In today’s legal landscape, “following the money” is tricky – but a new report released yesterday shows why this work is critical to anyone who cares about progressive change. The latest digging from the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets blog has uncovered new information about a multi-tiered money laundering operation through which tax-exempt groups funnel millions to groups supporting right-wing causes and candidates.
Operating behind a thick veil of secrecy, groups like TC4 Trust and the Center to Protect Patient Rights – which Open Secrets describes as “‘shadow money mailboxes’ – groups that do virtually nothing but pass grants through to other politically active 501(c)(4) organizations” – are able to hide both their donors and their recipients. By funneling grants through “sub-units,” which are owned by the larger groups but have different names, groups like TC4 Trust put millions into the pockets of 501(c)4 organizations supporting Republican causes in the 2012 elections, such as the advocacy arm of Focus on the Family.
As Open Secrets reports,
[T]heir financial ties run far deeper than previously known. The groups, TC4 Trust and the Center to Protect Patient Rights – both of which have connections to the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers – have been playing a high-stakes game of hide-the-ball, disguising transfers of millions of dollars from one to the other behind a veil of Delaware limited liability corporations.
The source of political advocacy matters. This latest example of dark money donor groups obscuring the links of their money trail underscores the urgent need for legislation like the DISCLOSE Act. This act would bring some basic transparency to the electoral system and require outside groups spending money in elections to disclose their donors – including the original source of donations. The measure, which was blocked by Senate Republicans in both 2010 and 2012, is a common-sense solution that would help the American people understand who is trying to influence their political opinions and their votes.
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer yesterday tied together the closure of an Oregon bakery that refused to serve gay customers who were trying to find a wedding cake and the rapidly-collapsing story of an Air Force officer who insists he was punished by a superior over his views on gay marriage. Fischer said that the two accounts were proof of growing anti-Christian persecution in Obama’s America.
Lifting a line from WorldNetDaily, he accused gay rights advocates of using mob-like tactics and shouting “Homo Akbar!”
“This is happening everywhere,” Fischer argued. “That bakery couple in Oregon had their bakery completely shut down by a homosexual mob, a homosexual mafia; they cried ‘Homo-Akbar!’ and assaulted, stormed metaphorically, the bakery and got it completely shut down.”
Later in the segment, the Focal Point host maintained that President Obama “has made it a criminal offense to be a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ in the United States Military” and accused Obama of “leading this purge of Christians from the military. This is ethnic cleansing, this is spiritual cleansing.”
Zack Taylor of the National Association for Former Border Patrol Officers has been a leading voice against immigration reform, charging that “America’s immigration laws are not broken” and estimating that there are around 20 million undocumented immigrants in the US. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios today, Taylor claimed that of the 20 million (a grossly inflated number), “potentially thirty percent” have criminal records – and that immigration enforcement officials must “cull the herd” of immigrants.
Actually, immigrants – both documented and undocumented -- are far less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans, and many of those who are in prison are there as a result of immigration violations rather than violent crimes.
Taylor then went on to falsely suggest that the Obama administration is ignoring laws and not targeting immigrants with criminal records. But as Beth Caldwell notes, two million undocumented immigrants have been deported in the last five years and the Senate reform bill “categorically excludes most people with criminal convictions from relief.”
“It’s just like having a garden; you have to weed the garden. If you’re raising animals; you have to cull the herd. That’s what needs to happen,” Taylor said.
This whole business about legalizing an unknown—when I talk about unknown, we’re talking about potentially 30% of the people that are here have criminal records. Why don’t we just go ahead and enforce the current immigration laws? It’s just like having a garden; you have to weed the garden. If you’re raising animals; you have to cull the herd. That’s what needs to happen. We need to turn our law enforcement people into a screw to where the people that are taken full custody arrest of are processed for immigration backgrounds and those that have criminal records removed. That’s not so hard to understand because these people are being picked up committing other crimes.
In last month’s edition of The Liberator [PDF], Liberty Counsel president Anita Staver blasted public school as “dangerous, anti-God indoctrination camps” that “threaten our nation’s very survival.” Pleading with parents to homeschool their children in a column titled “Stealth Creation of Government Indoctrination Camps Underway,” Staver lamented that “millions of helpless people are taken there on busses to be brainwashed and victimized” in “repressive” schools controlled by “secularists, humanists, and socialists.”
“Public schools have indeed, become some of the most dangerous places in America,” she writes. “We cannot stick our head in the sand while our nation’s children are held hostage in government indoctrination camps.”
“Resist the godless, socialist indoctrination before it’s too late!”
Most Americans are blissfully unaware that dangerous, anti-God indoctrination camps have been opened in every state in our nation!
A further outrage: You and I are being forced to support these socialist camps that threaten our nation’s very survival.
Under the guise of bringing positive reform, these camps are undermining the American way of life. Every day, millions of helpless people are taken there on busses to be brainwashed and victimized. In fact, our government has created an entire bureaucracy dedicated to advancing these repressive institutions.
You probably even have relatives or friends who are mandated to live in these camps for countless hours of the most impressionable and formative years of their lives. Of course, these government indoctrination camps are also known as “public schools.”
Public schools have indeed, become some of the most dangerous places in America, not just because of potential violence, but due to humanists with revisionist textbooks espousing anti-God lies to throngs of unsuspecting indoctrinees.
Although public schools were started to spread and affirm Christian morals and the Bible, government schools have become hostile places for God’s Word. The tragic fact is that the lack of morals in our public school classrooms is endangering our nation’s future.
These days, when parental authority is overruled by bureaucrats and activist judges, leaving parents as mere caretakers, Christians need to heed the warnings and take control of the public schools while they still can. And while we are working on school reform, we need to be sure our own children do not fall victim to the brainwashing.
I believe that many Christians will need to ask God’s forgiveness for neglecting His most precious gift: our nation’s children. And while we are training up our own children, we must also take the public schools back from the secularists, humanists, and socialists who have gained a stranglehold on their curricula. Even if we do not have children or grandchildren in the government controlled school systems, we must be deeply concerned about those who will someday govern our nation.
We cannot stick our head in the sand while our nation’s children are held hostage in government indoctrination camps. We dare not leave our most precious resource – our children – to the humanists. Secularization has deeply infected many school systems nationwide, spurred on by anti -Christian groups like the ACLU, People for the American Way, Freedom From Religion Foundation, and other radical groups that systematically coerce administrators into kicking God out the door.
The threat posed to our constitutional republic by socialist indoctrination in government school systems is very real and very present. But the good news is that Liberty Counsel and other pro-liberty groups are standing up against this subversion and are winning the battles! Join with us for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Resist the godless, socialist indoctrination before it’s too late!
Two days following 9/11 terrorist attacks, televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed the attacks on “the pagans, the abortions, the feminists and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way.”
Today, Robertson remembered 9/11 by attacking former president George W. Bush for calling Islam a “religion of peace.”
“They believe that anybody who doesn’t submit is at war with them and they are prime targets, and for the Western nations to welcome this fifth column into their midst is just committing suicide,” Robertson claimed.
“The reason is they have lost their faith in God, they have lost their faith in Jesus Christ, they don’t believe in what the Bible says and the core values of our society have gone away,” Robertson continued. “We’ve done it here in America, we’ve abolished prayer in the schools, we’ve taken out Bible-reading in the schools and little by little by little we’ve eroded the rights—we keep talking about separation and this that and the other.”
Robertson made the remarks following a report by Dale Hurd which linked radical Islamic groups to liberals. “Muslims and the European left continue their strange political partnership; while they’re polar opposites when it comes to women’s rights, abortions and homosexuality, Muslims vote for the left while the left grows its constituency by encouraging Muslim immigration and the spread of Islamic values,” Hurd claimed. “America too has been knowingly trying to advance the cause of Muslim radicals in Syria and Egypt.”
Linda Harvey of Mission America is deeply troubled that Dr. Eliza Byard of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network addressed the ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary on the March on Washington. According to Harvey, “GLSEN’s idea of promoting homosexuality and gender confusion to kids is deeply harmful and these behaviors are certainly not anything close to civil rights.”
She took it one step further by reiterating her belief that GLSEN and similar groups focusing on LGBT-inclusive education actually promote abuse. “These actions are pure evil and should be declared child abuse,” Harvey charged, demanding that conservatives begin “calling this lunacy what it is.”
Last week the executive director of one of the nation’s most radical homosexual groups, GLSEN, spoke at the civil rights commemorative march in Washington. Eliza Byard of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network is, I’m sure, sincere in her beliefs. But GLSEN’s idea of promoting homosexuality and gender confusion to kids is deeply harmful and these behaviors are certainly not anything close to civil rights.
Why are we in such a place friends where children learn that homosexual behavior is noble, that amputating healthy body parts is admirable but the mention of Jesus Christ during a graduation ceremony is controversial? I’ll tell you how: it’s because not enough of us are calling this lunacy what it is. We need to have a clear idea about what is evil and speak up about it in order to preserve the good. These actions are pure evil and should be declared child abuse. This all starts with the lie that homosexuality can ever be a good thing or that changing one’s gender can ever be in the child’s long-term best interest when it’s easy to demonstrate that it’s not.
The anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), headed by activist William Gheen, chose to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks today by very literally comparing undocumented immigrants to the 9/11 hijackers, sending out an email with the subject line: “Illegals are hijacking our government: Let’s roll Americans.”
“Today, let us bow our heads in prayer for those lost on 9/11 and the thousands of Americans that continue to be slaughtered each year by illegal immigrants who are being supported by large corporations and our own government and politicians,” Gheen pleads in the email.
He goes on to suggest that recipients “honor the fallen” by contacting elected officials to urge them to oppose comprehensive immigration legislation: “Let's hit these office phone lines, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages hard today, and instead of pro amnesty supporters, let the Americans speak against amnesty on 9/11!”
Illegals are hijacking our government: Let's roll Americans
Today is the 9 year anniversary of the founding of ALIPAC. We chose to launch on 9/11 in honor of the victims of the terror attacks that occurred because our government failed at its most basic responsibility to protect our citizens from those who would enter our nation to do us harm.
That is what continues to happen each day our government leaves our borders wide open and our existing immigration laws virtually unenforced.
Today, let us bow our heads in prayer for those lost on 9/11 and the thousands of Americans that continue to be slaughtered each year by illegal immigrants who are being supported by large corporations and our own government and politicians.
We can also honor the fallen by fighting to secure our nation from those who plan to pass Amnesty for illegal aliens this October. We just received word that Congressman Bob Goodlatte plans to get a bill passed in October and this will translate into Amnesty for illegals once any immigration bill passed this year is reconciled with the Senate Amnesty bill in conference.
Let's hit these office phone lines, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages hard today, and instead of pro amnesty supporters, let the Americans speak against amnesty on 9/11!
The illegals are trying to hijack the cockpit of America's government!
William Gheen and The ALIPAC Team
To: Editorial boards and journalists
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way
Date: September 11, 2013
Re: On D.C. Circuit, Senate GOP Faces Choice Between Governance and Obstruction
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing today on the nomination of Judge Robert L. Wilkins, one of President Obama’s three nominees to the influential Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Wilkins, like his fellow nominees Cornelia “Nina” Pillard and Patricia Millett, is indisputably qualified. In fact, the Senate unanimously confirmed him in 2010 to his current position on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But Wilkins’ nomination, like those of Pillard and Millett, risks being caught up in political gridlock that has nothing to do with his qualifications.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Millett’s nomination last month along party lines, with Republican senators making clear that their objections were all about politics and not about the nominee’s merits. The committee will vote on Pillard’s nomination next week.
We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to fairly consider Wilkins and the Senate GOP to allow yes-or-no votes on all three nominees.
Another highly qualified, principled nominee
As President Obama made clear in his Rose Garden speech announcing the nominations of Wilkins, Pillard and Millett, all three are highly qualified, principled individuals who will be an enormous asset to the D.C. Circuit, frequently referred to as the second most influential court in the nation. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Judge Wilkins served for over a decade at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he was recognized by the Legal Times as the office’s “premier advocate.” In 2002, Wilkins joined the respected law firm Venable LLP, where he oversaw complex financial industry cases and was recognized as one of Washington’s top lawyers by Washingtonian Magazine and the Legal Times.
In 1993, as a private citizen, Wilkins led one of the nation’s most influential legal battles against racial profiling. After his car was stopped and searched for drugs by Maryland state police while he was driving home from his grandfather’s funeral, Wilkins filed a lawsuit against the state. The suit revealed that the state police had directed its troopers to target African American motorists for highway drug searches. The case, Wilkins, et al. v. State of Maryland, influenced the entire country: 46 states now collect data to detect and prevent racial profiling of drivers.
Wilkins has been a leader in the effort to establish and create the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2000, he left his job to work full-time on the establishment of the museum, working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to establish a commission to plan the museum. The Senate later appointed Wilkins to chair the commission’s site and building committee. The museum is set to open in 2015.
In 2010, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Wilkins to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The American Bar Association has rated him Unanimously Well Qualified for the D.C. Circuit, its highest rating for judicial nominees.
Senate Republicans’ persistent obstruction
Senate Republicans have threatened to filibuster Wilkins’ nomination, along with those of fellow nominees Cornelia “Nina” Pillard and Patricia Millett, simply because they do not want President Obama to fill vacancies on the D.C. Circuit.
This is the most extreme manifestation yet of the Senate GOP’s campaign of delays and inaction against President Obama’s judicial nominees. Because of Republican slow-walking, President Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees have been forced to wait nearly three times as long for a yes-or-no vote from the Senate than were President George W. Bush’s nominees by this point in his presidency. During George W. Bush’s entire eight years in office, the Senate minority filibustered 18 judicial nominations; in the first five years of Obama’s presidency, there have already been 31 judicial filibusters. Many of these filibusters have had nothing to do with the nominees themselves: Nearly half of the Obama circuit court nominees who Republicans have filibustered are people they ultimately supported overwhelmingly.
The result is that more than ten percent of seats on lower federal courts are now or will soon be vacant. More than one third of current vacancies are in courts so over-extended that the Judicial Conference of the United States has declared them “judicial emergencies.”
This pattern holds true at the D.C. Circuit, where three of eleven active judgeships are vacant. The Senate has confirmed just one Obama nominee to the D.C. Circuit, in contrast to the four George W. Bush nominees, three Clinton nominees, three George H.W. Bush nominees and eight Reagan nominees.
This persistent obstruction has been detrimental to the federal court system, causing delays for individuals and businesses seeking their day in court.
But it has also delayed President Obama’s efforts to put qualified nominees with a diversity of backgrounds on the federal bench. Forty-one percent of President Obama confirmed nominees have been women, compared with just 22 percent of President Bush’s nominees. Likewise, 38 percent of President Obama’s nominees have been people of color, in contrast to just 18 percent of President Bush’s nominees.
The nominations of Wilkins, who is African American, and Millett and Pillard, who are both women, to the D.C. Circuit represent President Obama’s commitment to picking highly qualified, diverse nominees to the nation’s courts. Senate Republicans should give these nominees the respect of reviewing them on their merits, rather than using them as pawns in destructive political infighting.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver won’t be the only person honored at this year’s Ex-Gay Awareness Month festivities. The event’s organizers, Voice of the Voiceless, announced today that a former “Satanic Drag Queen” will receive their “Courage Award.”
Trace McNutt said in an interview with ex-gay leader Christopher Doyle that he became involved in drag when he learned that “the rock stars and the royalty of the gay world were the drag queens” and as a result turned into “an alien, sexual deviant creation…satanic version of a drag queen.” After battling drug addiction and homelessness, he realized that homosexuality was a choice and started attending church where “some of the most masculine, butchest men reached into my life and loved me.”
One of the chief players in Republican politics in Iowa yesterday praised Russian president Vladimir Putin for his role in criminalizing speech supportive of gay rights as part of a larger crackdown on the country’s LGBT community. Bob Vander Plaats, head of the group The Family Leader and recent host of a summit with likely presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, defended the ban in an interview with conservative talk show host Steve Deace.
While speaking about the crisis in Syria, Vander Plaats commended Putin for appropriating American “strengths” like “military might, decisive action, core values, morality, beliefs,” which have now “defaulted into our weaknesses because of Barack Obama.”
Vander Plaats praised Putin for taking a stand and saying “don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country for the Olympics; we believe in one man, one woman marriage; there is no homosexual marriage in Russia.”
Vander Plaats: He has taken what used to be our strengths — military might, decisive action, core values, morality, beliefs — and he’s saying, those are being turned into your guys’ weakness and guess what I’m doing? I’m taking those. I’m taking decisive leadership, you’re following my lead. As a matter of fact, Obama’s now agreeing with Putin, ‘oh you know maybe we’ve got some other options here now.’ So he’s taking Putin’s lead. Putin’s saying, ‘you know what don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country for the Olympics; we believe in one man, one woman marriage; there is no homosexual marriage in Russia.’
Deace: Says the guy that just kicked his wife of four decades to the curb.
Vander Plaats: It doesn’t matter. He’s taken what used to be our strengths, which has now defaulted into our weaknesses because of Barack Obama, no leadership, and he’s making them his strengths and he’s emerging now on the world stage as a newly discovered leader. Ladies and gentlemen this is why you need to rise up, this is why we rise up, to demonstrate, we do have a voice in this process.
Of course for gay people and gay rights advocates in Russia, they will no longer have a voice in the already-undemocratic state.
By Yolanda "Cookie" Parker
I almost heard one of the most famous speeches in American history from a first aid tent on the National Mall.
On August 28, 1963, when I was 17 years old, my older sister and I snuck out of our house in Maryland at 6:00 am and traveled to the March on Washington, despite our parents’ objections. The day was hot and I hadn’t eaten anything. Standing in the front row, listening to the day’s first speeches, I fainted. The next thing I knew, I was in the first aid tent and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was about to begin his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. My sister and I rushed back out into the huge, alive crowd. It was a sight I will never forget.
Fifty years later, I listened to President Obama speak in the same place as Dr. King. I have come a long way since then – besides being lucky enough to have a chair this time – and, so has our country. Returning to the site of the 1963 March, it was impossible not to be moved by the sight of our first African-American president speaking in the same place that Dr. King had spoken.
My own story speaks to the extraordinary success of all those who fought for Civil Rights when I was growing up. However, it also reminds me that we have not achieved an easy pat ending of racial equality simply because we have our first African-American President as many on the political right would like us to believe.
I grew up in a military family – my stepfather was in the Air Force – which meant that my mother had to bring her own civil rights movement with her as we moved from base to base.
I started high school at a segregated school in Biloxi, Mississippi, where all girls in the 9th grade were not allowed to take science, and instead had to take home economics. After my parents went to the school board and got a special dispensation for me to take science, I was forced to sit in the back of a classroom full of boys. I still won the school’s science contest.
We then moved to Hamilton AFB in Marin County, California and lived on base. A little more than a year later my stepfather was transferred and since we could not go with him we had to move off base. The only area we could move to in those days was pretty dilapidated so my Mother repeatedly petitioned officials in the Kennedy Administration, and refused to move off base for months until my family was allowed to move into decent housing, which was in an all-white neighborhood. Before we could move in, Air Force officials went door-to-door, checking to see if any of our new neighbors minded if a “colored family” moved in. They didn’t – and ultimately, some of those neighbors became good friends.
In the last semester of my senior year in high school, we were transferred to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland where I had to attend a newly integrated high school in Suitland, MD. I remember one teacher who was astounded that I had an aptitude for math and science. When I did well on my initial exam, she said in astonishment, “Oh, Yolanda, I didn’t know colored people could do math!”
Eventually, I built a career at IBM, worked for a tech startup and then started my own company with software I developed.
Throughout my career, I’ve known that none of this would have been possible if not for the relentless determination of my mother and the principled impatience of civil rights leaders like Dr. King and Whitney Young, Jr. As President Obama said on the anniversary of the March, “The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn't bend on its own.” There were a lot of hands bending that arc.
Although I’ve come from being banned from science class to starting a tech company, from fainting in front of the Lincoln Memorial to working as hard as I could to help elect our first African-American President, I know that achieving Dr. King’s dream, and my mother’s dream, is still going to take a lot of work.
When my son got his driver’s license in 1993, my husband and I still had to give him “the talk” about being a young black man in America – the same talk my husband’s father gave him. And today, my friends who have young children of color must explain what happened to Trayvon Martin and why, heartbreakingly, they need to understand it.
Decades after my mother fought to get my family into decent housing and to give me an equal education, the income and wealth gaps between African-Americans and whites are continuing to widen. The unemployment rate for African-Americans is still twice that of whites. Our schools still provide a wildly different quality of education to children of different races. And even the protections for voting rights that were secured by the Civil Rights Movement were just torn apart by the United States Supreme Court.
Coretta Scott King once said, “Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.” When I hear that, I think of my mother and of the young people today who are now picking up the mantle.
The truth is that for all of us, the story of the progress of our nation is the story of our own individual lives. And in all of our stories, we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go and therefore must keep fighting for economic justice, voter justice and educational justice.
Yolanda “Cookie” Parker is the founder and president of KMS Software Company and a member of the board of People For the American Way. She also served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee.
Creationists advising the Texas Education Agency, the state’s board of education, are no longer even trying to hide the fact that they want to insert pseudo-scientific material grounded in religious beliefs into public school science textbooks. Terrence Stutz of the Dallas Morning News reports that evolution detractors appointed to the review boards are urging the textbook publishers to ignore the Supreme Court (along with science) and push Creationism, or be rejected.
One of the panelists reviewing the biology textbooks, a nutritionist, said that “creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”
Religious conservatives serving on state textbook review panels have criticized several proposed high school biology textbooks for not including arguments against Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The review panels include several creationists. They urge the State Board of Education to reject the books unless publishers include more disclaimers on key concepts of evolution.
One reviewer even suggested a rule requiring that each biology book cover “creation science.” That would run counter to a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The decision banned the teaching of creationism in public school science classes.
“I understand the National Academy of Science’s strong support of the theory of evolution,” said Texas A&M University nutritionist Karen Beathard, one of the biology textbook reviewers. “At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent and grandparent, I feel very firmly that creation science based on biblical principles should be incorporated into every biology book that is up for adoption.”
“Now the veil is dropped,” Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network writes. “Some of the reviewers are clearly oblivious to the fact that teaching religious arguments in a science classroom is blatantly unconstitutional.”
The National Center for Science Education and Texas Freedom Network found that the Creationists on the textbook review boards have also:
• asserted that "no transitional fossils have been discovered"
• insisted that there is no evidence for a human influence on the carbon cycle
• claimed that there is no evidence about the effect of climate change on species diversity
• promoted a book touting "intelligent design" creationism as a reliable source of scientific information
• denied that recombination and genetic drift are evolutionary mechanisms
• mischaracterized experiments on the peppered moth as "discredited" and as "fabrication[s]"
Due to the size of the Texas market, textbooks tailored to the state’s standards could be used across the country, making the ramifications of the Creationist influence even greater.
The Religious Right has gone into overdrive to fight a San Antonio ordinance that added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the city’s non-discrimination policy [PDF], which already included bans on discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex…veteran status, age or disability.” But despite their hyperventilating, the measure passed anyway.
The ordinance’s opponents were certainly not helped by their strategy of using far-fetched, over-the-top arguments to mischaracterize the ordinance…because that it was just too easy to point out where went wrong.
Take, for instance, pastor Charles Flowers, a vocal opponent of the ordinance, who appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show on September 6 to charge that councilmembers who backed the measure “don’t deserve to serve any longer” because they “assaulted” the rights of Christians.
His main complaint about the ordinance was that homosexuality is a “sexual lifestyle choice” and not an immutable characteristic…like a person’s religious beliefs.
“There is a strong response coming from this community to rid our city council of people whose judgment -- this is the issue, they could not judge the difference between the sacred suffering of someone involved in the Civil Rights Movement to gain basic human rights based on immutabilities like race, sex, where you were born and your creeds, that don’t change,” Flowers charged. “They couldn’t tell the difference between that and some group that has a sexual propensity or making as sexual lifestyle choice and now seeking protection in order to persecute and punish anybody whose ideology is different from their own.”
That’s right; the arguments from ordinance’s opponents have come down to the claim that a person’s religious beliefs are unchangeable.
Flowers later contended that “speaking out against the homosexual or lesbian agenda could garner you a fine of $500 per day.”
“That’s $15,000 a month that you could be fined in the seventh largest city in America for expressing a difference between the ideology proposed by a city, where homosexuality and lesbianism is concerned, and your personal belief and personal faith.”
“This is like a police state,” Flowers said, adding that employers who don’t believe in gay rights won’t be able to win city contracts.
His claim that people will be fined for speaking out on homosexuality was so blatantly false that Mefferd had to ask him if pastors could be fined. Flowers alleged that the ordinance would only affect businessmen who seek to fire their openly gay staff members or refuse to serve transgender customers.
Now there is a huge difference between a government fining a person for speaking out against homosexuality or for harboring anti-gay views and prohibiting businesses from discriminating against LGBT employees and customers in public accommodation.
Does he really not see the difference or is he just hoping that listeners will fall for the blatant falsehood?
Furthermore, “religious organizations” are clearly explicitly exempted from the ordinance’s provision on public accommodation, employment and housing, so the Christian businesses Flowers mentioned wouldn’t be impacted.
Last week on Secure Freedom Radio, Frank Gaffney interviewed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about the crisis in Syria and asked him about a conspiracy theory, recently publicized by Rush Limbaugh, that the United States knew ahead of time about an imminent chemical weapons attack in Syria. As the story goes, Syrian rebels got hold of the weapons and staged the attack in order to give the US an excuse to intervene in the civil war.
One particularly troubling thing is we had just yesterday Rush Limbaugh among others picking up on a report by a former congressional staffer by the name Yossef Bodansky to the effect that a US Ambassador to Syria was in the company of rebels in Turkey shortly before the attack that took place on the 21st of August and was being told there was about to be a war changing event that would bring the United States in on the side of the rebels. I just wonder in light of the fact that some of these chemical weapons might have migrated into other hands, do you think we’re doing due diligence even to understand the authority of this claim that the administration has made that Assad was responsible for this attack? At the very least, it seems to me that question ought to be sorted don’t you think?
The radio host later claimed that “this is in fact, I believe, a formula for a war.”
Johnson didn’t directly respond to the allegations and only argued that Obama administration officials haven’t offered Senators enough time to review the evidence.
WASHINGTON – The Virginia gubernatorial candidacy of far-right Republican Ken Cuccinelli may be a test of how far the GOP is willing and able to take its recent lurch to the right, argues a new report from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch. As a bellwether for the course of the Republican Party, Cuccinelli’s success or defeat in this race – as well as the party’s continued embrace or rejection of his extremism – will be telling for the future of our country’s political landscape.
The report, Ken Cuccinelli: The Attorney General of the Tea Party, provides an in-depth look at the extreme positions Cuccinelli has taken throughout his career. Cuccinelli’s record provides no dearth of examples of his extreme ring-wing politics and policies, including:
• Filing suit against the Affordable Care Act just five minutes after it was signed into law.
• Supporting radical “personhood” legislation which would criminalize all abortions.
• Suing the EPA for seeking to regulate greenhouse gases.
• Comparing the deportation of undocumented immigrants to pest control.
The report also outlines Cuccinelli’s positions on gay rights, voting rights, education, guns, and more.
“If the GOP is serious about their ‘rebranding,’ supporting a candidate who compares undocumented immigrants to rats, wants to radically turn back the clock on women’s rights, and thinks ‘homosexual acts’ are ‘intrinsically wrong’ is not the way to go,” said People For the American Way president Michael Keegan. “Virginians – and all Americans – deserve better than that.”
The report notes, “In the first test for a Republican Party that is still reeling from the disastrous 2012 election, Virginia’s gubernatorial race could have provided the GOP an opportunity to temper its ultraconservative platform or restrain its partnership with the Tea Party. But the choice of state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli to be the party’s presumptive nominee for governor indicates that the GOP is moving even further to the right and letting go of any pretense of moderation or bipartisanship.”
The full report is available at www.pfaw.org.
After a lengthy interview with Jan Markell about President Obama’s supposed push for an Islamic caliphate, Michele Bachmann spoke to the Christian Right radio host about the 2016 presidential election, immigration reform and the Last Days.
Bachmann pushed back on Markell’s fera that Hillary Clinton will be elected president: “I don’t at all because I look at the story of David and Goliath, all David needed was one smooth stone to fell the giant. It wasn’t the stone, it wasn’t David, it was the strong right arm of a Holy God.”
She said that if “we repent, if we cry out to God, we have no idea what the Lord God will do for us in 2016.”
After telling Markell that the GOP needs to discover what its “positive, big picture message solution needs to be,” she responded to a question about support for Israeli policies within Congress to chastise Republicans who supported immigration reform.
She said that just as lawmakers need to stand by Israel “if Iran decides to drop a nuclear weapon on Israel,” the GOP must stand firm on immigration: “It’s not when times are good, it’s when times are bad when you count your friends. I got to tell you, I’ve been shocked and appalled by the conservatives who have gotten on board this train of amnesty for illegal aliens; I’ve been absolutely floored.”
“For some reason they’re on a political suicide journey to make sure that this happens,” Bachmann warned. “This will hurt and forever structurally change our country into the future and I think it will hurt us from a national security perspective as well.”
Bachmann then explained how she sees the “signs of the times.”
“We are in times that are unprecedented,” Bachmann said. “These are the times of birth pangs, we’re seeing the intensity of age and the speed and rapidity that these events are starting to speed up so fast that we can hardly get our minds about it.”
Marell lamented “that many are heartbroken because we’ve watched this wonderful country of ours just tank more and more and more because of this secular humanist, hardcore, atheistic, left who is hell bent on socialism for America.”