Minnesota

PFAW Delivers 178,000 Petitions Calling for Bachmann’s Removal from Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON – Today, People For the American Way will deliver 178,000 petitions to House Speaker John Boehner urging him to remove Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 113th Congress. Bachmann earned rebukes from Boehner, John McCain and others last year when she launched a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, alleging that Abedin and other Muslim-American public servants were agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Michele Bachmann has used her position on the Intelligence Committee to spread baseless conspiracy theories and smear the reputations of honorable public servants,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Speaker Boehner himself called her actions ‘dangerous.’ It’s mysterious, then, why he has chosen to reward her reckless extremism with continued access to sensitive national security information and a powerful platform for her agenda.”

“Members of the Intelligence Committee are responsible for the safety of all Americans,” continued Keegan. “178,000 Americans are sending Speaker Boehner a clear message: we don’t want our national security in Michele Bachmann’s hands.”

People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch has detailed coverage of Rep. Bachmann here.
 

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Michele Bachmann Back on the Intelligence Committee, Still Spouting Conspiracy Theories

Last year, after Michele Bachmann launched a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin and alleged that there had been “deep penetration” by the Muslim Brotherhood in high levels of government, People For the American Way launched a campaign to get Bachmann kicked out of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. On the Intelligence Committee, she has special access to sensitive national security information, which probably shouldn’t be in the hands of a fear-mongering conspiracy theorist. But this week, Bachmann announced that she had been reassigned to the Intelligence Committee, despite the protests.

In light of the news, PFAW has revived its petition drive and the campaign has been covered by USA Today, the Huffington Post, and the Ed Show:

Back in July, we published a rundown of Bachmann’s worst conspiracy theories. Since then, she’s added to her repertoire, claiming that President Obama has “enforced Islamic speech codes here in the U.S.” and is intent on imposing Sharia law at home and abroad.

You can sign PFAW’s petition to remove Bachmann from the Intelligence Committee here.

PFAW

Michele Bachmann Back on the Intelligence Committee, Still Spouting Conspiracy Theories

Last year, after Michele Bachmann launched a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin and alleged that there had been “deep penetration” by the Muslim Brotherhood in high levels of government, People For the American Way launched a campaign to get Bachmann kicked out of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. On the Intelligence Committee, she has special access to sensitive national security information, which probably shouldn’t be in the hands of a fear-mongering conspiracy theorist. But this week, Bachmann announced that she had been reassigned to the Intelligence Committee, despite the protests.

In light of the news, PFAW has revived its petition drive and the campaign has been covered by USA Today, the Huffington Post, and the Ed Show:

Back in July, we published a rundown of Bachmann’s worst conspiracy theories. Since then, she’s added to her repertoire, claiming that President Obama has “enforced Islamic speech codes here in the U.S.” and is intent on imposing Sharia law at home and abroad.

You can sign PFAW’s petition to remove Bachmann from the Intelligence Committee here.

Barton Says Marriage Equality Election Wins Were 'Rhetorical Victory,' Falsely Claims it Lost in Minnesota

On Friday's "WallBuilders Live" radio program, David Barton and Rick Green hosted another "good news Friday" broadcast during which they traditionally discuss "good news from around the country that the media doesn't report!"

During the broadcast, Barton commented on the various marriage victories during the recent election, seeing "good news" in the fact that, despite the wins, polls show that most Americans still do not support marriage equality ... which is a claim that should probably be taken with a grain of salt seeing as it came from Barton who repeatedly and falsely claimed that marriage equality only won in three out of the four states where it was on the ballot, asserting that "traditional marriage" was victorious in Minnesota:

There is some good news. There are some storm clouds, we saw storm clouds election night. You look at the marriage amendments; three of the four marriage issues went down. In Minnesota, it almost went down, it was like a 50-50 prop; it should not have been that close that marriage is a man and a woman, but going down in Maine, and going down in Washington, and going down in Maryland but preserving barely in Minnesota.

While we did lose three of the four states and almost lost the fourth state, nationally the support is still high. A poll done on election day found that sixty percent of Americans strongly support marriage as a man and a woman.

It's a rhetorical victory for same-sex marriage proponents because they say "hey, we won three out of the last four states that voted on this." Yeah, with about 50.5% support, you know, barely.

There's no compelling victory here, but nonetheless it's regrettable we lost those three states but at the same time you still have nearly two to one support for traditional marriage in America.

Does Barton really not know that the amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota lost? Maybe he ought to visit the Minnesota for Marriage website, which led the fight to pass the amendment:

As we shared with you following the election last week, and as you’ve probably heard ad nauseum from the media since then, despite our best efforts, a majority of Minnesota voters rejected the proposal to secure the definition of marriage in our state constitution.

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After looking at the results here and in other states, it is clear that we were swimming against a powerful tide that swept the entire nation. Our opponents raised vastly more resources from gay marriage activists across the country who were determined to make this the year their unbroken losing streak would end. They enjoyed the support of the elite in politics, the media and entertainment. And, perhaps worst of all was that many evangelicals, including some prominent pastors and faith leaders, either refused to support the amendment or just remained silent.

Obviously we are very disappointed in the outcome, but we have no regrets in making the effort. Marriage as the union of one man and one woman has served Minnesota well. As our opponents frequently pointed out, marriage remains the union of a man and a woman even after last week’s vote.

PFAW: Marriage Equality Victories a Watershed Moment for LGBT Americans

Washington, DC -- Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, released the following statement in response to victories of marriage equality ballot measures in Maine and Maryland, the lead for a marriage equality measure in Washington, and the defeat of a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota:

"Yesterday was a great day for progressive values, and none more than the American value of equality under the law. For the first time in our history, voters accepted marriage equality at the polls, with marriage equality measures passing in two states and poised to pass in another. In a landmark victory, voters also rejected a discriminatory marriage amendment. And, for the first time in our history an openly gay American won a seat in the U.S. Senate. This is not a fluke, it is a watershed.

"Eight years ago, George W. Bush and Karl Rove hitched their reelection effort to anti-gay animus, pushing discriminatory ballot measures in 11 states in an effort to boost their own campaign. Yesterday, Americans decisively reelected the first president to publicly support marriage equality and turned out to the polls to support their LGBT neighbors.

"These votes are victories for families in Maine, Maryland and Washington who will now have access to many of the protections of marriage. But they are also victories for all Americans, who step by step are building a country where all our neighbors are treated with decency and respect. We have a lot of work left to do, but this much is clear: the politics of exclusion and discrimination is no longer a winning formula."

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PFAW’s African American Ministers In Action Equality Task Force Supports Marriage Equality Ballot Measures

This week the Equal Justice Task Force of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action released a statement in support of the marriage equality ballot measures in Maryland, Maine, and Washington and opposing a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota.

“At this moment in history, it is important that we stand on the side of faith, compassion, and equality instead of on the side of discrimination and oppression,” said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “We’ve seen again and again that when laws prevent gay and lesbian couples from getting the protections that only marriage can provide, all families are harmed and all communities suffer. As an African American and a woman I am frightened when one group attempts to limit or restrict the rights of others. We urge voters in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington to reject discrimination and vote to strengthen and affirm all families.”

 

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The Right to Vote Under Attack, 2012 Update

Here we detail, as of October 6, 2012, except where otherwise noted, the latest efforts across the country to suppress the vote, as well as some encouraging successes in expanding the franchise.

8th Circuit Rules Against Disclosure Law

A sharply divided court blocks Minnesota's campaign finance disclosure rules for organizations making independent expenditures in state elections.
PFAW

UPDATE: State legislation shines national spotlight on voter ID

"On voting rights in America, the arc of the universe has indeed been long, centuries long, from the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution to the poll tax to the literacy test. But it has always bent toward justice. These new laws seek to bend the arc backward again, to take away from people their effective right to vote."
PFAW Foundation

Tony Perkins Blasts General Mills for Opposing Anti-Gay Amendment

General Mills was immediately attacked when it announced its opposition to a proposed amendment in Minnesota, where the company is based, that would enshrine the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in its constitution. National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown called the move “ludicrous” and claimed that the company “effectively declared a war on marriage” and Minnesota for Marriage began holding protests to “Dump General Mills.” Today, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council weighed in during his daily radio bulletin by attacking the cereal company for becoming a “general nuisance”:

Perkins: In the marriage debate, General Mills just became a general nuisance. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. One of America's largest food companies has an appetite for liberal politics. Five months before voters head to the polls, General Mills decided to weigh in on Minnesota's marriage amendment. Like Starbucks, the company tried to argue that marriage is bad for business--a theory that's absolutely ridiculous. Forbes magazine did a feature on the "best states for business"--and 18 of the top 20 protect natural marriage. Still, a spokesman says, "We don't believe the proposed constitutional amendment is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy... We oppose it." Experts say it's a "very risky" position--especially since General Mills makes billions of dollars marketing brands to parents of kids--like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Yoplait, Cheerios, Chex, Wheaties, and Lucky Charms. It may impress their corporate friends, but it's customers that count.

Elected Officials Officially Calling Out ALEC

Over the past few weeks, more progressive elected officials are not just voting against ALEC inspired legislation that would privatize public services and make a few people very rich, they are calling it out by name and raising awareness of how ALEC serves as a vehicle to enact a corporate wish list into law in states across the country.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently vetoed a set of ALEC-modeled tort-reform bills that originated from an “ALEC Boot Camp” for state legislators. Here’s his statement:

“Exactly who did the Republicans in the legislature listen to? Well, three of the four bills come right from this manual, Tort Reform Boot Camp, published by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. This is the same group who reportedly provided legislators last week with all-expense paid trips to a posh Florida hotel for what they call an “education policy conference.” It is an extremely conservative group, funded largely by large corporations, big business associations, insurance companies and very wealthy individuals. I’ve found that Minnesotans do not want their laws written by the lobbyists of big corporations.

“Since these Republican bills so closely follow ALEC’s instructions on tort reform, and since ALEC’s opinion on these subjects are evidently more important to Republican legislators than mine, their fellow legislator’s or the Supreme Court’s, perhaps they would share with us all of the other ALEC boot camp manuals, so we can know in advance what to expect from them for the rest of this session. If Republicans want to continue to prove to Minnesotans that they are too extreme to lead, they should continue to throw ALEC’s ideology at us. If they want to begin to govern responsibly, and work collaboratively, pass real jobs legislation – and my three measures have not even been taken up – real jobs legislations that will put Minnesotans back to work, then I’m ready to work with them. And I’m waiting.”

Just last week, Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan (D) decided to take action as well. He joined ALEC to gain access to the bill templates, and then took to the floor to expose the origins of AB110, a bill that would damage the public education system by giving special taxpayer subsidies to private schools for special needs children.

“This is part of dismantling public education in Wisconsin, and Florida, and Ohio, and every single state it’s introduced in,” Pocan explained. “This bill doesn’t come from this body, this bill is an identical bill that’s been introduced brought by special interests by ALEC and introduced state by state by state.”

 

ALEC’s secret jig is up. The American people don’t want their laws to be written by corporations, and they’ve made their voices heard. Now, our elected representatives – that is, the ones who are actually representing us, not wealthy special interests – are taking a stand too. ALEC’s pro- corporate agenda can only advance if kept secret. Kudos to those elected officials with the courage to shine the spotlight on this undemocratic organization.

PFAW Foundation
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