Wisconsin

Tea Party Sheriff: Obama Trying To 'Emasculate' Police In Order To Impose Dictatorial Control

Back in March, a task force that President Obama convened to create recommendations for local policing in wake of the Ferguson protests released its report, which included nonbinding recommendations that local law enforcement track and share various statistics and work to increase trust within their communities.

This, of course, did not sit well with Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt, who invited the Tea Party’s favorite sheriff, David Clarke of Milwaukee County, onto his radio program this weekend to discuss how the presidential task force’s report is actually part of President Obama’s plan to “emasculate” the police and impose dictatorial control.

Clarke told Pratt that the report was a “sham” that was “put together on a false narrative” as part of Obama’s “attempt to federalize all local police so he can control them the way that a dictator uses the police in a dictatorship or a police state.”

Pratt responded by citing a 2008 Obama campaign speech that conspiracy theorists have twisted to claim that the president wants to set up a “civilian police force” loyal just to him: “That’s exactly what he said when he was campaigning, that he wanted to have a police force that was superior, or at least equal to, anything else in the country. That’s pretty stunning because our Constitution doesn’t provide for the feds to be cops.”

Clarke, however, said that all of this isn’t just Obama’s fault, but instead a product of “this cultural revolution that’s going on now” driven by liberal elites.

“One of the things that they know they have to do is they have to emasculate the police,” he said. “So this is really not about the use of force. In terms of the left, Ferguson was not about the use of force, it was not about the use of force on black males in these urban centers, it wasn’t even about policing. It is an objective of seizing control, federal control of these law enforcement agencies and turn them into Gestapo-type members to advance their liberal agenda, their socialist agenda.”

“They always talk about the ends justifying the means and, you know, their intentions are masked, okay?” he added.  “Their true intention is to implement this socialist agenda here in the United States, to get rid of the United States Constitution, get rid of our representative democracy and replace it with control by a few elites. And that’s not just the people who are here right now, because Barack Obama’s just being used by this whole movement because he has the power, but they put him in power.”

Tony Perkins: Planned Parenthood Opposes 20-Week Abortion Bans Because The 'Parts' Are 'More Valuable'

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, suggested during a conversation with Gov. Scott Walker on his “Washington Watch” radio program last week that Planned Parenthood opposes 20-week abortion bans such as the one recently passed by the House because they can make more money selling the “parts” of later-term fetuses.

Perkins was discussing a right-wing group’s deceptively edited shock video that purported to show that the reproductive health group sells “aborted baby parts” for a profit, in violation of federal law. In reality, the group donates fetal tissue to medical research with the patient’s consent.

“This suggests why they may have been opposed to bans such as this, these five-month bans, because the longer the pregnancy goes, the more valuable the parts,” Perkins alleged.

Walker, who signed such a ban into law in Wisconsin today, didn’t address Perkins’ claim directly, but restated his desire to make sure that “Planned Parenthood is defunded from any tax dollars, be it at the local or state or the federal level.”

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

Tea Party Sheriff Calls For 'Pitchforks And Torches' In Response To Marriage Equality Ruling

Milwaukee County sheriff and Tea Party hero David Clarke has a new radio show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, and naturally used the July 4th episode to explain how the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was just the sort of thing that inspired the Declaration of Independence and so should inspire a new “revolution” complete with “pitchforks and torches.”

“If you call yourself an American, then you have to start a revolution in this country after what happened last week at the United States Supreme Court,” Clarke told his listeners. “If you believe in the concept of self-rule, representative democracy, limited government, then you have no choice at the very least to be part of a revolution that’s going to be necessary to get this country back.”

“Yes, pitchforks and torches,” he insisted, explaining that Washignton can’t be fixed so “you have to deconstruct it.”

Clarke went on to explain the various ways in which he believes that President Obama and the Supreme Court are embodying complaints found in the Declaration of Independent, including “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent” (“when John Roberts said that Obamacare was a tax, he imposed a tax on us without our consent”); “declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever” (the marriage equality ruling); “abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province” (Obama’s executive action on immigration); and “excit[ing] domestic insurrections amongst us” (the gay marriage decision, the “fictitious war on women” and “pitting blacks against whites, pitting the rich against the poor”).

“King Obama,” he said, ignored the 2014 election results, and now it’s time for revolution, which he explained should start by defending businesses that discriminate against gay people.

“The next time in your state the federal government tries to put a church or a bakery or a pizza place out of business because they want to live by their religious conviction,” he said, “when I talk about pitchforks and torches, you need to get down there, surround that business and dare the federal government to come in and close it. That’s the revolution I’m talking about, it has to start in the states.”

Sheriff David Clarke: Might Take A 'Lexington-Concord Type Moment' To Stop Gay Rights, 'Socialist Agenda'

In an interview with WorldNetDaily last week, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, an emerging Tea Party hero who has been courted by Gov. Scott Walker, said that the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality might be a “catalyst” for a conservative movement to resist President Obama’s “socialist agenda,” but added that he wasn’t sure what could stop it “short of a Lexington-Concord type moment.”

The “Alinskyite” Obama, Clarke told WND, has “created all this division, stirring up racial animosity in our cities, rich against poor in the Occupy movement, and now it’s this religious divide” with gay marriage. “We had a Civil War. We see a great divide forming again,” he said.

He said that he hoped the marriage ruling would be a “catalyst” for conservatives to “defy this stuff,” lamenting, “[W]ho would have thought that in the 21 century homosexuality would come out of the closet and churches would be forced to go into the closet?”

“After a big decision like this, people scream and holler, ‘This is bad for the country,’ and then we just acquiesce,” Clarke said. “I believe one of these decisions might just be a catalyst to not just say we don’t like it but to actually do something, to defy this stuff.

“And that’s what churches are supposed to do is resist. And if the court comes back and says you don’t have a right to exercise your religion, then they’re going to have to decide what to do next. … But who would have thought that in the 21 century homosexuality would come out of the closet and churches would be forced to go into the closet?”

The Constitution is being “obliterated,” and “our democratic way of life is being transformed into a socialist agenda, and I don’t know what it’s going to take short of a Lexington-Concord type moment,” Clarke said.

“We had a Civil War. We see a great divide forming again. That’s a part of the landscape that has come from Obama; he’s an Alinskyite, and he knows you have to create a critical mass. So they’ve created all this division, stirring up racial animosity in our cities, rich against poor in the Occupy movement, and now it’s this religious divide. That’s why I keep telling people gay marriage is not the issue; you’re missing it. You have to peel back the layers and look at this transformation. It happens subtly right before your eyes, and you’ll miss it.”

Clarke said division in the conservative movement also aids the left.

“They will have to band together and decide what they’re going to do, but I think the first act is defiance,” he said. “Justices Alito, Scalia, Roberts, Thomas said this is unconstitutional. I’m going with that, and what these four justices said went against the language of these five oligarchs. Amend the Constitution if we don’t like it because we’ve done it, what, 27 times?”

GOP Rep: Marriage Equality Decision 'Offensive' To Civil War Dead Because They Were 'Fighting To Further A Christian Lifestyle'

Rep. Glenn Grothman, Republican of Wisconsin, joined Milwaukee-area radio host Vicki McKenna on Friday to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down state bans on same-sex marriage. Grothman told McKenna that the Supreme Court’s reasoning, which was based on the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, was an affront to the Americans who died in the Civil War because it was “a strong religious war to further a Christian lifestyle by getting rid of slavery.”

“Our president during the Civil War was, of course, Abraham Lincoln, who was known as the most biblical of presidents, somebody who quoted the Bible a lot,” he said. "In the Civil War, some 600,000 people died in a country that was much less populated than that today. And it was a much more religious country and I think a lot of people who died fighting in that war felt they died fighting for a religious cause, you know, ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ and all that.

“I think it would shock those people who died in that war to find out the constitutional amendment which was ratified kind of as a culmination of their great efforts and their great deaths would be 150 years later, a little less than 150 years later, used by these five robed, arrogant, robed people to take this constitutional amendment and say that that constitutional amendment that was drafted after the Civil War was in fact an amendment designed to say that same-sex marriage had to be legal.”

He added that the decision is “particularly offensive” given that the 14th Amendment was “drafted by a people who felt they had just engaged in a strong religious war to further a Christian lifestyle by getting rid of slavery.”

 

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.”

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.”

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:

From Wisconsin to Washington, Anti-Choice Legislators Push Unconstitutional 20-Week Abortion Bans

In Congress and state legislatures across the country, right-wing politicians are pushing hard to construct new barriers to women exercising the constitutional right to have an abortion.

Earlier this month the U.S. House passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and GOP legislators in Wisconsin are staging a parallel attack. They introduced a similar 20-week ban, which Gov. Scott Walker has indicated he would sign, and have scheduled a hearing on the bill for next week. PFAW supporters in Wisconsin will be out in force to demonstrate their commitment to protecting this core right.

A couple of important points about 20-week bans: first, they are plainly unconstitutional. One of the main holdings of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was a woman’s right to an abortion before the fetus becomes viable – that is, the point when a fetus could survive outside the uterus. As Imani Gandy writes at RH Reality Check:

In the past 40 years, the Court has never wavered from the fetal viability benchmark…Courts have consistently smacked down legislative attempts to ban abortions at 20 weeks. But states are undeterred by such pedestrian concerns as constitutionality.

Pushing these bans are a deliberate effort to prompt a challenge to the Roe decision, which anti-choice groups believe they can win.

Second, the overwhelming majority of abortions (close to 99 percent) happen before 21 weeks. Those that happen after that are often because of a complicated situation – such as the discovery of a severe fetal abnormality – and the path forward should be determined by a woman and her doctor, not by politicians looking to score points with their base.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these bans are part of an anti-choice agenda with a much broader goal: banning abortions across the board. From mandatory waiting period laws to “personhood” efforts which would give embryos full legal rights from the moment of conception, the anti-choice movement is playing the long game and slowly “chipping away at choice.”

When legislators try to insert themselves into decisions that should be made by women and their health care providers, it’s more than a political ploy. It’s a real threat to every woman’s health and autonomy.

PFAW

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.

On the 7th Circuit, It's Time for Ron Johnson to Get Out of the Way

It is long past time to fill the nation's oldest appellate court vacancy, which has been open more than five years.
PFAW

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:

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.

NRA Speaker Proposes Adding Semi-Automatic Rifle To US Seal

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, an emerging conservative folk hero, got a speaking slot at today’s NRA convention, which he used to rile up the crowd by suggesting that the arrows in the talons of the eagle on the Great Seal of the United States be replaced with a semi-automatic rifle.

Referring to President Obama’s 2008 campaign remark about voters who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them,” Clarke said, “Now let me say this about being one of those ‘bitter clingers.’ There is nothing else I would rather hold in my hand when fighting government tyranny than a Bible in my left hand that I use to swear to uphold the Constitution, and in my right hand a Winchester rifle, a symbol of freedom and liberty in the United States of America."

"In fact," he continued, "I propose that we change the Great Seal of the United States, you know the one with the American bald eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other. We should take those arrows out of the eagle’s claws and replace them with a semi-automatic rifle, preferably one that shoots M-855 ammunition.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms dropped a proposed ban on M-855 armor-piercing ammunition last month after an outcry from gun advocates.

Supreme Court’s Denial of Wisconsin Voting Rights a Motivator for Millennials

The following is a guest post by Zachary Koop, a 2014 Young People For Fellow.

This past Monday, the US Supreme Court made a troubling decision: it rejected an appeal to overturn Wisconsin’s voter ID law, considered one of the strictest in the nation. In so doing, the justices paved the way for other states to prohibit eligible voters from casting ballots.

As a young, progressive Wisconsin student, my peers and I share the sentiment that our voices are being attacked by Wisconsin’s recent voter ID law. Indeed, this policy disproportionately impacts young voters, especially youth of color. Among voters between the ages of 18-29, 17.3 percent of black youth and 8.1 percent of Latino youth were unable to vote because of inadequate identification, compared to 4.7 percent of white youth. 

Governor Walker claims that subjugation of Wisconsinites is not the intent, but it is unquestionably the impact. This policy threatened to prevent 300,000 Wisconsinites from voting. Inclusion should be an American ideal, but that is clearly not the case today.

This attack on the voting rights is just one example of how the Right is further disenfranchising historically marginalized communities across this country. But despite their intent, these moves are also mobilizing millennials to demand that our democracy include us. While complex legal and legislative processes often make us feel frustrated and powerless, we understand we need to claim our place at the voting booth. As the largest, most diverse and most progressive demographic in history, we have the power to alter the policy and political landscapes in substantial ways – and we’re already doing it.

Millennials are advancing change across the country. I found my own place in the progressive movement thanks to programs like People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For (YP4) Fellowship. Through YP4’s Vote and Courts Matter programs, I learned how to organize my peers, mobilize voters, and came to understand just how important the courts are to advancing (or dismantling) progressive policies.

Because of YP4’s support, this past fall at UW-La Crosse I passed policies through my campus’ student government that enfranchised students during the 2014 midterm elections. By requiring the administration to issue free student IDs compliant with the voter ID law to all students who requested one, running voter registration drives, and more, we helped ensure that 10,000 students could cast ballots during the election cycle. We are now creating a campus voter registration system that is easily accessible to all students and plan to share our tactics with surrounding state universities to make voting more inclusive and widespread amongst students.

Nothing is more voice-squelching than voter ID laws, an economically inefficient policy that marginalizes youth and other minorities. The Supreme Court’s decision is a call to action for Wisconsin millennials to realize that justice does not advocate for itself and that we must incorporate courts activism in our fight for civil rights.

PFAW Foundation

People For the American Way & Allies: Vote “No” on Question 1 to Keep WI Supreme Court Non-Partisan

MADISON - Today, People For the American Way joined with Democracy 2020 coalition organizations to call for a defeat of Question 1, a constitutional amendment from right-wing extremists in the Wisconsin Legislature to make the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court a partisan position.

“Question 1 is a naked power grab by one branch of our state government trying to politicize another,” said Scott Foval, PFAW Regional Political Coordinator. “Defending fair and non-partisan courts is a line that must be held in the Badger state. We cannot allow politicians who think no one is paying attention to rewrite the rulebook.”

Foval was one of many activists at today’s press conference calling for a “No” vote on Question 1 in the upcoming Spring Elections on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. The conference was held at noon at the Wisconsin State Capitol, and other speakers included Mike Wilder from the Democracy 2020 Coalition / Wisconsin Voices, Bert Brandenburg, Executive Director of Justice At Stake, former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, and Legislative Policy Director Analiese Eicher from One Wisconsin Institute.

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