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Ben Carson: Congress Should Oust Judges Who Rule For Marriage Equality

Ben Carson, the likely Republican presidential candidate who believes that the gay rights movement is part of a communist conspiracy to bring about the New World Order, wants Congress to intervene in court cases involving marriage equality, including the upcoming cases before the Supreme Court.

Speaking last night with Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace, Carson said that Congress should “reprimand or remove” federal judges who issue “unconstitutional” rulings striking down state bans on same-sex marriage.

What the president and what the Supreme Court need to reiterate is that the states have a mechanism whereby they can determine the will of the people, it’s called ballot referendum. It has been done multiple times already, 32 states have indicated that marriage is between a man and a woman, and a few judges have come and overturned that. That, as far as I’m concerned, is unconstitutional, and Congress actually has oversight of all what they call the inferior courts, everything below the Supreme Court, and that’s where those overturns have come. And when judges do not carry out their duties in an appropriate way, our Congress actually has the right to reprimand or remove them.

After Deace alleged that a Supreme Court victory for marriage equality advocates would undermine freedom and lead to the “persecution of the church” and “open season on Christians,” Carson said Congress should intercede if the Supreme Court deems same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional.

“We certainly cannot give up if, in fact, that turns out to be the case because we do still have the Congressional mechanism,” Carson said. “And the key here in our country, values and principles cannot be drummed out of us. They’re going to try and the only way we maintain a country with values and principles is we have to be brave enough to stand up for what we believe.”

The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From And What It Means For The Future Of Choice: Part 1

This is the first post in a RWW series on the reemergence of the anti-choice “personhood” movement and what it means for the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Part 2: The Personhood Movement: Internal Battles Go Public
Part 3: The Personhood Movement: Undermining Roe In The Courts
Part 4: The Personhood Movement: Regrouping After Defeat

“Welcome to the future of the pro-life movement.”

As a few dozen activists walked into a conference hall in an Atlanta suburb in October 2014, they were met with an optimistic greeting from an impromptu welcoming committee.

It was the founding convention of the Personhood Alliance, an association of anti-abortion groups from 15 states who are determined to wrest back an anti-choice movement that they fear has gone dangerously astray.

The members of the Personhood Alliance felt betrayed.

The largest and best-funded groups opposing abortion rights have, over the past several years, achieved astounding success in chipping away at women’s access to legal abortion in the United States. But these successes, Personhood Alliance’s founders maintain, are too small and have come at a grave cost.

In seeking mainstream approval for anti-choice politics, personhood advocates believe, groups like the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and Americans United for Life (AUL) have adopted a secular tone and downplayed their Christian origins. In focusing on drawing attention to issues like late-term abortion, they may have won some support for the cause but have done little to end the procedures they targeted. In seeking incremental successes, personhood advocates argue, the movement has given up on making a moral argument for the humanity of fertilized eggs and fetuses and lost sight of its larger goal of eliminating legal abortion entirely.

But the greatest betrayal in the eyes of these personhood advocates is the willingness of major anti-choice groups to endorse legislation that includes exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. The personhood movement’s leaders contend that these political concessions are not only immoral and intellectually inconsistent, but also threaten to undermine the movement’s goals in the long term. In fact, the Personhood Alliance grew out of a feud between Georgia Right to Life leader Daniel Becker and NRLC centered around a rape exception inserted into a national 20-week abortion ban. Becker and his allies believe that they have a better plan, one that does not require compromise.

Joining the activists at the founding conference was Ben DuPré, the chief of staff for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who, along with his colleague Justice Tom Parker, has outlined an alternate strategy for eliminating legal protections for abortions in the United States: building a body of laws that define fertilized zygotes and fetuses as citizens with full rights under the law.

On the first night of the Personhood Alliance’s founding convention in October, Paul Broun, then a Republican congressman from Georgia, captured the activists’ anger at the leaders of the anti-choice movement, charging that they had betrayed the movement's core principles to such a degree that it had provoked the wrath of God — and implied that they were doing so for personal gain.

Broun told the activists of a meeting he had had with two leaders of NRLC when he was running for U.S. Congress in 1996. He told them that were he elected, the first bill he would introduce would be a Sanctity of Human Life Act giving personhood rights to fertilized eggs, because [that’s] "how we’re going to overturn Roe v. Wade is by giving the right of personhood to that one-celled human being.” The NRLC leaders, Broun said, told him they wouldn’t support it and he “walked away very disillusioned.”

When an audience member asked Broun why he thought NRLC and other major anti-choice groups weren’t putting their energy behind personhood bills, including one that he helped write, Broun responded that he wasn’t “making any accusations here,” but implied that “pro-life” leaders have a financial incentive to never achieve their declared goal.

Harkening back to that 1996 meeting, he drew a historical parallel:

They never told me [why they wouldn’t back the Sanctity of Human Life Act]. I asked them, and they just said, well, we won’t. And I walked away from that meeting in 1996 very, very disappointed, very disillusioned. And shortly after, actually as I was riding away in a taxi cab, it came to mind, back when I was a kid – looking around the room, I’m not sure anybody’s old enough to remember polio – but when I was a kid I had classmates who got polio who were in iron lungs, and I had patients as a doctor, people who when I was in medical school, were people who had polio.

The biggest charity in this country was an organization called March of Dimes. And they were, their executives were, I guess, I’m not sure, but they were making lots of money, March of Dimes was probably the biggest charity in the country. And a doctor by the name of Jonas Salk developed a vaccine. And suddenly, March of Dimes went broke.

And I went away from that meeting with National Right to Life and I was wondering, I still wonder, I’m not making any accusations here: If we were to stop abortion, what would happen to the jobs of all those people who are getting paid every day to be in the pro-life movement? What would happen? I don’t know if that’s what it is or not, I’m not making any accusations, I’m just telling you what my thought was when I left that meeting.

He told the Personhood Alliance that every day that legal abortion continues, America risks God’s wrath. Discussing his 2013 refusal to vote for a 20-week ban to which the House GOP had added a rape exception at the last minute, Broun said:

If we can save some, let's do it, but let's not make exceptions and that some babies are worth killing and some are not. They're all worth saving.

And then it goes back to 'my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,' as we hear [from] Hosea 4:6, and that's the reason education is so important. Because we've got to educate the grassroots.

...

You see, God is a holy, righteous God. He cannot continue to bless America while we’re killing over a million babies every single day. Abortion must stop.

(Broun's estimate of one million abortions taking place every day is, to say the least, wildly exaggerated.)

Broun argued that groups like the NRLC are selling the movement short by accepting political compromise bills containing rape and incest exceptions and then pressuring anti-choice lawmakers to vote for those bills.

"The reason a lot of pro-life people are willing to compromise is because of that outside pressure," he said. "Whether it's an endorsement from Concerned Women [for America] or the Family Research Council or another group, or it could be an endorsement of the U.S. Chamber [of Commerce] or it could be the endorsement of any group. Politicians, the major principle that they will not budge from is their reelection. So they will do whatever it takes to get the endorsements, the money that they need to raise.”

Barry Loudermilk, a former Georgia Republican state senator who had recently been elected to the U.S. House, also spoke to the convention, comparing the fight against abortion rights to the struggle of America’s founders, who he said also witnessed “a decline in the moral sensitivity of our nation.” Loudermilk, who while serving in the state senate introduced a personhood amendment that was backed by Georgia Right to Life and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, said, “When you look at our movement, we have the exact same things against us that they had against them,” he said. “They had the government against them, the laws, the judges. We don’t have the people who are totally with us, it’s growing. But we have the truth with us. We have Providence with us.”

The congressmen echoed a founding tenet of the Personhood Alliance: that in a movement that was increasingly struggling to appear secular, the organization would be unabashedly “Christ-centered” and “biblically informed.”

As personhood's proponents like to remind their fellow activists, both sides of the movement share the same goal: to completely criminalize abortion. The question is just how to do it.

The largest and best-funded anti-choice groups, deploying a strategy of chipping away at abortion access in the name of “women’s health,” have pushed state legislatures to pass over 200 new restrictions on abortion rights since 2011, many based on model legislation from AUL and NRLC. This strategy has managed to shut down abortion providers (especially in rural areas), make it harder for low-income women to pay for abortion, and erect unnecessary logistical hurdles for even those women who could access and afford abortion care.

The movement also won a pivotal court case with the Supreme Court's ruled that private corporations could deny their employees legally mandated health insurance coverage for contraceptives that the corporations’ owners believe cause abortion. And they did this all while stemming the loss in public opinion that had hindered other “culture war” issues, in part by lifting up female leaders and adopting woman-centered empowerment rhetoric.

But at the same time, another side of the anti-choice movement, those eschewing compromise and incrementalism and pursuing the goal of establishing legal “personhood” from the moment of conception, have suffered a series of embarrassing electoral blows. In 2014, Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have defined zygotes and fetuses as persons in the state’s criminal code. It was the third time in six years that voters in the state had rejected a “personhood” measure, although its proponents noted that their margin of defeat got smaller each time. Perhaps even more galling for the movement, voters in reliably conservative North Dakota rejected an amendment to provide constitutional protections for “every being at every stage of development” by a whopping 28-point margin. And this all came three years after a personhood initiative was soundly defeated in deep-red Mississippi.

These personhood measures, while sharing the same ultimate goal as the incremental strategy, have become widely seen as politically toxic, in large part because they could threaten access to common forms of birth control. The no-compromise strategy has also become tied to a series of ham-handed comments made by male politicians, most infamously former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, which further hurt the personhood movement, while providing political cover to those pursuing a more incremental approach.

But despite its spectacular losses at the ballot box, personhood movement strategists maintain that not only is their strategy the morally sound and intellectually consistent one — they believe their strategy is the one that will ultimately swing public opinion and overturn Roe v. Wade.

This series, marking the anniversary of Roe, will explore the recent resurgence of the personhood movement and what it means for the future of abortion rights. Upcoming posts will examine the history of the split in the anti-choice movement and its debates over legal strategy, and the organizations that are currently leading the movement.

Todd Starnes Lies Again About Obama's Work To Free Imprisoned Pastor

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes was riled up during President Obama’s State of the Union, taking to Twitter to call the address “verbal water boarding” and joke that Obama will probably offer “free marijuana” to college students.

Starnes was also very displeased that Obama didn’t mention an Iranian-American pastor, Saeed Abedini, who is in Iranian jail, which Starnes wrote was evidence that Iran’s leaders are Obama’s “Muslim BFFs”:

Starnes may have missed his own network’s reporting that Obama will be meeting today with Abedini’s wife and children in Boise, Idaho, to discuss the pastor’s imprisonment.

This isn’t the first time Starnes has used the Abedini case to claim that Obama doesn’t care about imprisoned Christians.

The Fox News commentator falsely claimed during a 2013 Values Voter Summit speech that the president had refused to make a phone call to Iran’s president to urge the pastor’s release. “He cannot utter the words ‘Saeed Abedini’ from his lips,” he said of the president.

Just days beforehand, however, Fox News reported that Obama had in fact addressed the jailing of Abedini and other U.S. citizens in the country in a rare phone call with the Iranian president.

Secretary of State John Kerry has also repeatedly demanded that Iran free Abedini.

UPDATE: It seems Starnes has caught up on the news.

 

 

Reform Groups Commend Congressional Leaders on Reintroduction of Money in Politics Legislation

The undersigned organizations commend today’s reintroduction by key Congressional sponsors of the “Defending Democracy” legislative package, a suite of proposed solutions to the problem of big money domination of our elections (full list below). We congratulate these members of Congress for moving forward on critical reform measures, from the disclosure of political spending to small donor public financing to a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United v. FEC.  Millions of Americans are calling for change, and we applaud the Congressional leaders who are heeding that call through needed legislation.

Signed:

African American Ministers In Action
Alliance for a Just Society
American Association of University Women
Common Cause
Communications Workers of America
Courage Campaign
Daily Kos
Democracy 21
Democracy Matters
Demos
Endangered Species Coalition
Every Voice
Franciscan Action Network
Food and Water Watch
Free Speech For People
Friends of the Earth
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Main Street Alliance
Money Out Voters In
MoveOn.org
New Progressive Alliance
OurTime.org
People For the American Way
Public Campaign
Public Citizen
Responsible Endowments Coalition
Say No To Big Money
US PIRG
Voices for Progress

“Defend Democracy” Legislative Package:

1. Democracy for All Amendment: Provides Congress and the states with the authority to determine reasonable regulations on campaign financing and distinguish between natural persons and other artificial entities under campaign finance laws. Key sponsors: Sens. Udall, Sanders, Tester/Reps. Deutch, Edwards, McGovern.

2. DISCLOSE Act: Establishes a system of disclosure of campaign spending and the sources of those funds for all entities that make independent expenditures (at any time) and electioneering communications (in calendar year of an election for Congress; 120 days before the primary for presidential elections). Key sponsors: Sen. Whitehouse/Rep. Van Hollen.

3. Empowering small donors and increasing political participation: Matching public funds for small dollar contributions, and various other provisions. “Government by the People Act” (congressional elections), key sponsor: Rep. Sarbanes. “Empowering Citizens Act” (congressional and presidential elections), key sponsor: Rep. Price. “Fair Elections Now Act” (congressional elections), key sponsor: Sen. Durbin.

4. Prohibit campaign coordination: Clarifies the definition of “coordination” to include the close relationships and ties between a candidate and outside group or super PAC. Key sponsors: Sen. Tester/Rep. Price.

5. Real Time Transparency Act: Requires all political committees, including joint fundraising committees, to disclose electronically within 48 hours all cumulative contributions of $1,000 or more in a calendar year. Key sponsors: Sen. King/Rep. O’Rourke.

6. Sunlight for Unaccountable Nonprofits Act (SUN Act): Makes public the donors who give more than $5000 to tax-exempt groups that engage in election activities.  Key sponsor: Sen. Tester.
 
7. Shareholder Protection Act: Requires corporations to disclose to shareholders and the public spending of funds for independent expenditures and electioneering communications, even if such spending is indirectly done through a third party. Key sponsors: Sen. Menendez/Rep. Capuano.

A growing coalition of organizations has recognized that there is no silver bullet in the fight to get big money out of politics. Rather, there are many solutions which work together toward the same end goal: a democracy in which everyone participates, everyone’s voice is heard, everyone knows who is trying to buy influence, and everyone plays by common-sense rules and is held accountable to those rules. More than 130 organizations have signed on to a Unity Statement of Principles in support of those values.

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Alex Jones: One Billion People Will Die If Pope Francis Gets His Way

Alex Jones fears that while Pope Francis “goes out and hugs old people and people with diseases,” he is actually bent on creating a one-world government.

Jones took issue with the Pope’s recent message on the environment, which the “InfoWars” host thought could potentially lead to the deaths of at least one billion people.

“Carbon taxes will kill one billion people over a decade,” Jones said“Obama’s told them, you can’t’ have cars, you can’t have air conditioning, you can’t have medicine, you can’t have anything.”

On Eve of Fifth Anniversary of Citizens United, Advocates Reach 5 Million Signatures Calling to Overturn Decision

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, reform groups announced today that they have now collected five million petition signatures in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn that decision and related cases. The Citizens United ruling on January 21, 2010 paved the way for corporations to spend unlimited sums of money influencing elections and was quickly followed by a nationwide campaign calling to reverse it.

In recent years, People For the American Way has partnered with a diverse group of organizations to compile the signatures. Groups contributing petition signatures include:

MoveOn.org, Daily Kos, People For the American Way, CREDO Action, American Family Voices, American Association of University Women, American Sustainable Business Council, Avaaz, Brave New Films, California Clean Money Campaign, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Media and Democracy, Coffee Party, Common Cause, Common Cause Colorado, Common Cause Massachusetts, Common Cause Montana, Communications Workers of America, Conference of Major Superiors, Corporate Accountability International, Courage Campaign, Democracy for America, Democracy Matters, Democrats.com, Endangered Species Coalition, Food and Water Watch, Franciscan Action Network, Free Speech For People, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, Left Action, Money Out Voters In California, Move to Amend, National Jobs for All Coalition, OurTime.org, Pay 2 Play, People's Email Network, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressive Democrats of America, Public Campaign/Every Voice, Public Citizen, RootsAction, Sierra Club, Sisters of Mercy, StampStampede, Teamsters, The Other 98%, The Story of Stuff Project, The Young Turks/Wolf – PAC, Unitarian Universalists Association, US Public Interest Research Group, USAction, WAmend, Young Democratic Socialists.

For more information on the nationwide movement to get big money out of elections, please visit http://www.getmoneyoutaction.org/.

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Jim Bakker Tells Mike Huckabee That Christians In America Are Like Jews Under Nazi Dictatorship

In an episode of disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker’s television show that was posted online today, Mike Huckabee chatted with Bakker about his potential presidential campaign and his new book “Gods, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” which, among other things, discusses the supposed persecution of Christians in the U.S.

Huckabee pointed to Phil Robertson’s temporary suspension from “Duck Dynasty” following his notorious comments about homosexuality and Jim Crow as proof that Christians are now victims of intolerance. Bakker is so worried about anti-Christian animus that he even tied the plight of Christians in America to Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish persecution: “If we all took a stand just like the Robertson family did, they can’t put us all in jail at the same time, unless they did something like they did to the Jews.” 

Mike Huckabee Talks 2016 Plans With Jim Bakker To Shouts Of 'Hallelujah'

Disgraced-televangelist-turned-survivalist-preacher Jim Bakker had a very special guest on his television show this week: Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor stopped by “The Jim Bakker Show” to promote his new book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” which seems to be little more than a compilation of populist, right-wing talking points about how coastal elitists like Beyoncé are trying to destroy real America.

Bakker was so impressed by the book that he claimed to have studied it like the Bible and practically begged Huckabee to run for president. Bakker led the audience in cheers while shouting “hallelujah” after Huckabee said that he ended his Fox News program in order to explore a possible presidential candidacy, which prompted Huckabee to declare that he ought to “launch the entire campaign” on Bakker’s show.

“I cannot believe how God blessed me so much to introduce this book,” Bakker said, gushing that Huckabee’s book will “save this country.”

According to Huckabee, real America is just like Morningside, the survivalist town that Bakker founded in rural Missouri: “This is America!”

Bakker, for his part, put “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy” right up there with the Bible in his list of recommended books: “If I was dying, this, besides the Bible, is the book I would give and I would say, honey, make sure every one of our children read this book.”

How The 'No-Go Zones' Myth Traveled From The Anti-Muslim Fringe To The Mouths Of GOP Politicians

Shortly after terrorist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris earlier this month, conservative commentator Steve Emerson went on Fox News and claimed that Europe was being taken over by “no-go zones” controlled by Islamic law to such an extent that non-Muslims were not allowed to enter Birmingham, England’s second-largest city.

Emerson’s claim was met with ridicule, including by British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Emerson and Fox quickly retracted the claim.

But at the same time, the “no-go zone” myth gained traction among conservative activists and Republican leaders, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who mentioned it in a speech in London despite refusing to offer the names or locations of the purported no-go zones, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who claimed last week that France has “like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed,” something that he claimed is also beginning to happen in the United States.

The “no-go zone” myth didn’t spring out of nowhere two weeks ago. Instead, it has been percolating for years in fringe media, perpetuated by anti-Muslim activists warning that Europe was being overtaken by Sharia law, soon to be followed by the United States.

Bloomberg pinpoints the beginning of the myth at a 2006 article by conservative pundit Daniel Pipes, who gave the name “no-go zones” to a list of French “sensitive urban zones,” some with large populations of Muslim immigrants, that were, in reality, nothing more than areas hit by high crime and poverty that were actually targeted by the government for urban renewal projects. A few years later, Pipes had the opportunity to visit a few of these “no-go zones” and reported that they were “very mild, even dull” compared to high-crime neighborhoods in the U.S. and that “immigrant areas are hardly beautiful, but buildings are intact, greenery abounds, and order prevails.” He wrote, “Having this first-hand experience, I regret having called these areas no-go zones.”

But Pipes’ retraction came too late to stop the “no-go zone” story from becoming an established fact in fringe right-wing media.

The far-right outlet WorldNetDaily mentionsno-go zones” frequently, often warning that the United States will soon face the same fate. Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller told WND last year:

The Muslim population, for example, in France is over 10 percent,” she said. “You see outside of Paris … it can be very frightening. The no-go zones, the Shariah zones, where firefighters and police cannot go. They are many times lured by particular criminal activity into these zones, only to be ambushed. We see it in the U.K., increasingly, the imposition of Shariah law. And people think it can’t happen here, but it is happening here.

A search for the term “no-go zones” in Geller’s blog before the Charlie Hebdo attack produces 10 pages of results. Prominent anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney has also perpetuated the myth, warning repeatedly on his website and radio program of such zones “where authorities dare not enter” and “Shariah rules instead of the laws of the host government.”

Last year, the Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro similarly warned in a FrontPageMag article that European “no-go zones” would provide “precedent” for such “Muslim enclaves” in the U.S. The publication has been another prominent generator of the myth, frequently citing Pipes since-rejected claim about French “no-go” neighborhood.

The myth percolated to the top of the news cycle briefly in 2010 when Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle claimed that Dearborn, Michigan, and the made-up town of Frankford, Texas, were ruled by “Sharia law.” She didn’t use the term “no-go zone,” but was clearly influenced by the myth that had by then become established fact in fringe media.

As recently as last month, Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt was citing the myth to warn that U.S. protests against police brutality would create “no-go zones.”

“It’s like in England and Scandinavia and I guess in Paris and a lot of Europe, perhaps in a lot of their metropolitan areas, the Muslims have come to a preponderant population in those areas that the police do not dare go into the urban areas controlled by Muslims,” he said.

The myth, propagated by a few voices in fringe media, is too wild for Fox News. But it is now apparently perfectly acceptable in the Republican Party.

Rewriting King: Right-Wing Activist Claims MLK Opposed Government Aid, Church-State Separation

Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday by claiming that King — who supported guaranteed employment and minimum income, public works projects and policies advancing “democratic socialism” — was actually a big opponent of government involvement in the economy.

Blackwell told “Washington Watch” host Tony Perkins that King would strongly rebuke “the growth of the welfare state” and the separation of church and state, even though King actually spoke out against endeavors such as state-sponsored prayer in public schools.

Blackwell, a former Republican politician from Ohio, also used the occasion to criticize the advance of marriage equality in the courts and President Obama for supposedly dividing Americans on the basis of race.

Mike Huckabee Reiterates Opposition To Marriage Equality: God Has Already Ruled

In a conversation on “Washington Watch” Friday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee expressed disbelief over media reports that Huckabee had somehow toned down his opposition to marriage equality in his new book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy.” In fact, Huckabee did no such thing, something that he himself was eager to point out, reiterating to Perkins his view that same-sex marriage is wrong because God has already spoken on the issue.

“I don’t know how anyone could actually read the chapter and come to the conclusion that I have sort of changed my view on same-sex marriage,” Huckabee said. “When people read the chapter, I think they’re going to get a clear understanding that the reason that I hold to the view that I do is it’s not just stubbornness, it’s because I haven’t been given permission from God to change what he said.”

Of course, that was the exact same argument used by many pastors who supported laws banning interracial marriage.

Huckabee also criticized governors who “surrendered” to courts that have struck down state bans on marriage equality, arguing that they should ignore such rulings and simply refuse to enforce them.

“This, to me, is so fundamental in civics and I’m watching attorneys general, governors and judges pretend that the court can just make law. I don’t know where we came up with this,” Huckabee said. “I’ve heard several governors when their state supreme court says that they’re going to allow same-sex marriage and the governor just folds and surrenders and says, ‘well, it’s the law of the land.’ No, it isn’t.”

Tony Perkins: Dearborn And Neighborhoods In Minneapolis Are Muslim No-Go Zones

While Fox News has apologized for its discredited and widely mocked reports about European “no-go zones” that are run according to Sharia law, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is standing by the false claims that there are around “700 no-go zones” in France alone and that Dearborn, Michigan, has fallen to Sharia law.

When a “Washington Watch” caller on Friday told Perkins about no-go zones where Muslims are “doing military-type training in Virginia and New York,” which he “heard on Bryan Fischer[’s]” radio show, Perkins said that he had also heard rumors corroborating such allegations.

In France, Perkins said, “they have like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed. There are some areas in this country that in effect that has occurred. Dearborn, Michigan, is one of the places, there are some places in Minneapolis, I don’t think it’s as clear cut as what we’ve seen in Europe, it’s been more by the effect that that’s occurred.”

PFAW Edit Memo: The Growing Movement to Defend Democracy Five Years After Citizens United

To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way
Date: January 20, 2015
Re: The Growing Movement to Defend Democracy Five Years After
Citizens United

Five years ago this week, the Supreme Court handed down its destructive decision in Citizens United v. FEC, a ruling that set the stage for an influx of outside spending in our democracy. This trend was on display in the 2014 election cycle, which saw the most outside spending of any midterm in our country’s history.

While Citizens United wrought unprecedented harm on our political process, it also ushered in a nationwide movement seeking to undo this harm. In just five years, more than 600 cities and towns as well as 16 states have officially called for a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United, and more than 4.5 million Americans have signed their name to a petition calling for such an amendment.

While undoing the damage the Supreme Court has done to our country’s campaign finance laws – and our electoral democracy as a result – requires either a constitutional amendment or a fundamental change in the court’s composition or jurisprudence, there are a number of other measures advocates are pushing to help mitigate the damage in the short term. The fifth anniversary shines a spotlight on a movement that has unified in unprecedented ways – a movement that has moved beyond a focus solely on the problem of big money in politics toward a focus on the broad range of solutions. While Americans understand the problem, there is a hunger for solutions.

Many of these solutions are on display this week as Congressional leaders come together to reintroduce a package of reform measures that work in tandem to address the big money domination of our political system. From small donor empowerment measures to the disclosure of political spending to a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United, the joint reintroduction of these reform measures (outlined below) highlights the fact that each is an integral part of the long-term solution:

1. Democracy for All Amendment: Provides Congress and the states with the authority to determine reasonable regulations on campaign financing and distinguish between natural persons and other artificial entities under campaign finance laws. Key sponsors: Sens. Udall, Sanders, Tester/Reps. Deutch, Edwards, McGovern.

2. DISCLOSE Act: Establishes a system of disclosure of campaign spending and the sources of those funds for all entities that make independent expenditures (at any time) and electioneering communications (in calendar year of an election for Congress; 120 days before the primary for presidential elections). Key sponsors: Sen. Whitehouse/Rep. Van Hollen.

3. Empowering small donors and increasing political participation: Matching public funds for small dollar contributions, and various other provisions. “Government by the People Act” (congressional elections), key sponsor: Rep. Sarbanes. “Empowering Citizens Act” (congressional and presidential elections), key sponsor: Rep. Price. “Fair Elections Now Act” (congressional elections), key sponsor: Sen. Durbin.

4. Prohibit campaign coordination: Clarifies the definition of “coordination” to include the close relationships and ties between a candidate and outside group or super PAC. Key sponsors: Sen. Tester/Rep. Price.

5. Real Time Transparency Act: Requires all political committees, including joint fundraising committees, to disclose electronically within 48 hours all cumulative contributions of $1,000 or more in a calendar year. Key sponsors: Sen. King/Rep. O’Rourke.

6. Sunlight for Unaccountable Nonprofits Act (SUN Act): Makes public the donors who give more than $5,000 to tax-exempt groups that engage in election activities. Key sponsor: Sen. Tester.
 
7. Shareholder Protection Act: Requires corporations to disclose to shareholders and the public spending of funds for independent expenditures and electioneering communications, even if such spending is indirectly done through a third party. Key sponsors: Sen. Menendez/Rep. Capuano.

As elected officials are coming together around policy solutions, advocates are coming together around shared values and goals. Last week, a wide range of pro-democracy groups issued a unified declaration of principles on money in politics reform. This “Unity Statement of Principles” has been signed by more than 130 organizations and represents the largest collection of organizations ever united in support of such an extensive range of solutions on these issues. Further, in cities across the country activists are hosting more than 60 events on the week of the anniversary to raise their voices against big money in politics.

We urge your editorial board to take advantage of the Citizens United anniversary to highlight for readers not only the growing problem of the big money domination of our elections, but also the solutions taking root across the country.

For the latest polling information, fact sheets, and updates about grassroots money in politics activism, please visit http://www.getmoneyoutaction.org/.

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Paranoia-Rama: Obama's Secret 'Deal' With Terrorists, Beware The 'Islamization' Of America And Britain Falls To Sharia Law

Sharia law is taking over the western world, or at least it is in the fevered imaginations of right-wing commentators, who this week made wild accusations about the Obama administration and others aiding extremist groups. Naturally, they also found time to criticize gay rights too.

Ron Paul Is Just Asking The Question: Was The Charlie Hebdo Attack A False Flag Operation?

In an appearance today on the Newsmax show “Midpoint,” former congressman Ron Paul defended a conspiracy theorist’s article published on the Ron Paul Institute’s website this week suggesting that the attack at Charlie Hebdo’s offices, along with 9/11, was an American false flag operation designed “to cow France and place France back under Washington’s thumb.”

According to Paul, neither he nor the author believe that the Charlie Hebdo attack was actually a false flag.

Instead, Paul claimed, the author was just asking the question and “determined to try to get truth out” about the attacks, and since he was just asking the question, he shouldn’t be held responsible for the contents of the allegations.

“I think he suggested it, he wanted a discussion and he has some really good things in there,” Paul said. It’s a shame that the media doesn’t pick up and say ‘what about this chief investigator of the event committed suicide right in the middle of it?’ I have no idea what’s going on there but that to me is big stuff.” 

“They’re not accusations, he pointed out some shortcomings and wanted to ask questions and get to some answers,” he said.

Paul pointed to the 2012 Benghazi attack as a reason to doubt reports surrounding the Charlie Hebdo massacre and “of course we have Rahm Emmanuel who says don’t ever let an emergency goes to waste, and I think that is part of what is going on there, this is a design to restructure and reorient people on foreign policy.”

Personhood Advocates Come Out Against 20-Week Abortion Ban Because It Includes Rape Exception

Next week’s scheduled House vote on a national 20-week abortion ban, to be held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, is reviving a bitter public debate within the anti-choice movement about whether to support abortion bans that include exceptions for preganancies resulting from rape or incest.

Even as major anti-choice groups line up to support the 20-week ban, activists in the “personhood” camp of the anti-abortion-rights movement are warning that the ban’s exceptions sell out the movement’s principles.

Back in 2013, when the House Judiciary Committee was debating a 20-week ban based on National Right to Life model legislation, Democrats on the committee tried to amend the bill to add rape and incest exceptions, but were rebuffed by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, who declared that “the instance of rape resulting in pregnancy is very low.”

The Republican-led committee eventually approved the measure without the exceptions, but Franks’ comment had caused such a political firestorm that the House GOP leadership quietly added the exceptions in at the last minute and handed the public leadership on the bill over to a Republican woman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

Most of the major national anti-abortion groups didn’t support the added exceptions but backed the ban anyway, and it handily passed the Republican-controlled House. But the addition of the exceptions caused a very public split in the anti-choice movement. Georgia Right to Life, the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, urged its state’s representatives in Congress to oppose the bill, a direct repudiation of the national group’s strategy. In return, National Right to Life kicked its Georgia affiliate out of the organization and replaced it with a new group called Georgia Life Alliance. Georgia Right to Life continued to exist as an independent group but also started a new national group called the Personhood Alliance to rival National Right to Life and push for no-exceptions abortion bans.

Now that Blackburn has reintroduced the bill with a rape and incest exception included, the Personhood Alliance and Georgia Right to Life are coming out to oppose it. In a statement yesterday, the Personhood Alliance’s president, Daniel Becker, lambasted Republicans for introducing a “message bill” with what he believes is the wrong message: "This a message bill. The president has already vowed to veto the bill, so why, in a Republican led House and Senate, send out a message that fails to embrace the essence of the pro-life movement."

Georgia Right to Life sounded the same note, saying that abortion bans should “protect all children in the womb who feel pain, not just those conceived by consent”:

"Last Fall, voters sent a clear message that they're fed up with political gamesmanship and lack of courage," [GRTL Executive Director Genevieve] Wilson said. "There's absolutely no need to compromise principles on any bill, especially one that President Obama has already said he will veto."

GRTL supported the 2013 version until an exception for rape and incest was added - which H.R.36 also has. We should pass bills that protect all children in the womb who feel pain, not just those conceived by consent.

Sandy Rios: House Should Expel Muslim Congressman For 'Islamic Terrorist Connections'

On her radio program yesterday, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios alleged that President Obama, whom she believes is a secret Muslim, is trying to bring more Muslim immigrants into the U.S. as part of his plan of “radically transforming the United States of America.”

According to Rios, “the president prefers, defers to the Islamic world, he defers to the Islamic extremists in the Muslim world.”

Rios then launched into a tirade against Rep. André Carson, repeating her contention that the House should ban the Indiana Democrat from serving on the House Intelligence Committee for the serious crime of being Muslim. After false claiming that two groups that donated to Carson, the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, are tied to terrorists, Rios said that Carson should be booted out of Congress for “his terrorist connections, his Islamic terrorist connections.”

“This man, André Carson, does not belong on the House Intelligence Committee, he doesn’t even belong in Congress, this is disgraceful,” she said. “André Carson is a dangerous person.”

An incensed Rios then returned to attacking Obama for “radically transforming the United States of America” through immigration.

CIS Official Wonders Why Black Lives Matter Demonstrators Aren't Protesting Immigrants

In an interview with Florida radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday, Center for Immigration Studies policy director Jessica Vaughn wondered why Black Lives Matter demonstrators protesting police brutality toward African Americans and inequities in the criminal justice system aren’t protesting against immigrants instead.

Vaughn’s comments echo the anti-immigration movement’s long-held — but so far ineffective — strategy of trying to stir up resentment against immigrants in the African American community.

Kaufman began the discussion by complaining about traffic problems resulting from the Black Lives Matter protests and bizarrely claiming that if the demonstrators really cared about black lives in America they would be protesting the recent massacre of 2,000 people by Boko Haram in Nigeria: “It’s interesting why I don’t see Black Lives Matter protesters in Nigeria, where they just killed 2,000 people, but I guess black lives only matter to George Soros and that ilk when they’re here.”

“Yeah, how about black job opportunities matter?” Vaughn said, referring to a Brietbart News report that some undocumented immigrants have been released from detention pending further court reviews of their cases, whom she claimed would take jobs from African Americans.

“It’s pure insanity and shows that the president’s executive amnesty has nothing to do with more efficient enforcement or reuniting families or righting wrongs of some kind in our immigration laws or preventing civil rights violations,” Vaughn added. “It’s all about completely dismantling immigration law and letting everyone stay, and I’m sure in the hope that these people will ultimately associate their life in the United States with the Democratic Party.”

Sandy Rios Uses Edited Quotes To Claim Obama Is A Secret Muslim

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association kicked off her radio show earlier this week by telling her listeners that President Obama is a Muslim and alleging that the president’s secret Islamic faith is the reason why he didn’t attend the anti-terrorism unity rally in Paris last weekend.

As indisputable proof of the president’s deception, Rios cited then-candidate Obama’s 2008 statement that he had visited 57 states in his campaign. The tired candidate may have meant to say 47 or to refer to the fact there were 57 Democratic primary/caucus contests, but Rios is pretty sure “the reason he said 57 states is because there are 57 Islamic states, just saying.” Actually, as Snopes points out, while there are the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, not all of them have a Muslim majority.

Rios also played a clip of an interview in which Obama referred to “my Muslim faith,” which in context, as Snopes explains was part of “a straightforward statement…acknowledging that Republican nominee John McCain had not specifically promulgated the false rumor that he (Obama) was a Muslim.”

“He really does not love this country enough to be its president,” she said.

Later, Rios played a compilation of Obama quotes that have already been criticized by FactCheck.org as severely edited and truncated — for example, one quote Rios used cuts out the line “I’m a Christian” from Obama’s statement, “I’m a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims” — while others are just Obama calling Iran the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” the country’s official name, and referring to the Quran as the “Holy Quran,” which President Bush also called the text.

She also played a clip from the president’s 2012 remarks at the United Nations, dropping his line about protecting images of Jesus Christ from desecration.

Rios also spoke with a caller who told her: “Obama is a lazy Muslim who hates America. He supports terrorism, he fancies himself as a dictator and I believe that he wants to turn us into a Third World Muslim nation under the iron fist of the United Nations.”

“There is no question that his sympathies are with Islam,” Rios responded. “That’s not a debatable issues…He’s putting the nation at risk and he is giving his allegiance more to the Islamic world and to the radicals than he is to his own people.”

BarbWire Pundit: Obama Will Have Non-Muslims Stoned To Death

Sher Zieve of BarbWire says she is on to President Obama’s secret plan to “import” thousands of Muslims into the U.S. by “calling them ‘refugees’” in order to “bring in enough of them to the USA so that they can and will help him overthrow it — they follow Muhammad’s actions to usurp it and begin their own communities segregated from the rest of the people.”

In these American “Shariah Controlled Zones,” according to Zieve, “Non-Muslims had best not enter or they will be stoned…and soon, I suspect, likely worse.”

“We are now fighting for our lives and souls against as malicious and evil an enemy as ever walked the Earth,” Zieve writes. “And, like locusts, Islam does devour and destroy everything it touches.”

Since its inception–when Muhammad chose the pagan god Ba’al as the god-leader of his new system and named it/him Allah, Islam has been a system of violence and almost unspeakable acts committed against non-believers…or Muslims who don’t practice its ways as the Imams of an area believe they should. Remember that the only time Islam and its Muslim adherents are non-violent is when there aren’t enough of them in an area to overwhelm and overcome the indigenous populations. But, when their populations grows to a certain level, the true barbarism of these people begins to immediately rear its head. We’re seeing it now in large portions of Dearborn, Michigan where Muslims have taken over and will not allow those of another faith to enter their community, let alone live there. When Muslims come into an area–and the Obama syndicate is working 24/7 to bring in enough of them to the USA so that they can and will help him overthrow it–they follow Muhammad’s actions to usurp it and begin their own communities segregated from the rest of the people. They then spread and take over more and more land, forcing out the current residents with acts of violence. In 2013 alone, Obama had over 300,000 Muslims imported and in 2014 he imported at least 70,000 more…calling them “refugees.“ This is what has happened to Dearborn, which is–for all intents and purposes–no longer part of the State of Michigan and certainly not the USA. Police will not protect non-Muslims in this area. There is a list of cities Islamists/Muslims have complied (see video link below and start at the 7 minute mark) of the major cities they plan to take over first. Thus far, there are 30 of them. When Muslims take over an area it is removed from the country and becomes pat [sic] of Islam. Bumper stickers on fences and signs warn those tempted to enter this portion of the country that it is a “Shariah Controlled Zone” and “Islamic Rule [is] Enforced.” Non-Muslims had best not enter or they will be stoned…and soon, I suspect, likely worse.

I believe that we have now entered into one of the final phases of this world’s history and that Islam is the Beast. Submission to it is far worse that dying by fighting against it. In the USA, truth is now being touted as “whatever Obama says it is from one day to the next depending on his mood.” We are now fighting for our lives and souls against as malicious and evil an enemy as ever walked the Earth. It’s time we started telling the real truth about it or we will be complicit in its spread. And, like locusts, Islam does devour and destroy everything it touches.
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