Barack Obama

As Senate Cuts Deal to Move Some Judicial Nominees, PFAW Urges GOP to End Partisan Obstruction

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly reached an agreement this afternoon to begin to alleviate the backlog of judicial nominees created by GOP obstruction.

According to reports, Republicans will allow votes on 14 pending district and circuit nominees by May 7th , the first seven before the end of this month.

Reid was forced to file petitions Monday to end GOP filibusters of 17 district court nominees, many of whom had been waiting for votes for more than three months. Prior to the Obama administration, only three district court nominees had been filibustered in the past 60 years. President Obama’s nominees to the federal courts have had to wait on average four times as long for a simple Senate vote as did President Bush’s nominees at this point in his presidency.

People For the American Way’s Marge Baker
issued the following statement:

“Today’s agreement is good news for many Americans who have been facing understaffed courts and delayed justice simply because of partisan gridlock in the Senate. But, unfortunately, today’s progress doesn’t end the Republican gridlock. Even after these 14 nominees are confirmed, far too many seats on our federal courts will still be vacant. President Obama’s nominees still face consistent, unprecedented delays. It is absolutely ridiculous that it took such pressure to allow votes on a group of eminently qualified nominees with strong bipartisan support.

“If Senate Republicans want to show Americans they’re serious about doing the work they were elected to do, they should allow votes on the remaining nominees pending on the Senate floor and additional nominees who will be reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming months. The GOP needs to kick its habit of unprincipled gridlock once and for all.”


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Stop School Bullying Today

Please do your part by asking your senators and President Obama to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
PFAW

The Right's Rules for Politicizing Prayer

Remember how right-wing leaders were outraged – OUTRAGED! - when President Obama supposedly politicized the National Prayer breakfast by talking about how his Christian faith influenced his approach to issues like progressive taxation? Such complaints from the likes of Ralph Reed – whose career has been devoted to politicizing faith – were clearly pushing the hypocrisy meter to its limits. As Kyle noted yesterday, Religious Right folks have been celebrating the prayer breakfast speech by Eric Metaxas, a biographer of the Hitler-resisting pastor Dietrich Bonhoffer, because Mataxas made a comparison between the Holocaust and legal abortion, suggesting that supporters of reproductive choice were modern-day Nazis – and certainly not Christians.
 
This morning a “special bulletin” from the dominionist Oak Initiative republished a National Review column from a few weeks ago that we hadn’t noticed at the time. The column by conservative author and producer Mark Joseph is one long extended gloat about just how political – and how anti-Obama – Metaxas’s keynote was. Joseph delights in Metaxas using the prayer breakfast to send “a series of heat-seeking missiles” in the president’s direction:
If the organizers of the national prayer breakfast ever want a sitting president to attend their event again, they need to expect that any leader in his right mind is going to ask — no, demand — that he be allowed to see a copy of the keynote address that is traditionally given immediately before the president’s.
 
That’s how devastating was the speech given by a little known historical biographer named Eric Metaxas, whose clever wit and punchy humor barely disguised a series of heat-seeking missiles that were sent, intentionally or not, in the commander-in-chief’s direction….
Joseph belittles Obama’s speaking of his faith, and giddily cites Metaxas, suggesting that Obama’s references to scripture were actually demonic.
Standing no more than five feet from Obama whose binder had a speech chock full of quotes from the Good Book, Metaxas said of Jesus:
 
“When he was tempted in the desert, who was the one throwing Bible verses at him? Satan. That is a perfect picture of dead religion. Using the words of God to do the opposite of what God does. It’s grotesque when you think about it. It’s demonic.”
 
“Keep in mind that when someone says ‘I am a Christian’ it may mean absolutely nothing,” Metaxas added for good measure, in case anybody missed his point. 
Joseph also mocks Obama for discussing how other religions share with Christians the values contained in the Golden Rule: "Translation: Christianity is great and so are the other major religions, which essentially teach the same stuff."  In contrast, Joseph celebrates Metaxas for insisting on the uniqueness and centrality of Jesus and suggesting that those who support women’s access to abortion live apart from God and Jesus.
 
So, to recap the ground rules for the National Prayer Breakfast: President Obama talking about the values he as a Christian shares with those of other faiths, and how he understands Christian teaching about the responsibilities of those who have had good fortune = bad. Religious Right speaker insisting on the superiority of Christianity, and calling those who disagree with him demonic Nazis = good. 
 
Something to keep in mind next year.

 

"The Number One Reason to Vote"

Lawrence O'Donnell discusses the critical importance of the Supreme Court in this - and any - presidential election.
PFAW

Kuhner Claims Obama is 'Our Lenin'; Mefferd Afraid He’s More Like Stalin

Right-wing columnist Jeffrey Kuhner visited the Janet Mefferd show earlier this week to discuss a recent column he wrote for the Washington Times, positing that “Obama is America’s Lenin.” In the column, Kuhner attacks the Obama administration’s recent birth control regulations, claiming that "like many secular leftists, [Obama] seeks to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization,” that he is “in the pocket of the pro-abortion feminist lobby,” and that “Mr. Obama is our first non-Christian president.”

Kuhner went into more detail in his interview with Mefferd, saying “I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism” and claiming that while the president is not a practicing Muslim he is “clearly a cultural Muslim.”

Mefferd not only agreed with Kuhner’s analysis, she was willing to go even farther, warning, “We know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.”


Kuhner: This is a violation of the First Amendment. This is a violation of separation of church and state. This is a blatant war on Christianity. It is a war on our conscience rights. It is a war on our basic human freedoms. And I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism, where you now have state coercion of religion, where you have a blatant, flagrant attempt to purge Christianity from the public square, being so openly and blatantly embraced by the president of the United States.

Janet, if this mandate goes through, if Obamacare is not repealed, I believe it will break the back of our constitutional republic, I believe it will be the end of the First Amendment as we’ve known it, and I believe we are on a path towards radical, secular liberalism, which in many ways is just a form of cultural Marxism.

Obama is our Lenin. He is embarking on a cultural, social, political transformation of this nation, and that is why Christians of all denominations, of all faiths, must stand up and vote this man out of office in November.

 Kuhner: So I believe he is somebody who’s the product of the multicultural, neo-Marxist left. He despises Christianity. He despises our biblical principles. He despises the civilizational roots of American society. And he’s also, I believe –and there’s no getting around this – not that he’s a practicing Muslim or a believing Muslim, but he’s clearly a cultural Muslim.

...

And Janet, I have to say this, many people don’t understand this aspect of communism. Communism never sought to completely eradicate religion. Even they knew that was impossible. What they said was this: ‘We don’t want it in public. If you want to worship, that’s fine, do it in your own home, do it in your own head, do it in your own bedroom. But don’t take your faith outside the home, it doesn’t belong here.’

Mefferd: Well, I tell you, that sounds awfully familiar, and we know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.
 

CPAC: Huckabee Lectures Obama on Being a Real Christian

Mike Huckabee kicked off day two of the annual CPAC conference by voicing his outrage that President Obama thinks he's a theologian for daring to cite Scripture and proceeded to lecture Obama on what it means to be a real Christian:

PFAW Applauds Obama's Endorsement of Constitutional Amendment

People For the American Way today applauded President Obama for his support for amending the Constitution to repair the damage done by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and stop unlimited corporate spending to influence elections.

Biblical Birthers? Titus Claims Bible Says Obama Ineligible for Presidency

Birther spokesman Herb Titus went on Voice of Christian Youth America’s Crosstalk on Friday to discuss the progress of the birther movement.  Undeterred by recent setbacks to the movement, Titus claimed that President Obama’s ineligibility for office is written into the Bible and that in any case, the president “is more loyal to his African father than he is to the American nation.”

When President Obama released his long-form birth certificate last year, birthers did not accept the blow to the central premise of their movement. Instead, they switched tacks and started claiming that the birth certificate was inconsequential and that the president was in fact ineligible because one of his parents was not a United States citizen.

Now, Titus seems to have blended this new definition of “natural born citizen” with some David Barton-style biblical analysis to conclude that God himself has declared Obama ineligible for the American presidency:

Titus: What’s important is to realize that being a natural born citizen is based upon the law of nature. Any natural law is based on a law of nature which is revealed by God. And the notion is that no one is accidentally born in any particular nation to any particular parent. You’re not born by accident, you’re born by design. And who’s the designer? Well, God’s the designer. So if you’re born of two parents, that is a mother and father, who are of the same citizenship, then you have been ordained by God to be a citizen of the nation of your parents. That’s why he’s a natural born citizen. So, there’s a design in this that goes all the way back to scriptural principles.

Schneider: Dr. Titus, when this issue has come up time and time again to either the president or his press secretary, they are now referring to the long-form birth certificate that they released in 2011. In your opinion, does the presentation of this long-form certificate, as they have given it and said, ‘See, there’s the evidence,’ in your opinion does this satisfy the matter?

Titus: Well, I think it does if your definition of natural born citizen is that the parents have to be citizens of the United States. Because the form that was produced by the Obama administration indicates that his father was not an American citizen. Where people said, where race usually you put ‘black’ but it has ‘African.’ Well, it shows that he had a national citizenship that was not the United States. So, you don’t need anything more than the evidence that’s already been furnished by the Obama administration themselves. You don’t have to go behind it, you don’t have to determine whether it’s a fraudulent certificate. It says it on its face.

Titus: The people have a responsibility here to make sure that the Constitution is followed as it is written. I mean, if people don’t like the natural born citizen requirement, then they can amend the Constitution. I think in this particular case, it demonstrates why the natural born citizen requirement is so important, because I think this president does have a divided loyalty. I think he is more loyal to his African father than he is to the American nation, and I think that’s been well-documented.
 

PFAW Praises President's Call for End to Nominations Obstruction

In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama called for an end to the unprecedented obstruction of judicial and executive branch nominees.

PFAW Applauds President for Appointing Cordray; Recess Appointment a Necessary and Proper Response to GOP Obstruction

In a move to ensure the functioning of an important consumer protection agency in the face of escalating GOP obstructionism, the White House announced that President Obama will install Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a recess appointment today.

Marge Baker of People For the American Way issued the following statement:

AAMIA's Rev. Dr. Shine Joins President Obama at Press Conference in Support of Working Americans

AAMIA's Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine joined President Obama today at a press conference in support of policies that help working Americans.

Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine, Vice-Chair of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action and founder and pastor of Philadelphia’s Berachah Baptist Church, joined President Barack Obama at a White House press conference today in support of policies to help working Americans struggling in the current economy.

In New Ad, Perry Attacks Gays, “Obama’s War on Religion"

Rick Perry is out with a new TV spot that uses a seasonal “War on Christmas” theme to attack gays serving openly in the military and accuse President Obama of waging a “war on religion.”

Just last week, Perry released an ad assuring us that he’s “not ashamed of his faith” even though, he claims, “some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness.” Oddly, we had never assumed that Perry was at all ashamed of his faith.

Openly attacking gay people seems to be something of a new strategy for Perry. Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the Obama administration would be using foreign aid to work toward LGBT rights around the world, noting that in many countries people are routinely beaten, jailed and even killed just for being gay. In response, Perry lashed out with a statement accusing the administration of “promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable.”
 

African American Ministers In Action Applauds Obama’s Jobs Plan

PFAW's African American Ministers in Action applaud President Obama's jobs plan and encourage Congress to pass it quickly.

In response to President Obama’s speech to Congress last night laying out his jobs plan, Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of the African American Ministers in Action, issued the following statement.

“Last night, President Obama laid out a common sense plan to help put Americans back to work. Without a doubt, Congress should step up to the plate and pass this legislation without delay.

Ending Discrimination against Same-Sex Couples: Marriage and Relationship Recognition in Federal Law

Although there are some actions that can and should be taken to expand benefits and protections for same-sex couples, only the full repeal of DOMA will allow federal and interstate recognition of their legal marriages and give those couples equal rights under the law.

PFAW Calls for GOP Senators to Show Responsibility, Confirm Stalled Judicial Nominees

  Republican Senators are looking to show that they have any interest in responsible governance before November’s election, this is the last week for them to show it.

Currently, 23 of President Obama’s judicial nominees are waiting for a vote by the full Senate.  Nineteen of those nominations have been pending for more than five months, some for nearly a year.  Eleven of those nominations are to fill vacancies designated “judicial emergencies.”

Judiciary Committee Approves Seven Nominees, Including Liu; All Have Been Waiting Months for Senate Votes

After months of delays, the Senate Judiciary Committee today approved the nominations of seven federal court nominees, including Goodwin Liu for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

African American Ministers In Action Applauds Obama Jobs Program

Reverend Timothy McDonald, Chairman of African American Ministers In Action (AAMIA), a program of People For the American Way, today applauded President Obama for proposing a robust investment in American infrastructure that would create thousands of new jobs.

“Americans of all backgrounds are suffering in this recession,” said Reverend McDonald, “and we want our elected representatives to do what they can to help.  The plan that the president proposed today would make a real difference in the lives of thousands, even millions of Americans.”

PFAW Statement on the Appointment of Donald Berwick

President Obama today will appoint Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Department of Justice Sues to Block Arizona Immigration Law

Today, the Department of Justice announced that it would file suit in federal court to block the implementation of Arizona’s discriminatory anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070.

AAMIA and AAMLC Statement on the President’s Remarks on Immigration Reform

The African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC) of People For the American Way Foundation, and African American Ministers in Action (AAMIA) of People For the American Way, congratulate President Obama on his thoughtful remarks yesterday on immigration
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