Jody Hice, the GOP nominee for an open House seat in Georgia, said on his radio program in 2011 that “totalitarian” liberals have turned public schools into “camps for indoctrination,” a strategy he likened to Nazi Germany.
Hice launched into his commentary by citing a similar argument made by Chuck Norris in WorldNetDaily before adding his own spin to the issue.
Hice seems to imply that the very existence of public schools is a Nazi-like scheme, but that liberals in particular are trying to maintain their “clutch” on public schools in order to control “the minds of children” and raise money from teachers’ unions:
Obviously, if we have government — which is what the public school is — if we have government indoctrinating what students are learning, then we have a problem. This took place in Germany, friends. I’m not trying to say we are necessarily headed in that direction, but it is undeniable that one of the first things Hitler did was to grab, so to speak, the minds of the youth. And once he was able to instill in those young minds his own ideals and his own philosophy and that of the Nazi Party, then the rest of it was pretty much a piece of cake. It was a cakewalk to go through once you had the minds of the schoolchildren at every age level.
It is likewise just as dangerous what we are witnessing today. And it’s obvious that the liberals in this country are going to be fighting tooth and nail to protect the public school system from getting out from underneath their total, absolute, totalitarian control. If it gets out of their control, they not only lose the minds of the children in this country, but they also lose enormous financial resources, as the teachers’ unions are the number one biggest supporter politically to liberal ideology. So there’s a lot at stake for the liberals to continue their clutch on the public school system.
Later in the program, Hice elaborated on his concerns, citing a book lamenting “political correctness" on college campuses to warn that public schools are training students to “disdain America” and to defend homosexuality and “the green agendas.”
“What happens when our schools become just nothing other than liberal – or, soften it up a little, progressive – camps for indoctrination, which in essence is what they have become?” he asked.
He warned that schools are engaging in “the intentional training of students to dislike, to actually disdain America” and “encouraging students to freely experiment with all forms of sexuality, forcefully defend issues like abortion and homosexuality and also just encouraging students to become cultural advocates for political correctness, and there’s no tolerance for political incorrectness.”
“There’s the push for relativism, for globalization, for environmental agendas, the green agendas and tolerance for everybody,” he continued. “All of this stuff is now being pushed upon children in the public school system.”
People For the American Way and NextGen Climate today released a new Spanish-language TV ad challenging Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner on his record of standing on the side of polluters and wealthy donors. The ad will air in Denver and Colorado Springs.
“Cory Gardner has made clear who he’s fighting for, and it sure isn’t Colorado families,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way. “From supporting those who want to pollute the environment to prioritizing the agendas of wealthy donors, Gardner has an alarming track record. Latino voters deserve to know what’s at stake here.”
“Congressman Gardner denies the basic science of climate change and would allow corporate polluters to continue putting Colorado’s families and communities at risk,” said Abby Leeper, NextGen Climate Colorado spokesperson. “His views run counter to the views of a majority of Coloradans, including those in our Latino communities. We need a leader who will act on climate change now—not deny the facts."
This ad push is the latest step in People For the American Way’s multi-year, nationwide campaign to engage Latino voters in key states by shedding light on the agendas of GOP candidates on issues ranging from immigration to education to the environment. NextGen Climate Colorado is working on the ground in Colorado’s communities to expose Gardner’s extreme positions on critical issues like climate change, and empower voters to hold him accountable at the ballot box.
The script of the TV ad reads:
El republicano Cory Gardner nos quiere engañar.
Dice que valora a nuestra comunidad, pero apoya a contaminadores que envenenan nuestro aire y el agua, contaminan nuestros vecindarios, y ponen en peligro la salud de nuestros hijos.
¿Valores? Por favor. La campaña de Gardner aceptó miles de dolares de republicanos ricos y solo hace lo mejor para ellos.
Pero, no nos engaña. ¡Por eso votaremos contra Cory Gardner!
People For the American Way y NextGen Climate Action Comite son responsables por el contenido de este anuncio.
Republican Cory Gardner wants to deceive us.
He says he values our community, but he supports polluters who poison our air and water, pollute our neighborhoods, and put our children’s health in danger.
Values? Please. Gardner's campaign accepted thousands of dollars from rich Republicans and he does what's best for them.
But, we aren’t fooled. That’s why we’re voting against Cory Gardner.
VO: People For the American Way and NextGen Climate Action Committee are responsible for the content of this advertising.
PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager and PFAW Coordinator of Political Campaigns Carlos Sanchez are available for interviews with the press. To arrange an interview, please contact Layne Amerikaner at firstname.lastname@example.org / 202-467-4999.
People For the American Way Action Fund today endorsed a slate of young progressive candidates running for the Michigan State Legislature. The endorsements are part of PFAW Action Fund’s Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program that supports progressive candidates age 35 and younger. The Michigan candidates endorsed today are a diverse mix of progressive leaders who are positioned to make Michigan’s legislature be more inclusive and accountable.
“These candidates are the best and brightest young progressive candidates running for the legislature in Michigan,” said PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager. “They are people-oriented folks from all walks of life who will fight for social, economic, and environmental justice, and promote equality for all. Their leadership in their communities demonstrates a progressive vision that will benefit all Michiganders.”
People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to endorse the following Michigan YEP candidates for 2014:
• Stephanie Chang – MI House District 6
• Jon Hoadley – MI House District 60
• David Knezek – MI Senate District 5
• Kristy Pagan – MI House District 21
• Rebecca Thompson – MI District 1
• Robert Wittenberg – MI House District 27
People For the American Way Action Fund today announced its endorsements of a slate of young progressive candidates running for the Michigan State Legislature. The endorsees include a diverse mix of 35-and-younger candidates running for the Michigan state House of Representatives and state Senate, representing a new generation of progressive leaders who will put Michigan’s legislature back-on-track towards a common sense, inclusive, accountable public policy agenda for the state’s future. Their leadership represents a progressive vision that will benefit all Michiganders as they fight for social, economic, environmental justice and equality for all.
The endorsements are part of People For the American Way Action Fund’s Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program. YEP evaluates and endorses young progressive candidates age 35-and-younger in their bids for elected office around the U.S. at all levels.
People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to endorse these Michigan YEP candidates for 2014:
Stephanie Chang – MI House District 6
Running for Michigan’s House of Representatives District 6, Stephanie Chang is a Michigander whose dedication to the community has benefited many. Chang has worked around the state advocating for Affirmative Action, serving as a mentor for Detroit Asian Youth Project, and promoting a fair justice system. Chang’s knowledge and breadth of experience in Michigan make her an important leader for the state as she fights for social, economic, and environmental justice. Visit Stephanie’s page for more details.
Jon Hoadley – MI House District 60
Jon Hoadley is the clear choice to represent Michigan’s 60th District in the state House of Representatives. Hoadley, a small business owner and member of several advocacy organizations in Kalamazoo, is deeply ingrained and in tune with the needs of his community, which makes him the ideal representative. He has already worked to better Kalamazoo advocating for full LGBTQ equality, creating strong and sustainable public schools, and protecting the environment. Visit Jon’s page for more details.
David Knezek – MI Senate District 5
David Knezek is running for Michigan state Senate’s 5th District and has proven that he is the ideal candidate for the position. Knezek is a true leader, having been promoted to the rank of Sergeant during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the University of Michigan-Dearborn, he was elected Student Government President, and in his senior year of college he was elected to be a Michigan state representative. Knezek has proven that he will advocate for his community and improve education, public safety, and job opportunities for Michigan citizens. Visit David’s page for more details.
Kristy Pagan – MI House District 21
Born and bred in Michigan, Kristy Pagan is the ideal candidate for the 21st District of Michigan’s state House of Representatives. She has worked in Washington, D.C. as a legislative aide and a national grassroots organizer. Her determination to serve coupled with her knowledge of and dedication to Michigan will serve the state well. Pagan is a true progressive, and has both the resolve and the passion to reform Michigan’s educational system, advocate for women and children, and improve job growth. Visit Kristy's page for more details.
Rebecca Thompson – MI District 1
Rebecca Thompson is running for election to the 1st District of the Michigan state House of Representatives. Thompson was born and raised in Detroit, and overcame experiences with poverty and homelessness to become a leader in the community. She has worked tirelessly to better Detroit for everyone, using her own experiences to positively impact those around her. Thompson is passionate about affordable education, improving safety, protecting women’s rights, and advocating for her community. Visit Rebecca's page for more details.
Robert Wittenberg – MI House District 27
Robert Wittenberg is running to represent District 27 in the Michigan state House of Representatives. After being inspired by his parents’ and brothers’ work, he is determined to follow in their footsteps and serve his community. As a public servant, he advocates for full equality for the LGBTQ community, increased public transportation, and access to healthcare for all. Visit Robert's page for more details.
In response to new EPA rules cutting carbon emissions, Pat Robertson mocked President Obama and EPA officials as “highly motivated zealots” who “worship the environment and worship climate.”
“The inmates have taken over the asylum,” the “700 Club” host said today. “There seems to be no relationship to actual, on ground activity.”
Despite evidence that air pollution is linked toheart attacks and respiratory diseases like asthma, Robertson mocked Obama for claiming that reducing pollutants would reduce asthma attacks and save lives: “Maybe he has a touch with the divine somehow.”
And why shouldn’t Robertson feel that way?
Instead of working to reduce air pollution, why doesn’t Obama just have everyone watch the “700 Club,” where Robertson will cure his viewers of asthma.
Truth In Action Ministries, which has released several over-the-top films (including one likening the rise of gay rights to the sinking of the Titanic), in its latest project takes on the “religion” of environmentalism and climate science. The film closely resembles “Resisting the Green Dragon,” the 2010 “documentary” in which Religious Right activists unironically accused environmentalists of religious fanaticism.
In the new film from Truth In Action, formerly known as Coral Ridge Ministries, Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land describes environmentalists as “watermelons” who are “green on the outside and pink on the inside.”
“Environmentalism has become a religion,” Land says. “These are recycled communists, recycled socialists, recycled collectivists who are trying to use a flawed theory of environmentalism to bring about the collectivist society they were unable to bring about politically through socialism and through communism.”
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, also interviewed for the film, accuses environmentalists of “worshiping the environment” instead of God.
Truth In Action Ministries host John Rabe, meanwhile, warns that policies targeting climate change could lead to the return of communist dictatorships that left “over 100 million people killed.”
He also accuses scientists who are working on climate issues of having a “pretention to omniscience” and committing idolatry: “One of the ways we can commit idolatry is by substituting ourselves as the creature for God, that’s what many of these scientists and bureaucrats are trying to do.”
To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way Foundation
Date: October 3, 2013
Re: Key Cases in the Supreme Court's New Term
The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has not shied away from taking on cases with enormous impact on American laws and American lives, and the term that starts on Monday will be no exception.
In just the last term, the Court’s conservative majority dismantled a key portion of the landmark Voting Rights Act, removed important anti-discrimination protections for workers, and made it harder for consumers to sue corporations that have hurt them. One exception to the Court’s sweeping conservative activism justifiably attracted plenty of attention – the decision in which conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the Court’s four more moderate Justices to strike down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. But that remarkable victory for individual freedom, which was powered by the Court’s moderates, should not obscure the Roberts Court’s larger, well-documented goal of shifting American law to benefit corporations over individuals and the privileged over the struggling.
The cases on the Supreme Court’s docket for the coming term are no less consequential. The Court will consider whether to continue its project of dismantling campaign finance regulations; it will take on yet more cases on the rights of individuals to hold corporations accountable for their actions; it will weigh laws protecting workers against abusive and discriminatory employers; it will decide whether to uphold the far-right DC Circuit’s decision striking down clean air protections; and it may limit or reverse precedents protecting women's reproductive choice.
Below is a preview of some of the most wide-reaching cases the Supreme Court will consider this year, and how the Roberts Court may choose to approach them.
MONEY OUT / VOTERS IN
You’ll be hearing a lot about this case in the coming weeks, months, and perhaps years. While Citizens United involved independent expenditures to affect elections, this case involves the aggregate caps on contributions made to candidates, political parties, and PACs. Currently, a donor’s individual contributions to a party’s candidates and affiliated committees during the 2013-2014 election cycle, are capped at $123,200 (on an inflation-adjusted basis). Without the cap, that number would skyrocket to $3.6 million, vastly increasing the influence of wealthy donors on our democracy and correspondingly limiting the influence of the people, who are supposed to be sovereign in our democracy. That is the goal of high-pocketed donor Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee, who are asking the Court to strike down the aggregate caps as violating their First Amendment free speech rights.
Beginning in the 1970’s and in a number of cases since, the Court has upheld the constitutionality of regulating campaign contributions, recognizing how important such regulations are in preventing both real and perceived corruption. That Court has also recognized the value of aggregate caps on contributions as a means of preventing wealthy donors from indirectly bypassing the individual limits. That’s why the decision was a no-brainer for the lower court judges – even the far-right Janice Rogers Brown. The fact that the Supreme Court even took the case is disturbing, suggesting that the conservative Justices’ hunger for enhancing the power of the powerful and shutting the rest of us out of our own electoral democracy has not yet been sated.
This case challenges President Obama’s recess appointments of National Labor Relations Board members in January of 2012 on the day after the 112th Congress’s second session officially began. He acted because Republicans had been blocking the Senate from voting on his nominees, leaving the NLRB without enough members to constitute a quorum. The president bypassed this cynical GOP effort to sabotage an agency dedicated to the rights of workers by making recess appointments. The NLRB was therefore able to act, including in a case involving Noel Canning, which disputes the legitimacy of the recess appointments.
The appointments occurred at a time when the Senate was meeting for pro forma sessions for a few minutes, once every few days, to maintain the fiction that it wasn’t on recess (i.e., to prevent recess appointments). Most debate in the public and on Capitol Hill centered on the narrow question of whether the holding of the pro forma sessions meant the Senate was not in recess. Indeed, the fact that congressional Republicans insisted on the pro forma sessions indicated their recognition of the president’s broad authority to make recess appointments when the Senate is on break. Noel Canning itself noted that the DC Circuit could decide the case based on the narrow question of the relevance of the pro forma sessions, thereby bypassing even larger constitutional questions. But the DC Circuit issued a sweeping opinion overturning the understanding of presidents and senators from the country’s earliest years: The court ruled not only that recess appointments can only be made during the annual break between sessions of Congress, but also that they can only be made during the recess in which the vacancy first occurred. These restrictions would invalidate recess appointments going back to the time of President George Washington. Affirming the DC Circuit would empower Senate minorities to prevent the president from filling vital executive branch positions. Some agencies that require certain Senate-confirmed officials to be present in order to exercise their full powers (like the NLRB or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) would be crippled.
ACCESS TO ABORTION
This involves a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive health clinics (with exceptions for employees, patients, and others with business there). Within this area, only those with business at the clinic (essentially, clients and employees) could stand within a certain radius of the clinic. Anti-choice advocates claim this violates their freedom of speech because it restricts only people with a particular viewpoint. The lower courts disagreed, citing the 2000 case of Hill v. Colorado, where the Supreme Court upheld a buffer zone making it illegal to approach people at clinics for the purpose of counseling, education, or protesting. That 6-3 decision analyzed the law as a content-neutral regulation of speech that was reasonable in light of the importance of protecting unwilling people’s right to avoid unwanted conversations and their right to pass without obstruction. However, two of the conservatives Justices in the 6-3 majority have been replaced by far more conservative Bush nominees: Rehnquist (by Roberts) and O’Connor (by Alito). Since Justices Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas dissented in the 2000 case, there are five likely votes to strike down the Massachusetts buffer zone and possibly overrule Hill completely.
Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice: The Court may uphold a state “drug safety” law that restricts women’s access to medical abortions and perhaps overrule the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision protecting a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
An Oklahoma law pushed by anti-choice groups requires misoprostol and methotrexate, medications used to terminate early pregnancies, to be prescribed only as directed by the FDA; any variation from that (called “off label” use) is made illegal. But in the years since these drugs were approved by the FDA, doctors through experience have determined that such “off label” uses are more effective, safe, and convenient for women. Such “off label” uses also allow for abortion later in a pregnancy than FDA-approved use does.
The general right of a state to regulate off-label uses of FDA-approved drugs is not being contested in this case. Oklahoma’s stated goal is to protect women from unsafe and unapproved use of medications, but this is clearly a pretense for limiting women’s access to medical abortions. Under the 1992 Casey decision, states cannot place an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck the law down as obviously unconstitutional. Ominously, the Supreme Court accepted the appeal.
Because of a procedural hurdle, it is possible the case might not be heard. The Supreme Court has asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to clarify exactly which medications and under what circumstances the statute applies. Only after the Oklahoma Supreme Court responds will the Supreme Court decide whether to schedule oral arguments. If it proceeds, the case provides a dangerous opportunity for the Roberts Court to overrule Casey or, as in the more recent “partial birth abortion” case (2007’s Gonzales v. Carhart), to simply ignore Casey and open the floodgates to more restrictive legislation.
LIMITING CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY
Bond v. United States: The Court is being asked to overrule a 1920 precedent recognizing Congress’ broad authority to enact legislation implementing a treaty, and to sharply restrict congressional authority under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause.
The case involves a woman who repeatedly tried to poison her husband’s mistress and was convicted of violating a federal criminal law prohibiting the possession and use of chemical weapons, a law passed to implement a treaty on chemical weapons. Carol Bond argues that the administration of criminal justice is a purely state responsibility except for where Congress, exercising one of the powers enumerated by the Constitution (like the Commerce Clause), creates an offense against the United States. Therefore, she says, the law violates the Tenth Amendment and constitutional principles of federalism.
But a 1920 precedent says exactly the opposite. Missouri v. Holland recognized that if you have a properly signed and ratified treaty, the Necessary and Proper Clause authorizes Congress to pass laws implementing the treaty. The enactment does not have to also be based on one of the specific powers enumerated in Article I Section 8.
If the Supreme Court rules for Bond, it might do so narrowly, holding that her use of chemicals was not part of the purpose of the chemical weapons treaty. But the Roberts Court may also see this as an opportunity to issue a broad ruling that overrules the 1920 precedent and limits longstanding congressional authority under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause.
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND FAIRNESS
In this case, a town government wants to redevelop a housing development occupied primarily by low- and moderate-income minority families and replace it with more expensive housing. Residents sued under the Fair Housing Act, alleging that the plan had a disproportionate impact on minorities.
For 40 years, the Fair Housing Act has been a key tool to address unfair mortgage lending practices, insurance redlining, discriminatory zoning ordinances, and other obstacles to equal housing. Under the FHA, a practice that has a discriminatory effect – even if it does not have a discriminatory purpose – can be judged to violate the law. This is called “disparate impact.” All 11 circuits to have considered the question have agreed that disparate impact cases are covered under the Fair Housing Act. These cases go back to the 1970s and 1980s, and Congress has never amended the law to say otherwise. Although different circuits vary in the details, most follow a process in which, once a plaintiff shows that an action will have a racially disparate impact, the burden shifts to the defendant to show a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its actions. In some cases, the defendant must also show that it can’t accomplish the same thing with less discriminatory results. The “burden shifting” disparate approach makes it much easier to fulfill the FHA’s goal of protecting Americans from housing discrimination. HUD regulations also interpret the FHA to include claims of disparate impact. A contrary interpretation by the Roberts Court could lead to the reversal of decades of progress in eliminating housing discrimination, the goal of the Fair Housing Act.
The constitutionality of Affirmative Action is not an issue in this case. Instead, the question is whether the Constitution allows states to amend their own constitutions to prohibit Affirmative Action.
In 2006, Ward Connerly succeeded in getting an anti-Affirmative Action measure on the ballot in Michigan, and it was passed by the voters. It prohibits the consideration of race, sex, ethnicity, and national origin in individualized admissions decisions by public colleges and universities. The Sixth Circuit struck down the measure, noting that no other factors (like legacy, geographic diversity, or athletic skill) were similarly made unconstitutional. As a result, an applicant who wants her alumni connections to be considered can ask the university to adopt a legacy-conscious admission program, but an African American applicant who wants a race-conscious admissions policy must persuade the entire electorate to adopt a constitutional amendment. The circuit court characterized this as a structural burden that violates the Equal Protection Clause.
Justice Kagan is recused from this case, which may affect how the Court rules.
Town of Greece v. Galloway: Legislative Prayer – The Court will decide if a town’s consistent use of sectarian prayer at town meetings violates the Establishment Clause, even if it shows that the town endorses a particular religion.
Over the course of many years, the town of Greece, NY, officially opened monthly public Town Board meetings with prayers. For years, the local members of the clergy who delivered the prayer were always specifically invited by the town supervisor to do so. Only Christian clergy were invited and mostly sectarian prayers were delivered. When two citizens complained that it appeared the town was officially aligning itself with Christianity, officials told them that anyone who wanted to could ask to deliver the prayer and do so regardless of content. Yet the town never publicized this alleged policy, and only four times subsequently did non-Christians deliver the prayer.
The Supreme Court held in 1983’s Marsh v. Chambers that legislative prayers do not automatically violate the Establishment Clause, but that they should not be exploited to proselytize or advance any one religion, faith or belief, or to disparage any such belief. And in other contexts (like public crèche displays), the Court has ruled that under the Establishment Clause, the government may not appear to endorse any one specific faith.
With Justice O’Connor having been replaced by Justice Alito, the Court’s Establishment Clause cases may take a sharp turn to the right. There may now be a majority that would vastly expand government’s ability to endorse not only religion in general but also specific sectarian beliefs.
Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. and Wal-Mart Stores: The Court is being asked to rule that the statute of limitations to challenge an employer’s denial of disability benefits begins to run before the claim has finally been resolved.
Julie Heimeshoff had been working for Wal-Mart for nearly 20 years when she developed pain and fatigue due to fibromyalgia and other conditions. Within a few months, she was unable to work and she filed for long-term disability benefits, which Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company administers for Wal-Mart. Heimeshoff’s disability claim was denied.
Courts interpreting the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) have ruled that under the law, you cannot challenge the denial of benefits until you exhaust your remedies under your company’s benefits plan. Wal-Mart and Hartford’s plan sets a three-year statute of limitations for those who are denied benefits to sue, beginning as soon as Hartford requires the employee to provide proof of their disability. So the clock was ticking while the mandatory internal resolution process continued. In 2007, Heimeshoff was informed that Hartford was still denying her claim, and that this was its final decision. She sued in 2010, within three years of this final determination but more than three years after she was first required to prove the extent of her disability.
The Court will decide if a benefits plan can require the clock to start ticking before the plan has resolved the claims, or whether the clock can start ticking only when the worker has exhausted her plan remedies and can actually sue. In other words, does ERISA let employers and insurers impose a plan that makes it harder for employees to vindicate their ERISA rights in the courts?
In this case, a company and union agreed that management would remain neutral on efforts to organize workers to form a union, let the union have limited access to non-work areas to talk to employees, and give the union the employees’ names and home addresses for the same purpose. In return, the union promised that it would not picket, boycott, or act to economically harm the business. Such recognition-process agreements are fair and orderly ways to facilitate union organizing that benefit both workers and employers.
The question is whether this violates Section 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act, which makes it a criminal act for an employer to “pay, lend, or deliver … any money or other thing of value” to a labor union seeking to represent employees. The law was adopted in the 1940s to prevent corruption from distorting the process of forming a labor union. The employer and the union assert that their agreement is legal, because the employer’s agreement is not a “thing of value” as contemplated by Taft-Hartley. To the contrary, they claim that it furthers the statute’s goal of encouraging peaceful and honest labor organizing. But Mulhall claims the agreement falls within Taft-Hartley’s criminal provisions.
The Clean Air Act requires states to adopt plans that not only bring their own states into compliance with federal safety standards, but also prevent pollution that “contributes significantly” to air pollution in downwind states. Under the law, states that fail to implement a sufficient (or any) plan must then implement a plan designed by the EPA.
In this case, the EPA designed such plans, which reflected the extreme technical complexity of the issue. Based on the administrative record and its expertise on environmental health, the agency concluded that the new rules would prevent 13,000-34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 400,000 cases of asthma. They would also save $280 billion a year in healthcare costs.
Utility companies appealed, and a divided D.C. Circuit panel struck down the rule. The dissent accused the court’s majority of “disregard[ing] limits Congress placed on its jurisdiction, the plain text of the Clean Air Act (‘CAA’), and this court’s settled precedent interpreting the same statutory provisions at issue today.” The majority’s decision has been cited by some as an example of judges imposing their own ideologies over the technical expertise of a federal agency.
HOLDING CORPORATE WRONGDOERS ACCOUNTABLE
DaimlerChrysler is a German corporation being sued in a federal court in California for human rights violations by a wholly-owned subsidiary in Argentina. The subsidiary (Mercedes-Benz Argentina) allegedly identified “subversives” at the plant for the country’s military dictators, knowing that they would then be kidnapped, detained, tortured, or murdered as a result. Former plant employees or their surviving family members sued the parent company in California.
Under the Due Process Clause, a state cannot bring a defendant into its courts unless that party has sufficient “minimum contacts” with the state. That is called “personal jurisdiction.” In this case, DaimlerChrysler has a wholly-owned subsidiary that regularly does business in California: Mercedes-Benz USA. The 9th Circuit said the court had personal jurisdiction over the parent company because it had engaged in substantial and continuous corporate activity in the state for years via the subsidiary.
The Supreme Court is being asked to reverse that ruling. In a world where people’s lives are affected by the actions of enormous multinational corporations operating around the world through a seemingly endless number of subsidiaries, many will be interested in how the Court decides this case.
The 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a securities reform law passed by Congress after the Enron collapse, protects “employees” of publicly traded companies who expose fraud by publicly traded companies. The term “employees” is at issue in this case.
At issue in this case is whether individuals working as contractors to publicly traded companies are considered employees for the purpose of protecting them from retaliation as whistleblowers. In this case, individuals who exposed alleged fraud involving Fidelity mutual funds were retaliated against. The mutual funds are owned by their shareholders and registered with the SEC. However, the whistleblowers were not employees of Fidelity’s funds, because those funds have no employees of their own. Instead, all the funds’ day-to-day work is done by privately owned “investment advisers” with names like Fidelity Management and Research Co. and Fidelity Brokerage Services. This is not an uncommon setup for mutual funds. So the whistleblowers were employees of Fidelity’s contractors, not of Fidelity itself, and those contractors are not publicly traded.
The district court ruled that interpreting “employees” so narrowly as to exclude contractors like the ones in this case would defeat the purpose of the law. However, the First Circuit reversed that decision. Now, the Supreme Court will decide.
Concerned Women for America’s Joseph Rossell warns in a blog post last week that environmental protection efforts represent “an incredibly evil set of values,” if not “the most dangerous agenda on earth.”
Quoting Margaret Sanger and Paul Ehrlich’s warnings about overpopulation, Rossell writes that environmentalists back a “vile” and “highly dangerous ideology” that “may very well be the most anti-human, anti-life agenda on the planet.”
What do you think of when you hear the term “environmentalism”? For most people, the word probably brings to mind images of harmless hippies out to curb pollution and encourage recycling.
But the reality is much more sinister. What most people don’t realize is that environmentalism may very well be the most anti-human, anti-life agenda on the planet. Humans are seen as a blight on the world, population levels are considered far too high, and it is believed necessary to dramatically reduce the number of people globally through brutal methods (including sterilization and abortion).
Environmentalism is not benign; it is a highly dangerous ideology. The individuals quoted above are far from obscure within the movement; they are rather mainstream environmentalists. Their vile beliefs are not simply being repeated in ivory towers, but are increasingly infiltrating public policy through a burgeoning regulatory system. These views are also gaining ground in American school systems, thanks in part to initiatives like Common Core, which promotes texts involving these themes.
Christ warns His followers, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Environmentalism is similarly deceptive, requiring us to employ spiritual discernment. Although it may seem outwardly attractive, underneath environmentalism’s glistening veneer of social justice is actually an incredibly evil set of values.
In 2010, Wendy Wright, then the president of CWA, was featured alongside other Religious Right figures in a “documentary” about how environmental movement is a “Green Dragon” based on myths and falsehoods.
Outraged that employees in his organization had begun placing recycling bins throughout The Blaze's headquarters and studio and replaced individual water bottles with a water cooler, Glenn Beck brought the Vice President of Studio Operations onto his radio program today to explain why these changes were taking place.
When she claimed that doing so was saving the company money, Beck not only didn't buy it but also didn't really care and instead issued a new company-wide policy that any employee who buys a compact fluorescent light bulb when non-CFL options are available will be fired.
"Global warming is a pile of crap," Beck declared, adding that he would be issuing a memo informing everyone that "if anyone does anything in this company because of global warming, they're fired":
On the 700 Club today, Pat Robertson followed a segment mocking “climatism” with an interview with Steve Goreham of the climate change denying Heartland Institute. Goreham is not a climate scientist (his degree is in electrical engineering) and the Heartland Institute regularly pushes misinformation about climate change.
Richard Littlemore points out that internal Heartland documents reveal that “Heartland advocates against responsible climate mitigation and then uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and ‘other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.’” The group is behind an effort to promote climate change denialism in schools and a billboard campaign likening climate scientists to mass murderers.
Robertson, a climate change denier who has without a hint of irony criticized climate scientists as “nutty” and “fanatics,” unsurprisingly ate up Goreham’s claims that humans play no role in climate change and that higher CO2 levels help the environment.
“Warmer periods have actually been better for civilizations,” Goreham argued. “We have less extreme weather, we have longer growing seasons and we have more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now, which is actually greening the planet.” “That’s good!” Robertson replied.
Goreham lamented that SUV owners and power company officials may be treated like witches who were burnt at the stake in the Middle Ages: “There were many people in the Middle Ages that were blamed for causing the cold temperatures and the poor crops and they labeled them witches, they burned them. And so today we blame it on our neighbor’s SUV or a power plant, it’s a little bit of a medieval thing.”
“Let’s hope we don’t burn the officials of VEPCO,” Robertson joked, referring to the Virginia Electric and Power Company.
Later, Goreham said that people in New York, San Francisco and Bangladesh should be “rejoicing” about warming as “all the climate models are wrong.”
Yesterday, Cathie Adams, the president of the Texas Eagle Forum, delivered a presentation to the Southeast Texas Tea Party on the dangers of environmentalism and Agenda 21 in which she made the case that the environmental movement is like a watermelon: "green on the outside and Marxist red on the inside."
Adams said that environmentalists are blasphemers because "these people worship the creation instead of the Creator" and that is why "our children are being taught now in public schools to capitalize the "E" of "Earth"; it is an object of worship."
When Adams later asked rhetorically why President George H.W. Bush went to Brazil in 1992 to sign the United Nations Climate Change convention, an audience member blurted out that he did so because "he's a traitor!" which prompted Adams to declare that "this climate change treaty is exactly the New World Order":
Robertson maintained that the “out of control” Environmental Protection Agency “has been run by doctrinaire leftists” who are attacking “American industry, especially fossil fuels.”
After he went on a rant about new rules impacting coal power plants, Robertson said that the ultimate “goal” of the environmental movement is to create “a more pastoral, rural kind of existence and if a couple billion people around the globe die from starvation because of it that’s just tough luck.”
Yesterday, Dr. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance appeared on Janet Mefferd's radio program where he explained that the modern environmental movement represents "the greatest threat to Western civilization" because it combines "the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad" into a pseudo-religion that undermines Christianity:
Mefferd: That seems like, maybe to some people, like hyperbole Dr. Beisner, but why do you think that that's the case?
Beisner: Well, let me just give you four simple, direct reasons.
First, because unlike the Soviet Union and its satellites in the Cold War and unlike Islamic jihad today which were, or are, external and clearly recognized as enemies by the overwhelming majority of people in the free world, environmentalism is internal and thought by most to be friend, not foe.
Second, because unlike arid and nihilistic secular humanism, environmentalism speaks to the inherent spiritual yearnings of human souls and it provides plausible answers to dogged questions about how we got here and what causes suffering and how suffering might come to an end.
Third, because environmentalism incorporates the strengths of all three of those other threats: the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad.
And fourth, finally, because environmentalism encompasses all the vague spiritualities that have frankly overwhelmed secular humanism in the West and now threaten the Christian faith as so many people now take to referring to themselves as "oh well, I'm spiritual but not religious," which basically means they are all involved in designer religion.
Televangelist Pat Robertson is joining other conservatives in attacking Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. After criticizing climate change scientists as “nutty” and “true believer” ideologues last month, Robertson once again engaged in projection today on the 700 Club as he warned that environmentalist “crazies” are “unreasonable” religious “fanatics” who are too “doctrinaire.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson has, like so many on the Right, turned very quickly from advocating awareness of climate change to denying that it exists at all. On today’s 700 Club, Robertson laughs off a recent Princeton University study that found that climate change is increasing the rate of blizzards while leading to a drop in total snowfall.
Without a hint of self-awareness, Robertson claims that climate scientists are simply elitist ideologues who will hold onto their beliefs in global warming no matter what.
“Only in Princeton would people say nutty things like that,” Robertson said. “You know, they get to be PhDs and they wonder where they’ve studied and learned all these things. But I tell you, if you’re a true believer bad things will happen because you see them coming.”
Among the “nutty” professors Robertson attacks is Princeton geosciences expert Michael Oppenheimer, interviewed earlier in the program, who served in the Nobel Prize-winning International Panel on Climate Change.
Earlier this month, the Religious Right's favorite climate change-denying "expert," Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance, appeared on American Family Radio where he declared that believing in climate change "is an insult to God." Yesterday, when he joined Bryan Fischer on "Focal Point" for yet another discussion about the "myth" of global warming, both he and Fischer declared that failure to use coal, oil, and natural gas is an insulting rejection of the gifts that God has given to us - gifts which, incidentally, He buried deep in the earth because He delights in our search for and discovery of them:
Cal Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance is the Religious Right's favorite anti-climate change "expert" despite the fact that his academic credentials are limited to a doctorate in Scottish History. While appearing on AFA's "Today's Issues" radio program today, Beisner provided the most concise explanation of why Christians cannot believe in climate change when he declared that the entire theory rests on the assumption that the earth is an extremely fragile place, which conflicts with the Biblical view that the earth was built by God for man's use.
Therefore, to believe in climate change "really is an insult to God" ... and it will eventually lead to tyranny: