John Boehner

Steve King Says Boehner Punished Him By Denying Him SCOTUS Tickets; Chief Justice Roberts Hooked Him Up

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told radio host Jan Mickelson on Tuesday that House Speaker John Boehner tried to punish him for bucking House leadership by denying him tickets to see the Supreme Court oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the Affordable Care Act case, but then Chief Justice John Roberts saved the day in the end by finding him a seat.

“He’s also trying to block me from hearing oral arguments before the Supreme Court, on Obamacare, for example, so I went to Chief Justice Roberts and he gave me a couple tickets on his special front bench and we went ahead anyway,” King told Mickelson.

King also repeated his story of being pulled off a diplomatic mission by Boehner at the very last minute, which he later revealed was a congressional delegation to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. King ended up paying for his own ticket and showing up anyway, to the surprise of the delegation’s leader.

Seriously? Republicans Target Birthright Citizenship Again?

This op-ed by Randy Borntager, Political Director of People For the American Way, was originally published at The Huffington Post.

After the vast majority of Republicans voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security to oppose President Obama's immigration actions, and with Republicans blocking any hope of real immigration reform this Congress, it seems the anti-immigrant movement has instead decided to refocus its efforts on revoking the constitutional right to birthright citizenship.

Earlier this week, Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana decided to introduce a birthright citizenship amendment to the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. The amendment so far has just one cosponsor -- Sen. David Perdue of Georgia -- and it's unlikely that it will be included in the final bill, but this decision to tack an unconstitutional, anti-immigrant measure onto an important bill shows the priorities of Sen. Vitter and the Republican Party.

Sen. Vitter claims that his birthright citizenship amendment would help curb the issue of "birth tourism," recently in the news surrounding Chinese mothers coming to California -- often committing crimes in the process -- so their children can be born in the U.S. It would seem more sensible to tackle this issue through targeting the middlemen who NBC reports "pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars tax-free," and the visa, tax, and marriage fraud that are often a key part of "birth tourism." Instead, Sen. Vitter and the many Republicans who support ending birthright citizenship are trying to use the issue as cover for their attacks on immigrants and attempts to revoke a core constitutional right.

The flaws of the conservative attacks on birthright citizenship have been well documented. First, it's blatantly unconstitutional. It's clear that the drafters of the 14th Amendment intended it to guarantee citizenship to everyone born in the U.S. The only exception -- in the words of one of the amendment drafter's, Sen. Jacob Howard -- is for people "who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States," as they are not, as the 14th Amendment requires, "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. Conservatives from Michael Gerson, a former George W. Bush adviser, to the anti-immigrant Lou Dobbs have viewed attempts to undermine birthright citizenship as unconstitutional.

It's also a terrible idea. Gerson wrote, "Anti-immigration activists often claim that their real concern is to prevent law breaking, not to exclude Hispanics. But revoking birthright citizenship would turn hundreds of thousands of infants into 'criminals'--arriving, not across a border, but crying in a hospital." The Migration Policy Institute also found that rather than decreasing the number of undocumented immigrants in America, as birthright citizenship activists claim, revoking the right would "likely increase dramatically" the number of people in the country without authorization, leading to the "establishment of a permanent class of unauthorized persons."

Sen. Vitter is not the only Republican promoting anti-immigrant bills instead of trying for real, bipartisan solutions on immigration. In January of this year, Rep. Steve King of Iowa re-introduced a bill aiming to repeal birthright citizenship. Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Rep. Mike Coffman, and Rep. Joe Heck have all backed plans to revoke birthright citizenship in the past.

We need immigration reform. From improving the economy while reducing the deficit to ensuring that DREAMers and their families can live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, the benefits are endless. Not only have Republicans blocked comprehensive immigration reform when it had a real chance of passing, they're now trying yet again to bring up unconstitutional bills to drive their point home. That's not what responsible governing looks like, and for a party that says they're trying to attract more Latino support, they're certainly not shy about attacking immigrants for short-term political gain.

PFAW

National School Choice Week: PR For Privatizers?

On Wednesday morning, a roomful of school children were herded into a congressional meeting room and required to sit through an hour and a half worth of speeches by conservative Members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, Sens. Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Patrick McHenry, Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline of Minnesota, and a handful of others. Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana was the emcee.

The Capitol Hill event was in honor of National School Choice Week, whose organizers describe it as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan “independent public awareness campaign” promoting the idea that every child deserves access to an excellent education. Who would disagree?

In other words, it’s a PR campaign, one that wraps itself in the moral mantle of children. But the bright yellow scarves it wraps around its participants are meant to distract attention from the fact that sponsors of this week’s thousands of events include many anti-public education, anti-union, anti-government ideologues, including the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Heritage Foundation, the Alliance for Prosperity and others. The President of National School Choice Week, Andrew Campanella, used to work at the Alliance for School Choice, whose board is chaired by deep-pocketed right-wing activist Betsy DeVos and is funded by a who’s who of right-wing foundations.

As we noted during last year’s NSCW:

Education policy is a vast, complicated, and hotly contested arena. Terms like “education reform” and “school choice” sound good, but they are so broad as to be almost meaningless. They can be applied to genuine efforts to strengthen teaching and educational opportunity as well as cynical schemes to destroy public employee unions and dismantle public education altogether.

In particular, “school choice” encompasses a huge array of education policies, from public charter and magnet schools to taxpayer-funded for-profit cyberschools and homeschooling.  Even a seemingly specific term like “charter schools” cloaks a more complex reality that ranges from innovation labs co-located in public schools to for-profit chain operations.  

Indeed, this year, Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter published “A Smarter Charter: Finding What works for Charter Schools and Public Education.” The book documents that the original vision for charter schools – teachers empowered to be creative in diverse schools that could identify ways to strengthen public education – has been turned on its head. Rather than a teacher-empowering and collaborative paradigm, charter schools are often noted for tightly controlled teachers in highly segregated schools dominated by an ideology of competition with public schools. 

There are more collaborative models, just as there are charter schools with strong academic track records as well as those that lag behind the public schools that choice advocates consistently disparage. Important distinctions get lost under the big, vague, banner of school choice. And that’s intentional.

NSCW is about painting in broad strokes and drawing no distinctions, for example, between public magnet schools and for-profit corporations cashing in on the “reform” movement. No distinction is made between giving students choice among their district’s public schools and diverting education dollars into religious academies and online homeschooling via vouchers and other schemes.  These do not have the same impact on public schools, or the same levels of public accountability, but in the interest of keeping things simple, and winning public support for across-the-board expansion of these programs, they’re all “choice.”

As we wrote last year:

The problem with this “collective messaging” approach is that it hides the anti-public-education agenda of some “reformers.” Celebrating “school choice” across the board lends credibility to organizations pushing for destructive policies that are not at all popular with the American public. In spite of decades of right-wing-funded attacks on public education, for example, Americans oppose privatization plans like vouchers that transfer public education funds to private schools.

Self-proclaimed reformers often dismiss concerns about privatization as a “red herring.” But you can’t embrace the Milton Friedman Foundation as a partner and then pretend that privatization is only an imaginary threat dreamed up by teachers unions.  Friedman has an explicit goal of getting rid of public schools altogether; they see programs like vouchers for poor kids as a tactical stepping stone toward that ultimate goal.

Other supporters of National School Choice Week have included companies that want to tap into the huge flow of public dollars spent every year on education. K12, a member of the “choice”-promoting American Legislative Exchange Council and a company the New York Times has described as “the biggest player in the online-school business,” paid its president more than $5.5. million last year; two other executives each made more than $4 million. A November 2014 investigation by Bloomberg focused on the company’s efforts to turn around “subpar test scores” and declining enrollments.

National School Choice Week promoters say it is nonpolitical and has no legislative agenda, but that’s hard to take seriously given the agendas of its backers. At this week’s event on Capitol Hill, the only Democratic Member of Congress to join the Republican parade was Illinois’ Dan Lipinski, who declined to endorse Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. (Former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford also spoke.)

Members of Congress at Wednesday’s event talked about pushing legislation this year to expand “school choice” programs, meaning that battles over vouchers, charter schools, and other education issues will be on the agenda this year, including February’s Senate markup of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “There are currently private school voucher and tuition tax credit programs in 23 states and at least 10 states are looking to create new or expanding existing school voucher programs this year.”

Obviously, not everyone who participates in National School Choice Week activities is an anti-public-education ideologue. People from across the political spectrum are eager to strengthen schools and give students an opportunity for a great education. That includes public school teachers, administrators, and school board members – people who are collectively smeared as “the blob” by some “reformers.” People who are seeking to strengthen public education and make schools better for all children should think twice about making common cause with organizations that see public education as something to be dismantled and corporations that see students as the means to a bigger bottom line.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

National School Choice Week: PR for Privatizers?

On Wednesday morning, a roomful of school children were herded into a congressional meeting room and required to sit through an hour and a half worth of speeches by conservative Members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, Sens. Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Patrick McHenry, Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline of Minnesota, and a handful of others. Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana was the emcee.

The Capitol Hill event was in honor of National School Choice Week, whose organizers describe it as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan “independent public awareness campaign” promoting the idea that every child deserves access to an excellent education. Who would disagree?

In other words, it’s a PR campaign, one that wraps itself in the moral mantle of children. But the bright yellow scarves it wraps around its participants are meant to distract attention from the fact that sponsors of this week’s thousands of events include many anti-public education, anti-union, anti-government ideologues, including the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Heritage Foundation, the Alliance for Prosperity and others. The President of National School Choice Week, Andrew Campanella, used to work at the Alliance for School Choice, whose board is chaired by deep-pocketed right-wing activist Betsy DeVos and is funded by a who’s who of right-wing foundations.

As we noted during last year’s NSCW:

Education policy is a vast, complicated, and hotly contested arena. Terms like “education reform” and “school choice” sound good, but they are so broad as to be almost meaningless. They can be applied to genuine efforts to strengthen teaching and educational opportunity as well as cynical schemes to destroy public employee unions and dismantle public education altogether.

In particular, “school choice” encompasses a huge array of education policies, from public charter and magnet schools to taxpayer-funded for-profit cyberschools and homeschooling.  Even a seemingly specific term like “charter schools” cloaks a more complex reality that ranges from innovation labs co-located in public schools to for-profit chain operations.  

Indeed, this year, Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter published “A Smarter Charter: Finding What works for Charter Schools and Public Education.” The book documents that the original vision for charter schools – teachers empowered to be creative in diverse schools that could identify ways to strengthen public education – has been turned on its head. Rather than a teacher-empowering and collaborative paradigm, charter schools are often noted for tightly controlled teachers in highly segregated schools dominated by an ideology of competition with public schools. 

There are more collaborative models, just as there are charter schools with strong academic track records as well as those that lag behind the public schools that choice advocates consistently disparage. Important distinctions get lost under the big, vague, banner of school choice. And that’s intentional.

NSCW is about painting in broad strokes and drawing no distinctions, for example, between public magnet schools and for-profit corporations cashing in on the “reform” movement. No distinction is made between giving students choice among their district’s public schools and diverting education dollars into religious academies and online homeschooling via vouchers and other schemes.  These do not have the same impact on public schools, or the same levels of public accountability, but in the interest of keeping things simple, and winning public support for across-the-board expansion of these programs, they’re all “choice.”

As we wrote last year:

The problem with this “collective messaging” approach is that it hides the anti-public-education agenda of some “reformers.” Celebrating “school choice” across the board lends credibility to organizations pushing for destructive policies that are not at all popular with the American public. In spite of decades of right-wing-funded attacks on public education, for example, Americans oppose privatization plans like vouchers that transfer public education funds to private schools.

Self-proclaimed reformers often dismiss concerns about privatization as a “red herring.” But you can’t embrace the Milton Friedman Foundation as a partner and then pretend that privatization is only an imaginary threat dreamed up by teachers unions.  Friedman has an explicit goal of getting rid of public schools altogether; they see programs like vouchers for poor kids as a tactical stepping stone toward that ultimate goal.

Other supporters of National School Choice Week have included companies that want to tap into the huge flow of public dollars spent every year on education. K12, a member of the “choice”-promoting American Legislative Exchange Council and a company the New York Times has described as “the biggest player in the online-school business,” paid its president more than $5.5. million last year; two other executives each made more than $4 million. A November 2014 investigation by Bloomberg focused on the company’s efforts to turn around “subpar test scores” and declining enrollments.

National School Choice Week promoters say it is nonpolitical and has no legislative agenda, but that’s hard to take seriously given the agendas of its backers. At this week’s event on Capitol Hill, the only Democratic Member of Congress to join the Republican parade was Illinois’ Dan Lipinski, who declined to endorse Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. (Former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford also spoke.)

Members of Congress at Wednesday’s event talked about pushing legislation this year to expand “school choice” programs, meaning that battles over vouchers, charter schools, and other education issues will be on the agenda this year, including February’s Senate markup of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “There are currently private school voucher and tuition tax credit programs in 23 states and at least 10 states are looking to create new or expanding existing school voucher programs this year.”

Obviously, not everyone who participates in National School Choice Week activities is an anti-public-education ideologue. People from across the political spectrum are eager to strengthen schools and give students an opportunity for a great education. That includes public school teachers, administrators, and school board members – people who are collectively smeared as “the blob” by some “reformers.” People who are seeking to strengthen public education and make schools better for all children should think twice about making common cause with organizations that see public education as something to be dismantled and corporations that see students as the means to a bigger bottom line.

PFAW

Fundraiser for Steve “David Duke Without the Baggage” Scalise Met with Protestors

PFAW members and other local activists lined the sidewalk outside of the National Republican Club Tuesday afternoon to protest a fundraiser event for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Scalise, who was elected Majority Whip by his Republican colleagues back in June, has come under fire recently after it came to light that in 2002, he gave a speech to a white supremacist group affiliated with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Scalise even has referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage.”

Incredibly, even after these revelations, the Republican caucus—including Speaker John Boehner – is standing by Scalise. And Scalise certainly doesn’t seem to think this scandal is reason to slow down his fundraising efforts, as evidenced by the meeting his team held with donors on Tuesday, where PFAW members joined protestors from other organizations including Color of Change and Jewish advocacy group Bend the Arc.

It’s hard to believe that the GOP, which has struggled so much to reach minority voters, isn’t distancing itself from party leadership with ties to white supremacists. Republicans need to be held accountable – we need to ask our Republican representatives in Congress whether, in 2015, they are brave enough to take a stand against racism.

Thousands of PFAW members have already signed the petition calling on Speaker Boehner to remove Scalise from his leadership position. Add your name now.


Photo via The Hill

PFAW

'The Hammer' Tom DeLay Thinks John Boehner Is Too Mean

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, known as “The Hammer” for his hardball political tactics, assailed John Boehner in an interview yesterday for punishing several congressmen who voted against his re-election as House speaker.

While speaking with “Washington Watch” host and Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, DeLay praised the Republicans who challenged Boehner’s third term as speaker while lamenting that members of the GOP conference “are at each other’s throat.”

He urged listeners to “tell your own congressman that you are watching what is going on and you do not support retaliating against members that vote their conscience” on the leadership vote, and advised the defectors to “fight back” against Boehner’s schemes.

DeLay criticized Boehner for having “misinterpreted the election that just happened,” adding: “He thinks the election happened so they can govern, my interpretation of the election was the people said to stop Obama, stand on principle and fight for the Constitution.”

DeLay also told Perkins that Jesus Christ helped him through his legal ordeal over campaign finance and money laundering charges, insisting that he faced government persecution because of his political views. Democrats, DeLay said, want to “bankrupt you, destroy your family, put you in a grave and dance on that grave.” Now DeLay hopes to bring about “a constitutional revolution in this country.”

Ted Yoho: Boehner's Leadership Reminiscent Of A 'Communist Country'

Rep. Ted Yoho, the Florida Republican who helped lead yesterday’s unsuccessful revolt against John Boehner’s re-election as House speaker, warned after the vote that attempts by the House GOP leadership to punish defectors by removing them from committee posts are akin to communist oppression.

“We’ve grown up in a country that honors free speech,” Yoho told WorldNetDaily’s Radio America. “If I can’t speak what’s on my mind, if I can’t do what the people of my district sent me up here [to do] and have that voice of dissension without fear of retribution, I’m not in a free country. That would be something you would expect in China, Cuba or any other communist country.”

Yoho also suggested that several GOP House members told him that they would join him in opposing Boehner but ended up voting for the speaker’s re-election.

He told host Greg Corombos that “there are members that said ‘if you hit twenty votes, we’ll jump on and vote with you, but if you don’t have that many we’re not going to,’ and when we hit that, you can’t find them.”

Demand that Speaker Boehner relieve Rep. Scalise of his leadership position!

Majority Whip Steve Scalise's 2002 address to a white supremacist group requires that he be relieved of his top leadership role.

PFAW and Allies Deliver Half a Million Signatures Calling on Congress to Restore the Voting Rights Act

On Wednesday, PFAW joined representatives from a number of organizations similarly concerned with civil rights and the cornerstone of American democracy – the right to vote – on Capitol Hill to present Speaker John Boehner with the signatures of more than 500,000 Americans demanding that Congress move forward in restoring key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act.

Today, access to the voting booth has become an increasingly imperiled right for many Americans, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Shelby County v. Holder. Across the country, states and localities are making changes to voting laws that make it more complicated and onerous to carry out a fundamental civic duty, especially for ethnic and racial minorities, the elderly, and student voters.

However, the Republican leadership in the House does not seem to share the public’s sense of urgency on compromised voting access. Tellingly, neither Speaker Boehner nor his staff acknowledged the coalition’s attempt to deliver the signatures in-person. The office that he keeps for his congressional district was locked, and knocks went unanswered, shutting out the American people, including his constituents, in the middle of a workday while Congress is in session.

In a press conference following the attempted delivery of the petitions, lawmakers and representatives from the #VRA4Today coalition of more than 50 advocacy groups spoke of the need to strengthen the rights of voters and restore the critical protections of the Voting Rights Act. Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way, said:

Repairing the damage done by the court majority in Shelby is a critical test of whether Congress can put partisanship behind to protect our democracy. The will of the people is clear: we will not tolerate voting discrimination in our country, we will not turn back the clock.

Joining in this sentiment was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who urged his colleagues to support the rights of Americans to participate in their government. “The right to vote is the most fundamental right in a democracy,” he said. “It is the right to have one’s voice heard.”
 

PFAW

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 8/5/14

  • Steve Deace mocks John Boehner: “I guess all the Tea Party leaders I’ve had on my nationally syndicated radio show calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment the past 16 months were tools of ‘a scam started by Democrats,’ and they didn’t even know it.” 
  • Todd Starnes BURNS President Obama: “President Obama wrote in an op-ed for McClatchy News Service that we have a moral obligation to support Africa's progress. What about supporting America's progress, Mr. President?”

Paranoia-Rama: The Impeachment Scam, Obama Recruits Child Soldiers, And OFA Gives Away The Game

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

This week, we learn that Republican calls for impeachment are actually Democrats’ fault, see a major admission about Obama’s presidency, and explore the connections between environmental protection, the border crisis, Obamaphones, and the president’s private army.

5. Republican Calls For Impeachment Are A Democratic Plot.

We’ve always suspected that people like Bryan Fischer and Matt Barber are liberal plants sent to discredit and destroy the conservative movement from within, but we never knew how far the plot extended.

House Speaker John Boehner busted the scheme wide open this week when he declared that the idea of impeaching President Obama is “all a scam started by the Democrats at the White House” and that “this whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill” in an effort to make Republicans look extreme.

Of course, since the very beginning of Obama’s presidency, the GOP’s base has been clamoring to impeach him and remove him from office (although nobody can ever quite agree for what supposed crime).

Those calling for impeachment have even included a number of Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Steve Stockman, who distributed a book in favor of impeachment to every office on Capitol Hill .

And even after Boehner declared the whole thing to be a scam, prominent right-wing talkers including Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin continued to call for impeachment.

So now, we suppose, multiple members of Congress,Fox News personalities, and major Religious Right organizations are all pawns of the Democratic impeachment agenda.

4. Team Obama Admits To Alinskyite Conspiracy.

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has found more solid proof that President Obama has launched an Alinskyite plot to destroy America: an Organizing For Action birthday card that calls the president the “Organizer in Chief.” Let Farah explain:

“Organizer in Chief”?

Isn’t that one of the derisive titles pinned on Obama by his harshest critics?

Isn’t that what Rush Limbaugh calls him?

Isn’t that what I call him?

Doesn’t the origin of that term come from Obama’s devotion to Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” the bible of radical, left-wing community organizing?

In fact, doesn’t the new hit movie “America” by Dinesh D’Souza focus quite a bit of attention on Obama’s Alinskyite community organizing roots and how he has carried this brand of activism and incitement right into the White House?

Yes to all of the above.

So why would Obama’s very own political action committee be embracing the cheeky slur against the “commander in chief”?

It’s an admission. It’s immunization. It’s a contemptuous non-repudiation of the truth. It’s classic Alinskyism on display.

3. EPA Recruting Central American Kids To Love Big Government.

Infowars put two and two together this week, noting that the Environmental Protection Agency has solicited a contractor for “Hispanic Media and Public Outreach Support” and “English to Spanish Translation Services” around the same time that thousands of Central American children are fleeing to the United States…an obvious plot to hook them early on Big Government:

The Environmental Protection Agency is targeting Spanish-only speakers in an upcoming public relations campaign, raising concerns that bureaucrats are already encouraging illegal aliens from Central America – potential future voters – to support big government.

2. Migrant Kids Will Be Used For Medical Experiments….

Rep. Michele Bachmann brought her trademark analysis to the crisis of children fleeing violence in Central America who have come in large numbers to the southwestern American border. In an appearance on “WallBuilders Live” this week, Bachmann suggested that the Central American children will be put into the foster care system and used for medical experimentation :

1. …Or Lured With Obamaphones To Become Child Soldiers.

What could be worse than using migrant children as unwilling guinea pigs for medical experiments? How about luring them with free phones to become child soldiers in President Obama’s private army that will impose tyranny on America?

William Gheen and Alex Jones have the scoop :

End Times Preacher Seeks Support From Top Republicans

Jonathan Cahn recently started boasting that members of Congress have been reading his End Times book, "The Harbinger," about how God used the September 11th attacks and the 2008 economic crash to punish America for its support of abortion rights and gay marriage.

WorldNetDaily, which has heavily promoted Cahn’s book and a film based on his work, is out with a story today on Republican figures including Speaker John Boehner, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee are cozying up to the messianic rabbi.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s runaway bestseller “The Harbinger” has been gaining the attention of America’s top lawmakers.

At a recent event on Capitol Hill commemorating George Washington’s prayer meeting after his inauguration, Cahn spoke to a hall filled with government officials, members of Congress including Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., justices and other influential citizens.



Speaking about reading “Harbinger,” Gov. Mike Huckabee said, “If you have not read this remarkable book, it’s one of the most soul-stirring, and stunning, spell-binding books I think I have ever, ever, read.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has also received a copy of “The Harbinger.”



“Before its destruction as a nation, ancient Israel received nine harbingers, prophetic omens of warning,” he says. “The same nine harbingers are now manifesting in America with immediate ramifications for end-time prophecy.”

Tony Perkins Warns Obama Turned America Into Sodom, Wonders If He Threatened John Boehner

The Family Research Council is not happy about the decision by the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to fly the LGBT pride flag this month.

Yesterday on his radio program, “Washington Watch,” FRC president Tony Perkins denounced the embassy’s decision.

“The rainbow flag over Israel — the last time they were flying that over Sodom and Gomorrah it didn’t work out so well,” Perkins said. “This administration is not just ignoring or indifferent to traditional values, it is hostile to them, it is hostile to the very things that made America great.”

Perkinbs also spoke to a caller who said President Obama is “Satan personified” and a “terrorist” who “threatened” House Speaker John Boehner “and his family” to keep him in check.

Perkins kept the allegation alive, telling the caller that “there could be something to that, I don’t know, I don’t think it’s come to that” while noting that “this president and his policies” have “dismantled the country morally and culturally.”

Eric Cantor Pushes GOP To The Edge Of A Cliff, Falls Off

The headline of a New York Times article responding to Eric Cantor’s startling primary defeat last night read, “Cantor’s Loss a Bad Omen for Moderates.” That would be true if there were still moderates in the House Republican Conference to speak of.

But there aren’t, and you can thank Eric Cantor for that.

House Republicans are now heavily skewed to the right, including a large wing that refuses to ever collaborate with President Obama or congressional Democrats on anything. Cantor, of course, was one of the chief architects of the GOP’s hardline politicking and far-right shift.

Cantor helped sink bipartisan debt deals, including the 2011 budget “grand bargain,” and engineered the Republican strategy of manufacturing fiscal crisis after crisis by putting a ransom on must-pass fiscal bills.

As Bill Burton told the New Yorker in 2011, “Cantor has had an outsized influence on how poisonously partisan Washington has been these last couple years.”

Cantor also was behind the Republican Party’s decision following the 2012 election disaster to resist any calls to moderate or begin working, even slightly, with Obama. Instead, the GOP moved to rebrand itself by attempting to change its image, beating back on the (accurate) perception that it had become an extremist, uncompromisingly ideological entity.

Vanity Fair just this month ran a piece on Cantor’s attempt to seem more moderate, respectable and bipartisan — even while sticking to his old extreme policies. “[I]f people see you for what you really are, that’s a failure on your part,” Michael Kinsley wrote of Cantor’s rebranding attempt. “Success is when people see you as what you wish you were.”

In March, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza noted that Cantor, “the creator of a strategy to oppose and obstruct the Obama agenda” who has a “reputation as a Tea Party leader,” only sought to make “short-term adjustments in public relations” rather than to temper his increasingly unpopular, and unhinged, fanaticism:

Since the 2012 elections, the Republicans have been divided between those who believe their policies are the problem and those who believe they just need better marketing—between those who believe they need to make better pizza and those who think they just need a more attractive box. Cantor, who is known among his colleagues as someone with strategic intelligence and a knack for political positioning, argues that it’s the box.

By refusing to temper — and even encouraging — the party’s sharp far-right swing, Cantor helped to fashion a party that views even the perception of bipartisanship as blasphemy.

Take immigration, for example: While Cantor was actually blocking the House from voting on immigration reform legislation, he still tried to make it seem that the party was open to some reforms, knowing that a majority of Americans and the quickly growing Latino community strongly favored reform legislation. Cantor tried to make the GOP’s strict stance against any immigration reform palatable to the public, which eventually allowed his primary challenger to campaign against his supposed support for “amnesty.”

After encouraging hard opposition to any fiscal deals with Obama unless the president caved to their every demand, Cantor paved the way for a GOP where simply voting to lift the debt limit in order to avoid economic disaster or supporting relief for hurricane victims gives you the much-dishonored title of RINO, “Republican In Name Only.”

Cantor pushed the party so far to the right that even political posturing that had little to no effect on actual policy was too much for GOP primary voters, and now the politician often seen as the more conservative alternative to Speaker Boehner has become a target of the militant wing he helped create.

Speaker Boehner's Secret Vault

Six months later, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is still locked away by House GOP leadership. Take action with People For the American Way.
PFAW

Steve King Warns 'This Place Will Blow Up And There Will Be A Crisis' If House Takes Up Immigration Reform

Rep. Steve King is threatening to throw the House of Representatives into a crisis if the GOP leadership decides to bring immigration reform legislation up for a vote. Appearing on "The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine" yesterday, the Iowa Republican warned that the “rule of law people” will do whatever it takes to prevent any vote on immigration.

“If it happens, this place will blow up,” he said. “If they try to bring some kind of amnesty or a provision that convinces close to a majority of Republicans that it is a sleight of hand amnesty, this place will blow up and there will be a crisis like we have not seen in years in the House of Representatives.”

He also criticized Speaker Boehner: “He keeps taking a shovel and digging himself into a hole a little bit deeper.”

John Boehner's House -- The Future of the Senate?

Look no further than John Boehner’s House of Representatives (really run by the Tea Party) for a crystal clear view of what we’ll get in the Senate if the GOP wins in November and takes full control of Congress.
PFAW

National Religious Broadcasters: Boehner, GOP Leaders Agree Government Will Try To Shut Us Down

In an interview with the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention yesterday, NRB president Jerry Johnson said that the FCC or the IRS will try to shut down religious television broadcasts as a result of “de facto Sharia law” and the issue of same-sex marriage.

“I think there is a de facto Sharia law effect, where we’re not under Sharia law but broadcasters feel like they can’t talk about Jesus and the Quran, Jesus and Mohammad,” Johnson warned. “The government has a new view of marriage, they are pushing it down and increasingly broadcasters and folks in industry—we’re seeing industry censorship.”

Later in the interview, Johnson said that he recently told Speaker John Boehner, Republican senators and congressman. and an FCC commissioner that “it won’t be long” until the FCC threatens broadcasters’ licenses or the IRS scrutinizes their tax status over their stance on same-sex marriage. “This threat is coming and I want to say all of these men agreed with me, all of them.” 

We can assure Johnson that every day we observe broadcasters—both secular and religious—criticize same-sex marriage and Islam without limits on their speech. 

Rep. Huelskamp Mocks Boehner: 'Why Don't We Just Re-Elect Nancy Pelosi As Speaker?'

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) is continuing his crusade against Speaker John Boehner, this time focusing on yesterday’s debt ceiling vote. Speaking with WorldNetDaily yesterday, Huelskamp and fellow Tea Party-aligned congressmen Steve Stockman (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) criticized Boehner for approving a clean debt ceiling extension.

The Kansas Republican complained, “Why don’t we just re-elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker?”

Boehner said his strategy is to let Democrats take the blame for removing the debt ceiling until 2015.

Responded Huelskamp, “We’re giving the Democrats exactly what they want, and somehow that’s a good thing?”

“Why don’t we just re-elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker?” he wondered, adding, “She’s getting what she wants.”

Echoing that was Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who said, “We are handing the President and Democrats exactly what they want – essentially a borrowed, blank check for the rest of the year – ‘no strings attached.’”

“Our current level of debt is suicidal. Our Republican leaders need to hear from Republican voters,” Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas told WND.

Huelskamp also told conservative talk show host Steve Malzberg that “Nancy Pelosi today is running the floor of the House,” calling the debt ceiling extension “totally unacceptable.” Huelskamp insisted that only bills backed by a majority of Republicans, rather than a majority of all House members, should reach the floor for votes. 

The Republican Autopsy Report Revisited: 5 Ways The GOP Got Worse In 2013

With the year coming to a close, we decided to see how the GOP’s “bold” and “radical” autopsy report [PDF] was fairing.

After a devastating loss in 2012, Republicans claimed that they didn’t need to change themselves or their platform, but only cosmetic attributes such as their rhetoric and presentation. Other right-wing activists simply pretended that Republicans actually won the last election.

But if the actions taken this year by Republican leaders are any clue, it looks like Republicans either ignored or outright rejected even the superficial recommendations made in the GOP’s plan to revive the party:

1. Ending Aid To Jobless Americans

The perception, revealed in polling, that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party…. To people who are flat on their back, unemployed or disabled and in need of help, they do not care if the help comes from the private sector or the government — they just want help.

Republicans in Congress rejected an extension of unemployment benefits, which will not only hurt approximately 1.3 million Americans during a period when long-term joblessness is still high, but will also result in serious harm to economic growth. If Republicans do not waver from their position, up to 5 million people could be affected by the cuts. The party also passed enormous cuts to the food stamp program under the auspices of preventing the tremendously low rate of fraud in an effort to kick 5 million people off of food assistance.

But the GOP continues to give special benefits to millionaires, as earlier this year Republicans once again rebuffed the “Buffet Rule,” which would have ensured that millionaires don’t end up having a lower tax rate than average Americans.

2. Blocking Immigration Reform

[W]e must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform…. On issues like immigration, the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community.

Even though a majority of Americans and House members support immigration reform which includes a pathway to citizenship, the House GOP leadership refused this year to call a vote on reform bills. Speaker John Boehner even said that Republicans “have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.” But the House did find time to pass Rep. Steve King’s amendment to defund a program that prevents undocumented children being deported.

GOP politicians continue to argue that immigration reform will literally destroy America, and one Republican congressman even used the slur “wetbacks” while describing immigrants. Rep. Louie Gohmert said that Republicans must reject immigration reform to win over Latino voters, while Rep. King dismissed young Latinos as drug smugglers with cantaloupe-sized calves.

3. Rolling Back Reproductive Choice

Republicans should develop a more aggressive response to Democrat rhetoric regarding a so-called “war on women.”

Republicans claim it is unfair that people believe they are behind a “war on women,” but they didn’t do themselves any favors by approving a sweeping anti-abortion bill. Rep. Trent Franks, the chief sponsor of the legislation, defended his bill by channeling Todd Akin when he argued that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” and then fundraised off his remarks.

Fellow Republican Rep. Michael Burgess rallied support for the bill by citing masturbating fetuses. But perhaps the biggest steps Republicans took in dismantling Roe v. Wade occurred on the state level, where GOP-controlled state legislatures passed a range of extreme anti-choice bills.

4. Preserving Anti-Gay Views

For the GOP to appeal to younger voters, we do not have to agree on every issue, but we do need to make sure young people do not see the Party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view. Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.

Even the GOP had to couch its call to be nicer to gay people as a political maneuver to making inroads with the youth vote, which helped secure President Obama’s re-election and is strongly in favor of LGBT equality. But the ties between the GOP and the anti-gay Religious Right remain rock solid, and many GOP leaders and potential presidential candidates addressed this year’s Values Voter Summit, where the event’s anti-gay sponsors and speakers repeatedly denounced gay rights.

Republican elected officials delivered stinging attacks against the Boy Scouts of America for ending its ban on gay members and also laced into the Supreme Court for overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law defended in court by the House GOP. Republican leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz ardently criticized marriage equality at Religious Right events, and even “libertarian” Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul denounced gay marriage, linking it to non-human marriage.

5. The Shrinking Party

We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.

In case you needed more evidence that Republican politicians take cues from the GOP’s ultraconservative base, look no further than the government shutdown, where the congressional GOP leadership allowed the Tea Party “suicide caucus” to lead an enormously unpopular and economically harmful government shutdown.

Republicans ended up getting nothing from the shutdown, but Rep. Marlin Stutzman did illuminate the GOP’s thinking: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

While we keep hearing talk of Republicans trying to seem more inclusive and “fighting back” against the Tea Party, it isn’t clear that the party is actually presenting any real challenge to Tea Party-aligned politicians. In fact, it seems that the GOP is actively embracing Tea Party’s extremist policies, fervent rhetoric and ideological purity tests.

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