Fighting the Right

Rios: Female Justices 'Rudely' Interrupting Scalia, 'Speaking Inappropriately'

The topic of discussion on Sandy Rios’ American Family Radio program Wednesday was diversity among federal judicial nominees. The Washington Post published a story over the weekend detailing President Obama’s largely successful effort to appoint more women, people of color and openly LGBT people to federal judgeships. The voice of dissent in the article was that of the Committee for Justice’s Curt Levey, who told the Post that the White House was “lowering their standards” in nominating nonwhite judges. So naturally, Rios invited Levey on as a guest and explained to him why she disapproves of President Obama’s diverse judicial nominations.

In particular, Rios disapproves of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, respectively the third and fourth women ever to sit on the high court. Sotomayor and Kagan, Rios says, have been forgetting their place and behaving “rudely,” “interrupting” and “speaking inappropriately” to, of all people, Justice Antonin Scalia.

While Levey correctly notes that “Scalia can give it out as well as take it,” he agrees with Rios that Sotomayor, the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice, “has occasionally, at least, stepped over the line.” In particular, he says Sotomayor – who he once accused of supporting “violent Puerto Rican terrorists” --  “sort of lost it” during arguments on the Voting Rights Act, when she contradicted Scalia’s stunning assertion that the law represents a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

In fact, while Scalia’s bombast provoked audible gasps in the hearing room, Sotomayor waited several minutes before calmly asking the attorney challenging the Voting Rights Act, “Do you think that the right to vote is a racial entitlement in Section 5?"

Later, Rios, with an impressive lack of self-awareness, marvels that progressive groups criticized Scalia for his remarks. “Groups on the left,” Levey responds, “shall we say, like to personalize things.”

Rios: I read an article that Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, at least this article was intimating that they are behaving in a – these are my words – sort of rudely on the bench, to Scalia and to others, interrupting, speaking inappropriately. Have you observed that? Do you know what I’m talking about and is that true?

Levey: Um, yeah. I mean, you know, Scalia can give it out as well as take it, but yeah, Sotomayor has gone over the line a number of times. Most recently in the Voting Rights Act case, which was just last week, where, you know, Scalia had the nerve to speak the truth and refer to the Voting Rights Act as “racial preferences,” which of course is what it’s become by guaranteeing that there be minority districts formed, minority congressional districts. And, you know, Sotomayor sort of lost it when Obama [sic] said that, interrupted and you know, basically made fun of Scalia’s comment. So yeah, I think they have the right to be aggressive up there, but Sotomayor has occasionally, at least, stepped over the line.

Rios: And on the Voting Rights Act and Scalia’s comments, you know, there were demonstrators at the Court last week, hundreds of them, demonstrating against Antonin Scalia. I don’t remember that happening. I don’t remember a Supreme Court justice – doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened – but I don’t remember it being a subject of public demonstrations.

Levey: No. Typically they will, you know, they’ll, protestors at the Supreme Court will focus on issues, not justices. But you know, that changed of late. There’s been in the last two years a lot of, you know, progressive groups have gone personally after Scalia and especially Thomas and his wife. But you know, we see that in so much of politics, that groups on the left like to, shall we say, personalize things.

Rios: Yeah, as like in Alinsky, yes, personalize and target, yeah, so we are seeing some very new things and actually pretty dangerous I think.

Earlier in the program, Rios and Levey lamented the fact that President Obama has had more openly LGBT people confirmed to the federal bench than all of his predecessors combined. Echoing right-wing arguments made against Romney advisor Richard Grennell, who was forced to resign last year after less than a month on the job, Rios claimed she didn’t mind that the president was appointing gay people to federal judgeships, but that they are “activists who are trying to change the law.”

Levey: You know, I don’t have any problem with him nominating gay and lesbian nominees. The problem is that they should be gay and lesbian nominees who respect the Constitution. You know, there are…

Rios: I don’t disagree, Curt, just for the record, I don’t disagree with that. It’s the activists, activists who are trying to change the law that I will have trouble sitting on the bench.

Levey: Exactly. He’s not appointing, you know, conservative or even moderate, you know, gay Americans, he’s appointing very radical gay Americans. And, you know, again, it’s not so much any individual nominee as it is the pattern here. Of the 35 or so nominees who are pending now, only six are straight white males, even though about half the legal profession is straight white males. So, do straight white males have some, you know, right to a certain number of seats? Of course not. But if you were doing it in a balanced way without any preference for minorities of various types, then you’d probably wind up with about 17 or 18 of those 35 being straight white males. The fact that there’s only six tells us that there’s a system of preferences going on.

Erik Rush: There Is a 50% Chance Obama Will Cancel the 2016 Elections and Become a Dictator

Over the last several months, conservative commentator Erik Rush has been warning that President Obama is intent on becoming a dictator who will unleash a Gestapo-like force on the nation while sparking civil unrest so he can cancel future elections.

Last night, Alan Colmes invited Rush onto his radio program to defend his paranoid conspiracy theories, which Rush did with gusto, telling Colmes that he truly believes that America is on the verge of becoming a Nazi-like state where citizens are rounded-up and forced into cattle cars and that there is a fifty percent chance that Obama will seek to foment some sort of cataclysm so he can implement martial law, cancel the 2016 election, and stay in power indefinitely:

You can watch Colmes' entire conversation with Rush below:

The NRA vs. Judicial Nominees

Back in December, The New York Times’ Linda Greenhouse wrote a great article explaining how the National Rifle Association has worked in concert with Republican senators to oppose many of President Obama’s federal judicial nominees – usually without anything close to a legitimate reason. The NRA’s “symbiotic relationship with the Republican Party,” Greenhouse wrote, led the group to oppose judicial nominees like Sonia Sotomayor, who had next to no record on the Second Amendment, and the party to chip in when the NRA didn’t like a nominee.

It is that symbiotic relationship that succeeded in sinking the nominations of two highly qualified women to federal courts this week. Both were unquestionably qualified and well-respected in legal circles. The NRA and the Senate GOP went after both for completely unfounded reasons.

Caitlin Halligan was President Obama’s nominee to fill one of four vacancies on the hugely influential Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Never mind that she had broad bipartisan support and sterling credentials. She had once represented a client, the state of New York, in a lawsuit against gun manufacturers. Back when John Roberts was being considered for the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans said that judicial nominees shouldn’t be held responsible for positions they took as lawyers on behalf of clients. But no matter. Senate Republicans twice voted to filibuster her nomination – most recently on Wednesday – never even allowing her an up-or-down vote.

Then today, Nevada District Court nominee Elissa Cadish withdrew her nomination over one year after she had been selected by President Obama. Her story was similar. Filling out a questionnaire in 2008, Cadish stated that under then-current law, the constitutional right to bear arms didn’t apply to individual citizens. She was correct. Two months later in a 5-4 opinion, the Supreme Court established for the first time that the Second Amendment does contain that right. Cadish made clear that she understood, and would follow, the new Supreme Court precedent.

But no matter. The NRA targeted Cadish and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller used a little-known Senate practice to keep her from ever even getting the chance to explain her views in front of the Judiciary Committee. Under committee procedures used by Chairman Patrick Leahy as a courtesy to his colleagues, a nominee is not granted a hearing unless both of her home-state senators give permission in the form of a “blue slip.” Heller simply refused to sign the blue slip for Cadish, thus single-handedly sinking her nomination.

The flimsiness of the arguments against Cadish and Halligan, and the fact that much of the opposition took place behind the scenes (in the case of Cadish without even a public hearing), betrays the real reason the NRA and the GOP were working to keep these women off the federal bench. They just don’t want President Obama to be nominating federal judges.

 

PFAW

Charisma: Laws Protecting Gays from Domestic Violence Part of Anti-God Agenda

Charisma news editor Jennifer LeClaire, who has warned about the perils of gay demon rape and superheroes, today is upset that the reauthorized version of the Violence Against Women Act included LGBT protections.

She claims that President Obama “will stop at nothing to push the gay agenda down our throats,” urging people to ask God to “help us push back the wickedness that’s pushing against His kingdom on earth.”

Women everywhere celebrated when President Barack Obama reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday. The landmark 1994 law aims to curb domestic abuse. But Obama snuck the gay agenda into the mix.

“All persons must be protected from violence, but codifying the classifications ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as contained in S. 47 is problematic,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote. “These two classifications are unnecessary to establish the just protections due to all persons. They undermine the meaning and importance of sexual difference.”



President Obama is proving that in his second term he will stop at nothing to push the gay agenda down our throats despite a family-friendly stance during his first presidential campaign. Now, President Bill Clinton is helping him, writing a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court suggesting the anti-gay marriage bill he signed into law in 1996 is unconstitutional and should be overturned.

You might expect politicians to waffle on issues where new research becomes available to enlighten us. Even preachers get new revelation on old truths that changes the way they look at Scripture. But it’s troubling when a president’s core values change in a matter of a few years from standing against gay marriage to doing everything in his political power to force the minority view on the majority who stand for traditional values, even going so far as to piggyback the agenda on an issue with widespread support (violence against women).

Continue to pray for our president. The Bible says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (see James 1:8). Some may say that our president isn’t double-minded at all, that he always planned to push the gay agenda during his second term. Only God knows. And only God can help us push back the wickedness that’s pushing against His kingdom on earth. Don’t stop praying. And don’t stop speaking out. Amen.

Harvey: 'Sexual Anarchists' Are 'Setting Up Children for Risk and Harm'

Several Religious Right activists have taken to describing LGBT rights advocates as “sexual anarchists” who encourage pedophilia. Today on her radio bulletin, Linda Harvey of Mission America claimed that “sexual anarchists are essentially destroying children’s innocence and modesty” which is effectively “setting up children for risk and harm” and making them more vulnerable for abuse. “No wonder so many children are fearful, insecure and anxious,” Harvey said.

Harvey made these claims after discussing the case of a six-year-old transgender girl in Colorado Springs who is, according to her family, facing discrimination at the local public school.

Apparently, this six-year-old child is just the sort of “sexual anarchist” that children should fear because she may “redefine what the other children understand to be normal, reality-based behavior.”

What about someone getting help for this child? We should have great compassion for him but at the same time we should not enable this delusion or allow it to redefine what the other children understand to be normal, reality-based behavior nor should this determine what others are required to put up with. Children develop a natural sense of modesty as they live infancy which is a protective factor against becoming sexually-active before maturity. It allows them an element of discernment when adults or other children may be about to breach appropriate boundaries and abuse them for instance so they will know to tell other adults they trust. These sexual anarchists are essentially destroying children’s innocence and modesty and those who wrongly believe this constitutes freedom and liberty either have lost sensitivity or are thinking only from a self-centered adult view. What they are doing is setting up children for risk and harm while telling them nothing is wrong, this should not make you uncomfortable. Well no wonder so many children are fearful, insecure and anxious; what they are being told doesn’t make sense to them.

PFAW: GOP and NRA Leadership Keep Two Qualified Women off the Bench

WASHINGTON – Today, Nevada judge Elissa Cadish withdrew her nomination to sit on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, more than one year after President Obama first nominated her to the position. Despite her sterling qualifications, Cadish was never even granted a hearing before the Judiciary Committee because Nevada Sen. Dean Heller refused to give permission for her nomination to move forward.

Earlier this week, the nomination of D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Caitlin Halligan was blocked by Senate Republicans under similar circumstances. Halligan and Cadish both faced unfounded attacks from the gun lobby’s leadership, Halligan for a position she took on behalf of a client and Cadish for correctly describing the state of Second Amendment law before the Supreme Court’s District of Columbia v. Heller decision. Both have clearly stated that they understand and would follow Supreme Court precedent on gun rights.

“Senate Republicans and the gun lobby have worked hand in hand to keep these two exceptionally qualified women off the federal bench,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Neither Cadish nor Halligan has displayed character or ethics problems let alone any sort of extreme ideology like that they were accused of. Yet Halligan was never allowed an up-or-down vote from the Senate, and Cadish never even had the opportunity to answer senators’ questions on her record before the Judiciary Committee.”

“The sinking of these two nominees shows just how far the Senate GOP and the gun lobby are willing to go, and how badly they are willing to stretch the facts, in order to keep President Obama’s nominees off the federal bench,” Baker added.

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Wiles: 'Gay Rights Fanatics' Are 'Going to Get Us All Killed'

A few weeks ago, we started listening to Rick Wiles' "Trunews" radio program because we discovered that he regularly interviews a variety of Religious Right activists that we monitor here.  But since then, we've begun listening just because his show - "the only newscast reporting the countdown to the second coming of Jesus Christ" - is also a cavalcade of insanity.

And yesterday's program was no exception, as Wiles' grew increasingly worked up about North Korea's latest threat against the United States, which he blamed on "gay rights fanatics":

Let me remind the gay rights fanatics, North Korea plans to send a nuclear warhead our way.  There's a terrible price to pay for outright rebellion against the Holy God of Israel and your sins are going to get us all killed.

Elsewhere in the program, Wiles declared that the "Fast and the Furious" scandal is part of an effort by the Obama administration to arm Mexican gangs who will then wage war on Texas and Arizona while the administration stockpiles ammunition to supply "Obama's commie army":

The violent El Salvador street gang MS-13, they've gotten their hands on rocket-propelled grenade launchers, light anti-tank weapons, and AK-47s.  MS-13 has also linked up with Mexico's drug cartel The Zetas.

So why do you think that Barry Soetoro, that communist who goes by the name Barack Obama and his sidekick Eric Holder, were shipping thousands of weapons to Mexico in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal?  I've said all along this was about arming revolutionary gangs in Mexico to wage war in Texas and Arizona.  When the full communist revolution gets underway, why do you think Homeland Security is stockpiling billions of rounds of hollow point ammo? It's not to protect you and me.  They're setting up ammo depots for Obama's commie army.

LaBarbera: 'How Do Two Guys Consummate Their Marriage? Yuck.'

Americans For Truth About Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to discuss the prospects of the Illinois marriage equality bill, or as he called it, “homosexual so-called marriage.” LaBarbera argued that same-sex couples cannot truly be married because they can never consummate the marriage: “If you want to just think of how wrong homosexual so-called marriage is just ask yourself: how do two guys consummate their marriage? Yuck.”

Later, he lamented that soon gay and lesbian teachers may be able to talk about their marriages in school just as a “normal heterosexual married person could.”

LaBarbera: If you want to just think of how wrong homosexual so-called marriage is just ask yourself: how do two guys consummate their marriage? Yuck.

Mefferd: I’m sure they don’t like that question, Peter.

LaBarbera: Yes, they don’t like it and it’s because it’s absurd. The whole concept is absurd. It’s not marriage. You know one angle that I’m going to be writing about Janet is if you’ve got homosexual so-called marriage legalized you’re going to end up teaching gay sex-ed, there is no way around it.



LaBarbera: I believe it was on NPR in Boston after homosexual so-called marriage was legalized there, or forced by the courts, one I believe it was a teacher who said she was emboldened to talk more frankly about homosexuality in the schools in Massachusetts. Think about it, if a teacher is so-called married, say a guy, a male teacher is married to another man, so-called because of course it’s not really marriage, he gets to talk about that marriage in the classroom just as a normal heterosexual married person could talk about — you know a man could talk about his wife.

Michael Keegan Discusses the GOP’s Reality Problem

Last night, People For the American Way president Michael Keegan joined Rev. Al Sharpton and David Brock of Media Matters to discuss Bill O’Reilly’s most recent delusional outburst and the GOP’s reality problem. Watch:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

PFAW

MassResistance: LGBT-Rights Celebration Brought 'Spiritual Darkness' to Massachusetts State House

Last month, MassResistance head Brian Camenker claimed that teachers in LGBT-inclusive schools in Massachusetts will be just like “Nazi concentration camp guards” following the passage of a transgender anti-discrimination law. MassResistance attended a celebration of the transgender equality law and issued a report titled “The State House event from hell.” The group said that the event’s “spiritual darkness took a long time to get over” as “hatred and evil resonated throughout the room,” and went on to warn that the LGBT rights movement is targeting children for recruitment.

Hatred and evil resonated throughout the room

It was their "victory dance" and they wanted to make a point that there's a lot more to come. The room was filled with hardcore transgender and homosexual activists.

Of all the "gay" events at the State House over the years, this was the worst. The sheer hatred in the room against pro-family people was so thick you could feel it, and it seemed to resonate through every speech. The spiritual darkness took a long time to get over. It was reminiscent of the horrible cheering and screaming scene by homosexual activists outside Boston City Hall in 2004 when the first "gay marriages" took place.



The event began with several high-profile speakers, including the Governor, Attorney General, and Speaker of the House, and other politicians, followed by leaders and major figures from various state homosexual and transgender organizations.

The speakers were all very candid about their hostility for pro-family values and their plans to push the homosexual and transgender demands as far as they can. The speeches certainly fired up the activists. But to anyone else, it was eerie and unnerving.



• Children. A big target of this movement is children. They want to "help" children to find their identities.

• Demonizing our side. The people who did not agree with this bill are bigoted and backwards. Or, as Attorney General Martha Coakley "gracefully" put it: "nearsighted."

• Ruthlessness. They are going to be ruthless in enforcing it.

• More to come. This is just the beginning. They intend to use the law to its fullest, and expand it as much as they can. At a minimum, they intend to push through the "public accommodations" sections this session.

• Change America. They now have the power they need to change society, starting here but eventually across America.



As you can see, they are not stopping here. The radical activists have more plans are for you, your children, and all of society. And the high government officials who have contempt and hostility for people with traditional pro-family values are only too eager to carry them out. And they're relishing the fact that they have the power to do it as harshly as they wish.

Fischer: Just Like Judas, Liberals and Obama Don't Care About the Poor

As he normally does, Bryan Fischer began his program today with a reading and discussion from the Bible; in this case the story of Jesus being anointed at Bethany in Matthew 26:

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Even though the passage says "the disciples" were indignant, Fischer asserted that is was really only Judas who was upset because he was greedy and didn't care about the poor ... just like President Obama and liberals today:

Schlafly: 'We Need to Train the Men' to 'Stand Up to the Feminists'

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly spoke earlier this week to Sandy Rios of the American Family Association about the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which Schlafly called a “terrible” law that “would have been an excellent place to cut” spending. She lamented that “Republicans are just scared by the feminists” when “they ought to stand up and show how really vicious they are.”

Schlafly: It’s a terrible bill. At this time when we’re talking about the sequester and trying to cut here and there, that would have been an excellent place to cut.

Rios: You know I’m sure that you’ve heard Phyllis that Eric Cantor, it’s been reported by conservative Republican aides that in a private meeting he threatened conservatives that there would be civil war if they didn’t allow this to be brought out on the floor for a vote. They are so concerned that the press and the country is going to think they don’t like women because they’ve been so burned through the last campaign. If they had listened to you what would you have said to them about that?

Schlafly: Well the Violence Against Women Act was a payoff to the feminists for endorsing Bill Clinton and the Republicans are just scared by the feminists, which is very unfortunate, they ought to stand up and show how really vicious they are.

At the end of the interview, she told Rios that “we need to train the men” how to fight feminists: “It isn’t natural for men to fight women and it’s just very hard for the men to stand up to the feminists” and their “many nutty ideas.”

Schlafly: We need to train the men. It isn’t natural for men to fight women and it’s just very hard for the men to stand up to the feminists. But the feminists control the Obama administration and they have so many nutty ideas. They’ve been trying to tell us that there really isn’t any difference between the genders, they are interchangeable, but then when it comes to the matter of domestic violence they enforce all these stereotypes and it’s just so wrong.

Cliff Kincaid Wants CPAC to Investigate Why Gays 'Seem Prone to Violence, Terror and Treason'

Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media is quite pleased with CPAC’s decision to ban the gay Republican group GOProud, and even thinks that “CPAC should be sponsoring a panel on the dangers of the homosexual movement and why some of its members seem prone to violence, terror, and treason.”

He warns that “there is a homosexual movement that has its roots in Marxism and is characterized by anti-Americanism and hatred of Christian values,” citing Bradley Manning and Floyd Corkins as “two of this movement’s members.” Kincaid goes on to write that homosexuality will lead to communism and the downfall of civilization, arguing that “this monster wants to impose itself on our children in the schools and even the Boy Scouts of America.”

Unsurprisingly, AIM will be giving an award to Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft at CPAC this year.

The term “gay conservative” is being used by some news outlets in connection with the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and whether certain homosexual groups should be invited to appear. There is no such thing as a “gay conservative,” unless the term “conservative” has lost all meaning. But there is a homosexual movement that has its roots in Marxism and is characterized by anti-Americanism and hatred of Christian values.

Two of this movement’s members, Bradley Manning and Floyd Corkins, have recently been in the news. Manning betrayed his country in the WikiLeaks scandal, while Corkins has pleaded guilty to trying to kill conservative officials of the Christian Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Rather than debate whether “gay conservatives” exist or ought to have prominent speaking roles, CPAC should be sponsoring a panel on the dangers of the homosexual movement and why some of its members seem prone to violence, terror, and treason.

Since I started out in Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) in high school, I know something about the conservative movement. It seems clear that the homosexuals are trying to make inroads in the Republican Party through the conservative movement. No one can seriously dispute this. That is partly what the CPAC controversy is all about.

But the fate of a political party is not only what is in jeopardy.

Historian Paul Johnson knows something about why nations fail, and he says one reason is the acceptance of homosexuality.

Johnson’s book, The Quest for God, laments that Western society made a huge mistake by decriminalizing homosexuality and thinking that acceptance of the lifestyle on a basic level would satisfy its practitioners. He wrote, “Decriminalization made it possible for homosexuals to organize openly into a powerful lobby, and it thus became a mere platform from which further demands were launched.” It became, he says, a “monster in our midst, powerful and clamoring, flexing its muscles, threatening, vengeful and vindictive towards anyone who challenges its outrageous claims, and bent on making fundamental—and to most of us horrifying—changes to civilized patterns of sexual behavior.”

Today, this monster wants to impose itself on our children in the schools and even the Boy Scouts of America.



In his report, “The Marxist Roots of ‘Gay Liberation,’” well-known conservative commentator Robert Knight explains what motivated Marx and his followers: “Families and the moral order stand firmly in the way of any socialist revolution. Families and religion inculcate independence and a strong set of values and personal responsibility.”

Marx’s partner Frederick Engels wrote The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, which argued in substantial detail for the abolition of the family. The family was always viewed by the communists as a target because it was a bulwark against state control of the individual and society.

What better way to destroy the family than to undermine the relationship between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, and eliminate the need for children to have mothers and fathers?

Here, again, the homosexuals deliberately pervert the language, so that two women or two men have now become shacked-up “partners” or even “husband and wife” in “civil unions” or even “marriages.”

Hay’s contribution to communism in America was developing the idea that homosexuals, like the “workers” under capitalism, were being oppressed and had to assert their “rights.”

The donation of gay blood to the nation’s blood supply, despite the health risks, is the next “right” that the male homosexuals now are demanding the government grant to them.

Right-Wing Voucher Push Undermines Public Education & Constitution

Religious Right leaders and anti-government ideologues have shared a decades-long dream: to dismantle public education through a system of vouchers that would divert taxpayer funds out of public schools and into religious schools and other private academies.  For some, privatizing education is primarily a religious or ideological project. For others, the billions of dollars that flow through public schools is a tempting source of cash. For some it’s both.  Whatever the incentive, voucher proponents are finding success.  A renewed push for the creation and expansion of voucher and voucher-like schemes is contributing to a disturbing rise in public education dollars being diverted to schools that face little to no oversight or public accountability and teach religious dogma at the expense of science.

Most recently, on February 28, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Douglas County’s voucher program – labeled a “Choice Scholarship Program” in accord with the messaging tactics of Republican spinmeister Frank Luntz – does not violate the state Constitution’s explicit prohibitions against public funding for religious education, even though 18 of the county’s 23 “private partner” schools are religious.  As reported by the Associated Press, dissenting Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Steve Bernard wrote, "In my view,[the Colorado Constitution] prohibits public school districts from channeling public money to private religious schools. I think that the Choice Scholarship Program is a pipeline that violates this direct and clear constitutional command." 

The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State say they will appeal to the state Supreme Court.  Heather L. Weaver, staff attorney for the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief said “Public education funds should be used to help improve our public schools, not to promote religion in violation of the state constitution.”  Unfortunately, the Colorado case is not the first in which courts have been willing to go along with voucher plans.  In 2011, in a 5-4 ruling, the conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority allowed an Arizona tax-credit / voucher program to stand while weakening the ability of citizens to challenge programs that divert public funds for religious purposes.

State legislators and their corporate backers in the American Legislative Exchange Council have pushed similar voucher-like tax breaks in other states, often employing the language of “choice” and “options” to divert public attention from the intent and effect of these schemes.  After conservative victories in state elections in 2010, governors and legislators in many states, including Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Florida, pushed to create or expand programs that divert public education dollars into religious schools and other private academies.

Among the most aggressive is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is basically pushing an effort to privatize public education in his state.  He has instituted a massive voucher program grounded in the “model legislation” pushed by ALEC, which honored Jindal in 2011 with its Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award.  Think Progress notes that Jindal’s plan will divert huge sums from public schools:  “Since the public schools will lose commensurate funding every time one of their students opt for a voucher, the state’s public school system could by some estimates lose up to $3.3 billion annually once the program is fully implemented. “

Ed Kilgore noted last summer in Washington Monthly:

In heading his state in the direction of universally available vouchers rationalized by public school failure, Jindal is not, of course, holding any of the private school beneficiaries accountable for results, or for common curricula, or, it appears, for much of anything. A big chunk of the money already out there is being snapped up by conservative evangelical schools with exotic and hardly public-minded curricular offerings, with the theory being that any public oversight would interfere with the accountability provided by “the market.” So if you want your kid to attend, at public expense, the Christian Nationalist Academy for Servant-Leader Boys & Fecund Submissive Girls, that’s okay by Bobby.

Lack of accountability is a real concern.  While proponents of voucher programs paint a picture of a poor student being given a chance to attend an elite private academy, most of those schools have few openings, meaning that the “choice” offered to many students and parents is something far different, including fly-by-night schools with little track record of their own.  According to the Louisiana Budget Project,

Louisiana requires almost no accountability from voucher schools....While voucher students are required to take the same assessment tests as public school students, there are no penalties for private schools if they fail to measure up to their public counterparts. In fact, Gov. Jindal vetoed language in a 2011 appropriations bill that would have removed participating schools if their students’ scores lagged those in the lowest performing schools in the Recovery School District, which incorporates most New Orleans public schools.

So if public schools have lousy test scores, they're failures and their students all get vouchers. But if the private schools have lousy test scores, then....nothing. Presumably the magic of the free market will fix them up.

In June 2011, an investigation by Miami New Times found a breathtaking lack of oversight and accountability in Florida’s voucher program for disabled students, likening it to “a perverse science experiment, using disabled school kids as lab rats.”

In addition to defunding public schools at the expense of unaccountable private schools, voucher programs end up using tax dollars to promote sectarian religious education and proselytizing. 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops describes Catholic schools as central to the church’s “New Evangelization.”   And in Louisiana and elsewhere, tax dollars are being used to support schools that teach young-earth creationism, revisionist U.S. history published by fundamentalist Bob Jones University, and other religious dogma applied to civics, politics, and literature. 

The Agenda Behind the Voucher Agenda

During “National School Choice Week,” which ran from January 27 to February 3, the Heritage Foundation published a special report, “Choosing to Succeed,” which included a call for abandoning the “myth” and “relic” of the common school.  In January, Americans for Prosperity published a report blaming the federal government for the failure of education reform and promoting vouchers and voucher-like tax schemes, such as Pennsylvania’s “Education Improvement Tax Credit.” 

On February 5, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gave a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where he argued that education funds should follow students whether they “choose” public, private, or charter schools. He asserted, “One of our priorities this year will be to move heaven and earth to fix our education system for the most vulnerable.”  It is important to understand that targeted voucher programs that allow students from poor families, children with disabilities or students in underperforming schools to attend private schools that will accept them are not the ultimate goal of school privatizers. They are a tactical means to a much larger strategic end, which is the end of public education altogether, as pushed by David Koch in his run for the White House in 1980. As Milton Friedman, intellectual godfather of the movement, said “Vouchers are not an end in themselves; they are a means to make a transition from a government to a free-market system.”

In a May 2011 article, researcher Rachel Tabachnik reviewed the history and financing of the school privatization movement. Its financial backers have been pouring millions of dollars into state politics for the past decade in order to build legislatures more to their liking.  Right-wing donors such as Betsy DeVos and the Walton Foundation funnel money through groups with media-friendly names like All Children Matter, its successor the American Federation for Children, and AFC-affiliated state-level political action committees like Students First, which raised more than $6 million for the 2010 election cycle in Pennsylvania.

“Like most other conservatives and libertarians, we see vouchers as a major step toward the complete privatization of schooling,” wrote Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast in 1997. “In fact, after careful study, we have come to the conclusion that they are the only way to dismantle the current socialist regime.” Heartland has received significant funding from right-wing foundations over the years, including the Charles Koch Foundation.

Another major ideological target is public employee unions, and teachers unions in particular.  A 2011 New York Times story about FreedomWorks’ lobbying for a Pennsylvania voucher program noted, “FreedomWorks is pushing anti-union legislation in several states, and saw the school choice legislation as part of that larger battle.”

School vouchers are just one part of the immensely complicated arena of education policy.  A wide array of strategies and policy proposals is often confusingly lumped together under the banner of “education reform” or “school choice,” terms that can encompass everything from curricula, student testing and teacher evaluation, charter and cyber-charter schools and more.  Some strategies may identify effective reforms that can be replicated and used to strengthen public schools and improve educational opportunity.  Others, like vouchers, are designed to weaken or dismantle public education altogether.

As parents, educators, and activists evaluate various education reform proposals, it is worth keeping in mind the question posed  by Stan Karp, in the Spring 2011 edition of Rethinking Schools, when he said that what is ultimately at stake in the school reform debate is “whether the right to a free public education for all children is going to survive as a fundamental democratic promise in our society, and whether the schools and districts needed to provide it are going to survive as public institutions, collectively owned and democratically managed – however imperfectly – by all of us as citizens. Or will they be privatized and commercialized by the corporate interests that increasingly dominate all aspects of our society?”

Note: this is the first in a series of posts about right-wing efforts to undermine public education, often in the name of education reform.

See also: Predatory Privatization, a 2012 Right Wing Watch In Focus report; and  Voucher Veneer: The Deeper Agenda to Privatize Public Education, a 2003 report from People For the American Way Foundation.

 

 

Talk to the Hand: Glenn Beck Explains Extremism

Last night, Glenn Beck kicked off his television program with a long monologue about the rise of extremism in America.  Of course, Beck insisted that he and his viewers are not the extremists but rather everyone else who doesn't see how President Obama is trying to take away their guns, provoke civil unrest, and destroy America. 

Eventually, Beck offered up a simple way of identifying extremists by using his own body, saying that the core - consisting of the "God-given helmet" of your head and the "God-given vest" of your chest - is what keeps you alive, which is why your body shuts down blood flow to your fingers and toes in times of emergency.

In the case of America, Beck explained, the Constitution is the core and people like Eric Holder, Cass Sunstein, Barack Obama, John Holdren, and Van Jones are the "extremities" that need to be cut off.

"I warn you, man," he said, "hunker down because there is a storm coming and you've got to protect the core because the extremities are beginning to make a fist and they're already beginning to throw blows":

Erik Rush: Obama and Allies 'Merit Being Removed by Force of Arms'

WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush is out with another unhinged rant, this time arguing that new gun control legislation in Colorado is a “precursor” to the rise of civil unrest and an American version of the Gestapo. Rush maintains that the government seeks to pass new gun laws in order to deliberately spark a violent response, which will justify the use of Gestapo-like tactics and the criminalization of gun ownership.

He contends that Obama administration officials want to confiscate guns because “they know that they are already guilty of prosecutable crimes and are planning many more” and “already merit being removed by force of arms. They simply want to disarm Americans before a preponderance of us come to that realization and respond accordingly.”

The Democrat members of the Colorado legislature have shown themselves to be enemies of the Constitution of the United States of America and the people of the state of Colorado. What occurred in Colorado on that day was nothing short of a disgusting outrage and a chilling precursor of things to come.



It is no secret among conservatives that for the last several years, Colorado has been a chief target of one high-profile progressive billionaire and former Nazi collaborator (George Soros) through his various radical astroturf political organizations. With this aid, and through the aforementioned methods, the White House effectively subverted Colorado’s legislative processes and is ruling by proxy, while maintaining the illusion of legitimate due process.

What concerns me most about the developments in Colorado and other states vis-à-vis firearms laws is that this progression has brought us that much closer to law-enforcement officials showing up at citizens’ homes and demanding their guns. Raised in the same environment as the rest of us, many peace officers won’t realize that they are operating well outside of the law.

And that’s when things will have the potential to get really ugly.

On Jan. 6, 2013, Nathan Haddad, a former Army staff sergeant and decorated combat veteran, was selling some gun magazines when he was arrested for violating a new New York state law prohibiting possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Haddad was charged with five felonies.

The officers who arrested Haddad, and those prosecuting him have shown themselves to be enemies of the Constitution and the people of the United States of America. Officials who enforce immoral laws are no better than Hitler’s Gestapo. Where, pray tell, do they plan to draw the line at what unlawful decrees they will and will not uphold?

Very soon, we are likely to hear of an individual who, upon being contacted by law enforcement, winds up in a firefight with them over their enforcement of newly implemented gun-control measures. Law-enforcement officers may be wounded or killed, as might our citizen. If arrested, he or she will be a political prisoner. This will be the final nail in the coffin for legal firearms ownership in America, as the government and the press will capitalize upon this event (and perhaps similar others) to prove once and for all that all gun owners are potential psycho cop killers.

Why does the government (and the Obama administration in particular) want Americans’ firearms? Because they know that they are already guilty of prosecutable crimes and are planning many more. They know that they represent precisely why America’s founders put the Second Amendment in the Constitution in the first place, and that they already merit being removed by force of arms. They simply want to disarm Americans before a preponderance of us come to that realization and respond accordingly.

Geller: CPAC Is 'Enforcing the Sharia'

Incensed that she was not invited back to CPAC, the annual gathering of conservative activists, Pamela Geller took to The Janet Mefferd Show to once again claim that she is a victim of Sharia law. She accused CPAC of “enforcing the Sharia” and “blasphemy laws” as a result of “the influence of what can only be described as Muslim Brotherhood facilitators or operatives like Suhail Khan and Grover Norquist.”

Mefferd: What did CPAC do to you? What happened?

Geller: As you know I’ve always held events there even though I wasn’t warmly welcomed because of the influence of what can only be described as Muslim Brotherhood facilitators or operatives like Suhail Khan and Grover Norquist. But I would hold events at a conference of close to 12,000 conservative activists that are coming for their marching orders, that are coming for information and there’s never anything on jihad or the Sharia. You know I brought Geert Wilders to CPAC, by the way 600 people and I turned away a couple of hundred, every one of our events is always standing room only. This year I could not get an event, I was banned.



Geller: But you see this is going on a long time, it took five years for the people to know but I think at this point people need to know just how deeply we have been infiltrated. What are they doing at CPAC? Essentially they are enforcing the Sharia. Under the Sharia, the blasphemy laws, you cannot say, you cannot offend, you cannot criticize and you cannot insult Islam. That is effectively what they’re doing, they are enforcing the Sharia.

Fischer: Obama Is a Tyrant Who Would Launch Drone Strikes Against the Tea Party

Yesterday, as Sen. Rand Paul was conducting a filibuster over the Obama administration's assertion that there could possibly be hypothetical "extraordinary circumstance" under which it would be necessary for the President to authorize the use of military force or drone strike against US citizens within the United States, Bryan Fischer dedicated a segment of his program to praising Paul for his stance.

In Fischer's view, Paul's filibuster was important because President Obama is a tyrant who does not want to allow anyone who disagrees with him to express their views and so, "based on the way the administration is crafting their policy here about the use of drones, you've got to be concerned that something you might say at a Tea Party would be used as an excuse" to launched a drone strike against your house:

Glenn Beck Is Under Attack From the Forces of Darkness

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck declared that we have witnessed "the death knell of the American Constitution" because Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Sen. Rand Paul saying that there could possibly be hypothetical "extraordinary circumstance" under which it would be necessary for the President to authorize the use of military force within the United States, perhaps to stop attacks like Pearl Harbor or 9/11.

That somehow morphed into a revelation by Beck that he and his inner circle have recently come under spiritual and physical attack by the forces of darkness, which made him realize that "we're not fighting man" and "that something is on the horizon." 

"We are headed for a great depression," he went on to declare, "and we are headed for civil unrest, and we are headed for things that you never thought was possible in your country."

"Remember the Japanese internment," he continued, because "progressives and collective thinking always - hear me - always goes wrong":

CWA: Violence Against Women Act Is Part of the War on Women

It was only last year that Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance criticized the term “war on women” as “phony, focus-grouped rhetoric” geared to “raise money and hackles” among Democrats. She predicted that women would turn on Obama and wouldn't vote on issues such as abortion rights or birth control access (unless they are anti-choice). Of course, exit polls showed that Obama carried women voters over Romney 55-44% and that 59% of voters said abortion should be legal either in all or most cases.

So it should come as no surprise that Nance is now using the “war” rhetoric in her latest Washington Times op-ed: “When high-sounding legislation becomes a war against women.” That’s right, she now believes that there is in fact a war on women, but that it comes from supporters of the Violence Against Women Act.

She claims that VAWA “hurts sex-trafficking victims,” even though 93 Senators voted for Sen. Patrick Leahy’s amendment focused on combating the trafficking of women and girls.

The Violence Against Women Act headed to the president’s desk lulls Americans into believing that actual violence was addressed Thursday when, in reality, Congress pushed through a bad bill that hurts sex-trafficking victims, seeks to legalize prostitution for minors and fails to protect the consciences of organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that oppose abortion but want to protect trafficking victims.
Within the Senate version of the act is an amendment by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, that decimates the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors, and assaults the conscience protections of groups that have a history of hands-on help for these victims.

The Violence Against Women Act also promotes the decriminalization of prostitution of minors for states, which is also dangerous for trafficking victims. Decriminalization provides a perfect opportunity for pimps, traffickers and gangs to exploit minors in the sex industry by telling the minors that it is not illegal and that they will not get arrested. In Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, child prostitution increased after prostitution was legalized. Why would the outcome be any different here if states decriminalize prostitution for minors? Section 1243 seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors:
It prohibits the charging of a minor for a prostitution offense. This removes all judicial discretion from the process.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that there were only 895 arrests of minors for prostitution in 2010. In 2011, the number of arrests dropped to 763. Over the past seven years, arrests of minors for prostitution have averaged 1,067 annually.
Decriminalization provides a great recruiting tool for gangs, pimps and traffickers, who can say, “Don’t worry; it’s not illegal.”

The lesson Congress has learned from the “war on women” apparently is that as long as the title of the legislation sounds good, you must vote for it — even if it is bad policy.
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