexity of the issue. Based on the administrative record and its expertise on environmental health, the agency concluded that the new rules would prevent 13,000-34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 400,000 cases of asthma. They would also save $280 billion a year in healthcare costs.

Utility companies appealed, and a divided D.C. Circuit panel struck down the rule. The dissent accused the court’s majority of “disregard[ing] limits Congress placed on its jurisdiction, the plain text of the Clean Air Act (‘CAA’), and this court’s settled precedent interpreting the same statutory provisions at issue today.”  The majority’s decision has been cited by some as an example of judges imposing their own ideologies over the technical expertise of a federal agency.

HOLDING CORPORATE WRONGDOERS ACCOUNTABLE

Daimler Chrysler v. Bauman: The Court may make it harder to sue foreign corporations doing business in a state over events that happened elsewhere.

DaimlerChrysler is a German corporation being sued in a federal court in California for human rights violations by a wholly-owned subsidiary in Argentina. The subsidiary (Mercedes-Benz Argentina) allegedly identified “subversives” at the plant for the country’s military dictators, knowing that they would then be kidnapped, detained, tortured, or murdered as a result. Former plant employees or their surviving family members sued the parent company in California.

Under the Due Process Clause, a state cannot bring a defendant into its courts unless that party has sufficient “minimum contacts” with the state. That is called “personal jurisdiction.”  In this case, DaimlerChrysler has a wholly-owned subsidiary that regularly does business in California: Mercedes-Benz USA. The 9th Circuit said the court had personal jurisdiction over the parent company because it had engaged in substantial and continuous corporate activity in the state for years via the subsidiary.

The Supreme Court is being asked to reverse that ruling. In a world where people’s lives are affected by the actions of enormous multinational corporations operating around the world through a seemingly endless number of subsidiaries, many will be interested in how the Court decides this case.

Lawson v. FMR:  The Court may limit which whistleblowers are protected from retaliation under a post-Enron reform law.

The 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a securities reform law passed by Congress after the Enron collapse, protects “employees” of publicly traded companies who expose fraud by publicly traded companies. The term “employees” is at issue in this case.

At issue in this case is whether individuals working as contractors to publicly traded companies are considered employees for the purpose of protecting them from retaliation as whistleblowers. In this case, individuals who exposed alleged fraud involving Fidelity mutual funds were retaliated against. The mutual funds are owned by their shareholders and registered with the SEC. However, the whistleblowers were not employees of Fidelity’s funds, because those funds have no employees of their own. Instead, all the funds’ day-to-day work is done by privately owned “investment advisers” with names like Fidelity Management and Research Co. and Fidelity Brokerage Services. This is not an uncommon setup for mutual funds. So the whistleblowers were employees of Fidelity’s contractors, not of Fidelity itself, and those contractors are not publicly traded.

The district court ruled that interpreting “employees” so narrowly as to exclude contractors like the ones in this case would defeat the purpose of the law. However, the First Circuit reversed that decision. Now, the Supreme Court will decide.

Globalizing Homophobia, Part 1: How The American Right Came to Embrace Russia’s Anti-Gay Crackdown

This is the first post in a four-part series exploring how American right-wing groups have supported Russia’s recent spate of anti-gay laws and its crackdown on LGBT citizens.

This summer, as part of a larger effort to channel political dissatisfaction by scapegoating minorities, the Russian government escalated its crackdown on the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual citizens. President Vladimir Putin and his allies found support and guidance in their anti-gay efforts from a group eager for an opportunity to notch some victories in the battle against LGBT freedom and equality: the American right.

On June 11, the Russian Duma passed a law banning “propaganda” about homosexuality to minors, essentially a gag rule criminalizing any advocacy for LGBT equality. (Moscow had already instituted a 100-year ban on gay pride parades.) Weeks later, on July 3, Putin signed a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples abroad and by single people in countries that allow marriage equality. Shortly afterward, a member of the Duma proposed a law that would revoke gay people’s custody of their biological children. The bill’s sponsor said in an interview that children would be better off in orphanages than with a gay mother or father.

Throughout this process, Russian gay rights groups reported a surge in anti-gay hate crimes. Journalist Julia Ioffe has documented some individual stories.

Russia’s crackdown on LGBT people comes amidst a broad crackdown on the rights of minorities and political dissenters or, in the words of one lawmaker, a campaign “to defend the rights of the majority.” On the same day the Duma passed its ban on gay “propaganda,” it also approved a harsh anti-blasphemy law promising jail time for “offending religious feelings.” The blasphemy measure was meant to strenghthen the laws that led to the political prosecution of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, whose members were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for a performance that was deemed to offend “religious sensibilities.”

Russia’s repression of LGBT people and the Pussy Riot case have provoked an international outcry, intensified by the  the country’s role as the host of next year’s winter Olympics.

But throughout all this, one group has cheered on Putin’s actions: the American Religious Right and its international allies.

Even as tensions have grown between Russia and the United States, several Religious Right leaders have spoken loudly in favor of Putin’s crackdowns on gay people and political dissenters:

  • Conservative commentator and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan praised Putin for “trying to re-establish the Orthodox Church as the moral compass of the nation” by going after gays and political dissent and suggested that the United States follow his lead.
  • The anti-feminist group Concerned Women for America hailed the Pussy Riot prosecution, saying that the band displayed an “utter lack of morality.”
  • Religious Right activist Bob Vander Plaats, whose Family Leader events in Iowa have become must-attends for Republican presidential candidates, praised Putin’s “decisive leadership” on anti-gay laws.
  • American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer declared that Russia’s gay “propaganda” ban was exactly the kind of “public policy that we’ve been advocating” and that, if anything, the ban didn’t go far enough.
  • Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality praised the propaganda law, writing, “Russians do not want to follow America’s reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth.”
  • Scott Lively, an American activist linked to Uganda’s push for the death penalty for gays, wrote that under Putin’s leadership, Russia has become a “beacon of freedom” while the U.S. has descended into a “gay version of the Soviet Union.” Lively also gave himself credit for “indirectly” assisting the ban on “homosexual propaganda,” calling it “one of the proudest achievements of my career.”
  • Vision America’s Rick Scarborough suggested that God would rebuke President Obama over his condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay crackdown, saying that Obama’s criticism of the propaganda law “puts our country in a very precarious place.”
  • Radio host Linda Harvey, head of the group Mission: America, praised the gay “propaganda” ban, declaring that any “responsible adult” would support it.
  • Rush Limbaugh praised Putin for “putting [his] foot down” against gay peoples’ “full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy.”
  • Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) called the Russian law a “good thing” and claimed that “most of the people in the United States” would support a similar measure.
  • Larry Jacobs of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families hailed the propaganda law for “preventing [LGBT people] from corrupting children" and declared  that "the Russians might be the Christian saviors to the world."
  • Six American Religious Right groups, including the World Congress of FamiliesMission: America and C-FAM , joined an international coalition of right-wing groups in signing a statement supporting the anti-gay crackdown and condemning the international outrage against it.

American conservative groups haven’t just praised Russia’s crackdown on gays. Working through several channels, American anti-gay activists quietly provided intellectual backing and international support that directly and indirectly fueled the resurgent anti-gay movement in Russia and in other former Soviet states like Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.

In a series of posts today and tomorrow, we’ll look at how American activists influenced Russia’s anti-gay laws by funding anti-gay activism in Russia, testifying before the Duma, providing false research to fan the flames of anti-gay laws abroad, and building an international movement to back the harshest anti-gay laws around the world.

Erik Rush: Cruz Is Eligible To Be President But Obama Isn't; Clinton Is 'Miss Piggy'

Fox News regular Erik Rush is a champion of birtherism when it comes to President Obama, but that hasn’t stopped him from declaring that Canadian-born Ted Cruz eligible to be president. In fact, Rush hails Cruz as “a triple threat because he is conservative, Republican and an ethnic minority.”

How does Rush explain why he believes that Cruz – who was born in Canada to an American mother — can be president but that Obama — whom birthers like Rush falsely insist was born in Kenya to an American mother — isn’t? Well, he doesn’t: “There are also questions with regard to Cruz’s eligibility for the office (having been born in Canada), but given the history of this issue on the same subject with regard to President Obama, I won’t even go there.”

“Ted Cruz looks like a white guy, but he’s not – which is a non-issue to people who judge character over color,” Rush writes. “After all, our president looks like a black guy, but he’s not, and few of us make any bones about that.”

Rush classes up the column by calling Hillary Clinton “Miss Piggy” while lamenting that Cruz has been depicted as a “fringe, tinfoil hat-wearing fop.”

Because if anyone knows how it feels to be seen as a conspiracy theorist, it’s Erik Rush.

Don’t think for a moment that the ire, derision and ridicule of establishment Republicans and the liberal press that Ted Cruz now enjoys are merely a result of that speech. Considering the dire straits America is now negotiating (of which many of her proverbial passengers remain completely oblivious) and the designs of progressives in both parties, Cruz – who pledged to donate his salary to charity during any federal government shutdown – is a triple threat because he is conservative, Republican and an ethnic minority.

At a time when the GOP base was looking for a potential 2016 presidential nominee with testicular fortitude and without the historical political baggage, along came Ted Cruz – so it’s no wonder his name is already being floated for president amongst conservatives.

Ted Cruz looks like a white guy, but he’s not – which is a non-issue to people who judge character over color. After all, our president looks like a black guy, but he’s not, and few of us make any bones about that. There are also questions with regard to Cruz’s eligibility for the office (having been born in Canada), but given the history of this issue on the same subject with regard to President Obama, I won’t even go there.

It’s pretty apparent to anyone paying attention that unless Barack Obama declares himself emperor prior to 2016, Hillary Clinton (whom I affectionately call “Miss Piggy” due to resemblance rather than personal habits) is more or less a lock for the Democratic nomination. There have until recently been few prospects for the GOP, and it is highly probable that establishment Republicans and the Republican National Committee will do their best to ram another moderate or counterfeit conservative down our throats once again – perhaps Jeb Bush.

In this climate, someone like Ted Cruz, who has ingratiated himself to Americans in a big way simply by telling the truth, will remain a potential hazard to the establishment through 2016, unless he can be effectively neutralized. As we observed, GOP leaders united with the liberal press and politicians to thwart Cruz’s efforts to defund Obamacare, as well as conspiring to make him appear a fringe, tinfoil hat-wearing fop.

Alex Jones Channels Lizard From Outer Space To Reveal Dangers Of Obamacare

Back in April, Matt Drudge predicted that 2013 would be the “year of Alex Jones.” And what a year it’s been.

Just today, Jones donned a top hat, a fake English accent and a lizard mask — a take on his friend David Icke’s claim that shapeshifting lizards from outer space rule the world — to talk about the dangers of Obamacare.

Watch highlights here:

He said that vaccines give people syphilis and cancer while fluoride is a New World Order ploy to gain societal control and make “the state on my planet — I mean neighborhood — absolutely king.”

“This is a beautiful system being set up that would make Adolf Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer and Joe Stalin absolutely proud, this is a system where we can feed — I mean help all of you,” he said, before laughing maniacally.

Then, Space Lizard Jones brought on his special guest: “Obamacare,” represented by a guy wearing an Obamacare t-shirt skull mask.

“Here with our good friend Obamacare, who joins us to discuss all that is planned for you and grandma as well, fresh meat!” Jones said. “How are your herpes? How is your hernia?” Obamacare asked. “How is your homosexuality? I am watching you.”

Later, Space Lizard Jones told Obamacare, “I could suck the flesh off your head like a dying child, an aborted fetus, oh the beauty of it, the rapture,” while Obamacare kept asking about his herpes.

Space Lizard Jones then demanded a Nobel Peace Prize while accusing his new friend of racism against lizards: “Peace prize or you’re a racist against lizards! If you don’t accept all the vaccines you’re a racist. If you don’t do whatever I say you’re a racist. Racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist; racist. Flagellate yourself with a bull whip immediately.”

New documentary revisits the climate change we all should want

It was February 12, 2008. 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King, who had begun openly exploring a female expression of his gender identity, and 14-year-old Brandon McInerney were in a computer lab at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California. With the flash of two gunshots, Larry was off to the hospital, fighting for his life in a battle that he would soon lose; and Brandon was under arrest, later tried as an adult and sentenced to 21 years. Never would their teacher and their classmates be the same.
PFAW

Poe: Obama Treating Republicans Like Nero Treated Christians

Speaking with the conservative outlet NewsMax today, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) compared President Obama to the Roman Emperor Nero because of his handling of the GOP-led government shutdown. Poe charged that Obama dishonestly held Republicans responsible for the shutdown, just as Nero blamed Christians for the Great Fire of Rome as a pretext for their persecution.

“When Nero fiddled while Rome burned, our President played golf while the government shutdown; Nero blamed the Christians while Obama blamed the Republicans,” Poe said. “It’s an interesting analogy.”

Watch:

Statistics 101 With Larry Pratt

A study published in the American Journal of Medicine last month shortly after the Navy Yard shooting found that in developed countries the rate of gun deaths is highly correlated with the rate of gun ownership. You might think this would be bad news for Larry Pratt’s “no-compromise” Gun Owners of America. But who needs science when you can make up your own statistics?

In an interview with conservative commentator Tom Woods yesterday, Pratt presented his own statistics to bolster the gun lobby’s orthodoxy that more guns make communities safer.

Pratt first presented the case of the Old West, which he claims was in fact “under control” and “peaceful” because “virtually everybody was armed.” In fact, as law professor Adam Winkler explains, gun violence in the Old West was “far more rare than we commonly imagine”…because most towns had strict gun control measures.

Pratt then tried to prove that gun ownership makes communities safer by comparing Great Britain’s murder rate with that of his home of Fairfax County, Virginia. While Pratt concedes that Britain’s murder rate is “admittedly very low,” he points out that Fairfax County’s is lower, which he chalks up to Virginia’s lax gun laws. What he neglects to mention is that Fairfax County is far from typical of Virginia or the United States as a whole…to start with, it’s the second wealthiest county in Virginia and fourth wealthiest in the entire country. The homicide rate in the entire state of Virginia is significantly higher than that of both Fairfax County and the United Kingdom.

Pratt then goes on to claim that while Britain has a low murder rate, its strict gun laws have made it the “fourth most violent country in the world.” We have no idea where he got that statistic, but claims that the UK is more violent than the United States have been thoroughly debunked.

The Old West was the Wild West only on the screen. In reality, because virtually everybody was armed, the Old West, as you more properly put it, was quite a place under control, peaceful. The shootout at the OK Corral was very atypical.

Now, let’s go over to Britain, because you pointed to them. In Britain, they do have a very low murder rate. But in Fairfax County, Virginia, where Gun Owners of America is located and where people can obtain a concealed carry permit for a firearm rather easily, and where you’ve got to assume that there’s a whole bunch of folks here in Fairfax County that are armed, we have a murder rate at 1 per 100,000. Whereas over in peaceful old England, it’s 1.7 per 100,000 and their violent crime rate, apart from murder – which is admittedly very low – their violent crime rate ranks them as the fourth most violent country in the world after Jamaica, El Salvador and Honduras. Boy, how’s that gun control stuff working out for you now, old Great Britain?
 

Rios: If Only Speaker Boehner Had The Courage Of Terrorists

American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios spoke to Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) yesterday about the government shutdown, and the congressman spent most of the time attacking President Obama for not capitulating to the GOP’s demands to derail Obamacare in order to keep the government running.

Stockman laced into Obama, calling him a “Machiavellian, amazing man that can call John Boehner a terrorist, it’s just beyond the pale.”

“It really is, oh that he did have the kind of courage that some of the—oh that’s kind of a dangerous statement I just made,” Rios replied, implying Boehner should have the same courage as terrorists. “I think many of us are praying that he will have more courage, there’s no question about that.”

Newman: Obamacare Turning US Into A Police State

Troy Newman of the militant anti-choice group Operation Rescue is pledging to never purchase a health insurance plan, and he doesn’t care if President Obama and his “health-care cops” throw him in jail! Even though the health care law explicitly says that people who neglect to pay the penalty for not purchasing insurance will not face jail time, the imaginary threat of going to jail makes Newman feel heroic and that’s what really matters.

“Today I’ve become an outlaw, a dissenter, an enemy of the state,” the anti-abortion rights activist writes in WorldNetDaily. “Left unchecked, this new health-care law is fully capable of leading the United States into becoming a police state.”

Newman warns that “they may lock me up” even as other people are “seduced into surrendering first their rights and then their lives, all under the offer of some so-called protection.”

He also promotes the widely discredited myth that Obamacare compels people to pay for abortion: “I have spent the last two decades fighting to stop abortion, and I will be damned if I’m going to give them any money now.”

Today I’ve become an outlaw, a dissenter, an enemy of the state. Without my consent, the U.S. Congress passed a law that forces my conscience and conviction into an inescapable corner. I do not want to be in this position. I did not ask for it. I have not even taken a single action that would put me on the wrong side of the law – yet, somehow, here I am suddenly “breaking” it.



Left unchecked, this new health-care law is fully capable of leading the United States into becoming a police state. That may sound crazy to some – like I should be wearing a tinfoil hat or something – but I’m a student of history, and it doesn’t take long to see the scope of past civilizations that have been seduced into surrendering first their rights and then their lives, all under the offer of some so-called protection.

I’ve read the health-care law; it isn’t going to protect, save, or help any of us. What it is going to do, however, is strip away our rights and directly fund abortion. I have consulted with several experts and law firms on the imbedded abortion funding in the new health-care law, and I can say with certainty: Obamacare forces us to pay for abortion.

So, let me be very clear: I may be the very person Congress is claiming to help, but I don’t want or need their assistance regarding my family’s health. I am a free citizen who pays my medical bills as they come. Furthermore, I am absolutely morally opposed to funding baby killers. In fact, I have spent the last two decades fighting to stop abortion, and I will be damned if I’m going to give them any money now.

This is not the case of a rebel searching for a cause. This cause found me when Congress decided our constitutional rights and our preborn children were expendable. I wasn’t a criminal yesterday, or for the past 18 years, but somehow today I find myself on the other side of the law. So be it. I’ve seen all the chest thumping coming from Washington, and I’ve heard all about “red lines” and “no negotiations,” but I’m just a simple man with a simple plan.

I’m not buying a health-care policy that will fund abortion, and I’m certainly not paying any penalty for freely choosing to do so. At some point, they may lock me up. Before that, I’ll probably get some threatening letters and a few visits from the health-care cops. At the end of the day, however, my answer will be the same:

I trust in the Lord and I comply with all just laws, but I will not comply with any unlawful mandate to participate in the killing of innocent children.

People For the American Way and McAuliffe Campaign to Launch Major Spanish-Language Ad Buy in VA

TV Ad Campaign Will Highlight Ken Cuccinelli's Discriminatory Agenda & Career-Long Record of Divisive Rhetoric 

People For the American Way and Terry McAuliffe's campaign for Virginia governor will launch a major partnership next week to highlight McAuliffe’s commitment to making Virginia open and welcoming to all and inform voters of his opponent Ken Cuccinelli’s record of driving a divisive and discriminatory agenda. The six-figure Spanish-language advertising campaign will include a series of TV ads running in the Washington, DC and Richmond media markets. The ad campaign will start on Monday and run through Election Day.

"Ken Cuccinelli has tried to cover up his extreme agenda on immigration, health care, women’s rights and gay rights, but his record speaks for itself," said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. "From sponsoring legislation while in the State Senate that would let companies fire employees for speaking Spanish, even during break times, to launching divisive rhetorical attacks against Latinos, Cuccinelli has shown that he's more focused on driving his extreme Tea Party agenda than doing what's best for all Virginians."

"As governor, I will be committed to increasing opportunities for all Virginians, because our Commonwealth is stronger when all who want to live, work, or raise a family here are able to," said Terry McAuliffe. "We need to be focused on keeping Virginia open and welcoming to all, which is why I will be proud to sign the Virginia DREAM Act as governor and work to increase access to quality education, good jobs and support for small business owners for all citizens of our great Commonwealth."

Latino voters play an increasingly critical role in Virginia’s politics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 8.2 percent of Virginia residents are of Hispanic or Latino descent. From 2000 to 2010, the number of eligible Latino voters in Virginia grew by 76 percent, outpacing all other groups in the electorate. 

The ad campaign is modeled after People For the American Way’s successful programs in 2012, aimed at increasing Latino turnout in key states. In 2012, People For the American Way undertook a comprehensive plan to get out the vote and communicate with Latino voters in Virginia and five other key swing states about Mitt Romney’s dangerous agenda, as well as the GOP’s extreme and offensive rhetoric about the Latino community. In Virginia, President Obama won the Latino vote by 32 points (64-33%). 

To learn more about the PFAW Latino advertising campaign’s history, please visit: http://www.pfaw.org/press-releases/2012/11/memo-pfaw-and-latino-vote

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PFAW

On Argument of McCutcheon v. FEC, Democracy Groups Call for Constitutional Amendment

Supreme Court hearing case shows need for an amendment to protect integrity of our democracy, eight groups argue

WASHINGTON – As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC, eight pro-democracy groups are speaking out on the urgent need for amending the Constitution to protect the integrity of our democracy. 

Three years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the door to a torrent of corporate and special interest spending to influence our elections, the high court is now considering a case that could bring further harm to our political system.  In McCutcheon, the Court is being asked to strike down aggregate contribution limits and allow multi-million-dollar campaign contributions to flood our electoral process. 

The case is a continuation of the attack on our democracy by wealthy interests.  Plaintiffs challenging aggregate limits should clearly lose this case under current Supreme Court precedent, but the fact that the Court has agreed to hear their arguments at all underscores the need for amending the Constitution to restore the American people’s ability to limit corporate and special interest influence on elections and to promote a democracy of, by and for the people.  To date, sixteen states and more than 500 cities and towns have gone on record in support of amending the constitution.  Fourteen federal amendments have been proposed in the 113th Congress.

The organizational statements are below.

“After the most expensive election cycle in our country’s history, the ultra-conservative bloc of the Supreme Court continues to threaten our democracy,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Our constitution’s authors did not envision a government of corporations and the wealthy – they envisioned a government of the people. This case threatens the very foundations of that system. A democracy where the voices of everyday Americans are overpowered by the amplified voices of the rich and powerful is not the kind of democracy Americans want or expect. That’s why it’s so important that we help nurture the growing movement to take back our democracy and pass a constitutional amendment putting the power of our political system back where it belongs – in the hands of the people.”

“The Supreme Court may be poised in the McCutcheon case to follow its disastrous Citizens United decision and issue a new ruling which further allows big money interests to dominate our political process and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” said John Bonifaz, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Free Speech For People. “If it does that, it will only provide added proof that we the people must overrule the Court with a constitutional amendment to reclaim our democracy.”

“For nearly forty years, the Supreme Court has been driving us down a road that continues to take us further from our democratic values,” said Emma Boorboor, Democracy Associate for U.S. PIRG. “Americans believe that in a democracy the size of your wallet should not determine the volume of your voice. McCutcheon v. FEC could give a megaphone to small set of ultra wealthy donors, drowning out the voices of average Americans. Those challenging limits should clearly lose this case under current law. But, ultimately, we can only turn this car around by amending the U.S. Constitution to clarify to the Supreme Court that the first amendment was never meant as a tool for special interests to co-opt our democratic process.”

“The Supreme Court should not repeat the grave mistakes of its disastrous Citizens United ruling in the McCutcheon case by giving the richest few even more disproportionate influence over our democracy,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. “The notion that anyone’s ‘speech’ rights are burdened because he can’t give more than $123,200 in campaign contributions is an absolute perversion of the First Amendment, and the fact that the high court would even consider such a claim demonstrates that we need to amend our Constitution to stop the distortions of big money in our elections and restore the primacy of the people in our democracy.”

“In McCutcheon, the Supreme Court will decide whether to double down on Citizens United to transform further our democracy – rule by the people – into a wealthocracy,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “We can only hope that this is one step too far for the Supreme Court. But we shouldn’t have to hope, and we shouldn’t have to live with a campaign finance system already corroded by Citizens United and other harmful court decisions. That McCutcheon is even being considered by the Court highlights the imperative of a constitutional amendment to protect our democracy.”

“McCutcheon is not about free speech, it’s about the buying and selling of political power,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Programs at Common Cause.  “The case invites the court to give wealthy Americans permission to purchase political favors and influence like they purchase stocks or real estate. With apologies to Mark Twain, it would give us the best government money can buy.”

“Many in this country already question the Legitimacy of our supposedly ‘democratic’ republic and the Supreme Court itself,” said Bill Moyer, Executive Director of the Backbone Campaign. “Even the pretext of representation of the citizenry has be replaced with a blatant and shameless auction. Corporations and the aristocratic super-rich who hide behind their corporate shelters of liability are ‘coming out.’ McCutcheon v. FEC represents a shameless flaunting of oligarchic power and reflects disdain for even the illusion of a system that strives toward egalitarian system of, by and for the People.”
 
“The issue in the McCutcheon case is one of political bribery, which is outlawed in the US Criminal code.  Yet, in the wake of Citizens United, we fear that the court’s attack on democracy in favor of corporate rule will continue when it rules in this case involving aggregate limits on individual contributions to candidates,” said David Delk, Co-Chair of the Alliance for Democracy.  “Will it even limit itself to just that question? To end this series of court decisions favoring the corporatocracy, we must amend the US Constitution to make clear that corporations are not people and therefore have no constitutional rights, and that money is not speech.”

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Only Fifteen 'Ex-Gay Activists' Show Up For 'Ex-Gay Awareness Month' Lobby Day

Despite claims that “there are more ex-gay people in the world than there are gay people in the world” and that there are “thousands of ex-gays” ready to march on Washington and make their voices heard, ex-gay gatherings always seem to assemble just a small handful of people. And it’s always the exact same people.

Ex-Gay Awareness Month, which immediately followed the disastrous Ex-Gay Pride Month lobby day, managed to muster “about 15 ex-gay activists to lobby Capitol Hill” yesterday.

Seeing that Congress was in the midst of a battle over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, ex-gay activists may have wished they chose a different day to come to Washington.

While organizers denied Right Wing Watch’s registration to the dinner focused on getting more attention for stories from ex-gays, the conservative outlet WORLD was allowed into the event, and reported that activists vowed to go on the offensive:

Greg Quinlan, president of PFOX, led a group of about 15 ex-gay activists to lobby on Capitol Hill earlier in the day. “In order to win the culture war on homosexuality, it’s going to take ex-gays telling their stories,” Quinlan said during fiery remarks that prompted a standing ovation.

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, finished the evening with a keynote address urging former homosexuals not to back down and let the naysayers stop them from fulfilling their God-given potential.



“Gay activists have actually paved the way for us,” said Christopher Doyle, president of Voice of the Voiceless. “We need to scream and yell for equality and justice for all. We can no longer afford to be on the defensive.”

Gingrich: Obama To Blame For Shutdown Because He 'Refuses To Behave Like An American President'

Newt Gingrich simply loves suggesting that President Obama isn’t a real American. He took that message today to the 700 Club, where he said that Obama’s lack of American-ness — not House Republicans — is what’s to blame for the government shutdown. In an interview with Pat Robertson, Gingrich alleged that by rebuffing the House’s ridiculous list of demands, Obama is undermining “the core things that protects us from dictatorship.”

“The big problem is that President Obama refuses to behave like an American president,” Gingrich said. “This President puts himself above the Constitution and that’s very dangerous for our freedoms.”

Watch:

Perkins: Pray For Gay People Just As You Would For Drug Addicts

Tony Perkins frequently tries to rebut the notion that he is anti-gay by showing how much he loves gay people by equating them with drug addicts and alcoholics, and Friday’s edition of Washington Watch was no different. The Family Research Council president asked listeners to pray for gay people just as they would for someone who abuses drugs or is cheating on a spouse.

“Here’s the telling thing about speaking to this issue of homosexuality and I think we got to be very, very careful here,” Perkins said. “First off we need to be praying for those who are bound up in these lifestyles whether it is homosexuality, whether it is drugs, whatever it might be, anything that is outside the design of God for mankind, it could be adulterous relationships, it doesn’t matter.”

“Our goal in speaking about human sexuality is not to win an argument but it is to point people to life, the abundant life.”

Christian Post Blogger Claims 'Demonic Dream' Of Homosexuality And Evolution Furthering The Last Days

Michael Bresciani is out with yet another column on how Satan is using President Obama and the LGBT community to usher in the Antichrist, this time in the Christian Post, the online outlet led by Richard Land.

In “America: While You Slept an Enemy Came,” Bresciani contends that the demonic “gay agenda” is a fulfillment of “last days prophecies.”

“According to the prophetic, it is most assuredly the father of demons who is providing the force, the impetus and the inspiration for the last days slide into religious, civil and general apostasy,” Bresciani writes, adding that “President, politicians, secular educators, LGBT, atheists, and a plethora of individuals like Dawkins, Hawking and others” are “spreading the antichrist doctrine all over the world.”

Marriage equality and evolution, he warns, are both part of the “demonic dream of the degenerate minds of the day at the helm.”

In another Christian Post commentary, Bresciani suggests that Pope Francis has “taken his first steps into the last day’s “apostasy” falling away.”

Millions of Americans now want the gay agenda to be fully accepted. Millions more stand for the murder and genocide of the unborn while hiding behind phrases like, “it’s the law of the land.” Hollywood minions spew the sex and violence on our senses as if it were the gospel. The enemies of the gospel and of Christ are emerging from the woodwork to undertake their tour de force as if they were summoned by the great father of demons himself.

Last days prophecies are being fulfilled right before our eyes and only the dullest of mind have not been able to see it unfolding. Even fewer, can explain why it is happening. Yet, it is totally uncomplicated. According to the prophetic, it is most assuredly the father of demons who is providing the force, the impetus and the inspiration for the last days slide into religious, civil and general apostasy.



Who are these sowers, who seem bent on spreading the antichrist doctrine all over the world?

The list is enormous.

President, politicians, secular educators, LGBT, atheists, and a plethora of individuals like Dawkins, Hawking and others are the representatives of the new secular gospel where men arrived in today’s prideful generation by means of a Darwinian fiat that took a mere 60 billion or so years and are now heading to the stars at warp nine. (Thanks to the imagination of one, Gene Rodenberry) With both these pipe dreams as a foundation and the demonic dream of the degenerate minds of the day at the helm – hell can’t be far away.

Whether it’s the President’s announcement of his ‘evolved’ view of marriage or the unproven evolutionary tripe some professor is pumping into the heads of college freshmen – the sowers will not escape.

Catholic League: De Blasio Should 'Honeymoon In North Korea,' Reveal Supposed Atheism

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is out today with a column in Newsmax attacking Bill de Blasio, the New York Democratic mayoral nominee, for his role in a group founded by a Catholic league.

While Donohue would typically go after anyone over anything critical they say about the Catholic Church, he lambastes de Blasio for working for the Jesuit Quixote Center in the 1980s. Donohue claims de Blasio should have mentioned “his extremist associations on his website” and admit that he is an atheist Marxist.

“Given de Blasio's insensitivity to Catholic concerns, it is not unfair to at least probe his religious affiliation,” Donohue writes. “If he is an atheist — his Latin-American dictatorial buddies surely are — we would like to know.”

“If he wins, maybe he'll honeymoon in North Korea. They would surely welcome him.”

Donohue added that Catholic voters should be wary about de Blasio because he opposes censorship of “anti-Catholic” art and the ban on gays marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan.

He may be the next mayor of the city of New York. Only recently have we learned who Bill de Blasio is (no one really cared much about him when he was the city's public advocate, an undefined made-out-of-whole-cloth job). Now that we have learned some important matters about his life, we are left with even more questions.

We know that his early political career was Marxist, and not just in an academic sense. He raised money for the Sandinistas, visited Nicaragua to align himself with the tyrants, and worked to undermine the efforts of the Reagan administration. No wonder he was endorsed by George Soros in August. Curiously, he decided to cover up his radical past: There is no mention of his extremist associations on his website.



Catholics should be especially wary of de Blasio. In November 2000, he took over as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton; she was running for the U.S. Senate seat in New York. The month before, the Brooklyn Museum of Art hosted a vile anti-Catholic exhibit that featured elephant dung smeared on a portrait of the Virgin Mary; pornographic pictures also adorned the "art."

Her rival, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (he would later drop out for health reasons), stood with the Catholic League; he even pledged to pull public funding to the museum (Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, who worked for Giuliani, also took this position). Clinton sided with the museum, endearing herself to the artistic community. In fact, it took her quite a while before she even said anything negative about the exhibit. Not unexpectedly, de Blasio went along.



Over the past decade, some New York public officials have decided not to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade because, they say, homosexuals are barred from marching. De Blasio is one of them. The claim is based on an out-and-out lie: Gays have never been banned from marching. What the parade officials insist on is that all contingents honor St. Patrick — they are not allowed to have their own floats and banners honoring their own cause. This is why pro-life Catholics are banned from marching under their own banner. As New York's Public Advocate, de Blasio decided he would rather show his solidarity with gays before siding with Irish Catholics.

Given de Blasio's insensitivity to Catholic concerns, it is not unfair to at least probe his religious affiliation. No one seems to know. We called his office and emailed his staff, but to no avail. If he is an atheist — his Latin-American dictatorial buddies surely are — we would like to know.

There is one Catholic connection that de Blasio has, and it is not one that any practicing Catholic would want to be associated with. In the 1980s, he was employed by the Quixote Center, a fringe group of Catholics so radical that they were investigated by the Treasury Department for smuggling guns to their Sandinista friends. Indeed, the Quixote Center was also the subject of probes by the IRS and the U.S. Customs Service at this time. This is the same group of zealots who defended the cop-killing racist Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther who became a hero to left-wing extremists.

The Quixote Center is hardly a model Catholic outfit. Its "We Are the Church" campaigns have all sought to upend the teachings of the Catholic Church. All of their efforts have failed. No matter, this is the kind of Catholic organization that excites de Blasio, ones that reject the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

When "Occupy Wall Street" protesters took over Zuccotti Park, trashing the area, raping women, ripping off the homeless, defecating in the street, and taunting the police, there was no bigger fan in New York City than Bill de Blasio, aka Warren Wilhelm, Jr., aka Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm. If he wins, maybe he'll honeymoon in North Korea. They would surely welcome him.

PFAW Releases New Toolkit on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

First introduced in 1994, ENDA has been introduced in every subsequent session of Congress except one, including its introduction this April by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate. Advocates in Congress and on the ground believe that the growing momentum surrounding LGBT equality should help ENDA move forward this year.
PFAW

Anti-Muslim Author Thinks Obama Is Creating An Islamic Dictatorship, Fomenting Syrian-Style Civil War

Yesterday, Janet Mefferd invited Michael Coffman onto her program to discuss his book, Radical Islam in the House, about how an “Islamist cancer” has “penetrated deeply into the federal government and our culture” in order “to create a global Caliphate or world government.”

Coffman told Mefferd that President Obama might become a dictator and refuse to give up power in order to transform the US into an Islamic state. Once Americans begin fighting back against the dictatorship by the country’s 0.8 percent Muslim population, Coffman predicts that the US will experience a second Civil War that is much like the one taking place in Syria.

He said the Obama administration is building such close ties to “radical Islamists” that they can’t be overturned by the next administration “no matter who is the next president, if we have another president.”

“Actually the Islamists believe that by the end of the Obama administration they will have an Islamic nation here in the United States, they believe very confidently that they will have succeeded within these next three and a half years to make this an Islamist state.”

“The next president, assuming we can get there, is probably going to shut the whole thing down and stop it,” Coffman said of the supposed Islamist takeover. “I think it’s going to become so apparent by that time that it’s going to be almost impossible for them to be able to implement it without going to a civil war type of thing like they do so often like it’s happening in Syria and so forth right now.”

“I don’t think the American people fully understood what they were voting for when they returned Obama back to his second term,” Coffman lamented. “It’s really opened up the United States to so many different things that could destroy us, literally destroy us in the next four years.”

Coffman further alleged that President Obama is sympathetic to radical Islam because his worldview contains only “a little bit of Christianity, just about five percent, not much more than that, and a whole lot of Islam in his background that he has now staked his corner on because there is so much overlap between progressivism and Islam.”

“Not only is Islam diametrically opposed to [Christian precepts] but so is progressivism, but when you have those two things diametrically opposed to what this nation was founded on and what made it such a great nation, you have a tiger forced out and it has to be forced out, it just has to be.”

Ted Cruz's Dad Cites Manipulated Obama Quote, Bogus Health Care Claim In Incendiary Speech

In a speech Friday, Rafael Cruz, Religious Right activist and father of Sen. Ted Cruz, cited a fake quote from The Audacity of Hope to suggest that President Obama is a Muslim.

In audio obtained by ColoradoPols.com, the elder Cruz told the Adams County Republican Party, “Barack Obama said: If the winds shift, I will side with the Muslims.” When an audience member shouted, “He is Muslim!,” Cruz seemed to agree and replied: “McCain couldn’t say that, because it’s not politically correct. It is time to stop being politically correct!”

The quote of Obama saying he will “side with the Muslims” has been making the rounds on right-wing chain emails. The myth-busting website Snopes.com found that the line is a “rewording of a passage” from his book regarding “the importance of not allowing inflamed public opinion to result in innocent members of immigrant groups being stripped of their rights” and “contains no specific mention of ‘Muslims.’”

In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

Cruz also repeated the thoroughly debunked claim that Obamacare will require people to have “end-of-life counseling” every five years, which he refers to as “suicide counseling.” PolitiFact called the charge an “outright distortion” of a provision that would have allowed Medicare to “cover the cost of end-of-life counseling sessions,” which are optional, and to “cover one session every five years.” The sessions would not have been mandatory and would not have “encourage[d] patients to end their lives.”

But even that provision isn’t currently law: It was dropped from the final bill thanks to far-right conspiracy theories.

Cruz went on to call the majority of Republican Senators “RINOs” for not supporting his son on a cloture vote for a government funding bill.

Listen:

Shutdown Isn't Symptom of Tea Party Ideology, It IS Tea Party Ideology

It's easy to wonder how a group of people hired to keep our country running could bungle it so terribly. That is, until you remember that many of those people were never interested in doing that job in the first place.
PFAW
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