Scott Walker

Wisconsinites: Don’t Let Walker Do to America What He Did to Wisconsin

A crowd of roughly 300 rallied against Scott Walker Monday evening at his presidential announcement in Waukesha, Wisconsin. People from across the state shared their stories of his extreme agenda as governor, touching on the environment, labor, immigration and a host of other issues.

People For the American Way, Voces de la Frontera Action, Americans United for Change, We Are Wisconsin, and a coalition of more than 20 local and national grassroots activist groups led the gathering. Wisconsinites spoke out about Walker’s far-right policies, as well as his close relationship with the Koch brothers who have vocally expressed their support of his candidacy.

PFAW and Voces de la Frontera Action also emphasized how terrible a Scott Walker presidency would be for the Latino community. Yesterday, the groups launched a Spanish-language radio ad criticizing Walker for supporting mass deportation policies, eliminating in-state tuition for DREAMers, and drastically cutting education funding. PFAW board member and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta also spoke out against Walker, warning that a Walker presidency would be “devastating.” She reminded voters that “as governor, [Walker] gutted education funding, lied to voters about his anti-choice stances, and attacked workers’ rights.”

Walker is currently positioned as a favorite among the growing list of GOP candidates; however, his campaign began on a rocky note after Walker called the minimum wage a “lame” idea. Previously, he’s drawn criticism for calling mandatory ultrasounds “a cool thing,” as well as backing an extremely conservative abortion ban in the Wisconsin legislature. He has also called himself a “lifelong supporter of the pro-life movement,” compared teachers protesting in Wisconsin to ISIS and claimed that equal pay is used to “'pit one group of Americans versus another.”

Walker, who called his presidential bid “God’s will,” is the 14th GOP candidate to join the race.

PFAW

People For the American Way, Voces de la Frontera Action Launch Spanish-Language Radio Ad Challenging Walker

As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker prepares to officially kick off his presidential campaign, People For the American Way and Voces de la Frontera Action are launching a Spanish-language radio ad in Wisconsin challenging Walker’s anti-immigrant positions. The ad highlights Walker’s support for ending executive actions that protect DREAMers and families from deportation, his elimination of in-state tuition for DREAMers, and his funding cuts to public education.

“As Governor, Walker has shown time and time again that he’ll go after immigrant students and families to appeal to the anti-immigrant base of the Republican Party,” said Carlos A. Sanchez, Coordinator of Political Campaigns for People For the American Way. “Walker’s extreme record as governor and support for mass deportation policies make clear how dangerous a president he would be.”

Listen to the ad here:

Script (translated to English):

This is Christine Neumann-Ortiz on behalf of Voces de La Frontera Action.

Extremist Governor Scott Walker keeps fighting against our community. 

Walker is blocking the President’s executive actions on immigration and supports deporting DREAMers and immigrant families

He has also cut education funding and eliminated in-state tuition for DREAMers in Wisconsin.

The Republican Scott Walker is not the President our community deserves. 

Paid for by People For the American Way (pfaw.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. People For the American Way is responsible for the content of this advertising. 

En Español:

Yo soy Christine Neumann-Ortiz de parte de Voces de la Frontera Acción.

El Gobernador extremista Scott Walker no para de luchar contra nuestra comunidad.

Walker está bloqueando las acciones ejecutivas sobre inmigración del Presidente y apoya la deportación de DREAMers  y familias de inmigrantes.

Además ha recortado fondos para la educación y eliminó la colegiatura estatal de los DREAMers en Wisconsin.

El Republicano Scott Walker no es el tipo de Presidente que nuestra comunidad merece.

Pagado por People For the American Way (pfaw.org) y no autorizado por ningún candidato o comité de candidato. People For the American Way es responsable por el contenido de este anuncio.

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Scott Walker Says His Presidential Bid Is 'God's Plan'

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who announced his presidential bid on Twitter this morning and will have a launch event later today in Waukesha, has sent an email to activists declaring that his presidential run “is God’s plan for me.”

“My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life,” starts the note, which is clearly designed to appeal to Religious Right voters who make up a major part of the GOP base vote, particularly in the early primary states Iowa and South Carolina.

The letter goes on to talk about Walker’s faith as “the guiding force of my life in both politics and in private” and promotes opposition to reproductive choice and marriage equality. “A lifelong supporter of the pro-life movement, my work defending the unborn goes back to my college days where I was a leader of Marquette Students for Life,” he writes, bragging about signing into law new restrictions on access to abortion and pledging to do the same as president. He calls the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision a “grave mistake” and calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn it. And he pledges to nominate Supreme Court justices who share his approach to the Constitution.

“Our country is at a crossroads and we need a proven conservative leader who is not afraid to fight for what is right -- even when it’s not politically expedient,” Walker says. “My decisions are guided by my relationship with God -- not by what might win me a few votes.”

Among those decisions are Walker’s moves to savage public education in his new budget.

The full letter follows:

 

Peter,

My relationship with God drives every major decision in my life. Each day I pray and then take time to read from the Bible and from a devotional named Jesus Calling.

As you can imagine, the months leading up to my announcement that I would run for President of the United States were filled with a lot of prayer and soul searching.

Here’s why: I needed to be certain that running was God’s calling -- not just man’s calling. I am certain: This is God’s plan for me and I am humbled to be a candidate for President of the United States.

Now, it is up to the voters to decide who will win the election. If you support my conservative campaign, please join my team right now with $10, $35, $50, $100, or even $250 today.

As the son of a Baptist preacher, my faith comes first. It is the guiding force of my life both in politics and in private. For example, I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe in the covenant of marriage. I believe in strong families. I believe in protecting religious liberties. And I believe these things are worth fighting for -- and I have.

A lifelong supporter of the pro-life movement, my work defending the unborn goes back to my college days where I was a leader of Marquette Students for Life. As a state lawmaker, I helped write and pass legislation banning the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. As Governor of Wisconsin, I prohibited abortion from being covered by Wisconsin health plans in a health insurance exchange, signed an ultrasound bill into law, and defunded Planned Parenthood while maintaining health services for women throughout Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, I called for legislation to protect unborn children once they can feel pain at five months. The members of the State Legislature just passed the bill and I will sign it into law next week. Yet another pro-life victory here in Wisconsin!

If elected President, I would be honored to sign similar legislation at the federal level. I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.

Please stand with me today to help elect a pro-life President.

Our conservative values were handed a big blow with the recent Supreme Court ruling. Let me be very clear: this decision was a grave mistake. Five unelected judges took it upon themselves to take that responsibility away from the states and redefine the institution of marriage.

In 2006, I voted to amend my state constitution to protect the institution of marriage because I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

I believe that the states have the right to define marriage.

To protect this right, I support an amendment to the United States Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.

Going forward, we need to focus our attention on protecting the religious rights of Americans. Our U.S. Constitution calls for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The founders of this exceptional country took religious freedom very seriously and we must redouble our efforts to protect these freedoms today.

Peter, I have been a tireless advocate for religious liberty. And my state’s families and children are better off because of our pro-life, pro-family agenda that promotes life, freedom, and opportunity.

As President, I will stand up for these same values. And I will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully uphold the Constitution -- without injecting their own political agendas into legal matters.

Our country is at a crossroads and we need a proven conservative leader who is not afraid to fight for what is right -- even when it’s not politically expedient. My decisions are guided by my relationship with God -- not by what might win me a few votes.

I am proud to have earned the early support of conservative and religious activists across the country and hope to earn your support today. Visit here to become a leader of our conservative team with a contribution of $10, $35, $50, $100, $250, or whatever amount is right for you.

Every day I pray that our best days of peace, prosperity, and freedom are ahead of us. As President, I will uphold the traditional values that have made our country great, but I need your help to win.

Your enthusiastic support will help us build much-needed momentum in these early weeks as we take our conservative message to voters across the country.

God bless you and God bless America,

Scott Walker

 

Dolores Huerta Speaks Out Against Scott Walker’s Record and Policies

As Scott Walker prepares to officially announce that he’s running for president, civil rights leader and People For the American Way board member Dolores Huerta released the following statement criticizing Walker’s record and policy positions:

“Scott Walker has proven himself to be a terrible governor of Wisconsin, and a Walker presidency would be even worse for Latinos and for our nation as a whole.

“As governor, he gutted education funding, lied to voters about his anti-choice stances, and attacked workers’ rights. Now he’s staked out a far-right position on immigration. He wants to restrict even legal immigration and opposes any path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, much less citizenship. Allowing him to bring his extreme agenda to the Oval Office would be devastating.”

As Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker stripped union workers of collective bargaining rights, endangering their safety and making it more difficult to negotiate for higher wages. Wisconsin lagged in job growth under Walker’s watch, ranking 9th out of 10 states in the Midwest. He’s repeatedly attacked the Affordable Care Act, efforts to raise the minimum wage, and equal pay legislation. He now supports a 20-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest despite his promise to voters that he would oppose such restrictions. After the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is the law of the land, Walker called for a constitutional amendment that would allow bans on same-sex marriage.

Walker has insisted that the over 11 million undocumented people in our country should return to their country of origin, and aligned himself with extreme Senators like Jeff Sessions (R-AL) by calling for restrictions on legal immigration. Walker has said he would sign a bill similar to the extreme anti-immigrant SB 1070 in Arizona, and he supports ending DACA and DAPA, essential programs that protect DREAMers and families from deportation.

PARA DIFUSIÓN INMEDIATA
CONTACTO: Laura Epstein o Layne Amerikaner
202-467-4999 / media@pfaw.org
13 de julio del 2015

Dolores Huerta Habla en Contra el Historial y las Políticas de Scott Walker

Mientras Scott Walker se prepara para anunciar formalmente su postulación a la presidencia, la líder pro derechos civiles e integrante de la junta directiva para People For the American Way Dolores Huerta hizo las siguientes declaraciones criticando el historial y las políticas de Scott Walker:

“Scott Walker ha demostrado ser un terrible gobernador de Wisconsin, y una presidencia de Walker sería peor para Latinos y para nuestra nación.”

“Como gobernador, cortó fondos para la educación, les mintió a los votantes sobre su postura en cuanto al acceso al aborto, y atacó a los derechos de los trabajadores. Ahora ha planteado una posición extremista sobre la inmigración. Walker quiere restringir la inmigración legal a este país y se opone a cualquier tipo de legalización para inmigrantes indocumentados, y mucho menos a un paso a la ciudadanía. Permitirle a Walker a que  lleve su agenda extrema a la oficina oval sería un golpe tremendo para nuestra comunidad.”

Como gobernador de Wisconsin Scott Walker despojó a los trabajadores sindicalizados de sus derechos a la negociación colectiva, poniendo en peligro su seguridad y haciendo más difícil el poder negociar por salarios más altos. Bajo Walker, Wisconsin se quedó atrás en el crecimiento de empleo, con el segundo crecimiento más bajo de los 10 estados del medio oeste. Walker ha atacado repetidamente a la Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible (Affordable Care Act), los esfuerzos para aumentar el salario mínimo, y legislaciones para la igualdad salarial. Ahora él apoya la prohibición de un aborto a las 20 semanas sin excepciones para víctimas de violación o incesto, a pesar de su promesa a los votantes que se opondría a legislaciones de este tipo. Y después de que la Corte Suprema dictaminó que la igualdad del matrimonio es la ley de la tierra, Walker hizo un llamado para una enmienda constitucional que permitiría la prohibir los matrimonios del mismo sexo.

Walker ha insistido en que más de 11 millones de personas indocumentadas en nuestro país deberían regresar a su país de origen, y se ha alineado con los senadores extremos como Jeff Sessions (R-AL) haciendo un llamado para restringir la inmigración legal. Walker ha dicho que firmaría un proyecto de ley similar a la ley anti-inmigrante SB 1070 en Arizona, y él terminaría DACA y DAPA, programas esenciales que protegen a DREAMers y familias inmigrantes de la deportación.

'Satan Dancing With Delight': The Religious Right Reacts To The Legalization Of Gay Marriage

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, effectively legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states.

Needless to say, anti-gay Religious Right activists and Republican politicians who have repeatedly warned that such a ruling would literally destroy America have not reacted well, as exemplified by Bryan Fischer, who fired off a series of tweets declaring that Satan is now dancing in the streets of America:

Other anti-gay activists were equally outraged:

Anti-gay Republican presidential hopefuls were quick to weigh in:

Mike Huckabee

"The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.

"This ruling is not about marriage equality, it's about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court's most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny."

"The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment."

Bobby Jindal

Governor Jindal said, “The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.

This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.

The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.

I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me.”

Rick Santorum

Today, five unelected justices decided to redefine the foundational unit that binds together our society without public debate or input. Now is the people’s opportunity respond because the future of the institution of marriage is too important to not have a public debate. The Court is one of three co-equal branches of government and, just as they have in cases from Dred Scott to Plessy, the Court has an imperfect track record. The stakes are too high and the issue too important to simply cede the will of the people to five unaccountable justices.

“But leaders don’t accept bad decisions that they believe harm the country, they have the courage of their convictions and lead the country down the better path. Marriage, the family and our children are too central to a healthy society to not fight for what is best. I realized that fact early on and that is why I lead the charge against some in my own party in 2004 to ensure the Federal Marriage Amendment received a vote and I continue to stand for marriage, for families, for freedom.

“As President, I will be committed to using the bully pulpit of the White House to lead a national discussion on the importance to our economy and our culture of mothers and fathers entering into healthy marriages so that every child is given their birthright- to be raised by their mother and father in a stable, loving home. I will stand for the preservation of religious liberty and conscience, to believe what you are called to believe free from persecution. And I will ensure that the people will have a voice in decisions that impact the rock upon which our civilization is built.”

Scott Walker

I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges “has been with us for millennia.”

In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas.

As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.

Anti-gay Religious Right organizations, like the Family Research Council, likewise vowed never to accept this ruling:

"Five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millennia of history and the reality of human nature.

“In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy.

“No court can overturn natural law.  Nature and Nature’s God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court.

“Marriage is rooted not only in human history, but also in the biological and social reality that children are created by, and do best when raised by, a mother and a father. No court ruling can alter this truth.

“It is folly for the Court to think that it has resolved a controversial issue of public policy. By disenfranchising 50 million Americans, the Court has instead supercharged this issue.

"Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter.  The American people will stand up for their right to have a voice and a vote, especially as they experience the ways in which redefining marriage fundamentally impairs their freedom to live and work in accordance with their beliefs.

“With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America’s cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

“Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth, nor accept the legitimacy of this decision.  Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein.

“We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman,” concluded [Tony] Perkins.

The National Organization for Marriage:

Though expected, today's decision is completely illegitimate. We reject it and so will the American people. It represents nothing but judicial activism, legislating from the bench, with a bare majority of the Justices on the Supreme Court exercising raw political power to impose their own preferences on marriage when they have no constitutional authority to do so. It is a lawless ruling that contravenes the decisions of over 50 million voters and their elected representatives. It is a decision that is reminiscent of other illegitimate Court rulings such as Dred Scott and Roe v Wade and will further plunge the Supreme Court into public disrepute.

Make no mistake about it: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and countless millions of Americans do not accept this ruling. Instead, we will work at every turn to reverse it.

The US Supreme Court does not have the authority to redefine something it did not create. Marriage was created long before the United States and our constitution came into existence. Our constitution says nothing about marriage. The majority who issued today's ruling have simply made it up out of thin air with no constitutional authority.

In his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," Dr. Martin Luther King discussed the moral importance of disobeying unjust laws, which we submit applies equally to unjust Supreme Court decisions. Dr. King evoked the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that an unjust law or decision is one that is "a human law that is not rooted in eternal law or natural law."

Today's decision of the Supreme Court lacks both constitutional and moral authority. There is no eternal or natural law that allows for marriage to be redefined.

American Family Association

“This morning’s ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honored marriage but also the rule of law in the United States,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favor of political correctness and social experimentation. And we witnessed firsthand the consequences, as individuals were repeatedly targeted by the government for not actively supporting homosexual marriage. Sadly, our nation’s highest Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people.

“There is no doubt that this morning’s ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. But to the Court, we send this unequivocal message: We will continue to uphold God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman, and we call on all Christians to continue to pray for the nation, and for those whose religious liberties will be directly impacted by this ruling.”

In the years leading up to the landmark SCOTUS case, voters in 31 states had acted through the democratic process to uphold marriage and the family. Yet, same-sex marriage was legalized in 36 states, due in large part to overreaching judges who chose to disregard the will of the people and cater to those who advocate for homosexuality. 

Concerned Women For America

Today goes down in history as the day nine unelected judges kicked the Constitution to the curb — overturning traditional marriage — and put your religious freedom dangerously at risk.

The decision is in. The justices have ruled. Marriage will be redefined to conform to the pro-LGBT view of marriage.

In one appalling decision, the Supreme Court has effectively opened the door to the criminalization of Christianity when it comes to the marriage issue ... and not just Christianity, but every major religion that supports God’s model for marriage and family.

Catholic League

Once again, five Supreme Court justices have invented a right that is nowhere mentioned or implied in the U.S. Constitution. Instead of allowing the states the right to make decisions about marriage, these judges have elected to impose their will on the nation.

Moreover, their reasoning is sociologically illiterate. The idea that marriage is a matter of individual autonomy—and not a social institution—is the most profound flaw in their ruling. In their mind, society is composed of monads.

For people of faith, this decision is ominous. On p. 27, the majority declares that religious Americans “may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” It is nice to know they respect our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

“The First Amendment,” the five justices say, “ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives….” That’s the best they can do? Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissent, rightly criticizes this genuflection to religious rights. “Religious liberty,” he says, “is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally”—it is not confined to advocacy.

In order to stop the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of religious institutions that refuse to marry two men or two women, Congress needs to pass the First Amendment Defense Act that was introduced last week. Nothing less is acceptable.

Walker Signs New Gun Laws In Office Of Extremist Sheriff Who Wanted To Add Semi-Automatic Rifle To Great Seal

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker further paved the way for his GOP presidential bid today, signing two bills weakening his state’s gun laws, just one week after a gun massacre left nine people dead at a church in South Carolina. Walker said that he went ahead with the planned signing despite the recent attack because if he had postponed it, “it would have given people the erroneous opinion that what we signed into law today had anything to do with what happened in Charleston.”

Walker gave another signal to the far-right base that he is apparently hoping to attract in his choice of location for the bill-signing: the office of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

We last wrote about Clarke when he addressed the National Rifle Association’s convention and called for a semi-automatic rifle to be added to the Great Seal of the United States:

Clarke first emerged as a Tea Party hero in 2013, when he recorded a radio ad urging his constituents to arm themselves because “calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.” This earned him the “Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer’s Association, a far-right group that holds that county sheriffs have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional and arrest federal agents enforcing them. Accepting the award, Clarke called the group a “friend for life.”

Last year, Clarke joined conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program to warn that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to weapons confiscation and would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison”:

This year, Clarke has burnished his Tea Party credentials by appearing repeatedly on Fox News to assure its viewers that racial disparities in the justice system are a myth and to attack President Obama for saying otherwise.

While the choice of Clarke’s office for the bill-signing may have seemed mundane to many observers, Walker was sending a clear signal to some of the most extreme elements of his party’s base.

Scott Walker: Clinton Using Equal Pay To 'Pit One Group Of Americans Versus Another'

In an interview with Boston Herald Radio last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker attacked Hillary Clinton for her advocacy for equal pay legislation, saying that she was just following in the footsteps of President Obama in trying to “pit one group of Americans versus another.”

When the program’s host, Adriana Cohen, asked Walker about misleading statistics from the conservative website Washington Free Beacon purporting to show a gender pay gap in Clinton’s Senate office, Walker agreed that it was “part of that amazing double standard.”

“But I think even a bigger issue than that,” he said, “and this is sadly something that would make her consistent with the president, and that is I believe that the president and now Hillary Clinton tend to think that politically they do better if they pit one group of Americans versus another.”

He said that, in contrast, “Americans are hungry” for leaders who will “make every American’s life better” rather than those who want to “pit one group against another group out there.”

He added that equal pay legislation is part of the liberal plot to get Americans “dependent on the government”: “For them, their measure of success in government is how many people are dependent on the government, how many people are dependent, on whether its Medicaid or food stamps or health care or other things out there.”

Walker has previously called equal pay “a bogus issue.”

GOP targets Latinos’ ability to vote

This piece by People For the American Way Political Coordinator Carlos A. Sanchez originally appeared in Fox News Latino.

Even as a diverse coalition of Americans unite around the principle that voting rights are an essential American principle that needs to be protected, the Republican Party remains firmly committed to doing the opposite. Their continued push for policies that make it more difficult for people to vote disproportionately affects minority and young voters.

Republicans – including leading Presidential candidates – have for years been pushing initiatives that make it harder to vote. Jeb Bush supports states’ efforts to enact voter ID laws, and as governor, he restricted early voting and infamously purged 12,000 eligible voters before the 2000 presidential election. Marco Rubio asked, “What’s the big deal?” with voter ID laws. Scott Walker enacted what has been described as “one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country.”

Voter ID laws systematically target Latinos’ and other minorities’ ability to vote. In 2012, measures to restrict voting could have affected over 10 million Latino voters. A Brennan Center for Justice study reported, “In Colorado, Florida, and Virginia, the number of eligible Latino citizens that could be affected by these barriers exceeds the margin of victory in each of those states during the 2008 presidential election.”

And it’s no accident that these laws disproportionately affect Latinos. A separate study from last year found “a solid link between legislator support for voter ID laws and bias toward Latino voters, as measured in their responses to constituent e-mails.” And yet another study that was released earlier this year found that even in states without voter ID laws, Latinos were targeted: “Election officials themselves also appear to be biased against minority voters, and Latinos in particular. For example, poll workers are more likely to ask minority voters to show identification, including in states without voter identification laws.”

Some Republicans have explicitly made known their intentions of suppressing Latino and African-American voters in order to win elections. Over 30 years ago, ALEC-founder and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation Paul Weyrich spoke plainly:  “I don’t want everybody to vote…As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Republican after Republican has continued in his footsteps: An Ohio GOP County Chair stated he supports limits on early voting because, “I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban – read African-American – voter-turnout machine.” Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai believed voter ID laws would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” Former GOP Precinct Chair Don Yelton used the “n” word as he tried to deny that a voter ID law in North Carolina was racist (and he explained that “the law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt”). Conservative activist and notoriously anti-immigrant Phyllis Schlafly said, “The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game.” Schlafly’s Eagle Forum endorsed Marco Rubio in his run for Senate (here’s a lovely picture of the two of them) and applauded Scott Walker for his opposition to legal immigration.

The Republican response to the growing power of minority voters could not be clearer: shut them out of the election process. Under the guise of fighting voter fraud, despite a striking absence of evidence that fraud exists, Republican-led chambers across our nation have moved in concert to restrict access through the polls for political reasons. It’s that simple.

What’s even more upsetting is to hear a group who claims to represent the best interests of a community choose to ignore the facts in favor of their funder’s agenda.  Daniel Garza, executive director of the Libre Iniative, said he’s fine with voter ID laws and that he doesn’t think Republicans are trying to suppress the Latino vote. Libre is a Koch-funded GOP shadow group that time and again turns its back on the Latino community – for example, Libre supported Republican candidates who opposed immigration reform in 2014. Garza’s support for voter ID laws is yet another instance of him and Republicans supporting a policy that’s devastating to Latinos.

It’s time for the Republican Party to end their campaign against voting rights—and for people like Daniel Garza to stop giving them cover when they do it.

Carlos A. Sanchez is the Coordinator of Political Campaigns for People For the American Way.

PFAW

John Kasich Kicks Off Presidential Bid By Addressing Religious Right Gathering

The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Religious Right group led by disgraced right-wing lobbyist Ralph Reed, is holding its annual “Road to Majority” conference next week. Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has signed up for the event, and today, the FFC announced that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be addressing the conservative summit.

Kasich recently made waves by tapping John Weaver and Fred Davis, two veterans of John McCain’s 2008 campaign, to work for his increasingly likely campaign for president.

The conference is cosponsored by radical right-wing groups such as Concerned Women for America, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property and the World Congress of Families, and will feature speeches from Religious Right favorites such as Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, Christian Broadcasting Network “reporter” David Brody, pastor Jim Garlow, rabbi Daniel Lapin and activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Lila Rose and Gary Bauer.

Clearly, no right-wing activist is too radical or corrupt for Republican presidential candidates to embrace, which is why Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina have no qualms about attending this event organized by someone like Reed.

Reed is best known for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal, where he organized a Christian Coalition anti-gambling campaign in Alabama with the help of secretive funding from Mississippi tribes that owned casinos – who just so happened to be Abramoff’s clients that didn’t want business competition from the neighboring state. Reed denied knowing the source of the funding, even though investigators uncovered emails from Abramoff asking Reed to send invoices for approval from a Mississippi tribe which controlled major gaming interests. Abramoff later said that Reed “didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money,” adding that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/3/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/1/15

Does Scott Walker Even Know What's In His Mandatory Ultrasound Law?

Scott Walker has been receiving plenty of blowback for his recent comments about a bill he signed mandating medically unnecessary ultrasounds for Wisconsin women seeking abortions, most recently a scathing column by Gail Collins in the New York Times.

Walker told conservative radio host Dana Loesch that forced ultrasounds aren’t a “crazy idea” because when members of his family obtained ultrasounds, he thought they were “a lovely thing” and “just a cool thing out there.” Since then, Walker has been accusing the “gotcha” media of twisting his words all while doubling down on the substance of his argument, asking, “Who’s opposed to an ultrasound?”

But, aside from being clueless about why his “cool” comment was offensive, does Walker even know what was in the law he signed?

At a campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Saturday, an audience member asked Walker about his ultrasound comments, and he struggled to explain what was in the bill, falsely claiming that the law allows a woman to choose whether to undergo the procedure.

The Concord Monitor reports that a Walker spokesman “later clarified that he was referring to transvaginal ultrasounds when he was indicating that the procedure was optional.”

We obtained audio of the exchange, which you can listen to here:

Walker disputed the audience member’s claim that Wisconsin’s law requires a transvaginal ultrasound for women seeking abortions. While is true that the law allows women to choose between a transvaginal and abdominal ultrasound, experts point out that in the early weeks of a pregnancy — when most abortions take place — a transvaginal ultrasound is the only one that will produce the images that the law requires a doctor to describe to the pregnant woman.

Walker also stated that the law says an ultrasound “has to be offered, it doesn’t have to be done,” and that a woman “can choose whether they want to see [the ultrasound] or not, or have it done or not.”

This is not true. With a few narrow exceptions, the law requires a woman to undergo an ultrasound and for the doctor to describe it to her. The only choice the woman has is to decline to view the ultrasound images.

Scott then repeated the very same story he told to Loesch of viewing his children’s ultrasounds, saying, “I think for most people that ultrasound picture that many of us have, that many of us have seen from our children and grandchildren now, is a wonderful thing and a wonderful opportunity.”

Scott Walker Doesn't Get Why His 'Cool' Ultrasound Remark Was So Offensive -- And That's The Problem

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Gov. Scott Walker was chatting recently with right-wing radio host Dana Loesch about his efforts to set up regulatory hurdles to abortion access in Wisconsin, when heoffered this defense of a law he signed that would require a woman to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound before exercising her constitutionally protected right to an abortion:

I'm pro-life. I've passed pro-life legislation. We defunded Planned Parenthood, we signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea. You know, most people I talked to, whether they're pro-life or not, I find people all the time that pull out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids' ultrasound and how excited they are, so that's a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, we still have their first ultrasounds. It's just a cool thing out there.

Right Wing Watch, a project of People For the American Way, was listening to the show and brought attention to Walker's comments, and they understandably hit a nerve.

Sure, an ultrasound could be "cool" if you are a woman carrying a healthy child, surrounded by family, love and support and making your own medical choices along with your doctor. Or you are excited grandparents looking forward to years of joy with a child. What's not "cool" is if the state mandates that you undergo a medically unnecessary procedure in an effort to prevent you from making a choice that you, an adult woman whose circumstances your politicians have no right to know or judge,have already made and are unlikely to change

Even less "cool" is the fact that the ultrasound bill was passed as part of an explicit effort to undermine women's access to health care. Its companion bill was an "admitting privileges" requirement, a common anti-choice tactic, that threatened to close two abortion clinics in the state. Since then, Walker has boasted to anti-choice leaders of using deceptive rhetoric about the ultrasound bill in order to downplay its true intentions.

Unlike the ultrasounds of the Walkers' children, forced ultrasounds like these aren't the kind that anyone wants to show off. What's astonishing is that Walker doesn't seem to get this. Instead, he's accusing the "gotcha" media of being "biased" and "lazy" and twisting the meaning of his comments. Unfortunately, some of the media are taking him at his word.

Walker's remarks weren't twisted. You can listen to his whole answer to the questionhere. The problem is that Walker just doesn't seem to get why what he said was so offensive. For someone who wants to be president, that's deeply troubling.

PFAW

Walker Claims ‘Cool’ Ultrasound Comment Was Twisted By ‘Lazy’ Media

Earlier this week, we reported on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s comment on Dana Loesch’s radio program that a bill he signed requiring that women seeking abortions first undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound was no big deal because ultrasounds are “lovely” and “just a cool thing.”

The comment was subsequently picked up by a number of media outlets, eventually leading to a backlash from the right-wing media, who claimed that the whole thing was taken out of context.

Yesterday, Walker returned to Loesch’s show to slam the media for being “biased” and “lazy” for reporting on his comments, encouraged by pro-choice advocates who “can’t win” on the issues.

But then he repeated the very same sentiment he expressed in the original interview, saying that mandatory ultrasounds are no big deal: “Who’s opposed to an ultrasound?’”

Here, as in our original post, is the full audio of Walker’s comments. Judge for yourself:

Wisconsin 'Pro-Life' Group Wants To Remove 'Medical Emergency' Exception From Abortion Ban

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has indicated that he will sign a 20-week abortion ban that provides an exception only for pregant women who are suffering a “medical emergency” — and even in those cases, the doctor would likely be required to perform a C-section. This exception is even more restrictive than that provided in a similar federal bill that just passed in the U.S. House, which — after months of wrangling — provided a narrow exception for rape survivors.

But the “medical emergency” exception isn’t enough for Wisconsin’s “personhood” group, Pro-Life Wisconsin, which as the Daily Beast points out is asking legislators to withhold support from the bill until its authors remove “an exception for babies whose mother’s lives may be endangered, as if those babies don’t feel pain”:

"Pro-Life Wisconsin supports banning abortion based on the preborn child's ability to feel pain, but it is utter hypocrisy for proponents of the bill to decry the horror of dismembering a child through a dilation and evacuation abortion and then carve out an exception for babies whose mother's lives may be endangered, as if those babies somehow don't feel pain," said Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsin Legislative Director. "We urge legislators to refrain from co-sponsoring this bill until the medical emergency exception is fully removed."

The personhood movement’s no-exceptions approach to abortion policy makes it a thorn in the side of the anti-choice movement , but not because the movement’s “mainstream” disagrees with personhood advocates on principle. As the Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser acknowledged recently, exceptions are “political” tools to win support for abortion bans, which she finds “regrettable.” And, in practice, 20-week bans are meant to advance the goals of the “personhood” movement by providing a strategic challenge to the framework of Roe v. Wade.

Scott Walker: Ultrasounds Should Be Mandatory Since They're 'A Cool Thing'

In an interview with conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch on Friday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended his anti-choice record, saying that a bill he signed requiring that women seeking an abortion first obtain a medically unnecessary ultrasound merely provided them with access to “a lovely thing” and a “cool thing out there.”

Walker, a potential GOP presidential candidate, signed the ultrasound provision along with a hospital “admitting privileges” law that threatened to force clinics around the state to close.

Walker told Loesch that criticism he received about the ultrasound bill was merely an attack from the “gotcha” media, and that he was in fact just trying to provide women with “a cool thing.”

“The thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea,” he said. “Most people I talked to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time that pull out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, we still have their first ultrasounds. It’s just a cool thing out there.”

“We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information that more people if they saw that unborn child would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” he said.

Walker, who recently explained to Religious Right leaders that he was being purposefully evasive about his anti-choice goals by using pro-choice rhetoric to back his cause, said that while social issues “shouldn’t be defining” for Republicans, “we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.”

Scott Walker To Anti-Choice Leaders: I Didn't Mean What I Said About Abortion Being Between 'A Woman And Her Doctor'

Last night, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker met with a few dozen social conservative leaders in Washington, including representatives of the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the National Organization for Marriage, attempting to win them to his side if he decides to run for president.

According to people who attended the meeting, one subject that came up was a TV ad Walker ran last year in which he promoted his efforts to chip away at abortion access in his state, which, he said, would still leave “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List, told the Weekly Standard that Walker explained to her that in the ad he was “using the language of the other side to support our own position” and that people who said he was trying to paint himself as more pro-choice than he was were quoting him “out of context”:

Walker's pro-life credentials have been questioned by one Republican rival because of a 2014 Walker TV ad in which the governor defended laws regulating abortion as “legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

According to Dannenfelser, Walker brought up the ad during Tuesday's meeting and "explained his perspective on that — that using the language of the other side to support our own position is a good thing, but you can only do it if people aren't trying to call you out and quoting you out of context. And I actually liked the way he formulated this in general."

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Dannenfelser said that it’s just this sort of evasiveness on abortion rights that she’d like to see from other anti-choice GOP candidates:

Dannenfelser said Walker brought up his 2014 abortion ad before being asked.

“He felt very quoted out of context, very misunderstood,” she said. “He said there was a snippet of the ad used that did not convey the full meaning, and his communication was using the other side’s language but with the idea of forging common ground on ultrasound, because he’s a true believer on that.”

Walker signed legislation in 2013 requiring both that women seeking abortions get ultrasounds first and that the doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Dannenfelser said he defended his use of the phrase “leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor” as a way of co-opting pro-choice rhetoric for the pro-life cause.

“To the extent that we use the other side’s rhetoric to undermine their positions, we’re better off,” Dannenfelser added.

She said she was impressed with Walker’s way of talking about abortion.

“It’s the whole style of communication and content of communication that you want to see moving into a presidential cycle that will make it different from 2012,” she said.

Here's Walker's "Decision" ad:

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 5/14/15

  • Scott Walker is working hard to court Religious Right activists who are skeptical about the depth of his support for their radical agenda.
  • NOM calls for all states to follow Texas' lead in preemptively defying the Supreme Court on gay marriage.
  • Sadly, John Bolton will not be running for president.
  • Gary Bauer thinks that "the election victory by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative Party in Great Britain should encourage conservatives who are fearful that Hillary Clinton will be president." It seems that no one told Bauer that Cameron is a supporter of gay marriage and universal health care.
  • Finally, Erik Rush has some intelligent thoughts to share about Michelle Obama: "I’ll have to admit that First Sasquatch Michelle Obama outdid her husband concerning racialist gaffes in one fell swoop over the weekend, when she bloviated at length before a lectern at Tuskegee University. Her so-called commencement address was largely a stream of self-pitying, self-righteous, bitter, paranoid racialist propaganda."

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/4/15

Walker Repeats Support For Federal Marriage Amendment, Dodges Personhood Question

In an interview with the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts on Saturday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker repeated his call for a constitutional amendment to preserve state-level bans on same-sex marriage if the Supreme Court strikes them down, immediately before dodging a question on an anti-choice “personhood” amendment by saying that if he were president he wouldn’t “handle any constitutional amendments.”

Walker told Caffeinated Thoughts’ Shane Vander Hart that he is “still hoping” the Supreme Court will preserve state-level marriage bans. “If they don’t,” he added, “the only other viable option out there is to support a constitutional amendment, again, believing, I believe in not just in marriage being defined as one man and one woman, but I also believe in states’ rights. I think that’s an issue that appropriately belongs in the states.”

When Vander Hart asked Walker “what kind of pro-life legislation would a President Walker sign,” and if that would include a “personhood law,” Walker responded. “Well, the personhood would require an amendment and the president, no matter who it is, doesn’t handle any constitutional amendments, so that would be something that people who are passionate about that in the Senate need to have leaders there.”

He went on to say that he would support a 20-week abortion ban and the continuation of the Hyde Amendment.

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