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Memo: The Filibuster of Caitlin Halligan and the Future of the Courts

Senate Republicans defeated a second attempt to end the filibuster of Caitlin Halligan, President Obama’s nominee to fill one of four vacancies on the 11-seat DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The filibuster of Halligan is important for a number of reasons.

Farah: Same-Sex Marriage is 'One of the Most Radical Ideas Considered Since Child Sacrifice'

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is pleased with CPAC’s decision to ban GOProud, a gay Republican group, but thinks that the event's organizers should go even further and bar any supporter of marriage equality as well. Farah argues that commentator S.E. Cupp, who bowed out of the summit to protest GOProud’s exclusion, shouldn’t have been invited in the first place. According to Farah, no one can be conservative and favor same-sex marriage, which he calls “one of the most radical ideas considered since child sacrifice.”

Hey, S.E.! It has been figured out. CPAC had a civil war over this issue, and your side lost.

What is conservative about advocating for same-sex marriage?

I can’t think of an issue that more clearly defines what a conservative is than this one.

This is not the Libertarian Political Action Conference. It’s not the Liberal Political Action Conference. It’s the Conservative Political Action Conference. What’s wrong with limiting the speakers and the sponsors to conservatives?

Why is S.E. Cupp even invited to speak?

I don’t get it.



The Conservative Political Action Conference is for conservatives – not for people who seek to undermine the Judeo-Christian basis of Western civilization with one of the most radical ideas considered since child sacrifice.

PFAW: Filibuster of Caitlin Halligan 'Destructive' and 'Politically-Motivated'

WASHINGTON – An effort to end the Republican filibuster of DC Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Caitlin Halligan fell short in a 51-41 vote in the Senate today.

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:

“Senate Republicans have once again decided to put their own partisan interests above the will of American voters and the health of our system of justice. Caitlin Halligan is an exceptionally qualified, widely respected and unquestionably mainstream nominee. But a minority of U.S. senators, egged on by conservative activists and a party leadership with their own narrow agendas, have cherry-picked and misrepresented her record in order to keep her off the federal bench.

“Let’s call the filibuster of Halligan what it is: a politically-motivated attempt to keep President Obama’s nominee off the second highest court in the country. Four years into Obama’s presidency, more than one-third of the DC Circuit’s seats are vacant and the president has yet to have a single nominee confirmed to the court. In the meantime, the court continues to be dominated by far-right Republican-appointed judges who have pushed an extreme right-wing agenda on issues including environmental protection, workers’ rights and public health. This is not a coincidence.

“The American people have twice elected President Obama, yet a minority of U.S. senators continues to place a stranglehold on his judicial nominees. This has not only damaged our federal courts, which are facing an ongoing vacancy crisis, but has hurt the credibility of the U.S. Senate. Americans deserve better than this destructive, politically-motivated gridlock.”

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Rick Wiles: Fly Landing on Obama May Be Sign He Is Demonic

After warning that President Obama may “declare himself as God” during his trip to Israel, TruNews host Rick Wiles yesterday said that God is sending a plague of locusts to Israel as a “biblical sign” ahead of Obama’s visit.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel is covered with locusts when he arrives in Jerusalem in three weeks,” Wiles said. “How many biblical signs do we need to see to know that this man is evil?”

Wiles also agreed with the claim made by WorldNetDaily that a fly which landed on Obama may be proof that the President is “possessed by a demonic entity” and the return of the “biblical ‘Lord of the Flies,’ or Beelzebub, which is another name for Satan. “Each time I see the flies buzzing around him I think of Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies,” Wiles recounted.

Is it by coincidence that a swarm of locust from Egypt have [sic] moved across the border into Israel today just weeks before Mr. Obama’s arrival in the Holy Land? Tens of millions of locust have attacked Egypt in recent days. A plague of locust was one of the ten plagues that God used to punish Egypt for refusing to allow the Hebrew people to depart, the story is recounted in Jewish homes and synagogues each year at Passover. Passover begins at March 25th; Mr. Obama is scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem on March 20th. In recent months, Mr. Obama has been photographed with flies buzzing around his head or attached to his lip or forehead. Each time I see the flies buzzing around him I think of Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies. According to an ancient non-biblical manuscript supposedly written by King Solomon, Beelzebub claims to cause destruction through tyrants, to cause demons to be worshiped among men, to excite priests to lust, to cause jealousies in cities and murders and to bring forth war on the world. So think about it the next time you see a fly land on Barack Obama’s lip or forehead. I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel is covered with locusts when he arrives in Jerusalem in three weeks. How many biblical signs do we need to see to know that this man is evil?

Geller Out, But Anti-Muslim Voices Remain at CPAC

Pamela Geller will not be welcomed back to CPAC this year, representing yet another development in annual conservative gathering’s frequent clashes over Islamophobia. Anti-Muslim activists like Geller, David Horowitz, Frank Gaffney and Robert Spencer claim that the Muslim Brotherhood and its cohorts, namely Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, are trying to infiltrate the conservative movement.

During her panel last year, James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force bragged that he was “proud” that many of the attacks on mosques in the U.S. have occured in the South.

But while Geller might be absent this year, CPAC still is hosting a number of anti-Muslim speakers:

1. Allen West.

Former congressman Allen West became a hero of the Radical Right through his inflammatory remarks about Islam, including his claim that the “enemy represents something called Islam and Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion,” and that the Quran commands people to become terrorists. West has worked with Geller before (even writing a column for her blog) and told one of her conferences that “the nation goes to war against an ideology and we’ve been talking about the fact that we are against something that is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology and it is called Islam.” He also said that “satellite organizations that come from the Muslim Brotherhood” are growing throughout the US.

2. Tom Fitton.

Judicial Watch head Tom Fitton has been on a mission to “expose” how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department are all working together with radical Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood. In a recent interview with End Times radio host Rick Wiles, he argued that the State Department is recruiting people directly from “the jihadist movement here in the United States” and “terrorist front organizations,” adding that the majority of Muslim-American groups are “all fronts for these terrorist front groups.”

Fitton also told Wiles that he agreed with Rep. Michele Bachmann’s anti-Muslim government witch hunt as “perfectly legitimate” and said that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin may be connected to people who are security threats.

3. Newt Gingrich.

Former Speaker Gingrich praised the anti-Muslim witch hunt spearheaded by Bachmann and four of her fellow Republican colleagues, calling the group of congressmen the “National Security Five.” He consistently attacked the Muslim community during his presidential campaign and claimed that Muslims in the US are trying to impose Sharia law. He even argued that the US should respond to Saudi Arabia’s ban on churches by banning the Park 51 Islamic Community Center in New York, and said that the government should treat Muslims like Nazis. Gingrich has also warned that America’s “elite favors radical Islam” and that the media is covering up stories about “Obama’s Muslim friends.”

4. Rick Santorum.

While running for president, former U.S. Senator Santorum claimed that equality is incompatible with the Islamic faith and that Muslims should face profiling by law enforcement. He also raised doubts about Obama’s Christian faith and a top aide accused the President of supporting “radical Islamic policies.” Following the campaign, he became a columnist for the anti-Muslim conspiracy website WorldNetDaily. Before running for president, Santorum told a conference hosted by Islamophobic activist David Horowtiz that America is engaged in a “long war” with “Islamo-fascism” and that it must be “eradicated.”

5. Ted Cruz.

Sen. Cruz has claimed that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in the U.S. and attacked President Obama for allegedly being “utterly unable to utter the words radical Islamic terrorist.” Cruz especially stoked anti-Muslim attitudes during the confirmation hearing of defense secretary Chuck Hagel, maintaining that the former Republican senator may be a pawn of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Kincaid: Soros, Obama Allies Trying to Pick Next Pope

Accuracy In Media director Cliff Kincaid yesterday warned that allies of George Soros and President Obama are attempting to pick the next pope. Kincaid warns that a “group of radicals” in the “left-wing lobby in the U.S.” are trying to engineer the selection of Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson as Pope.

Kincaid’s argument boils down to the fact that Turkson introduced a document on global financial policy which was endorsed by Stephen Schneck of Catholic University (along with Pope Benedict XVI) and attended one of Schneck’s conferences in 2011.

Since Schneck supported Obama’s reelection and is tied to the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, naturally Kincaid has arrived at the conclusion that Soros is plotting to pick the next pope in order to “use the Vatican in a global campaign against capitalism.”

In fact, the article is fittingly titled: “Black Socialist Pope to Follow Black Socialist President?

With African Catholic Cardinal Peter Turkson in the running as the next pope, the media have noted that he carries the fancy title of the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, an arm of the Vatican. But they have failed to note the existence of a left-wing lobby in the U.S. working feverishly on his behalf. It is the same group of radicals, with connections to billionaire hedge-fund operator George Soros, who backed Obama for president by claiming he shared their Catholic values.



When Turkson’s Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace issued a controversial 2011 document, “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Political Authority,” [Stephen] Schneck called it “breathtaking” and a “Catholic way forward” from the present crisis.

A “global political authority” was endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI’s “Charity in Truth” encyclical in 2009.



Turkson, who is from Ghana, has taken “social justice” to the global level, arguing for a “global financial authority” to solve the world’s economic problems.

For this reason, left-wing “progressives” backing Obama hope Turkson will be the next pope and use the Vatican in a global campaign against capitalism.

Vatican Radio said the Turkson document, “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Political Authority,” had “proposed the creation of a global political authority to manage the economy and a new world economic order” with the United Nations “as a point of reference.”

Crisis Magazine, a conservative Catholic publication, said it contained “some downright frightening prescriptions for reshaping the worldwide economy” and could be seen as “a blueprint for a George Soros agenda.”

Turkson spoke at the May 2, 2011, conference organized by Schneck at CUA on the subject of Rerum Novarum. He appeared with Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Alexia K. Kelley, deputy director of the Obama White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

End the Filibuster of Caitlin Halligan

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to file cloture again yesterday to end the Republican filibuster of Caitlin Halligan, President Obama’s nominee to fill one of four vacancies on the 11-member D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. A cloture vote is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:

“The filibuster of Caitlin Halligan shows just how broken the Senate has become. In 2005, a bipartisan group of senators agreed to filibuster judicial nominees only under ‘extraordinary circumstances.’ Since then, the Senate GOP has radically redefined the meaning of ‘extraordinary,’ stalling and blocking nominees on the flimsiest of threads.

“We hope senators will listen to their consciences on this vote. Opponents are cherry-picking and twisting Halligan’s  record in their attempt to block an exceptionally qualified, mainstream nominee. If they succeed, they will be ensuring a continued vacancy crisis in the second most important court in the country, which thanks to Republican obstruction is now operating with more than one-third of its active judgeships vacant. I hope that fair-minded Senate Republicans will stand up to their party’s leadership and allow this enormously well qualified woman to have the up-or-down vote she deserves.”

Yesterday, People For the American Way sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate urging them to end the filibuster of Halligan. The full text of the letter can be found here.

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PFAW Urges Senate to Confirm Halligan

People For the American Way today sent letters to members of the U.S. Senate urging them to vote to confirm Caitlin Halligan to sit on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The full text of the letter:

March 4, 2013
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of members of People For the American Way, we write to express our strong support for the confirmation of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the  District of Columbia Circuit. With a fourth seat on this 11-member court becoming vacant, the urgency  of confirming Halligan becomes even more pressing.

Caitlin Halligan is supremely qualified with a broad level of support in the legal, women’s and law  enforcement  communities. Currently the General Counsel for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office,  she also spent six years serving as New York State's Solicitor General. She is a nationally respected  litigator who has earned the ABA's highest possible evaluation of her qualifications.

Her career shows that she recognizes that protecting individuals, their families, and their entire  communities requires not only tough prosecution, but tough prosecution done fairly. So while she shares  management responsibility for the Manhattan DA's Special Victims Bureau (which prosecutes those  involved in child abuse, rape, domestic violence, and elder abuse), she also has been instrumental in the  DA's Conviction Integrity Program, which seeks to prevent and correct wrongful convictions.

Her nomination has the support of numerous law enforcement individuals and organizations, including Robert Morgenthau (former DA of Manhattan), Raymond Flynn (New York City's Police Commissioner), the National District Attorneys Association, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, and New York Women in Law Enforcement.

The best judges understand keenly how the law affects ordinary people. Halligan has worked to help  economically disadvantaged families throughout her career. Even before law school, she worked at Georgians for Children, a statewide public policy organization that focuses on issues related to impoverished children and families. Over the years, she has engaged in pro bono work and community service projects that focus on families with the greatest needs. For example, she represented victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who were at risk of losing their housing assistance.

In its 120-year history, the DC Circuit has had a grand total of five women judges. Halligan clerked for  the first of those, trailblazer Patricia Wald, and she would be the sixth if confirmed. The National Conference of Women's Bar Associations, the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia, the National Center for Women and Policing, and the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce are just some of the women's organizations that are supporting her nomination.

Halligan has received the highest possible rating of her qualifications from a unanimous panel of the ABA’s nonpartisan Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. She has also received the strong support of a bipartisan group of renowned appellate advocates, including Miguel Estrada (Assistant to the Solicitor General under President George W. Bush and former nominee to this same court), Seth Waxman (Solicitor General under President Clinton), Carter Phillips (Assistant to the Solicitor General under President Reagan), and Walter Dellinger (Solicitor General under President Clinton).

A nominee with such sterling credentials and strong support from a broad range of the legal community is exactly the kind of mainstream, talented, and fair jurist we need on the federal bench.

The seat to which Halligan has been nominated has been vacant since 2005. In fact, the 11-member DC Circuit has lost three additional active judges since 2008. None of those judges has been replaced. Not surprisingly, this has had a serious impact on the caseload for the judges who are left. The Senate’s confirmation of George W. Bush nominee Thomas Griffith to the eleventh seat in 2005 resulted in there being approximately 121 pending cases per active judge. When the Senate debated Halligan’s nomination in 2011, that number had climbed to about 146 pending cases per active judge. Last month, with Judge Sentelle taking senior status, that number has now increased to about 188 cases per active judge, according to the most recent data on pending cases made available by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.

Caitlin Halligan has excelled throughout her career. With yet another vacancy opening up on the DC Circuit just last month, the need for someone of her caliber on the bench is greater than ever before. Her nomination deserves a vote on the Senate floor, and she should be confirmed to the DC Circuit.

Sincerely,

Marge Baker
Executive Vice President for Policy and Program
People For the American Way

Paul Gordon
Senior Legislative Counsel
People For the American Way
 

PFAW

Five Reasons the Senate Should Confirm Caitlin Halligan

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he will ask the Senate to vote this week on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan, President Obama’s nominee to fill one of four vacancies on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
PFAW

Why It's Important to Have Diversity on the Federal Courts

The Washington Post ran a story yesterday about President Obama's successful push to bring greater diversity to the federal courts. The story quoted a conservative activist who accused the White House of "lowering their standards" in order to find diverse nominees and a Republican aide who claimed that the White House's focus on diversity would "override the substantive qualifications of the nominees."

Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way, responded with the following letter to the editor:

To the editor:

Regarding the March 3 story, “Obama pushing to diversify federal judiciary amid GOP delays.”

One of President Obama’s most significant, but least noticed, achievements has been his effort to bring more women and people of color to the federal bench. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court showed us just how critical that effort is.

In oral arguments on Shelby County v. Holder, the challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the renewal of voting protections for people of color simply amounts to a “racial entitlement.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court, promptly contradicted him.

Scalia’s arrogant dismissal is echoed by the conservative activist who tells the Post that the White House may be “lowering their standards” in nominating women and people of color and the  GOP aide who worries that a focus on diversity would “override the substantive qualifications of the nominees.”

President Obama hasn’t had to choose between qualified nominees and diverse ones. Instead, he’s chosen judges and justices like Sotomayor: excellent nominees from diverse backgrounds, all of whom have earned their way to judgeships for which they are eminently qualified. 

LESLIE WATSON MALACHI
DIRECTOR, AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS
PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY

PFAW

Harry Jackson: 'Absurd' to Think 'Homosexuals Are Being Denied Equal Protection'

Harry Jackson is out with a column today accusing gay rights supporters of seeking “to hijack not only the moral authority of the Civil Rights Movement, but also the legal arguments which liberated minorities from centuries of legalized oppression and discrimination.” He specifically takes issue with the fact that marriage equality supporters cite the Fourteenth Amendment and Loving v. Virginia, which found anti-miscegenation laws to be unconstitutional.

Jackson explains that same-sex couples don’t have a right to marry because “‘marriage’ means what it has always meant in America: the union of one man and one woman,” and cites a Nevada ruling which argued that marriage laws aren’t discriminatory because a gay person has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex.

Ironically, those two arguments were exactly those used by supporters of laws banning interracial marriage.

Peggy Pascoe in “What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America” writes that up until the 1960s white society and the white-dominated legal system “believe[d] that the interracial marriage was unnatural” and “assumed that the marriage of one White man to one White woman was the only kind of marriage worthy of the name.”

Not only did they not consider interracial marriage to be a “marriage,” but they also argued that anti-miscegenation laws were not discriminatory because they applied to people of every race and did not target one race in particular.

Despite this history about marriage laws, Jackson concludes his column by insisting that “the notion that homosexuals are being denied equal protection under the law becomes absurd.”

From the very beginning, homosexual “marriage” activists have sought to hijack not only the moral authority of the Civil Rights Movement, but also the legal arguments which liberated minorities from centuries of legalized oppression and discrimination.

After decades of aggressive activism, the common sense understanding of marriage has become almost hopelessly mired in incomprehensible legal terminology. It becomes difficult for everyday observers to navigate the convoluted logic homosexual activists employ as they attempt to remake one of civilization’s oldest institutions. The argument that redefining marriage to include homosexual couples is only “fair” rests on a specious interpretation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The clause reads as follows:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

As most of us know, the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted just before the end of the Civil War in response to the Black Codes of the South. The Black Codes were various state laws which, among other things, prevented blacks from owning property and imposed harsher penalties for crimes on blacks than on whites. The Fourteenth Amendment clarified that these laws were unconstitutional, and that the government was obligated to protect the rights of all citizens equally.

So what about the “right” to marry? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activists argue that the state is abridging their privileges, often citing Chief Justice Earl Warren’s words in Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 decision that overturned state bans on interracial marriage: “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

I agree with Justice Warren that marriage is a central ingredient in the pursuit of happiness. I disagree with LGBT activists about what “marriage” is. And it is very hard to have a reasonable or productive discussion when the two sides cannot agree on the definition of a central term. You and I may agree that it should be legal to walk a dog in a particular public park. But you may think that the term “dog” includes only domesticated members of the Canis lupus familiaris species, and I may think that the term “dog” can include large gray wolves. You may argue that “dog” should be defined by the laws and traditions that have governed dog ownership for generations, and I may feel that such an approach in unfair to people who want to walk wolves in the park. The point is that we cannot get anywhere until we agree on what a “dog” is.

Homosexuals are not being denied “marriage” rights any more than wolf enthusiasts are being denied dog-ownership rights. Last November, a federal appeals court in Nevada pointed out homosexuals are not, in fact, being denied the right to marry, as the term “marriage” has been long understood. A lesbian couple had sued the state, seeking to overturn Nevada’s ban on gay marriage under the Fourteenth Amendment. Wrote Judge Robert Jones:

Like heterosexual persons, they [homosexuals] may not marry members of the same sex. A homosexual man may marry anyone a heterosexual man may marry, and a homosexual woman may marry anyone a heterosexual woman may marry.

Judge Jones went on to point out that homosexuals have little cause to identify with historically oppressed minorities in the United States, observing that, “Homosexuals have not historically been denied the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, or the right to own property.” Judge Jones starts with the assumption, as we all should, that “marriage” means what it has always meant in America: the union of one man and one woman. If we begin with that reality, the notion that homosexuals are being denied equal protection under the law becomes absurd.

Extremist Gun Owners of America Goes to Bat Against D.C. Circuit Nominee

Gun Owners of America, a fringe group that hovers to the right of the National Rifle Association, is wading into the debate over Caitlin Halligan, one of President Obama's nominees to the hugely influential DC Circuit Court of Appeals. GOA's beef with Halligan is that when she was solicitor general of New York, she represented the state in its suit against gun manufacturers – a position she took for a client rather than one she espoused herself.

In an action alert today, GOA asks its members to call on their senators to oppose Halligan, calling her the “most anti-Second Amendment nominee in recent history,” a “zealot” and a “radical leftist.”

Among those who might disagree with GOA’s assessment of Halligan are former Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada, Reagan administration attorney Carter Phillips, and numerous law enforcement groups, all of whom have endorsed her nomination.

But the GOA’s extreme language should come as no surprise. After all, this is the same group that speculated that the Aurora movie theater shooting was an inside job, said that armed citizens could have stopped the Holocaust, claimed that the Affordable Care Act would “take away your guns,” and warned President Obama that he should “remember King George III’s experience.” Recently, GOA president Larry Pratt has gone even further, agreeing with theories that President Obama is raising a black army to massacre white Americans and that the president intends to pit “Christian, heterosexual white haves” against “black Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots.”

Eagle Forum Pushes Blatantly False Attack on Obamacare

Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum on Friday warned that the Obama administration has estimated that the average family will pay a minimum of $20,000 for health insurance once the health care reform law goes fully into effect.

The only problem with Schlafly’s claim is that the government never issued such an estimate.

The IRS simply used the $20,000 figure as an example for calculating the “shared responsibility payment,” or penalty, for a nonexempt family that does not acquire health insurance.

As the Annenberg Center’s FactCheck.org notes:

The IRS used $20,000 in a hypothetical example to illustrate how it will calculate the tax penalty for a family that fails to obtain health coverage as required by law. Treasury says the figure “is not an estimate of premiums.”



[T]he regulations weren’t a “cost analysis” at all. A spokesperson for the Treasury Department confirmed to FactCheck.org in an email that the IRS wasn’t making any declarations or projections about what prices will be.

“[Twenty thousand dollars] is a round number used by IRS for a hypothetical example,” the official wrote. “It is not an estimate of premiums for a bronze plan for a family of five in 2016.”

Schlafly wasn’t the only conservative leader to fall for the false story, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel also wrote an article arguing that a government “cost analysis based on ObamaCare regulations show[s] that the cheapest healthcare plan in 2016 will cost average American families of four or five members $20,000 per year for the so-called ‘bronze plan.’”

The Obama Administration is now estimating that by 2016 the minimum annual cost of health insurance for an average American family under ObamaCare will be $20,000. And there is no guarantee that the health insurance will actually cover all the medical treatments that the family wants and needs. $20,000 is merely the minimum annual cost; many families could face even higher premiums. Millions of Americans will be faced with the choice of buying this expensive health insurance, or paying hefty penalties to the IRS. Those who choose not to buy health insurance will be slapped by the IRS with thousands of dollars in additional taxes. Is this what Americans really want? Certainly not. $20,000 is many times more expensive than what most Americans pay for health insurance today.

It's not only families who will be hit by these enormous price increases under ObamaCare. One study predicts that a 27-year-old non-smoking male in Texas will go from paying $54 a month in health insurance premiums to a whopping $153 per month as soon as ObamaCare goes into full effect. That will be on top of the massive student debt that so many young people are already struggling to pay off. The real result may be that many Americans will choose to drop their health insurance simply because they cannot afford it. But that is the opposite of what ObamaCare was supposed to achieve.

None of this is a surprise to those who have criticized ObamaCare for years. Not a single Republican voted for this costly injection of federal bureaucracy into the American health care system, which has been the finest the world has ever known. Many businesses are decreasing the number of hours that their employees can work in order to fall below the threshold requiring employers to buy this costly insurance for their employees.

Jeffress: Most Catholics Going to Hell, Obama Paving the Way for the Antichrist

First Baptist Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, who made headlines when Tim Tebow backed out of an upcoming appearance at his new $130 million megachurch campus, spoke at length about the controversy during a recent appearance on the Alan Colmes Radio Show. Jeffress complained that he had been taken out of context and tried to downplay and sidestep some of his most explosive remarks. But for the most part, he just cemented his reputation as an extremist.

Jeffress began his defense on an inauspicious note, noting that he has a Jewish friend in New York so he can’t possibly be anti-Semitic. While we’ve never called him anti-Semitic, we have noted that Jeffress believes Jews are destined for hell – along with Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and gays, so at least they’ll have company.

Colmes asked Jeffress about many of his most contentious remarks, such as whether he ever said that “Roman Catholicism is Satanic.” “I never used the term ‘Satanic,’” Jeffress responded. That’s technically true but highly misleading: Jeffress has said Satan is behind the Catholic Church. It only got more disingenuous from there. 

Jeffress relegated the overwhelming majority of the world’s Catholics to hell while trying to make it sound like he was doing no such thing:

I believe today that there are millions of Catholics who are gonna be in heaven because of the relationship with Christ. I work with Catholic priests in our community. We march together on the pro-life issues. I think there are millions of Catholics who are in heaven. 

There are over one billion Catholics alive today around the world, and there have been countless more over the course of nearly two millennia. Jeffress wants to assure us that he’s not an extremist who would just assign all Catholics to hell. So instead he damned about 99% and saved “millions” from eternal damnation. Lucky for Jeffress, they’re the same ones that show up for anti-abortion rallies. What are the odds?

Jeffress also tried to clear up a misunderstanding about President Obama and the Antichrist. He does not believe that Obama is the Antichrist per se, as some have reported, but merely believes that Obama is paving the way for the Antichrist, as we first reported. Gee, I can't imagine why there was confusion.

Jeffress was only willing to fully own up to one of his comments. “Mormonism, you said, Islam, is from the pit of hell?” Colmes asked. “Yes, now that one they actually got right Al,” responded Jeffress.

Watch:

Fischer: Obama Has No Soul; Gays Have No Place in the NFL

Yesterday on Focal Point it took American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer just a few minutes to transition from praising NFL teams for asking about players’ sexual orientations to talking about why he believes President Obama has no soul.

First, Fischer said that the NFL shouldn’t sign gay players because they would cause a “grenade-like explosion” that would destroy the team. He said that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is doing such damage to the military, even though all the reports so far show that the new policy has had zero negative impacts.

Just minutes later, Fischer went on a rant about how he believes Obama lacks empathy and “seems to be soulless,” maintaining that the “pathologically narcissistic” president callously views people as imaginary avatars in SimCity.

Fox News' Top Five Islamophobic Smears

Sean Hannity last night was clearly upset that Rep. Keith Ellison exposed him for what he is — a partisan hack — and he is now launching attacks on the congressman by recycling statements Ellison made in the 1990s about the Nation of Islam, a group that the congressman later vociferously denounced. He even wondered if “we have somebody then in Congress that is the equivalent of one side of what the Klan is?”

Hannity has attacked Ellison over his faith in the past, arguing that Ellison’s use of Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran during his symbolic swearing-in ceremony “will embolden Islamic extremists” and is no different from a congressman using “Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible.”

While the use of inflammatory language and false claims is nothing new for Sean Hannity, we decided to use the segment as an opportunity to highlight the five Islamophobic smears regularly found on Fox News.

1. Obama is a Secret Muslim:

Fox News host Eric Bolling claimed that Obama “answers to the Quran first and to the Constitution second” and Hannity himself alleged that Obama “went to a Muslim school.” Regular contributors like Charles Krauthammer and Donald Trump have also floated the claim that Obama was raised as a Muslim and back in 2007, Fox News ran with the discredited story that Obama was a student an Islamic “madrassa” in Indonesia.

2. Park 51 Will be used for Terrorism:

Dick Morris, who just recently was booted from the network following his hilariously bad election predictions, said that the Park 51 Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero is planning to “train the same kind of terrorists” that attacked the U.S. on 9/11, warning the building will be a “command center for terrorism.” Bolling alleged that Park 51 is being built to represent “the people who flew planes” into the Twin Towers and Bill O’Reilly warned the project is housing “condos for Al Qaeda.”

3. Al Jazeera Conspiracies:

Fox News contributor Lisa Daftari warned that Al Jazeera’s acquisition of Current TV will activate terrorist “sleeper cells” in Detroit and regular Fox guest Michelle Malkin called the channel “a cheerleader for terror” and “a Trojan Horse for terror TV.”

4. Sharia law a-comin’:

Regular Fox News viewers may be under the impression that President Obama, public schools and NASA seek to impose Sharia law. The network also recently hired Herman Cain as a contributor, who insisted that Muslims should be prohibited from serving in high levels of government and that localities have a right to ban mosques because Muslims seek to introduce Sharia law, warnings Hannity readily endorsed.

5. ‘All Terrorists are Muslims’:

Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends claimed that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” and Bill O’Reilly has implied that all Muslims were responsible for 9/11. Fox News regularly hosts anti-Muslim guests such as Brigitte Gabriel, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. In fact, Fox News host Laura Ingraham and contributor John Bolton prematurely blamed the far-right terrorist attack in Norway on government offices and a left-wing party youth summit on Muslims.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher Demands Obama Copy Reagan Foreign Policy

Appearing on Frank Gaffney’s Secure Freedom Radio yesterday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) argued that President Obama should emulate President Reagan’s policy of arming “the enemy of our enemy.” This tactic, of course, led the U.S. to arm the combatants in Afghanistan led by Osama bin Laden and the notorious Contras of Nicaragua.

The congressman even agreed with Gaffney when he made the egregious claim that the Obama administration wants to “prop up” the Iranian regime.

Rohrabacher also suggested that the US should arm the Mujahedeen-e Khlaq (People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran), which last year was delisted as a foreign terror organization. Gaffney’s CSP has criticized the MEK as being a “pro-Saddam Hussein group” and noted its record of violence.

Rohrabacher: In order to accomplish what we need to have accomplished in Iran is regime change and we haven’t gone down anything in that direction and we—

Gaffney: Arguably to the contrary, we’ve been helping prop up the regime in the face of a lot of opposition at home.

Rohrabacher: Well that’s it. With the opposition at home we should be supporting all of those people within Iran who are enemies of the mullah regime. I just came back from a congressional delegation to Central Asia and we met with leaders of the MEK who are an anti-Mullah group and they are controversial to some people but the bottom line is they are actually fighting the mullahs, the mullah regime. We should be indiscriminately working with those groups that want to eliminate the mullah regime and hopefully will replace it with a democratic government. I support for example the Baloch, there are six million Balochis in the southern part of Iran, they are Sunnis I might add, and they are persecuted by these mullahs and I have been doing everything I can to support the insurgency and the independence of Balochistan. There are several groups, there are Kurds in Iran. We have not done anything to actually support the enemy of our enemies unlike Reagan which ended the Cold War because he supported the enemy of our enemies rather than deploy American troops everywhere.

Why It’s Time to Dump DOMA: Reverend Charles Williams II

This piece is the fifth in a series of guest blog posts on “Why It’s Time to Dump DOMA.” In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court arguments on the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, we’re asking friends of PFAW to share why dumping DOMA matters to them. Be sure to check back soon for the latest post in the series.

Is it wrong for committed couples to share retirement and medical benefits? Is it wrong for Americans to expect to receive equal justice under the law?

No, but it is wrong for our government to dictate who we can love and who we cannot. It is wrong for our government to recognize some married couples and not others. But that is exactly what the Defense Of Marriage Act does.

Marriage equality doesn’t hurt anybody or take away anybody’s freedoms. But DOMA does both of those things. Supporters of DOMA sound dangerously like those who said we should outlaw interracial marriages in the previous century. It’s time for this country to say we are done with DOMA and dump it.

Reverend Charles Williams II
Member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action

PFAW

South Dakota Legislature Approves 'Women Can't Think on Weekends' Bill

South Dakota’s state senate today passed a bill that would extend the mandatory 72 hour waiting period women face when seeking an abortion in the state to specifically exclude weekend days and holidays from counting towards the 72 hour period. Apparently, South Dakota’s Republican lawmakers think women aren’t able to think as well on weekends.

The AP reports:

The South Dakota Senate has given final legislative approval to an extension of what is already the nation's longest waiting period for a woman to receive an abortion.

Senators voted 24-9 Thursday to approve the bill, which has already been passed by the House. The measure will become law if signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Women seeking abortions in South Dakota currently must wait three days after seeing an abortion clinic doctor before they can have the procedure. The bill would make it so that weekends and holidays do not count in calculating the three-day waiting period.

The state House of Representatives approved the anti-choice legislation earlier this month, and it now heads to the governor’s desk.

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