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Judicial Obstruction: GOP Talking Points vs. The Facts

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture petitions to end GOP filibusters of 17 district court nominees, an extraordinary move brought on by unprecedented Republican obstruction. The Senate GOP started immediately to try to spin the story to try to cover for the gridlock they had created. Here are the five main Republican talking points on the judicial obstruction showdown and the facts that rebut them:

GOP Talking Point #1: Senate Democrats have invented this conflict to make Republicans look bad. This is a little skirmish about timing that’s been blown out of proportion.

Sen. McConnell: “Rather than try to manufacture gridlock and create the illusion of conflict where none exists, why don’t we demonstrate we can kind of get something done together?”

Sen. Alexander: "This is a little disagreement that we have here between the Majority leader and the Republican leader on the scheduling of votes on district judges. It's not a high constitutional matter. It's not even a high principle. It's not even a big disagreement.”

The Facts:

  • Senate Democrats aren’t “manufacturing gridlock” – they’re bringing it into the daylight. Senate Republicans have created unprecedented gridlock over the last three years. Democrats are now calling them out on it.
  • President Obama’s judicial nominees have been met with such consistent obstruction that they now wait an average of four times longer than President Bush’s nominees just to reach a Senate vote. This unrelenting gridlock has helped create a historic vacancy crisis in the federal courts.
  • This is no minor matter: this is about whether 10% of our federal courtrooms remain empty. This is about Americans having access to fair and functioning courts.
  • If Senate Republicans wanted to move on from this issue, they could easily agree to schedule a vote today and confirm all 17 nominees. The Senate did just that in 2002, when it confirmed 17 of Bush’s district court nominees -- plus a Circuit Court nomination – all by  a voice vote in just a few minutes.
  • What’s really going on here is that Republicans don’t want these nominees to be put to a vote. No district court nominee has ever been successfully blocked by a filibuster – if they deny cloture on these nominees, the GOP will be setting a new and very dangerous standard.

GOP Talking Point #2: The GOP’s obstruction is a direct response to President Obama’s recess appointments.

Sen. Lee: "After the president made four unconstitutional appointments, we could no longer sustain the same level of cooperation.”

The Facts:

  • Senate Republicans have been obstructing President Obama’s judicial nominees from day one of his presidency. Even before the recess appointments, Obama nominees were stalled an average of four times as long as  Bush’s.
  • At the end of last year, even Sen. Lee was upset that Obama’s nominees weren’t getting votes. In December, he said he was “frustrated” that Utah District Court nominee David Nuffer had been stalled for two months on the Senate floor. “There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t have confirmed him before we got out.”
  • In August 2010, American Bar Association warned that the judicial vacancy crisis was leading to “justice denied.” In December 2010, Chief Justice John Roberts urged the Senate to solve “the persistent problem of judicial vacancies.” In April 2011, the Federal Bar Association warned that the vacancy crisis was harming business and costing taxpayers. For three years, Editorials Boards and commentators from across the nation have called for an end to obstruction. This is a persistent problem, not a new creation.

GOP Talking Point #3: Some of the filibustered nominees haven’t been on the calendar all that long, what’s the hurry?

Sen. Alexander: “We have 17 district court judgeships that have been recommended by the Judiciary committee. They could be brought up by the majority leader. He has the right to do that but of those 17, six of them - six of them - have been here for less than 30 days. They just got here.”

The Facts:

  • Moving district court nominees in under a month used to be the norm, not the exception. At this point in Bush’s presidency, the average district court nominee waited just 22 days after committee approval for a vote from the full Senate. Under President Obama, the average wait has been 93 days.
  • During Bush’s first term, 57 district court nominees were confirmed within a week of being approved by the Judiciary Committee. During Obama’s first term, only 5 have been.
  • On September 26, 2008, the Senate confirmed 10 district court judges by voice vote. All 10 had been reported just one day earlier.  In fact, 5 of these had just had their hearings three days earlier. Now, less than four years later and with a Democratic president in office, Republicans are saying this sort of quick processing of nominees is impossible.

GOP Talking Point #4: Senate Republicans are floating plans to vote “present” on the 17 cloture petitions, thus continuing to stall the nominees while not being tagged with a “no” vote.

Sen. Cornyn:Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told POLITICO he thinks Republicans will vote ‘no’ or ‘present’ on the cloture votes on judges and won't allow Democrats to ‘jam’ them.”

The Facts:

  • Voting “present” on cloture is exactly the same thing as voting “no.” Anyone who is at all familiar with Senate rules, where it takes 60 “yes” votes to end a filibuster understands this basic point.
  • If Republicans want to continue to obstruct these nominees, they should be willing to be clear about what they are doing, not opt for some ruse. The American people are smart enough to understand that a “present vote” indicates that Republicans are playing games rather than playing their Constitutionally mandated role to advise and consent.
  • No district court nominee has ever been blocked by a filibuster. Whether Republicans vote “no” or “present,” if they succeed in denying cloture to any of these 17 nominees, they will be creating a dangerous precedent.

GOP Talking Point #5: The Senate has more important issues to focus on.

Sen. McConnell: “It could be that is precisely what my friend the Majority leader has in mind, to try to make the Senate look like it's embroiled in controversy where no controversy exists. So my suggestion is, why don't we do first things first.”

The Facts:

  • Americans rely on having access to a fair and functioning judiciary to assert their rights in cases of civil rights violations, employment discrimination, dangerously defective consumer goods, predatory lending practices, immigrant rights, consumer fraud, environmental destruction, and other areas. Because of Republican obstruction, the courts we rely on are in jeopardy – and the American people are paying the price.
  • During the Obama presidency “judicial emergencies” declared by the U.S. Courts have soared from 20 to 35 and the vacancy rate has been kept at an all-time high. 160 million Americans live in districts or circuits with at least one judicial vacancy.
  • Senate Republicans could easily move on to other priorities – by simply agreeing to hold up-or-down votes on the 17 nominees who they are currently filibustering.

Press Contact: Miranda Blue, (202) 497-4999, media@pfaw.org

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Ted Cruz joins Tony Perkins for a Planned Parenthood Lie-A-Thon

Right-wing activists have always had a difficult relationship with the truth, especially when it comes to Planned Parenthood. The lies they have told about the women’s health organization have been disgraceful and even comical. They continued today as Ted Cruz, the former Solicitor General of Texas and a candidate for US Senate, spoke to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on Today’s Issues about his state’s move to defund Planned Parenthood, which treats nearly half the patients in the state’s Women’s Health Program.

Under Medicaid’s rules, states cannot prohibit qualified health care providers from participating in the program, and Texas officials knew that defunding Planned Parenthood would lead the federal government to withdraw its funding for the program, representing 90 percent of the program’s total funding.

Unfortunately, 130,000 women will now lose access to health care because of Texas’ decision, and will lead to millions of dollars in new state spending due to the drastic cut to preventative health care.

But Texas went ahead and defunded Planned Parenthood, to the satisfaction of the Religious Right, and now are shocked—shocked!—that Medicaid is enforcing its longstanding rules.

Perkins claimed that “Planned Parenthood as a result of losing this funding was closing twelve of its abortion clinics.”

This is false.

In fact, none of the affected clinics provided abortion services. Planned Parenthood clinics that do offer abortions receive neither federal nor state funds and are therefore not impacted by the state’s decision.

Perkins and Cruz also attempted to hold Parent Parenthood and the Obama administration responsible for the deleterious impact on women’s health care by twisting and ignoring the facts throughout the interview. Perkins called it “blackmail” and blamed the administration for “cutting off funds to some of the most needy people in the state of Texas.” Cruz said that the Obama administration wants to send taxpayer dollars to “the abortion industry,” which he called “typical of the assault on our liberties that is proceeding relentlessly everyday under the Obama administration.”

They seem to find no fault at all in Texas’ unilateral and deliberate decision to break Medicaid’s rules and defund an organization that provided nearly half of the health services to low-income women under the state’s program.

Perkins: Let me get your first impressions, the Governor who you know well and the legislature whom you’ve worked with, they said, ‘We’re not going to be part of funding Planned Parenthood.’ They took the steps, that’s rightfully theirs, and so now I can’t explain it as anything other than blackmail from the Obama administration cutting off funds to some of the most needy people in the state of Texas.

Cruz: Tony you’re exactly right. The Obama administration has been the most radical administration this country has ever seen, he is the most radical president this country has ever seen. On this issue, his concern is quite simply political, it is ensuring that the money flow continues to Planned Parenthood and to the abortion industry, and he is willing to hold 130,000 low income Texas women hostage in order to make sure that Planned Parenthood makes their money. It’s cynical, it’s partisan and it’s wrong.



Perkins: I wonder if the timing here, it seems very suspect to me, but after Texas decided to stop this funding of Planned Parenthood, I think it was a week before last the story came out of Texas that Planned Parenthood as a result of losing this funding was closing about twelve of their abortion clinics in Texas. That was a story that was beginning to get traction around the country, giving other legislatures encouragement to take steps like Texas. Is this an effort to cut that off at the pass and try to say ‘hey, you better slow down or else we’re going to come after funding in other areas’?

Cruz: I think it was exactly that. The disturbing thing Tony is you and I and every American are involuntarily the largest funders of Planned Parenthood in this country because the federal government and the Obama administration is fighting tooth and nail to send millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood. You and I are both strongly pro-life, have been fighting to defend the right to life for many years, the idea that we are facing an administration that is so radical that they will do anything they can to defend and expand the taxpayer money to pay for Planned Parenthood and to fund the abortion industry, that is really dismaying and it is typical of the assault on our liberties that is proceeding relentlessly everyday under the Obama administration.

Randall Terry Demands that we Acknowledge his Oklahoma 'Victory'

Last week, Randall Terry won 18% of the vote in Oklahoma's Democratic primary as part of his on-going "presidential campaign" aimed primarily exploiting a loophole in election law as a means of air graphic anti-abortion ads on television.

And Terry appears to be quite pleased with himself, somehow believing that his showing in Oklahoma demonstrates that President Obama is losing in the "swing states" and he wants everyone to know it ... especially us, Slate, and Jezebel:

WORLD Magazine Defends Anti-Gay Material Against 'The Armies of Homosexual Advocacy'

Joel Belz, the founder of WORLD Magazine, responded to an inquiry about “homophobic” content in his magazine by defending the anti-gay material and claiming that the “homosexual agenda” is “an extreme in-your-face challenge to God’s order.” Belz defended WORLD, which named ex-gay activist Alan Chambers the “2011 Daniel of the Year” and derided supporters of marriage equality as “forces of anarchy” who are “undefining the family,” for standing up to “the armies of homosexual advocacy,” which he claims now “have nothing left to conquer but the kindergarten class down the street” as the “battles” in the literature, entertainment, media, education and mainline churches “are long since over.” “If heterosexual immorality is like driving 85 mph in a 35 mph zone,” Belz writes, “then homosexual immorality is like going 85 mph the wrong way on a one-way street.”

Eric, from Ohio, is very upset with WORLD in general and me in particular. "I've been a reader for 12 years or more," he says, "and now I get the distinct impression that you are becoming more, not less, homophobic with every issue. Does gay-bashing really give you that much satisfaction?"



Yet saying all that, we dare not lose sight of two other facts about the contemporary homosexual agenda. The first is that it is an extreme in-your-face challenge to God's order. We learn that both from the Bible and from common sense. As we've noted here before, if heterosexual immorality is like driving 85 mph in a 35 mph zone, then homosexual immorality is like going 85 mph the wrong way on a one-way street. Never mind what prompts you to drive the wrong way; just doing it is dangerous. We're no more judgmental saying that than we are when we encourage folks to avoid any behavior that is demonstrably destructive—spiritually, emotionally, or physically.

The other important aspect of the current homosexual agenda is its zeal to establish itself as normal. It's bad enough when wrongdoers work hard to keep their wrongdoing secret. When instead they flaunt what they do, and pull out all the stops to make it public, then society has problems of a different order.

For decades now, we've witnessed an all-out effort to portray homosexual behavior as typical and mainstream. It's pointless to worry about battles being waged in literature, the library systems, the entertainment industries, the information media, fashion, higher education, and most of the liberal churches—for the battles in those venues are long since over. When the armies of homosexual advocacy have nothing left to conquer but the kindergarten class down the street, you know you're almost certainly too late on the scene.

Homophobic gay-bashers? Not really, Eric. But realistic about what's happening all around us? Indeed, yes. And I hope we say that these days with a tear—and never anything you might mistake for a leer.

Ryan Dobson on 'Family Talk' Assails Sandra Fluke for 'Sleeping Around'

Ryan Dobson, the son of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, is joining his fellow conservative commentators in attacking Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke. Yesterday on Family Talk’s Grounded, he railed against President Obama for calling and thanking Fluke after she testified in favor of a mandatory insurance coverage for contraceptives. Fluke testified that many of her fellow Georgetown students must spend $3,000 over the course of three years on contraception because the school refuses to cover it in their insurance plans.

Dobson charged that Obama “belittled himself by calling her” since she “sleeps around enough to where she’s struggling financially because she can’t afford contraception.”

Dobson must have missed the Associated Press story confirming that without insurance coverage, contraceptives can indeed cost $1,000 a year. He also likely never read Fluke’s testimony, in which she pointed out that contraceptives are medically necessary to treat ovarian cysts, endometriosis, hormonal disorders and early menopause, along with preventing unwanted pregnancies.

And, along with many of Fluke’s right-wing attackers, Dobson seems to have missed the fact that the amount of contraception a woman needs is unrelated to the amount that she “sleeps around.”

Dobson: President Obama calls [Sandra Fluke] and says ‘I called you because of my own daughters, your parents must be proud.’ Really? Seriously? So Obama, when your daughter is a third year student at a college who sleeps around enough to where she’s struggling financially because she can’t afford contraception, that’s going to make you proud of your daughter? I cannot imagine a father in this country or anywhere that wakes up in the morning and is like, ‘I’m so glad my daughter sleeps around; it just makes me so proud that my daughter is sleeping around and spending money on contraception.’



I just think it’s such a bad precedent for the president, for the President, the President of the United States, belittled himself by calling her.

Judicial Obstruction - Not Just a "Little Disagreement" Over Scheduling

Sen. Lamar Alexander has gravely mischaracterized his party's three-year massive resistance to processing judicial nominations.
PFAW

Pat Robertson Flip Flops and Denies Climate Change

Religious Right commentators from Calvin Beisner to David Barton and Bryan Fischer like to think of themselves as experts on the topic of global climate change despite their complete lack of scientific credentials. On the 700 Club today, televangelist Pat Robertson joined the debate, arguing that human-induced climate change is a myth and “hasn’t been scientifically proven”:

But like Newt Gingrich, who costarred in an ad with Nancy Pelosi for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, Robertson shared a couch with Al Sharpton for ACP’s “We Can Solve It” campaign to raise awareness about climate change in 2008:

Exponential Escalation of Judicial Obstruction

For the last three years, Republicans have completely transformed what was once the low-key, bipartisan act of filling district court vacancies.
PFAW

Rick Santorum Prayed with Anti-Gay Pastor Implicated in Cover-up of Child Abuse

Before the Tennessee primary, Rick Santorum visited the Bellevue Baptist Church outside of Memphis where he prayed alongside Pastor Steve Gaines. Gaines said that “God doesn’t come to take sides, God comes to take over and I pray that He will takeover in America.” He asked God to forgive America for “the sins of racism, the sins of abortion and the sins of immorality”:

Gaines has a sordid history, and the website Ethics Daily, a project of the Baptist Center for Ethics, reported back in 2006 that Gaines failed to report to the police a minister in his church, Paul Williams, who molested his own:

An assistant prosecutor said Bellevue Baptist Church Pastor Steve Gaines may have committed a crime if he knew the "moral failure" a church staff member confessed to him six months ago involved child molestation.

All 50 states have laws requiring mandatory reporting of suspected child sexual abuse. Tennessee requires any person, including ministers, with reasonable suspicion that abuse of a child has occurred to report it immediately.

Gaines has admitted that Paul Williams, a minister on staff at the Memphis, Tenn., mega-church for 34 years, told him in confidence about inappropriate behavior that occurred 17 years ago.

While Gaines did not disclose details of the confession, a Web site critical of his leadership alleged Williams molested his own son. Church leaders have suspended Williams and launched their own investigation, due to last a month.

"Everyone has a duty to report," Kevin Rardin, chief prosecutor of child sexual abuse cases in the district attorney's office in Shelby County, Tenn., told Memphis station WMC-TV. "There are not exceptions for clergy or anyone else."

In fact, Gaines kept Williams’s admission a secret for six months:

"It is that every person is required to make a report to an agency like Department of Children's Services if they have reason to believe that someone may, a child may have been molested or abused," said Nancy Williams, with the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.

According to Bellevue Pastor Steve Gaines' own words, he didn't just have reason to believe it, he had a confession from one of his ministers, who admitted to molesting a child.

A report by church leaders found that Gaines allowed the minister to remain on staff even after his admission:

The report states that Williams "engaged in egregious, perverse, sexual activity with his adolescent son over a period of 12 to 18 months."



In May 2006, Williams informed Jamie Fish, the church's minister of biblical guidance, of his past actions. The report said Fish erred by not coming forward with the information, particularly since Williams' job duties included interviewing adult lay ministry volunteers who had indicated they had been sexually abused.

The following month Williams and his wife met to discuss the issue with Dr. Steve Gaines, Bellevue's senior pastor. Williams indicated that he confessed and repented to his family and there had been no further sexual abuse. The meeting was kept confidential and Williams remained on staff.

But in early December, Williams' son met with Gaines "for an explanation, in light of scriptural qualifications for ministers, as to why Paul should be allowed to continue as minister on the church staff."

While Gaines failed to report a case of child molestation and allowed an admitted child predator to remain on the church’s staff, he did ban a softball team from the church’s athletic league because the coach was openly gay. In fact, Gaines consistently rails against gays and lesbians, warning that gay rights and gays in the media jeopardize America’s security and economy:

"As important as these issues are, ... I believe they pale compared to two other issues that I believe will determine the future of America," Gaines warned. "I personally believe with all of my heart that the two issues that will determine what God will do not only with America but to America are abortion and homosexuality. ... America's economy and America's safety are more tied up with what's going on in those courts in Massachusetts than what's going on in Wall Street or over in Iraq." …

"We love [homosexuals] because we know -- as Jesus said from the cross -- 'they know not what they do.' They're in bondage, but aren't you glad today Jesus Christ can set people free from all sorts of bondage, even homosexuality?"



Southern Baptists should oppose "pro-homosexual television programming," such as "Will and Grace," "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and MTV's homosexual channel, Logo, Gaines urged.

"We must help curb the epidemic spread of lesbianism by telling our daughters and our young girls that the passionate kisses shared by Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at MTV's Video Music Awards last August were an abomination to a holy God," Gaines said.

In another sermon, he warned that since “homosexuals and lesbians cannot reproduce biologically so they prey on the children of normal people, seeking to entice them to be trapped in their perverted lifestyle”:

On the home-front, radical homosexuals and lesbians seek to take over our nation. You cannot watch television without being subjected to Gay propaganda. They seek to brain wash our citizens so they can make same-sex marriage the law of the land. Homosexuals and lesbians cannot reproduce biologically so they prey on the children of normal people, seeking to entice them to be trapped in their perverted lifestyle. They want to silence Baptist preachers and others from denouncing their sinful lifestyles by making it an illegal “hate crime” to point out what the Bible says about their wicked practices. Regardless of what anyone says about the goodness of being “Gay,” the Bible still calls it a “degrading, unnatural, indecent, and depraved” (Romans 1:26-28). Homosexual practice always has been, is, and always will be “an abomination” in the sight of Holy God (Leviticus 18:22). By God’s grace, homosexuals can be saved and set free from their sinful lifestyles because the blood of Jesus can cleanse anyone from any sin. But they must first repent of the sin of homosexuality and denounce their ungodly homosexual behavior.



The Old Testament prophet, Joel, preached to God’s people in Judah just before the Babylonian armies came and destroyed Jerusalem and took God’s people into exile. He cried out for them to repent so that God could spare the land from the coming invasion. His words of warning are very pertinent for us today. I personally believe that if America does not repent, she is headed for national disaster.

The negative publicity around Gaines, however, did not prevent Rick Santorum from actively seeking his support. In fact, Santorum has made frequent appearances with extremists in the Religious Right in his bid to defeat Mitt Romney.

Edit Memo: Debunking the GOP’s Spin on Judicial Obstruction

To: Interested Parties

From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way

Re: Debunking the GOP’s Spin on Judicial Obstruction

Date: March 13, 2012

Senate Democrats are taking action this week to call Republicans on their unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees, which over the past three years has left far too many of our nation's courtrooms empty. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture petitions in an attempt to end the GOP filibusters of all 17 district court nominees currently waiting for Senate votes, most of whom have been stalled for over three months for absolutely no reason. And already, Senate Republicans have concocted a false spin in an attempt to cover for the mess they have helped to create in the federal courts.

Reid’s action is unprecedented: only two district court nominees were filibustered in the sixteen years of the Bush and Clinton presidencies. As of yesterday, nineteen of President Obama’s district court nominees have been filibustered.

If Republicans don’t back down and allow up-or-down votes on these nominees, the cumbersome cloture process will tie up the senate until early April – and it will become very clear to the American people that Republicans’ top priority is gridlock, not policy.

In response, Senate Republicans have united behind a message that seeks to blame President Obama for the gridlock they created. Their claim is that their unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees is a direct response to President Obama’s recess appointments of a director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and members of the National Labor Relations Board -- appointments that they neglect to mention were themselves necessary because of Republican obstruction.

This narrative is simply not true. Even a cursory look at the last three years shows that today’s Republican obstruction is not related to their fury at the president’s recess appointments. In fact, these unprecedented levels of obstruction have been going on since President Obama took office. By the end of 2011, before the recess appointments, President Obama's confirmed district court nominees had been stalled more than four times longer on average than President Bush's. That is the case today, as well.

The unjustified delays in 2009-2011 were hardly caused by recess appointments made in 2012.

Make no mistake: the Senate GOP’s obstruction of judicial nominees is part of a deeply cynical effort to create gridlock in Washington and to keep as many courtrooms empty for as long as possible in the hopes of having a Republican president fill them in 2013.

Our federal courts are now facing a historic vacancy crisis, and Americans are facing unjustified delays as they seek their day in court. Senate Republicans should ditch the false excuses for their obstruction, and start doing the job they were elected to do.

Press Contact: Miranda Blue, (202) 467-4999, media@pfaw.org.

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PFAW's Jamie Raskin Takes on Right-Wing Rhetoric on the Courts

As the 2012 presidential campaign gears up, PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin has collected an extensive glossary of the Right Wing’s favorite rhetoric about the Supreme Court and the Constitution. Sen. Raskin's Daily Kos piece explains the coded phrases and euphemisms, such as “federalism,” “legislating from the bench” and “original intent,” that the Right Wing uses to project their political agenda onto the Founding Fathers’ vision for America.

Here’s an excerpt :

“Follow the Law, Not Make the Law” – Right -Wing Usage: What Republican judges and justices do and what Republican judicial nominees will do, e.g., “It’s only a matter of time before our five justices who follow the law and don’t make the law strike down the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and step up the campaign to invalidate jury verdicts and punitive damages in the states.” Preferred Usage: Essentially meaningless campaign rhetoric used to describe judges who toe the right-wing corporate line, e.g., “I hope they follow the law, instead of making it, and cut our jury verdict down to a price that won’t cost us so much freedom of speech.”

You can read the whole glossary here.

PFAW

Kirk Cameron Warns 'Our Freedoms Are Being Taken Away'

According to Kirk Cameron, criticizing him is an attack on freedom itself, so it was no surprise to hear him tell Janet Mefferd on Friday that he made his new documentary, Monumental, on the history of the US because he fears that “our freedoms are being taken away.” Mefferd said that the opposition to Cameron’s assertion that homosexuality is “destructive” is representative of the “sinful condition of our country,” which “was what drove you really to make Monumental.” Cameron agreed and maintained that the moral and spiritual fruits of America are “rotting”:

Mefferd: It’s sort of interesting, Kirk, it’s really fascinating to see how your experience this week really points out the sinful condition of our country, and that was what drove you really to make Monumental, your concern for the direction our country is headed.

Cameron: That’s right, and even deeper than my concern for my country and the way it’s headed, I’m concerned for the future of my children. I love my kids, I have friends who have children, and all of us are concerned with what we see—morally, spiritually—we think, wow, the fruit in America seems to be rotting…. All signs tell me that we are headed in the wrong direction; our freedoms are being taken away.

Arizona Group Opposes Anti-Bullying Measure because it has Support from Gay Rights Groups

The Center for Arizona Policy, one of the state’s leading conservative organizations, coming out strongly against legislation in the Arizona State Senate, Senate Bill 1462, in the Arizona State Senate that tackles the problem of school bullying, which is nothing new from right-wing groups. But while Religious Right groups typically claim they oppose anti-bullying policies because they identify “sexual orientation” as a reason that students are bullied, SB 1462 does not mention “sexual orientation” or other enumerated categories. Instead, Center for Arizona Policy says that they oppose the bullying-prevention effort just because groups such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and the Anti-Defamation League support the legislation. There is no doubt about it; the ‘bullying’ theme is agenda-driven propaganda,” the group writes. “The irony is that groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN have chosen this issue to bully you and me into allowing them access into our schools and to our children.” The group also lashed out at a Teaching Tolerance film, Bullied, which “chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today.”

The questions arise when one considers which organizations would provide the training and which organizations are behind the legislation. As a leading homosexual magazine in Arizona wrote, Equality Arizona, one n ten, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) were all in attendance at the bill's committee hearing to support and see the legislation pass.

You see, groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN have used the bullying issue in order to gain access to our public schools. These are the groups that supporters of the bill will bring into schools to teach the anti-bullying training to our students.

What concerns me is that this is already happening. I received an email from a parent whose 11-year-old daughter was forced to watch a documentary called Bullied during class time without any parental notification or consent. Taken directly off the tolerance.org website, "Bullied is a documentary film that chronicles one student's ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools." As this dad wrote:

Upon questioning my daughter I was able to determine the video presented was the documentary Bullied. My wife and I spent the next several minutes apologizing to her that she was forced by her school to view the material ... I should note the school was diligent in requiring written parental approval for my daughter to view a specific rendition of Star Wars, but the Administration need not trouble the parents over [these] materials. The material was not all that timely for our child either since we had to define for her the terms "homo" and "fag" at our dinner table.

There is no doubt about it; the "bullying" theme is agenda-driven propaganda. [emphasis theirs]. The irony is that groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN have chosen this issue to bully you and me into allowing them access into our schools and to our children. To express concerns about anti-bullying bills is portrayed in the most unfavorable light.

These bullying bills are not sound public policy. Not only are they a thinly veiled attempt to allow political groups into our schools, they also divert the focus of our school system off the fundamentals. Class time should be for reading, writing, and arithmetic.

GOP Seeks to Distract from their Judicial Obstruction

The GOP tries to link their 3 years of obstruction to a protest against President Obama's January recess appointments.
PFAW

Unbridled Republican Obstruction Forces Extraordinary Action on Judicial Nominees

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he will file petitions to end Republican filibusters of 17 federal district court nominees. The extraordinary move highlights Senate Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees. During the entire 16 years that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were in office, there were only two filibusters of district court nominations. If Senate Republicans don’t relent on these 17 nominees, the cloture process could tie up the Senate through early April, with each nominee taking 30 hours of floor time under Senate rules.

“It is absolutely stunning that Republicans are willing to tie up Senate business for more than 510 hours just to make things more difficult for President Obama,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “For the past three years, Senate Republicans have been slow-walking judicial nominees at every step of the process, ignoring the duties they were elected to office to perform and contributing to a historic vacancy crisis in our federal courts. Ultimately, it’s the American people, who rely on fair and functioning federal courts, who pay the price for these political games.”

At this point in George W. Bush’s presidency, the average district court nominee waited 22 days between approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee and a vote from the full Senate. Under President Obama, the average wait has been more than four times as long – over three months.

Currently, about one in ten seats on the federal courts is vacant, affecting access to justice for over 160 million Americans.

 

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Linda Harvey Claims Harry Potter Leads Children to the Occult

Mission America president Linda Harvey last week joined Truth in Action Ministries’ Carmen Pate and John Rabe on Truth that Transforms where she argued that public schools are pushing “occult practices and ideas and beliefs” on children through practices like meditation and yoga. Harvey particularly blamed Harry Potter for influencing the entertainment industry to make similar “occult” movies and “taking kids away from authentic Christianity and into all kinds of practices and ideas that will lead them down a dark road.” Pate worried about the “occult underlying themes” in children’s cartoons and even suggested that public school-sponsored Earth Day events have a “focus on Gaia worship” and the “worshiping of Mother Nature.”

Harvey: If you look throughout what our kids are told and taught in the social media, throughout the media and in their schools, you see a constant, casual occult practices and ideas and beliefs. It starts with, of course, the worship of the self and your own impulses and whatever sensational element is out there and people don’t often think of this as leading to the occult but it does. When you’ve decided that you are the center of the universe and you want a designer God or some kind of spirituality that just tickles your ears, that’s what our kids are being taught from meditation to yoga to all kinds of fascinations with things like wizards and magic of all kinds and vampires. I mean it is everywhere.

Pate: I realize that when my grandchildren are visiting I have to be very selective about what cartoons I allow them to watch because of the wizardry and occult underlying themes in cartoons.

Harvey: Absolutely. What most of our kids are taught today, it’s the entertainment and it’s the Hollywood media that is taking this up. They’ve taken off from the success of the Harry Potter series and they have decided that children all need therapy and the therapy that they need is to find special powers within themselves to battle the demons, real or imagined, out there, so they never look to Jesus Christ. It’s all taking kids away from authentic Christianity and into all kinds of practices and ideas that will lead them down a dark road.



Pate: I think about how Earth Day comes around each spring and there’s a focus on Gaia worship. I mean, really going back again to this worshiping of Mother Nature and all that she is about and kids come out of this because it’s done at school, schools should be telling them truth they’re thinking, so they believe what they’re told, so parents and churches really have their work cut out for them, Linda.

Liberty Counsel blames Alfred Kinsey for Child Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church

Today on Faith & Freedom Mat Staver was joined by Judith Reisman, a visiting professor at Staver’s Liberty University School of Law, to discuss how sexologist Alfred Kinsey is to blame for the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church. Reisman, who holds degrees in communications, has tried to fashion herself as an expert on human sexuality and is a stringent critic of the gay community. She has argued that gays are part of the “pedophile movement” as she says it is “the aim of homosexual males and now increasingly females is not to have sex with other old guys and get married but to obtain sex with as many boys as possible” and that the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network is a “modern version of the Hitler Youth.” Actual experts in the field of sexuality have dubbed Reisman’s work “pseudoscientific” and even the US Senate’s Juvenile Justice Subcommittee criticized Reisman’s work.

Reisman told Staver, who attacked Kinsey during his speech at the Values Voter Summit for “destroying the family, destroying the idea of God” and bringing “sexual anarchy” to America, said it was no coincidence that the abuse “problem in the Church” began just when Kinsey published his work. She also repeated the myth that gay people are more likely to molest children than straight people. “If you have a revolution it has huge fallout,” Reisman said, and one of the key fallouts was that post-Kinsey the Catholic Church actually found itself being trained by sexologists who were from the Kinseyan movement.” Reisman alleged that the sexologists showed pornography to Catholic bishops “who were so inclined” and “were throwing out the priests, I would say the good priests, because they were people who were not designed to molest children.”

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Reisman: There’s been a tremendous amount of research in the Catholic Church on the pedophile priest issue and the John Jay report came out which attempted to identify how come so many priests were involved in the sexual abuse of children, mostly boys by the way so these were homosexual acts because they were men molesting boys. As a result they began to look back to try to figure out when this began and although there’s always been a problem as there always is everywhere that problem in the Church began post 1950s, essentially in the 1960s, when everything began to spin off the charts in terms of abuse.

Staver: And they looked at it historically and found that it was in the ’50s to early ’60s when all this began. Amazingly, Dr. Alfred Kinsey wrote his first book, Sexuality and the Human Male in 1948 and Sexuality and the Human Female in 1953, and that is now commonly known as the K-bomb that he actually dropped the K-bomb on the greatest generation coming back from the war here in America and that rippled around the world. In context, you’re trying to give them some answers as to the ultimate origin of why they began to see these results happening within the Roman Catholic Church.



Reisman: It wasn’t going on forever; it did spin out of a major cultural change and that cultural change has been well identified as the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution had a father, that they always dubbed the father of the sexual revolution, that was Kinsey. If you have a revolution it has huge fallout and one of the key fallouts was that post-Kinsey the Catholic Church actually found itself being trained by sexologists who were from the Kinseyan movement, from the Kinsey model.

They were shown pornography in the seminaries in certain groups of seminaries where the bishops were so inclined. The orthodox priests, the people who wanted to be priest’s, rather, who were going into the seminaries who were orthodox and did not believe in promiscuity whether heterosexual or homosexual, were simply removed, they were not permitted to become priests because they were too “orthodox.” There were psychologists there who had been trained in the Kinsey model and who were throwing out the priests, I would say the good priests, because they were people who were not designed to molest children. So the impact of Kinsey was enormous.

Perkins Labels LGBT-Rights Initiative a 'Radical' Push for 'Special Rights for Homosexuals and Homosexuality'

Many conservatives went completely ballistic after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a powerful speech to the United Nations with the message that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights” and launching an initiative to promote LGBT rights abroad. On Friday’s edition of Washington Watch Weekly, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins claimed that Clinton’s denunciation of violence and discrimination against the LGBT community represented a “radical social agenda” promoting “special rights for homosexuals and homosexuality.” He went on to falsely claim that the State Department is “completely silent” on the “persecution of Christians,” while trying to use the United Nations to impose gay rights on America.

Perkins: This administration, in particular Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is taking, pushing, using our tax dollars to push a radical social agenda, primarily focused on special rights for homosexuals and homosexuality into other countries and then bringing it back to the UN to adopt certain policies which would then be imposed upon America.



We are seeing unprecedented discrimination around the world, not discrimination but persecution of Christians and the Church and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been almost silent on that issue. Now we see where there focus is, it’s on pushing this radical, social agenda through the UN and in the meantime they are completely silent on even what Newsweek identified as a global war on Christianity. Folks again, this is the result of this administration pushing their radical policy, it’s going to the UN and now they’re going to appeal to what the UN sets as a standard. You got to watch this administration.

Is Marriage Equality 'Heterophobic'?

Alabama pastor Aaron Fruh last week appeared on Crane Durham’s show on the American Family Association’s radio network, where Fruh explained that marriage equality for gays and lesbians is actually “heterophobic” because it discriminates against heterosexuals and “against the unborn children who will never see the light of day if you revise the historical, moral and legal view of traditional marriage.” Fruh appears to believe that by allowing gays and lesbians to marry, heterosexuals will somehow lose their right to marry, have children and oppose same-sex marriag. He called marriage equality the “height of bigotry” and said gays and lesbians are “hateful and malicious” towards married heterosexuals.

I don’t consider myself homophobic and I’d like to reframe this argument on my terms, and I’m insulted for even being called homophobic and insulted that I’m called a bigot because I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. My question is, to the gay community, how did you come into the world in the first place? There’s only one way, through the physical union of a man and a woman and in most cases a married man and a woman, your father and mother. So I want to say to the gay community, why are you so heterophobic? Why are you discriminating against the unborn children who will never see the light of day if you revise the historical, moral and legal view of traditional marriage. Why are you so condemning of me because I’m a married man to a woman of the opposite sex and to me that’s the height of bigotry. So I say to the gay community, you’re being quite malicious towards me, a married heterosexual man who believes in traditional marriage values, and you’re prejudiced and hateful towards my right to be committed to the principle of family and marriage.

Farah: God Sent Earthquake to Punish America for Moral 'Lawlessness'

In a speech at a Strategic Perspectives Conference hosted by Chuck Missler’s Koinonia House, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah repeated his claim that the 2011 Virginia earthquake was a punishment from God for “lawlessness in our world today.” Farah described how he was “chatting on instant messenger” with Sean Hannity when they both felt the earthquake, messaging each other in jest, “It’s the end of the world.” He continued to say that the earthquake was not the end of the world but a sign from God that He will no longer tolerate “disobedience and indifference to Him and His law,” and warned that “you can safely expect many more signs of that kind and even more ominous ones.”

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When that earthquake finally hit, I was chatting on instant messenger with Sean Hannity.



Within seconds, we both messaged each other, simultaneously, both in jest, ‘It’s the end of the world.’ This is the thought that went through the minds of many in an instant, our world was shaken and when our world shakes there is really only one power in the universe who can do that, and it’s the Creator.

Why does God do that? I believe that He shakes us up in small ways and big ways as a sign to us of the consequences of disobedience and indifference to Him and His law. It’s really that simple, He wants us to return to covenant, which means living under His rules. Given the extent of lawlessness in our world today, I think you can safely expect many more signs of that kind and even more ominous ones.
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