Mitt Romney

Another Romney Abortion Flip-Flop: No Exceptions for Health of the Mother

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Mitt Romney said he disagreed with his own party’s support for criminalizing abortion without exceptions: “My position has been clear throughout this campaign; I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

Of course, Romney’s position on the legality of abortion has been anything but clear. Now his campaign denies that he supports allowing abortion when a woman’s health is in jeopardy, as he told reporter Scott Pelley. Instead, they say he only supports allowing abortion when a woman would die without one.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-choice group, in an interview with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association insisted that the Romney campaign told her that Romney does not in fact believe in exceptions for the health of the mother, contradicting what he said in the Monday interview. If he did, Dannenfelser said, he would not have received the endorsement of her anti-choice organization.

Watch:

 

New Ad Highlights Romney's Right-Wing Agenda for the Supreme Court

Taking over the Supreme Court is an obsession on the far right, and Mitt Romney is on course to do their bidding. Romney selected none other than Robert Bork to serve as his chief judicial advisor. 

Just last week Romney deflected a question about abortion by saying it would be decided by the Supreme Court. He neglected to mention that he’s committed to overturning Roe v. Wade by appointing right-wing judges.
 
A new ad out today from People For the American Way takes Romney to task for his misleading remarks and highlights his extreme agenda for the Supreme Court.
 
 

6 Right-Wing Zealots and the Crazy Ideas Behind the Most Outrageous Republican Platform Ever

Note: this story is cross-posted at AlterNet.

The official 2012 Republican Party platform is a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.  If moderates have any influence in today’s Republican Party, you wouldn’t know it by reading the platform.  Efforts by a few delegates to insert language favoring civil unions, comprehensive sex education, and voting rights for the District of Columbia, for example, were all shot down.  Making the rounds of right-wing pre-convention events on Sunday, Rep. Michele Bachmann gushed about the platform’s right-wing tilt, telling fired-up Tea Partiers that “the Tea Party has been all over that platform.”

Given the Republican Party’s hard lurch to the right, which intensified after the election of Barack Obama, the “most conservative ever” platform is not terribly surprising. But it still didn’t just happen on its own.  Here are some of the people we can thank on the domestic policy front.
 
1. Bob McDonnell.   As platform committee chair, McDonnell made it clear he was not in the mood for any amendments to the draft language calling for a “Human Life Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution and legal recognition that the “unborn” are covered by the Fourteenth Amendment – “personhood” by another name.  McDonnell is in many ways the ideal right-wing governor: he ran as a fiscal conservative and governs like the Religious Right activist he has been since he laid out his own political platform in the guise of a master’s thesis at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. 
 
His thesis argued that feminists and working women were detrimental to the family, and that public policy should favor married couples over “cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators.”  When running for governor, McDonnell disavowed his thesis, but as a state legislator he pushed hard to turn those positions into policy.  As the Washington Post noted, “During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.”  As governor, McDonnell signed the kind of mandatory ultrasound law that is praised in this year’s platform.  When his name was floated as a potential V.P. pick, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood decried his “deeply troubling record on women’s health.”
 
2 Tony Perkins.  Perkins heads the Family Research Council, whose Values Voter Summit is the Religious Right’s most important annual conference, at which movement activists rub shoulders with Republican officials and candidates.  Perkins bragged in an email to his supporters how much influence he and his friend David Barton (see below) had on the platform.  Perkins was an active member of the platform committee, proposing language to oppose school-based health clinics that provide referrals for contraception or abortion, and arguing for the strongest possible anti-marriage equality language.  Perkins also introduced an amendment to the platform calling on the District of Columbia government to loosen its gun laws, which Perkins says still do not comply with recent Supreme Court rulings.
 
The media tends to treat Perkins, a telegenic former state legislator, as a reasonable voice of the Religious Right, but his record and his group’s positions prove otherwise.  Perkins has been aggressively exploiting the recent shooting at FRC headquarters to divert attention from the group’s extremism by claiming that the Southern Poverty Law Center was irresponsible in calling FRC a hate group.  Unfortunately for Perkins, the group’s record of promoting hatred toward LGBT people is well documented.  Perkins has even complained that the press and President Obama were being too hard on Uganda’s infamous “kill the gays” bill, which he described as an attempt to “uphold moral conduct.” It’s worth remembering that Perkins ran a 1996 campaign for Louisiana Senate candidate Woody Jenkins that paid $82,600 to David Duke for the Klan leader’s mailing list; the campaign was fined by the FEC for trying to cover it up.
 
3. David Barton.  Texas Republican activist and disgraced Christian-nation “historian” Barton has had a tough year, but Tampa has been good to him.  He was perhaps the most vocal member of the platform committee, and was a featured speaker at Sunday’s pre-convention “prayer rally.” During the platform committee’s final deliberations, Barton couldn’t seem to hear his own voice often enough.  He was the know-it-all nitpicker, piping up with various language changes, such as deleting a reference to the family as the “school of democracy” because families are not democracies.  He thought it was too passive to call Obamacare an “erosion of” the Constitution and thought it should be changed to an “attack on” the founding document.  He called for stronger anti-public education language and asserted that large school districts employ one administrator for every teacher.  He backed anti-abortion language, tossing out the claim that 127 medical studies over five decades say that abortion hurts women.  Progressives have been documenting Barton’s lies for years, but more recently conservative evangelical scholars have also been hammering  his claims about American history.  The critical chorus got so loud that Christian publishing powerhouse Thomas Nelson pulled Barton’s most recent book – which, ironically, purports to correct “lies” about Thomas Jefferson – from the shelves.  Of course, Barton has had plenty of practice at this sort of thing, from producing bogusdocumentaries designed to turn African Americans against the Democratic Party to pushing his religious and political ideology into Texas textbooks. Barton’s right-wing friends like Glenn Beck have rallied around him. And nothing seems to tarnish Barton with the GOP allies for whom he has proven politically useful over the years. 
 
4. Kris Kobach.  Kris Kobach wants to be your president one day; until now, he has gotten as far as Kansas Secretary of State.  He may be best known as the brains behind Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, and he successfully pushed for anti-immigrant language in the platform, including a call for the federal government to deny funds to universities that allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition – a plank that puts Kobach and the platform at odds with Kansas law.  Immigration is not Kobach’s only issue. He is an energizing force behind the Republican Party’s massive push for voter suppression laws around the country, and he led the effort to get language inserted into the platform calling on states to pass laws requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration.  He also pushed language aimed at the supposed threat to the Constitution and laws of the US from “Sharia law”; getting this language into the platform puts the GOP in position of endorsing a ludicrous far-right conspiracy theory.  Kobach hopes that will give activists a tool for pressuring more states to pass their own anti-Sharia laws.  In the platform committee, he backed Perkins’ efforts to maintain the strongest language against marriage equality.  Even an amendment to the marriage section saying that everyone should be treated “equally under the law” as long as they are not hurting anyone else, was shot down by Kobach.  Kobach also claims he won support for a provision to oppose any effort to limit how many bullets can go into a gun’s magazine.
 
5. James Bopp.  James Bopp is a Republican lawyer and delegate from Indiana whose client list is a Who’s Who of right-wing organizations, including National Right to Life and the National Organization for Marriage, which he has represented in its efforts to keep political donors secret.  As legal advisor to Citizens United, Bopp has led legal attacks on campaign finance laws and played a huge role in bringing us the world of unlimited right-wing cash flooding our elections.  Bopp chaired this year’s platform subcommittee on “restoring constitutional government,” which helps explain its strong anti-campaign finance reform language. 
 
Bopp is also an annoyingly petty partisan, having introduced a resolution in the Republican National Committee in 2009 urging the Democratic Party to change its name to the “Democrat Socialist Party.”  In this year’s platform committee, Bopp successfully pushed for the removal of language suggesting that residents of the District of Columbia might deserve some representation in Congress short of statehood.  His sneering comments, and his gloating fist-pump when the committee approved his resolution, have not won him any friends among DC residents – not that he cares.  He also spoke out against a young delegate’s proposal that the party recognize civil unions, which Bopp denounced as “counterfeit marriage.”  In spite of all these efforts, Bopp has been at the forefront of Romney campaign platform spin, arguing in the media that the platform language on abortion is not really a “no-exceptions” ban, in spite of its call for a Human Life Amendment and laws giving Fourteenth Amendment protections to the “unborn.” 
 
6. Dick Armey.  Former Republican insider Dick Armey now runs FreedomWorks, the Koch-backed, corporate-funded, Murdoch-promoted Tea Party astroturfing group – or, in their words, a “grassroots service center.” Armey has been a major force behind this year’s victories of Tea Party Senate challengers like Ted Cruz in Texas and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, both of whom knocked off “establishment” candidates – FreedomWorks also backed Rand Paul in Kentucky and Mike Lee in Utah in 2010.  As Alternet’s Adele Stan has reported, FreedomWorks’s goal is to build a cadre of far-right senators to create a “power center around Jim DeMint,” the Senate’s reigning Tea Party-Religious Right hero. 
 
To put Armey’s stamp on the platform, FreedomWorks created a “Freedom Platform” project, which enlisted Tea Party leaders to come up with proposed platform planks and encouraged activists to vote for them online. Then FreedomWorks pushed the party to include these planks in the official platform:
      Repeal Obamacare; Pursue Patient-Centered Care
      Stop the Tax Hikes
      Reverse Obama’s Spending Increases
      Scrap the Code; Replace It with a Flat Tax
      Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment
      Reject Cap and Trade
      Rein in the EPA
      Unleash America’s Vast Energy Potential
      Eliminate the Department of Education
      Reduce the Bloated Federal Workforce
      Curtail Excessive Federal Regulation
      Audit the Fed
 
An Ohio Tea Party Group, The Ohio Liberty Coalition, celebrated that 10 of 12 made it to the draft – everything but the flat tax and eliminating the Department of Education.  But FreedomWorks gave itself a more generous score, arguing for an 11.5 out of 12.  FreedomWorks vice president Dean Clancy said that the platform’s call for a “flatter” tax “opens the door to a Flat Tax” and said that they considered the education section of the platform a “partial victory” because it includes “a very strong endorsement of school choice, including vouchers.”
 
Honorable mention: Mitt Romney.  This is his year, his party, and his platform.  The entire Republican primary was essentially an exercise in Romney moving to the right to try to overcome resistance to his nomination from activists who distrusted his ideological authenticity.   The last thing the Romney campaign wanted was a fight with the base, like the one that happened in San Diego in 1996, when Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition delighted in publicly humiliating nominee Robert Dole over   his suggestion that the GOP might temper its anti-abortion stance.  Romney signaled his intention to avoid a similar conflict when he named Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to chair the platform committee. 
 
Keeping Everybody Happy
 
The new GOP platform reflects Romney’s desire to placate every aspect of the party’s base.  It also demonstrates both the continuingpower of the Religious Right within the GOP, as well as ongoing efforts to erase any distinctions between social conservatives and anti-government zealots, as demonstrated by Ralph Reed welcoming Grover Norquist to his Faith and Freedom coalition leadership luncheon on Sunday.

Samuel Rodriguez to Join 'Xenophobic' Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Republican National Convention

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s Samuel Rodriguez has been trying to push Latino voters to join the Republican Party while also begging the GOP to soften its hardline stance on immigration reform. But acting as a self-styled champion of immigrant rights while also boosting a party that is vociferously opposed to them ultimately creations tensions. It appears that for Rodriguez, helping the GOP is more important than opposing anti-immigrant policies and activists. Rodriguez is scheduled to share the spotlight at the Republican National Convention with none other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Rodriguez has previously described Arpaio as a “xenophobic person” and in February tweeted that “any candidate that seeks the endorsement of Sheriff Arpaio also seeks the rejection of the Hispanic community.”

Rodriguez also blasted SB 1070, Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law backed by Arpaio, as “xenophobic and nativist,” calling for a fast to protest the law and the creation of “a multi-ethnic firewall against the extremists in our nation.” “The Arizona Law stands as evidence that in 21st Century America, we may no longer be in the Desert of Segregation or the Egypt of Slavery but we just discovered there are Giants to be slain in the land of Promise,” his group proclaimed in a statement. “The Arizona Law is without a doubt, anti-Latino, anti-family, anti-immigrant, anti-Christian and unconstitutional.”

He later said that the Supreme Court didn’t go far enough in striking down the law’s “draconian measures” that “polarize and segregate our communities.”

Arpaio, who is being sued by the Justice Department for violating the civil rights of Hispanics (just one of his many scandals), will address an invitation-only audience at the Republican National Convention days after Rodriguez delivers a benediction.

Of course, Arpaio’s involvement in the convention should come as no surprise, as Arpaio was the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s 2008 Arizona campaign and served as a Romney surrogate. At the time, Romney said Arpaio was one of his “strong surrogates for our optimistic message of a stronger and safer Amreica” and was “gratified” to have his support.

Religious Right Groups Laud Paul Ryan, Highlight Anti-Choice and Anti-Gay Voting Record

Conservative leaders hailed Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan, the far-right congressman, to be his running mate, emphasizing his opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights.

Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance said that besides his one-time vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she is excited “to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’”

Paul Ryan is a great choice. He has one little blip in that he voted for ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) a long time ago but voted right on the marriage amendment and supports the unborn. Plus, I get to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’ Bonus.

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition commended Ryan’s “100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record.”

Mitt Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee is an inspired, outstanding selection. Paul Ryan is a rare and exceptional public servant who combines the courage of his convictions with a sharp intellect and a winsome personality. I have known him since he worked for Jack Kemp at Empower America in the early 1990s, worked with him in passing sound budgets in the House, and am proud to count him as a friend. He is a person of devout Christian faith who has a 100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record in his 14 years in Congress. He will excite and energize social conservatives, who will play a critical role in the outcome of the elections.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is proud that Ryan “believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible.”

Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan shows that he is serious about getting America's fiscal house in order. Paul Ryan's voting record also suggests that he believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible. Paul Ryan's philosophy clearly includes the understanding that America's financial greatness is tied directly to its moral and cultural wholeness.

As a member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, he has been a defender of religious expression in the public square. Paul Ryan has spoken out strongly against President Obama's abortion drug and contraception mandates as an affront to religious liberty. He has articulately described how the President's government takeover of health care has pushed aside our First Amendment right of religious freedom.

We look forward to hearing Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit so that the conservative grassroots will have an opportunity to hear more about their agenda on the critical issues facing our country including religious liberty, marriage, the sanctity of human life as well as fiscal responsibility and national security.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjore Dannenfelser hailed Ryan’s rejection of a “culture war truce.”

“By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “A longtime pro-life advocate and a strong fiscal conservative, Congressman Ryan has insisted that there can be no ‘truce’ when it comes to advancing the rights of the unborn and achieving fiscal responsibility. He has a pristine pro-life voting record and will be an asset to Governor Romney’s campaign.

“Pro-life voters are a key demographic and help secure victory in critical elections,” continued Dannenfelser. “The addition of a second strong pro-life leader to the ticket energizes the pro-life base – we are thrilled with this pick.”

The Catholic Association called Ryan an “excellent choice” since “he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.”

We believe Governor Romney has made an excellent choice. As a smart, serious Catholic, Congressman Ryan has been steadfast on issues of fundamental principle – defending religious liberty, life, and traditional marriage.

In addition, he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.

The American Center for Law and Justice’s David French noted Ryan’s opposition to reproductive rights.

In the next days and weeks, there will be a lot of attention on Paul Ryan’s economic expertise and experience with fiscal reform. He became famous in political circles for the “Ryan budget” and for his fearlessness and effectiveness in challenging President Obama in the midst of the Obamacare debate. But what many may not know is that Paul Ryan is a man completely committed to the cause of life.

Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families is glad this “youthful, forward-looking ticket [is] reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us.”

Just moments ago, Governor Mitt Romney formally announced his selection of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate. He made the announcement at a naval museum in Norfolk, Virginia, with the USS Wisconsin as his backdrop. This is a bold choice, and I am very excited about this pick!

The selection of Paul Ryan shows Governor Romney is serious about confronting the fiscal challenges facing our country. It shows the kind of talented and experienced team Governor Romney will put together that will work for American exceptionalism.

Ryan is a strong conservative. He is pro-life and believes in traditional marriage. Of course, what he is most known for is entitlement reform and stopping the growth of government. He's 42 with a young family.

So this will be a youthful, forward-looking ticket, reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us. It will be a stark contrast to Obama's failed tax and spend policies that are taking us down the dead-end road of European-style socialism. It's clear which presidential ticket is serious about making real change!

Romney Met Thursday with Top Anti-Muslim Activist and Leading Backers of Bachmann Witch Hunt

On Friday, Mitt Romney declined to condemn Rep. Michele Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslim Americans in the federal government, breaking with GOP leaders like Senator John McCain and Speaker John Boehner. He said that “those are not things that are part of my campaign.” If that’s the case, then why did Romney hold a closed-door meeting the evening before with high-profile supporters of Bachmann’s effort, including Jerry Boykin, a leading figure in the anti-Muslim movement?
 
As Politico reported, Romney met privately on Thursday evening in Denver with a select group of right-wing activists. Of the four participants named by Politico, three are outspoken proponents of Bachmann’s witch hunt. Gary Bauer and James Dobson wrote to John Boehner to praise Bachmann’s “good judgment, undeniable courage, and great patriotism” for “bravely demanding answers to matters essential to the safety of the American people and our Armed Forces.” Meanwhile, Boykin signed on to a separate letter expressing “strong support for congressional efforts to illuminate and address the danger posed by influence operations mounted by the Muslim Brotherhood against government agencies.” He also claimed that “Huma [Abedin] is not the only person who has penetrated our government” and wondered aloud if President Obama is a Muslim Brotherhood member.
 
Boykin, however, is more than just a cheerleader for Bachmann – he’s a leading force behind the effort to drive Muslim Americans out of public life. Boykin recently became the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, but he’s best known as the lieutenant general who was rebuked by President Bush in 2003 and Defense Department investigators in 2004 for aggressively attacking Islam – in uniform – in the midst of two wars and an expansive anti-terrorism effort in the Middle East and South Asia.
 
Now retired, Boykin is on a mission to save the country from Sharia law and Islamic infiltration, which he sees lurking in every shadow and around every corner. His rhetoric is often bigoted, and he regularly traffics in wild-eyed conspiracy theories – like the one about Obama creating a Hitler-style militia to force Marxism on the American people or the one about international bankers plotting to form a Marxist, global government. (Don’t just take my word for it, see below for links to some of Boykin’s bizarre and disturbing pronouncements.)
 
Boykin, who last made headlines in January when he withdrew from speaking at West Point under pressure from cadets, faculty and outside groups, has argued that Muslims are not protected by the First Amendment and that there should be no mosques in America. In 2010, he joined forces with Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, and other anti-Muslim activists to form the so-called Team B II. The real Team B was an analysis commissioned by the CIA in the 70s of the threats posed to the US by the Soviet Union. Team B II, co-led by Boykin, presented itself as performing a similar analysis of “an even more insidious ideological threat: the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls shariah.”
 
The group issued a report in September 2010, “Shariah: The Threat to America,” which won praise from Bachmann and Rep. Trent Franks, who appeared with Gaffney at a press conference announcing the report. Among the key findings of the report was that the Muslim Brotherhood “has succeeded in penetrating our educational, legal and political systems, as well as top levels of government, intelligence, the media, and U.S. military, virtually paralyzing our ability to respond effectively.”
 
Nearly two years later, Bachmann, Franks and three colleagues fired off letters to federal inspectors general alleging infiltration by the Muslim Brotherhood and requesting an investigation. The second paragraph of their letter, which fingered Huma Abedin, cited a series of web videos by the Center for Security Policy. The videos, available at MuslimBrotherhoodinAmerica.com, are narrated by Gaffney and lean heavily on Boykin’s Team B II report.
 
Remarkably, the efforts described above have spilled into Egyptian politics, with unfortunate consequences. As the New York Times reported in mid-July, many opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, citing statements by Bachmann, Boykin, and Gaffney falsely believe that “the Obama administration harbors a secret, pro-Islamist agenda” and may have even “plotted to install the Islamist party’s presidential candidate in office.” As a result, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s motorcade “was pelted with shoes and tomatoes by Egyptian protesters” motivated by conspiracy theories that “originated with American conservatives.” With Egypt on the brink, nonsense like this only serves to undermine American diplomacy, just as his comments years earlier in uniform undermined American efforts to win hearts and minds abroad and likely put soldiers at increased risk.
 
Does Romney really think Boykin is an appropriate person to meet with? Did the meeting participants discuss Bachmann’s efforts with him? This is serious stuff that Romney should have to address. It was easy enough for him to sidestep the Bachmann question earlier, but given his meeting the evening before, he needs to be asked anew about Bachmann and Boykin.
 
As promised, here are some highlights of Boykin's conspiracy-mongering and Muslim-bashing:
“We have incrementally moved towards Marxism and now I think it's at an accelerated pace. ...
 
One of the things that Hitler did was he established the Brownshirts. ... Well, in the lead-up to the election, during the campaigns, our current president said very openly, and you can find it on YouTube, if I am elected President, I will have a national civilian security force that is as large as and as powerful as the US military.
 
For what? Why do you need a national civilian security force?
 
Now most people say, well we haven't seen any signs of the administration doing that. Until you go back and read what nobody in Washington read, and that's the health care legislation that lays out a provision for the commissioning of officers to work directly for the President in time of a national emergency.
 
Now what would bring about a national emergency? An economic collapse, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster - we talked about all those things here - which would then allow for martial law. The foundation has been laid.”
“We need to recognize that Islam itself is not just a religion - it is a totalitarian way of life. It's a legal system, sharia law; it's a financial system; it's a moral code; it's a political system; it's a military system. It should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with sharia law.”
“No mosques in America. Islam is a totalitarian way of life; it’s not just a religion. … But Islam, we need to think Sharia, it is not just a religion it is a totalitarian way of life. A mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate, not the sanctity or sovereignty of the United States.”

"If you look at Hitler, one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right. The absolute opposite was true. It was the National Socialist Party. He was an extraordinarily off the scale leftist. 

But many Jews in America, for example, can't identify with the Republican Party because they're called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth."

 

Jay Sekulow Continues to Push False Claim that Obama is Threatening Military Voters

Yesterday we noted that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice is pushing a bogus charge, initially leveled by Mitt Romney’s campaign, that President Obama is trying to suppress the military vote in Ohio. The Obama campaign is challenging a new state law pushed by Republicans which limited early in-person voting to military personnel. The lawsuit’s goal is to expand early in-person voting to all eligible voters, including 900,000 veterans, not to limit military voting.

Even the Romney campaign’s general counsel admits that the lawsuit is not about excluding military voters but expanding the voter pool, as Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker” reports: “As for the memo from Katie Biber, who serves as general counsel to the Romney campaign, the plaintiffs’ argument of arbitrariness and unconstitutionality relates only to Ohio’s exclusion of civilians from the later voting deadline, not to the privilege granted to service members…. Again, the emphasis throughout the Democratic complaint is that Ohio should protect the Equal Protection Clause by ordering the state to extend the later deadline to civilian voters.”

But while Romney’s own general counsel cannot honestly defend the campaign’s preposterous claim, Jay Sekulow is standing by the debunked allegation.

Yesterday on Jay Sekulow Live, he berated Obama over the phony charge and said the ACLJ will file an amicus brief opposing the Obama campaign’s challenge. Sekulow even added to the already manufactured claim by saying that the Obama campaign wants to restrict the voting of “military men and women serving overseas,” even though the law only covers in-person early voting, and the challenge to it could in no way restrict the right of any service member to vote.

I want people to understand this, folks, the Obama administration has initiated this lawsuit, I should say to be particular the Obama re-election committee, it’s Obama for America, has filed suit against Ohio because Ohio is trying to accommodate military men and women serving overseas. I want you to think about that for a moment. The Obama administration or their re-election committee has filed a federal lawsuit to stop a law that would allow for an accommodation for men and women serving in the military serving overseas to vote. How does that make you feel? I hope you get outraged as I am on this and that’s why we’re not just talking about it because on this broadcast we don’t just talk about it we’re taking direct action but this is where you come in, I want all of the states to come to the aid of Ohio and you can do that with me so no matter where you are living, we want you on this brief.



You got the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States’ re-election committee, filing a lawsuit to stop an accommodation. I want people to understand this. The Commander in Chief of the United States has his re-election committee file a federal lawsuit against the state of Ohio and the state of Ohio with wide bipartisan Democratic and Republican support passed legislation accommodating military men and women so that they’re vote will actually count. And the Obama re-election committee says ‘well we think that is arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional.’

ACLJ Promotes Bogus Claim that Obama is Suppressing Military Voters

President Obama’s campaign is suing Ohio after Republicans changed a voting law that ended early in-person voting, while leaving intact the right for service members to show up to the polls early. But Republicans, including Mitt Romney, say that the lawsuit meant to restore voting rights of most Ohioans would somehow hamper the right of soldiers to vote early, an obviously false and dishonest claim. Fox News has repeated the debunked talking points, and now Jay Sekulow, an early Romney backer, today emailed members of the American Center for Law and Justice stating that “Obama obstructs military voting rights.”

The Obama re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote prior to Election Day.

Our heroes in the military sacrifice so much for us and face considerable risks that often make it more difficult for them to vote.

It's outrageous that the President's re-election campaign would oppose giving them extra consideration to exercise their right to vote.

They are serving to protect our right to vote; we need to stand up now to protect their voting rights. The ACLJ is filing an amicus brief, and we would like you to stand with us.

The ACLJ even started the “Committee to Defend Military Voting Rights” based on an entirely manufactured threat to military voting.

The Obama Re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote early. Men and women in the military sacrifice dearly for our country and they deserve and have the lawful and constitutional right to additional consideration.

Stand with the U.S. military. The ACLJ will file an amicus brief backing the Ohio law - giving our military men and women an opportunity to cast their ballots in a constitutional manner. Add your name to our brief defending the voting rights of the U.S. military today.

This challenge by the Obama Re-election Campaign is not only unconstitutional, but it is also offensive to millions of Americans. Our military heroes deserve to have this lawful courtesy extended to them - not more roadblocks making it even more difficult for them to participate in the election.

Romney Adviser John Bolton Defends Michele Bachmann's Anti-Muslim Witch Hunt

Mitt Romney hasn’t yet publicly stated his view on the witch hunt against Muslim-Americans  in the Obama administration supported by Michele Bachmann. But today his foreign policy adviser, former Bush administration official John Bolton, defended Bachmann and her allies in an appearance on anti-Muslim, anti-Obama conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney’s radio show. Bolton told Gaffney, a birther who helped stoke the witch hunt, that he was “mystified” by the criticism of Bachmann and that she was “simply raising the question.” Bachmann, for her part, is beyond raising questions: last week she declared that “there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Gaffney: John Bolton, one of the hot house issues in Washington at the moment that speaks to this point you just made about American decline and aiding and abetting our enemies under the Obama administration involves the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s not just that we’ve helped bring them to power in Egypt and are otherwise emboldening them, you mentioned that they are a likely successor to Bashar Assad in Syria. But here at home as well, five congresspeople including Michele Bachmann have been pressing for investigations into the extent to which some of these policies that we’ve been adopting, both abroad and here, might have something to do with influence operations aimed at and actually successfully inside the wire in our government. What do you make of this controversy and particularly the criticisms, the vicious criticisms, that have been mounted against these folks for their warnings from within their own ranks?

Bolton: I’ve been subject to how many security clearance procedures and I must say as irritating as some people may find them I think they are absolutely essential to making sure that people who work in sensitive positions in the national security field in our government are entirely loyal to the United States. I just think that’s an absolute, fundamental prerequisite. Now people find them intrusive, they find them inconvenient, my response is, that’s just too bad. What I think these members of Congress have done is simply raise the question, to a variety of inspectors general in key agencies, are your departments following their own security clearance guidelines, are they adhering to the standards that presumably everybody who seeks a security clearance should have to go through, are they making special exemptions? What is wrong with raising the question? Why is even asking whether we are living up to our standards a legitimate area of congressional oversight, why has that generated this criticism? I’m just mystified by it.

Gaffney: I think it has a lot to do with both shooting the messenger and trying to deflect attention from what is a huge, yawning and very serious vulnerability of this president, especially now as this election gets down to the clinches.

This leaves Bolton opposed to Republicans including John McCain, Marco Rubio, Scott Brown, John Boehner, Mike Rogers, Jim Sensenbrenner, and even Bachmann’s former campaign manager, all of whom have spoken out against Bachmann’s McCarthyism.

Earlier in the program, Bolton suggested that Obama’s speeches that have been “patriotic and laudatory of our troops” are only a campaign tactic. The president, he says, is “comfortable with the decline of American influence in the world.”

Bolton: He’s realized he is in the middle of a very closely fought election campaign and suddenly the rhetoric is patriotic and laudatory of our troops. But the fact is his policies have cost the United States around the world, he has withdrawn combat forces from Iraq, he plans to do it from Afghanistan, the rest of the world sees an American retreat, the budget sequestration mechanism on top of the nearly a trillion dollars of cuts and defense spending that Obama himself imposed, I think even his own defense secretary said would cripple our military. We are in very grave shape and yet the president, as he has done consistently on economic or foreign policy, talks about doing the exact opposite of what his policies are and of course the media give him a free pass on it. Nobody should be under any illusions, this is a president comfortable with the decline of American influence in the world and he is watching it happen.

Gaffney: Well, I would argue he is accelerating it at every turn.

Anti-Choice Group Blasts Romney for 'Unacceptable' Investment in Company that Disposed of Aborted Fetuses

Back in January, the Huffington Post reported on a $75 million investment made by Bain Capital, Romney’s private equity firm, in a medical waste disposal service company, Stericycle, whose clients included abortion clinics. While the extent of Romney’s involvement in the deal was initially unclear, David Corn of Mother Jones recently obtained SEC documents that “list Romney as an active participant in the investment.” This new information is raising eyebrows at the anti-choice group Bound4Life, where Susan Tyrrell is calling Romney’s involvement “unacceptable” and “a serious issue for pro-lifers who have embraced him as a pro-life candidate”:

This information clearly contradicts what the Romney camp reported publicly in January. That is unacceptable and raises a serious issue for pro-lifers who have embraced him as a pro-life candidate.

There are too many unanswered questions to let this issue be a non-issue in this race. The man running on a pro-life platform actually was the “sole shareholder” in a company that made a $75 million investment in a company that has for an indeterminate amount of time profited directly from from [sic] the shedding of innocent blood. Their work helps polluted the land with bloodshed, putting fetuses in incinerators and waste areas. Stericycle is evasive in its responses to those who question its abortion business, claiming that abortion is only a “small portion” of its business, which is only true on a technicality. There are only a few hundred abortion centers in the nation and many more medical facilities that need waste services; however, Stericycle is the largest provider of disposing of fetal remains.



First, we do not have any evidence that the aborted fetal remains pick-ups began after Romney left the firm. Records like this are not easily available unless one knows what he is seeking exactly. StopStericycle.com has records from 2003, which is after Romney left, but until Stericycle or Romney can provide evidence that Stericycle’s suddenly started its business with fetuses after Romney sold his investment, we can’t conclusively be satisfied that was the case.

Second, Romney claims a pro-life conversion, though he does allows for exceptions in certain cases. He must address his relationship with the abortion profiteer. Even if some evidence exists showing perhaps it was after he sold his investment, Stericycle began this practice, Romney needs to address this to pro-lifers because he is running on a pro-life platform but is tied in some ways to a business linked to abortion since clearly the dates of his involvement were not as he reported.

Anti-Choice Activist Vows to Never Back Romney

Conservative radio host and Romney-critic Steve Deace has been hosting a number of right-wing activists who have hit Romney, mainly due to his Mormon faith. But his latest guest says that his problem with Romney is not his religion but that he is “more destructive than Barack Obama.” Rev. Bob Enyart of Colorado Right to Life told Deace that after documenting Romney’s many inconsistencies on the issue of abortion rights, he found him to be worse than Obama “because he gets Republicans and conservatives and Christians to justify everything he’s done.” “Romney is worse than Obama; Obama is the lesser of two evils,” he said, “I think if you fear God, you will not because Romney destroys marriage; Romney destroys the family; Romney kills kids, and he’s a socialist.”

I’m a bit of an expert on what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts and he has already implemented far beyond what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton dream of doing. He has by his own hand implemented homosexual marriage, he implemented tax-funded abortion on demand, late-term, by health care reform with the individual mandate. He’s robbed religious freedom by forcing pro-life hospitals to administer abortion pills. I mean, the record goes on and on. Romney is worse than Obama; Obama is the lesser of two evils.



We can focus on Obama and be afraid of the boogeyman, and if you fear Obama you will probably vote for Romney. But I think if you fear God, you will not because Romney destroys marriage; Romney destroys the family; Romney kills kids, and he’s a socialist. You know how they say Steve, 'well at least RomneyCare was a state run program'? Well the federal government paid for it. Their health care premiums in Massachusetts have skyrocketed, they have lost tens of thousands of jobs because of RomneyCare; we have all that documented on our profile. But once the special exception that Romney negotiated with the federal government, once that comes to an end, their health care premiums are going to skyrocket in Massachusetts. So it’s not a state program. Here in Colorado, my audience in Denver, Colorado through their federal tax dollars are paying for abortions in Massachusetts by RomneyCare. So to say that this is a state program and then Romney gets the federal government, which is already heading towards bankruptcy, to fund his socialist, government takeover of healthcare—I mean, we have nominated somebody who is more destructive than Barack Obama because he gets Republicans and conservatives and Christians to justify everything he’s done.

Barber: No 'Christian in Good Conscience' can Support Obama; Trust Romney to Appoint Right-Wing Judges

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber and his boss Mat Staver were consistent critics of Mitt Romney and endorsed Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary, but now Barber is out with a new column begging the Religious Right to coalesce behind Romney and today spoke to Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice about his new found support for the former governor. Barber ironically began the interview by commenting that the ACLJ, like him, was probably bothered by Romney’s inconsistent record, even though both Jay and Jordan Sekulow vigorously supported Romney both times he ran for president and ACLJ attorney David French founded the group Evangelicals for Romney.

He said he came around to supporting Romney because of his pledge to nominate right-wing judges. “The one word that made the decision for me is judges,” Barber told Sekulow, warning that if Obama can make more appointments to the judiciary then he will create a “radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation.”

Barber went on to claim that he couldn’t “imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama.” Or as Barber puts it in his column, “any Christian who votes for Mr. Obama will get to take that up with God.”

The one word that made the decision for me is judges. Probably the most significant thing that any president can do for better or for worse and this may not be how our Founding Fathers intended it but it is the reality we live in is to appoint judges, particularly United States Supreme Court justices. The next president, either Barack Obama, radical secular socialist, or Mitt Romney, center-right Republican, the next president is going to appoint at least probably two, potentially three United States Supreme Court judges. That will affect law, public policy, our culture at large in perpetuity, for as far out as we can see for decades, it literally will make the difference. This next election I think is the most important election we ever faced in our lifetimes, it will make the difference based on Supreme Court appointments alone between an America that we can recognize, that at least resembles what our Founding Fathers intended, versus a radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation, which is the goal of Barack Obama.



A Christian non-vote is a vote for Barack Obama in that it fails to affirmatively cancel out an Obama vote. I can’t imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama. That leaves a final choice, and that is to get out, vote for Mitt Romney, and get out the vote for Mitt Romney.

Leading Anti-Choice Activist says Romney 'Did The Same Thing' as Obama on Contraception

Personhood USA president Keith Mason spoke to Janet Mefferd on Monday to cast doubt on Romney’s record on reproductive rights and stem-cell research, addressing Romney’s consistency, or lack thereof, on abortion rights and stem-cell research, role in health care reform in Massachusetts, and views on mandating hospitals to distribute emergency contraceptive pills. “At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life,” Mason said, arguing that Romney’s move on contraception coverage was no different from the Obama administration’s stance:

Mefferd: When you look at his record back in Massachusetts, he talks about a pro-life conversion but it is very confusing I think for a lot of pro-lifers to look at what he did in Massachusetts and feel totally comfortable with where he actually stands versus what he says. Where do you come down on his pro-life record in Massachusetts and where he stands now?

Mason: At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life. I guess I could be blunt; I could go through a list. We have RomneyCare as a starter, in Romney Care he used his veto powers in eight different ways but he didn’t use those veto powers to veto the $50 co-pay abortions that are within RomneyCare. Then after that even in 2004 we have a bill that he says he had a pro-life conversion so he vetoed a bill against embryonic stem-cell research and then he signed a bill later allowing for stem-cell research by embryos leftover from IVF clinics. That’s not that convincing to me either.

As far as the morning after pill goes, we have a bill that he vetoed, which is part of his pro-life conversion, he used it sort of for his credentials, for expanded access to the morning after pill. But then just three months later he signed a bill that even expanded it even farther than that, than it was being implemented at the time. Then even against his legal team’s advice he signed an executive order mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute the morning-after pill. With all these rallies, which I’ll participated on the 8th with religious freedom sort of to send the message to the Obama administration to not trample on that, the guy that we’re supposed to rally around sort of did the same thing.

As William Saletan points out in a Slate article documenting Romney’s constantly changing story about his “conversion” on the abortion issue, Romney claims to have stopped supporting abortion rights after he was troubled by a meeting regarding the ethics of embryo research, but after coming out against reproductive choice he continued to favor research on surplus IVF embryos. And despite Romney’s assertion that “every time as governor” he “came down on the side of life,” he said in a 2005 interview (after his supposed change of views) that he would veto any bill about abortion, “whether it’s pro-life or pro-choice.”

The Massachusetts-based Catholic Action League criticized Romney for enforcing his private counsel’s opinion mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute emergency contraceptive pills, claiming, “The injury to the conscience rights of Catholic hospitals was not done so much so much by the church’s ideological enemies on the Left but by the Romney administration.” Later, Romney said he personally supported his counsel’s view. During the presidential campaign, however, Romney described the Obama administration’s opposition to exempting health workers from distributing contraceptives as part of “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.”

 

Anti-Mormon Activist Asks if Christians Would Vote for a Member of the First Church of Satan

Earlier this week we wrote a post about Jerry Johnson and his role in formulating a document calling on Christian leaders who decide to back Mitt Romney to also make clear that Mormonism is a cult. As Johnson explained, he personally will not be voting for either President Obama or Mitt Romney because that is like having to choose between "voting for the Beast or the False Prophet."

Of course, if there is some Christian activist out there urging Christian voters not to support Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith, it is only a matter of time before they are invited to make their case on Steve Deace's radio program ... just as Johnson was last night.

Johnson made the case that Christians are misinformed about the true nature of Mormonism, thanks to people like David Barton who is "hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck," and asked whether Christians would be willing to vote for a member of the First Church of Satan if the candidate supported the conservative agenda, warning that the "anybody but Obama" mindset was going to drive the nation and the church "into the arms of perdition" and prevent God from blessing America:

55% of evangelicals either don't know what Mormonism teaches or they don't know that Christianity teaches. And that is our failure, that is the great calamity that we're facing right now thanks to people like Joel Olsteen and Rick Warren and David Barton, who is hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck, calling him his brother in Christ.

Suppose you had a real conservative running again Barack Obama ... who was fiscally conservative, he believed in the right to keep and bear arms, all the things that conservatives hold to. But let's say he was a member of the First Church of Satan. Would his religion now make a difference? Would you be out endorsing and campaigning for him if he was a member of the Satanic Church?

Right now the attitude is in the country, or specifically within the Republican Party, anybody but Obama. And this idea, this mindset is going to drive, I believe, this country and even the church into the arms of perdition in many ways.

The issue is the blessings and curse of God. He is the one who is sovereign, dread sovereign, over all the universe. And we are reaping today the curses of God, I believe, in this country. So here's my question, I ask folks: do we really believe that God is going to bless America if we elect a professed polytheist to the highest office of the land?

Mitt Romney in 2006 Blasted Same-Sex Marriage as a 'Blow to the Foundation of Civilization'

Prior to launching his first run for president, Mitt Romney in 2006 addressed an event called “Liberty Sunday” at Boston’s Tremont Temple Baptist Church where he spoke alongside anti-gay activists and attacked marriage equality as harmful to children and civilization itself.

Watch:

Warning against the “homosexual agenda,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins introduced Mitt and Ann Romney and lauded the former Massachusetts governor for understanding “the threat that this imposes to our nation.”

Romney condemned people, especially activist judges, whom he accused of “trying to establish one religion, the religion of secularism” and “reject traditional values” and “reject the values of our Founders.”

“Here in Massachusetts, activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization—the family—they ruled that our constitution requires people of the same gender to marry,” Romney said. “The principal burden of this court’s ruling doesn’t fall on adults, it falls on children.” He continued, “The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children, our fight for marriage then should focus then on the needs of children, not the rights of adults.”

Romney called for the adoption of a Federal Marriage Amendment to block the “spreading secular religion and its substitute values” that he said “weaken the foundation of the family” and dishonor the Founders.

Other speakers included Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, American Family Association president Don Wildmon, and preacher Wellington Boone, who reminisced about the time when sodomy was a capital offense in America, joked about “sodomite island,” and said the push for LGBT rights represents the “rape of the civil rights movement.”

Will Romney Denounce Liberty University's 'Poisonous Language'?

As Josh noted in the previous post, Mitt Romney will be delivering the commencement address tomorrow at Liberty University, the ultra-fundamentalist university founded by the late Jerry Falwell.  But what many people may not realize is that Liberty U is also the home of some of the most militant anti-gay activists operating today, who are on staff at Liberty U while simultaneously working for the affiliated Liberty Counsel.

In fact, the two are so intertwined that Mat Staver serves as both Dean of the Liberty U Law School and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, while Rena Lindevaldsen, LU's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Matt Barber, LU's Associate Dean for Career and Professional Development, Shawn Akers, Dean of LU's Helms School of Government, and Deryl Edwards, LU's Director of Institutional Advancement, all hold positions with Liberty Counsel as well.

For years, Liberty Counsel has been at the center of a custody case involving Lisa Miller, an "ex-gay" woman who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country rather than abide by court-ordered custody arrangements with her former partner.  Rena Lindevaldsen was Miller's attorney and even wrote a book about the saga while Liberty Counsel continues to insist that it has no knowledge of Miller's whereabouts, despite the fact that she was reportedly living at a home in Nicaragua owned by the father of an administrative assistant working for Staver at Liberty U Law School. Furthermore, Liberty U also taught a class based on the Miller case in which students were reportedly instructed that the "right" thing for a lawyer to do in a case such as this would be to counsel their client that they have an obligation to ignore the law and court orders and instead engage in "civil disobedience" in order to uphold God's law.

While Staver may be the head of Liberty Counsel with a penchant for issuing warnings that President Obama seeks to become a global dictator, his rhetoric pales in comparison to Matt Baber who, in addition to serving as an instructor at Liberty U's Law School, also happens to be one of the most viciously anti-gay bigots operating today, as demonstrated by his view that homosexuality is nothing more than “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’”

Just in recent months, Barber has said that marriage equality mocks God and desecrates the Church, declared that the Defense of Marriage Act is necessary to prevent children from becoming gay and getting AIDS, said that gay teens commit suicide because they "know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] immoral," proclaimed gay adoption to be "tragic," "unconscionable," and "reprehensible," and warned that gay activists are seeking to poison the minds of children and are "running interference for the pedophile movement."

But it is not just gays whom Barber attacks on a regular basis, but liberals in general, whom he claims are driven by a hatred of God and are working with radical Islamists to destroy Christianity. He has said that the Obama administration's contraception mandate was no different than being forced to kill your family and that those who support reproductive choice are literally no different than the Nazis.  In fact, Barber thinks the Left in general are nothing but a bunch of bullies who just need to be punched in the mouth.

Last year, when Romney spoke at the Values Voter Summit, he publicly called out the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer for his bigotry and declared that "poisonous language does not advance our cause."  

Will Romney have the courage this weekend to likewise take a stand against the "poisonous language" and bigotry regularly displayed by the staff at Liberty University/Liberty Counsel? 

We won't hold our breaths.

The First Amendment Doesn’t Apply at Liberty University

[This is part of a series of posts on Liberty University's student handbook, “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators]

Liberty University is all about freedom – the freedom to do, think and say exactly what Jerry Falwell would want you to do, think and say, and nothing else. Accordingly, students cannot participate in demonstrations, petitioning, picketing, or literature distribution on campus without the express approval of the administration. Students can also be restricted or prohibited from participating in such activities off campus if they are deemed to be in violation of the school’s principles and policies. 

Here’s the relevant section for the Liberty Way:
Demonstrations, Petitions and Picketing
Student participation in on-campus demonstrations, petitions or picketing is prohibited unless approved by Liberty University administration. The administration may also prohibit or restrict student participation in demonstrations, petitions or picketing at places other than on campus, where such participation would contradict or otherwise compromise the principles and policies of Liberty University.
 
Distribution of Literature
Distribution of literature is permitted on campus only when prior administrative approval has been secured from the Student Life Office or University Services. Distribution of literature in the residence halls requires written approval from the Residence Life Office.
Violations of these policies are punished accordingly:
12 Reprimands + $50.00 Fine
  • Participation in an unauthorized petition or demonstration
Liberty administrators also restrict what students are free to read. Last year the school banned students from accessing the local Lyncburg newspaper, the News & Advance, after it reported on the half-billion dollars that the school received in 2010 from the federal government, which runs counter to the school’s anti-government ideology.
 
This is behavior I expect from a Chinese university, not an American one. But that’s the Liberty Way.

 

Liberty Isn't Free at Liberty University – Inside Jerry Falwell U

Mitt Romney will give the commencement address tomorrow at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Liberty, founded in 1971 as the Lynchburg Baptist College, is best known as the pet project of televangelist Jerry Falwell. Falwell created the university as a training ground for successive leaders of the Religious Right, and the curriculum is tightly controlled to advance an uncompromising right-wing outlook. But that’s not all.

The university also has an all-encompassing code of conduct, called “The Liberty Way,” which governs what students can say, do, read, and watch – both on and off campus – and sets out a regimen of reprimands and fines for violators. 

When the university banned a student Democratic club in 2009, the outside world got a taste of student life at Liberty. But to fully grasp the mindset of Liberty administrators, and get a sense of what life would be like in an America run by the Religious Right, you need to look inside the Liberty Way handbook.
 
The handbook was previously made available on the Liberty website, but now it is password-protected and available only to current students:
All students shall agree to comply with the terms of the Liberty Way. The full text is made available to students after they claim their Liberty University account. 
Fortunately we have a copy of the handbook. We’ll be posting highlights throughout the day:

 

Fischer 'Apologizes' to Romney, Gives Him Credit for Grenell's Resignation

There is no question that Bryan Fischer played a key role in the resignation of Richard Grenell from his position with Mitt Romney's campaign, as Fischer had  been relentlessly attacking the campaign for having hired an openly gay man to serve as foreign policy and national security spokesman.

And when Grenell finally resigned, Fischer declared it to be a "huge win," saying that the Religious Right had taught Romney a lesson and that the campaign would not make this sort of "mistake again."

And then on Friday, Fischer capped off the crusade by essentially mocking Romney for having caved on this issue to "a yokel like me," saying that his handling of the Grenell situation was now raising questions about Romney's leadership abilities since it showed that he could be "pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America."

But apparently Fischer has since realized that demanding concessions from politicians and then mocking those politicians when then make the very concessions that you demanded might be somewhat hypocritical ... and so yesterday Fischer offered an amazingly back-handed "apology" to Romney, saying that even though the entire fiasco demonstrated Romney's weakness and utter lack of core values, he still deserves credit for having done the right thing in letting Grenell go:

I want to issue what amounts to sort of an apology to Gov. Romney. I was pretty hard on him on Friday and my point on Friday was his waffling when conservatives raised a concern about Richard Grenell - he went silent, he put a bag over Richard Grenell's head, let him fall on his sword, only said supportive things to Richard Grenell after he had resigned - it was an indication of the challenges that we have with Gov. Romney, that he does not seem to have a core set of principles, a core set of values by which he guides himself. And the fact that he could be so - I used the word intimidated or coerced or whatever - could be so influenced by a comparatively small number of conservatives ... and so I think it was illustrative of Gov. Romney's weaknesses and things that we've got to be concerned about.

But, at the end of the day, I didn't make enough of the fact that he did the right thing here. Now, regardless of why he did it - most likely, it was for reasons that are politically expedient - but he did the right thing. He allowed this resignation to take place, probably had some hand in bringing it about; I cannot believe that they were entirely passive in that. But here's the point: at the end of the day, Richard Grenell had stepped down, this homosexual activist, this crusader for gay marriage had stepped down and Romney could have taken a different tack. So I want to give Romney credit for doing that. Now, you'd like to know that he did it on the grounds of principle and conviction and all that - I believe that would kind of be a bridge too far - but nevertheless, Gov. Romney did the thing that he should have done.

Maybe She Wishes Romney's Position Wasn't So Clear

The Republican National Committee’s Hispanic Outreach Director Bettina Inclan sparked a mini-firestorm today when she told reporters that she could not comment on Romney’s immigration positions because “he’s still deciding what his position on immigration is.”  She later tried to clean up the mess by tweeting that she was mistaken, and that his position was clear, linking to his website

Unfortunately for Romney and for the RNC’s Hispanic outreach, his position is all too clear: he opposes not only “amnesty” but all “magnets” – such as the DREAM Act or in-state tuition for students whose parents brought them here as children.  Romney has backed legislation, like Arizona’s, that has the goal of making life for undocumented immigrants so miserable that they will choose to “self-deport.”  That’s a bit much even for some right-wing activists, including some of those at the Freedom Federation’s recent Awakening conference in Orlando, Florida, where one speaker called the “self-deportation” approach “cruel” and “unbiblical” and where the Southern Baptists’ Richard Land called the GOP’s positions on immigration policy “dismal” and “indefensible.”

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Mitt Romney Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 10/31/2012, 4:41pm
As RWW has noted, most Religious Right leaders have cast aside whatever reservations they once had about voting for Mitt Romney, whose Mormonism many do not consider a Christian faith.  Sure, they’d rather have a conservative evangelical or right-wing Catholic as the GOP nominee, but they lost that chance in the primaries.  And they are so eager to defeat Barack Obama, and avoid the divine wrath that his re-election would provoke, that they have circled the wagons around Romney. In September, more than two dozen Religious Right leaders wrote a letter dismissing differences... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 10/30/2012, 5:37pm
Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: The GOP Pays the Big Price for Bashing Latinos. Miranda @ PFAW Blog: Romney Campaign Plays Dumb About Roe v. Wade. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Parsing the meaning of 'campaign event.' Timothy Kincaid @ Box Turtle Bulletin: Gay GOP supporter bashing a hoax. Ezra Klein: Mitch McConnell and John Boehner’s strategy worked. Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Mike Huckabee: Vote Against Equality And Choice Or You’ll Go To Hell. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 10/30/2012, 1:30pm
In a new opinion piece, Lou Engle explains that that he has always had a strict principle that he will not vote "for anyone who by legal decree supports the shedding of innocent blood, believing such a vote would make me an accomplice to the act" and always "to reject the compromise of simply voting for the lesser of two evils, believing that my allegiance is given to a higher King and a higher kingdom, therefore my no-vote actually becomes a prophetic act, a vote of conscience, not abdication." Engle's position also included "no exceptions for rape and... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 10/29/2012, 5:22pm
Jeremy Hooper: Flashback: That time Mitt Romney equated marriage equality decision with Dred Scott. Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Video Surfaces Of Romney Defending Birth Certificate Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples. Summer Anne Burton @ BuzzFeed: GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Laments Working Mothers. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Rubio pushes variation of the 'foreign' smear. Noah Rothman@ Mediaite: Brian Kilmeade Wonders If Obama Cancelling Events For Hurricane Sandy A Sign His Campaign In ‘Disarray.’ Warren Throckmorton: The Founders... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/26/2012, 5:41pm
Sahil Kapur @TPM: Conservative Scholars Bullish That A Romney Supreme Court Could Reverse Longstanding Liberal Jurisprudence. Zeke Miller @ BuzzFeed: Romney Surrogate: Colin Powell Endorsed Obama Because He's Black. Michelangelo Signorile @ Huffington Post: Romney: 'Some Gays Are Actually Having Children. It's Not Right on Paper. It's Not Right in Fact.' Jeremy Hooper: NOM responds to 'worthy of death' pastor; jumps on the 'mischaracterized' bandwagon. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Ralph Reed, lost in translation. MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 10/25/2012, 10:35am
It is no secret that, for all of the talk of deeply held principles and stalwart Christian convictions, most Religious Right leaders are Republican Party cheerleaders who will eventually back the GOP presidential nominee, regardless of every declaration to the contrary they may have made in the past.   This fact was perfectly demonstrated back in 2008, when James Dobson spent the entire Republican primary telling everyone who would listen that "I cannot, and I will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience" only to declare shortly before the election that... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 10/24/2012, 10:24am
Glenn Beck was mystified by Mitt Romney's performance in Monday night's final debate and frustrated that Romey did not take advantage of what Beck believed were the dozens of opportunities for him to eviscerate President Obama over his claims and statements. But while Beck could not, for the life of him, understand what Romney's strategy was, he is confident that it was the right strategy because Romney is "being guided" by God and apparently God's message to Romney was that "it’s important to be less contentious [so] it may be he’s doing what the Lord wants... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/19/2012, 5:32pm
Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: Want to Get Past Romney's Lies About Women's Rights? Look to the Supreme Court. Towleroad: Star Witness for Prop 8 Proponents David Blankenhorn Tells Minnesotans to Oppose Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment. Noam Scheiber @ TNR: Growing Up Romney. Stephanie Mencimer @ Mother Jones: Conservative Group Kills Candidate's Samuel L. Jackson "Uncle Tom" Videos. Ruby Cramer @ BuzzFeed: Tea Party Group Plans Obama Phone Bank Sabotage. Aviva Shen @ Think Progress: More Junk Science: GOP Congressman Says Abortion Is Never... MORE >