James David Manning, the anti-gay Harlem pastor who has struck up an alliance with the anti-government group Oath Keepers, took to his “Manning Report” YouTube program yesterday to explain his theory of how people become gay.
Just as various diseases are spread through sexual intercourse and saliva, Manning explained, so too is the “sodomite demon.” If you have had sex with or even kissed or been at the same restaurant as someone who has such “demons in their blood,” he warned, you may have been “introduced to these demons in your life, sodomy, when you had no defense.”
We’ve seen plenty of strange bedfellows, but frankly this one has us stumped. Oath Keepers – the anti-government militia group whose leader, Stewart Rhodes, wants to hang John McCain for treason — is joining James David Manning, the Harlem pastor famous for declaring that “Jesus would stone homos” and warning that Starbucks flavors its coffee with “semen from sodomites,” at a 4th of July event at the Gettysburg battlefield that will apparently help to heal America’s racial wounds.
We can’t wait to see how this goes.
Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt has an explanation for the death of Eric Garner, who was choked by a New York police officer apprehending him for selling loose cigarettes on the sidewalk: “socialism breeds death.”
Discussing the assassination of two police officers in Brooklyn last month with talk show host Steve Deace yesterday, Pratt noted that the gunman had mentioned Garner’s death in social media posts before the shooting, implying that the officers’ murder was also part of the death wreaked by New York’s “socialism.”
The dirtbag that murdered the two cops sitting in their car said that he was getting even for Eric, what’s his name, Garner, the guy the cop had taken down and subsequently died on the way to the hospital in an ambulance.
Had New York politicians had not been so bodaciously greedy to have passed such astronomically draconian tax laws so that a guy can actually sell a single cigarette in the black market as a way to make money and I guess at least some kind of a living, and it so bothered the merchants that were selling at required lawful higher prices that they dropped the dime on the guy. And the cop wasn’t just trying to enforce stupid laws because he was a jerk, there had been an actual complaint filed about the guy selling loosies, namely single cigarettes loose from the pack.
That’s how bizarre it is in a socialist city like New York City in a socialist state like New York. Socialism breeds death.
To: Interested Parties
From: Paul Gordon, Senior Legislative Counsel, People For the American Way
Date: September 15, 2014
Subject: Senate Needs to Confirm Pending Judicial Nominees
There is probably little more than a week before the Senate goes out on recess until after the election. One of the most important – and undoubtedly quickest and easiest – things it can do before then is confirm 16 judicial nominees, most of whom have overwhelming bipartisan support.
One of the most important responsibilities of the United States Senate is to maintain a functioning federal court system. District courts are the backbone of the American judicial system. They are where people turn when they feel their rights have been violated. “Having your day in court” is an essential part of the American ideal. But that ideal cannot be met if we don’t have enough judges to make it happen. Even if every vacancy in the country were filled tomorrow, it wouldn’t be enough: The Judicial Conference of the United States – the entity responsible for assessing the federal courts’ ability to effectively manage their caseloads – has urged Congress to create an additional 85 district court judgeships. So when an existing vacancy can be filled with a qualified nominee, it ought to be done with dispatch.
Right now, nominees for 16 such vacancies can be confirmed within the next few days. Seven of these were fully vetted and approved by the Judiciary Committee and have been waiting for a floor vote since June or July. Of these seven, all but one of them advanced without any opposition. Four alone are from Georgia: nominees who have the unanimous support of the Judiciary Committee’s Democratic and Republican senators. There are no more questions to ask of these nominees, except when they will be allowed to take up their judicial responsibilities and fill empty courtrooms in Georgia, New York, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
The remaining nine were scheduled for a committee vote last week, having had their confirmation hearings back in July. They have been nominated for judgeships in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Four of them – nearly half – would serve in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a state with so many vacancies that it alone accounts for 15% of the nation’s total, but Chairman Leahy was forced by the GOP to delay the vote. Republicans gave no reason for the delay, but they rarely do: Since President Obama took office, Republicans have exercised the right of the minority party to have a committee vote “held over” (delayed) by at least a week without cause for nearly all of his judicial nominees, part of their overall mechanism of obstruction. Fortunately, they are expected to get their overdue committee approval later this week.
There remains plenty of time to confirm all 16 nominees before the Senate goes out for its pre-election recess next week.
The fact that we are heading into an election is no reason not to hold these confirmation votes. In fact, in September of 2008, a presidential election year – and the twilight of George W. Bush’s presidency, no less – Democrats rushed several of his nominees through to make sure they got confirmed before recess (and before his presidency ended). Ten of Bush’s district court nominees were confirmed just one day after being approved by the Judiciary Committee. All ten had had their committee hearings earlier that same month – in some cases, during that same week. The confirmation votes took hardly any time at all, since all ten were considered and confirmed as a bloc by unanimous consent.
Interestingly, three of those 2008 nominees were from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where four of the current 16 nominees could be serving by next week, if given the chance.
Republicans still have a chance to demonstrate that they can prioritize the functioning of the U.S. court system over their own partisan interests. But it seems unlikely. Since last year, the GOP has insisted that no judicial nominee, despite their bipartisan support, advance on the Senate floor without time-consuming cloture votes and roll-call confirmation votes. And it isn’t just the roll-call votes that take time (although each one can take nearly an hour). Without unanimous consent to waive the chamber’s time requirements, cloture votes cannot be held until two days after cloture petitions are filed, and each confirmation vote requires at least an hour of needless “post-cloture debate” even after the filibuster is broken.
If Republicans successfully prevent votes this month, the earliest the courtrooms will see some relief will be in a potential lame duck session. That means another two month wait until clearly qualified nominees are able to take their seats in courtrooms around the country. There is simply no good reason for such delay.
Judicial vacancies slow down courts’ work, drive up litigation costs, cause evidence to go stale, make it harder to settle civil cases, and even pressure defendants into pleading guilty, according to a report released this week by the Brennan Center. The report cites example after example of how not having enough judges erodes our nation’s system of justice. Everyone counts on having their day in court, a fundamentally American principle that is threatened by persistent vacancies. The report quotes Chief Judge William Skretny of New York’s Western District:
We don’t neglect the Seventh Amendment, the right to a civil trial. But we tell people, if this is what you want to do, it will take time to get there.
Heavier caseloads and backlog created by vacancies also take a toll on judges, reducing the amount of time they have to spend on each case.
Chief Judge [Leonard] Davis in the Eastern District of Texas described the situation in his district as “simple math.” With more cases “you have less time to give to [an individual] case,” he explained. “It affects the quality of justice that’s being dispensed and the quantity of work you can complete,” he added.
[Judge Davis] also highlighted the impact of the Sherman vacancy on the timing of sentencing. “It’s a hardship for the litigants,” he explained. “Due to the backlog and [the] vacancy [in Sherman], we have a very high population of criminal defendants, about 200, sitting in county jails, having pled guilty and waiting for sentences. They can’t get their cases processed.” He noted that inmates are typically housed in a county jail because there are no federal facilities available, which is more costly for the government and leaves inmates with fewer work and educational opportunities. “That’s not fair to [the inmates] and adds a great deal of unnecessary cost by having to house them for so long in county jail holding facilities,” he said.
As the report makes clear, vacancies have real impacts for all citizens. This is why PFAW supports the speedy confirmation of qualified judicial nominees to federal courts. Filling judicial vacancies with quality judges will reduce backlogs and costs while allowing the judicial system to better serve all Americans. Maintaining the third branch is one of the most important constitutional functions that the Senate performs.
Decision Could Balloon Spending In State Elections
WASHINGTON – Campaign spending in states with aggregate contribution limits will likely soon balloon in the wake of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC decision, according to a new report by People For the American Way Foundation.
The report analyzes the anticipated state impacts of the high court striking down limits on the total amount a donor can give directly to candidates, parties, and committees at the federal level in the McCutcheon ruling. It forecasts a spending explosion in states whose aggregate limits on contributions to state candidates will soon be challenged or nullified in light of the decision. Among other data, the report finds:
• In New York, the current limit is $300,000 per two years. We estimate big donors will now be able to contribute $2,531,600 per election cycle, more than eight times the previous limit.
• In Maryland, the current limit is $10,000 per four-year election cycle. We estimate big donors will now be able to contribute $768,000 per four-year election cycle. This is a greater than 76-fold increase.
The states analyzed in the report are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
“The McCutcheon decision didn’t only undercut our federal campaign finance laws, it has ramifications for states across the country,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way Foundation. “Allowing wealthy donors to put exponentially more money into state elections tilts the playing field even more starkly in their favor and strikes at the very foundation of our democracy.”
The report is available here: http://www.pfaw.org/media-center/publications/how-supreme-courts-mccutcheon-decision-could-balloon-spending-state-electi
On Monday, People For the American Way joined allied organizations and activists of the NY4Democracy coalition for a rally and lobby day at the Albany state house urging New York lawmakers to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, McCutcheon, and related cases.
Over 100 activists joined the efforts, targeting state senators of all political persuasions to ask for their support in elevating the issue and calling for an amendment. The group gathered in the morning to lobby senators and their staff, held a press conference at noon, and continued lobbying afterwards. In total, NY4Democracy activists met with 32 senate offices.
Click here to view a local news story about the lobby day.
Click here to view an interview with People For the American Way legislative representative Calvin Sloan on the Capital Tonight show.
(Photo credit Tony Cresswell)
(Photo credit Tony Cresswell)
(People For the American Way legislative representative Calvin Sloan -- Photo credit Tony Cresswell)
(Public Citizen’s director of the Democracy is For People campaign, Jonah Minkoff-Zern -- Photo credit Tony Cresswell)
(Move To Amend New York state coordinator, Victor Tiffany -- Photo credit Tony Cresswell)
(Communication Workers of America policy and legislative coordinator Joe Mayhey -- Photo credit Tony Cresswell)
If successful, NY4Democracy will help New York join the growing chorus of state and municipalities that have already called for an amendment. To get involved with the campaign, please email email@example.com with the subject line, “NY4Democracy.”
On Monday, People For the American Way joined ally organizations in the New York for Democracy Coalition in Albany to urge state lawmakers to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn decisions like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC. If successful, New York would become the 17th state to go on record in support of such an amendment, joining a rapidly growing nationwide movement to reclaim our democracy.
People For the American Way’s legislative representative Calvin Sloan joined Nick Reisman on Capital Tonight to discuss the efforts underway in New York – and across the country – to fight back against the outsized influence of big money in our political system.
Barbara “Bobbie” Handman, a former Vice President of PFAW and PFAW Foundation, died on Thursday. For years, Bobbie’s creative energy and fierce commitment to the First Amendment shaped the organizations’ free expression work from New York City, where she was based. Bobbie’s long record of advocacy for free expression and the arts was recognized in 1998 when she received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton.
Bobbie’s years at PFAW were part of a long life of political activism. Time after time she responded to would-be censors by rallying well-known actors and writers to participate in public events that affirmed the value of artistic freedom. You can read more about Bobbie’s life and work in the obituary that appears in today’s New York Times. It ends with this quote from Norman Lear: “Bobbie was a lifelong lesson in perseverance. She made New York happen for People For the American Way. And she made everything grander. She dealt in grand.”
People For the American Way extends its heartfelt condolences to Bobbie’s husband Wynn Handman and the rest of their family.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is out today with a column in Newsmax attacking Bill de Blasio, the New York Democratic mayoral nominee, for his role in a group founded by a Catholic league.
While Donohue would typically go after anyone over anything critical they say about the Catholic Church, he lambastes de Blasio for working for the Jesuit Quixote Center in the 1980s. Donohue claims de Blasio should have mentioned “his extremist associations on his website” and admit that he is an atheist Marxist.
“Given de Blasio's insensitivity to Catholic concerns, it is not unfair to at least probe his religious affiliation,” Donohue writes. “If he is an atheist — his Latin-American dictatorial buddies surely are — we would like to know.”
“If he wins, maybe he'll honeymoon in North Korea. They would surely welcome him.”
Donohue added that Catholic voters should be wary about de Blasio because he opposes censorship of “anti-Catholic” art and the ban on gays marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan.
He may be the next mayor of the city of New York. Only recently have we learned who Bill de Blasio is (no one really cared much about him when he was the city's public advocate, an undefined made-out-of-whole-cloth job). Now that we have learned some important matters about his life, we are left with even more questions.
We know that his early political career was Marxist, and not just in an academic sense. He raised money for the Sandinistas, visited Nicaragua to align himself with the tyrants, and worked to undermine the efforts of the Reagan administration. No wonder he was endorsed by George Soros in August. Curiously, he decided to cover up his radical past: There is no mention of his extremist associations on his website.
Catholics should be especially wary of de Blasio. In November 2000, he took over as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton; she was running for the U.S. Senate seat in New York. The month before, the Brooklyn Museum of Art hosted a vile anti-Catholic exhibit that featured elephant dung smeared on a portrait of the Virgin Mary; pornographic pictures also adorned the "art."
Her rival, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (he would later drop out for health reasons), stood with the Catholic League; he even pledged to pull public funding to the museum (Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, who worked for Giuliani, also took this position). Clinton sided with the museum, endearing herself to the artistic community. In fact, it took her quite a while before she even said anything negative about the exhibit. Not unexpectedly, de Blasio went along.
Over the past decade, some New York public officials have decided not to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade because, they say, homosexuals are barred from marching. De Blasio is one of them. The claim is based on an out-and-out lie: Gays have never been banned from marching. What the parade officials insist on is that all contingents honor St. Patrick — they are not allowed to have their own floats and banners honoring their own cause. This is why pro-life Catholics are banned from marching under their own banner. As New York's Public Advocate, de Blasio decided he would rather show his solidarity with gays before siding with Irish Catholics.
Given de Blasio's insensitivity to Catholic concerns, it is not unfair to at least probe his religious affiliation. No one seems to know. We called his office and emailed his staff, but to no avail. If he is an atheist — his Latin-American dictatorial buddies surely are — we would like to know.
There is one Catholic connection that de Blasio has, and it is not one that any practicing Catholic would want to be associated with. In the 1980s, he was employed by the Quixote Center, a fringe group of Catholics so radical that they were investigated by the Treasury Department for smuggling guns to their Sandinista friends. Indeed, the Quixote Center was also the subject of probes by the IRS and the U.S. Customs Service at this time. This is the same group of zealots who defended the cop-killing racist Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther who became a hero to left-wing extremists.
The Quixote Center is hardly a model Catholic outfit. Its "We Are the Church" campaigns have all sought to upend the teachings of the Catholic Church. All of their efforts have failed. No matter, this is the kind of Catholic organization that excites de Blasio, ones that reject the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
When "Occupy Wall Street" protesters took over Zuccotti Park, trashing the area, raping women, ripping off the homeless, defecating in the street, and taunting the police, there was no bigger fan in New York City than Bill de Blasio, aka Warren Wilhelm, Jr., aka Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm. If he wins, maybe he'll honeymoon in North Korea. They would surely welcome him.
Pat Buchanan dedicates his latest syndicated column to New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s most recent sexting scandal, which he attempts to put into context by pointing to the moral failings of every other major New York politician. After all, Buchanan writes, one of Weiner’s main opponents in the mayoral race is Christine Quinn, “a lesbian about to marry another lesbian” (Quinn is in fact already married) and “the sitting mayor and governor are divorced and living with women not their wives.” Not only that, Buchanan says, but former mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former senator Hillary Clinton both marched in New York City gay pride parades.
Buchanan concludes that these New York political leaders, along with the decriminalization of homosexuality, indicate that Weiner is “a mainstream liberal” and that we have become “a mentally and morally sick society.”
And Weiner's conduct does seem weird, creepy, crazy.
But it was not illegal. And as it was between consenting adults, was it immoral -- by the standards of modern liberalism?
In 1973, the "Humanist Manifesto II," a moral foundation for much of American law, declared: "The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered 'evil.' ... Individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as they desire."
Is this not what Anthony was up to? Why then the indignation?
Consider how far we are along the path that liberalism equates with social and moral progress. Ronald Reagan was the first and is the only divorced and remarried man elected president.
But the front-runner in the New York mayor's race today quit Congress as a serial texter of lewd photos to anonymous women. The front-runner in the city comptroller's race was "Client No. 9" in the prostitution ring of the convicted madam who is running against him.
Weiner's strongest challenger for mayor is a lesbian about to marry another lesbian. The sitting mayor and governor are divorced and living with women not their wives. The former mayor's second wife had to go to court to stop his girlfriend from showing up at Gracie Mansion.
Weiner looks like a mainstream liberal.
Are we, possibly, a mentally and morally sick society?
Thirty year ago, homosexual acts were crimes. The Supreme Court has since discovered sodomy to be a constitutional right. State courts are discovering another new right -- of homosexuals to marry.
To call homosexuality unnatural, immoral or a mental disorder will soon constitute a hate crime in America.
Once we cast aside morality rooted in religion -- as the "Humanist Manifesto II" insists we do -- who draws the line on what is tolerable in the new dispensation.
Upon what moral ground do we stand to deny a man many wives, should he wish to leave behind many children, and the wives all consent to the arrangement? Biblically and historically, polygamy was more acceptable than homosexuality.
The second is now a constitutional right. Why not the first?
Are we not indeed headed "inevitably to utter irrationality and eventually political, as well as moral, chaos"?
Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Clinton marched in gay pride parades with the North American Man/Boy Love Association. Anyone doubt that NAMBLA will one day succeed in having the age of consent for sex between men and boys dropped into the middle or low teens?
The state of New York has become an embarrassing example of what can happen when money is allowed to rule politics. Earlier this month, for instance, two state lawmakers were arrested on corruption charges. It's a story that has become all too familiar in Albany, where a pervasive culture of corruption has led to the convictions of at least 13 state elected officials in the last ten years.
But New York and its governor, Andrew Cuomo, now have an opportunity to shed the state's pay-to-play image and lead the nation in fighting corruption. Good government advocates are pushing for the state to adopt a public financing system based on one that has met with success in New York City. The plan, which would provide matching funds for small donors, would help give candidates without big party or corporate backing the chance to compete in statewide elections. It would allow more voices to be heard in the political process and ensure that elected offices won't be handed to the highest bidder.
The Syracuse Post-Standard, in endorsing the measure, wrote, "There will always be more pressing spending priorities for taxpayer money. But when those priorities are thrown out of whack by the influence of big money on our politicians, something fundamental has to change." And all too often in New York, the priorities of voters are being superseded by the priorities of big campaign donors.
Shortly after the latest scandal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a bill to increase the penalties on state lawmakers accused of graft. That measure is useful, but on its own is not enough to change the culture in Albany. The public financing proposal, which would provide a meaningful solution to the problem of big money in New York politics, needs the governor's active support. So far, although supportive, Gov.Cuomo has not expended the energy in support of the measure needed for it to pass. He now has the chance to weigh in more forcefully and distinguish himself as a national leader on clean elections. With his full-throated endorsement, the measure would have a strong chance of becoming law, and New York could go from being one of the clearest examples of corrupt government to become a national model of reform.
Since the Supreme Court's outrageous Citizens United decision, which unleashed unlimited and unaccountable corporate spending into national politics, Americans have become increasingly wary of big-money influence in elections. A poll late last year found that 90 percent of Americans thought there was too much money in politics -- true bipartisan agreement! 84 percent agreed that "corporate money drowns out the voices of ordinary people." That's a lot of distrust from almost everybody in this country.
As a national movement to overturn Citizens United gains support, states and cities are leading the way with innovative and popular good government measures. New York, with Gov. Cuomo's support, could go from being a symbol of corruption to having some of the strongest clean elections laws in the country. That would be quite an enduring legacy.