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Context for the Effects of Citizens United

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is commonly criticized by good government advocates because it has led to countless wealthy individuals and corporations making unlimited contributions in unprecedented amounts to groups attempting to sway electoral outcomes, often anonymously. As a result, those with means are able unfairly amplify their voices above that of average Americans.

To appreciate the magnitude of the ruling’s anti-democratic effects, it is important to consider the sheer amount of money that it takes to be a player in the Super-PAC game.

Sheldon Adelson, one of the world’s richest men with a far-right personal political agenda, plans to contribute upwards of $71 million in this election cycle, according to the Huffington Post. He is so determined to unseat the president that, after sinking $21.5 million on Super PACs supporting Newt Gingrich’s failed run, he is ready to refocus his efforts and spend similarly astronomical sums to support groups in favor of Mitt Romney and Republican congressional candidates.

His influence is real – $71 million can buy a lot of TV advertising, and ads funded by Super PACs and 501c4 groups can be particularly nasty because they are not officially “accountable” to a candidate. Average Americans, even those who can afford to contribute toward their preferred candidate, simply cannot compete on this scale. According to a friend of Adelson, “We think ‘$100 million, wow!’ But it’s a meaningless amount of money to him.”

In an interview with Forbes, Adelson acknowledged the reality that his extraordinary wealth allows him to influence elections in ways he otherwise couldn’t, in ways which ordinary Americans cannot. He doesn’t even think it’s a good thing, but that hasn’t stopped him: "I'm against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections," he said. "But as long as it's doable, I'm going to do it."

The only way to make hijacking our elections no longer “doable” is with a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. To anyone without a spare $100 million, the need couldn’t be clearer.

PFAW

Linda Harvey Dubs Same-Sex Relationships 'Pathetic' and 'Lifeless'

Mission America’s Linda Harvey almost always dedicates her radio show to denouncing the gay community, and Saturday’s program was no different as she blasted gay parents as “pathetic” and selfish for not raising children with two parents of the opposite sex. Later in the program, she insisted that gays and lesbians can have the freedom to marry if they would only join her “ex-homosexual” friends who have “grabbed onto that freedom to marry, at least in theory.” Otherwise, Harvey laments that they will be stuck in “lifeless” relationships:

Yes people can love kids but a lot of times these—I would say the vast majority of the time—these homosexual-headed households as being featured in the JC Penney ads or the Gap billboard ads for Father’s Day, they are thinking about themselves much more than they are the kids. If they thought about the kids they would know that this child would grow up with an ache and a hole in their heart for mom if it’s two dads heading the households; if it’s two moms, they will grow up with an ache and a hole in their heart, aching to know their father. It’s just pathetic when adults construct something that is so adult-centered and just neglects the purposes of the child and of marriage.



Friends educate everyone you know out there with the truth: they have the freedom to marry. Every ex-homosexual I know has grabbed onto that freedom to marry, at least in theory, some of them are not married but many of them now are married to someone of the opposite sex because that is marriage. A homosexual marriage can never be consummated, number one, the anatomy doesn’t work. Big clue, people who love each other homosexually or believe they do, can never create under any scenario their own child together, there is no life in that relationship. In case we are being very dense and people are being very dense about this, we humans tend to be dense about things anyway but this is one more way, it’s a big clue: it is a lifeless relationship.

Religious Right Divided on Obama's Immigration Announcement

A number of top Religious Right figures over the last few years have been trying to rally support among conservatives for comprehensive immigration reform, arguing that Hispanics are potential allies in their anti-choice and anti-gay advocacy work while warning that if the Right continues to alienate and demonize Latino voters then they will be writing their own political death sentence. As a result, it wasn’t a surprise to see Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Sam Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference enthusiastically applaud the Obama administration decision to stop deporting undocumented immigrations who are under the age of 30 and arrived in the U.S. before they were 16 years old, and Republican activist Adryana Boyne endorsed the move at the stage of the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s national summit on Saturday.

However, not all social conservatives are on board.

Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, who earlier this month signed onto the pro-reform Evangelical Immigration Table, called the announcement partisan and divisive. Minnery even suggested that the decision to stop deporting some young migrants is bad for families because they won’t be deported with their parents:

Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family’s senior vice president for government and public policy, said he was disappointed with the president’s actions.

“A quick fix in a contentious issue seems designed only for partisan advantage and will divide the country even further,” he said.

Minnery noted that the action will serve to break up families by targeting parents for deportation, while leaving young people behind to fend for themselves.

“Teenagers just out of high school, without intact families, are more likely to wind up dependent on the government,” he said. “This is no solution at all.”

American Family Association’s Buster Wilson attacked the decision by revisiting a debunked conspiracy theory that the Department of Homeland Security thinks that people “who believe in pro-life issues and the second coming of Jesus should be watched as potential terrorists vote,” and then went on to wonder whether Obama is going to allow the young people impacted by the decision to vote, even though they won’t be granted citizenship:

It’s so interesting to me that these people who are, whether they were brought here as children by fault of their known or not, they are still in the process of violating US immigration law. Janet Napolitano will work with her president to do whatever she can to honor those folks while first thing she did in this position, right out of the shoot back in 2009, was issue a white paper to all law enforcement saying that people like you and me who believe in pro-life issues and the second coming of Jesus should be watched as potential terrorists. Incredible; I continue to ask every day now what country am I living in? It is not the America I grew up in.



Another thing that was suggested by some, and I have tried to be fair about this and to try to ascertain how this could happen. I don’t know what the process would be to make this happen, but some have suggested that 800,000 young but old enough to get work permit illegals that the president is throwing out the welcome mat to, giving them basically a soft, backdoor amnesty, could this be his way in an election year, in just months before the election, of adding 800,000 plus votes to his side of the ledger in November? Good question to ask.

PFAW Applauds Obama’s Change to Deportation Policy

President Obama announced a new immigration policy today that would allow undocumented residents who would qualify under the DREAM Act to gain work authorization and avoid deportation.

“The President’s announcement today is a victory for common sense,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “This country was built on the premise that each of us is responsible for our own actions. It’s outrageous to punish and deport hard working young people who were brought to this country at a very young age and who want nothing more than to stay here and contribute to their communities.

“While it’s disappointing that Republicans in Congress, even some who have sponsored the DREAM Act in the past, have chosen to play politics with immigration, President Obama’s order today is an important step forward for the country. It draws a sharp contrast between this President’s willingness to stand up for what’s right and the GOP’s willingness to sacrifice the economy and basic fairness in order to cater to an increasingly extreme base.”

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Joseph Backholm Thinks Marriage Equality will Fail because it relies on 'Emotional Manipulation'

Celebrating his success in putting Washington’s marriage equality law up to a popular referendum, Joseph Backholm of Preserve Marriage Washington and the Family Policy Institute of Washington once again appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show and told her that he is confident of winning in November because the case for same-sex marriage, he claims, doesn’t rely on logic. Instead, Blackholm said that unlike anti-gay activists, proponents of marriage equality depend on demonizing the opposition and “emotional manipulation” to win support.

Backholm: The narrative on the other side of this issue has basically been, ‘good people support redefining marriage, bad people don’t; you’re a good person, so join us.’ So a bunch of people who—generally we consider ourselves to be kind and thoughtful and ‘live and let live’ kind of people, that’s kind of the American way—and so by virtue of that people just migrate by default to where they perceive the people to be. Their narrative depends entirely upon that, so logical discussions about this subject rarely take place with those folks. But when they happen, the logic behind their argument really does tend to fall apart. It’s also because that is what they depend on so heavily, it’s why I’m supremely confident that in the long term we win this discussion because you can’t rely on emotional manipulation forever.

PFAW Condemns Latest GOP Excuse to Block Judicial Nominations

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday that he will block the confirmations of federal circuit court nominees from now until after the November elections, citing what he claims is a Senate tradition sometimes called the “Thurmond Rule.” Ten percent of federal judgeships are vacant, creating caseload backlogs so large that 30 of those seats are considered “judicial emergencies.”

“Senate Republicans have once again put politics ahead of the needs of the American people,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Blocking the president’s well-qualified nominees seriously hampers the ability of the federal courts to serve Americans who seek justice in a court of law.

“Acting on the president’s nominations is the Senate’s responsibility to the American people. Unfortunately, politics is the GOP’s top priority, and it’s clear that Senator McConnell would prefer to keep the judiciary dangerously understaffed in hopes of someday filling those seats with a Republican president’s nominees. Because obstruction has been their strategy since losing the White House, most of the nominees caught in their trap would ordinarily have been confirmed long ago. Thanks to the GOP’s decision to shirk its responsibility by playing games, the backlog of nominees continues to grow and the American people are denied a fully functioning justice system.

“The President’s nominees awaiting confirmation are well qualified and will serve fairly and impartially. Almost all received strong bipartisan support from the Senate Judiciary Committee. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to block these confirmations, and the GOP should be ashamed to cite an indefensible tradition to justify this act.”

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Dwight McKissic Calls on SBC to Condemn Obama for Backing Marriage Equality, Likens Move to September 11th and Hurricane Katrina

Southern Baptist preacher Dwight McKissic, who has described the gay rights movement as “satanic” and even asserted that the Antichrist will be gay, was so distraught over President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality that he likened it to the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina:

President Obama has betrayed the Bible and the Black Church with his endorsement of same-sex marriage. The Bible is crystal clear on this subject, and the Black Church strongly opposes same-sex marriage. His endorsement is an inadvertent attack on the Christian Faith. America is now a candidate for the same judgment received by Sodom and Gomorrah. This was a sad, sad day and a very bad decision, by our beloved President. The moral impact of this day and decision is equal to the military impact of AL-Queda [sic] when they attacked the Twin Towers on 911. Today’s announcement is a moral earthquake equivalent to a tsunami or hurricane that will have far more devastating results than Katrina.

This means that parents are now going to have an extremely difficult time teaching their children that marriage biblically and traditionally is between a man and a woman, when the President that many love and admire is now on record endorsing sodomy. This is painful and shameful. The Black Church should galvanize, mobilize and address this matter with the same (if not greater) intensity, velocity and resolve as we did the Civil Rights Movement. If we don’t, our children and grandchildren will pay a far greater price in suffering from a governmental sanction of same-sex marriage than we would have under segregation.

Now, McKissic is calling on the Southern Baptist Convention to condemn President Obama’s support for marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:

Whereas, the Southern Baptist Convention previously recognized, “Redefining the concept and legality of marriage to mean anything other than the union between one man and one woman would fundamentally undermine the historic and biblical foundation of a healthy society (Genesis 1:28; 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6),” and “equating same-sex relationships with heterosexual marriage would create a host of religious liberty and freedom of conscience conflicts; now, therefore, be it” (SBC Resolution “On Protecting The Defense Of Marriage Act (doma),” June 2011),

Whereas the sitting President of the United States previously formally certified a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing for public recognition of homosexual persons in the military, instead of honoring Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which precludes homosexual behavior among active service personnel,

Whereas the President now has publically voiced his personal support of same-sex civil unions, and that the legal approval of such unions is a matter for each individual state of our country to decide,



Resolved that we affirm that pastors should preach the truth of God’s word on marriage, homosexual behavior, purity, and love with all boldness and without fear of reprisal, and be it further,

Resolved that we proclaim that Christ offers forgiveness for homosexual behavior for those who turn from their homosexuality and believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

Jim Martin Says if Lying was a Crime, Obama would be 'Behind Bars'

Jim Martin of the pro-corporate, Koch Brothers-funded 60 Plus Association, which claims to be the conservative alternative to the AARP, told attendees at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Washington D.C. summit today that if lying was a crime, President Obama would be in jail. “Candidate Obama said we won’t deal with lobbyists, we’ll be open, we’ll be out front, we’ll be transparent,” Martin said in reference to the negotiations over the health care reform law. “Look, if lying were a federal or criminal offense, then the President of the United States and half of his senior staff would right now be behind bars, it is that simple.”

Watch:

Rep. Huelskamp Claims the Left Plans to 'Repeal any Religious Liberties or any Religious Values' in America

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-TX) today spoke to the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon about the sale of bibles in LifeWay stores, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The stores were selling Bibles with the emblems of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. However, the store’s permission to use such trademarks “was revoked when the military revamped its trademark licensing regulations in 2011.”

A LifeWay spokesman told Fox News that “after selling existing inventory of those bibles, B&H [Publishing] replaced the official seals with generic insignias which continue to sell well and provide spiritual guidance and comfort to those who serve.” The Defense Department also “stressed that the revocation was solely a trademark issue.”

But Religious Right groups instead are blaming the decision on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and Huelskamp alleged that the Obama administration is the main culprit. He said that “folks on the left” would “like to delete, exclude and repeal any religious liberties or any religious values throughout our entire government and our entire society,” and argued that the administration seeks to use the military as a “training ground for a radical, leftist agenda.”

Perkins and Huelskamp later twisted the story to claim that soldiers are now being deprived of Bibles, even though the only thing that changed was the logo and not the publication, and suggested that the move could contribute to mental health problems and suicide among soldiers.

Perkins: Your thoughts on this latest attack, it’s the only way I can describe it, on the religious freedom of men and women who serve in the military?

Huelskamp: You just mentioned in a way it was simply a capitulation and the fact that the Department of the Defense and this administration will bend over backwards to protect, I guess, the rights of atheists to determine our policies in the military, which simply does an incredible disservice to the brave men and women who defend and guarantee our rights. The idea that a particular Bible is a national security threat, that would be silly if it wasn’t so serious in terms of the threats that are coming from the folks on the left that would like to delete, exclude and repeal any religious liberties or any religious values throughout our entire government and our entire society, it is a real threat to the future of this country I believe.



Huelskamp: I believe that the only way Washington is going to respond is if something will happen will happen at the polls this Fall.

Wildmon: So you think this is a reflection of the Obama administration through the Pentagon, capitulating on this?

Huelskamp: I believe so, and we see that through other agencies. You have these leftist groups from the outside and somehow they get word about something and then they come in and send these threatening letters and then the administration says ‘well my goodness I think you’re right.’ This happens in the military, I believe it happens other ways as well. It’s a cultural issue, it’s an issue of whether we’re going to just change the way Americans think and we’re going to use, in this case, the military as our training ground for a radical, leftist agenda.



Perkins: The very thing that can help our members of the military deal with these issues is being driven from the military, it makes absolutely no sense.

Wildmon: Congressman, are you on a committee that oversees this kind of thing?

Huelskamp: I am not; I serve on the veterans’ affairs committee as well for folks that finished their military service. Suicide is a real concern. When you separate people from their faith and separate people from their Creator, you expect bad things to happen. Tony is definitely right, the real folks that lose out on this are the men and women that need this truth and need this faith. In the past, in the history of our country, it’s been understood. I have an uncle that’s a chaplain, he’s served in multiple conflicts and has been there and understands as many other chaplains do that this is our role is to protect the faith of our brave men and women. And here they are defending religious liberty and freedom around the world and at home, in their own backyard it is under attack.

Florida Family Association Claims a Victory in Campaign against Degrassi

The anti-LGBT Florida Family Association has long attacked Degrassi for trying to have teenagers “embrace and accept the transgender or homosexual lifestyle,” and is now declaring victory for having convinced at least one company to publicly state it will not advertise on the show: Kelloggs. David Caton of the FFA, who says that Degrassi promotes “very bizarre sexual role-playing with transvestism, homosexuality” and “is probably one of the worst shows that we’ve ever seen,” posted an email that appears to come from a Kellogg’s spokesman agreeing to drop advertising on Degrassi, telling Caton that Degrassi does “not meet our criteria” and that “Teen Nick inadvertently placed our advertising” on only one of the show’s episodes.

MTV tried to convince mainstream advertisers that the content of Degrassi presented important teen issues in a responsible manner. However, the super majority of mainstream companies stopped advertising on this show after Florida Family Association repeatedly informed them about the extreme content involving bizarre sexual role playing and drug abuse and overdose of the program.

The interactions of three Degrassi characters demonstrate one faction of the irresponsible content of this show. The transgender female to male character Adam is intimately interested in a bi-sexual female Fiona. However, Fiona is confused as to whether she is lesbian or bi-sexual while she interacts with Riley. Riley is an open homosexual and starting quarterback for the high school football team. The odds of this mix of sordid sexual deviations occurring in any high school at this high social clique level are a million to one. Yet, MTV targets our children and teens on their Teen Nick channel with this garbage numerous times a week and tries to sell it as programming that treats serious teen matters responsibly.

Florida Family Association has issued several email alerts regarding Degrassi over the past two years which have resulted in a large number of companies pulling off the program. The last email campaign identified Nationwide, Hewlett Packard, Verizon and Colgate as new advertisers and encouraged them to stop supporting Degrassi with their advertising dollars. All four companies, Nationwide, Hewlett Packard, Verizon and Colgate, have not advertised in the recent months.

Kellogg's responded to one of many emails the Florida Family Association office sends out to companies each week that advertise during numerous shows.

Dear Mr. Caton,

We appreciate you bringing this recent advertising placement concern to our attention. We have a long standing advertising placement policy which helps ensure that we place our advertising in environments that reflect the positive image of our brands. When applying this standard, we find that many programs, including Degrassi, do not meet our criteria.

After investigating with our advertising agency and Nickelodeon, it appears that Degrassi ran in a different time slot than usual on May 11 and Teen Nick inadvertently placed our advertising on this one episode. We are working with Nickelodeon to tighten their internal processes to avoid mis-placement in the future.

Sincerely,

Joanna K. Grennes
Sr. Director Consumer Communications
Consumer Affairs Department

Ralph Reed’s Tea Party Luncheon

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition kicked off its 2012 conference with a splashy show of the Reed’s political muscle in the form of three U.S. Senators.  Rob Portman of Ohio, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Marco Rubio of Florida all delivered speeches that reflect Reed’s goal for 2012 and beyond: merging the messages and organizing energies of the overlapping Tea Party and Religious Right movements to elect conservative Republicans.

“American exceptionalism” was a major theme of the day – defined generally as America being uniquely blessed by God for its commitment to limited government and free-market economics grounded in a belief that individual rights come from God.  And – no surprise -- President Obama was portrayed as an enemy of faith and freedom.

Portman declared that the Obama administration had treated freedom of religion as a “second-class right.”  He argued that life should be held sacred “from conception til death.”

 DeMint charged the President with wanting a country and economy run from the top down, and called for a stop to government “purging faith” from the American way of life. “We need to realize we’re blessed,” said DeMint. “We need to know that we’re in trouble. And we need to know that 2012 may be our last chance to turn this thing around.”

Reed introduced Rubio as one of the greatest talents and most transformational figures that any of us have ever seen.  Rubio, who is hawking a new book, argued that social and fiscal conservatism are indistinguishable, and that the notion of God as the source of freedom is essential to freedom itself.  “You cannot have your freedom without your faith, because the source of your freedom is your faith.”  He argued that calling for the wealthy to pay more taxes is “divisive” and pits Americans against each other for the purposes of winning an election, claiming, “that is never who we have been.” (Surely even Rubio does not actually believe that the Republican Party and Tea Party have never run divisive campaigns in order to win elections.)

Listening to Rubio, you can understand why GOP strategists have such high hopes for him. He calls on people to help their neighbors. He says the conservative movement is not about imposing its values on others or leaving people behind.  He says conservatives want drinking water to be clean and the air to be breathable. (In reality, of course, policies backed by today’s far-right GOP would indeed impose their values on others, leave millions of Americans behind, and eviscerate regulations that protect our families’ food, air, and water.)

Before the conference started, an FFC press release claimed that its activists will be “phoning, mailing, and knocking on the doors of 27 million conservative and pro-family voters, distributing 35 million voter guides, and making a total of 120 million voter contacts” in 2012. At today’s luncheon, Reed encouraged members of the audience to imagine what could happen with another 10 or 20 senators like Rubio.  Yes, just imagine.

Linda Harvey Wonders how to 'Peacefully but Permanently' Put an End to Gay Pride Events

Linda Harvey of Mission America today asked listeners to think about what people could “do peacefully but permanently to put an end” to gay pride celebrations, which typically take place in June. Incensed by President Obama’s LGBT Pride Month proclamation, Harvey said that Obama holds “an incorrect view of homosexuality, which is not a basic right,” and is “dissing” people of faith. Harvey, who does not believe that LGBT people exist, later claimed that the Obama administration’s support of “risky lifestyle choices” undercuts the First Lady’s efforts to promote healthy living:

Once again this year, June is filled with cities holding gay pride celebrations. Every year I continue to challenge believers to pray about what we can do peacefully but permanently to put an end to these events in our cities. I will admit, I have not come up with the answer, but there is no question that God will help us if we ask Him. It’s also terribly sad when we have a president who has once again this Spring issued a presidential proclamation declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. In the proclamation which you can find by going to the website WhiteHouse.gov, the president alludes to these deviant behaviors as being part of an effort towards civil rights, which is incorrect. The homosexual political agenda being forced on America is ‘stronger than hate,’ the proclamation says. Once more, the president disses and dismisses those who have religious or personal beliefs that might contradict what he thinks is right, no allowance for other viewpoints. The proclamation speaks with compassion about those who are ‘denied basic rights.’ Again, this is an incorrect view of homosexuality, which is not a basic right.



There are many health care risks and elevated costs associated with these behaviors, which are not inborn identities. So the Obama administration has endorsed poor health care and risky lifestyle choices and helped to codify these into health care law. And yet, Michelle Obama wants people to eat right and exercise? It’s another example of misplaced priorities and confused ethics.

Apparently, Criticizing David Barton is now Proof that he Speaks the Truth

Historians across the board, including evangelicals, have roundly criticized and debunked the work of Religious Right pseudo-historian and WallBuilders president David Barton, whose shoddy history has been repeatedly documented on this blog. However, Barton’s influence among social conservatives and leading Republicans, including presidential candidates, continues to grow.

As exhibited today in a WallBuilders Live interview with David French of the American Center for Law and Justice, it appears that Barton’s clout has increased not despite the overwhelming criticism he has received for his faux-history and extremist views but because of it. French told Barton’s deputy Rick Green that disapproval of Barton’s work is proof that he is speaking the truth!

Green: We’re worried about cratering because someone might say, ‘that’s mean-spirited’!

French: Exactly, or, ‘you’re a bigot,’ and then all of a sudden you are immediately backpedalling. It shows the power that we have allowed peer and cultural regard to have over our lives and heart. One of the best things that any Christian can do is to begin to just break away from that, to become indifferent to that.

You guys, you and David, get such hate all the time from folks who are just appalled that you are bringing truth about America’s heritage into the public square, a truth they have been spending generations trying to squelch. I’m sure it hurts on some occasion when you see it but it’s also a sign that you guys are making incredible progress and incredible headway and you’ve gotten a message out that I can just tell in the Christian community in the past five to ten years, there’s a difference in knowledge about America because of the work that you guys have done.

Green: Hey man, if you’re not taking flak you’re not over the target right?

French: Exactly.

Green: It could be a good thing. I think you’re dead-on, if you are speaking truth, if you are doing something that’s going to make a difference, you’re going to take some criticism. We need to challenge this generation to actually be excited about the opportunity to stand for truth.

Barton certainly has made a “difference in knowledge about America”…by consistently fabricating and disseminating false claims about American history.

Bryan Fischer Goes Ballistic over New Yorker Profile

Yesterday we wrote about an excellent, and in-depth, profile of Bryan Fischer by veteran reporter Jane Mayer in this week’s New Yorker. Fischer took to his radio show to respond to the piece, and let’s just say it seems to have hit a nerve. If you weren’t already planning on reading it, you’ll definitely want to after watching Fischer get so worked up about it (highlights below and full video here):  

Fischer variably called the profile “shoddy,” “laughably bad,” “juvenile,” “poorly written,” “unprofessional,” “distorted, misleading, false, and deceptive,” “offensively bad,” and “an embarrassingly bad piece of journalism” that is “like something you would get in a middle school journalism class.” He said that Mayer “ought to be ashamed of herself” and is an “inexcusably bad journalist.”
 
Fischer, of course, doth protest too much. He threw around a lot of names and accusations but did nothing to call into question the veracity or quality of the article. And he seemed genuinely shocked that a reporter would take the time to speak with people he’s known throughout his life, and that some of those people might not agree with him or hold him in the same high esteem he holds himself. “This was my own life, she’s talking about my life here,” he complained.
 
“If I was a journalist,” said Fischer, “I'd be embarrassed frankly to be associated with a piece of tripe like this.” But I think it’s safe to say that he has a weak grasp on what journalism is. Regardless, Fischer says he’s going to take his ball and go home: “This is it. I am never ever gonna cooperate with an organ of the mainstream media for a profile on me ever again.”
 

Questions arise in Alabama after Public TV Employees were Fired after Rebuffing David Barton Programming

In no uncertain terms, David Barton is not a historian, but a hyper-partisan political activist whose writings have been so repeatedly and thoroughly debunked that he is not taken seriously outside of certain conservative circles. Indeed, right-wing figures regularly hail Barton, whose only degree is a B.A. in religious education from Oral Roberts University, as not just a historian but perhaps even the greatest historian.

Since Barton’s discredited claims about American history have such a following it was no surprise to see that a member of the Alabama Educational Television Commission pressured the state’s educational public television outlet to air one of Barton’s “history” series. And yesterday, the Current Public Media blog reported that Alabama Public Television managers Allan Pizzato and Pauline Howland were fired possibly after refusing a request from commissioner Rodney Herring, a Republican Party official and donor, to broadcast Barton’s program:

The Alabama Educational Television Commission came out of an executive session Tuesday afternoon and ordered veteran pubcaster Allan Pizzato and his deputy Pauline Howland to clean out their desks and leave APT’s headquarters in Birmingham.

Pizzato had served 12 years as executive director of APT, a statewide network governed by a board of seven political appointees.

Howland, deputy director and chief financial officer, described the firings in an interview with Current and said she was "baffled" by the dismissals. But she also recalled how Pizzato had asked staff in April for advice about a series of videos that AETC commissioners wanted APT to air.

The videos featured David Barton, an evangelical minister and conservative activist whose publications and media appearances promote his theories about the religious intentions of America’s founders. He frequently appears on political commentary programs hosted by conservative Glenn Beck.



AETC Commissioner Rodney Herring, an Opelika-based chiropractor, had provided the series to APT for broadcast consideration. Herring joined the commission last year and was elected board secretary in January. As of late Wednesday evening, Herring did not return a voice message from Current.

Kyle Whitmire of the weekly newspaper Weld for Birmingham also reported on the firings and pressure from “members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton”:

Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told Weld on Tuesday that APTV executive director Allan Pizzato and chief financial officer Pauline Howland were ordered to clean out their desks and escorted from the building on Tuesday, and the two executives were not allowed to speak to staff or explain the change on the premises. The sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to make public statements about APTV’s internal affairs.



In recent months, APTV has been pressured by members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton, a Texas evangelist. Barton’s organization, Wall Builders, has produced a series of videos promoting a religious conservative view of American History. The Wall Builders website explains its purpose is to promote Christian religious values.

As Kyle has noted, Barton’s new “Building on the American Heritage Series” features not only the same faux-history but also Creationist and anti-choice claims, demands for greater intolerance of gays and lesbians and an appeal for the criminalization of homosexuality:

But this kind of rhetoric may find its way onto Alabama’s public television soon, all under the guise of “history.”

Tony Perkins Praises ExxonMobil's 'Courage' for not 'Fueling the Homosexual Agenda'

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on his daily radio bulletin applauded ExxonMobil shareholders for voting down a proposal to prohibit job discrimination based sexual orientation, even claiming that the vote was part of a “backlash” against President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality. By not “fueling the homosexual agenda,” Perkins said the oil giant’s decision showed “courage” and was a “stand for true American values.”

Perkins: At ExxonMobil, the shareholders put their stock in something other than political correctness. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins in the Family Research Council in Washington. It won't change the price of gas, but it may comfort you to know that at ExxonMobil, your business isn't fueling the homosexual agenda. At Exxon's annual meeting, shareholders refused to add special protections based upon "sexual orientation" to the employment policy. It was the 13th straight year the company wouldn't cave to the pressure. While the outcome wasn't a surprise, the margin of victory certainly was. Eighty percent of the company voted "no"--that was the highest number since 1999. That was a huge shock to liberals who were pushing the change, who said the resolution had 40% support in years past. But that was before the President forced Americans into a debate about homosexual marriage. Now, the backlash is starting to show, and it's not just political. Maybe Exxon's courage will fuel other companies to stand for true American values.

Citizens United Continues to Stack the Deck

Two short paragraphs from a Wall Street Journal article about billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s political contributions vividly illustrate the damage to democracy done by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision:

Mr. Adelson has told friends that he intends to give at least $100 million to conservative causes and candidates this election cycle. He contributed some $250,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who just won against a labor union-forced recall election there.

But he has also told his friends and colleagues that he would prefer to keep his contributions under wraps in order to avoid controversy, and will likely focus donations mostly on non-profits affiliated with political PACS, which don’t have to disclose the names of donors. He is expected to donate to the conservative non-profit Crossroads GPS, which was founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, a longtime friend of Mr. Adelson, according to Republican fundraisers.

The article was prompted by recent revelations that Mr. Adelson donated $10 million – the largest amount single donation so far – to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.

Adelson is credited for single-handedly keeping Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign afloat (for a while, at least), and he has long been pressured by Republican fundraisers to support Mr. Romney. Thanks to Citizens United, one very wealthy individual has the power to donate unlimited amounts to super PACS that are unaccountable to the public. And, as is the case with special interests who try to use their enormous wealth to skew elections, Adelson would prefer to keep his activities a secret so no one even knows who’s buying the race. Thanks to Citizens United, he can do exactly that.

PFAW

Barber: Arrogant Obama 'Infuriated Black Pastors Across This Country'

Mat Staver and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel on Faith & Freedom today were rankled by a speech Attorney General Eric Holder delivered to a meeting of the Conference of National Black Churches and the Congressional Black Caucus where he denounced the new wave of voter suppression measures like voter ID laws and curtailing early voting that have a disproportionate impact on people of color.

Naturally, Barber tied this back to the issue of gay rights, arguing that black voters should no longer trust President Obama since he “infuriated black pastors across the country” by endorsing marriage equality. “Now he goes to them with hat and hand and expects them to fire up the base for his cause when he has alienated them in such a way,” Barber asserted.

Staver went on to say that most African Americans oppose marriage equality because it “compounds the breakdown of the family.” However, the latest polling shows that 59% of African Americans support marriage equality and 90% of black voters approve of President Obama’s job performance. Similarly, last June Barber predicted that Jewish voters will rebuff Obama’s “anti-Semitism” but a strong majority of Jewish voters continues to back Obama.

Staver: Anything that is biblical, anything that you want to speak on with regards to the Bible or our culture is not off-limits simply because politicians are also talking about it.

Barber: You mentioned biblical issues, that brings up another case tied into this idea of the Obama administration going to these black churches. Again, it just displays an amount of hubris and arrogance on the part of this administration and this President that I’ve never seen before. This after on the heels of the President thumbing his nose at these very black pastors around the country by coming out in support of counterfeit, same-sex marriage. He has infuriated black pastors across the country with this and now he goes to them with hat and hand and expects them to fire up the base for his cause when he has alienated them in such a way.

Staver: In fact, he talked to some black pastors before he went out to do this announcement on same-sex marriage and they opposed it, many of them did oppose it. Now there were some obviously that were in favor but there were many black pastors, and I would say there are most black pastors by far that don’t agree with same-sex marriage. They understand the breakdown of the family. Of many communities, you see the breakdown of the family with regards to the father, and same-sex marriage creates a fatherless home, it just does, it creates a fatherless situation. It compounds the breakdown of the family. Most black pastors and people in the black community understand that. So he’s thumbed his nose at them and then he wants to now recruit them.
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