Washington, DC -- People For the American Way is calling on House Speaker John Boehner to remove Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and two other members from their seats on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence after a series of irresponsible allegations against U.S. government employees.
Intelligence Committee members Bachmann, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and Rep. Thomas Rooney were among the five Republican representatives to sign a letter to federal agencies baselessly alleging that a number of public servants, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin, have ties to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. The letter relied largely on phony information peddled by anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney.
Last week, Speaker Boehner called the accusations “pretty dangerous,” but refused to say whether he’d remove Bachmann and the others from the Intelligence Committee. Abedin has reportedly been placed under police protection after receiving a threat over the weekend.
“Michele Bachmann has never been a model of responsibility, but this latest attack is one step too far,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Members of the House Intelligence Committee are entrusted with classified information that affects the safety and security of all Americans. That information should not be in the hands of anyone with such a disregard for honesty, misunderstanding of national security, and lack of respect for her fellow public servants.
“Speaker Boehner was right to call out Rep. Bachmann’s dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric. Now he should act on those words.”
PFAW’s Right Wing Watch has put together a brief history of Rep. Bachmann's conspiracy theories.
As we continue to reveal the 2012 endorsed candidates of PFAW’s Young Elected Progressives program, here are three more great individuals, 35 or younger, running for office: Andrew Gounardes (NY), Micah Z. Kellner (NY) and Tim Keller (NM).
Andrew Gounardes is running to represent Brooklyn in the New York Senate. He currently serves as a member of Community Board 10 in New York City and is an attorney for the Citizens Committee, a non-profit organization focusing on providing funds for neighborhood improvement. When in school, Gounardes was the first Student Advisory Member to the Panel for Education Policy in New York City and he later worked as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. If elected, Gounardes will use his leadership experience to pass legislation improving public education, campaign finance laws and more. Visit his website here.
Micah Z. Kellner
Micah Z. Kellner is running for reelection to the New York Assembly. He has been serving in the Assembly since 2007 and has proven to be a great progressive leader. Kellner is a member on several committees including the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection and the Committee on Cities. He has been a strong advocate for the disabilities community, as well as for marriage equality and reproductive freedom. Kellner also has fought for increases in the quality of public education through increased funding and is a champion for the middle class, as well, with efforts to make housing more affordable for all New Yorkers. Visit his website here.
Tim Keller is running for reelection to the New Mexico Senate. After graduating from college, Keller established Data Digital Divide, which helps land mine victims in Cambodia. Upon moving back home to New Mexico, he began working for Booz and Company, a management and strategy firm, and eventually rose to the position of Senior Manager. He has built up a strong record in office and with his business experience, has fought to put New Mexicans back to work and improve the economy. Keller was elected to the Senate in 2008 and has been named to multiple committees including: Education, Military & Veterans’ Affairs and is the Chair of Science, Technology & Telecommunications. Visit his website here.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is in a league of her own. While she has some kooky and extreme colleagues in the House, no one can see what’s not there with quite the same clarity. After all, this is Michele Bachmann’s world, we just don’t live in it.
Fred Jackson, the American Family Association’s news director, while discussing the Colorado movie theater shooting today said that liberal Christian churches and liberal media helped contribute to violent incidents by supposedly deemphasizing the fear of God and the Bible. During AFA Today, Jackson had on as his guest Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries to discuss his column on the AFA’s OneNewsNow blaming the shooting on a waning fear of God and Hell, and blamed the American Civil Liberties Union for destroying the public school system by supposedly forbidding students from reading the Bible. “You wonder why all these terrible things are happening to us when there is no fear of God,” Newcombe said.
Jackson maintained that unlike in the communities of forty years ago, liberals in the media and churches, along with movies and the internet, have “have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.”
Jackson: In the community there were community standards that reflected biblical principles, whether people knew it or not, the standard in the community was based on Scripture. In that short period of time, roughly forty years, we have seen such a transformation in values in our communities, whether it’s rural or whether it’s big city. I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets [sic], whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.
Newcombe: I think that’s so true. It’s as if we said to God, publicly or in the public arena, ‘get out, You’re not welcome here anymore’ and it’s as if God removed His protection from our land.
Update: Later in the program, Jackson and co-host Teddy James of AFA Journal said the shooting is a sign of God’s judgment for the failings of the public education system and liberal, mainline Protestant churches that affirm gays and lesbians.
Jackson: I think the sources of this is [sic] multifaceted but you can put it all I think under the heading of rebellion to God, a rejection of the God of the Bible. I think along with an education system that has produced our lawyers, our politicians, more teachers, more professors, all of that sort of thing, is our churches, mainline churches. We’ve been dealing Teddy and I know the AFA Journal has been dealing with denominations that no longer believe in the God of the Bible, they no longer believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, they teach that God is OK with homosexuality, this is just increasing more and more. It is mankind shaking its fist at the authority of God.
James: And God will not be silent when he’s mocked, and we need to remember that.
Jackson: We are seeing his judgment. You know, some people talk about ‘God’s judgment must be just around the corner,’ we are seeing it.
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s much-maligned witch hunt against Muslim-Americans working in the Obama administration, including top State Department official Huma Abedin, is the outgrowth of a festering conspiracy theory that has been gaining traction in right-wing circles, where Obama is viewed as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood if not a secret Muslim himself.
One of the main perpetrators is Frank Gaffney, whose Center for Security Policy is cited by Bachmann in her letter to the inspector general [pdf]. Gaffney is a birther have resulted in him being driven out of even conservative gatherings. He believes that President Obama is “America’s first Muslim President” who is leading an Islamist left-wing “Red-Green axis” and intends to become a dictator. Not only does Gaffney think that Muslims should be prosecuted for practicing Sharia and that New Jersey’s Republican governor Chris Christie is guilty of “misprision of treason” for appointing a Muslim-American judge, but he also seeks the establishment of a House Anti-American Activities Committee. While speaking with Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin earlier this month, Gaffney asked Boykin about Huma Abedin’s “very extensive ties, family and personal, to the Muslim Brotherhood” and identified her as an “enemy inside the wire.”
Gaffney: General Boykin, we were talking before the break about an issue that I know as we’ve been discussing is of great concern to you, the Muslim Brotherhood and its rise, the extent to which it is being enabled in that rise by the Obama administration. I’d like to turn to a subject that I know you’ve also given a lot of thought to, particularly as a man who has spent many years as an intelligence professional, namely the counter-intelligence threat posed by the Brotherhood in our own country. Recently as you know Rush Limbaugh has lit up an individual with very extensive ties, family and personal, to the Muslim Brotherhood and who is at the moment the deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of State, her name is Huma Abedin. What do you make, as an intelligence professional, make of what is going on here. Huma Abedin is not alone as we’ve identified in our course, the Muslim Brotherhood in America: the Enemy Within, there are a number of others, but what is going on here and why is the Obama administration seemingly so clueless about this enemy inside the wire?
Boykin, a proponent of banning mosques and stripping Muslim-Americans of their First Amendment rights and a consistent purveyor of wild and outlandish conspiracies, said Huma Abedin’s position is proof that “there is support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government.”
Boykin: I would not begin to try and explain the actions of the administration because it is beyond anything that I can possibly claim. Secondly, Huma [Abedin] is not the only person who has penetrated our government and if you go back to the explanatory memorandum that is in our book, Sharia: The Threat, which was discovered in Annandale, Virginia in the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of their strategies was to penetrate our government and they have done so. If my mother or father was a known member of the Muslim Brotherhood it is highly unlikely that I would ever be able to get a security clearance so you have to ask yourself, why is this individual able to do that when no one else can possibly do that. So there is a willful blindness to what is happening. I believe in some aspects of this situation there is support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government, that sounds extremist but it is just a fact, it’s a reality.
Under fire for anti-gay comments by its president, Chick-fil-A issued a statement this week saying its “culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect.” The statement failed to mention Chick-fil-A’s other tradition of treating millions of Americans like second-class citizens by contributing millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations.
People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement:
“Chick-fil-A said that ‘going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.’ Left unsaid is that the company pours millions of dollars into anti-gay groups that work in the political arena to change the government’s policy on same-sex marriage. But it gets worse. Many of these groups not only oppose marriage equality, they’re actively promoting bigotry and opposing efforts to end anti-gay discrimination and bullying.
“Chick-fil-A should either cut ties with these groups or own up to its bigotry. A shorter and more accurate version of today’s statement would’ve read, ‘We still don’t like gays, but we do like money, so going forward we’re doing this without any fingerprints.’”
Update: Jim Burroway notes that the essay, posted as Charisma's headline article under "7/20/2012," dates back to 2004. However, the article reads, "Six states, plus Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage, and legal battles are waging in nearly every other state to accomplish the same," which was not true until last year.
Update II: It appears Charisma has removed the article from its website, but can be read in its entirety below.
Update III: Chambers now says the article does not reflect his current views and has been edited by Charisma:
I am on the beach, literally, with my family enjoying the dog days of summer. I have no idea why Charisma decided to reach so deep, edit and republish an 8 year old article that I am embarrassed that I ever wrote. Our PR team has asked them to remove the article and not to repost it. When I am back in town I will contact them, as well.
Alan Chambers of Exodus International faced an onslaught of attacks from his Religious Right colleagues after he said gay Christians could go to Heaven and distanced Exodus from promoting sexual orientation conversion therapy, but today in Charisma Magazine, Chambers appears to be trying to win back his anti-gay allies with his lament that the “land of the free and the home of the brave is morphing into a homosexual haven.” Chambers describes his escape “from the seemingly unbreakable bondage of homosexuality” and also thanks his parents for teaching him that “homosexuality was anti-creation and anti-God.”
He argues that gay rights advocates are using public schools and absent parents to, like “Hitler and Marx,” attempt to “radically influence the hearts and minds of young people” through the media and education. “The gay lobby has taken America hostage,” Chambers warns, asserting that “if this process is not stopped, the gaying of the United States will begin to affect religious freedom.” Have you noticed that America is becoming a gay nation? The land of the free and the home of the brave is morphing into a homosexual haven.
Gay activists want much more than legalized gay marriage. Are you comfortable with their vision for our future?
Have you noticed that America is becoming a gay nation? The land of the free and the home of the brave is morphing into a homosexual haven.
Just look at the top programs on television or listen to the most popular actors and musicians. They are celebrating all things gay: gay marriage, gay adoptions, gay cruises, gay politics, Gay Days at Disney World, gay-friendly businesses and, of course, gay churches. And more and more Americans are applauding what was once considered perverse.
How did this happen? We have been naive targets of the most successful marketing campaign in history.
We shouldn't be surprised that a few powerful people were able to lure mainstream Americans into accepting homosexuality as a lifestyle. Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill predicted in 1987 that this would happen. In an article called "The Overhauling of Straight America," Kirk and Pill wrote in Guide magazine:
"You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won."
Kirk and Pill called for a "large-scale media campaign" to change the image of gays in America. This campaign, they said, would involve six steps: (1) Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and often as possible; (2) Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers; (3) Give protectors a just cause; (4) Make gays look good; (5) Make the victimizers look bad; and (6) Solicit funds.
All six of these objectives have been successfully accomplished in only 17 years. We now live in a society in which some of the most influential individuals are either living as homosexuals or relentlessly promoting how normal it is to live this way.
Most members of the Hollywood media elite are involved in this subversive campaign. Homosexuality has become a part of almost every movie plot, sitcom, song, acceptance speech or liberal political campaign mantra.
And we all know what happens to those who refuse to conform to the groupthink mentality of the politically correct. Just ask Laura Schlessenger, the popular talk-show host whose TV show was canceled because she had the audacity to suggest that homosexuality is a biological abnormality.
She only said what many pro-gay organizations' websites imply in more couched terms. Yet Dr. Laura's sponsors pulled their support.
So much for freedom of speech.
You may wonder how I can be so direct and opinionated about this issue. I believe I have a right to warn people about the gay agenda because I was at one time trapped in a homosexual lifestyle. My attractions were exclusively homosexual, and I bought into the lie that I must have been born gay.
Though I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Jesus as my Savior at age 6, I was still susceptible to sexual immorality. Though I never chose my homosexual feelings (who would?), I did choose to act on them.
I tried going to a gay church to see if I could reconcile homosexuality with Christianity. I attended gay pride rallies and volunteered to work for AIDS organizations. I lived in a shame-based cycle of sexual encounters that left me empty--until the day God sent two Christians into a gay bar to encourage me, walk me out the door and help me overcome my unhealthy behavior pattern.
Twenty years later I am a different man. After much counseling, prayer, obedience, tears, deliverance and daily submission to God's will, I am free from the seemingly unbreakable bondage of homosexuality. I am living testimony that gays can change.
As a homosexual I suffered in one broken relationship after another and struggled to find inner peace. I fought for satisfaction through sex, social acceptance and the pursuit of rights. But I finally realized that only Jesus Christ can fill the voids of life. So I chose to follow Him.
My parents had a very different view of homosexuality than most young people today. When I was growing up, the only thing I ever heard about homosexuality was negative.
My dad's office was in downtown Orlando, Fla., near a local scenic spot called Lake Eola. At that time the park near this lake had a bad reputation because so many gay men went there for anonymous sex. My dad often told me and my brother when we were making our clothing choices that he didn't want us to grow up and become "like the queers down at Eola Park."
Obviously my father lacked compassion for homosexuals, and no one should use such unkind remarks to refer to other people. My dad did not understand the complex psychological, medical and emotional reasons people become gay. But he did understand that homosexuality is innately wrong.
My parents' generation was the last to see this issue in such absolute terms, unfortunately. Many of today's GenXers think being gay is just an "alternative lifestyle." They've seen enough episodes of Will & Grace and listened to enough media propaganda to conclude that homosexuality is just one more way to express love.
Because my parents knew homosexuality was anti-creation and anti-God, they instilled in me some of those "old-fashioned" values that are greatly lacking in so many homes today. I'm thankful they did.
But many kids today are not so fortunate. From the public school system to the entertainment industry to government and military to businesses, homosexuality is now perhaps the most protected, promoted and endorsed lifestyle in our world.
We promote homosexuality on a daily basis when we subscribe to cable TV services, buy designer clothes or go to the bank. It's hard to find even one company essential to daily life in the 21st century that does not overtly or passively fund the advancement of homosexuality.
The growing trend in American society for the last 30 years has been for both parents to work (if a child is lucky enough to have a mother and father under the same roof) so that their families can enjoy the "good life." With this trend came the routine that children in these homes go to school, come home, eat alone, watch television, surf the Internet and put themselves to bed--not to mention engage in sexually promiscuous behavior.
Pro-homosexual leaders realized the same truth employed by Hitler and Marx: To advance their agenda they must radically influence the hearts and minds of young people.
Because Mom and Dad are working all day and Susie and Junior are in school and then home alone, activists came up with a plan: Use public schools, television, the Internet and other youth-friendly venues to influence the way young people view homosexuality.
Under the guise of AIDS education, groups such as the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network gained access into public schools. Similarly, pro-homosexual activists ran for school board positions and partnered with every kid's favorite after-school babysitter, MTV. Teenagers got hooked on the Internet, which opened them up to a 24-hour source of temptation and perversion.
The plan worked. If you ask the average kid, even the average Christian kid, how they feel about homosexuality, nine out of 10 will tell you they believe it is genetic, normal and just like heterosexuality. We have allowed an entire generation of young people to be brainwashed with an alternate morality.
The Power of Words
Much of this brainwashing has come by way of buzzwords and phrases. For example, everyone has become accustomed to talking about "sexual orientation." Brilliant homosexuals intent on legitimizing homosexual behavior used this phrase to generalize all sexual conduct. Whether one is heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or even pedophilic, all are lumped under this term.
Though homosexuality, bisexuality and pedophilia bring up negative, unpleasant or adverse reactions, "sexual orientation" seems nonoffensive. Lumping homosexuality in with heterosexuality under one definition helped homosexuality gain new credibility as at least a runner up, if not an equal to, heterosexuality.
Once "sexual orientation" was introduced into our vocabulary, it was then propagated throughout the media. Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric and Peter Jennings inundated us with this new phraseology. Those battling for the acceptance of homosexuality experienced newfound respect from a culture that at one time used the unflattering term "sodomy" to denote homosexual practice.
With this new vocabulary ingrained in our subconscious, gay activists began fighting for protection from discrimination. They purposed to make it impossible for anyone to refuse restaurant service, housing, jobs, raises and promotions based on sexual orientation.
The Human Rights Campaign, the world's largest homosexual-rights advocacy group, reports that in 2002 more cities and counties added sexual orientation to their anti-discrimination ordinances than in any other year (a total of 15). In all, more than 140 cities and counties have ordinances protecting lesbians and gay men from discrimination, and 53 cities and counties now also protect the transgendered. Fourteen cities and two counties added gender identity to their anti-discrimination ordinances in 2002, an increase of more than 300 percent over 2001.
Where is this headed? And can we stop this process?
Sadly, much of the damage is already done. Our nation's moral fabric is unraveling and most of us don't even realize it.
The Supreme Court has legalized sodomy. Six states, plus Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage, and legal battles are waging in nearly every other state to accomplish the same. The mayor of San Francisco acted illegally by marrying same-sex couples, and yet he was not penalized for his actions.
Now, perhaps too late, we are waking up from a three-decade sleep to realize that the gay lobby has taken America hostage. I hope we are not so naive that we think their agenda stops with legalizing same-sex marriages. Ultimately, if this process is not stopped, the gaying of the United States will begin to affect religious freedom:
Churches will be forced to hire gay people in staff positions.
Christian broadcasters will be penalized or even shut down if they air programs that call homosexuality a sin.
Religious people will be jailed for violating "hate speech" laws--because they describe homosexuality as abnormal or immoral.
I hope we wake up soon. The apathy that has gripped the church for so long has been costly.
Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: "The church is neither the master of the state nor the servant of the state but rather the conscience of the state." The moral crisis we face today is the result not of sinners running loose but rather of Christians remaining passive and prayerless. Only if we repent, recommit and remobilize do we have hope for reformation.
Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality joined the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios yesterday to discuss a lawsuit in Illinois challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to reaffirm their anti-gay policy. LaBarbera said that gay rights advocates are just like a school bully, and “like the little weakling in school who keeps giving up his lunch, we keep giving up our lunch to the bully and the bully is getting stronger and bolder and more vicious.” He warned that if Americans do not push back against “the homosexual lobby” then “they will run right over the country,” and praised the Boy Scouts of America for refusing to “cave into this latest pressure campaign by the homosexual lobby” and standing “with the silent majority.”
LaBarbera: With the homosexual movement, if you don’t stand up to the bully, you encourage the bully and what’s happening is America is caving into the bully. Like the little weakling in school who keeps giving up his lunch, we keep giving up our lunch to the bully and the bully is getting stronger and bolder and more vicious. We’ve got to stand up to the homosexual lobby, if we don’t they will run right over this country.
Rios: I know that that’s true, sad but true. Peter, we had some good news this week…I want your thoughts about the Boy Scouts holding firm on their resolution not to allow homosexual Boy Scouts or leaders, your thoughts about that?
LaBarbera: Yes, Sandy, it’s great news. The Boy Scouts didn’t cave into the bully, they stood with the silent majority who are with them and they refused to cave into this latest pressure campaign by the homosexual lobby, which by the way Sandy, included a high profile executive with Ernst & Young, a guy named Jim Turley, who was on the Scout executive board and he also tried to pressure the Scouts into going pro-homosexual and thank God they stood strong and they reaffirmed their longstanding policy.
The one-man outrage outlet better known as the Florida Family Association is up in arms over a new partnership between Office Depot and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, including a $1 million donation. The FFA, led by David Caton, is demanding that Office Depot rescind the donation since Gaga’s Born This Way message, which isn’t so much a claim about sexuality as a celebration of individuality, is sending an “irresponsible message to many teens who would have eventually chose to be straight.”
“Thousands of kids who might have otherwise worked through their pubescent sexual identity issues will be inspired to accept the wrong choice based upon this unscientific, emotionally charged born this way propaganda,” the FFA writes, “What’s brave or kind about telling thousands of sexually frustrated teens that they were born this way when a high percentage of them would have ended up taking the straight heterosexual path for life?”
Thousands of kids who might have otherwise worked through their pubescent sexual identity issues will be inspired to accept the wrong choice based upon this unscientific, emotionally charged propaganda.
What’s brave or kind about telling thousands of sexually frustrated teens that they were Born This Way when a high percentage of them would have ended up taking the straight heterosexual path for life?
Please urge Office Depot to rescind their one million dollar pledge to Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation.
Born this Way sends an irresponsible message to many teens who would have eventually chose to be straight. The one million dollar pledge from Office Depot to the Lady Gaga Born this Way Foundation will influence many teens to embrace homosexuality for their lifetime who may have otherwise worked through their crisis with straight results.
GovTeen Network’s Puberty101.com states: “It is normal for teens to experiment with same-sex friends, and does not necessarily mean that you’re gay. Most often, you’re not.” http://puberty101.com/boys/am-i-gay/
There is no scientific evidence that anyone is born this way (gay.) The American Psychiatric Association wrote the following information in a May 2002 article titled "Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Fact Sheet," published on its website Psych.org: "No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.’ http://borngay.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=1335
Thousands of kids who might have otherwise worked through their pubescent sexual identity issues will be inspired to accept the wrong choice based upon this unscientific, emotionally charged born this way propaganda.
What’s brave or kind about telling thousands of sexually frustrated teens that they were born this way when a high percentage of them would have ended up taking the straight heterosexual path for life?
I urge Office Depot to rescind their one million dollar pledge to Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation.
My future patronage of Office Depot depends upon your response.
Justice Antonin Scalia gave a TV interview last night on CNN in which he reminded Americans of his right-wing ideology. Since Mitt Romney has said he would nominate Supreme Court Justices like Scalia if elected president, the interview also served as a warning to Americans of what's at stake this November. Talking Points Memo summarizes some of the interview's highlights:
Scalia defended Citizens United, which took elections from the people and handed them to often-secretive powerful interests that drown out the voices of non-millionaires. He added, however, that people are "entitled" to know who is financing the messages they are bombarded with.
In an era when Roe v. Wade has already been watered down, Scalia repeated his belief that women have no constitutional right to abortion at all. "[M]y only point is the Constitution does not say anything about it. It leaves it up to democratic choice." (That would be news to those who adopted the Ninth Amendment specifically to counter future assertions that the rights specifically mentioned in the Constitution are a ceiling, not a floor.)
Scalia also stated his opinion that torturing an innocent person taken from a battlefield isn't cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. "I don't think the Constitution addressed torture, it addressed … punishment for crimes."
CNN adds another highlight:
When asked if he had ever broken the law, the justice said, "I've had a few speeding tickets, though none recently."
Let's hope for his sake that the traffic stop didn't lead to an unwarranted and humiliating strip search, as occurred to Albert Florence. When Florence challenged the strip search as unconstitutional, Scalia was part of the conservative 5-4 majority that denied his claim.
Do we really want a president who looks to Antonin Scalia as a model to emulate?
To: Editorial boards and journalists
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way
Subject: Gridlock or Bust: How the Senate GOP Has Abandoned Its Own Nominees for the Sake of Obstruction
Date: July 19, 2012
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got into a shouting match on the Senate floor, each of them accusing the other of purposefully stalling Senate business.
One of them was right. The other was making flimsy excuses.
Senate Republicans under McConnell’s leadership have routinely stalled the government’s business even on matters on which they agree with Democrats. Nowhere is this clearer than in the obstruction of nominees to the federal courts, particularly those with strong bipartisan support. And nowhere is that clearer than the senseless filibuster of the nomination of Oklahoma’s Robert Bacharach to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bacharach has the strong support of both of Oklahoma’s Republican senators. He was approved by a strong bipartisan majority in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yet McConnell, citing a nebulous so-called rule named after South Carolina segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond, refuses to hold a vote on Bacharach’s confirmation. (Under Senate rules, the majority cannot schedule a vote without the consent of the minority party. Denying that consent for President Obama’s judicial nominees has been standard operating procedure for McConnell. This quiet filibuster is usually hidden from the public unless the majority calls for a cloture vote to end it.)
Oklahoma’s Robert Bacharach and the 20 other highly qualified judicial nominees awaiting confirmation deserve swift up-or-down votes from the full Senate.
McConnell is misleading Americans on the extent of his own obstruction.
In their exchange yesterday, Sen. McConnell accused Sen. Reid of “basically trying to convince the American people that it’s somebody else's fault, that the Senate is not doing the basic work of government.”
The Senate is not doing the basic work of government. But the blame for that lies squarely on the shoulders of McConnell and his party.
Look at the progress on the confirmation of President Obama’s judicial nominees: the average federal court nominee under President Obama has waited 103 days after committee approval just for an up-or-down vote from the Senate. The average wait for George W. Bush's nominees at this point in his first term was just 34 days. The result is that only 153 Obama nominees have been confirmed so far, compared with 197 Bush nominees at the same point in his term. While Bush cut the judicial vacancy rate by over one third during his first term in office, Obama is set to end his first term with more vacancies than he started with, capping off a historically long period of high vacancy rates.
McConnell, unsurprisingly, has been trying desperately to hide these numbers. In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, he and Sen. Charles Grassley claimed that the Senate today “already has confirmed 152 of his lower-court nominees, compared to only 119 of Bush's under similar circumstances.”
What they call “similar circumstances” is what the rest of us would call “apples and oranges.” The senators are comparing the confirmation rate in Obama’s first term to that in Bush’s second term – when, because of a cooperative Senate he had many fewer judicial vacancies to fill.
McConnell is prioritizing obstruction over the wishes of his fellow GOP senators.
Tenth Circuit nominee Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma has the strong support of both of his home-state GOP senators. In fact, Sen. Coburn has publicly spoken out against the needless obstruction of Bacharach’s nomination, calling McConnell’s delays “stupid.” Bacharach’s position is similar to that of First Circuit nominee William Kayatta of Maine, who is being filibustered by the Senate GOP despite support from home-state Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.
Both nominees received bipartisan support in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both have earned the American Bar Association’s highest rating.
Yet Kayatta has been waiting for a Senate vote since April and Bacharach since June. And if McConnell continues to have his way, neither nominee will even reach a Senate vote this year. Why? The Minority Leader arbitrarily announced last month that he would block all Circuit Court nominees until after the presidential election.
Sen. McConnell is trying to fool the American people with his creative statistics and denials. Under his leadership, the Senate GOP has become a force of gridlock, stopping even routine government business at every opportunity. If Sen. McConnell wants to prove that current Senate dysfunction is not the fault of his party, he can start by allowing a vote on Robert Bacharach.
Press contact: Miranda Blue, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 467-4999
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslim-Americans working in government, specifically Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, has been denounced by not only Democrats like Keith Ellison but also top Republicans such as John McCain, John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Scott Brown and even her former campaign manager. But at least Bachmann still has support from Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips, who said in an email to members today that “John McCain needs to sit down and shut up.” Phillips also claimed while “Islam is our enemy” the Obama administration has listed “potential terrorists as Tea Party supporters.”
Michele Bachmann is a lightning rod for controversy. But there is an interesting point to all of it. Controversy always swirls around her when she is standing up for the truth. What is she doing now that is causing controversy and why is she right?
Michele Bachmann called for an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists who are influencing American policy.
Unfortunately some Republicans, the drive by media and Islamist sympathizers have changed the story to where it is not about the Muslim Brotherhood, a known terrorist organization, but to a story about Huma Abedin.
The Obama Regime releases report after report that names potential terrorists as Tea Party supporters, those who oppose the Obama Regime and those who advocate closing the borders and stopping illegal immigration.
Yet they will not even use the word Islam when they describe terrorism.
The fact is Islam is our enemy. Islam is a theocracy. It is not consistent with a Western Democracy. Islam demands its adherents overthrow a non-Islamic government and replace it with an Islamic government.
This has been the story of Islam wherever it has gained power for the last fifteen hundred years.
During the Cold War, Communists and Soviet sympathizers were not allowed into sensitive positions in government, except of course during Democrat administrations. When we have Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood that want to replace our Democracy with a theocracy and this is their avowed goal, what the hell are we doing letting them anywhere near the door?
John McCain needs to sit down and shut up. Perhaps he should buy a clue about a subject before he starts talking about it.
The Islamist threat to America and to freedom is real. The question is are we going to deal with it before we are attacked again?
Fresh after losing his lawsuit against Rachel Maddow and facing an order to pay her legal fees, rocker and right-wing activist Bradlee Dean spoke to talk show host Steve Deace this week, where Dean alleged that God is judging America for the crimes of an immoral minority and that “less than 1.7 percent of the people are the ones that are responsible for all the bad things going on in this country.” Dean did not say who constitutes the 1.7 percent, but he may be referring to a survey finding that 1.7 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian.
Dean: If God will establish this country through 56 signers that laid down their all for me and you, read the end of the Declaration of Independence, and less than 3% of this country to establish against the mightiest power in the world, at that time the British Empire, he can do it for us too. But what we see today is that less than 3 percent of America is being used to judge 300 million people, less than 1.7 percent of the people are the ones that are responsible for all the bad things going on in this country.
Dean and Deace also agreed that the Democratic Party, in Deace’s words, “now exists only for child-killers and those that are pedaling moral depravity” as “the entire leftist apparatus in this country have been taken over by the pro-sodomy groups and the abortion groups.” Dean went on to claim that during his performances at schools, which are supposed to send messages against drug abuse, he talks to students about why they should oppose homosexuality and abortion:
Deace: The non-negotiables for these people that they always want to talk about, and they always say we’re the ones with social issues; all these people want to talk about is child killing and sodomy, that’s all they ever want to talk about. I’ve watched the Daily Kos and their polling firm, the Public Policy Polling firm, I’ve dubbed them Polling People’s Privates because all they do every day throughout the country is poll people on sodomy, ‘please tell me you love sodomy.’ It’s like the entire leftist apparatus in this country have been taken over by the pro-sodomy groups and the abortion groups. They don’t care about blacks and minorities and the union guys that they used to talk about, they’ll shutdown Keystone Pipeline and not provide any of the union jobs they would’ve bent over backwards to provide 20 or 30 years ago, it’s like the entire Democratic Party now exists only for child-killers and those that are pedaling moral depravity, they are obsessed with it, it is the entirety of their worldview.
Dean: Amen, what do I say to that? You’re exactly right. I mean, when we go into the high school settings the kids are not for homosexuality, number one, and number two when you talk about the issue of infanticide once you show them a picture of what they do, the kids don’t even realize what it is and when they see it often times you turn and look at these little girls and these little boys, and I’m talking about high schools not colleges, that have tears in their eyes. They say, ‘what’s that,’ and once you explain it to them, all of the sudden they get a conversion in their heart and say, ‘oh I’m not for that.’ But yet you have the teacher over in the corner that’s agitated or totally offended by the fact that you just showed the kids what they advocate, what a bunch of hypocrisy, and you see this over and over throughout the country.
People For the American Way is dedicated to fighting for equal rights, freedom of speech, religious liberty and equal justice under the law for every American. One way we do that is by supporting great progressive candidates throughout the country through the Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program. The YEP program supports progressive candidates 35 and younger running for local and state offices, helping them win elections so they can start enacting change nationwide. This is done with an endorsement from PFAW’s Action Fund, along with monetary donations, volunteer hours and political support from people like you!
We will be revealing this year’s Young Elected Progressives program endorsed candidates through a series of blog posts highlighting a few candidates and their accomplishments. Today, we’ll introduce you to State Senator Angie Buhl (SD), Representative Dwight Bullard (FL), and Mary Gonzalez (TX).
Angie Buhl is running for reelection to the South Dakota Senate, where she represents the city of Sioux Falls. Buhl was first elected in 2010 at the age of 25, becoming the youngest woman to ever serve in South Dakota’s Senate.
Buhl has quickly become a leader in the state Senate and a voice for South Dakota Democrats. She has already risen to the position of Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, and she serves on the Judiciary, Commerce & Energy, Retirement Laws, and Interim Rules Review Committees.
Buhl is a proven progressive champion and an advocate for equal rights. She has served on the board of Equality South Dakota, as well as South Dakotans Against Discrimination and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She is also an active member of affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network, which provides a network of support to elected officials 35 and under, and the National Women’s Political Caucus of South Dakota. Visit her website here.
Dwight Bullard is running for Florida Senate in the 39th district. He has served in Florida’s House of Representatives since 2008.
Bullard, a high school teacher by trade, has shown great leadership in Florida’s education system both in and out of the classroom. As the ranking Democrat in the education committee and the pre K-12 education policy committee in the state legislature, Bullard is a leader in fighting for public education reform. Bullard also sponsored the Florida DREAM Act, which creates a pathway for undocumented immigrants to get in-state tuition.
Bullard has been recognized often for his work, including receiving the Barbara Jordan Leadership Award from affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network. Additionally, he was awarded the Young Democrats of Miami Dade Outstanding Leadership Award from the Miami-Dade Democrats and the Next Generation Leader Award from the Florida Association of School Administrators. Visit his website here.
Mary E. Gonzalez
Mary E. Gonzalez is running to represent District 75 in the Texas House of Representatives. Gonzalez won the Democratic primary with 52% of the vote in a three way race back on May 29th. She will become the only current openly gay member of the Texas legislature.
Gonzalez has spent the past several years working in higher education. She has served as the Program Coordinator in the Multicultural Engagement Center at the University of Texas at Austin and was the Assistant Dean for Student Multicultural Affairs at Southwestern University. She also serves as the National President of the service sorority Kappa Delta Chi and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for allgo, Texas' state-wide Queer People of Color organization.
Gonzalez has been named as one of the Hot 25 under 25 most influential young Latinos in the country by Latino Leaders Magazine for her leadership in education. Once elected, Gonzalez will join former state representative Glen Maxey as the only two openly LGBT members ever to serve in the Texas House. Her election may show a cultural shift in what is still a largely conservative state and gives the Texas LGBT community a voice in the Texas state government. Visit her website here .
The Public Advocate, the fervently anti-gay group led by Virginia politician Eugene Delgaudio, devised a protest song, complete with references to Jerry Sandusky and child abuse, to condemn Ernst & Young CEO James Turley’s attempt to overturn the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members, a ban that was recently reaffirmed.
We've heard about dear Turley's plan,
And we're here to say,
It's sad that such a senseless man
Is with the B.S.A!
That's the way we like.
Do not touch our girls and boys,
Just go take a hike.
We have seen just what can come
When anyone at all
Can get quite close to little ones
And frankly, we're appalled!
What will it be like
If we let the unsavory
Get close to our dear tykes?
That's the way we like.
Do not touch our girls and boys,
Just go take a hike.
You say that we should open doors
And welcome one and all.
With no attention to the boors
Who'll make our children bawl.
Whatever shall be done
If we hire Sandusky,
and let him near our sons?
That's the way we like.
Do not touch our girls and boys,
Just go take a hike.
Family Research Council’s new vice president Jerry Boykin has a penchant for making bizarre, conspiratorial claims about President Obama and extremist attacks on Muslims, and at a Massachusetts synagogue last week even wondered whether President Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Responding to a questioner who asked if Obama is “a member of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Boykin replied, “you probably don’t know, and my answer is, I don’t know.”
He went on to allege that Jeremiah Wright brought Nation of Islam theology into the United Church of Christ, and that the NOI is based on the teachings of James Cone, a Christian theologian who was born after the founding of the NOI. Boykin denied that Obama attended a real Christian church and instead claimed Wright surreptitiously preached Cone’s crypto-Islamic theology, and so for Obama “it wouldn’t of mattered whether he was in the Nation of Islam or was in a Christian Church, he got the same theology, which was James Cone’s Marxist, liberation theology, which runs parallel to the whole doctrine of Islam.”
Update: Wil Gafney writes in Religion Dispatches that not only did Boykin grossly misrepresent black liberation theology, but also that Wright was never a member of the Nation of Islam.
During a recent appearance on Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum Live radio show, conservative radio talk show host Mason Weaver, whom Schlafly introduced as “a very articulate black” who is urging African Americans to “get a life” and “get off the plantation.”
Schlafly: Our guest today is Mason Weaver, who is a very articulate black, he is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and he’s trying to encourage blacks to get a life, get off the plantation, make something of yourself and stop depending on Uncle Sam to give you everything from food to childcare for your kids.
He described the feminist movement as “anti-God”, and insisted that liberal social policy, (in this case referred to euphemistically as ‘the other man’) breeds dependency and thus promotes and justifies criminal activity. Schlafly’s organization recently lamented the downward trend in the white birth rate, and Schalfly herself has said wistfully that the United States “was a lot better off before 1962,” before the civil rights movement had made major gains.
Schlafly: And you realize the disaster the feminist movement has been in this country because they’re anti-men, and anti-husbands, and anti-masculine, and when they talk about liberation…
Weaver: They’re anti-God, that’s all it is.
Weaver: They’re anti-God. The feminist movement was created to have another front on the attack on masculinity. It’s an attack on the culture in the family, it’s an attack on success. They want dependency, they want failure, they want themselves to be in charge, it’s just simply agreed on their part.
Schlafly: And they want everybody, blacks and women, to believe they’re victims of society. And of course if you wake up in the morning and you think you’re a victim, how far are you going to get?
Weaver: Well think about the male ego. If you convince a 20 year old man, black or white, that another man controls his family, his health, his income, his job, why go get a job? The other man controls it. Why go out and try to earn something? He’s going to take it from you. But you also feel justified in criminal activity, in not respecting your family. If you buy the liberal mindset of yourself, as a black man, you are by definition depressed.
Schlafly: That's right.
The following originally appeared at Huffington Post.
Yesterday, Senate Republicans voted, for a second time in two days, to continue their filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would simply require outside groups spending money on elections to tell the public where their money comes from. At the same time, not surprisingly, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in hot water for failing to disclose more than the minimum of personal tax returns and lying about his history at the company that made his fortune -- all while we know that a portion of his wealth was hidden in infamously secretive Swiss bank accounts.
Senate Republicans and Romney are spending a lot of time and energy this week to keep their financial histories secret. It's only natural to ask: What do they have to hide?
You would think the DISCLOSE Act would be an easy bill to pass. In fact, many Republican Senators were "for it before they were against it". What it does is simple: it requires any organization -- corporation, union, super PAC or non-profit -- that spends money influencing elections to report within a day any election-related expenditure of $10,000 or more. It also requires that these organizations make public the names of the individuals and corporations contributing $10,000 or more to fund this election spending. In short, all those front groups that have been pouring money into elections since Citizens United will have to disclose who their major donors are. Voters would know who was trying to tell them what.
This is not a partisan issue. Disclosure requirements, like those in the DISCLOSE Act, were endorsed as constitutional by the Supreme Court majority that handed down Citizens United. Even the conservative justices who saw no problem with more money in politics assumed that disclosure would be a check on the integrity of the election process.
But Republicans in Congress have been fighting tooth and nail to keep DISCLOSE from the books. Why? The fact that they might not want to publicize the motives of some of these super donors, and the fact that the new flood of outside political spending overwhelmingly favors conservatives, might have something to do with it.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is having disclosure problems of his own. It's standard practice for presidential candidates to release their past tax returns -- President Obama has made public his returns from the past dozen years. Even Romney called on his gubernatorial opponents in Massachusetts to release their returns. (In a classic Romney flip-flop, when he was later asked to hold himself to the same standard, he said his original demands had been wrong).
The only conclusion to draw from Romney's tax-return reticence is that there's something he doesn't want us to see. The recent revelations that Romney has told conflicting stories about when he left his job at Bain Capital might give us a taste of what he's kept hidden. And hiding part of his fortune in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and in Swiss bank accounts that have for centuries epitomized financial secrecy doesn't help.
The issue of financial disclosure isn't a sideshow to this election -- it's a big part of what this election is about. How can we trust senators who spend more time covering up the sources of election spending on their behalf than they do legislating? How can we trust a candidate who won't be open and honest with voters about the source of his personal fortune and the taxes he has paid?
Full disclosure should be a no-brainer in honest politics. The public knows that. Even the Supreme Court knows that. The only people who seem to be missing the message are the politicians who are desperately trying to win elections without telling voters who might be buying them.
Add this to the good news/bad news mix from the Supreme Court's healthcare decision: Because of the good news (Chief Justice Roberts voted to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act), we get the bad news that his standing among the nation's Democrats has significantly increased. This collective amnesia about who John Roberts is and what he has done is disturbing, especially since the direction of the Court is one of the most important issues upon which Democrats should be voting in November.
A new Gallup Poll shows wild fluctuations in Democrats and Republicans' assessment of Chief Justice John Roberts since their last poll in 2005, a change Gallup attributes to his role in upholding the Affordable Care Act. Roberts' approval rating among Republicans has plummeted 40 percentage points from 2005, falling from 67% to 27%. In contrast, his favorability among Democrats has risen from 35% to 54%. That the healthcare decision is a catalyst of this change is supported by a PEW Research Center poll last week showing that between April and July, approval of the Supreme Court dropped 18 points among Republicans and rose 12% among Democrats.
Yes, John Roberts upheld the ACA, but only as a tax. At the same time, he agreed with his four far right compatriots that it fell outside the authority granted Congress by the Commerce Clause, leaving many observers concerned that he has set traps designed to let the Court later strike down congressional legislation that should in no way be considered constitutionally suspect. He also joined the majority that restricted Congress's constitutional authority under the Spending Clause to define the contours of state programs financed with federal funds.
Just as importantly, Roberts's upholding the ACA does not erase the past seven years, during which he has repeatedly been part of thin conservative majority decisions bending the law beyond recognition in order to achieve a right wing political result. John Roberts cast the deciding vote in a number of disastrous decisions, including those that:
Oh, and then there's that little 5-4 Citizens United opinion that has upended our nation's electoral system and put our government up to sale to the highest bidder.
With a rap sheet like that – and this is hardly a complete a list – no one should be under the illusion that John Roberts is anything but a right-wing ideologue using the Supreme Court to cement his favorite right-wing policies into law.
Next term, Roberts is expected to lead the judicial front of the Republican Party's war against affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. Whether he succeeds may depend on whether it is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama who fills the next vacancy on the Supreme Court.