Arizona

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.

Dozens of GOP Leaders Declare Solidarity With Those Who Want To See Homosexuality Outlawed

Last week when Jeremy Hooper discovered that the Family Research Council was planning to roll out a campaign fighting back against the Southern Poverty Law Center's designation of the organization as an anti-gay hate group, we noted that FRC was asking people to sign on to the campaign to "stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family."

By doing so, we pointed out, any one who added their name was essentially declaring that they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with groups that proclaim:

Today, FRC announced that it was running this open letter [PDF] in both Politico and The Washington Examiner and that the effort had the support of dozens of Republican members of Congress and conservative leaders:

Family Research Council (FRC) announced the placement of a full-page open letter in today's print editions of Politico and the Washington Examiner responding to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) recent attacks on FRC and other groups.

SPLC has targeted FRC and other organizations that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The open letter, signed by more than 150 organizational leaders, Members of Congress and other elected officials, calls for a "vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans."

The open letter was signed by many current and former elected and government officials including Speaker-designate John Boehner, Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, U.S. Reps Mike Pence (R-IN), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Carter (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA,) Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX,) Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA,) Don Manzullo (R-IL), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Peter Roskam (R-LA), Lamar Smith (R-TX,) Steve Scalise (R-LA,) Fred Upton (R-MI), U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK,) David Vitter (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sam Brownback (Gov.-elect, Kansas), Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Senator Rick Santorum, Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

For the record, here is the complete list of leaders who have publicly declared their solidarity with SPLC-designated anti-gay hate groups who want to see gays barred from serving in public office and homosexuality made illegal: 

Alaska Family Council Jim Minnery - President
American College of Pediatricians Tom Benton, MD - President
American Conservative Union Foundation Cleta Mitchell - Chairman
American Decency Association Bill Johnson - President
American Family Association Tim Wildmon - President
American Family Association of Pennsylvania Diane Gramley - President
American Principles Project Andresen Blom - Executive Director
American Values Gary Bauer - President
Association of Maryland Families Derek McCoy - President
Best-Selling Author and Host of Morning in America Dr. William J. Bennett
Calvary Chapel Jack Hibbs - Senior Pastor
Cardinal Newman Society Patrick Reilly - President
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights Bill Donohue - President
CCV of Indiana PAC Joseph Sergio, Ph.D - Chairman
Center for Arizona Policy Cathi Herrod - President
Center for Law and Social Strategy Mark Spengler - Executive Director
Center for Security Policy Frank Gaffney - President and CEO
Center for Urban Renewal and Education Star Parker - President
Christian Civic League of Maine Carroll Conley - Executive Director
Christian Medical Association David Stevens - CEO
CitizenLink Tom Minnery - Senior Vice President, Public Policy
Citizens for Community Values Phil Burress - President
Citizens for Community Values of Indiana Patrick Mangan - Executive Director
CNSNews.com Chris Johnson - News Correspondant
CNSNews.com Eric Scheiner - Senior Video Producer
Coalition for Marriage and FamilyTom Shields - Chairman
Colorado Family Action Jessica Haverkate - Director
Committee for Justice Curt Levey - Executive Director
Concerned Citizens for Family Values of Connecticut Ray Kastner - President
Concerned Women For America Penny Nance - CEO
Concerned Women for American Wendy Wright - President
ConservativeHQ.com Richard Viguerie - Chairman
Coral Ridge Ministries Robert Knight - Senior Writer
Coral Ridge Ministries Hector Padron - Executive Vice President
Cornerstone Action, NH Kevin Smith - Executive Director
Cornerstone Family Council of ID Julie Lynde - Executive Director
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D. - National Spokesman
Delaware Family Policy Council Nicole Theis - Executive Director
Design4 Marketing Communications Clint Cline - President
Eagle Forum Phyllis Schlafly - President
Ethics and Public Policy Center Rick Santorum - Senior Fellow
Faith Christian Fellowship Church The Rev Dr. R. Edgar Bonniwell - Senior Pastor
Family Action Council of Tennessee David Fowler - President
Family First (Nebraska FPC) Dave Bydalek Bydalek - Executive Director
Family Institute of Connecticut Peter Wolfgang - Executive Director
Florida Family Policy Counci lJohn Stemberger - President and General Counsel
ForAmerica David Bozell - Executive Director
Generals International Cindy Jacobs - President
Illinois Family Institute David Smith - Executive Director
Iowa Family Policy Center Chuck Hurley - President
Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality Elaine Silodor Berk - Director
Judicial Action Group Phillip Jauregui - President
Kansas Sam Brownback - Governor-elect
Kansas Family Policy Council Donna Lippoldt - Executive Director
Kingdom Warriors Ministry William Boykin - LTG(R) USArmy
Landmark Legal Foundation Mark Levin - President
Leadership Institute Morton Blackwell - President
Let Freedom Ring Colin Hanna - President
Liberty Center for Law and Policy Mandi Campbell - Legal Director
Liberty Counsel Matt Barber - Director of Cultural Affairs
Liberty Counsel Mathew Staver - Founder and Chairman
Liberty Institute Kelly Shackelford
Louisiana Bobby Jindal - Governor
Louisiana Family Forum Action Gene Mills - President
Massachusetts Family Institute Kris Mineau - President
Media Research Center Matthew Balan - news analyst
Media Research CenterL. Brent Bozell - Founder and President
Media Research Center Kyle Drennen - News Analyst
Media Research Center Matthew Hadro
Mike Huckabee - Former Governor, TV/ Radio Commentator
Minnesota Family Council David Eaton - Chairman
Minnesota Family Council John Helmberger - Chief Executive Officer
Mission America Linda Harvey - President
Missouri Family Policy Council Joe Ortwerth - Executive Director
National Organization for Marriage Brian Brown - President
National Organization for Marriage Maggie Gallagher - Chairman
National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island Christopher Plante - Executive Director
National Review Rich Lowry - Editor
Nationally Syndicated Radio Talkshow Host Janet Parshall
Nevada Concerned Citizens Richard Ziser - Director
New Jersey Family First Len Deo - Founder & President
New Yorker's Family Research Foundation Rev. Tom Stiles
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms Rev. Jason McGuire
North Dakota Family Alliance Tom Freier - Executive Director
Ohio Faith and Freedom Coalition Ken Blackwell - Chairman
Priests For LifeFr. Frank Pavone - National Director
Prison Fellowship and The Colson Center for Christian Worldview Chuck Colson - Founder
Public Service Research Foundation David Denholm - President
Radio America Franklin Raff - Sr. Executive Producer
Rappahannock Ventures WillIam Walton - Chairman
ReAL Action Rick Tyler - Chairman
RedState Erick-Woods Erickson - Editor
Renewing American Leadership Jim Garlow - Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana Roger Villere, Jr. - Chairman
Restore America David Crowe - President
Retired Rensselaer Broekhuizen - Pastor
RightMarch.com William Greene - President
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs Diana Banister - Vice President
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Dr. Richard Land - President
State of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty - Governor
The American Spectator Alfred Regnery - Publisher
The Coalition of Conscience Michael Brown, Ph.D. - Director
The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation Abby Moffat - Vice President and COO
The Family Foundation of VirginiaVictoria Cobb - President
The Family Policy Council of WVJeremiah Dys, Esq. - President and General Counsel
The National Legal Foundation Steven Fitschen - President
THE New Voice, Inc.Herman Cain - CEO and President
The Oak InititativeRick Joyner - President
The Washington Examiner Mark Tapscott - Editorial Page Editor
TheCall Louis Engle - President
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.C. Preston Noell III - President
Traditional Values Coalition Jody Hutchens - Regional Director
Traditional Values Coalition Andrea Lafferty - Executive Director
U.S. Congress Senator David Vitter - (R-LA)
U.S. Congress Senator Roger Wicker - (R-MS)
U.S. House of Representatives Congresswoman Michele Bachmann - (R-MN)
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker-designate John Boehner - (R-OH)
U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor - (R-VA)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman John Fleming, M.D. - (R-LA)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Trent Franks - (R-AZ)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Louie Gohmert - (R-TX)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Jeb Henserling - (R-TX)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Jim Jordan - (R-OH)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Steve King - (R-IA)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Donald Manzullo - (R-IL)
U.S. House of Representative sCongressman Kevin McCarthy - (R-CA)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman-elect Alan Nunnelee - (R-MS)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Mike Pence - (R-IN)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Joe Pitts - (R-PA)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Peter Roskam - (R-IL)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Steve Scalise - (R-LA)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Lamar Smith - (R-TX)
U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Fred Upton - (R-MI)
United States SenateJim DeMint - Senator
Virginia Ken Cuccinelli - Attorney General
Western Center for Journalism Floyd Brown - President
Wisconsin Family Action Julaine Appling - President
WMtek Corp. Dan Pennell - CEO
WND.com Joseph Farah - Chief Executive Officer

Hotze: Hispanic Christians Will Be "Our Natural Allies Against the Democrats and Muslims"

Earlier this month, a conservative activist in Texas named Norman E. Adams unveiled a new group called "Texans for Sensible Immigration Policy" that seeks to implement a "sensible" immigration policy that falls somewhere between the draconian laws in Arizona and calls for "amnesty" by requiring ID cards, fines, and a call for "taxes on noncitizens [to be] a minimum 50% higher than Social Security/Medicare for citizens."

The reason Adams supports allowing Hispanics to come and work in this country is because the "combined fertility rate of American born citizens is barely 2%, considered unsustainable ... [because] since Roe v. Wade, we have aborted nearly fifty million children in the United States! This represents multiple generations of American-born workers!"

And Adams' proposal has now received the glowing endorsement of influential ultra-right-wing Texas activist Steven Hotze who explains that he admires people who are willing to break the law to better their lives and would gladly trade native born Americans for "Christian, pro-family, pro-life and pro-free enterprise" Hispanics who will be "our natural allies against the Democrats and Muslims":

I personally like the Hispanic people and their commitment to family and the work ethic. They are also a Christian based culture. I don't blame them for having made it to America by hook or crook. My great great grandfather pealed potatoes on a boat from Germany to get to America and the WASPs did not like him or the other immigrants that came with him. They also did not like the Irish or the Italians.

We had better embrace the Hispanics because they are going to be the dominant culture in Texas in no short order. I hope that Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida is our Republican VP in 2012.

...

It seems to me that there may be nativistic and prejudicial thinking on the immigration issue by many Caucasians.

The argument is that millions of Hispanics broke the law to get here. Which one of you would not have done the same thing had you been in their shoes? I like people who take risks to help their families and are willing to work to better their families' lives. We have a whole lot of American born citizens who I would gladly trade in exchange for hard working Hispanics.

The majority of the Hispanic culture in America is Christian, pro-family, pro-life and pro-free enterprise. Sounds like they would make great Republicans to me. Let's go recruit them!

Gentlemen, it seems that the real problem we face is the Muslim immigration invasion of America. The Hispanics are our natural allies against the Democrats and Muslims.

"If Hating Homosexuals Makes Our Church a Hate Group Then That's What We Are"

I've written several posts already about Religious Right groups fighting back against the Southern Poverty Law Center's updated list of anti-gay hate groups, so I guess I should also note that not everyone on the list is upset about.

In fact, Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church is on the list and he openly admits that he "absolutely" hates gays:

Tucked in a Tempe strip mall sits the Faithful Word Baptist Church .

The church is not new and the controversy surrounding the beliefs of its leader are not new. However, a report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center gives the church a new label.

The SPLC is now listing the church as a hate group targeting homosexuals in a list of hate groups operating in Arizona.

"Do I hate? Absolutely," said Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson.

Anderson wasn't aware of the new article and label by the SPLC and wasn't surprised. When asked if he hates homosexuals, Anderson quickly said, "absolutley."

Anderson's church made headlines several months ago when one of its members carried a rifle outside a downtown Phoenix building during a visit by President Barack Obama.

On Wednesday night, prior to service, Anderson declined to read the article posted by the SPLC.

"Am I all about hate? No I'm sure I'm more about love than I am hate," Anderson said. "I do hate homosexuals and if hating homosexuals makes our church a hate group then that's what we are."

The church leader, with a Bible in his hand during the interview, said he preaches his hatred for homosexuals and wishes death upon them.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 11/30/10

John Bolton

2012: Bush’s UN Ambassador considers presidential bid to bring emphasis to “foreign and national security issues” (Politico, 11/28).

Foreign Affairs: Writes Op-Ed against reviving six-party talks with North Korea (LA Times, 11/23).

Newt Gingrich

South Carolina: Set to address key Republican event in South Carolina (The Spartanburg Herald Journal, 11/28).

GOP: Scheduled to speak at conservative Latino forum on December 2nd (The Americano).

Mike Huckabee

Health Care: Says that the country doesn’t “have a health care crisis. We have a health crisis” (The Bakersfield Californian, 11/26).

Religious Right: May split Evangelical, women’s vote with Sarah Palin (The Fix, 11/23).

2012: Claims to be undecided about run in interview during his children’s book tour (Arizona Republic, 11/23).

Sarah Palin

Government: Blasts Obama over leaks, dubs WikiLeaks head a terrorist (Daily Mail, 11/30).

GOP: Joe Scarborough knocks Palin for mocking Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, says she “embarrasses herself” (Politico, 11/30).

Women: Jamie Stiehm takes aim at Palin’s “faux-feminism” and claims Palin is a detriment to women in politics (US News & World Report, 11/30).

Health: Criticizes Michelle Obama’s “anti-obesity thing” (Essence, 11/27).

Mitt Romney

GOP: Wins support from George HW and Barbara Bush (LA Times, 11/24).

Poll: Leads other prospective presidential candidates with 20% support (Maris, 11/23).

Rick Santorum

New Hampshire: Tells NH audience he wants earmarks banned, even though he was an earmarker (Morning Call, 11/29).

Foreign Affairs: Blasts Obama over handling of Iran and WikiLeaks (AP, 11/30).

John Thune

2012: Thune’s chances of winning nomination strong according to political markets (Politico, 11/30).

Meet Renee Ellmers: Cracking down on Monarchy and Mosques

Following the election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our final candidate profile is on Renee Ellmers of North Carolina:

Leading Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge by 1,489 votes in North Carolina’s second district, conservative activist Renee Ellmers has declared victory and is now attending freshman orientation in Washington DC.

A self-declared “product of the tea party,” she ran on anti-health care and anti-Stimulus platform: she compared President Obama to “Louis XIV, the Sun King” and asserted that his administration is establishing “a socialistic form of government.” She blasted Democrats for their “imperial ruling class attitude,” and referred to the Stimulus Plan as “massive government takeovers of the economy.”

Ellmers believes that Obama put the country at risk because he supposedly refuses “to recognize – and tell the American people – [that] he understands radical Islamic terrorism does exist.” She then launched an ugly and bigoted campaign ad equating all Muslims with the 9/11 terrorists, and arguing that the Islamic Community Center in Lower Manhattan is a “Victory Mosque” and a symbol of Muslim conquest:

Narrator: “After the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, and Cordoba and Constantinople, they built victory mosques. And now, they want to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Where does Bob Etheridge stand? He won’t say, won’t speak out, won’t take a stand.”

Ellmers: “The terrorists haven’t won, and we should tell them in plain English, ‘No, there will never be a mosque at Ground Zero.’”

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, she suggested that Obama’s foreign policy subtly shows support for terrorists by using foreign aid to build mosques. Cooper, however, pointed out that she was referring to a program started by President Bush that helps rebuild houses of worships including churches and temples. When he asked if the Roman Catholic Church built a “Victory Church” in Rome over a Pagan temple, she took umbrage and asked Cooper if he was “anti-religion” or “anti-Christian.” Cooper replied: “That’s like the lowest response I have ever heard from a candidate, I have got to tell you.” (Watch the ad and interview below).

Defending her ad to rightwing radio talk show host Tammy Bruce, she said that “it’s time for elected officials to go to Washington who are ready to stand up for America.”

Ellmers says she decided to run for Congress after her work with Americans for Prosperity, a corporate front group tied to the Koch brothers, campaigning against health care reform. She told G. Gordon Liddy that the health care reform bill was “put in place simply to control our lives.” She also maintained that “physicians are not going to be able to continue to practice” because of the reform law, which she said “is just a monster.”

According to Ellmers, insurance companies should be able to deny individuals coverage for pre-existing conditions, saying: “private insurance companies [should] decide how they’re going to handle the pre-existing conditions situation.” Ellmers also attacked requiring insurance companies to cover maternity care and other health issues, calling such coverage “very costly.”

In a debate she came out against emergency funding to protect the jobs of teachers, and suggested that diverting public funds towards private school vouchers through “school choice” would help prevent job losses among teachers.

She said that her plan to reduce the debt would be to cut taxes and end foreign aid, and as a proponent of the “FairTax” she believes that the progressive income tax should be scrapped and replaced with a national sales tax.

An avowed opponent of immigrant rights, she claimed that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has shown “the kind of leadership we have not seen in a long time” by signing SB 1070, and suggested that Congress vote to defund the Department of Justice over their lawsuit against the draconian immigration law.

Ellmers told the conservative RedState blog that she is fiercely anti-choice and opposes the feminist movement. She was been endorsed by Sarah Palin, Concerned Women for America, and the Susan B. Anthony List.

A Tea Party activist who smears minority groups for political gain and has no real plan to cut the deficit or save jobs, Renee Ellmers appears to exemplify many of the ugliest qualities of the tea party movement.

 

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 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:

 

 

 

Meet Congressman-Elect Raul Labrador: Bryan Fischer’s Favorite Tea Partier

Following Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our second candidate profile is on a hero to Idaho's Religious Right and Tea Party movements, Raul Labrador:

In the Republican primary to see who would face off against Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, Raul Labrador ran to the right of his very conservative opponent who was endorsed by Sarah Palin and the NRCC. Labrador rallied support from Religious Right and Tea Party groups in order to upset Republican Vaughn Ward, whose campaign imploded, and he went on to defeat Rep. Minnick.

Labrador made his right-wing views clear when he announced his campaign in an email “to a former Idaho blogger known for his extreme conservative views.” He supports withdrawing the US from the United Nations, returning to the Gold Standard, and eliminating the Department of Education. Labrador even wants to repeal the 17th Amendment and end the right of voters to elect their Senators, bizarrely saying that it is “the constitutional position to take” and the only way to make sure “that US Senators are actually beholden to the people.”

In the State House, Labrador said he will work “tirelessly to defund and repeal Obamacare” and spearheaded the passage of a bill which compels the Attorney General to challenge the health care reform law in federal court and bars the government from mandating coverage. When speaking to radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Labrador maintained that the law was “historic, but remember, Benedict Arnold was also historic, he betrayed our nation. And I think the Democratic Party betrayed our nation yesterday as well.”

An anti-government zealot, he backed bills which seek to reaffirm Idaho’s sovereignty from the federal government, to limit “Congress’ power under the commerce clause,” and to stop the federal government from enforcing gun laws.

He won support from the Religious Right community and the American Family Association’s director of public policy and talk show host Bryan Fischer, who compared gays to terrorists and believes that Muslims should be prohibited from building mosques in the US, called Labrador his “good friend” and the two hosted Tea Party rallies together. Labrador voted to make the federal government “provide for the presence of God in the public domain,” supports the ban on openly gay and lesbian soldiers from serving in the military, and opposes same-sex marriage rights.

The Family Research Council Action PAC ran radio ads endorsing Labrador, who supported him as a result of his 100% anti-choice record: he voted to allow medical professionals to refuse contraceptives, voted in favor of increasing burdens on women seeking to terminate their pregnancy, and lauds his opposition to abortion in all cases. Penny Nance of the far-right Concerned Women for America showered praise on Labrador, the National Right to Life Committee extolled his “exemplary pro-life record,” and he was a principal legislative ally of Idaho Chooses Life.

A proponent of corporate interests, Labrador wants to scrap the progressive income tax in favor of a national sales tax, supports the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, and signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. Even though he opposes the Stimulus, as a State Representative he repeatedly voted in favor of spending federal money provided by the Stimulus. On immigration, Arizona’s notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed Labrador, who has said that illegal immigrants are “going to have to self-deport.”

Raul Labrador’s fanatical mission to rewrite the Constitution and dismantle the federal government has generated massive support from the Tea Party, and Religious Right figures like Bryan Fischer and Peggy Nance have given Labrador their blessing as a result of his rigid anti-choice and anti-equality views. As a result of the election, Labrador is set to bring his extremist views and rightwing platform from the Idaho State House to the US Congress.

 

 

 

Public Policy, Private Corporations: Detaining Immigrants for Profit

People For the American Way has been documenting the ways in which corporate interests, with a big boost from the Supreme Court, are pouring unprecedented sums of money into this year’s elections to buy themselves an even more corporation-friendly government. This morning, National Public Radio reported on another way that corporate interests are shaping public policy. Remember that controversial anti-immigrant law in Arizona? Turns out it was drafted at a conference of right-wing legislators with help from private prison corporations that see the detention of immigrants as a new profit center.

According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in "a significant portion of our revenues" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants….
 
NPR also notes that as soon as the bill was introduced in Arizona, prison industry money followed:
 
Thirty-six co-sponsors jumped on, a number almost unheard of in the capitol.  According to records obtained by NPR, two-thirds of them either went to that December meeting or are ALEC members....
 
At the state Capitol, campaign donations started to appear.
 
Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group. 
 
By April, the bill was on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk.
 
On a May conference call with investors, NPR reports, one prison industry official expressed hope for more help from the federal level:
 
" Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained and that for me, at least I think, there's going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do."
 
Here’s some more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that brings corporate donors together with conservative state lawmakers to push anti-regulatory legislation on a range of issues.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 10/26/10

Newt Gingrich

2010: Campaigns with GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich in Ohio (Columbus Business First, 10/25).

Iowa: Holds “American Solutions” rally in Sioux City, Iowa (Sioux City Journal, 10/22).

Mike Huckabee

GOP: Defends Christine O’Donnell and hits “elitist” establishment (Raw Story, 10/25).

Religious Right: Sarah Posner looks into Huckabee’s ties to anti-gay groups (Religion Dispatches, 10/25).

Economy: Defends the “Fair Tax” on Fox News (Fox News, 10/25).

Sarah Palin

2010: Slams Lisa Murkowski, lauds Joe Miller, in facebook post (Facebook, 10/25).

Arizona: Sheriff Joe Arpaio presents her “pink underwear” as gift (Washington Independent, 10/25).

2012: New York Magazine says that Palin is gearing up presidential campaign (New York Magazine, 10/24).

Tim Pawlenty

Iowa: Has donated over $114,000 to Iowa Republican candidates (Des Moines Register, 10/26).

2010: Stumps for gubernatorial candidates in eight states before election (CNN, 10/25).

2012: Trails Obama in Minnesota in hypothetical race (GOP12, 10/25).

Mitt Romney

Tea Party: Hopes to pursue economic message with Tea Party activists (WSJ, 10/25).

Fundraising: Mega-donors line up behind Romney (Politico, 10/23).

Rick Santorum

Iowa: Campaigns for a GOP majority in the Iowa State House (KTIV, 10/25).

Religious Right: Speaks to Tennessee Right to Life Convention (Knoxville News, 10/21).

Judges: Joins bus tour with NOM, FRC, others to oppose retention for judges who backed same-sex marriage (On Top, 10/21).

Janet Porter Prays For Control Of the Government

Earlier this year, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter lost her radio program due to her ties to Dominionists like Cindy Jacobs.  For months, Porter had been adopting the Dominionist agenda, speaking at conferences with Jacobs and praying for Christians to gain control over the media and making Seven Mountains/Dominionist theology the organizing premise behind her May Day prayer rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The rally was the final straw, leading VCY America to drop her show and Porter to more or less disappear. 

But, as we noted in July, Porter had not backed away from Dominionism as a result - in fact, she had only gotten more involved and had aligned herself even more closely with Jacobs, speaking at "Deborah Company" event in Arizona this summer.

Well, I've managed to find footage of the event and here is Jacobs talking about how great it is to be a Prophet and a Mother of Nations:

God has called us to be mothers of nations. A mother of nations has her eyes open. I get up in the morning and I just radar that day. I am just looking for God to do something through me. I get up in the morning and I say "God, where's my harvest, what is my mission, what am I supposed to do? Bring people across my path."

I begin to draw people to me in intercessory prayer. I call them across my path. I call my harvest, the harvest that God has made ready. And no matter how hard-hearted they may seem, I know if they are sitting next to me on an airplane, they are my harvest.

And God just gave me that sure word because I believe that in the End Times, God will pour his spirit upon me and that I walk a supernatural path and that wherever I go, there is destiny about to happen. I'm aware of it. I may not say this to anyone, but I'm aware every place I go, everything I'm doing, every situation, I am watching. I never stop watching. Whether I'm in a store, I mean, it's wonderful to be a prophet and go into a store.

You see, it's easy because I believe that God has poured his spirit out upon me. You understand this? Because he has done that, every place and every moment that I have in my life, there's a divine encounter waiting to happen.

Later, Jacobs asks Porter to pray that Christians gain control of the mountain of government, which she eagerly does:

Father we call forth godly leaders at every single level of government. We call them forth right now to run for the city councils and county commissions, to run for office and be a public servant in the state house, to be mayors, to be governors, to be congressmen, to be senators. Even in the Executive Branch we call forth godly leaders. And we decree that they will come forth.

And Father I ask you now to release a spirit of repentance, a conviction over this country for the choices we've made, a conviction over the choices that have been made across the globe. That this conviction is will be come to our knees, that we will humble ourselves, that you will hear from Heaven, that you will forgive our sins and you'll heal our land.

Father, I call forth resources. As we saw in the state of Maine just a few days ago that Maine became the thirty-first state - 31 out of 31 - to protect marriage between one man and one woman. And we just call forth the other twenty-nice, we just call forth all fifty sates, we call forth the other countries who will stand for God's institution. Not on our watch.

And Father we call forth in this time, in this generation, the end of the slaughter of the innocent. Through the legislation, through the ballot initiatives, through the judicial branch, we decree that judicial tyranny is a thing of the past, that is must stop, it was called, it is checked, it can no longer rule this nation.

And on our watch Father, in this generation we cry that the criminalization of Christianity will not take place, that we will see freedom to proclaim your truth and your gospel in this land and across the seas. Father, that we will be again an exporter of the gospel and a proclaimer of the truth.

And Father this lie of the so-called separation of church and state, that isn't in our Constitution but that of the former Soviet Union. We break down the deception, the lie, that has kept the church in the pew. They will come out, they will be a voice in government and they will no longer remain silent.

We decree that God with godly leaders will reign and rule. That they will no longer fear men, but they will fear God. And they will proclaim the gospel in the highest office in this land. We call forth Damascus road experiences to to those who occupy and if they will not turn, we call forth for their replacement.

We shut the door that no man can open and we open the doors that no men can close in the name above all names, the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let me just point out that this woman served as co-chair of Mike Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition and regularly had Republican members of Congress on her radio program before it was canceled.

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/13

Sharron Angle

Fundraising: Raised $14 million in three months (WaPo, 10/12).

GOP: Leading Nevada Republicans endorse Reid over Angle (Politico, 10/12).

Religious Right: ADL criticizes Angle for refusing to condemn her pastor’s anti-Mormon comments (KVVU, 10/8).

Extremism: Cites Dearborn, Michigan and a non-existent town in Texas as outposts of Sharia law (CNN, 10/9).

Ken Buck

Controversy: Referred to a rape victim’s situation as “buyers remorse;” suspect even admitted that it was rape (PFAW, 10/12; Colorado Independent, 10/12).

Ad: DSCC launches new ad blasting Buck’s record as a prosecutor (Daily Kos, 10/12).

Religious Right: American Right to Life rescinds endorsement of Buck (CBS, 10/12).

Debate: Blasts Stimulus Plan and Afghan strategy in debate with Bennet (Chieftain, 10/8).

Carly Fiorina

Ad: Boxer hits Fiorina for backing Arizona’s SB 1070 in Spanish-language ad (LA Times, 10/12).

Religious Right: Anti-choice, anti-lgbt equality groups spend money to back Fiorina (SF Gate, 10/12).

Palin: Calls Palin “qualified” to be President but chooses to campaign with McCain over her (Politico, 10/12).

Film: BraveNewFilms tackles Fiorina’s time running HP (NYT, 10/10).

Joe Miller

Poll: In statistical dead heat with Murkowski in Public Policy Polling (Politico, 10/12).

Controversy: Said he won’t answer questions about “personal issues” (Anchorage Daily News, 10/11).

Taxes: Supported higher taxes during pipeline lawsuit (Anchorage Daily News, 10/12).

Ad: New pro-Murkowski PAC airs ads blasting Miller’s “radical ideas” (AP, 10/12).

Christine O’Donnell

Debate: Faces off with Coons in CNN debate tonight at 7:30 (Baltimore Sun, 10/12).

Poll: Coons leads O’Donnell by 16% in Fox News poll (TPM, 10/12).

Ad: Refers to Coons as “The Taxman” in latest ad (NYT, 10/12).

Rand Paul

Ad: PolitiFact confirms Conway’s charge that Paul supports a $2,000 Medicare deductable (St. Petersburg Times, 9/13).

Taxes: Calls for elimination of federal income taxes, backs national sales tax (AP, 9/12).

Clinton: Says the former President, who backs Conway, is a “less than honorable” person (PoliticsDaily, 10/12).

College: Paul’s student group often mocked Christians at Baylor (Politico, 10/12).

Dino Rossi

Outside groups: Crossroads GPS and other pro-GOP groups pummel Murray to help Rossi (Seattle Times, 10/11).

Poll: Elway poll shows Rossi trailing Murray by 13% (PoliticalWire, 10/12).

Ad: Murray campaign blasts Rossi’s extreme views on choice and contraception (CQ, 10/12).

Marco Rubio

Health Care: Dubs reform law a “disaster” (Herald Tribune, 10/8).

Debate: Meek and Crist call Rubio an extreme candidate in debate (WaPo, 10/7).

Tea Party: Crist says only he can “stop the Tea Party mess that Mr. Rubio would bring to Washington” (Miami New Times, 10/12).

Pat Toomey

Climate Change: Disputes notion that human activity contributes to climate change (Think Progress, 10/12).

Tea Party: FreedomWorks to kickstart GOTV efforts for Toomey (FreedomWorks, 10/11).

Ad: Democrats blast Toomey for backing Social Security privatization (HuffPo, 10/12).

Value Voter Recap: We're All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)

The so-called Values Voter Summit, organized by the Family Research Council and sponsored by a number of right-wing groups, brought more than 2,000 activists (their count) to Washington D.C. for two solid days of speeches, workshops, networking, and a chance to spend time with others who passionately hate President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership. Addressing the crowd were a number of GOP presidential hopefuls, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rep. Mike Pence (who eked out a narrow victory over Huckabee in the straw poll). Not surprisingly, conference speakers echoed the themes heard at the smaller Faith and Freedom conference convened by Ralph Reed just one week earlier.

Here were the top themes emerging from these Religious Right political conferences.
 
1) We’re All Tea Partiers Now (Including God)
 
The Faith and Freedom conference and Values Voter Summit signaled the Religious Right’s full embrace of (or effort to co-opt) the Tea Party movement and its activists’ anti-Washington energies. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a superstar in both the Religious Right and Tea Party movements, railed at Tea Party critics: “If you are scared of the Tea Party movement, you are afraid of Thomas Jefferson, who penned our mission statement [the Declaration of Independence].”
 
The events were also designed to attack the notion that the Tea Party movement is, or should be, focused only on economic issues and not on moral ones. This is more than the ongoing effort to solidify a working electoral partnership among fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. This is an ideological campaign against the very idea that one can legitimately be a fiscal conservative without embracing the Religious Right’s “family values” agenda on issues such as legal abortion and marriage equality. At the Values Voter Summit, there was little patience for libertarians who consider themselves economically conservative but socially liberal. Sen. Jim DeMint, greeted as a folk-hero for his success at backing Tea Party challengers to establishment GOP candidates, took on the idea directly, saying “you can’t be a true fiscal conservative if you do not understand the value of a culture that is based on values.” 
 
Others echoed the theme. A Heritage Foundation video declared that faith is necessary for liberty. Rep Mike Pence, the dark-horse winner of the summit’s straw poll, said America’s darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles. Newt Gingrich declared that activists have to go back to making the moral case for free enterprise, not the economic case. David Limbaugh decried “economic justice,” which he called a leftist euphemism for “confiscation.” 
 
At a Values Voter Summit panel on the Tea Party movement, two activists described their work as being inspired in part by instructions they received from God in the early morning hours, like Glenn Beck; one insisted that her activism was not just about taxes but about getting America to turn back to God.
 
2) Nothing is more important than the 2010 and 2012 elections.
 
Nearly every speaker said that the 2010 election is the most important in our lifetime. Speakers insisted that President Obama, his administration, and Democratic congressional leaders are not only wrong, they are evil and are out to destroy the American experiment in limited government and individual liberty.  It is simply not possible to overstate the level of anger and hostility directed toward Obama (described as an America-hating narcissistic Marxist), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 
 
Activists were told they must fast, pray, and work hard to defeat Democrats this November. The Family Research Council urged people to visit the website of Pray and A.C.T, a campaign led by Jim Garlow, who has been a rising star on the Religious Right since leading religious organizing on behalf of California’s anti-gay Prop 8. Ralph Reed is promising to share with local activists a massive new database of faith-based and fiscally conservative voters that he is building. 
 
Activists were also told that they must plan to keep sacrificing their time, energy and money for the next two years to make sure that Obama is defeated in 2012. Former Sen. Rick Santorum told activists not to expect dramatic improvements even if they win big in November: things won’t really change for the better as long as the White House is in Obama’s hands. Activists were warned that these two elections may be the last chance to stop the nation’s slide toward socialism and the end of America as we know it.
 
Right-wing speakers are optimistic about the possibility of delivering both the House and Senate into Republican hands and electing a conservative Republican president in 2012. FRC’s PAC held a fundraiser Friday night for Christine O’Donnell, the new Tea Party-backed GOP Senate candidate from Delaware, and other like-minded candidates.   Ralph Reed said that voter registration and focused turnout campaigns being waged by his and other right-wing groups would turn this from a good election cycle for Republicans into a historically sweeping one. And there’s particular excitement that Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio could be the face of the GOP’s future: right-wing strategists see him as Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama rolled into one appealing, Latino-vote-getting package.
 
3) Repealing Health Care Reform the Top Legislative Priority
 
According to several Values Voter Summit speakers, health care reform legislation signed into law by President Obama wasn’t really about health care at all. It was about extending the power of the federal government into tyrannical realms. Repealing “Obamacare” before it fully goes into effect is the top legislative priority of movement leaders. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was one of several speakers who called the legislation unconstitutional, saying that if the legislation was allowed to stand, it would effectively spell the end of any limits on federal power. 
 
4) Muslims Replace Immigrants as a Top Target
 
While previous conferences have portrayed unchecked illegal immigration as the most dire threat to America, this year’s speakers picked up on the right-wing generated furor over a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan – the inaccurately dubbed “Ground Zero Mosque” – to make repeated bitter denunciations of Islam. Immigration was not completely ignored: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in a list of complaints, denounced the White House for being an administration “whose idea of a rogue state is Arizona,” and the Heritage Foundation sponsored a workshop on “The Real Cost of Illegal Immigration.” But the real energy was in attacking Islam, which was a primary focus of remarks by Bill Bennett and Gary Bauer.
 
5) Pursuit of Happiness With an Asterisk: Gays Need Not Apply
 
Not surprisingly, all the talk about individual liberty being at the core of our national identity did not extend to the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans to pursue happiness by marrying the person they love. Several speakers exhorted attendees to help mobilize conservative voters in Iowa to turn out for upcoming retention elections and vote against Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled that denying gay couples the freedom to marriage violated the state’s constitution. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who insisted that there is no confusion about what is right in the sight of God and what is evil in the sight of God, said that politicians who support, defend, and promote “counterfeits” to marriage (which include not only marriage equality but also civil unions and domestic partnerships) are doing something evil and deserve condemnation. Fischer repeated Religious Right claims that LGBT equality and religious liberty are incompatible: “we are going to have to choose between the homosexual agenda and religious liberty because we simply cannot have both.”
 
The federal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law which forbids gay members of the Armed Forces for serving openly and honestly, was also high on speakers’ minds. Sen. James Inhofe urged people to call their senators in advance of a scheduled vote on a defense authorization bill that would include language to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as well as language that would, in his words, turn military hospitals into abortion clinics. 

Sheriff Joe To The Rescue!

“Every state needs a least one sheriff like Joe Arpaio,” Sharron Angle told a convention of right-wing bloggers in Las Vegas. And now “Sheriff Joe” of Maricopa County, Arizona, intends to push his hardcore anti-immigrant agenda and promote SB 1070 around the country. After his stint on reality TV with Fox’s “Smile…You’re Under Arrest!” Sheriff Joe is looking to eclipse Tom Tancredo in anti-immigrant politics and demagoguery.

Sheriff Joe will soon address a New Hampshire Republican Party conference and is also slated to speak at the “National Tea Party Unity Convention” in Las Vegas this October. At the Tea Party Convention he will join other right-wing extremists such as Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, radio talk show host Neal Boortz, and a whole slew of Tea Party fanatics like William Temple, Victoria Jackson and the rapper “Polatik.”

Increasing his political reach, the Los Angeles Times reports that he is “supporting candidates for Michigan governor, California Assembly and congressional seats in Florida and Missouri, among others.” He recently gave his blessing to Tea Party darling Sharron Angle, who will join Sheriff Joe at the Tea Party Convention, although he later admitted: “I don't know too much about her.”

Famous for building “tent cities” for inmates, racial profiling, sweeps and raids of immigrant communities, and glaring civil rights abuses, Sheriff Joe is now an important endorsement for right-wing candidates outside of Arizona. Politics is not unfamiliar to Sheriff Joe, who launched investigations against critical journalists and political opponents, and was blasted for using the law as “a personal tool to target political enemies or avenge perceived wrongs.”

The New York Times in 2009 detailed the Republican Party’s new anti-immigrant hero and his failed record as Sheriff:

Maricopa County has many times more federal prison condition lawsuits than New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined. In September of last year, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care revoked its accreditation of the jails Sheriff Arpaio runs on the grounds of failure to provide adequate health care for inmates.

In October, a federal judge ruled that Sheriff Arpaio’s department had violated the Constitution by depriving inmates of medical care, fed them unhealthy food and housed them in unsanitary conditions.

The Goldwater report suggested that the picture beyond corrections was equally grim, citing the department’s tendency to “clear” cases without any resolution or arrest, and suggested that resources were being diverted to efforts to find illegal immigrants through sweeps that other departments characterized as dangerous.

As a result of the raids, Phoenix’s mayor, Phil Gordon, wrote a letter to the United States Department of Justice accusing Mr. Arpaio of “a pattern and practice of conduct that includes discriminatory harassment, improper stops, searches and arrests.”


The Goldwater report suggests that the trade-off for the letting [sic] the sheriff do his thing may not benefit his constituents. Although his department was “adept at self-promotion and is an unquestionably ‘tough’ law-enforcement agency, under its watch violent crime rates recently have soared, both in absolute terms and relative to other jurisdictions.”

Homicides in the county were up 167 percent in the three-year period ending in 2007 and the report stated that the budget for the department, excluding corrections, had doubled since 2001.

“We have 40,000 unserved felony warrants — murderers and rapists — and instead of serving those warrants, we have this buffoon who spends his time popping out from behind curtains for a reality television show,” said Michael C. Manning, a Phoenix lawyer who has sued the department on behalf of clients repeatedly and successfully in wrongful death suits. “He continues to demean our community by chasing publicity and acting the buffoon.”

Do Not Take Legal Advice From Bryan Fischer

Now that Bryan Fischer has hit the big time, I think it is important to remind everyone of a simple fact: Fischer generally has no idea what he is talking about.

Remember a few weeks back when he was claiming that the ruling striking down Arizona's draconian law was unconstitutional on the grounds that the Constitution says the Supreme Court is to have "original jurisdiction" over "all cases...in which a State shall be Party"?  That argument turned out to be so ludicrous that even WorldNetDaily dismissed it as nonsense.

Well, Fischer is once again demonstrating his legal genius, blasting Judge Vaughan Walker for suggesting opponents of his Prop 8 ruling might not have standing to appeal.  Here's is Fischer's brilliant analysis:

Judge Walker appears oblivious to the blatant self-contradiction in his ruling. If Prop. 8 proponents do not have standing, what in the world was he doing allowing them to argue in his courtroom on behalf of natural marriage for two weeks?

Oh, that's right, it gave him the chance to be the center of the universe for one brief shining moment. For him to have denied standing would have deprived him of his fifteen minutes, and he wasn't about to put up with that. He granted standing just long enough to get his picture in every newspaper in the country and become the darling of the effeminate left. He even tried to become a daytime TV star until the Supreme Court smacked him down. And then, when his fifteen minutes were up, he tried to tell everybody to go home.

...

The Ninth Circuit has scheduled a court date for the appeal of Judge Walker's ruling, but curiously have directed the proponents of Prop. 8 to come before it and address the issue of standing.

What the Ninth Circuit has done, in all its infinite judicial wisdom, and without apparently even realizing it, is to settle this question before it's even argued in court. For if the proponents have standing to argue standing, then they have standing. If they have no standing, they shouldn't have been scheduled even to make arguments for standing.

The mere fact that the Ninth Circuit is inviting them into court to make the case for standing means, if logic and consistency mean anything, that the court has already decided this question in the affirmative.

We'll see if they're rational enough to figure out what they've done here. Being as how they're liberals, all bets are off on that one. They can hardly now rule against the standing of Prop. 8 proponents, because a higher court will say, well, if they had no legal right to be there, why did you even let them in your court in the first place?

First of all, Walker didn't say Prop 8 proponents didn't have standing in the initial case, he said they might not have standing to appeal ... and the issue standing is going to be an important question in moving the case forward in the appeals process: 

[A]dvocates of Prop 8, who are launching the appeal, may not have the necessary standing to carry it forward. The case is titled Perry v. Schwarzenegger, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other officials in the position of defending the ballot initiative. But those officials, who are sympathetic toward gay marriage to varying degrees, are not inclined to appeal Walker's ruling.

Under Supreme Court precedent, it's unclear that proponents of legislation would have standing to defend it if state officials are not themselves defending it, because they can't show that they are suffering the necessary injury. In Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, a 1997 case, the Court expressed "grave doubts" about the ability of such groups to challenge rulings that strike down ballot initiatives.

"There is a very serious standing issue," said George Washington University Law School associate dean Alan Morrison, a longtime expert on standing and civil procedure. The Arizona precedent, he said, "came right up to the edge" of saying there was no standing for groups like those that favor Proposition 8. Morrison also noted that since that ruling, new members like Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr. have joined the Court and are "no friends of expanding standing." Setting high standards for standing has been one of several gatekeeping procedural doctrines conservative justices have used to weed out what they view as excessive or frivolous litigation from the courts.

The issue of standing is the very question the Ninth Circuit is going to be examining and why the court is explicitly telling Prop 8 supporters who are appealing Walker's ruling "to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing."

The fact that Prop 8 supporters are going to be in court does not prove that they have standing because that is the very question they are going to be in court trying to decide.

Rep. Trent Franks: Obama Is One of the Nation's Most Dangerous Enemies

Last year, Rep. Trent Franks spoke at the How To Take Back America Conference where he called President Obama an "enemy of humanity":

What he meant, Franks' spokesperson later insisted, was that Obama was an enemy of "unborn humanity," due to his views on abortion.

So I looked forward to hearing Franks' clarification of his latest statement that Obama is one of the most dangerous enemies facing America today

From Elena Kagan's nomination and subsequent confirmation to the Supreme Court, to the recent passage healthcare reforms, a sitting congressman says President Obama is the greatest threat to the United States Constitution -- and one of the nation's worst enemies.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) tells OneNewsNow that America's enemy is not as much outside itself, but within its own borders. "It's always the water on the inside of the ship that's sinks it," he says. "And Barack Obama, I have to tell you, is water on the inside of the ship of America."

Fischer Offers A Novel Argument For Ignoring Federal Court Decisions

I love it when right-wingers suddenly start screaming about the Constitution and jurisdiction and the like whenever they think doing so will justify ignoring a court ruling they don't like. 

The latest post from Bryan Fisher is a case in point:

Although tyrannical judge Susan Bolton won’t like to hear this, her federal court is referred to in the Constitution as an “inferior” tribunal. She certainly has given us no reason to doubt the appropriateness of that term in her case.

The problem here is that the Constitution plainly gives “original jurisdiction” to the Supreme Court in “all cases...in which a State shall be Party.” That’s from Article III, Sec. 2. You could look it up.

The state of Arizona is without question a party in this suit. The named defendants are:

“State of Arizona; and Janice K. Brewer, Governor of the State of Arizona, in her Official Capacity.”

...

The bottom line here is that Judge Bolton does not have the slightest constitutional authority even to hear this case, let alone issue misbegotten and ill-informed rulings on it.

My hope continues to be that Arizona will follow the Constitution, ignore Judge Bolton’s ruling, which has no legal weight, and implement the law as written by the elected representatives of the people of Arizona. Why should they allow themselves to be dictated to and pushed around by this petty, little tyrant of a judge who didn’t even have the right to receive this case in the first place?

Apparently the decision is meaningless because Judge Bolton did not have the authority to hear the case as the Supreme Court has "original jurisdiction" in "all cases...in which a State shall be Party."

Does that mean that the federal judge who yesterday refused to dismiss Virginia's lawsuit challenging health-care reform likewise has no constitutional authority and that his decision carries no legal weight and can be ignored? 

After all, Virginia is clearly a party to this lawsuit: "Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius."

Fischer can look it up. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The ACLJ isn't just opposing Islam at home, they are opposing it abroad as well.
  • The Washington Post has a long profile of Ken Cuccinelli.
  • Peter LaBarbera is still complaining that I accused him and his allies of hating gays ... and then turns right around and calls the Gay Liberation Network a "radical homosexual hate group."
  • Randall Terry blasts Priests for Life and Americans United for Life as "useless; they are collaborators with the baby killers themselves."
  • I will never understand why people who get caught saying something stupid try to claim that they never said exactly what they were caught saying.
  • Larry Klayman has absolutely no reason to believe that the judge in the Arizona immigration case was pressured by the Obama administration, but that is not going to stop him from launching a fishing expedition.
  • Finally, the Liberty Counsel continues to serve as the law firm of choice for woman seeking to keep their former partners away from their children because "Ohio law, like nature, makes no provision for a child to have two mothers."

Land: Christians Burning the Koran is an Act of Blasphemy

On September 11, the folks at Dove World Church in Gainesville, Florida (perhaps best known for their "No Homo Mayor" signs a few months back) will be hosting "International Burn A Quran Day."

And this move it apparently so extreme that even some Religious Right leaders are denouncing it:

"Dove World Outreach Center, shame on you," responded Angel Nuñez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

"If I want to win a Muslim to Christ, I surely won't do it by burning the Qur'an in public and provoking them to hate us more," said Nuñez. "The greatest weapon a Christian has is godly love."

The National Association for Evangelicals released a statement Thursday urging the church, which averages 50 attendees each Sunday, to call off the event.

"It sounds like the proposed Qu'ran burning is rooted in revenge," said NAE president Leith Anderson. "The most powerful statement by the organizers of the planned September 11th bonfire would be to call it off in the name and love of Jesus Christ."

"I think it is appalling, disgusting, and brainless," said Richard Land, director of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I think that those of us who find what they are doing abhorrent should say so, and say so publicly and often."

Land added that the church's actions "besmirch the reputation of our Savior, and that makes it blasphemy."

Of course, it should also be noted that while Land thinks burning the Koran is blasphemous, he's not exactly defender of Muslims or their rights, as he's also vehemently opposed to the proposed "Ground Zero Mosque"

As a Baptist who believes in religious freedom and separation of church and state, I strongly support religious communities' right to have places of worship within reasonable distance of where they live. However, no religious community has an absolute right to have a place of worship wherever they choose, regardless of the community's objections.

I believe that putting a mosque at Ground Zero, or very close to Ground Zero, is unacceptable ... Having a mosque at Ground Zero would be the equivalent of having a Japanese Shinto shrine built next to the USS Arizona.

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Arizona Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 10:46am
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who previously argued that marriage equality will lead to the downfall of civilization, is bringing together right-wing groups and leading Republicans for his Conservative Principles Conference on March 26th in the premier caucus state. Potential presidential candidates, including Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and John Bolton, will be joining the virulently anti-gay National Organization for Marriage for the conference. King says that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who believes schools should ban gay teachers, will keynote the event. Other participants include... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 10:46am
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who previously argued that marriage equality will lead to the downfall of civilization, is bringing together right-wing groups and leading Republicans for his Conservative Principles Conference on March 26th in the premier caucus state. Potential presidential candidates, including Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and John Bolton, will be joining the virulently anti-gay National Organization for Marriage for the conference. King says that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who believes schools should ban gay teachers, will keynote the event. Other participants include... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 9:25am
Michele Bachmann South Carolina: Slams Obama's foreign policy and says striking workers should be fired in address to GOP activists (Spartanburg Herald Journal, 2/20). Health: Criticizes Michele Obama for encouraging breast feeding (WaPo, 2/19). Veterans: Faces resistance to her plan to dramatically cut funding to veterans (The Daily Beast, 2/18). Haley Barbour Iowa: Tells state's governor that he will campaign in Iowa if he decides to run (Des Moines Register, 2/21). Huckabee: Wins praise on race-issues and political strategy from Mike Huckabee (CNN, 2/21). Race: Silent on proposed car tag... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/22/2011, 9:25am
Michele Bachmann South Carolina: Slams Obama's foreign policy and says striking workers should be fired in address to GOP activists (Spartanburg Herald Journal, 2/20). Health: Criticizes Michele Obama for encouraging breast feeding (WaPo, 2/19). Veterans: Faces resistance to her plan to dramatically cut funding to veterans (The Daily Beast, 2/18). Haley Barbour Iowa: Tells state's governor that he will campaign in Iowa if he decides to run (Des Moines Register, 2/21). Huckabee: Wins praise on race-issues and political strategy from Mike Huckabee (CNN, 2/21). Race: Silent on proposed car tag... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 02/18/2011, 5:28pm
Rep. Michele Bachmann is seeking prayerful "inner assurance" about whether she should run for president. Mike Huckabee really likes going to Israel. Alan Keyes says Sarah Palin is a phony and a hypocrite. Rick Santorum warns that multiculturalism will destroy America. Tim Pawlenty will headline the Tea Party Patriots' "American Policy Summit-Pathways to Liberty" in Arizona next week. Looks like CPAC is going to try to win back the support of social conservatives. Finally, you should really take the time to listen to Peter LaBarbera... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 02/14/2011, 10:11am
As we have noted several times in recent weeks, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter has recently resurfaced in her native Ohio and is leading the effort to pass anti-choice legislation called "The Heartbeat Bill." As part of this push, Porter has organized effort to send red, heart-shaped balloons to state legislators and today they are going to be delivered: Thousands of shiny red heart-shaped balloons will be delivered to legislators today thanking (nearly half the House members who are co-sponsors) and encouraging the others to "Have a Heart! Support the Heartbeat Bill!"... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 02/14/2011, 10:11am
As we have noted several times in recent weeks, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter has recently resurfaced in her native Ohio and is leading the effort to pass anti-choice legislation called "The Heartbeat Bill." As part of this push, Porter has organized effort to send red, heart-shaped balloons to state legislators and today they are going to be delivered: Thousands of shiny red heart-shaped balloons will be delivered to legislators today thanking (nearly half the House members who are co-sponsors) and encouraging the others to "Have a Heart! Support the Heartbeat Bill!"... MORE