Florida

Clarence Thomas Talks Constitution, Faith, and Married Life at Ultraconservative Ave Maria University

Thomas Monaghan, the billionaire behind Dominos Pizza and a prolific donor to Religious Right and Republican causes, founded Ave Maria University of Florida to be one of the most conservative Catholic institutions in the country. Not only did Monaghan seek to establish a new Catholic university, but also wanted to build an entire city based around his ultraconservative ideology. Rick Santorum lauded Ave Maria’s students as God’s soldiers training for a spiritual war, and Justice Antonin Scalia even assisted the founding of the Ave Maria School of Law.

Now, another conservative Supreme Court Justice is aiding Ave Maria’s efforts. While speaking to students of Ave Maria University and Ave Maria School of Law, Thomas told students not to shy away from using their religious views in public life, defended “constitutional originalism,” and touted the stability of his marriage (which must be a very sore subject for Thomas). The Ave Herald reports:

"I was minding my own business and President Bush appointed me," he said. Now, 20 years later, he said he was surprised to look around the justices' conference table recently and realize that he was the third most senior jurist on the Supreme Court. His time on the court has given him much greater perspective, he said.

"You get more of a panoramic view."

Nonetheless, he said, "I get called an activist because I believe we should follow the constitution, not the stuff we made up about it."

He urged the students to respect the courts, even if they disagree with their decisions.

"You want to be constructive," he said. "You can feel strongly without acting emotionally and being bitter and angry."

Common themes in both appearances were the importance of faith and being guided by wanting to "just do the right thing."

"I tell my law clerks every year," Justice Thomas said, "that pragmatism is not a principle. It's giving yourself the excuse to go along to get along."

In the end, he said, people need to be able answer the question asked at the end of the movie Saving Private Ryan: Have I been a good man? Have I led a good life?

Catholics, he said, should not be afraid to live their faith openly.

"Many people choose to hide their lights under a bushel basket," he said in reference to a Gospel passage.

"Our deeds are our most effective homilies, our most effective speeches."

He advised students to seek a balance between their careers and family life, saying that his own marriage of 24 years to his wife, Virginia, who was with him at both appearances, "has been a hoot."

Keep sight of what is important, he told the students at AMU.

"Don't lose your faith, don't lose your family, don't lose your friends. Have the confidence that with God and your faith anything is possible."

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW - RWWIF: Deceptive Video ‘Sting’ Attacking Planned Parenthood: Dishonest Hit Job is Part of Religious Right’s Campaign to Deny Women Access to Reproductive Health Care.
     
  • Jason Hancock @ Iowa Independent: Pawlenty will do three events with The Family Leader.
     
  • Matthew Yglesias: Biblical Israel.
     
  • Pam Spaulding: Utah: Bigoted State Representative LaVar Christensen introduces 'Family Policy' bill.
  • Towelroad: Attempt to Ban Gays in Virginia National Guard Dies in Committee.
     
  • Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Leading Neoconservative Frank Gaffney Argues Muslim Brotherhood Has ‘Infiltrated’ The Federal Government.
     
  • Steve Benen: When the Koch Brothers Get A Little Creepy.
     
  • Virginia Chamlee @ Florida Independent: Huckabee to support group whose leader said Planned Parenthood efforts ‘almost like’ genocide.
     
  • Joe.My.God: Scott Lively: Gays Are Murdering Uganda.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW - RWWIF: Deceptive Video ‘Sting’ Attacking Planned Parenthood: Dishonest Hit Job is Part of Religious Right’s Campaign to Deny Women Access to Reproductive Health Care.
     
  • Jason Hancock @ Iowa Independent: Pawlenty will do three events with The Family Leader.
     
  • Matthew Yglesias: Biblical Israel.
     
  • Pam Spaulding: Utah: Bigoted State Representative LaVar Christensen introduces 'Family Policy' bill.
  • Towelroad: Attempt to Ban Gays in Virginia National Guard Dies in Committee.
     
  • Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Leading Neoconservative Frank Gaffney Argues Muslim Brotherhood Has ‘Infiltrated’ The Federal Government.
     
  • Steve Benen: When the Koch Brothers Get A Little Creepy.
     
  • Virginia Chamlee @ Florida Independent: Huckabee to support group whose leader said Planned Parenthood efforts ‘almost like’ genocide.
     
  • Joe.My.God: Scott Lively: Gays Are Murdering Uganda.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Marco Rubio To Skip CPAC

Last year, Marco Rubio was tasked with kicking off the CPAC conference as one of the opening speakers where he received a rapturous welcome.

This year, Rubio - like so many others - is skipping CPAC, though he insists that it is not because of the inclusion of GOProud:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the latest Republican to decline an invite to next month's Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering that typically attracts the nation's most prominent conservative names.

A spokesman for Rubio said the conference isn't on the senator's schedule, telling the St. Petersburg Times that Rubio will be focused on his work in the Senate during CPAC week and will then "return to Florida for a working weekend."

According to the paper, Rubio's spokesman denied the senator's decision had anything to do with the controversy over the presence of the gay conservative group GOProud.

You know, CPAC might really want to consider updating their banner to feature leaders who are actually attending the conference this year instead of people like Rubio and Jim DeMint who are boycotting:

Marco Rubio To Skip CPAC

Last year, Marco Rubio was tasked with kicking off the CPAC conference as one of the opening speakers where he received a rapturous welcome.

This year, Rubio - like so many others - is skipping CPAC, though he insists that it is not because of the inclusion of GOProud:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the latest Republican to decline an invite to next month's Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering that typically attracts the nation's most prominent conservative names.

A spokesman for Rubio said the conference isn't on the senator's schedule, telling the St. Petersburg Times that Rubio will be focused on his work in the Senate during CPAC week and will then "return to Florida for a working weekend."

According to the paper, Rubio's spokesman denied the senator's decision had anything to do with the controversy over the presence of the gay conservative group GOProud.

You know, CPAC might really want to consider updating their banner to feature leaders who are actually attending the conference this year instead of people like Rubio and Jim DeMint who are boycotting:

Stemberger Sets Up Legal Defense Fund Backed By Religious Right, Anti-Muslims Activists

As we have noted several times in recent weeks, John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, is facing the possibility of being disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court for misconduct during the Rifqa Bary saga as well as a $10 million lawsuit from the lawyer who represented Bary's Muslim parents.

Stemberger insists that the wild allegations he threw around when he was representing Bary in Florida are protected by the First Amendment and that the lawsuit and misconduct complaint are merely an "attempt to squelch any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam and its tenets" and so he has now set up a legal defense fund with the support not only of Bary, but of several Religious Right leaders:

"Would you please help my friend and lawyer John Stemberger? He defended me at no cost and helped me gain my freedom and is now being attacked by the Muslim lawyer who opposed me in court. Thank you for supporting me.  Will you now also help and support John?" - Rifqa Bary

“America needs warriors who will stand on principle and fight for truth. John Stemberger is a true warrior who has defended American principles through his bold defense of Rifqa Bary. Now the Islamic elements in America want to destroy him. Keep fighting, John.” -General William G. Boykin (retired), United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

“John Stemberger was and is a true patriot for defending Rifqa Bary in court and so we should now all consider helping him defend against these attacks by the same lawyer who fought against Rifqa getting her freedom. The Founding Fathers created the First Amendment to protect exactly the type of political and religious speech involved in this case.”- Historian David Barton, Wallbuilders

“John Stemberger is a man of courage and principle. We need to stand by him now. I support John and would ask you to consider doing the same.” – Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich

“In today’s politically correct culture few people are willing to stand up to the threats against our faith, our families and our freedoms. That is why I am grateful for John Stemberger who has stood up for those who are vulnerable and defenseless, including Rifqa Bary. Now join me in standing with John.” - Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, Washington, D.C.

“I was thrilled to see John Stemberger’s courageous defense of Rifqa Bary, our precious sister. He took a courageous stand and is paying the price because of it. We need people like this who are willing to lay their lives down for the cause of truth and justice on behalf of those who have no strength. Let’s stand with our brother.” - Lou Engle, Founder, TheCall Inc.

Stemberger Sets Up Legal Defense Fund Backed By Religious Right, Anti-Muslims Activists

As we have noted several times in recent weeks, John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, is facing the possibility of being disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court for misconduct during the Rifqa Bary saga as well as a $10 million lawsuit from the lawyer who represented Bary's Muslim parents.

Stemberger insists that the wild allegations he threw around when he was representing Bary in Florida are protected by the First Amendment and that the lawsuit and misconduct complaint are merely an "attempt to squelch any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam and its tenets" and so he has now set up a legal defense fund with the support not only of Bary, but of several Religious Right leaders:

"Would you please help my friend and lawyer John Stemberger? He defended me at no cost and helped me gain my freedom and is now being attacked by the Muslim lawyer who opposed me in court. Thank you for supporting me.  Will you now also help and support John?" - Rifqa Bary

“America needs warriors who will stand on principle and fight for truth. John Stemberger is a true warrior who has defended American principles through his bold defense of Rifqa Bary. Now the Islamic elements in America want to destroy him. Keep fighting, John.” -General William G. Boykin (retired), United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

“John Stemberger was and is a true patriot for defending Rifqa Bary in court and so we should now all consider helping him defend against these attacks by the same lawyer who fought against Rifqa getting her freedom. The Founding Fathers created the First Amendment to protect exactly the type of political and religious speech involved in this case.”- Historian David Barton, Wallbuilders

“John Stemberger is a man of courage and principle. We need to stand by him now. I support John and would ask you to consider doing the same.” – Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich

“In today’s politically correct culture few people are willing to stand up to the threats against our faith, our families and our freedoms. That is why I am grateful for John Stemberger who has stood up for those who are vulnerable and defenseless, including Rifqa Bary. Now join me in standing with John.” - Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, Washington, D.C.

“I was thrilled to see John Stemberger’s courageous defense of Rifqa Bary, our precious sister. He took a courageous stand and is paying the price because of it. We need people like this who are willing to lay their lives down for the cause of truth and justice on behalf of those who have no strength. Let’s stand with our brother.” - Lou Engle, Founder, TheCall Inc.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Health Care Reform Repeal: Bought and Paid for by Citizens United.
     
  • Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Rep. Louie Gohmert: ‘I’m Going To Be Pushing…To Have Some Hearings’ On The Creeping Threat Of Sharia Law.
     
  • Joe.My.God: Gov. Rick Scott Appoints "Christians Only" Activist To Head State Agency On Adoptions.
     
  • Alan Colmes: Christine O’Donnell Finding A New Way To Pay Rent?
     
  • Jason Hancock @ Iowa Independent: Marriage amendment introduced in Iowa House.
     
  • Media Matters: Limbaugh Mocks Chinese President's Untranslated Speech.
     
  • Rachel Slajda @ TPM: CPAC To Host Panel Called 'Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave Of The 9/11 Attacks'.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • PFAW: Health Care Reform Repeal: Bought and Paid for by Citizens United.
     
  • Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Rep. Louie Gohmert: ‘I’m Going To Be Pushing…To Have Some Hearings’ On The Creeping Threat Of Sharia Law.
     
  • Joe.My.God: Gov. Rick Scott Appoints "Christians Only" Activist To Head State Agency On Adoptions.
     
  • Alan Colmes: Christine O’Donnell Finding A New Way To Pay Rent?
     
  • Jason Hancock @ Iowa Independent: Marriage amendment introduced in Iowa House.
     
  • Media Matters: Limbaugh Mocks Chinese President's Untranslated Speech.
     
  • Rachel Slajda @ TPM: CPAC To Host Panel Called 'Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave Of The 9/11 Attacks'.

Porter Returns to Her Roots In Ohio

Janet Porter got her start in Religious Right politics back in Ohio, serving as the Legislative Director of Ohio Right to Life.  Eventually, she was lured away to Florida by D. James Kennedy to serve as the National Director for his Center for Reclaiming America.  After a few years, Porter then struck out on her own, launching Faith 2 Action and hosting a daily radio program that went increasingly off the rails until her operation was shut down due to her increasing involvement with Dominion Theology and self-proclaimed "prophets" like Cindy Jacobs.

And now things have come full circle, as Porter has moved back to Ohio and is applying her patented "send X number of Ys in support of Z" brand of activism to a piece of anti-choice legislation called "the Heartbeat Bill"

Representative Lynn Wachtmann, the new Chairman of the House Health Committee, has announced he will be introducing the "Heartbeat Bill" in the Ohio House which will protect unborn babies from abortion once their hearts have begun to beat.

"Science has already given us a yardstick to determine if someone is alive--a beating heart;" said Wachtmann, "We just want to see that measurement applied evenly. This bill calls for an end to discrimination and the protection of every human being with a beating heart--no matter their age!"

...

Janet (Folger) Porter, former Legislative Director of Ohio Right to Life, and President of Faith2Action, has moved back to Ohio to help lead the effort. "Ohio is going to make history again," said Porter, who helped to pass the nation’s first partial-birth abortion ban in 1995. "My last conversation with my dear friend Mark Lally, Ohio Right to Life's Legal Counsel, before he passed away, was about this very bill. We're going to pass it in his honor," added Porter.

Balloons ordered now will be delivered the week of Valentine's Day, when the bill is scheduled for introduction. Orders can be placed by going to http://www.HeartBeatBill.com before February 14th. Each balloon will come with a personalized card from the sender with the message: "Have a heart, Pass the Heartbeat Bill!"

Porter Returns to Her Roots In Ohio

Janet Porter got her start in Religious Right politics back in Ohio, serving as the Legislative Director of Ohio Right to Life.  Eventually, she was lured away to Florida by D. James Kennedy to serve as the National Director for his Center for Reclaiming America.  After a few years, Porter then struck out on her own, launching Faith 2 Action and hosting a daily radio program that went increasingly off the rails until her operation was shut down due to her increasing involvement with Dominion Theology and self-proclaimed "prophets" like Cindy Jacobs.

And now things have come full circle, as Porter has moved back to Ohio and is applying her patented "send X number of Ys in support of Z" brand of activism to a piece of anti-choice legislation called "the Heartbeat Bill"

Representative Lynn Wachtmann, the new Chairman of the House Health Committee, has announced he will be introducing the "Heartbeat Bill" in the Ohio House which will protect unborn babies from abortion once their hearts have begun to beat.

"Science has already given us a yardstick to determine if someone is alive--a beating heart;" said Wachtmann, "We just want to see that measurement applied evenly. This bill calls for an end to discrimination and the protection of every human being with a beating heart--no matter their age!"

...

Janet (Folger) Porter, former Legislative Director of Ohio Right to Life, and President of Faith2Action, has moved back to Ohio to help lead the effort. "Ohio is going to make history again," said Porter, who helped to pass the nation’s first partial-birth abortion ban in 1995. "My last conversation with my dear friend Mark Lally, Ohio Right to Life's Legal Counsel, before he passed away, was about this very bill. We're going to pass it in his honor," added Porter.

Balloons ordered now will be delivered the week of Valentine's Day, when the bill is scheduled for introduction. Orders can be placed by going to http://www.HeartBeatBill.com before February 14th. Each balloon will come with a personalized card from the sender with the message: "Have a heart, Pass the Heartbeat Bill!"

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 1/11/10

Michele Bachmann

PAC: Vast majority of MICHELE PAC money went to Iowa politicians or PACs (National Journal, 1/10).

Religious Right: Potential 2012 bid wins plaudits from Religious Right activists (RWW, 1/10).

Iowa: Speaks to Iowans for Tax Relief PAC in Des Moines on 1/21 (Iowans for Tax Relief PAC, 1/7).

Mitch Daniels

Indiana: Makes 7th State of the State address with emphasis on education (South Bend Tribune, 1/11).

CPAC: To address the Conservative Political Action Conference along with other 2012 prospects (Politico, 1/6).

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Invited to speak at the Freedom Federation’s Awakening 2011 along with other potential 2012 candidates (RWW, 1/10).

Iowa: Listed to address Iowa Renewable Fuels Association in Des Moines on Janurary 25th (Des Moines Register, 1/10).

Mike Huckabee

Iowa: New poll shows Huckabee on top with 24% support from Republicans (TPM, 1/10).

Poll: Gallup finds in nationwide poll that Huckabee has the highest favorable rating among potential GOP candidates (WSJ, 1/10).

Reproductive Rights: Scheduled to address anti-choice fundraise in Tennessee on February, 14th (Knoxville News Sentinel, 1/9).

Sarah Palin

Extremism: Faces torrent of criticism over "bullseye" map with target on Giffords's congressional district, defends herself to Glenn Beck (The Week & NYDN, 1/10).

Reality TV: Doesn't sign on for a second season of Sarah Palin's Alaska (Forbes, 1/10).

Tim Pawlenty

2012: Tells newspaper he is "seriously considering running for president" (St. Petersburg Times, 1/10).

Book: Memoir focuses on his faith, attacks on Obama (MN Public Radio, 1/8).

Palin: Calls Sarah Palin "a force of nature" (Mediaite, 1/7).

Mike Pence

Reproductive Rights: Introduces legislation to de-fund Planned Parenthood (Human Events, 1/10).

2012: Tells an Indiana Rotary Club that he will decide on future political plans by the end of January (The Republic, 1/10).

South Carolina: Keynote speaker for South Carolina’s America Conference (Politico, 1/4).

Mitt Romney

Foreign affairs: Met with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai as plan of tour of Afghanistan and Middle East (Boston Globe, 1/10).

Poll: Pew poll has Romney as most competitive candidate against Obama in Nevada (UPI, 1/10).

Rick Santorum

Religious Right: Speaks with group founded by right-wing activist Ovide Lamontagne (Granite Oath PAC, 1/10).

New Hampshire: Hires GOP Congressman Frank Guinta’s strategist as state director of his America’s Foundation PAC (Union Leader, 1/5).

GOP: Says Romney’s Massachusetts health care law will make it “very hard for us to nominate” him (National Journal, 1/4).

Personhood Movement Announces 50-State Strategy

The anti-choice movement to use state ballot initiatives to give fetuses and embryos legal rights has announced a nationwide petition drive to bring their radical measure to all fifty states. Opponents of reproductive rights hope to use “personhood amendments” to criminalize abortion, stem-cell research, and common forms of birth control by giving zygotes constitutional protections. While the amendment failed miserably at the polls in Colorado, Personhood USA hopes to bring personhood amendments to states such as Florida, Mississippi, Montana, and Wisconsin, among others.

Personhood activists have their hopes set on Mississippi, where the amendment will be voted on in November. Personhood Mississippi is led by Les Riley, a member of an extreme separatist organization called Christian Exodus, and Riley’s campaign has received the support of notable Republicans like Congressman Alan Nunnelee and Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Phil Bryant, and groups such as the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel.

Now, Personhood USA has launched petition drives in every single state. According to the group, they already have gathered over 900,000 signatures:

"Now in every state in America, prolife volunteers are engaging their communities with the truth of personhood, and are working to change the laws as citizens or lobbying the lawmakers in their state to do their job and protect every person by love and by law, " stated Keith Mason, cofounder of Personhood USA. "We are thrilled to have met our goal to be in all 50 states in just two years, and we are so thankful to be closing in on 1 million signatures defending the personhood of the preborn child."



"Personhood USA functions as a support system, giving as little or as much help as needed, and we have truly been blessed by Jesus Christ as He is accomplishing so much through us in just the past two years. We can't wait to see what He does, in all 50 states, in 2011," added Cal Zastrow, cofounder of Personhood USA. "We will keep working hard for the rights of preborn children, knowing that this is the best chance we've ever had to end abortion in America."

Watch Les Riley explain to the AFA’s Director of Issue Analysis Bryan Fischer back in October about the Personhood movement’s plan to overturn abortion rights:

FL Bar Wants Stemberger Disciplined for Misconduct

You may recall John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, from his involvement a few years back as the Rifqa Bary saga was being played out in Florida, when he used short-lived role as Bary's attorney as an opportunity to recklessly sling allegations that her Muslim parents had ties to terrorist organizations and that she had been physically and sexually abused by family members.

Because of his actions, Stemberger is facing a $10 million lawsuit from the attorney who represented Bary's parents and is now looking at being disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court for misconduct:

The Florida Bar asked the state Supreme Court to discipline Orlando lawyer John Stemberger for his conduct in the high-profile case of teenage runaway Rifqa Bary, according to documents released Tuesday ... According to a complaint mailed to the Florida Supreme Court on Monday, that action would have ended Stemberger's representation of Bary.

But Stemberger went on Fox News on four separate occasions and said or implied during the ongoing dependency case in Ohio that he remained Bary's attorney, the complaint said.

Stemberger also accused Omar Tarazi, the attorney for Bary's parents, of being paid by terrorist-associated organizations.

At the time, Tarazi was under a gag order in the Ohio case and couldn't refute the accusations, the Bar's complaint said.

Tarazi, in his complaint to The Florida Bar, accused Stemberger of making false and damaging statements about him.

...

On Tuesday, Stemberger responded to the complaint, by saying in a statement: "I have talked with several former members of other grievance committees who have stated that this complaint should have been closed down by the Bar immediately after it was filed as being without merit …In time, the facts presented, will cause this frivolous complaint filed by a disgruntled, opposing lawyer who lost his case to be dismissed."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • I just wanted to point it that it has now been one year since Lisa Miller kidnapped her daughter and disappeared.
  • NOM seems quite pleased that most of the candidates for RNC chair oppose marriage equality.
  • Orson Scott Card says Mormon's will never forgive Mike Huckabee's "viciously anti-Mormon mockery of Mitt Romney during the 2008 campaign."
  • Gov. Mitch Daniels stands by his call for a "truce" in the culture wars.
  • Apparently, the fact that a Florida man was allegedly mocked for his faith is a sign of the End Times.
  • The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission's list of the "Top Ten Anti-Christian Events in 2010" seems to consist of only four things.

Porter Planning Another Values Voter Presidential Debate

In May of 2010, Janet Porter's Faith 2 Action ministry more or less came to a grinding halt when her radio show was dropped by VCY America due to Porter's embrace of 7 Mountains/Dominionist theology as demonstrated by the May Day Prayer Rally she organized on the National Mall.

Since then, Porter has become even more involved in the Dominionist movement and continued to align herself with Cindy Jacobs.  And being freed from the responsibility to produce a daily radio show has given Porter an opportunity to focus on the important things ... like organizing another Values Voter Presidential Debate

It has been a difficult year for the ministry and for me in a number of ways, but I have chosen to thank God for it ... As we look forward to 2011, the exciting news that I have to announce is that we’re planning to do another “Values Voter Presidential Debate” next fall in Ohio. I'd like to host a convention prior to the event -- what do you think? That way, instead of a :30 second question from our nation's leaders, we would also get to hear from many of them -- including, perhaps, some leaders from the Tea Party movement. Is that something you could get behind?

Putting together a Presidential Debate comes with a price tag of close to $100,000. It could, however, put the candidates on record on the issues that matter most to us, and with the delegates equipped with keypads to vote, it could help determine the best candidate for Christians and pro-family Americans to rally behind. The debate, convention, and movie, as well as our ongoing work of producing commentaries & maintaining the website, will require much prayer, effort, and funds. If you want Faith2Action to continue this important work, please consider making as large of a year-end gift and/or monthly pledge for 2011 as possible.

The first Values Voter Debate was held in Florida in 2007 and featured a who's who of Religious Right activists and several GOP presidential hopefuls like Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback, and Mike Huckabee, who received Porter's annointing, as a choir asked "Why Should God Bless America?"

So it remains to be seen if Republican presidential hopefuls will really show up to a debate organized by a woman who prays that God will give Christians like her complete control over all levels of government:

David Barton's Utter Disregard for Fact and Accuracy

I've already pointed out how ridiculous David Barton's election analysis has been, but since he keeps spewing his nonsense, I guess I'll just have to keep point it out.

Here is Barton's latest:

New findings show that the 2010 midterm elections saw the highest Christian voter turnout ever.

"We had a very high Christian voter turnout two years ago, but they did not bring their values with them," explains David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, which is an organization that supports the moral, religious and constitutional foundation on which America was built.

He says only one percent of voters considered marriage to be an issue in 2008, but that statistic reached 53 percent this year. Moreover, only six percent of voters thought abortion was an issue in 2009, but that margin jumped to 30 percent by last month's elections.

"You [clearly] have Christians showing up. Not only did they show up this time, they actually brought their values with them," Barton notes. "And not only did they bring their values, they voted their values." 

Really?  In 2008, anti-gay marriage amendments passed in California, Arizona, and Florida ... but Barton wants us to believe that only "one percent of voters considered marriage to be an issue"?

Please. 

What post-election surveys show is that only one percent thought marriage was the most important issue, which is obviously a completely different finding.

But then Barton goes on to comapre that one percent figure to exit polls from 2010 showing that 53% of respondents answered "No" to the question "Should Same-Sex Marriages Be Legally Recognized?" as if that was an accurate comparison.

Similarly, only nine percent considered abortion to be the most important issue in 2008 but Barton compares that to a poll showing that "thirty percent of voters said that abortion 'affected' their vote," despite the fact that considering something "the most important issue" and stating that it to "affected" one's vote are completely different things.

One percent thought marriage was the most important issue in 2008 while nine percent thought abortion was the most important issue - but Barton baselessly compares those figures to completely unrelated figures from 2010 in an effort to make it look like the electorate suddenly cares primarily about his Religious Right agend.

House GOP Picks Ethically-Challenged Freshmen for Judiciary Committee

The House Republican Leadership recently announced that incoming Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino and Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin have been assigned seats on Rep. Lamar Smith’s Judiciary Committee. Marino and Griffin, who were profiled in Right Wing Watch’s The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress, are peculiar picks for a committee which has “jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies” since both Republicans were dogged by corruption and ethics scandals prior to their successful bids for Congress.

Marino resigned from his position as a US Attorney in the wake of a brewing scandal over his ties to resort owner and convicted felon Louis DeNaples. He described DeNaples as his “close friend” and provided a reference for DeNaples when he attempted to win state approval to have slot machines at his resort.

But when Marino’s own office opened an investigation into DeNaples over his ties to organized crime, Marino's assistants discovered the reference and the Department of Justice (DOJ) transferred the case to the US Attorney of Binghamton, NY. The DOJ later launched an investigation of Marino “for allegedly violating several department guidelines” over the “reference letter he wrote to help Louis DeNaples get a casino license,” but the investigation ended once Marino resigned.

Responding to criticism about his ties to DeNaples, Marino declared during an interview that he has evidence the DOJ gave him permission to serve as a reference. However, Boryk Krawczeniuk of The Times-Tribune found that DOJ officials never gave him permission, and Marino failed to produce his “evidence.” Krawczeniuk writes that the DOJ confirmed to multiple news outlets that Marino never sought or received such permission: “an Associated Press story, quoting an anonymous Justice Department source, said the department had ‘no record’ that Mr. Marino sought or received Justice authorization to serve as a reference for Mr. DeNaples. A Justice spokeswoman confirmed the department had no such record last week to The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, which is owned by the same company as The Times-Tribune.”

Eventually, Marino backed away from his false claim that he was given permission from the DOJ, and “told the Sunbury Daily Item he never asked the Justice Department for permission to serve as a reference.”

After Marino resigned in order to end the DOJ investigations into his actions, he quickly obtained a $250,000-a-year job as “DeNaples’ in-house lawyer.” In his financial disclosure form, Marino under-reported his income and stated that his DeNaples’ salary was just $25,000 annually.

The conservative blog RedState’s Zack Oldham said of Marino’s actions: “The reality is just as bad as–if not worse than–the optics of this scandal.”

Marino’s relationship with DeNaples and his attempts to cover-up his ethics troubles were not his first encounter with ethics questions. As a District Attorney, Marino approached a judge to toss out his friend’s conviction on drug charges. After the Judge refused, the Luzeme County Citizens Voice reports that Marino “approached another judge and won the expungement, but the plan backfired when the second judge learned of the first judge's involvement in the case.”

Despite the corruption accusations, false statements, and the DOJ investigation which plagued Marino’s legal career, House Republicans still picked him for a Judiciary Committee post. Perhaps, Marino was picked due to his staunchly anti-immigrant views, as incoming Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) intends to use the committee to push a hard line agenda that includes overturning the 14th Amendment’s of birthright citizenship. Marino opposes comprehensive immigration reform, backs Arizona’s draconian SB 1070, and was endorsed by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been described as a “nativist extremist organization.” Just as Smith said that President Obama was “awfully close to a violation of [his] oath of office” as a result of his immigration policy, Marino said he would consider impeaching the President over his handling of immigration.

Like Marino, freshman Tim Griffin was forced to resign as a US Attorney and faced his own ethics questions. Griffin worked his way up through the Republican Party ranks through his work in opposition research and was known as “a protégé of Karl Rove.” He worked for the Bush presidential campaigns and has ties to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Griffin then aided efforts in the Bush White House to replace US Attorneys with partisan appointees, and then-US Attorney Paul Charlton said that Griffin “spread the rumors around the White House that Bud Cummins,” who was the US Attorney of Northeast Arkansas at the time, “was not a good U.S. attorney.”

When Cummins was fired, Griffin was appointed to take his place. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNaulty later testified that “Cummings was fired to make a place for Griffin at the urging of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers,” the former White House Counsel. Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s Chief of Staff, wrote in an email that “getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.” Former US Attorney David Iglesias, said that Tim Griffin “never should have been U.S. Attorney, he was fundamentally unqualified.”

However, Griffin resigned from his position as US Attorney when the BBC uncovered documents showing his work in “vote caging” operations in Florida while he was working for the Bush reelection campaign. Griffin tried to suppress the vote by designing and sending out “caging lists” which “were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.”

The Arkansas Leader wrote that “The White House intended to fully consolidate the entire federal criminal justice system into its political operation” and Griffin’s “resignation or dismissal ought to be imminent.” Griffin resigned from his post as US Attorney on May 30, 2007.

Now, two former US Attorneys who resigned under the cloud of scandal will have seats on the Judiciary Committee. By selecting Marino and Griffin, the Republican leadership rewarded coveted posts to two freshmen with serious and troubling ethics questions on the committee which oversees the court system, the rule of law, and law enforcement.

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