November 2009

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress: Pastor Rick Warren Refuses To Condemn Ugandan Law Making Homosexual Acts Punishable By Death.
  • Hanna Rosin: Did Christianity Cause the Crash?
  • Mother Jones: Palin's Latest Error. Also, why is Palin seemingly incapable of finishing anything she starts?
  • Queerty: Why Is Chase Bank Willing to Give NOM Some Of Its $5 Million Charity Prize?
  • David Weigel: Randall Terry Capitalizes on Tea Party Movement.
  • Jamison Foser: The other right-wing media mogul you should worry about.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Over 150,000 people have reportedly signed on to the Manhattan Declaration in the first week.
  • Right-wing groups played a big role in the losing fight against gambling in Ohio.
  • Catholic bishops are just like Martin Luther King.
  • This is not the sort of thing you'd expect from someone who worked for Ralph Reed.
  • Anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller says that Rifqa Bary is under "house arrest" and that "Ohio is effectively practicing Sharia law."
  • Finally, a game that is fun for the entire right-wing family: "OBOZO’S AMERICA: Why Bother Working for a Living? is a fun fantasy board game based on the preposterous notion that a Marxist clown, running on the vague and shaky platform of hope and change, could become President of The United States."

Alleging Discrimination In Order to Keep Perpetrating Discrimination

The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act is intended to "provide the same family benefits to lesbian and gay federal civilian employees as are already provided to employees with different-sex spouses."

So of course the Religious Right doesn't like it because a) it undermines "traditional marriage," b) it costs money, and c) it discriminates against straight couples who aren't married:

Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land criticized the proposal both before and after the committee's vote.

"Most Southern Baptists believe that the only relationship that should be defined by its sexual nature and should have special benefits accrued to it is heterosexual marriage," said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Nov. 25. "Thus, we oppose granting domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples, as well as heterosexual couples who are living together outside of marriage. This bill discriminates against heterosexual couples living together outside of wedlock in that it only grants domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples. We have made it clear we are opposed to both."

Of course, straight couples could always get married in order to receive benefits, which is something that gay couples obviously cannot do or else this legislation would be entirely unnecessary.  But never ones to miss an opportunity to scream "discrimination," the Right is opposing the bill because it would supposedly discriminate against straight couples. 

And if the bill did cover straight couples ... well, then they would have opposed that too because that would just encourage people not to get married, thus further undermining the institution of marriage.

And for good measure, opponents are claiming that the definition of "domestic partner" is too vague:

The measure's vagueness is a problem on a number of fronts, Republicans charged. For instance, [Rep. Darrell] Issa said, "Nearly any two individuals of the same sex could qualify as 'domestic partners' under the bill as long as they are not direct relatives, meaning not family in the conventional sense."

True, provided that "any two individuals" were willing to declare under penalty of law that they"share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’s common welfare and financial obligations" and intend to remain together indefinitely:

(b) Certification of Eligibility- In order to obtain benefits and assume obligations under this Act, an employee shall file an affidavit of eligibility for benefits and obligations with the Office of Personnel Management identifying the domestic partner of the employee and certifying that the employee and the domestic partner of the employee--

(1) are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely;

(2) have a common residence, and intend to continue the arrangement;

(3) are at least 18 years of age and mentally competent to consent to contract;

(4) share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’s common welfare and financial obligations;

(5) are not married to or domestic partners with anyone else;

(6) are same sex domestic partners, and not related in a way that, if the two were of opposite sex, would prohibit legal marriage in the State in which they reside; and

(7) understand that willful falsification of information within the affidavit may lead to disciplinary action and the recovery of the cost of benefits received related to such falsification and may constitute a criminal violation.

Sen. Sessions' Newfound Love For the Filibuster

Back in 2005, when the Gang of 14 came together to thwart the Senate Republican majority's efforts to end the use of the filibuster against President Bush's judicial nominees, Sen. Jeff Sessions could barely hide his disappointment that he and his Republican colleagues did not get the chance to deploy the "nuclear option":

I am disappointed that this agreement did not provide the other nominees the right to a vote. I was prepared to support the Constitutional option, because these systematic filibusters amounted to an affront to the Constitution and could not be allowed to stand. I hope that all nominees will now receive fair treatment in this body and that the character assassinations and filibusters will disappear.

But now times have changed and Sessions is writing op-eds in the Washington Post saying that for Republicans not to filibuster President Obama's nominees would amount to "unilateral disarmament":

To be clear, I believe that the president is entitled to a reasonable degree of deference on his judicial nominations. I supported more than 90 percent of President Bill Clinton's judicial nominees, and I hope I am able to do the same for President Obama, even if they would not be my top choices.

But I take seriously the Senate's constitutionally mandated role to "advise and consent," and I am obligated to oppose nominees who have demonstrated either an unwillingness to subordinate themselves to the Constitution or a desire to advance a political, social or economic agenda from the bench.

This year, a number of my colleagues and I have voted against just three judicial nominees, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Only in the case of Judge Hamilton have we raised a procedural objection to Majority Leader Harry Reid's desire to proceed to a vote.

For Republicans to ignore the changed rules would be to acquiesce in a system where 60 votes are needed to confirm judges nominated by Republicans, but only 51 are required to confirm judges nominated by Democrats. To allow such a double standard would be akin to unilateral disarmament.

So Sessions hated the filibuster when it was being used against President Bush's nominees and wanted to get rid of it entirely, but was unable to do so due to an agreement among a handful of Senators, and now he is that it would be irresponsible for him not to launch filibusters against President Obama's nominees, despite saying just a few years back that he hoped that "filibusters will disappear"?

And for the record, Sessions' claim that he's "voted against just three" of Obama's judicial nominees means that he's voted against fully 30% of Obama nominees ... that would be akin a Democratic  senator having voted against nearly 100 [PDF] of President Bush's judicial nominees.

Liberty Counsel Throws Temper Tantrum Over Atheist Ad Campaign

Last week, the American Humanist Association announced that it would be running a new advertising campaign:

Celebrating a new kind of holiday tradition, the American Humanist Association has launched a new advertising campaign similar to the one that ran in the nation's capital last year, which made headlines around the globe. Only this year, instead of the campaign focusing on a single location, ads will be blazoned across transit systems in five cities--including Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco--marking the first-ever nation-wide humanist holiday advertising campaign.

"No God?...No Problem!" proclaim the ads, featuring an image of several smiling, Santa hat-clad individuals. The ads will kick off in Washington, D.C. in time for Thanksgiving weekend, running inside 200 buses, fifty rail cars and on the side or tail of twenty buses. The campaign will continue with ads appearing on select buses in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco starting in early December.

Not surprisingly, Liberty Counsel doesn't like it, calling the campaign insulting:

The American Humanist Association is waging war against Christmas, but their temper tantrum is doomed to failure. An overwhelming percentage of people in America believe in God and celebrate Christmas. Rather than advance its "Godless" agenda, the American Humanist Association has shown just how far out of step it is with reality.

...

Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, remarked: "It is the ultimate 'grinch' to suggest there is no God during a holiday where millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is insensitive and mean. It is wrong to belittle Jews for celebrating Hanukkah during the holiday season, and it is wrong to offend all religions during Christmas. Christmas is a time of joy and hope, not a time for hate. Why believe in God? – Because Santa is not the only one coming to town."

So Liberty Counsel accuses the American Humanist Campaign of throwing a "temper tantrum" by placing ads ... while they are threatening to sue anyone who doesn't say "Merry Christmas":

Liberty Counsel's Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign is entering its seventh year. The campaign is designed to educate and, if necessary, to litigate to make sure that the Christian aspect of Christmas is not censored.

On a related note, LC issued its annual "Naughty or Nice" list [PDF] and you'll notice that it's list of "nice" companies is twice as long as its list of "naughty" ones - not exactly overwhelming proof that there is a liberal conspiracy afoot to destroy Christmas, now is it? 

The LaHaye-Bachmann Mutual Admiration Society

According to this profile of Concerned Women for America founder Beverly LaHaye, we have her to thank for motiviating Michele Bachmann to become involved in politics and eventually run for Congress ... and LaHaye is overjoyed that God is using Bachmann to do his work in America:

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, R- Minn., an emerging leader in the conservative movement, attributes much of her background knowledge to materials provided by LaHaye and CWA.

Bachmann said she first heard of CWA in its infancy when, as a new bride, she received a cassette tape featuring LaHaye’s views on the feminist movement and other social issues of that era.

“I was highly motivated by what I heard Mrs. LaHaye say,” the Republican offered before casting a vote at the U.S. Capitol. “Something got ahold of me about the course of where our country was heading.”

In 1998, while caring for some of their 27 foster children, Bachmann said she became more involved in the process by addressing concerns she had with public schools and with the “political correctness” movement that threatened her values, attitudes and beliefs.

In 2000 she was elected to the Minnesota state senate until six years later when voters sent her on to Washington as a U.S. Congresswoman. Bachmann said she found LaHaye to be an authoritative and credible voice to listen to, primarily because of LaHaye’s commitment to research, skills she is finding useful as she now represents her own constituents.

“She (LaHaye) doesn’t see herself as extraordinary, but we see her as an extraordinary woman of God who has completely abandoned herself to the will of God,” the congresswoman said. “I consider myself extremely fortunate to be her friend and to have benefited from the sacrifices she made early on in this effort. And she did sacrifice by holding on to what works, what matters and what’s right for our society.”

LaHaye is equally enamored with Bachmann and her pro-family tenacity.

“I thought, ‘Praise God,’” the CWA founder said. “This young woman had a lot of capabilities. She was a farm wife, a lawyer, she’s now a congresswoman, and she is standing up for our values in Washington D.C. I’m so proud of her, and there are others, too, who just come to the top. God is using them in a mighty way. These are the women that I think of when the Bible talks about ministers of God. These women are truly ministers of God.”

I wonder what it was that LaHaye said that so moved Bachmann to action?  Maybe this:

"Christian values should dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office."

The End of Huckabee's Presidential Aspirations?

Over the weekend, Mike Huckabee suggested that he wasn't particularly interested in running for president in 2012, saying that even though he is leading in several polls, he really likes his job at Fox News:

WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, I want to show you a couple of polls that I suspect you already know about, but let’s put them up on the screen.

Seventy percent of Iowa Republicans view you favorably. That is more than any of the other mentioned likely presidential possibilities for 2012. And a national poll of Republicans last month had you in first place -- national poll -- ahead of Romney, and Palin and Gingrich.

So, Governor Huckabee, why wouldn’t you run for president in 2012?

HUCKABEE: Well, there’s obviously a lot of smart people in Iowa and the rest of the country. Let me acknowledge that. But the reason I wouldn’t is because this Fox gig I’ve got right now, Chris, is really, really wonderful.

And you know, it’s easy to say, “Oh, gee, don’t you just want to jump back in it?” But jumping into the pool -- you’ve got to make sure there’s some water in it. And there’s a whole different deal of saying some folks take a poll and whether there’s the financial support.

Howard [Dean] and I have both been there, done that. It’s a wonderful experience. But I am nowhere near ready to say that that’s what I want to do three years from now.

WALLACE: So let me ask you a silly question three years out. What do you -- would you say at this moment are the chances that you will run, 50/50, better, worse, what?

HUCKABEE: It’s hard to say. A lot of it depends on how the elections turn out next year and whether Roger Ailes continues to like my show on the weekends. And if all those things factor in, you know, it’s less likely than more likely, just because I would have to see that the Republicans would be willing to unite behind me.

The last time out, my biggest challenge was with the establishment Republicans who just never showed their support. And while I think a person can possibly win without them, the Republican Party needs to unite if it’s going to win in 2012. And anyone who thinks Barack Obama is an easy mark off, just remember Bill Clinton was just labeled politically dead and came back to win a resounding re-election in 1996.

Given the other tragic event over the weekend, it looks like Huckabee's decision about whether or not to make another run in 2012 might have been made for him:

The man whom police are seeking as a "person of interest" in the slaying of four police officers was released from an Arkansas prison nine years ago after a controversial decision by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee to commute his sentence.

Maurice Clemmons, 37, was identified late Sunday by the Pierce County Sheriff's Office as a man sought for questioning . Clemmons has pending charges in Pierce County Superior Court for second-degree child rape and third-degree assault for an attack on a police officer. He was released from custody in those cases after posting a $150,000 bond, according to the Lakewood Police Department.

Long before coming to Washington, Clemmons was serving a 35-year prison term in Arkansas for armed robbery but his sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Huckabee, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in his 2008 presidential bid, according to the Arkansas Times Web site.

After his release, he committed two armed robberies and other crimes and was sentenced to 10 years, but was later paroled, according to this column in the Arkansas Leader.

HuckPAC has released this statement, saying that if Clemmons is responsible for this crime, laying that fault of the "criminal justice system": 

The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and in Washington State. The murder of any individual is a profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within.

Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state. This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Liberty Counsel apparently has nothing better to do than file complaints with the FCC about Adam Lambert's performance during the 2009 American Music Awards.
  • Randall Terry is now targeting LeRoy Carhart.
  • The Chambersburg Borough Council [PA] has decided that the nativity scene placed in the town's Memorial Square fountain area must be taken down rather than allow an atheist group equal access.
  • The American Family Association declares victory in its "war on Christmas" battle with The Gap.
  • Finally, Lou Dobbs is suddenly Latinos' "greatest friend."  Who knew?

Putting WND's "Pink Slip" Effort Into Perspective

For the last several week, Janet Porter and Joseph Farah have been urging activists to spend $30 to send members of Congress a "pink slip" warning them that if they vote to support "government health care, cap and trade, 'hate crimes,' or any more spending" they'll be voted out of office in their next election.

They've recently been highlighting their "success" in all sorts of ways ... some more realistic than others:

If you stacked the 7.8 million pink slips Congress has received warning members away from support of the health-care bill, big spending, hate-crimes legislation and energy taxes, the pile would tower over the tallest buildings in the world.

Laying them end to end would result in a trail that would stretch across two-thirds of the United States from East to West.

And there's no sign the "Send Congress a Pink Slip" campaign is tailing off after two months.

In fact, says Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who organized the campaign with WND columnist Janet Porter, it seems to be picking up since a half-dozen members of Congress held a press conference last week to announce their support of the effort – an event that was covered widely by television and print reporters.

Farah said over the weekend the total of pink slips sent to Congress has reached 7.8 million.

Now, 7.8 million pink slips sounds like a lot, but remember that one order through WND sends 535 individual pink slips to Congress.

As such, the 7.8 million individual pink slips represent less than 15,000 individual people.

15,000 people is not insignificant ... but it certainly isn't enough to toss too many members out of Congress for ignoring the campaign's demands.