abortion rights

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:

Herman Cain: The Right Wing Sleeper Candidate in 2012?

Politico’s Ben Smith discussed today the unforeseen possibility that right wing activist Herman Cain could be a surprise Republican candidate for president, after he bested all other Republicans in an online straw poll conducted by the conservative blog RedState. Cain, an African American businessman and radio talk show host, even topped Sarah Palin, who came in second, to be the favorite of the right wing blogosphere. Erick Erickson of RedState writes, “I like Herman Cain and, though truth be told I never thought he’d make it past Mike Pence, I am delightfully surprised by the results.”

There is already a Draft Cain movement and he operates his own political action committee, called The Hermanator PAC (seriously). He has received praise from conservative darlings from Bishop Harry Jackson and Bryan Fischer to Joe the Plumber, and Cain himself is talking-up his chances at a presidential bid, telling The Daily Caller: “I will run proudly as a non-establishment candidate. I think the public has an appetite for a non-establishment candidate.” More recently, Cain told Fischer on the American Family Association’s radio program that after Republican gains in November, he is “one step closer” to running for President. When pondering a run, he explained: “No I don’t want to…but I feel like I must run.”

Of course, a 2012 presidential run wouldn’t be Cain’s first foray into politics. Cain is closely involved with Tea Party organizations and co-signed a letter with prominent right wing leaders asking the GOP leadership make “restoring traditional moral values” a key part of their agenda. He also ran for US Senate in 2004 in his home state of Georgia but garnered just 26% of the vote and lost to Senator Johnny Isakson in the GOP primary.

During the 2006 election, Cain was the public face of America’s PAC, a group that used stereotypical language and imagery when calling on Black voters to support Republicans. Cain, who voiced many of the group’s ads, maintained, “The main thing that America’s Pac is up to is it basically is challenging the thesis or the belief on the part of the Republican Party that they cannot attract the black vote.” America’s PAC suggested that Democrats were “decimating our population” by supporting abortion rights:

“Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies,” a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background.

“The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual's right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote. Why don't they want our lives?”

Or as put in another ad:

Michael: And if you make a little mistake with one of your ho’s, you’ll want to dispose of that problem toot sweet, no questions asked, right?

Dennis: Naw, that’s too cold. I don’t snuff my own seed

Michael: Huh. Really? (pause) Well, maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican!

America’s PAC was heavily backed by Republican financiers and led by a conservative activist who said that teaching evolution is “tantamount to teaching atheism.” Another one of their ads suggested that Democrats who opposed the Iraq War were treacherously allied with racist and right wing leader David Duke, who also opposed the war:

Now, I can understand why a Ku Klux Klan cracker like David Duke makes nice with the terrorists. They fight voting rights in Iraq, just like he does back home. But what I want to know is why so many of the Democrat politicians I helped elect are on the same side of the Iraq war as David Duke.

According to a report by the New York Sun, “Many of the ads with conservative social themes are sandwiched between hip-hop songs that convey blunt sexual messages. A spokesman for America’s Pac, John Altevogt, said no stations have refused the ads, but a few asked for minor edits, such as the removal of the word ‘cracker’ from the David Duke spot.”

However, the ads failed to produce significant gains for the GOP among Black voters, as nine in ten African Americans backed Democratic candidates in 2006.

Certainly, the Tea Party, the Religious Right, and the GOP will seek Cain’s help to attract Black voters in case his presidential run fails to get off the ground. Judging by his track record at America’s PAC in 2006, they may want to look elsewhere.

 

Anti-Choice Crowd Celebrates as GOP Picks Joe Pitts, Presses for New Restrictions on Abortion

When Michigan Republican Fred Upton was tarred as a “moderate” during his campaign to lead the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, leading anti-choice groups including the National Right to Life Committee and the Susan B. Anthony List suggested back in November that they could support Upton if he picks Joe Pitts to chair the Health Subcommittee. Pitts, the co-author of the restrictive Stupak-Pitts amendment during the health care reform debate, is one of the most fervently anti-choice members of Congress. Now, Upton won his campaign to lead the committee and selected Pitts to chair the Health Subcommittee which not only deals with health care legislation but also sets policy with regards to abortion rights and reproductive health.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser called Pitts’s appointment “a major pro-life victory,” and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told LifeNews that Pitts is committed to passing anti-choice legislation to stop the purported taxpayer funding of abortion.

While the nonpartisan PolitiFact already determined that rightwing claims of taxpayer funding for abortion are false and simply untrue, the facts didn’t stop groups like SBA List, CitizenLink (formerly Focus on the Family Action), and the Family Research Council from spreading the badly misleading claim.

The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” better known as “Stupak on steroids” would impel private insurers to drop abortion coverage by taking away the insurance plans’ tax deductions, make the Hyde Amendment permanent, and prevent “any government department from funding any program that touches on abortion in any way, however notional.” There is already a drive by Mike Pence and Michele Bachmann to pass the "Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act," which would de-fund reproductive healthcare organizations which provide abortions, like Planned Parenthood, even though such financing does not go to abortion coverage.

During an interview with CNSNews, Bachmann was asked “What should Republicans do to advance protections for the lives of those unborn babies who are being slaughtered in this country?” Bachmann repeats the two baseless and fallacious claims that women in Pennsylvania received taxpayer funding for abortions and that “for the first time in American history under Obamacare, socialized medicine, under President Obama, we have federal funding of abortion.” She also calls for the reinstatement of the global gag rule, which cuts off US funding to international family planning services.

Watch:

Meet Congressman-Elect Tom Marino: Plagued by Corruption Charges

Following the election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our ninth candidate profile is on Tom Marino of Pennsylvania:

In 2007, Tom Marino resigned from his position as US Attorney in Pennsylvania after a corruption scandal clouded his career and raised questions about his honesty. Marino had used his official title as US Attorney to provide a reference in 2005 to his “close friend,” convicted felon Louis DeNaples, who was trying to win the state gaming commission’s approval to open slot machines at a resort he owned. When his office began an investigation into DeNaples for lying about his ties to organized crime, Marino's assistants uncovered his reference and notified the Justice Department, which transferred the investigation out of Marino’s office. But questions about Marino’s ties to DeNaples remained.

Defending his actions, Marino said on a local radio show that the Department of Justice gave him permission to be a reference for DeNaples. But the Justice Department says there is “no record of Marino having received the permission” to serve as a reference for DeNaples and that Marino never informed the General Counsel office. Although Marino stands by his claim that he received written permission, he failed to produce any letter from the Department.

When the Justice Department launched an investigation into Marino’s actions, he resigned and promptly took a $250,000-a-year job as “DeNaples’ in-house lawyer.” Marino later under-reported his income on his financial disclosure forms, reporting that he only received $25,000 from DeNaples. Even Zack Oldham of the conservative blog RedState said of Marino’s actions: “The reality is just as bad as–if not worse than–the optics of this scandal.”

The DeNaples affair wasn’t even the first time Marino had run into corruption accusations. When Marino was District Attorney in Lycoming County, he tried to get a friend out of a drug charge by going behind the back of the county judge who had refused to toss out his friend’s conviction. According to the Luzeme County Citizens Voice, 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.”

Marino continued to struggle with the truth in his campaign for Congress. He criticized his opponent, Rep. Chris Carney, for leaving Washington as an anti-abortion rights bill was being circulated during the health care reform debate. Carney was not in Washington at the time because his wife was undergoing surgery for breast cancer.

He later alleged that Carney “has no problem spending taxpayers’ money for abortions” and that Pennsylvania women were receiving taxpayer-subsidized abortions under the new health care law, even though nonpartisan fact-checkers have confirmed, repeatedly, that the law prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion.

Marino also berated his opponent for refusing to take questions from the press on political matters after Carney, a Navy Reservist, was called for active duty and was barred by law from making “statements to or answer questions from the news media regarding political issues or regarding government policies.”

But his ethical challenges have not kept the far-right from embracing him. In fact, his rightwing politics have earned him the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, Rick Santorum’s America’s Foundation, Mike Huckabee’s HuckPAC, the Family Research Council, and the Government Is Not God PAC.

On the issue of immigration, Marino opposes a pathway for citizenship for illegal immigrants, and touts his endorsement from Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been called a “nativist extremist organization” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In his Americans for Legal Immigration PAC survey, Marino says he strongly favors Arizona’s severe SB 1070 law, would refuse to support comprehensive immigration reform, and that he would consider impeaching the President over immigration policy.

Marino said he would vote against extending unemployment benefits, maintaining that some of the people on unemployment simply don’t “want to go get work because they are being paid to stay home.” He said that non-senior citizens should face cuts in Social Security benefits if not the elimination of the program altogether, saying: “my generation and probably the generation that follows me, we are going to have to step up to the plate and say, ‘We are not going to get Social Security.’” The 60 Plus Association, a front group for the health care and pharmaceutical industries which supports privatizing Social Security, aired TV ads on Marino’s behalf.

In a radio interview in August, Marino reportedly suggested eliminating the IRS and the Departments of Education and Energy and replacing them with new agencies, saying, “There’s got to be a total revolution there.”

Despite the ethical cloud surrounding Marino, his hard-line conservative views and support from the Radical Right helped him win election to Congress. Watch this segment from an NBC affiliate revealing Marino’s ethical troubles:

 

 

 

Meet Tim Walberg: The Birthers’ Man in Washington

Following the midterm elections, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Today, meet Tim Walberg, who “was a tea partier before there was a tea party”:

Tim Walberg, who is returning to the House next year after representing Michigan's 7th district for one term from 2007-2009, brags that he “was a tea partier before there was a tea party.” Indeed, Walberg enthusiastically embraces the most extreme aspects of the Tea Party—from corporate pandering and vowing to cut social safety-net programs to far-right views on social issues and a predilection for conspiracy theories.

Walberg is perhaps most famous for his unabashed embrace of birtherism. Asked by a radio show caller if he thinks President Obama is an American citizen or a Muslim, Walberg responded:

"You know, I don't know, I really don't know," Walberg responded. "We don't have enough information about this President. He was never given a job interview that was complete."

"But that's not the issue now," Walberg went on. "He is President. Right now, we need to make sure that he doesn't remain as President. Whether he's American, a Muslim, a Christian, you name it."

While other candidates have tried to tiptoe away from their own birther claims, Walberg later doubled down, saying that he would “take [Obama] at his word that he’s an American citizen”…and then suggested that Congress impeach Obama in order to obtain a copy of his birth certificate.

But birtherism isn’t the only right-wing conspiracy theory that Walberg backs. He has repeated the bizarre—and completely debunked—theory that the Chinese are drilling for oil off the coast of Florida. And he continues to repeat discredited ideas about the origins of the Iraq war. He said that Saddam Hussein funded the Al Qaeda terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, and insisted in a debate last month that Iraq “absolutely” had weapons of mass destruction before the American invasion—something that even George W. Bush now admits is not true.

Walberg backs an extreme pro-corporate economic agenda. When Walberg first won election in 2006, the ultra-conservative Club For Growth counted his victory as its own, bragging that its PAC “scored its first-ever knock-out of an incumbent” when Walberg defeat a moderate incumbent in the Republican primary. The Club for Grouth had poured millions of dollars into Walberg’s 2006 campaign, spending $1 million in the primary, and then producing vicious attack adds against his Democratic opponent in the general election. This year, American Future Fund, an especially shadowy group with ties to Big Agriculture, spent over $500,000 to run an ad attacking Walberg’s opponent with false claims about health care reform and clean energy legislation.

And, it seems, Walberg’s big business backers will get what they paid for. The League of Conservation Voters named him to their 2010 Dirty Dozen, the second time he had made that list. During his one previous term in Congress, LCV said, “Walberg opposed every major clean energy reform…earning a 0% LCV score.” LCV continued, “During his two years in office, he was on the wrong side of conservation and clean energy on 32 out of 33 votes. He even voted against the No Child Left Inside Act, designed to help educate children about the natural environment.” Indeed, no clean energy effort is too small to earn Walberg’s disdain: on the campaign trail, he slammed Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm for riding her bicycle to work.

Walberg wants to dramatically cut social safety net programs, and directs much of his scorn on Social Security. He’s advocated for privatizing the program, and agreed with a supporter at a Tea Party event who said Social Security is unconstitutional and “a Ponzi scheme.” In 2006, he called Social Security “socialism at its finest,” adding, “That’s defined as socialism when the government is required to take care of us all.”

Walberg’s Religious Right credentials are also stellar. He opposes abortion rights, including in cases of rape or incest. As a member of the House, he cosponsored two bills that, according to NARAL, “would end all legal abortion, most common forms of birth control, stem cell research, and in vitro fertilization". He voted against a bill that would have provided for stem cell research.

In 2008, Walberg was the only member of the House education committee to vote “no” on extending funding for the Head Start program. He objected to a provision in the bill that prohibited Head Start preschools from discriminating based on religion, warning that a Christian parochial school might have to hire a Muslim or “a Wiccan from a coven in Ann Arbor.”

In the House, Walberg voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and against expanding hate crimes legislation to include gender identity and sexual orientation, and against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He also opposed equal pay legislation and the 2008 Paycheck Fairness Act.
 

 

Meet Lou Barletta: America's Anti-Immigrant Mayor Heads to Congress

Following last Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our sixth candidate profile is on Lou Barletta, America’s anti-immigrant mayor:

Those disappointed to see anti-immigrant zealot Tom Tancredo off the national political stage will find a similar one-issue firebrand in Pennsylvania congressman-elect Lou Barletta.

Barletta rose to national prominence as the mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a small working class city that in 2006 enacted some of the most draconian anti-immigrant measures in the country. Hazleton’s law put tough penalties on individuals and businesses who knowingly or unknowingly did business with undocumented immigrants—it revoked for five years the business license of any business caught employing an undocumented immigrant, and slapped landlords renting to undocumented immigrants with a $1,000-a-day fine. The law also declared English the official language of Hazleton, and prohibited city officials from translating documents without permission.

When the law passed, Barletta told the Washington Post, “I will get rid of the illegal people. It's this simple: They must leave." On the day the city passed the measure, Barletta wore a bulletproof vest to illustrate his concern over crimes he said were being committed by undocumented immigrants. Statistics, however, showed that undocumented immigrants were hardly responsible for a crime wave in Hazelton: the city’s data showed that of 8,575 felonies committed in the city between 2000 and 2007, 20 had been linked to undocumented immigrants. Later, forced to admit that he had no proof of an illegal immigrant-caused crime wave, or proof that illegal immigrants were crowding Hazleton’s schools and hospitals, or even any idea how many illegal immigrants were in Hazelton, Barletta responded, “The people in my city don’t need numbers.”

After the law took effect, businesses catering to Latino residents that had revitalized Hazleton’s downtown area saw a sharp drop in business, and Latino residents reported increased hostility from white residents.

A federal judge struck down Barletta’s law in 2007, writing, "The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public. Hazleton, in its zeal to control the presence of a group deemed undesirable, violated the rights of such people, as well as others within the community." An appeals court this year upheld the ruling.

Although Barletta claimed to be defending “the legal taxpayer of any race,” he admitted that he found inspiration for the law from the website of self-described “proud nationalist” Jim Turner, who pushed a similar measure in San Bernardino, California to prevent the state from becoming, as he put it, a “Third World Cesspool.”

As copy-cat laws started to pop up in towns around the country, Barletta became a hero to anti-immigrant and nativist groups. When he ran for Congress in 2008, Barletta’s campaign received $10,920 from the Minuteman PAC, the political spending arm of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a vigilante border-patrol group that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “nativist extremist.” It was the largest donation the Minuteman PAC made to a candidate that year.

In 2009, Barletta drew fire for speaking at a conference hosted by The American Cause, a group that had earlier that year released a report urging the Republican Party to not “pander to pro-amnesty Hispanics and swing voters,” and instead to put anti-immigrant policies at the forefront of the party’s strategy. The report was authored by several anti-immigrant advocates, many who had clear records of dabbling in white supremacy. The executive director of the group, and main author of the report, had even been charged with a hate crime against an African American woman. The immigrants’ rights group America’s Voice described the 2009 conference as “a forum for white nationalists to forge ties with ‘mainstream’ media commentators and conservative leaders.”

Although Barletta frames most of his politics through the lens of illegal immigration, he has also embraced Tea Party talking points on social issues, the environment, and the scope of government. In a candidates’ debate, he said his first action as a member of Congress would be to vote to repeal health care reform. He says the Affordable Care Act brought about “nationalized health care” and said it would put “life-affecting health decisions in the hands of bureaucrats,” and echoed the false claim raised by many in the Tea Party that health care reform “will take $500 billion out of Medicare." He told a forum in Pocono, "We're afraid of our government. We're afraid of what our government is going to do” and claimed on his campaign website that President Obama and Democrats in Congress are “spending our country into servitude.”

In terms of government spending, Barletta took particular issue with the comparatively miniscule $1.1 million that was spent to send members of Congress and their staffers to last year’s climate summit in Copenhagen. He claims to be a climate change skeptic, saying, “You know there's arguments on both sides. I'm not convinced that there's scientific evidence that proves that. I believe there's some that can also argue the opposite.”

When Obama created a panel to distribute recovery funds from BP’s $20 billion escrow account after the Gulf oil spill, Barletta said, “It’s exactly what the people of the Gulf don’t need – more bureaucracy.”

Barletta’s record as mayor of Hazleton doesn’t speak well, however, for his future as a fiscal problem solver: his budget for Hazleton last year hikes taxes and fees, and called for laying off government workers—including a number of police officers. As Barletta leaves office, Hazleton has the highest rate of unemployment in Pennsylvania. Despite raising taxes as Mayor of Hazleton, Barletta has signed Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge to never raise taxes in Washington.

Barletta opposes marriage equality, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, and abortion rights. He has also embraced right-wing conspiracy theories about government-run “death panels” and the imminent risk of human cloning, stating on his website, “I will oppose the efforts of some to increase or expand the protection or establishment of legal euthanasia, abortion, and human cloning. As Congress begins to tackle the issues of Medicare and health care reform, I will never support a program that results in rationing of life-saving procedures to those covered under those programs.”

In his predictably hostile response to the planned Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, he advanced the popular right-wing pseudo-historical theory of Muslim “victory mosques.”

While Barletta, it seems, will be a reliable vote for the Republican Party’s far-right wing, he’s already emerging as a leader on anti-immigrant zealotry. Two days after the election, he went on Fox News to accuse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of attempting to buy Hispanic votes by introducing the DREAM Act. Watch:
 

 

 

 

 

Meet Allen West: Fanatical Opponent of Muslims, Immigrants, Progressives & Obama

Following last Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our fourth candidate profile is on Florida's Allen West:

In one of the Tea Party’s biggest victories, Florida’s Allen West defeated incumbent Democrat Ron Klein in a rematch of their 2008 race. West, an Army veteran, became a YouTube sensation by criticizing “this tyrannical government” and crying out: “if you’re here to stand up to get your musket, to fix your bayonet, and to charge into the ranks, you are my brother and sister in this fight.” He said that the country was engaging in “class warfare” between “a producing class and an entitlement class,” which is composed of Obama supporters.

While serving in Iraq, he was forced out of the Army for his violent handling of an investigation of a police officer. During the interrogation, West dragged “him outside, pushed his head into the sand, and fired a gun next to his face to get him to sing.” According to West: “It wasn’t torture. Seeing Rosie O'Donnell naked would be torture.”

West also has close ties to the Outlaws motorcycle gang, which an NBC News report found had criminal-ties and a website that features a page honoring members who are in prison, extolling “members convicted of violent crimes, including murder.” In a letter, West wrote: “Please, no more references to ‘criminal’ because I can tell you, they have the utmost respect for me and that which I seek to achieve. I was never more amazed at how members of the Outlaws guarded me during a one hour cell phone radio interview.”

Moreover, he addressed events sponsored by Outlaws-linked organizations, used Outlaws members to harass his rival’s campaign workers, and writes a column for their magazine. Their magazine, “Wheels on the Road,” has also used anti-Semitic, racist and sexist material, and once called women “oral relief stations.”

West encouraged his supporters to use violence in suppressing the votes of opponents, saying, “You've got to make the fellow scared to come out of his house.”

He maintains that it is “unfortunate” that gays and lesbians are serving in the military, and compares homosexuality to adultery. West is also radically anti-choice. On abortion rights, he has said “I believe all future discussion on this issue should move us toward the elimination of abortion except in the most extraordinary of circumstances,” and accused pro-choice groups of “promot[ing] abortion as a means of birth control.”

West wants to eliminate the progressive tax system. He supports tax cuts for the rich, and calls Wall Street Reform a “sham.” He’s advocated for eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education.

On immigration, he claims that illegal immigrants should not have access to care in emergency rooms, and that Muslim terrorists are coming through the border with Mexico. West’s first decision as Representative-elect was to choose as his chief of staff right-wing radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman, who called for illegal immigrants to be “hung on the central square. ”

A Republican partisan, West said: “I hate big-tent. I hate inclusiveness. And I hate outreach.” West uses extreme rhetoric against Democrats and liberals. He said that liberals resented the fact that he saved the lives of American soldiers. On the anti-Islam blog Atlas Shrugs, he wrote that progressives “detest anyone who has the courage of conviction and love of America, something which they find unconscionable." In the same post, he wrote, “"Liberals seek to destroy any institution of intrinsic value: God, country, family, honor, valor, courage, VIRTUE... Why? Because if such things exist, then they must be defended, which brings them back to their fear of action." He also claims that Democratic combat veterans Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy “hate the military.”

West says that Obama does not “care for this country” and wants to “make it like some type of third world socialist cesspool,” and is not an American since he grew up in Indonesia and “never played little league baseball.” He compared Obama and his “tyrannical government” to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany, and dubbed the Obama Administration a “thugocracy.”

Militantly anti-Muslim, he consistently criticizes Arabs and Muslims, and he told Atlas Shrugs’ Pamela Geller that the Bible is evidence the Arabs are a “wild” people: “the Angel of the Lord said to [Hagar]: Behold you are with child, and you shall bear a son, you shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against everyman, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.' Ishmael of course became the beginning of the Arab people....and God's word is immutable truth.”

He has suggested that there are “thirty-six training camps” run by terrorists inside the US, and that soldiers are becoming “brainwashed” by terrorists who “infiltrated the military.” According to West, Islam is “not a religion” but a “theo-political belief system and construct” that must be destroyed.

Watch:

 

Meet Alan Nunnelee: Mississippi’s Newest Member of Congress is on a “Crusade to Save America”

Following Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our third candidate profile is Mississippi state senator and self-described “crusader” Alan Nunnelee.

Mississippi Democrat Travis Childers was a prime target for the GOP the moment he took office after a special election in May, 2008 in a seat that Republicans had held for 14 years. One of the most conservative Democrats in the House, Childers opposed health care reform and abortion rights, supported gun rights, and voted with his party less often than almost any other House member.

But despite his conservative bona fides, Childers couldn’t hold onto his seat against the challenge of far-right State Senator Alan Nunnelee. Nunnelee describes himself as on a “crusade to save America.” Although Childers voted against almost all of the Democrats’ major pieces of legislation, Nunnelee criticized him for not being conservative enough. In a speech before his primary victory, Nunnelee declared that Democratic policies are “more dangerous” than Pearl Harbor or 9/11: “What I see in Washington over the last 16 months is a more dangerous attack because it’s an attack on our freedom that’s coming from the inside.”

In an interview with a local Tea Party group, Nunnelee questioned whether the Obama Administration has a national security policy, saying “the administration has been so preoccupied with their domestic agenda that they have ignored our national defense.”

In a speech before the Byhalia Chamber of Commerce in August, Nunnelee dipped his toes in conspiracy theory, announcing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was planning to investigate American citizens who oppose the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”: “Just yesterday, the Speaker of the House said that those people that were opposed to building a mosque at the site of Ground Zero need to be investigated. So if you had a conversation at work, if you picked up your cell phone and called your brother in law, if you sent an email to your children, and you expressed concern about that, you need to watch out, because the Speaker of the House thinks you should be investigated.”

A state senator since 1994, Nunnelee has been a leader in far-right initiatives including hard-line anti-choice laws, opposition to gay rights, reducing environmental oversight, and making it more difficult to obtain Medicaid.

Nunnelee was at the forefront of Mississippi’s efforts to all but eliminate abortion services in the state. He was instrumental in the effort to pass Mississippi’s ban on late term abortion and led the effort to create a law directly challenging Roe v. Wade, which he called “the worst kind of law.” Nunnelee’s law set up tough parental consent requirements and provided that, in the event that Roe v. Wade was overturned, doctors performing abortions could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. Nunnelee also wrote an “informed consent” law requiring women to look at a picture book of fetal development before agreeing to an abortion procedure. He worked with anti-choice groups to write a law requiring abortion clinics in Mississippi to meet “ambulatory surgical facility” standards, intended to put abortion clinics out of business by requiring them to follow onerous and precise standards including having hallways over six feet wide and “an attractive setting.” This year, Nunnelee sponsored a bill requiring Mississippi to “opt-out” of using federal health care funds for abortion—although the state already has such a ban and the federal health care bill involves no such funding. He called it the “"Federal Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act."

There is now only one abortion clinic in Mississippi.

On the issue of marriage, Nunnelee brags of having pushed Mississippi’s anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment, and of working to prevent gay couples in the state from adopting children, saying: “I am proud to have pushed the statutory language prohibiting same sex couples from adopting as well as the Constitutional Amendment prohibiting same sex marriage in Mississippi.” He also voted to allow an option for covenant marriage, a marriage agreement under which it is very difficult to get a divorce.

Moreover, Nunnelee was behind the successful push to make the DMV print “Choose Life” license plates, with the proceeds going to benefit anti-choice groups, and also boasts that he “led the efforts to place our national motto, In God we Trust, on the classroom wall of every school classroom in the state.”

Nunnelee also boasts of his roll in a 2004 plan that cut 65,000 Mississippians from the state’s Medicaid rolls. His suggestion for those who lost coverage was to call drug companies to find out about free or reduced price prescriptions. The Mississippi Human Services Coalition  gave him a 0 percent ranking for his abysmal voting record.

He has consistently voted for Voter ID laws, which often work to prevent low-income people from voting. He has said he supports Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law, saying, “unless the federal government is willing to enforce existing laws, states must protect themselves as Arizona has.” In a GOP candidates’ debate, he stated, “I would be absolutely opposed to granting any kind of amnesty to any man or woman who is in this country illegally,” and also supports ending the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship.

Finally, after he was elected, Nunnelee went on the radio with notorious bigot Bryan Fischer to discuss the GOP’s policies in the new Congress, repeatedly agreeing that health care reform should be repealed at all costs, even if it takes a government shut-down:

 

 

 

Clayton Trotter: "The Anglo With The Hispanic Heart"

Times change. 

For instance, back in 1962 Pat Boone could sing a song called "Speedy Gonzales" about a drunken, irresponsible Gonazles spending his time carousing and buying tortillas, chili peppers, and tequila instead of repairing his cockroach-infested adobe and see it go to #6 on the Billboard chart

Today, it would be considered rather offensive:

Which is why it is a little hard to understand why Republican congressional candidate Clayton Trotter is bragging about having received Boone's endorsement and specifically citing this song in an effort to appeal to Hispanic voters in Texas in his race against Democrat incumbent Rep. Charlie Gonzalez:

"Hi, I'm Pat Boone. Back in 1962, I sang a top ten song called 'Speedy Gonzales' about the fastest mouse in Mexico. You might remember this line: 'Speedy Gonzales, why don't you come home?' Today, a different question: 'Charlie Gonzalez, why don't you come home?' As a Congressman, you're spending our hard-earned tax money like there's no tomorrow. Sorry Charlie! You don't represent we the people. On November 2nd, vote Clayton Trotter for Congress."

In fact, Trotter goes even further, claiming that while Gonzalez may actually be Hispanic, it is Trotter who really has the community's best interests at heart ... and that is because is "the Anglo with the Hispanic heart":

Trotter said, "I'm the Anglo with the Hispanic heart. While Charlie has an Hispanic last name, he has consistently voted against the conservative Hispanic values of life and family. For example, Charlie voted against the ban on partial birth abortion -- a barbaric procedure in the last trimester during which the abortionist partially delivers a baby -- feet first, ultimately sucking the baby's brain out. "Sorry Charlie!" That's not an Hispanic value! No wonder Charlie got a 100 percent rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League.

"Plus, Charlie voted against a Constitutional Amendment that defined marriage between one man and one woman. 'Sorry Charlie!' That's not an Hispanic value either. Mexican-Americans are proud of God's creation of heterosexual marriage between Adam and Eve. I'm Clayton Trotter. I think it's time that District 20 had a congressman who defended the unborn babies and defended marriage. Those are true Hispanic values!

"Remember to vote for me, Clayton Trotter, the Anglo with the Hispanic heart."

And nothing demonstrates that better than securing the endorsement of Pat Boone who sang an offensive novelty song about a lazy cartoon Mexican mouse forty years ago.

Oh, and by the way, Trotter has received endorsements from Governor Rick Perry, Rep. Lamar Smith, David Barton, Rick Green, Phyllis Schlafly, Kelly Shackleford, Alveda King, among others.

The Warped Feminism of the Susan B. Anthony List

Although a number of media narratives describe 2010 election as revealing the rise of conservative woman, the "Awakening of the Conservative Woman," or the "Year of the Mama Grizzly," and what Sarah Palin calls “the emerging conservative, feminist identity,” it’s easy to forget that women have always played a prominent role in the conservative movement: Phyllis Schlafly, Clare Boothe Luce, and Beverly LaHaye, just to name a few.

But are women really running to embrace the rightwing agenda in 2010? Most polls show that the growing support for Republican candidates is a result of disproportionate backing from men, while Democrats still lead among women voters; Sarah Palin, the foremost Republican woman, is viewed favorably by an abysmally low 22% of Americans. But it is true that more and more women are running as Republicans for elected office, and the Religious Right has embraced the fiercely anti-choice Republican Senate candidates like Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Kelly Ayotte and Carly Fiorina. While it is difficult to say that women are turning to the GOP, at least one group is pushing the narrative that women will be at the center of the Right’s resurgence.

The Susan B. Anthony List was founded by Marjorie Dannenfelser and Jane Abraham, two women long-tied to Republican politics and anti-choice activism. Dannenfelser compared her fight against “the oligarchy of pro-choice women” to Susan B. Anthony’s campaign against second-class citizenship for women, and claims that Susan B. Anthony and the original women’s movement were all “strongly pro-life.”

Of course, real  historians and experts have thoroughly debunked Dannenfelser’s interpretation of women’s history: “Anthony spent no time on the politics of abortion. It was of no interest to her, despite living in a society (and a family) where women aborted unwanted pregnancies.” But the SBA List is now appropriating the legacy of Anthony and the women’s movement to serve their political agenda.

In 2010, SBA List has become a critical voice in the Religious Right in not only transforming the notion of “feminism” but also running extremely deceptive political ads. The group teamed up with the National Organization for Marriage to launch a $200,000 ad campaign against Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer targeted at the Latino community, claiming that Boxer opposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Naturally, PolitiFact rated their anti-Boxer ad to be “false” and “highly misleading,” as the Senator is one of the leading advocates of immigrant-rights in Washington.

Now, SBA List has just initiated a campaign targeting anti-choice Democrats who voted in favor of Health Care Reform by employing the immensely discredited and deceptive charge that the new law leads to “taxpayer funding of abortion.” Politico reports that the group plans to spend millions of dollars on television and radio advertisements, billboards, and a bus tour. SBA List has invested heavily in Carly Fiorina of California, New Hampshire GOP nominee Kelly Ayotte, a star of the anti-abortion rights movement, and said that the ultraconservative Nevada Republican Sharron Angle represents an “authentic, pro-life feminism that puts the ‘feminine’ back in the word” who would make “Susan B. Anthony proud.” Yes, the SBA List has such a warped view of feminism that they call the same Sharron Angle who described the situation of a girl impregnated by her father as “really [turning] a lemon situation into lemonade” an “authentic” feminist. Their other top candidate, State Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana who is running for the House, is a staunch Religious Right advocate who notoriously sunk hate-crimes legislation by trying to add “fetuses” as a protected class of citizens.

Sarah Palin has emerged as the symbolic head of SBA List, and the group founded the Team Sarah website to attract more women to their brand of “feminism.” “It’s only natural that women like these are responding to someone like Sarah Palin,” writes Dannenfelser, and “now millions of Americans, men and women, are going to the polls to make 2010 not only the Year of the Pro-Life Woman but the dawn of the Decade of Pro-Life Women.”

While SBA List’s view of feminism is different from the more openly anti-feminist groups like Eagle Forum and the Independent Women’s Forum, the groups essentially share the same reactionary ideas and principles. SBA List merely cloaks their anti-women’s rights agenda around a right-wing understanding of “feminism” and a misconstrued view of history.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The ACLJ's Jordan Sekulow is now saying that supporters of the "Ground Zero Mosque" are "terrorists."
  • On a semi-related note, Senators McCain, Snowe, and Isakson also oppose construction of the Islamic Center.
  • Yesterday, a Juvenile Court Magistrate in Ohio ruled that Rifqa Bary could apply for "special immigrant juvenile status" in an effort to clear up her immigration status as she turns 18.
  • Ann Coulter will be headlining GOProud's "Homocon 2010." They apparently have no problem with history of anti-gay attacks.
  • Elena Kagan was confirmed yesterday and Larry Klayman is already launching an impeachment campaign against her.
  • Kenya voters approved a new Constitution that expanded abortion rights ... so of course they were intimidated and bribed by the Obama Administration.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Jim Garlow, making it clear that his "Prop 8 ruling = bestiality" statement was no fluke:  "If you did this on the basis of equal protection and a person says 'I want to be married to 3 people or 5 people or I want to be married to my dog', what right does he have not to provide 'equal protection'?"

Do Religious Right Leaders Even Try To Hide Their Hypocrisy?

Sometimes I wonder if Religious Right leaders have no memory of things they have said and done in the past or just think that nobody else does.

Take, for instance, this recent speech by Richard Land:

Still, Land landed many of his barbs at Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He recalled a moment in the 1990s at a church in Lebanon, Ken., in which he called two deacons who supported Clinton hookers.

“’You’re just prostitutes for sale to the highest bidder,’” Land said he told the deacons. “I’m not for sale. If I’ve got to choose between my pocketbook and unborn babies, I’m going to choose unborn babies every time.”

Does Land not recall the last Republican primary where he was showering Fred Thompson with praise at every opportunity? This Fred Thompson:

During his eight years in the Senate, Thompson consistently voted against abortion rights, but anti-abortion activists say his public record on the subject is not unblemished.

A longtime advocate for states' rights, Thompson has said the federal government should not have a role in the process.

During a televised 1994 Senate debate, a clip of which is available on YouTube, Thompson said, "Should the government come in and criminalize let's say a young girl and her parents and her doctor? ... I think not."

More recently, Thompson has been forced to answer questions about his career as a lawyer/lobbyist, when the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association hired him in 1991 to lobby the administration of President George H.W. Bush on behalf of abortion rights.

When the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Thompson, the group was widely accused to selling out ... but apparently Land has conveniently forgotten all about this little episode

CA Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Better Courts Now Candidates

A few months back, a group called Better Courts Now was formed on the idea that if the state of California just elected that proper sorts of Christian judges on the bench, then controversial issues like Proposition 8 would never even arise.  To make that happen, the group backed a slate of candidates with an openly Christian bias who were committed to carrying out God's will from the bench ... and promptly saw each one of them get trounced in yesterday's election

Four incumbent judges were headed to easy victories over a slate of challengers who were backed by a group of religious and social conservatives ... Judge Lantz Lewis was well ahead of challenger Craig Candelore in early unofficial results, and his colleague Judge DeAnn Salcido was leading challenger Harold Coleman. Judge Joel Wohlfeil was well ahead of Larry “Jake” Kincaid, and Judge Robert Longstreth was handily beating Bill Trask.

...

The four challengers ran as a slate backed by Better Courts Now, a group formed by pastors and supported by foes of same-sex marriage and abortion rights. It said it wanted to unify the “moral vote” and promote judges who would reflect their values.

Each of the victorious judges got more than 60 percent of the vote in his or her race, and several saw that wide margin as a rejection of the Better Courts Now effort to influence the makeup of the bench.

When You Hear The Name "CitizenLink," Think Focus on the Family

The Denver Post reports that Focus on the Family is changing the name of its c4 lobbying arm from Focus on the Family Action to "CitizenLink":

Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying organization created in 2004 by Focus on the Family ministry founder James Dobson, today changed its name and logo to CitizenLink.

...

From the beginning, some confusion about the exact identities and missions of the two similarly named organizations has existed in the general public and media, said Tom Minnery, Focus vice president of public policy.

"We want to create some clarity about the two organizations. It's better branding," Focus President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Daly said ... "We're not saying (Focus on the Family) is stepping out of the public policy realm," Daly said. "From my perspective, it means Focus on the Family can focus on the family, and CitizenLink can do its job of engaging the citizenry."

...

The change in name is not an attempt, Daly said, to distance Focus on the Family from the lobbying group's fierce opposition to abortion rights, same-sex marriages and embryonic stem cell research.

I don't buy this explanation for a minute as it seems like more evidence that Focus on the Family has become hyper-cautious and schizophrenic ever since Jim Daly took over as he tries to incorporate his talk of love, compassion and civility with the organization's hard-line, ultra-right wing social and political agenda. 

Daly seems to think that he can maintain the organization's militant opposition to gays while insisting that they do so out of love, as if that makes a bit of difference or changes the bottom line.

This name change seems like a similar attempt to allow the organization to continue to press its right-wing political agenda without dirtying the name of Focus on the Family. 

Right Wing Responses to Kagan for SCOTUS

A collection of early responses from the Right to the news that President Obama intends to nominate Elena Kagan to a seat on the Supreme Court (I will continue to update this post throughout the day as more statements are released).

Catholic Families for America:

Today Catholic Families for America, one of the largest groups of lay Catholics in the country, announced its opposition to the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, citing "grave concerns" about her promotion of same-sex "marriage" and abortion, as well as a "dangerous internationalism" that has become fashionable among leftist jurists.

To galvanize citizens' concerns, particularly those of Catholic voters, CFA has initiated a nationwide petition that it will forward to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The petition can be signed.

"By nominating Miss Kagan to the Supreme Court, the president continues to demonstrate a brass-knuckles, Chicago-mobster mentality toward unifying our nation," said Dr. Kevin Roberts, executive director of CFA. "Naming someone who has been so actively hostile to traditional marriage and to the unborn lays bare the president's pro-abortion, anti-family agenda, in spite of what he says to the contrary."

Americans United for Life

Elena Kagan has strong ties to abortion-advocacy organizations and expressed admiration for activist judges who have worked to advance social policy rather than to impartially interpret the law. Americans United for Life will oppose President Obama's attempt to reshape the Court as an activist, pro-abortion institution through which unelected judges will work to impose an out-of-the-mainstream social agenda upon the American people."

Ed Whelan:

2. Kagan may well have less experience relevant to the work of being a justice than any justice in the last five decades or more. In addition to zero judicial experience, she has only a few years of real-world legal experience. Further, notwithstanding all her years in academia, she has only a scant record of legal scholarship. Kagan flunks her own “threshold” test of the minimal qualifications needed for a Supreme Court nominee.

3. There is a striking mismatch between the White House’s populist rhetoric about seeking a justice with a “keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people” and the reality of the Kagan pick. Kagan is the consummate Obama insider, and her meteoric rise over the last 15 years—from obscure academic and Clinton White House staffer to Harvard law school dean to Supreme Court nominee—would seem to reflect what writer Christopher Caldwell describes as the “intermarriage of financial and executive branch elites [that] could only have happened in the Clinton years” and that has fostered the dominant financial-political oligarchy in America. In this regard, Kagan’s paid role as a Goldman Sachs adviser is the perfect marker of her status in the oligarchy—and of her unfathomable remoteness from ordinary Americans.

4. Kagan’s record thus manages to replicate the primary supposed defect of the judicial monastery—isolation from the real-world lives of ordinary Americans—without conferring the broader benefits of judicial experience.

Bill Kristol:

For me, the key obstacle to Elena Kagan's confirmation is ... [h]er hostility to the U.S. military.

Hostility? Isn't that harsh? Kagan has professed at times her admiration for those who serve in the military, even as she tried to bar military recruiters from Harvard Law School. But how does one square her professed admiration with her actions--embracing an attempt to overturn the Solomon Amendment that was rejected 8-0 by the Supreme Court--and her words?

Priests for Life:

"Supreme Court Justices are not supposed to shape public policy, and their nomination and confirmation should be based on their qualifications, not their views on specific issues.

"But there are certain issues so central to the very nature and purpose of government that one's position on those issues is tantamount to a qualification for the job. The very purpose of government is the protection of human rights, starting with life. No court can legitimize an act of violence, such as abortion, or take away human rights. Anyone who fails to affirm that does not belong in any public office, much less the US Supreme Court."

Ed Meese:

First and foremost, any nominee to a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court must demonstrate a thorough fidelity to apply the Constitution as it was written, rather than as they would like to re-write it. Given Solicitor General Kagan’s complete lack of judicial experience, and, for that matter, very limited litigation experience, Senators must not be rushed in their deliberative process. Because they have no prior judicial opinions to look to, Senators must conduct a more searching inquiry to determine if Kagan will decide cases based upon what is required by the Constitution as it is actually written, or whether she will rule based upon her own policy preferences.

Though Ms. Kagan has not written extensively on the role of a judge, the little she has written is troubling. In a law review article, she expressed agreement with the idea that the Court primarily exists to look out for the “despised and disadvantaged.” The problem with this view—which sounds remarkably similar to President Obama’s frequent appeals to judges ruling on grounds other than law—is that it allows judges to favor whichever particular client they view as “despised and disadvantaged.” The judiciary is not to favor any one particular group, but to secure justice equally for all through impartial application of the Constitution and laws. Senators should vigorously question Ms. Kagan about such statements to determine whether she is truly committed to the rule of law. Nothing less should be expected from anyone appointed to a life-tenured position as one of the final arbiters of justice in our country.

Chuck Norris:

It's that "unknown" Elena Kagan who has gun owners particularly concerned at the moment, not only because she's Obama's favored choice but because evidence for her beliefs on gun control is extremely scarce.

David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society:

I'm deeply disappointed that President Obama has chosen to nominate an individual who has demonstrated a lack of adherence to the limits of the Constitution and a desire to utilize the court system to enact her beliefs of social engineering. Solicitor General Kagan has been nominated with no judicial experience, a mere two years of private law practice, and only a year as Solicitor General of the United States. She is one of the most inexperienced nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court in recent memory.

Susan B. Anthony List:

"Elena Kagan has no judicial record from which to determine her position on Roe v. Wade, but she has publicly criticized the 1991 Supreme Court ruling to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to restrict funding from groups that performed or promoted abortion, and has also criticized crisis pregnancy centers. Additionally, President Obama has said he prefers a Supreme Court nominee who would take a special interest in 'women's rights'--a barely masked euphemism for abortion rights. Through the judicial confirmation process the American people must know where Elena Kagan stands on the abortion issue, and it is the responsibility of the U.S. Senate to find out.

"Ms. Kagan's publicly demonstrated prejudices do not lend themselves well to blind justice. Susan B. Anthony and her early feminist compatriots fought for a human rights standard sustained only through blind justice--and they knew that one group is never served by undermining the rights of another. Women will never be served by ignoring the rights of unborn children. When evidence of personal preference appears in any Supreme Court nominee's judgment, it should give all women pause."

Judicial Crisis Network:

Solicitor General Elena Kagan is out of step with main street Americans, her limited record is outside the mainstream of American legal thought, and she lacks any substantial qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court.

Elena Kagan has no prior experience that qualifies her for the Supreme Court.

...

Ultimately, it is difficult to see how Kagan’s extreme left wing views and lack of relevant experience qualify her for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Gary Bauer:

"Sadly, President Obama, while saying repeatedly that he wants to bring people together, does something to tear people apart by choosing another liberal activist and long-time abortion advocate to have long-term power over the fabric of American life. Equally troubling at this time of terrorist activity and international unrest is the fact that while she was dean of the Harvard Law school, Kagan opposed military recruiting. Our Armed Forces who protect and defend our freedom deserve better.

"Obama has become the 'Divider in Chief,' choosing racial identity politics, socialist economics and extreme liberal activists who would tear the fabric of American society. Whether you look at his appointments or his policies, Obama goes out of his way to repudiate the values and desires of the American people.

"This is an opportunity for Republicans to represent the values of millions of Americans who are counting on them to defend the rule of law. Republicans in the Senate need to use every tool available to determine the nominee's views on such pivotal issues as whether terrorists deserve the same rights as Americans, whether the U.S. Constitution has hidden code in it supporting radical social change, and whether the Constitution requires that the public square be purged of Judeo-Christian values.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel:

Judges should interpret, not make the law. The Senate should press hard to question Elena Kagan on her judicial philosophy. The public deserves to know whether Kagan will use her transnational law philosophy as a lens through which she views the Constitution. And the public needs to know whether her personal views will trump the Constitution, as they appeared to do when she banned military recruiters from campus.

American Center for Law and Justice:

This is the beginning of an important, deliberative process in which the American people deserve to know where Elena Kagan stands on the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “The fact that Elena Kagan has no previous judicial experience underscores the importance of closely examining her judicial philosophy - will she abide by the Constitution, or will she take an activist view? With the Senate’s constitutional role of providing ‘advice and consent’ regarding nominees, we call on the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide full and thorough hearings and ask the tough questions about how Kagan views the role of Justices, the Constitution, and the rule of law. While no nominee should express legal opinions concerning specific issues, the American people deserve to know whether this nominee – which could serve for many decades – embraces the philosophy of judicial activism.

American Life League:

"Clearly, Kagan has demonstrated a record of interpreting the law in the light of homosexual, pro-abortion activism.

"What's at stake here is the core constitutional question that passionately divides the country – does our Constitution seek human rights for all human beings or merely some human beings? Kagan's answers to her 2009 confirmation hearings provide clear insight into her future judicial philosophy.

"Will President Obama's nomination of Solicitor General Kagan be another example of his continued disregard for human rights in favor of advancing his favorite pet political agenda – abortion on demand courtesy of the American tax dollar?

"With the nomination of 50-year-old Kagan, will President Obama assure his long-lasting assault on the most fundamental human right of personhood?

"As President Obama races against the election clock, he has worked to undermine many of the American values and principles that make this nation the greatest on Earth.

Life Issues Institute:

"Mr. Obama has once again made it clear that he strictly follows a pro-abortion litmus test for anyone he nominates to the Supreme Court," said Bradley Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute. "We should not be surprised that his legacy will be the intentional killing of our nation's most vulnerable citizens--unborn babies. This nomination is a tragedy for America's women and their unborn children."

Concerned Women for America:

“In her disdain for the military, Elena Kagan considers her own views and opinions as more important than obeying the law and equipping the country with the best fighting force in the world. We need justices who put national security over the feelings or demands of special interest groups.

“We urge the US Senate to oppose the nomination of Elena Kagan. We want a justice who will defend the Constitution, support our families and uphold the right to life and traditional marriage.”

Operation Rescue:

Elena Kagan's support for abortion and her predisposition for judicial activism makes her a poor selection. We need a justice that will uphold the Constitution, not rewrite it though judicial activism. It is clear that as long as Obama is president, we cannot expect anything other than the nomination of radical liberal pro-aborts, even though those with that political philosophy and agenda are opposed by the majority of the American people.

Family Research Council:

"Elena Kagan's lack of legal experience will be discussed by both sides of the aisle but her record of liberal activism should not be overlooked.

"As the Harvard Law School Dean, Elena Kagan tried to bar the military from recruiting on her law school's campus during the height of the Iraq War based on her opposition to the federal law restricting homosexuals in the military. She fought the issue all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled unanimously against her, an extraordinary rebuke to her legal and substantive reasoning.

"Ms. Kagan's incredibly hostile view of the military suggests she is out of touch with mainstream sensibilities and obedience to the rule of law. President Obama promised a nominee committed to the 'rule of law,' but, instead, he appears to have nominated a hard-left activist to the Supreme Court.

Traditional Values Coalition:

“President Obama’s pick of Elena Kagan demonstrates his willingness to subvert the Constitution for his personal agenda and impose his leftist ideology on our nation for the next 30 to 40 years,” continued Lafferty. “The Obama Administration has already saddled the next two generations of Americans with a mountain of debt, and the lifetime appointment of Elana Kagan to the Supreme Court will extend the radical Obama agenda over them.”

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness:

“It is unfortunate that President Barack Obama has chosen to replace the only military veteran on the Supreme Court with a nominee whose only significant record indicates deliberate hostility and opposition to laws protecting the culture and best interests of the American military.”

Donnelly continued, “Senators considering this nomination should question Elena Kagan’s flawed logic and anti-military attitude that she expressed by signing an amicus brief challenging the Solomon Amendment in Rumsfeld v. Fair. It is significant that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of that legislation, which protects equal access for military recruiters on college campuses, with a unanimous (8-0) vote. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did not agree with Kagan’s anti-military views.”

National Organization for Marriage:

Don’t be fooled, Pres. Obama today has nominated a radical justice who will vote to overturn Prop 8 in California, the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the laws protecting marriage in all 50 states.

NOM has reviewed her record, and today we told the press. “A vote for Elana Kagan will be a vote for imposing gay marriage on all 50 states.”

Vowing To Be More Civil, But Only With Those With Whom You Agree

A few weeks ago, we noted that Sojourners had release something called "A Covenant For Civility: Come Let Us Reason Together,” which was aimed at creating a more civil discourse on controversial issues of the day among "Christian pastors and leaders with diverse theological and political beliefs."

In addition to a handful of Religious Right leaders like Harry Jackson, Samuel Rodriguez, Robert George, and Chuck Colson, Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, also signed on ... who is now demanding to have his name removed from the list because of theological differences with some of the other signatories: 

"I do not want my name or the Assemblies of God to be associated with persons who claim to be in the Body of Christ yet reject the moral teachings of Scripture," Wood told freelance writer and conservative Christian blogger John Lanagan.

...

Some of the other signatories that have raised a red flag for conservative Christians include Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity; Lillian Daniel, senior minister of a First Congregational Church which is pro-gay; and Dr. Ken Brooker Langston, director of Disciples Justice Action Network which is pro-choice.

"The problem is the tent that has grown so large on the signatures of this that are including people who are supportive of gay marriage and abortion rights," Juleen Turnage, spokeswoman for the Assemblies of God told Religion News Service.

"He (Wood) just felt that he could not become a part of a large tent."

The entire point of the covenant was to bring together Christians leaders of "diverse theological and political beliefs" who would pledge to "contribute to a more civil national discourse." 

And Wood was on board, at least until he learned that "leaders with diverse theological and political beliefs" meant that not every person who signed would share his theological or political views, at which point he backed out. 

Look Who's Joined The Tea Party

As I've noted several times already, the social conservatives in the Religious Right have been trying desperately to associate themselves with the Tea Party movement, even though Tea Party activists have been uninterested in making issues like abortion or gay rights a key part of the movement's agenda.

This, in turn, has lead some Religious Right activists to try and hijack the Tea Party name and attach it to his own Religious Right agenda, while others has tried to partner with the fiscal conservatives leading the Tea Party movement, even though they have been on less-than-friendly terms in recent years.

Now comes news that several local Tea Party groups are forming a federation with several established national groups in order to better coordinate strategy:

Several tea party leaders announced plans Thursday to form a national federation to promote the movement's conservative message and to counter the idea that the tea parties are politically unsophisticated and disorganized.

Tea party leaders from Memphis, Tenn., Richmond, Va., and Orlando, Fla., along with representatives of several other groups announced the new National Tea Party Federation during a rally outside the Minnesota Capitol. They said 21 tea party groups around the nation had joined the federation.

Memphis Tea Party founder Mark Skoda said recent media coverage had questioned whether the conservative tea parties, which number in the thousands nationwide, were too loosely organized to be politically effective in the national midterm election. He said the federation intends to convey a unified message about the tea party's brand of fiscal conservatism, which emphasizes limited government, less public spending and free markets.

He said the organization also hopes to rebut allegations about the movement: "Everything from calling the tea party members racist, that we are violent, that somehow we are fermenting another Kristallnacht. These accusations are indeed false and they won't stand."

The organizers said that the federation does not intend to direct activities by the farflung groups, but to improve communications among them, along with affiliate groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, Let Freedom Ring and Citizens United.

Now it makes sense that local Tea Party groups would partner with national groups that share their agenda ... but look who else has joined this federation:

One of the affiliated organizations, the Family Research Council, works primarily to oppose abortion rights and gay marriage. Skoda said the tea party movement would not make those issues part if its core mission but could still find points of common ground with conservative social-issue groups.

"The family needs to have low tax rates, choice on health care, no mandate on health care, and the automony to make decisions. The family is an important part of our strategy," Skoda said.

So to the extent that issues like taxes and health care can be considered "pro-family" issues, the Tea Party activists are fine to partner with the likes of FRC, but they won't be taking on the contentious social issues that are FRC's primary focus.

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that FRC was complaining that groups like FreedomWorks and the other libertarian organization's did not represent the "true tea parties" because the "real" Tea Parties cared about social issues? 

If so, why as FRC now joined up with all those libertarian Tea Party organizations when they have been explicitly told that their social issues will have no place on the agenda?

CBS Worked Closely With Focus On The Family To Craft Anti-Choice Ad

Back in 2004, CBS rejected an ad from the United Church of Christ, declaring that "it was against our policy of accepting advocacy advertising," which made CBS's decision to run Focus on the Family's anti-choice ad during the Super Bowl such a surprise.

But now we find out that it really shouldn't have come as much of a surprise at all, because the network had been working closely with Focus on the Family for months to help them craft that ad:

The major broadcast networks have avoided political advocacy ads for years, so CBS's decision to air the Tebow ad caught abortion rights advocates off guard. But Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs-based conservative Christian group founded by Dr. James Dobson, says that it has actually been working closely with CBS executives for months on the ad's script.

"There were discussions about the specific wording of the spot," said Gary Schneeberger, spokesperson for Focus on the Family. "And we came to a compromise. To an agreement." Schneeberger declined to comment on CBS's input on the ad's message.

CBS has said that in the last year, in an acknowledgement of "industry norms," it loosened previous restrictions on advocacy advertisements, accepting ads that pushed for health reform and environmental activism.

But pro-choice advocates complain the network didn't publicize the policy change and hasn't applied it consistently, citing a rejected Super Bowl ad from gay dating Web site ManCrunch.com. According to Schneeberger, Focus on the Family was not aware of an explicit policy change inside the network, either. "It was only last week that they indicated that they changed any policy," he said.

"We've worked with [CBS] almost since the beginning," Schneeberger added. "Our senior vice presidents talked to CBS executives throughout the process. It was a very cordial, very professional, fruitful relationship."

2009: The Year The Culture War Went Into Recession?

I have no idea what Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne has been doing for the last year, but whatever it was has apparently kept him in some sort of cave.  How else do you explain this column

It is 2009's quiet story -- quiet because it's about what didn't happen, which can be as important as what did.

In this highly partisan year, we did not see a sharpening of the battles over religion and culture.

Yes, we continued to fight over gay marriage, and arguments about abortion were a feature of the health-care debate. But what's more striking is that other issues -- notably economics and the role of government -- trumped culture and religion in the public square. The culture wars went into recession along with the economy.

The most important transformation occurred on the right end of politics. For now, the loudest and most activist sections of the conservative cause are not its religious voices but the mostly secular, anti-government tea party activists.

Among the "evidence" cited by Dionne is the fact that Dick Armey, who doesn't like James Dobson, has emerged as a leader thanks to the "tea party" movement, and the fact that the fight over abortion hasn't yet sunk healthcare reform:

Even the cultural and religious conflicts that have persisted were debated at a lower volume. Going into the health-care skirmishes, both supporters and opponents of abortion rights pledged that they would not try to upset current arrangements that bar federal funding of abortion. Although they feuded bitterly over what this meant in practice, their opening positions reflected a pulling back from the brink.

Dionne's column was written one week after Religious Right leaders and Republican members of Congress gathered for a "prayercast" seeking God's intervention to prevent the passage of healthcare reform.

Over the last year, we have written more than 1500 posts chronicling various aspects of the Religious Right's increasing stridency, including several posts about the Manhattan Declaration, which was itself a proclamation that they would never stop fighting the culture wars, and James Dobson threatening to leave the country if reproductive health needs are covered by healthcare reform legislation.

Does Dionne happen to remember that Dr. George Tiller was murdered this year?  And that Wiley Drake called it an answer to his prayers, just as he was praying for President Obama's death while Randall Terry said Tiller got what was coming to him and warning that abortion coverage in healthcare reform would lead to more violence.

Does that constitute "a pulling back from the brink"?

If 2009 was a year when "the culture wars went into recession," I can't begin to imagine what "a sharpening of the battles over religion and culture" would even look like.

Alan Keyes Sounds Alarm Bells About Sarah Palin

Alan Keyes, writing on his blog Alan Keyes is LOYAL TO LIBERTY (seriously, that is its name,) explains that just as he warned back in 2004 that Barack Obama was a "hard line Marxist bent on destroying America," he must now sound the alarm bells about Sarah Palin, declaring her to be insufficiently opposed to abortion: 

Nothing Sarah Palin has said or done supports the view that she is pro-life as a matter of justice, law and public policy. So far as I can tell, she is just a pro-choice politician who turned a laudable personal choice into a seductive, but false pro-life public image. All the choices and statements she has made in her public capacity support this conclusion. If I'm wrong, show me the facts and statements that indicate something beyond the "I'm personally pro-life" position so common among the so-called "pro-choice" promoters of "abortion rights".

Unless Sarah Palin fundamentally alters the views she has enunciated and acted on up to now, I predict that she will disappoint the hope so many sincerely pro-life people are mistakenly investing in her supposed pro-life stand. I am sure I will pay a price for saying now what others will only realize when it may be too late. I was excoriated starting in 2004 for calling Obama a hard line Marxist bent on destroying America. That view is not at all so contemned today as it was when facts and reasoning first convinced me of its truth. Similarly on account of facts and reasoning I and others insist that Obama cease to withhold evidence bearing on whether or not he satisfies the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the Office of President of the United States. For this we are vilified and ridiculed, though many of our fellow Americans now join in this demand.

My view of Sarah Palin's supposed pro-life stance, and the danger involved in following her leadership, is similarly based on facts and reasoning. I will hold to it until one or the other clearly compels me to do otherwise. Experience has taught me that even among those whose pro-life hearts espouse the self-evident truths that make us free, when it comes to politics the factual standard of truth often gives way to personal feelings and expedient calculation. Given the crisis we are in, I can only pray that at some point they will realize that this neglect of the requirements of truth is the very reason America's liberty has reached the crisis point. Before a people finds leaders willing to act in truth, they must become a people willing to submit their own judgments and decisions to its demands.

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abortion rights Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 09/15/2011, 10:40am
Yesterday, Rick Perry addressed Liberty University as part of his push to garner the support of the Religious Right. After The Response prayer rally, it was clear that Perry’s overt religiosity would be a central theme while promoting his candidacy to the GOP’s conservative base. We thought it would be timely to revisit Perry’s appearance on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s flagship show Praise The Lord in February of last year. Perry described how “all through life there have been these supernatural events” of God sending him signals, providing one example... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 09/14/2011, 10:31am
Frank Pavone, the head of the prominent anti-choice group Priests for Life, has been suspended from his position because of concerns over financial improprieties. Pavone is a priest in the Roman Catholic diocese of Amarillo, Texas, but has used his position in Priests for Life to be a full-time political activist. He garnered national attention during the Terri Schiavo case when he called her husband Michael “a murderer.” He gained more notoriety after bringing in Alveda King to Priests for Life, when he launched “Freedom Rides” in the South in an attempt to connect... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/29/2011, 1:50pm
No matter how many times the deceitful claim that abortion providers are systematically targeting the black community for genocide is repudiated, new anti-choice groups can’t seem to stop running more ‘black genocide’ billboard campaigns. In March, a group called Life Always notoriously used images of President Barack Obama and a young black girl in their billboard campaign that abortion is black genocide. Earlier this summer the National Black Pro-Life Coalition put up billboards in Atlanta likening legal abortion to slavery and the Radiance Foundation and Issues4Life... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/24/2011, 11:40am
Wendy Wright, who left her job as president of Concerned Women for America under mysterious conditions, is continuing her right-wing activism by taking the fight to the Girl Scouts of the USA. Wright joined Janet Parshall yesterday on In The Market to discuss their shared antipathy to the Girl Scouts and what parents can do to fight the Girl Scouts. Wright, who previously argued that the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood were “working together to steal children's innocence and make them vulnerable to the negative consequences of promiscuity thereby creating clients for their abortion... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/22/2011, 11:15am
Last week, we noted that C. Peter Wagner was growing the recent attention and criticism his New Apostolic Reformation movement has been receiving and sent out an email trying to downplay all of their talk of taking dominion. It now seems like this is becoming a pattern as Os Hillman, a leading Seven Mountains advocate and the man behind Reclaim7Mountains.com, is also seeking to downplay all that dominionism talk: An important understanding and distinction must be stated at this point. Dominion, or perhaps a better word to use is influence, is a result of our love and obedience to God, not a... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 08/16/2011, 4:57pm
Earlier this month Harry Jackson appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to talk about his commitment to Seven Mountains dominionism, the ideology that calls on fundamentalist Christians to take control key sectors of society: business, media, education, arts and entertainment, family, religion and the church, and government. Jackson has emerged as a regular Religious Right spokesman and is a vociferous opponent of abortion rights and LGBT equality. He was even co-chair of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally. Yesterday, Jackson was the guest on TBN’s Praise The... MORE
Miranda Blue, Friday 08/05/2011, 7:14pm
Updated 8/5/2011 On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians... MORE