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White House Petition for Constitutional Amendment on Campaign Cash Clears Threshold

25K call on President Obama to use State of the Union to endorse amendment movement

Today, a petition on the White House website urging President Obama to “use the State of the Union to call for a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics” exceeded the 25,000 signatures necessary to guarantee an official White House response.  The petition, launched by the groups Free Speech For People, Avaaz, People For the American Way, and Demos on January 8 took less than two weeks to cross the threshold.

The petition can be found here: http://wh.gov/P9j7

Fixing our campaign finance system has long been a cause President Obama supports, though he failed to make progress on it during his first term.  During his re-election campaign, President Obama told supporters that: "Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United . . . . Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change."

The petition calls on the President to reiterate and strengthen this call in the State of the Union, and comes just days after President Obama delivered an inaugural address that many believe reflected a renewed willingness on his part to fight for core goals he has long supported even in the face of challenges. 

"Americans everywhere are asking President Obama to take the lead on the one issue that unlocks all the others: getting big money out of our political system, to restore our government of, by, and for the people," said Peter Schurman, Campaign Director at Free Speech For People. "'We the people' means all the people, not just the wealthy few, and not the corporations."

Ian Bassin, Campaign Director at Avaaz, said: "We the people have spoken and the message is clear: We're sick of oil industry money setting our energy agenda, the Wall Street dollar determining our economic policy, and gun company cash dictating how we protect our kids.  We need elections not auctions and we're counting on President Obama to lead us there, starting with his State of the Union."

The petition may also be the last White House petition to garner a response after receiving 25,000 signatures.  It also may be the most serious of the latest round.  Last week, after responding to petitions to deport Piers Morgan and to build a Death Star, the White House upped the threshold for guaranteeing a response to 100,000.  But petitions like this campaign finance one that were launched before the change were grandfathered at the 25,000 threshold.

“This petition provides more evidence for what we already know – that Americans want a solution to the corrupting influence of big money in our democracy,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “We saw massive amounts of money pour into last year’s elections, much of which was undisclosed. Using the megaphone provided to them by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, corporate special interests are drowning out the voices of ordinary voters. President Obama calling for a constitutional remedy in the upcoming State of the Union Address would draw attention to this critical situation and mobilize even more Americans into action.”

"This is the moment President Obama should take a strong and decisive step toward ending big money's stranglehold on our politics and our economy, and cement his legacy by leading the effort to finally forge a democracy in which the strength of a citizen's voice does not depend upon the size of her wallet," said Demos Counsel Adam Lioz.

After the coalition involved in launching this petition posted it to the White House website, its growth came from citizens expressing their frustration with the flood of money infecting our political system.  Much of this public frustration stems from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations have a constitutional right to spend unlimited sums to influence elections.  In the wake of that decision, more than $6 billion was spent in the 2012 elections, much of it by corporations and anonymous billionaires. Congress responded by proposing amendments to reverse that decision and eleven states and nearly 500 cities and towns have joined this call.

This petition tees up for President Obama the key question of what he’ll do next to deliver on a core, unfulfilled promise of his first campaign: to change the way Washington works.  The groups behind the petition will continue to campaign until he does.  

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PFAW: Filibuster Reform Provides Only Modest Relief for Ending ‘Unprecedented GOP Obstruction’

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way called the filibuster reform deal set to be announced by Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) only a modest step in addressing the extraordinary GOP abuse of Senate rules.  Among the provisions of the expected reform deal are a rule addressing filibusters of the motion to proceed to legislation and a rule reducing the maximum post-cloture debate for district court nominations to two hours from thirty.

“It’s important that we as a country acknowledge the need to address the unprecedented obstruction undermining the Senate’s ability to do its work,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Americans elect members of Congress to do their jobs and solve the pressing issues facing the country.  That’s not possible when one party is committed to mindless obstruction.”

People For the American Way has long documented the harm this obstruction causes to our judicial system. As detailed in PFAW’s recent memo, “Empty Courtrooms in Obama’s First Term: A Slow Start on Judicial Nominations Magnified Many Times Over By Republican Obstruction,” Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination and confirmation of federal judicial nominees at an unprecedented rate during President Obama’s first term, leading to record vacancy levels in the federal courts.  While there were 55 vacancies when President Obama took office, that number leapt to 90 during his first year and has rarely dropped below 90 since then. As the second term begins, there are over 100 vacancies.

“While these reforms will offer some relief against the persistent obstruction, they fall far short of what is necessary to fix the problem,” Baker continued.  “Limiting the time that votes on district court nominees can be delayed after cloture is invoked is important, but the problem extends far beyond the district court level.  We are disappointed, in particular, that the party leaders were unable to agree on reforms that would prevent needless delay of confirmation votes for critically important circuit court nominations when 60 senators have already voted to end a filibuster.  With four long-pending circuit court nominations held up for months – two since March, one since April, and one since June – and denied a vote even during the lame duck, this does not bode well for how Republicans intend to treat President Obama’s circuit court nominees during the 113th Congress.”
                                                                                      
Beyond judicial nominations, obstruction impacts the Senate’s entire legislative agenda.  During President Obama’s first term, the number of motions to prevent bills from being openly debated reached a historic high. Republicans are now abusing procedural tactics to impede even the most routine functions of government.

“It’s time for Senate Republicans to understand how impatient the American people have become with their tactics blocking progress on a variety of issues critical to our country’s wellbeing,” said Baker.  “These reforms take modest steps in that direction, but we will continue to be vigilant in fighting this needless obstruction.”

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Of, By and For Actual People

In 2011 comedian Stephen Colbert announced his plan to form a political action committee, noting that he believed in "the American dream."

"That dream is simple," he joked. "That anyone, no matter who they are, if they are determined, if they are willing to work hard enough, someday they could grow up to create a legal entity which could then receive unlimited corporate funds, which could be used to influence our elections."

While this may have been Stephen Colbert's satirical "American dream," this weekend we saw communities around the country pursuing a true American ideal -- a democracy of, by and for the people that is not undermined by unlimited corporate and special interest political spending. A democracy that encourages all people to participate. A democracy in which the voices of everyday Americans are not drowned out by massive -- and often secret -- outside spending in our elections, such as the out-of-state money that flooded down ballot federal races in the 2012 election cycle.

It is a fitting coincidence that this year, both Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC fell on the third weekend in January. Corporate money in politics and voter suppression are interrelated threats to the foundations of our democracy. That's why, under the banner of Money Out/Voters In, Americans carried out more than 100 "Day of Action" events in 33 states this past weekend, drawing attention to the appropriate juxtaposition of two of the most pressing issues facing our country.

In Wichita, Kansas, organizers held a mock trial to re-decide the damaging Citizens United decision. In cities including New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia and Buffalo, ministers led teach-ins on voter suppression and Citizens United from a faith perspective. In Lancaster, PA, they held Money Out/Voters In street theater. And in Richmond, California, activists marched to the Chevron refinery to demonstrate against the excesses of corporate power in our political system.

These organizers were building on a momentum to restore our democracy that has been gathering even more steam in recent months. On Election Day we saw Americans defying efforts to suppress their vote, standing in lines for hour upon hour to exercise their fundamental right as citizens. Despite the restrictions on early voting and voter ID laws targeting those who have traditionally faced disenfranchisement, the 2012 election saw historically high African American and Latino turnout. Youth voters defied all predictions and turned out in record numbers.

Election Day also saw organizers in cities and states across the country successfully push for legislative remedies to the influx of corporate and special interest money in our democracy. In Colorado, Amendment 65 -- an initiative instructing the state's congressional delegation to support a Constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United -- was approved, with more than seven in ten Colorado voters in favor of the amendment. Voters in Montana approved a similar initiative instructing their congressional delegation to propose a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United. The measure was approved overwhelmingly. All in all, eleven states and over 350 local governments have passed legislative resolutions or ballot initiatives to overturn Citizens United.

Because, in fact, corporations are not human beings, and democracy is a system made for people. Americans are demonstrating in city after city that we understand this and that we demand solutions.

Stephen Colbert's satirical "dream" may be one of corporate political influence, but my dream -- and one that I share with the American people, as has been so clearly demonstrated in recent months -- is one of taking back our democracy from special interests and restoring political power to everyday Americans.

This post was originally published at the Huffington Post.

PFAW

Religious Right Angry over 'Dangerous' Decision to End Ban on Women in Combat

While the Religious Right reacted with apoplectic rage following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the lifting of the ban on women in combat has brought dejected but relatively subdued responses from conservatives.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, who in December spoke out in favor of the ban by lying about the Israeli military’s policy on women in combat, tweeted that the decision was part of Obama’s plan to “feminize and weaken the U.S. military.”

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness said that “lives could be lost unnecessarily” by the new policy, which “will harm men and the mission of the infantry as a whole.” “The administration has a pattern of irresponsible actions like this using the military to advance a social agenda,” she said, “This kind of a social experiment is a dangerous one.”

Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed maintained that the Obama administration is “putting women in combat situations is the latest in a series of moves where political correctness and liberal social policy have trumped sound military practice.”

Richard Viguerie’s group claimed that “Obama’s plan to introduce women into frontline combat roles in the U.S. military is a dangerous and irresponsible social experiment, not an opportunity for women to serve their country and advance in their chosen profession.”

Radio talk show host Janet Mefferd on her Facebook page wrote that the move is further proof that the Obama administration is “intent upon undoing this great country” and will “stop at nothing to achieve it.”

Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin, who was reprimanded by President Bush after he made anti-Muslim and political speeches while in uniform, called the decision “another social experiment”:

The people making this decision are doing so as part of another social experiment, and they have never lived nor fought with an infantry or Special Forces unit. These units have the mission of closing with and destroying the enemy, sometimes in close hand-to-hand combat. They are often in sustained operations for extended periods, during which they have no base of operations nor facilities. Their living conditions are primal in many situations with no privacy for personal hygiene or normal functions. Commanders are burdened with a very heavy responsibility for succeeding in their mission and for protecting their troops.

This decision to integrate the genders in these units places additional and unnecessary burdens on leaders at all levels. While their focus must remain on winning the battles and protecting their troops, they will now have the distraction of having to provide some separation of the genders during fast moving and deadly situations. Is the social experiment worth placing this burden on small unit leaders? I think not.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America said that the “majority of women” don’t care about the ban or want its elimination:

News of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's intent to lift the long-standing ban on women serving in direct combat is further proof that this administration simply does not care about the issues about which the majority of women care. Once again, their interest on women issues is driven by special interest groups. The point of the military is to protect our country. Anything that distracts from that is detrimental. Our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness. While this decision is not unexpected from this administration, it is still disappointing. Concerned Women for America (CWA) and its more than half-a-million members around the country will continue to do all we can to see that our men and women in uniform are governed with the respect and resources needed to do the hard task of fighting for and protecting our freedoms.

“God help us,” lamented Denny Burk of the Southern Baptist Convention, who seemed to suggest that women shouldn’t be in the armed forces at all:

Are the fortunes of women in our country really enhanced by sending them to be ground up in the discipline of a combat unit and possibly to be killed or maimed in war? Is there a father in America who would under any circumstance risk having his daughter shot or killed in battle? Is there a single husband in this country who thinks it okay for his wife to risk being captured by our enemies? To risk becoming a prisoner of war? Is this the kind of people we want to be? Perhaps this is the kind of people we already are. I would sooner cut off my arm than allow such a thing with my own wife and daughters. Why would I ever support allowing someone else’s to do the same? Why would anyone?

What kind of a society puts its women on the front lines to risk what only men should be called on to risk? In countries ravaged by war, we consider it a tragedy when the battle comes to the backyards of women and children. Why would we thrust our own wives and daughters into that horror? My own instinct is to keep them as far from it as possible. Perhaps this move makes sense with an all volunteer force, but what if the draft is ever reinstituted? Are we really going to be the kind of people who press our wives and daughters to fight in combat?



Everyone in America ought to be scandalized by this news, but I’m wondering if it will even register on the radar of anyone’s conscience. To the extent that it doesn’t, we reveal just how far gone we are as a people. God help us.

Aaron Ahlert of FrontPageMag said the move is “sure to have deadly consequences” and represents the Obama administration “forcing gender radicalism down America’s throat.”

It didn’t take long for the Obama administration to advance a pernicious piece of its promised radical agenda. Two days after the president laid out his far-left vision during the inauguration, senior defense officials announced that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will lift the military’s ban on women serving in combat. The move overturns a 1994 provision that prohibited them from being assigned to ground combat units. Panetta has given the various service branches until 2016 to come up with exemptions, and/or make any arguments about what roles should still reman closed to women. Thus, another bit of gender radicalism has been shoved down the nation’s throat through executive fiat — and this one is sure to have deadly consequences.

...

It stretches the bounds of credulity to believe that sexual tension, regardless of the legitimate or illegitimate motivation behind it, would be lessened under front line, life-threatening combat conditions. Nor is it inconceivable to think that close personal relationships of a sexual nature would make some soldiers take the kind of unnecessary risks to save a lover that might not only endanger themselves, but their entire unit.

...

Once again, elections have consequences. Barack Obama has made it clear that part of his progressive agenda includes forcing gender radicalism down America’s throat, absent any input from Congress. Once, the United States military was all about projecting lethal power around the globe to protect America’s interests. Now, it is all about promoting diversity, inclusion and equality of outcome, irrespective of military readiness and cohesion. For progressives, who have elevated political correctness above all else–national security included–such radical egalitarianism is cause for celebration. For Donnelly and countless other Americans, it is anything but. “No one’s injured son should have to die on the streets of a future Fallujah because the only soldier near enough to carry him to safety was a five-foot-two 110-pound woman,” she contends.

New York Times Investigates Relationship Between American Dominionists and Uganda

Earlier this week, The New York Times posted an excerpt from a new Roger Ross Williams documentary on how the Religious Right in the U.S. is shaping anti-gay activism in African countries like Uganda. The documentary includes interviews with International House of Prayer (IHOP) leaders Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, whom we have followed closely here at Right Wing Watch, along with footage of IHOP missionaries at work in Uganda.

Engle organizes the anti-choice and anti-gay The Call rallies, which regularly feature Republican and Religious Right leaders. In 2010, he brought The Call to Uganda to help promote the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would have made homosexuality a capital offense. (He later backpedaled after facing scrutiny.)

IHOP, including many The Call figures, helped to organize Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2011 The Response prayer rally, which Bickle emceed.

In the film, Episcopal priest Kapya Kaoma makes a reference to Seven Mountains Dominionism, the belief that fundamentalist Christians have a mandate to take control of the seven major spheres of society: government, business, education, media, arts and entertainment, the family and the church. As Engle explains, there are “seven mountains of influence” that right-wing Christians must “reclaim” in order to win over society.

Engle and Bickle are also key players in the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement of self-appointed prophets and apostles who believe they are spokesmen for God on Earth. Bickle has claimed that gay people are the targets of “flaming missiles” from Satan and has warned that the “gay marriage agenda” is a sign of the End Times as it is “rooted in the depths of Hell.” At one IHOP service, Bickle also claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist:

In 2008, Engle held massive rallies to encourage Californians to pass Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, arguing that legalizing same-sex marriage “will unleash a spirit more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy, and sexual insanity will be unleashed unto the earth.” His rallies have focused on creating a “movement” of ex-gays to stop a Satanichomosexual tornado” that will “destroy America.” (He specifically targeted Ellen DeGeneres for “conversion.”) In addition, he has warned that the separation of the separation of church and state and gay rights are putting the U.S. on the path to Nazism:

While Engle and Bickle have extended their influence to nations like Uganda in order to export their anti-gay politics, they have continued to increase their clout in America’s Religious Right.

Fischer: Abortion Rights Will Lead to Terrorist Attacks

Yesterday on Focal Point, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by predicting that America “will have to pay” for legal abortion: “It could be through civil war, it could be through anarchy, it could be through Muslim fundamentalists and terrorists attacks on the United States, but one way or another we cannot escape God’s justice.”

He went on to argue that Planned Parenthood clinics are no different from Nazi death camps. “You see a Planned Parenthood clinic, just think Birkenau, just think Auschwitz, just think Bergen-Belsen,” Fischer said, “because that’s what you are looking at, you are looking at an equivalent of a Nazi gas chamber.”

Watch:

Later, he repeated the false charge that Planned Parenthood promotes domestic abuse to its members.

Just like other conservative leaders, Fischer never found time to watch the video he is so angry about. If he did he would learn that it’s a British anti-violence video that uses an intentionally misleading title to deliver the real message: “Don’t cover it up.”

PFAW Urges Congress to Pass Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today praised members of the House and Senate for reintroducing a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which House Republicans allowed to expire at the end of last year.

“Democrats in Congress are right to keep pushing until this bill becomes law,” said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “VAWA was passed and reauthorized twice with broad bipartisan support, and has succeeded for 18 years in making women safer. It’s absolutely shameful that Republicans blocked a routine reauthorization of the law. Fighting domestic abuse and sexual assault should be bipartisan priorities.”

“Tea Party Republicans are jeopardizing the safety of all Americans because they object to protections for LGBT people, immigrants and Native women,” continued Malachi. “This extremist obstruction must stop.”

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Gaffney & McCarthy: Obama 'Contemptuous' of, 'Taking Out a Contract On' Constitution

The Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney and National Review columnist Andy McCarthy were unimpressed with President Obama’s second inaugural address, despite all its references to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. On yesterday’s edition of Secure Freedom Radio, McCarthy told Gaffney that the president is “taking out a contract on the Constitution as we know it.” Gaffney responded that the president “wrapped himself in a sort of nostalgia for the Constitution” while in fact being “rather contemptuous of it.”

McCarthy: I think what Obama’s trying to do -- and a lot of us who followed his career warned about this back in 2007, 2008 -- is really consummate the ambition of FDR to change the very nation of the American system, and certainly to change the nature of our constitutional framework from a charter of negative liberties, which is the protection of the American people against the adhesions and the extreme maneuvers of government, to basically a contract of the have-nots against the haves with government as the intermediary for demanding what government must do for people. With the big problem with that being, number one, what is your license to take from me, which is certainly not what the country was founded on. And number two, enough is never enough with the left. So even if you were to institute such a system it quickly becomes unsustainable.

Gaffney: Yeah, I take it you don’t mean “contract” in the sense of “taking out a contract” on somebody, but it certainly sounds as though that might be the gist.

McCarthy: It’s certainly taking out a contract, it’s taking out a contract on the Constitution as we know it.

Gaffney: Yeah. Even as we talked about with Dr. Paul Kengor earlier, and even as he wrapped himself in sort of nostalgia for the Constitution, he certainly showed himself to be rather contemptuous of it.

Rand Paul Says Obama's Inaugural Address Alluded to Hugo Chavez

While speaking to Iowa-based conservative radio host Steve Deace, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that President Obama’s inauguration speech reminded him of Hugo Chavez. The potential presidential candidate claimed that unlike Obama, he would have included “reverence for the Constitution [and] reverence for our Creator” in his inaugural address, noting that while Obama “didn’t actually literally refer to Chavez” he “referred to a lot of liberal policies.”

Deace: If that was you up on that podium taking the oath of office, what would your inaugural address sound like and how would it contrast or differ from what the President had to say yesterday?

Paul: Well instead of Hugo Chavez you might hear references to Madison and Jefferson. I know he didn’t actually literally refer to Chavez but he referred to a lot of liberal policies. If it were me on that stage what you would hear is reference and reverence for the Constitution, reverence for our Creator and that all of our liberty comes and is endowed by our Creator and reverence for the rule of law. I think what you’d find is that I would talk about how this country can grow again and how we can prosper if we get back to and believe in the fundamentals upon which our country was founded.

Maybe Paul missed Obama’s speech or is simply dishonest, as the very beginning of Obama’s speech includes references to the Constitution, the Creator and the rule of law:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

Mat Staver Accuses Obama of 'Blasphemy' and Hopes for Impeachment

Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver appeared yesterday on Crosstalk where he excoriated President Obama for speaking out in favor of gay equality during his inauguration, and went on to predict that House Republicans will call for his impeachment.

After host Jim Schneider of VCY America recounted pastor Louie Giglio’s decision to withdraw from the inauguration proceedings over an anti-gay sermon, Staver criticized Obama and Episcopal priest Luis Leon for their “unbelievable” and “unprecedented” advocacy of gay rights during the inauguration.

“To swear on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible during the inaugural address is just really blasphemy to do that,” Staver said, “Lincoln stood for principles completely different than this President stood for.”

Staver continued his anti-gay rant by maintaining that Obama is “the most immoral president that we’ve ever had in history” who is “pushing an immorality that is stunning.” He called Obama a “dictatorial president” who “does not like America” or the Constitution and blamed his “[putting] in-your face amoral, immoral and anti-American rhetoric and policies” for a spike in gun sales.

Staver: The next four years are going to be worse than the last four years and today’s inaugural address really sets the tone.

Schneider: And also Mat in the parade that’s going on right now we have the participation of the Gay & Lesbian Band Association in this parade and then Rolling Stone came out reporting a source told them that Lady Gaga is going to be one of the artists performing at a ball for the White House staffers tonight.

Staver: What we have is the President who is not the President of the United States, he is president of the divided states and he relishes in dividing the states among each other. He has this famous speech that he gave during a Democratic convention several years ago when he was a state senator and he talks about ‘there’s not red states and blue states but the United States of America,’ that’s not this President. This President runs to divide people, to divide and conquer and ultimately dismantle and deconstruct. He’s doing that with morality, he’s doing it with marriage, he’s trying to divide and conquer. Really, he is the most immoral president that we’ve ever had in history, pushing an immorality that is stunning.

Schneider: Mat, there is another aspect to this too and it is the Messiah-like image. Have you seen the Newsweek magazine yet? This is a side profile photo of the President with the headline, The Second Coming, it’s a biblical reference to the return of Christ. Keep in mind a couple of years ago they had ‘Obama God of All Things’ on the cover and then there’s another poster that’s being sold by street vendors today which Fox News reports doesn’t have the official endorsement of the White House but features the image of the president in prayer with the headline, ‘Prophecy Fulfilled.’ And of course Mat we won’t forget Jamie Foxx called Obama ‘our Lord and Savior’ recently at some music awards as well.

Staver: You know this kind of Messianic complex that people were putting on him and Obama doesn’t do anything to stop it. They may say that this is not what President Obama endorsed but the President can come out and hit that head on and stop that kind of Messianic complex. We saw it during the first inauguration and the first run for president, now we see it again in the second one. He is not the Messiah.

He is someone who does not like America; he is someone who does not like the fundamental values on which America is based; he doesn’t adhere to the Constitution; he is a dictatorial president that thinks the Constitution is an inconvenience put in his path. He as a President doesn’t work across the aisle, in fact he doesn’t even work with his own party, he doesn’t even invite his own party leaders to Camp David, he is not somebody who wants to get involved and actually solve the problems of the country, he wants to dictate how these things that are very important to all Americans ought to work.

Thus as a result you’re seeing gun sales go up all across America. Why is that? These are law-abiding citizens that are concerned that basic fundamental rights are being taken away from them so the lines are long, they’re just enormous in terms of the crowds that are taking place around the country and it’s because he is agitating the people. He is constantly agitating, constantly putting in-your face amoral, immoral and anti-American rhetoric and policies.

Later, Staver dismissed Obama’s re-election a mere two months ago and said that House Republicans should immediately consider impeaching Obama in order to push back against his policy agenda.

Caller: The founders gave us in the Constitution a means of dealing with people like Barack Obama, it is called impeachment. Staver: Yeah. Caller: We need to get onto our legislators and tell them in no uncertain terms if they want to go back to Washington they better get busy and get rid of this man. He has been incalculated [sic] with hate America from that day he was born.

Schnedier: Appreciate that, let’s quickly talk about impeachment. Mat, the House has to develop the articles; some congressmen have said that if the President does such and so we will initiate that.

Staver: Yeah I would not be surprised if shortly after this second term comes that you will have some impeachment proceedings in the House. He’s just going to push, push, push, push and he’s going to push people over the edge. I think the House will respond and if not we need to make sure that they do respond. That’s what the previous caller was getting at, when they initiated these impeachment proceedings during the Clinton administration and stopped him from doing a lot of the things he otherwise wanted to do in his term of office.

Obama is different from Clinton in many respects because he is more ideologically driven than Clinton, he is more radical than Clinton, it’s amazing when you almost think it would be nice to have Clinton back because he’s radical but he’s not as radical. Obama is the most radical ideologically driven president in history. He will do anything to reach his ideological agenda. He is not a politician and he doesn’t want to compromise, he doesn’t want to reach out to push his agenda. I think we’re going to have to have some very strong push back and impeachment I think is one of those areas.

Sandy Rios Mourns Obama's Inauguration and Equality for Non-Christians

American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios yesterday spoke to Religious Right historian Bill Federer on her show where she criticized President Obama for mentioning nonbelievers and non-Christians as having “equal standing” with Christians in the U.S.

“When he lists all these denominations and atheists and Buddhists and Muslims it’s like we’re all equal, of equal proportion, and we are not,” Rios said, once again revealing that the AFA does indeed believe that people who do not subscribe to its version of Christianity are inferior and minority rights should be dictated by the whims of the majority.

Federer agreed and said it was part of Obama’s “intentional denigration of the contributions of Judeo-Christian faith in America’s history” and went on to say that “Obama’s been using the bully pulpit to advance Islam.”

Later, Rios mourned that African-American Christians support Obama even though he is working to “usher in a time of godlessness” and is “radically transforming this country” by including an openly gay poet and a gay band contingent in inaugural festivities. She naturally ended by doubting Obama’s Christian faith and patriotism: “Something is terribly wrong and it’s terribly wrong to see this man swear allegiance to the country on the bibles of men who went before him who were men who understood faith and who God was.”

We are radically transforming this country and it is happening by the first black president, which brings me to another point: today is Martin Luther King’s birthday and that’s something to really celebrate and I think about my black brothers and sisters, especially in Christ, and I think about the irony that the first black president that they are so excited about, and rightfully so, should usher in a time of godlessness. It’s just amazing to me. Isn’t that ironic? I mean that is really one of the most twisted things. The black community has to choose between rejoicing that there’s an African American president for the first time in the nation’s history while understanding in their deep conscience that he’s ushering in things that they live their lives are the opposite of, their passions are the opposite of. It’s a dilemma.



I think ironies of today are just not escaping any of us; it’s very hard, I would be lying if I said otherwise, to celebrate today. But I think it’s very good for us to remember our history, what our founding fathers stood for and there is nothing wrong with reminding each other and fighting to retain it because today does not example that when we have homosexual poet laureates and we have an evangelical pastor who has said that homosexuality was a sin banned from the platform and we have gay bands performing. Something is terribly wrong and it’s terribly wrong to see this man swear allegiance to the country on the bibles of men who went before him who were men who understood faith and who God was, it’s really ironic.

40 Years After Roe, My Personal Fight for Justice

"I am my mother's child. The one she told one day many years ago, as I laid on a hospital table that, 'God did not intend for your life to be like mine!' The forms had been signed, we were in agreement and I was tearfully rolled into the very cold, unfriendly operating room.

"It was 1974, one year after the landmark decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. I was fourteen and my mother was twenty-eight, on welfare with five other children. Fourteen at the time of my birth, she was what we now call 'an unwed teen mother.' On this day, at that moment, the decision was not about legislation or white men in suits far away. It was not about the doctor, the nurse, or the technicians. It was just the two of us and God."

I wrote those words, published in In Motion magazine, 15 years ago. I had at that point devoted more than a decade to working with the black church to fight for reproductive rights in my home state of Louisiana and in Washington, making sure that girls and women like me have not only reproductive choice, but reproductive justice -- the choice to determine our own futures and the justice that comes from a system that respects us as human beings with equal dignity and equal rights.

Today, on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and after 15 more years of fighting and praying, I see many reasons to celebrate. I am grateful for those who continue to fight for women's rights in the halls in Congress and in front of clinics; to the doctors and medical staff who risk their own safety to care for women in need; to the women who must shut out the noise of politics to make the most personal of decisions; and to the family and friends who stand behind them. Behind an issue that inspires so much venom and shouting, it's easy to forget that there are countless men and women who are quietly fighting for justice on a small, personal scale.

But on the national scale we see a very different picture. In 2012, state legislatures passed 92 laws restricting reproductive justice and many more followed in 2012. Republican presidential candidates and their allies in Congress went after women's right to birth control, claiming that an employer should decide whether a woman's health care covers her contraceptive care. Prominent figures on the right dismissed the wrenching circumstances of women who become pregnant by rape, claiming it wasn't possible or that some rapes are more "legitimate" than others. While so many Americans grappled with their own and their loved ones' decisions with decency and grace, our politicians experienced a crisis of empathy and a deficit of facts.

Particularly galling is the campaign by some far-right groups to promote the idea that legal abortion is a "genocide" of African Americans. This campaign seeks to paint black women as passive victims rather than as fully realized human beings facing real, tough choices. In the process, it has helped to make the political debate about reproductive rights even more about caricatures of women and less about real women.

Polling consistently shows that Americans' personal views of reproductive rights are not always the same as their political views. A recent poll by Planned Parenthood found that 23 percent thought abortion was "morally acceptable" and 40 percent said it "depends on the situation." That "depends" is important -- as has been the case with the LGBT rights, civil rights, paycheck fairness and gun violence prevention movements, sometimes strongly held political opinions must bend when they run up against the real experiences of a real person.

I celebrate 1974 and the start of my "pro-choice, pro-faith" journey. I have hope for the future of reproductive rights. Roe v. Wade still holds in the courts. And last year, as attacks on reproductive rights reached a fever pitch, women across the country rose up with their votes. Women didn't ask our politicians to make the personal political. But we must continue to fight back by making the political personal. This is about choice and it's about justice -- for every woman, no matter her story.

This post was originally published at the Huffington Post.

PFAW

'Non-Political' Prayer Breakfast Welcomes Pastor Who Prays for Obama's Death

As RWW reported two weeks ago, organizers of the official-sounding-but-not-remotely-official Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast hoped that Rep. Michele Bachmann, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Sen. Roy Blunt, and other big names would join them, along with birther extremist Joseph Farah.  After some embarrassing back-and-forth about Farah’s participation, he didn’t show up. Neither did Bachmann, Cantor, Blunt or Pat Robertson, though Robertson, Farah, and Pat Boone sent messages that were read out loud. People who did show up representing foreign embassies may have been duped by the name of event into thinking they were attending something connected to the actual inauguration.

Organizers insisted that the event had no political agenda, that it was called simply to pray for President Obama and the nation. But there was plenty of politics.  Speakers included Marjorie Dannenfelser of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List.  Sid Roth, a Messianic Jew and radio host, said there were three sins that cause a land to "vomit out" its people: child sacrifice (abortion), homosexuality, and the “tipping point” sin of dividing up the land of Israel.  Stewart Greenleaf, a Pennsylvania state senator, said he could make an argument for Israel’s right to disputed lands based on history, but that the best argument is that “the Lord gave Israel that land.”

Even Pastor Wiley Drake – infamous for his devotion to “imprecatory prayers” against his political opponents, and his admission that he regularly prays for President Obama’s death, was recognized, applauded, and called up to the stage.

The interminable event – four hours and counting when I left – felt like a disorganized muddle. It started with an altar call and communion -- “Let’s sing about the blood of Jesus for a moment….who has the chuppah?” -- and included prayers from Native American Christians, a delegation from Newtown, repentance for anti-Semitism, and some marketing for a new American Christian flag. “We may not be as formal” as other events, said one speaker, “but I bet we love God more.”

The Chaplain of the House of Representatives, Patrick Conroy, did briefly lend an air of officialdom. Perhaps with the pre-event controversy in mind, Conroy led a prayer for President Obama and reminded attendees pointedly that Obama was reelected by a clear majority of Americans. Former Democratic Rep. Diane Watson brought a bit of bipartisanship, and while her belief that President Obama has been anointed for our time got a smattering of affirmation from Obama supporters in attendance, that was a minority view, to put it lightly.

Keynoter Jonathan Cahn decried the withdrawal of Rev. Louie Giglio from the inaugural program over anti-gay-rights comments, portraying it as evidence of anti-Christian persecution: “…it is a new America in which one can be banned from the public square simply for believing the Bible, where profanity is treated as holy, and the holy is profane. A new America where the Bible is treated as contraband and nativity scenes are seen as dangerous.”

Cahn’s overall message is that America is facing the judgment of God the way ancient Israel did when it stopped following God’s orders.  Cahn heads Beth Israel Worship Center, which bills itself the largest Messianic congregation in the world. He believes that the 9-11 attacks were a “wake-up call” from God, who lifted divine protection from America as a warning. Since the country did not turn back to God,  says Cahn, God slammed us with financial collapse. He warned President Obama of judgment “if you utter the words so help me God, and you should in any way take part in leading a nation farther away from God….”

Cahn’s speech was essentially a summary of the argument in his book, “The Harbinger,” which purports to connect the inauguration of George Washington, 9-11, and more through his revelations about the “ancient mysteries.”

“There exists an ancient mystery that lies beyond everything from 9-11 to the collapse of the American economy, a mystery so precise that it actually reveals the actions of American leaders before they take them, the exact words of American leaders before they speak them, a mystery so exact that it gives the actual dates even the hours of some of the most dramatic days in recent history.”

Cahn’s keynote ended with a rousing call against “political correctness” and compromise, saying “the shadow of judgment is upon us” and urging, “It’s time to be strong! It’s time to be bold! It’s time to be radical!” as shouts and shofar-blowing thundered through the room.

PFAW Praises President Obama’s Common Sense Plan to Reduce Gun Violence

People For the American Way praised President Obama for putting forward bold proposals to combat gun violence and joins him in urging Congress to take swift action on the issue.
PFAW

Anti-Muslim Activists Apoplectic Over PFAW's Michele Bachmann Petition

On Monday, People For the American Way delivered a petition with 178,000 signatures to House Speaker John Boehner calling for the removal of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Bachmann, one of Congress’ leading purveyors of conspiracy theories, earned rebukes from Boehner and others last year when she accused several Muslim-American government employees, include top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, of being secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The petition, to put it mildly, hit a nerve among Bachmann’s allies in the anti-Muslim Right. FrontPageMag, an online outfit led by David Horowitz, has published a full three articles defending Bachmann and accusing PFAW of “smearing” the “vindicated” Bachmann by launching an “all-out war” on her.  In one article, Robert Spencer of JihadWatch argues, “If they really had any genuine concern for the American way, instead of calling for her removal from the Intelligence committee, the People for the American Way would be calling for Bachmann to be appointed to chair that committee.”

Yesterday, Horowitz launched his own petition, titled, ironically, “Stop the Witch Hunt Against Rep. Bachmann.”

Horowitz and Spencer aren’t the only ones coming to Bachmann’s defense. The Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney, who was the source of the bulk of Bachmann’s accusations against Abedin, and conservative columnist Diana West discussed the petition on Wednesday’s edition of Secure Freedom Radio. People For the American Way, Gaffney suggested, is part of the “Red-Green Axis” and should be called instead “People For the Islamist Way”:

Gaffney: I wanted to turn to a woman who has probably understood this jihadist enterprise, most especially the civilization jihadist element of it, that is to say the so-called non-violent -- actually pre-violent form -- that we’ve talked about in the book that you contributed marvelously to, Sharia: The Threat to America, namely Michele Bachmann. She has been savaged now for almost a year for having actually raised an alarm about some of this. What’s going on with her at the moment and what should our listeners be thinking about it and doing?

West: Well, you have People For the American Way, a leftist advocacy group, actually putting together a petition asking to have Speaker John Boehner to remove Michele Bachmann from the House Intelligence Committee. Now this actually all ties in to what we were talking about already because FOX has also savaged Michele Bachmann, specifically going back to last summer when she and a few of her colleagues were raising questions about Muslim Brotherhood penetration into the United States government. Specifically, one of the cause celebre was the perhaps penetration, her question of the secretary of state’s office with her top aide being Huma Abedin, who we’ve spoken about before. And this is one of these…

Gaffney: Closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

West: Correct.

Gaffney: I think what we’re really getting at here is Michele Bachmann is being vilified for having exposed some of that influence operation, penetration problem and she should be, if anything, lauded for it, not taken to task by the Red-Green Axis, as they call it, doing business under the form of People For the Islamist Way.

Tea Party Nation: 'Anti-American Marxist' Obama 'Wants to Destroy America'

Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation is running out of ways to express his belief that President Obama is working to destroy America. In his column for members today, he warns Republicans against cooperating with Obama on anything because “underneath that grey hair lies the heart of the young anti-American Marxist that went to Occidental and Columbia.”

“Barack Obama wants to destroy America,” Phillips maintains, warning Obama is “disarming America” because he “believes America is the focus of evil in the modern world.”

John Boehner and the House Republicans cannot seem to grasp the idea that Barack Obama does not simply want his name to go down on his agenda like Johnson did on the Great Society or Roosevelt did on the New Deal. Barack Obama wants to destroy America.

Underneath that grey hair lies the heart of the young anti-American Marxist that went to Occidental and Columbia. He still believes in disarming America, just as he did as a young man. He still believes America is the focus of evil in the modern world, just as he did then.

The Republicans believe if they can just escape the “obstructionist” label, they can move on and win.

How stupid can John Boehner be?

This is not about winning or losing an election. This is about saving the nation.



We conservatives are ready to bolt the GOP. What the hell good is an opposition party that does not want to oppose really bad ideas?

The fate of this nation hangs in the balance. Great men like George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson founded America. Unfortunately our fate now lies in the hands of John Boehner.

Sotomayor Debunks Right-Wing Line on Courts

In an interview with “60 Minutes” this weekend, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave one of the best debunkings I’ve seen of the Right's line that a judge should be no more than an umpire, exercising no independent judgment and facing no difficult questions. Using the politically neutral example of the 3rd Amendment, Sotomayor explains how even the most seemingly clear-cut parts of the Constitution still require interpretation by judges and Justices:

Chief Justice John Roberts made headlines when, in his confirmation hearings, he said that a judge’s job was merely to call “balls and strikes.” The comforting words of his analogy hide the fact that most of the issues the Supreme Court approaches are complex and require human judgment – that’s why they reach the Supreme Court in the first place. They also conveniently obscure the fact that the conservative bloc on the Court is plenty influenced by their own ideology – there are plenty of examples here.

Justice Elena Kagan, in her confirmation hearings, gave another great rebuke to Roberts’ flawed baseball analogy. “We know that not every case is decided 9-0,” she said, “and we know that’s not because anybody’s acting in bad faith. It’s because reasonable people can reasonably disagree sometimes. So in that sense, the law does require a kind of judgment, a kind of wisdom. “

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PFAW

Rand Paul Pushes Conspiracy Theory that Obamacare 'Databanks' Gather Information on Gun Owners

The right-wing group Gun Owners of America has for the past few years been pushing the debunked conspiracy theory that the health care reform law will be used to collect information on gun owners, information that will later be used as part of a gun-confiscation scheme.

Speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) echoed that theory, claiming that President Obama’s new executive actions have “language in there talking about doctors being required to report on patients and ask patients if they own guns or not.”

He warned that President Obama’s “going to use Obamacare apparently to have doctors informing on their patients to whether or not they have guns” and will put the information into “government databanks.” He added: “I’m very much opposed to this kind of information going into government databanks because I fear that the time will come when this data will be misused.”

Paul: He’s going to use Obamacare apparently to have doctors informing on their patients to whether or not they have guns.

Perkins: I mean, that’s crazy.

Paul: How exactly he’s going to make this work, I don’t know, but there is language in there talking about doctors being required to report on patients and ask patients if they own guns or not.

Perkins: I read that and I was just flabbergasted…. Senator, not everybody may know this but you’re also a physician so I think you have probably a pretty different perspective on that, not just as a patient but as a doctor. I mean do you want to ask, how are you feeling, got a little fever and by the way how many guns do you have? I mean, how do you work that into the conversation?

Paul: The whole idea that the government is going to be in between you and your doctor, that the doctor-patient relationship which is a very private relationship. In fact it’s part of our Hippocratic Oath that if you come to me and see me and I’m treating you for problems which often can become personal problems and private problems would you want me going down to the grocery store and saying, I just saw so-and-so and he’s got this. You know it’s really not the kind of relationship you want with your patients.

Same way would you want your government to know and does your government need to know what medications you take, whether you own guns. I’m very much opposed to this kind of information going into government databanks because I fear that the time will come when this data will be misused.

Paul’s interpretation of the executive action is, of course, completely off-base, as are his claims about Obamacare.

The White House statement does discuss having doctors talk to patients about gun safety if someone in the home has mental health issues, rebutting the rumor that Obamacare prohibits doctors from asking about gun ownership.

Contrary to Paul’s claims, this neither “requires” doctors to ask patients about gun ownership nor makes doctors give government “databanks” information on who owns guns. A plain reading of the law finds that it explicitly prohibits such data collection:

‘‘(c) PROTECTION OF SECOND AMENDMENT GUN RIGHTS.—

‘‘(1) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS.— A wellness and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to—

‘‘(A) the presence or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or

‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition by an individual.

‘‘(2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to— ‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;

‘‘(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or

‘‘(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.

‘‘(3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATABANKS.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.

‘‘(4) LIMITATION ON DETERMINATION OF PREMIUM RATES OR ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.— A premium rate may not be increased, health insurance coverage may not be denied, and a discount, rebate, or reward offered for participation in a wellness program may not be reduced or withheld under any health benefit plan issued pursuant to or in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act on the basis of, or on reliance upon—

‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or

‘‘(B) the lawful use or storage of a firearm or ammunition.

‘‘(5) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS.— No individual shall be required to disclose any information under any data collection activity authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act relating to—

‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or

‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition.’’

Santorum: Colleges 'Indoctrinating' Students in 'Sea of Antagonism Toward Christianity'

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins welcomed former presidential contender Rick Santorum to his “Washington Watch” radio program on Tuesday, where the two discussed the moral decline of the nation. Santorum blamed colleges and universities for “indoctrinating in a sea of relativism and a sea of antagonism toward Christianity,” leading to the “symptoms” of abortion, marriage and pornography:

Santorum: The cultural indicators that I talked about earlier that are sort of going the wrong way, we're, you know, in ever-increasing numbers, less and less people here in America, you know, and believe in God, and believe in Jesus Christ, and believe in truth and right and wrong. It’s understandable, I mean, if you certainly, if you look at popular culture and what comes out of Hollywood, if you go to our schools and particularly our colleges and universities, they are indoctrinating in a sea of relativism and a sea of antagonism toward Christianity -- religion in general, but Christianity in particular. And so it’s understandable that that happens, but we, you’re right. Abortion is a symptom, marriage is a symptom, I mean pornography is, all of these are symptoms to the fundamental issue that we’ve gotten away from the truth and the Truth-Giver.

Earlier in the program, in a conversation with FOX News’s Todd Starnes, Perkins fondly reminisced about the days “before repressive government” when his elementary school teacher would discipline her students with a yardstick:

Perkins: I remember my third grade teacher had a big Bible, one of the biggest Bibles I ever saw, sitting on the corner of her desk, and on the other side of the desk was a yardstick, and I think she used the yardstick more. In classrooms today, you couldn’t have either one. But that was, we date things in terms of A.D., that was B.R.G., Before Repressive Government, back when God was still welcome in our schools.

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