Elections

CPAC: Merit Selection for Judges is an Evil Leftist Plot

A group of right-wing legal advocates warned CPAC participants – or more accurately, a tiny subset of CPAC participants – about “The Left’s Campaign to Reshape the Judiciary.”

Panelists discussed the meaning of “judicial activism” and why the kind of right-wing judicial activism we’ve seen from the Supreme Court doesn’t qualify. (Overturning health care reform? Also not judicial activism.) But the main thrust of the panel was the supposedly dire threat posed by efforts at the state level to replace judicial elections with a merit selection process. 
 
The increasing tendency of judicial elections to become big-money affairs funded by individuals and groups who regularly appear before judges has increasingly raised concerns about judgeships – including state supreme court justices – being for sale to the highest bidder, such as corporate interests looking for courts that won’t hold corporations accountable for misconduct.
 
But today’s panelists – Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackleford, American Justice Partnership’s Dan Pero, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Timothy Lee, and the American Civil Rights Union’s Ken Klukowski, warned against merit selection, a nonpartisan alternative that is employed in a number of states and under consideration in others. Pero called merit selection “a power grab by the liberal left,” citing People For the American Way, among others he said were liberals trying to use the courts to impose their vision on America.
 
Timothy Lee, perhaps mindful of the small crowd drawn to the panel, urged participants to explain to others why the courts were important, no matter what other issue they cared about. For example, he said, the Citizens United decision overturning Supreme Court precedent and substantially crippling the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law rested on the fact the Samuel Alito had replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the high court.
 
Klukowski echoed Lee’s call, saying that the fight for “constitutional conservatism” can’t succeed without the right judges in place: “The U.S. Constitution is only as good as the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that interpret it.” He complained about the Supreme Court’s rulings that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights and about other federal courts recognizing marriage equality and ruling against the ban on gay servicemembers.
 
And while panel members celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, Klukowski said it’s not clear that there’s a majority in the Court for overturning other gun restrictions. He specifically complained that it is a felony for someone who went through a “messy divorce” and was under a restraining order to have a gun.
 
Klukowski said that he and Ken Blackwell have written a book called Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservativism can Save America and made an appeal for all stripes of conservatives – social, economic, and national security – to stop fighting each other and work together.

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

David Horowtiz Rallies to Defend Beck on Supposed Progressive-Islamist Axis

The feud between Glenn Beck and William Kristol over Beck’s bizarre and paranoid ranting about the crisis in Egypt has become increasingly bitter. Beck prophesizes an alliance between the political left and an Islamic caliphate that he claims will takes over Europe and the Middle East. Beck believes that progressives and Islamists “stand together” as “one nation” and predicts that the anti-Mubarak uprising will engender a pernicious socialist-Islamist-Chinese union will try to takeover the world. Conservative writer William Kristol responded in his Weekly Standard column that as Beck “lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.”

Beck, in his own signature obsessive way, has struck back at Kristol, earning further criticism from conservative writers including the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin. But not all neoconservatives are defending Kristol, who unlike Beck supports Egypt’s democracy movement. One major backer of Bush’s neoconservative foreign policy is rushing to Beck’s defense. David Horowitz has a long-held belief that an axis between radical Islamists and progressive activists and university professors will attempt to topple the US government (among others), a claim embraced by other right-wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Cliff Kincaid, and Robert Spencer. Even Gateway Pundit is trying to use Code Pink’s support for the anti-Mubarak protests to tie the group to the Muslim Brotherhood.

On his blog, Horowitz writes that Kristol should immediately apologize to Beck and “should be embarrassed by his own ignorance of the agendas of both American radicals and their jihadist allies.” He continues:

Bill Kristol is entitled to his optimism about democratic revolutions in the Islamic world. Perhaps the elections in Egypt will turn out better than those in Gaza where Hamas now rules a terrorist state; Iraq, which has instituted an Islamic Republic; Lebanon, where Hezbollah now rules a terrorist state; and Afghanistan, which is a kleptocracy wooing the terrorist theocracy in Iran. What he should not be doing as a conservative leader is demonizing Glenn Beck, who has done more to educate Americans about the unholy alliance between the secular left and the Islamic jihadists than anyone else. Kristol needs to apologize to Beck for comparing him — outrageously — to the conspiracist Robert Welch, and should be embarrassed by his own ignorance of the agendas of both American radicals and their jihadist allies. At this point in time, such ignorance is not only inexcusable but dangerous.

Previously, Horowitz even tried to link right-wing boogeyman Bill Ayres to the Muslim Brothers:

We saw the unholy alliance at work in the Hamas inspired campaign to break the Gaza blockade. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were leaders of the American wing of the Hamas coalition against the blockade and went to Gaza to meet with Hamas shortly before the terrorist Flotilla was intercepted by Israeli forces. The Gaza blockade was jointly instituted by Israel and Egypt – by the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood’s army. If the Muslim Brotherhood topples the Mubarak regime, Hamas’s war against the Jews will be immeasureably [sic] strengthened. The radical left in America and internationally is committed to Hamas and its genocidal campaign against the Jews and its general war against the United States. That is why the fate of Egypt in this crisis resonates for all of us.

David Horowtiz Rallies to Defend Beck on Supposed Progressive-Islamist Axis

The feud between Glenn Beck and William Kristol over Beck’s bizarre and paranoid ranting about the crisis in Egypt has become increasingly bitter. Beck prophesizes an alliance between the political left and an Islamic caliphate that he claims will takes over Europe and the Middle East. Beck believes that progressives and Islamists “stand together” as “one nation” and predicts that the anti-Mubarak uprising will engender a pernicious socialist-Islamist-Chinese union will try to takeover the world. Conservative writer William Kristol responded in his Weekly Standard column that as Beck “lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.”

Beck, in his own signature obsessive way, has struck back at Kristol, earning further criticism from conservative writers including the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin. But not all neoconservatives are defending Kristol, who unlike Beck supports Egypt’s democracy movement. One major backer of Bush’s neoconservative foreign policy is rushing to Beck’s defense. David Horowitz has a long-held belief that an axis between radical Islamists and progressive activists and university professors will attempt to topple the US government (among others), a claim embraced by other right-wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Cliff Kincaid, and Robert Spencer. Even Gateway Pundit is trying to use Code Pink’s support for the anti-Mubarak protests to tie the group to the Muslim Brotherhood.

On his blog, Horowitz writes that Kristol should immediately apologize to Beck and “should be embarrassed by his own ignorance of the agendas of both American radicals and their jihadist allies.” He continues:

Bill Kristol is entitled to his optimism about democratic revolutions in the Islamic world. Perhaps the elections in Egypt will turn out better than those in Gaza where Hamas now rules a terrorist state; Iraq, which has instituted an Islamic Republic; Lebanon, where Hezbollah now rules a terrorist state; and Afghanistan, which is a kleptocracy wooing the terrorist theocracy in Iran. What he should not be doing as a conservative leader is demonizing Glenn Beck, who has done more to educate Americans about the unholy alliance between the secular left and the Islamic jihadists than anyone else. Kristol needs to apologize to Beck for comparing him — outrageously — to the conspiracist Robert Welch, and should be embarrassed by his own ignorance of the agendas of both American radicals and their jihadist allies. At this point in time, such ignorance is not only inexcusable but dangerous.

Previously, Horowitz even tried to link right-wing boogeyman Bill Ayres to the Muslim Brothers:

We saw the unholy alliance at work in the Hamas inspired campaign to break the Gaza blockade. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were leaders of the American wing of the Hamas coalition against the blockade and went to Gaza to meet with Hamas shortly before the terrorist Flotilla was intercepted by Israeli forces. The Gaza blockade was jointly instituted by Israel and Egypt – by the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood’s army. If the Muslim Brotherhood topples the Mubarak regime, Hamas’s war against the Jews will be immeasureably [sic] strengthened. The radical left in America and internationally is committed to Hamas and its genocidal campaign against the Jews and its general war against the United States. That is why the fate of Egypt in this crisis resonates for all of us.

Santorum Hires Founder of Corporate Astroturf Group that Ran Ads Attacking the “Victory Mosque”

In another sign that Rick Santorum is gearing up for a presidential bid, the former Pennsylvania Senator hired two top Republican strategists from Iowa. CNN reports that Nick Ryan and Jill Latham “will serve as advisers to his political action committee, America's Foundation.” Ryan and Latham both originally worked at the Concordia Group, a lobbyist firm that primarily worked to help the ethanol industry. Ryan is also a founder of the American Future Fund (AFF), a shadowy political group that was accused of violating campaign finance law.

The New York Times found the AFF targeted Democrats that were involved in setting federal agriculture policy, a key concern of Ryan’s Concordia Groups clients. The AFF’s political director also worked in the Concordia Group, and the AFF paid Ryan’s firm $300,000 for consulting fees.

But the AFF’s ads were not focused on agriculture, and instead chastised Democrats for their votes for health care reform, clean energy legislation, or for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House.

In one of the most shameless ads of the election, the AFF attacked Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) for saying that New York’s zoning officials should decide the fate of the planned Park51 Islamic community center as part of its smear against the First Amendment rights of Muslims.

Watch:

Santorum Hires Founder of Corporate Astroturf Group that Ran Ads Attacking the “Victory Mosque”

In another sign that Rick Santorum is gearing up for a presidential bid, the former Pennsylvania Senator hired two top Republican strategists from Iowa. CNN reports that Nick Ryan and Jill Latham “will serve as advisers to his political action committee, America's Foundation.” Ryan and Latham both originally worked at the Concordia Group, a lobbyist firm that primarily worked to help the ethanol industry. Ryan is also a founder of the American Future Fund (AFF), a shadowy political group that was accused of violating campaign finance law.

The New York Times found the AFF targeted Democrats that were involved in setting federal agriculture policy, a key concern of Ryan’s Concordia Groups clients. The AFF’s political director also worked in the Concordia Group, and the AFF paid Ryan’s firm $300,000 for consulting fees.

But the AFF’s ads were not focused on agriculture, and instead chastised Democrats for their votes for health care reform, clean energy legislation, or for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House.

In one of the most shameless ads of the election, the AFF attacked Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) for saying that New York’s zoning officials should decide the fate of the planned Park51 Islamic community center as part of its smear against the First Amendment rights of Muslims.

Watch:

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Iowa GOP Hopes to Ban Gay Marriage and Civil Unions as Vander Plaats Mobilizes Pastors

The battle over marriage equality in Iowa is heating up as Republicans in the State House are moving forward with plans to ban gay marriage and civil unions, an attempt to reverse a unanimous 2009 State Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality. To amend the constitution, “an amendment would require approval by state lawmakers during two legislative sessions, and then approval by voters at the ballot box.” Encouraged by major Republican gains in the midterm elections and the removal of three pro-equality Justices through retention votes, Iowa Republicans have emphasized restrictions on gay-rights and reproductive-rights in their legislative agenda, and Religious Right leader Bob Vander Plaats is pressing for the removal of the entire Supreme Court.

Vander Plaats’s new organization, The Family Leader, recently blasted pro-equality faith leaders in an alert message that questions their faith, stating: “167 ‘religious’ leaders signed a letter delivered to the Iowa Legislature saying that people of faith support homosexual ‘marriage.’ Don’t stay silent while others speak for you and misrepresnt [sic] God.” The group calls on pastors to sign an alternative petition which describes “homosexual behavior” as “immoral and sinful” and “harmful both to the individuals who choose to participate in it and the society that chooses to accept it.”

The mobilization of pastors by The Family Leader comes at a time when, according to the Des Moines Register, Republican leaders are trying to prohibit not only gay marriage but also other forms of legal rights for gay couples such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. The Register reports:

House Republicans will introduce legislation this week to begin the process to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban not only same-sex marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnerships.

That prospect raised alarm with civil rights advocates, who said it would legalize discrimination.

Republicans, who took control of the House in the Nov. 2 elections, had pledged to pass a measure this legislative session that would eventually allow Iowans a vote on same-sex marriage. But the resolution they've prepared is more sweeping than that, a move intended to help place finality on the issue of the legality of same-sex unions, said Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, who is the lead sponsor of House Joint Resolution 6.

"I think the biggest issue is that if that (a same-sex marriage ban) is carried forward, and then Iowa does civil unions and recognizes that as a substitute status, then, from what I've seen in other states," people would come to consider same-sex civil unions as equal to marriage, Alons said.

As of late Wednesday, no Democrats had signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Fifty-six of the 60 House Republicans are listed as co-sponsors. The measure is expected to easily pass the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to block consideration of a same-sex marriage amendment in that chamber.

The resolution says: "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."

Des Moines attorney James Benzoni said such an amendment would run counter to the intent of Iowa laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"The problem you're going to have is that it allows prejudice," Benzoni said. "It's going to open the door now for discrimination, for bullying, for treating people as second-class citizens."

The wording raised questions about whether private companies and governments in Iowa could still extend benefits to domestic partners. State government, for example, provides domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples.



Those who agree with the Iowa Supreme Court ruling have noted that same-sex couples have in previous years been shut out from hospital visitation and inheritance rights. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has listed more than 1,100 benefits the government provides to married couples.

The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of Des Moines, president of the NAACP State Conference for Iowa and Nebraska, has helped lead protests against same-sex marriage. He said Wednesday he agrees with the attempt to also keep domestic partnership or civil unions from gaining legal status.

Ratliff said he believes same-sex marriage further erodes the family, similar to the way that two-income families have eroded traditional nuclear families.

"I think there is an immediate consequence to gay marriage because people let their guard down in relation to what the word of God says," Ratliff said.

Iowa GOP Hopes to Ban Gay Marriage and Civil Unions as Vander Plaats Mobilizes Pastors

The battle over marriage equality in Iowa is heating up as Republicans in the State House are moving forward with plans to ban gay marriage and civil unions, an attempt to reverse a unanimous 2009 State Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality. To amend the constitution, “an amendment would require approval by state lawmakers during two legislative sessions, and then approval by voters at the ballot box.” Encouraged by major Republican gains in the midterm elections and the removal of three pro-equality Justices through retention votes, Iowa Republicans have emphasized restrictions on gay-rights and reproductive-rights in their legislative agenda, and Religious Right leader Bob Vander Plaats is pressing for the removal of the entire Supreme Court.

Vander Plaats’s new organization, The Family Leader, recently blasted pro-equality faith leaders in an alert message that questions their faith, stating: “167 ‘religious’ leaders signed a letter delivered to the Iowa Legislature saying that people of faith support homosexual ‘marriage.’ Don’t stay silent while others speak for you and misrepresnt [sic] God.” The group calls on pastors to sign an alternative petition which describes “homosexual behavior” as “immoral and sinful” and “harmful both to the individuals who choose to participate in it and the society that chooses to accept it.”

The mobilization of pastors by The Family Leader comes at a time when, according to the Des Moines Register, Republican leaders are trying to prohibit not only gay marriage but also other forms of legal rights for gay couples such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. The Register reports:

House Republicans will introduce legislation this week to begin the process to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban not only same-sex marriage but also civil unions and domestic partnerships.

That prospect raised alarm with civil rights advocates, who said it would legalize discrimination.

Republicans, who took control of the House in the Nov. 2 elections, had pledged to pass a measure this legislative session that would eventually allow Iowans a vote on same-sex marriage. But the resolution they've prepared is more sweeping than that, a move intended to help place finality on the issue of the legality of same-sex unions, said Rep. Dwayne Alons, R-Hull, who is the lead sponsor of House Joint Resolution 6.

"I think the biggest issue is that if that (a same-sex marriage ban) is carried forward, and then Iowa does civil unions and recognizes that as a substitute status, then, from what I've seen in other states," people would come to consider same-sex civil unions as equal to marriage, Alons said.

As of late Wednesday, no Democrats had signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Fifty-six of the 60 House Republicans are listed as co-sponsors. The measure is expected to easily pass the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to block consideration of a same-sex marriage amendment in that chamber.

The resolution says: "Marriage between one man and one woman shall be the only legal union valid or recognized in this state."

Des Moines attorney James Benzoni said such an amendment would run counter to the intent of Iowa laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"The problem you're going to have is that it allows prejudice," Benzoni said. "It's going to open the door now for discrimination, for bullying, for treating people as second-class citizens."

The wording raised questions about whether private companies and governments in Iowa could still extend benefits to domestic partners. State government, for example, provides domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples.



Those who agree with the Iowa Supreme Court ruling have noted that same-sex couples have in previous years been shut out from hospital visitation and inheritance rights. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has listed more than 1,100 benefits the government provides to married couples.

The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of Des Moines, president of the NAACP State Conference for Iowa and Nebraska, has helped lead protests against same-sex marriage. He said Wednesday he agrees with the attempt to also keep domestic partnership or civil unions from gaining legal status.

Ratliff said he believes same-sex marriage further erodes the family, similar to the way that two-income families have eroded traditional nuclear families.

"I think there is an immediate consequence to gay marriage because people let their guard down in relation to what the word of God says," Ratliff said.

NOM vows to Continue Fighting Marriage Equality in DC

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge to Washington, DC's marriage equality law, much to the dismay of the Religious Right.

But if you thought that was going to be the end of the challenge, think again, as the National Organization for Marriage today announced that it will continue to fight it and expects the new GOP majority in the House to help them:

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied an appeal by marriage defenders to the DC City Council’s implementation of same-sex marriage.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pledged to continue to push for the right of District residents to vote on marriage as the union of a man and a woman:

“While we are disappointed that the US Supreme Court did not decide to take the case challenging the denial of the civil rights of District residents to vote on the definition of marriage, we are by no means done pressing this issue. With a pro-marriage majority in the new Congress we will explore a number of avenues to force the District to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to voters. As the four Court of Appeal justices who dissented in this case made clear, the District of Columbia owes it to the voters to allow them to decide the critical issue of marriage which has existed since before there was a District of Columbia. In order to curry favor with the same-sex marriage special interest group, members of the City Council have turned their backs on their own constituents. It is ironic that these same council members champion the right of District votes to be heard in national elections but then deny those same residents the right to vote on the definition of marriage. We will press our belief with Congress that the constitution of the District requires that voters be allowed to decide this important issue.”

NOM vows to Continue Fighting Marriage Equality in DC

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge to Washington, DC's marriage equality law, much to the dismay of the Religious Right.

But if you thought that was going to be the end of the challenge, think again, as the National Organization for Marriage today announced that it will continue to fight it and expects the new GOP majority in the House to help them:

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied an appeal by marriage defenders to the DC City Council’s implementation of same-sex marriage.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pledged to continue to push for the right of District residents to vote on marriage as the union of a man and a woman:

“While we are disappointed that the US Supreme Court did not decide to take the case challenging the denial of the civil rights of District residents to vote on the definition of marriage, we are by no means done pressing this issue. With a pro-marriage majority in the new Congress we will explore a number of avenues to force the District to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to voters. As the four Court of Appeal justices who dissented in this case made clear, the District of Columbia owes it to the voters to allow them to decide the critical issue of marriage which has existed since before there was a District of Columbia. In order to curry favor with the same-sex marriage special interest group, members of the City Council have turned their backs on their own constituents. It is ironic that these same council members champion the right of District votes to be heard in national elections but then deny those same residents the right to vote on the definition of marriage. We will press our belief with Congress that the constitution of the District requires that voters be allowed to decide this important issue.”

Right Wing Boycott Movement Links CPAC to the Muslim Brotherhood

Incensed over the participation of the conservative gay-rights group GOProud in the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, far-right activists are now trying to connect the major conservative event to the Muslim Brotherhood. The American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts CPAC, has been the target of Religious Right groups and leaders over their handling of GOProud’s involvement, with Joseph Farah even calling for conservatives to “purge” the ACU from the movement. Already, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women For America, American Values, the American Principles Project, the Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, Liberty University, and the National Organization for Marriage have announced their boycott of CPAC.

Now, the conservative news site WorldNetDaily, a major cheerleader for the groups boycotting CPAC, is giving right wing activist Frank Gaffney a platform to charge the ACU with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist group. Gaffney is no stranger to conspiracy theories, as he previously claimed that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “amounts to a vote for reinstating the draft,” maintained that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is tied to an “ominous campaign” to “bring Shariah to America,” and said that Barack Obama is “America’s first Muslim president.” He is joined by WorldNetDaily’s Paul Sperry, who wrote a book asserting that radical Muslims were infiltrating the government through the congressional internship program.

Gaffney outlines a theory that since the ACU is allowing the leader of an organization known as Muslims for America, a conservative group with ties to the GOP, to participate in CPAC, the ACU is supporting a “stealthy effort to bring Shariah” to America. He is also outraged that Grover Norquist, the head of the highly influential Americans for Tax Reform and a GOProud board member, is involved in CPAC as well. But mostly, Gaffney directs his vitriol at Suhail Khan, the chairman of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition. Both Khan and Norquist are ACU board members, and in 2009 Khan received the Young Conservatives Coalition’s Buckley Award at CPAC. But according to Gaffney, Khan has ties to radical Islamists and, along with Norquist, wants to promote a “seditious totalitarian political program” in the U.S.:

With the Conservative Political Action Conference under fire for allowing participation by a homosexual activist group called GOProud and for a financial scandal in which some $400,000 was misappropriated under the watch of current leadership, Frank Gaffney, a leader of the conservative movement for the last 30 years, charges that CPAC has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is working to bring America under Saudi-style Shariah law.

Gaffney, deputy assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, is founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and co-author of the new book "Shariah: The Threat to America." He told WND that Islamism has infiltrated the American Conservative Union, the host of CPAC, in the person of Washington attorney and political activist Suhail Khan and a group called Muslims for America.

Khan is a member of the ACU board and, according to Muslims for America, will assist the group's presence at CPAC during the 2011 meeting Feb. 10-12.

Gaffney also accuses another ACU board member, leading conservative political organizer Grover Norquist, of helping the Muslim Brotherhood spread its influence in the nation's capital.



Paul Sperry, author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" and "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America," says Khan is running "an influence operation on Capitol Hill that's quite sophisticated and slick."

"Suhail is the firstborn son of the late Mahboob Khan, a founding father of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in America," said Sperry, a Hoover Institution media fellow. "Suhail has been a consultant to CAIR [The Council on American-Islamic Relations] and served on committees at ISNA [the Islamic Society of North America], both of which the government says are fronts for Hamas and its parent the Muslim Brotherhood."



Gaffney describes Norquist, who, ironically also serves on the board of the controversial GOProud, as the enabler for Muslim Brotherhood associates, providing them with access into the highest reaches of the conservative movement and the Republican Party through his many contacts. Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform, hosts a weekly political organizing meeting attended by many of the leading conservatives in Washington.

"This is a ticking time bomb for the conservative community," said Gaffney. Using language reminiscent of the Cold War, Gaffney declared, "An influence operation is contributing materially to the defeat of our country, supporting a stealthy effort to bring Shariah here.

"Grover Norquist is credentialing the perpetrators of this Muslim Brotherood influence operation," he adds. "This is part of tradecraft, to get people who have standing in a community to give it to people who lack it, so they can do what they're assigned to do in terms of subversion. We are in a war, and he has been working with the enemy for over a decade."

Norquist declined to respond to WND requests for comment.

Said Gaffney, "What's going on in conservative circles should give everyone real cause for concern. What it bespeaks is an effort to penetrate and influence conservatives, who are the most likely and perhaps only community in America who will stand up to and ultimately help ensure the defeat of this seditious totalitarian political program."

Religious Right Preparing to Fight For Repeal of Gay Marriage in New Hampshire

While New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor John Lynch survived his reelection race despite a barrage of attack ads from anti-equality groups like the National Organization for Marriage, Republicans won veto-proof majorities in both the State House and Senate. As a result, Religious Right groups such as the Family Research Council have committed to do “whatever it takes” to repeal New Hampshire’s law legalizing gay marriage, which passed in 2009 and went into effect last year. In 2009, Religious Right groups succeeded in overturning a Maine law legalizing gay marriage that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor by flooding the state with anti-gay activists and misleading ads, and now they have set their sights on New Hampshire. While the Republican majorities in both chambers have the votes to pass a repeal bill, it will require 2/3 majorities to override the governor’s veto. The Concord Monitor reports on how organizations are gearing-up for a major battle over the future of marriage equality in the Granite State:

The lead organizations in the fight are likely to be Cornerstone Action and New Hampshire Freedom to Marry. Cornerstone is affiliated with a national organization - CitizenLink (formerly Focus on the Family) - which could support state efforts. But both sides are also attracting attention from other groups.

On the side of repealing gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage spent nearly $1.5 million on campaign ads against Lynch. The day after the November election, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said in a press release that the organization is "poised to start taking back territory where (gay marriage) was wrongly enacted in places like New Hampshire and Iowa. That will be the next battleground, and we are confident of victory."

Brown said last week that the organization will continue to work closely with Cornerstone "to make sure that the wrong of forcing same-sex marriage on New Hampshire is corrected."

The Family Research Council also has a presence in New Hampshire, which it plans to continue. It contributed the legal maximum donation of $5,000 to Cornerstone's PAC during the elections. Tom McClusky, senior vice president of the group's policy wing, said the group has invested in making New Hampshire's Legislature more friendly to traditional marriage. "We don't want to see that go to waste," McClusky said.



How much money and effort will be poured into the New Hampshire campaign depends on what type of bill is ultimately proposed. In Maine, which held a statewide referendum that ultimately vetoed the state's gay marriage bill, local and national activists spent more than $6 million to sway public opinion.

The anti gay marriage group there, Stand for Marriage Maine, was led by a local pastor, Bob Emrich, and representatives from the Catholic Diocese in Maine and the National Organization for Marriage. It spent between $2 million and $3 million. The group hired the same public relations firm that worked on a California referendum and got help from the Family Research Council and Family Watch International. Emrich said the National Organization for Marriage was the largest financial contributor, donating around $1.5 million that helped with TV and radio ads, staff, mailings and public relations. The Family Research Council organized rallies and helped with communications and training activists.



For now, there are at least two proposed repeal bills in the Legislature and one constitutional amendment. Only the constitutional amendment has the potential to go on a statewide ballot, but not until 2012. Rep. David Bates, a Windham Republican who proposed two of the bills, said he anticipates moving forward with a repeal bill this session but perhaps not pursuing the constitutional amendment until 2012. A constitutional amendment would require a majority vote of 60 percent in the House and Senate, and a two-thirds' majority of the state's voters. The governor would not have a role.

Bates said it may not make sense to go ahead with a constitutional amendment this year, when it would not appear until 2012, and the goal of repealing gay marriage could be accomplished sooner by a law change. "This legislation is intended to restore the marriage law, to put it back where we were four years ago," Bates said.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 1/4/11

Mitch Daniels

Social issues: Candidates for RNC Chair pan Daniels's "truce" proposal (GOP12, 1/3).

2012: Claims that a potential presidential bid scares his family "to death" (The Hill, 1/3).

Newt Gingrich

Religious Right: Bryan Fischer of AFA thinks his history of extramarital affairs will doom him among social conservatives (RWW, 1/3).

Fundraising: Confirmed to address, along with Mike Pence, Illinois GOP fundraiser celebrating Ronald Reagan's birthday (Chicago Tribune, 1/3).

Mike Huckabee

Arkansas: Enthusiasm builds for a second presidential run in his home state of Arkansas (Politics Daily, 1/2).

Poll: Two out of three Republicans said that they were "very or somewhat likely" to back Huckabee, leading the field (CBNNews, 1/2).

Jon Huntsman

2012: Still open to presidential bid despite his appointment as Ambassador to China (Newsweek, 1/1).

Sarah Palin

Social issues: Re-tweets Tammy Bruce, who said that "the more someone complains about the homos the more we should look under their bed" (Gawker, 1/4).

GOP: Conservative writer George Will and blogger Erick Erickson dismiss Palin's chances of winning the Presidency (Salon, 1/3).

Book: Reviewer of America By Heart finds that "there is no identity she embraces with more alacrity than that of victim" (Religion Dispatches, 1/2).

Tim Pawlenty

2012: With Mark Dayton's inauguration as governor, Pawlenty now "full-time candidate" (The Atlantic, 1/3).

Book: Will begin tour for new book, Courage to Stand (Minnesota Public Radio, 1/3).

Mike Pence

Indiana: Fundraising plans point to potential gubernatorial bid (TPM, 1/4).

GOP: Wins the endorsement of RedState's Erick Erickson (RedState, 1/3).

Fundraising: Confirmed to address, along with Newt Gingrich, Illinois GOP fundraiser celebrating Ronald Reagan's birthday (Chicago Tribune, 1/3).

Mitt Romney

Massachusetts: May have a "Willie Horton" situation from his parole board appointments as Massachusetts governor (UPI, 1/3).

South Carolina: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) calls Romney "the most electable conservative" (Greenville Online, 1/3).

FRC Explains Decision to Skip CPAC

The Family Research Council's Tom McClusky explains why FRC will not participate in this year's CPAC, saying they decided end the relationship years ago because they were tired of having to battle to get their issues included and that the move to allow GOProud to sponsor the event "only cemented our decision":

We left CPAC a couple of years ago (before GOProud was a twinkle in anyone’s eye) in part because we saw they were moving away from conservative principles and also because of a growing concern over the management of CPAC. We know many friends as well as former CPAC employees over the years and know how the place operates. I didn’t hear anyone here at FRC voicing surprise when a leading ACU official was caught embezzling a few weeks ago. GOProud only cemented our decision that we should continue to stay away – just as the inclusion of other non- and anti -conservative groups have done in prior years.

...

When CPAC first launched in 1973, it was a small gathering of dedicated conservatives. The conference was an example of the coalition that elected President Ronald Reagan as our 40th President. The conference embodied what is called the three-legged stool of traditional social values, economic conservatism, and a strong national defense. Traditional moral values, such as marriage between a man and a woman, are a part of longstanding, conservative philosophy. The importance of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman cannot be separated from the discussion of limited government and fiscal conservatism.

Family Research Council has had a long history with CPAC, the American Conservative Union (ACU) and the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF). For over a decade, FRC was a cosponsor of CPAC, sponsoring popular panels on marriage and life. Every year, (at least in the eight I have been with FRC,) we have had to push a reluctant ACU to continue these panel discussions. A few years ago, we finally opted out of the event after deciding that the annual fight over conservatism with CPAC officials was a waste of energy and time ..

McClusky also takes issue with claims that GOProud is a gay conservative group, saying that they are, in fact, "a homosexual organization that is marginally conservative":

As for the separate issue of GOProud, they are an organization that opposes basic conservative principles. It’s not a conservative organization that happens to be gay; it is a homosexual organization that is marginally conservative.

GOProud’s website explains just how radical its priorities are. This is a group that opposed the death tax and ObamaCare — not because they aren’t sound economic policies — but because they “discriminate” against “gay families.” Its platform doesn’t end there. One of the group’s top 10 “principles” is to create “enterprise zones” for homosexuals, despite the fact that the average income for gays and lesbians is higher than most everyone else. At least two more of its “principles” call for the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. Additional priorities include allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military and defeating any attempt to protect one-man, one-woman marriage. The group even ran ads criticizing President Obama for not doing enough for the homosexual community.

...

[A]fter the elections GOProud further tried to divide conservatives by releasing a letter demanding that the Republican Party stay away from social issues. Ignoring their own demand, they continued pushing to overturn the law on homosexuals serving openly in the military. Hypocritical much?

You will be hard pressed to find anyone here looking to back down from a debate on the issues but it also isn’t our job to legitimize CPAC or GOProud as if they represent conservative goals and principles.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • NOM praises a Tennessee group that made “Marriage God’s Way” billboards to counter the “glorified” gay “alternate lifestyle.”
  • Bryan Fischer and WorldNetDaily freak out about Obama’s support for the UN “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.”
  • Herman Cain talks to The Hill about his possible presidential bid and may use CPAC as a “launching pad” for his candidacy.
  • Mitch Daniels says his social issues “truce” was directed at progressives, not conservatives.
  • Not even a majority of Republicans would support Sarah Palin if she ran for President.

Mat Staver Claims that Obama’s “Radical” Support for Same-Sex Partner Benefits Led to “Tidal Wave Against Him”

Liberty University Law School Dean and Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver joined David Barton and Rick Green on WallBuilders Live to denounce Obama and the Justice Department for failing to win cases on Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), which a federal judge in Boston ruled unconstitutional in July. Staver believes that Obama’s record of supporting gay rights undermined government action to effectively defend DOMA, and Staver went on to attack Obama for extending a number of health benefits to same-sex partners of eligible federal employees. According to Staver, Obama’s support for such benefits displays his “radical, liberal policies” that he believes voters overwhelmingly oppose and rejected in the midterm election:

He’s writing these executive orders as though that is able to change law, it’s not able to change law. What Obama’s trying to do is use a sleight of hand, an under the table kind of approach, to in fact change the law through these executive orders. He’s acting as though the law’s on his side, that it would include benefits for homosexuality and transsexuals and others. So he is forcing that through the system even though the laws are to the contrary. This is exactly what ultimately resulted in this tidal wave against him on Tuesday during the midterm elections, his radicalism and his forced agenda on the American people despite the fact that the people of America reject those radical, liberal policies.

However, Staver would have difficulties reconciling his argument with polling: a September poll conducted by the Associated Press shows that 58% of Americans agree that “couples of the same sex [should] be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples of the opposite sex,” and 52% even support federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Staver may be using Barton’s tremendously flawed reading on how opposition to same-sex marriage impacted the midterm election, while in reality “only 1%” of voters said “same-sex marriage was the single most important issue.”

Barton’s co-host Rick Green goes on to laud Staver for his role in training Religious Right activists at the Law School of Liberty University, which was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, to use the “right Biblical worldview” to shape government, politics, and the courts:

What they’re doing in terms of raising up this next generation. Not only the lawyers graduating from Liberty Law School but think of how many more people with the right Biblical worldview coming through a school like that will want to go be the bureaucrats, and we always think of that word as a negative word but the Justice Department and all these places and all these folks that work there in the past mostly did not have that Biblical worldview because we discouraged young people from going into those arenas. But because of what Mat’s doing and other schools out there doing that kind of thing I think we’re gonna have a lot more people coming into government for good reasons.

Perhaps Green wants more appointees like Monica Goodling, the graduate of Rev. Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School, who drew attention for her Religious Right activism in the Bush Administration’s Justice Department. Goodling was implicated in the Bush White House’s drive to politicize the Justice Department and replace US Attorneys with partisan appointees. The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General “concluded that the evidence showed that Goodling violated both federal law and Department policy, and therefore committed misconduct, when she considered political or ideological affiliations in hiring decisions for candidates for career positions within the Department.” For example, Goodling fired a US Attorney as a result of rumors that she was a lesbian and denied a promotion to a prosecutor because his wife was a Democratic activist. While Goodling was not a graduate of Liberty, Regent University has the same goals of training young right wing activists for government roles to advance the Religious Right’s agenda.

Anti-Choice Groups Intensify Efforts to Restrict Reproductive Rights in States

Energized by gains made by Republicans not only in congressional elections but also in gubernatorial and legislative races, anti-choice organizations are gearing up plans to push new laws restricting women’s right to choose. Already, anti-choice groups hope for more states to replicate Oklahoma’s new law, which compels women seeking to terminate their pregnancies to watch an ultrasound monitor and have a doctor read a state-specified script about the fetus. Slate’s Emily Bazelon writes that Oklahoma’s law stands “at the top of the heap of paternalism that Justice Anthony Kennedy started climbing two years ago, in his opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart,” which upheld the federal ban on late-term abortion. Kennedy “injected into that case the constitutionally novel idea that because some women come to regret their abortions, the court could substitute its judgment for their doctors’ by sparing them from a procedure that women would reject as too gruesome if they only knew the details.”

Now, anti-choice groups hope to use the 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart to advance more restrictive laws across the country. Robert Barnes of the Washington Post reports that anti-choice legislators in Nebraska, led by Speaker Mike Flood, used “that decision as a road map” to ban abortion after 20 weeks without health exceptions. “The importance of Flood's bill is likely to be felt far beyond Nebraska,” writes Barnes, as “abortion opponents call it model legislation for other states and say it could provide a direct challenge to Supreme Court precedents that restrict government’s ability to prohibit abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.” Barnes writes:

The importance of Flood's bill is likely to be felt far beyond Nebraska. Abortion opponents call it model legislation for other states and say it could provide a direct challenge to Supreme Court precedents that restrict government’s ability to prohibit abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.



“Many in the pro-life movement have become very pragmatic when it comes to the court: “Can you count to five?’” said Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “With the Gonzales decision, we were happy to see that we could.”

The justices have not revisited the issue of abortion since, but the decision has emboldened state legislators to pass an increasing number and variety of restrictions in hopes that a changed court will uphold them.

“I believe the decision was like planting a bunch of seeds, and we're just starting to see the shoots popping out of the ground,” said Roger Evans, who is in charge of litigation for Planned Parenthood of America.

The Center for Reproductive Rights concluded that in 2010, state legislatures “considered and enacted some of the most extreme restrictions on abortion in recent memory, as well as passing laws creating dozens of other significant new hurdles.”



“We can't say with any certainty that this is going to meet constitutional muster,” said Nebraska Right to Life Executive Director Julie Schmit-Albin. “But you know what, from our perspective, if we aren't bucking up against Roe, we're not doing our job.”

Already, legislators in Iowa, Kentucky, and Indiana are marshalling support for legislation which imitates Nebraska’s restrictive new law, and “abortion opponents are pushing lawmakers in Kansas, Maryland and Oklahoma to do the same.”

In Alaska, anti-choice groups also pressured the governor to resist a judge’s decision that significantly weakened a parental notification law. A federal judge recently threw out parts of a parental notification law that was approved by voters on the same day of the contentious Miller/Murkowski Republican primary in August. According to the Associated Press, the judge “removed provisions calling for a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to five years for people who knowingly violate the law” and also made notification easier to obtain and “ struck a section allowing physicians to be liable for damages.”

Jim Minnery of the far-right Alaska Family Council condemned the decision, saying, “We totally opposed his decision to neuter or take the teeth from the law by eliminating all the legal civil penalties for violating the law.” Now, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell filed a motion to reconsider in order to defend a law he claims “reflects the will of the people.”

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Elections Posts Archive

Coral, Wednesday 07/20/2011, 9:42am
Cross-posted on PFAW blog Senate Republicans have called Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, David Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund and Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center as witnesses in today’s hearing on the “Defense of Marriage Act.” The groups these witnesses represent have a long record of extreme rhetoric opposing gay rights: CitizenLink, Focus on the Family’s political arm, is a stalwart opponent of gay rights in every arena: • Focus on the Family has consistently railed against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 07/19/2011, 9:07am
Sometimes you have to wonder if Rick Perry had any idea what he was getting into when he decided to organizer a massive public prayer rally with the bigoted American Family Association and then fill it with a bunch of Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed "prophets" and "apostles" who believe that Oprah is a forerunner to the Antichrist and the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol." Because it sure seems like he doesn't have a clue at all: Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that he doesn't necessarily subscribe to the beliefs of some of the ministers... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 07/15/2011, 1:44pm
During the 2010 midterm elections, Randall Terry and his crew of anti-choice zealots discovered a way to get graphic anti-abortion ads to air on television by exploiting a loophole that prohibits broadcasters from refusing to run or censor campaign ads. In the 2010 election, a woman named Missy Smith ran against Washington DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton simply for this purpose and Randall Terry himself is now "running" for president in as a Democrat for the same reason. But Terry isn't stopping there and is also apparently recruiting more phony "Democratic"... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 06/07/2011, 3:18pm
During his show for American Family Radio, the president of the American Family Association Tim Wildmon claimed that President Obama “doesn’t give a rip” about the military because he supported the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. “Folks, remember elections have consequences, President Obama wanted to force open homosexuality in the military, and that’s what he’s done, with the help of Congress,” Wildmon said, “So we elected a Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army, he just wants to force... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 05/10/2011, 5:01pm
PFAW: From Taxing Railroads to Buying Elections. Towelroad:GOP Serves Anti-Gay 'DADT' Amendments to House Defense Panel. Andy Birkey @ Minnesota Independent: Michele Bachmann to join Bradlee Dean at Freedom Jamboree. Ed Brayton @ Dispatches From The Culture War: Goodling Reprimanded by State Bar. Chris Beneke and Randall Stephens @ The Christian Century: The Daily Show's limits. Yoni Appelbaum @ The Atlantic: American Scripture: How David Barton Won the Christian Right. Tim Murphy @ Mother Jones: Huckabee Adviser: Obama is a Soviet Spy. MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/10/2011, 8:47am
Michele Bachmann Background: NPR looks into her transition from Jimmy Carter volunteer to right-wing culture warrior (NPR, 5/9). GOP: Breaks with Speaker John Boehner over debt ceiling (The Hill, 5/9). Herman Cain Nevada: Addresses conservative group in the early caucus state (Las Vegas Sun, 5/9). Debate: Claims his candidacy gained momentum, new supporters after Fox News debate (CBS News, 5/6). Mitch Daniels Religious Right: Decision to defund Planned Parenthood will bolster social conservative credentials despite 'truce' talk (TPM, 5/9). 2012: Report claims that Daniels' wife is final... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 05/05/2011, 5:41pm
Fox News is hosting a debate tonight with the GOP’s B-team. Fox News is also officially breaking ties with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. The Nevada GOP is pulling out all the stops to block Sharron Angle’s candidacy for Congress, I wonder why? American Family Association President Tim Wildmon is hosting a trip to Israel, I hope he brings Bryan Fischer along. Bill Donohue isn’t a fan of the just-released music video of Lady Gaga’s “Judas.” MORE