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.

Taking the Tea Party Seriously

 In less than two years, the Tea Party movement emerged with an angry shout, became a major player in the national debate over health care reform, toppled incumbent senators and defeated candidates backed by the GOP establishment, and pushed radically right-wing views about the role of government into public debate. And they’re about to see a number of their candidates elected to Congress.

For a while last year, journalists and other political observers weren’t sure whether to take the Tea Party movement seriously as a force in American politics. But Lawrence Rosenthal, head of the Center for Comparative Study of Right-Wing Institutions at the University of California Berkeley, and his colleague Christine Trost decided it was worth a serious look. Last Friday, the Center hosted Fractures, Alliances and Mobilization in the Age of Obama: Emerging Analyses of the Tea Party Movement, the first academic conference on the topic.  It was an interdisciplinary event, featuring historians, sociologists, political scientists, political theorists, scholars of race and gender, and journalists, each taking a look at the movement from a different angle. As a senior fellow at PFAW Foundation, I made a presentation on the connections between the Tea Party and the Religious Right at the leadership, activist, ideological, and political levels.
In his introductory remarks, Rosenthal emphasized the “emerging” nature of the work being presented. The Tea Party is new to the political scene, and the upcoming elections and their aftermath will tell us a lot more about its impact.  It’s impossible to do justice to a day-long conference in a short blog post, so  I’ll mention just a few of the presentations that struck me as particularly interesting.   If you’re interested in more, you can find the conference agenda here, and Berkeley folks expect video of the presentations to be available online shortly at the Center’s website. A volume of conference papers is planned for next year.
A few items from my notes, with apologies to any scholar who feels I’m off-point with any of these hyper-condensed items:
  • From Rosenthal’s opening remarks, a comparison of the role Fox News has played in the Tea Party’s rise with the role of Berlusconi’s media empire in his rise to political power in Italy.
  • From the keynote address by author Rick Perlstein, a reminder that angry reaction to liberal political ascendancy is a regular part of our history, and that the lack of a robust left-wing populism opens the door to the dangers that are particular to right-wing extremism.   
  • Several scholars reporting that one-or-the-other descriptions of the movement (grassroots or Astroturf?) are usually too simplistic; at this point the movement is a fluid mixture not easily categorized.
  • Professor Christopher Parker from the University of Washington presented polling data showing that supporters of the Tea Party movement are more likely to harbor negative attitudes toward Blacks, Latinos, and gay people.
  • Professor Martin Cohen from James Madison University presented a fascinating look at another movement that built power within the GOP: he analyzed the effectiveness and impact of the Religious Right’s “first wave” – think Falwell and Moral Majority – and its “second wave” – think Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition. He suggested that the Tea Party movement currently sounds more like the first wave in the level of public anger and hostility to compromise, and argues that the movement would have a bigger impact if it takes some lessons from the second wave. (Lessons, by the way, that Reed himself is happily imparting through his new Faith and Freedom Coalition)
  • Professor Alan Abromowitz from Emory University presented evidence that the increasing partisanship of recent decades set the stage for the kind of no-compromise politics of the Tea Party crowd.  Since the 1970s, Republicans have had steadily smaller regard for Democratic presidential candidates, with the biggest fall among the most active.
  • Charles Postrel, San Francisco State University historian and award-winning author, challenged the use of the term “populism” in connection with a movement that is drawing inspiration from the likes of the John Birch Society and right-wing author Cleon Skousen, who is being heavily promoted by Glenn Beck.
  • Chip Berlet, who analyzes right-wing movements for Political Research Associates, discussed ways that right-wing populists use demonization, scapegoating, and conspiracy theories to justify "apocalyptic aggression."
  • Lisa Disch, a University of Michigan professor of political science and women’s studies, gave a fascinating “contrarian” analysis that described the Tea Party and the racial resentments evident in the movement as an outgrowth of the New Deal rather than a rejection of it.
  • Devin Burghart, Vice President for the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, discussed the group’s recent report, Tea Party Nationalism, and its findings about the infiltration of local Tea Party groups by racist and anti-immigrant activists.
The Berkeley conference raised a lot of questions that will provide scholars with avenues for additional research, including greater analysis of the relationships between the grassroots and grasstops of the movement.
One journalist who has done serious investigative work along those lines is AlterNet’s Washington Bureau Chief Adele Stan (full disclosure – I have written articles for AlterNet and Stan). Stan and AlterNet’s Don Hazen have edited Dangerous Brew: Exposing the Tea Party's Agenda to Take Over America. Dangerous Brew is an anthology of writing from AlterNet contributors on the Tea Party movement.  
On Monday night, Stan was joined by Sarah Posner, associate editor at online magazine Religion Dispatches (more disclosure: I serve on the advisory council and have written for RD) and Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones magazine for a conversation about the book and the movement at Washington, D.C.’s Busboys & Poets.  Their conversation touched on some of the same themes discussed in Berkeley, including the outsized role played by News Corp, the impact of economic and cultural anxieties, and the need for progressives to stop being surprised when the far right rises from its dormancy whenever liberals gain political power. 
Posner discussed the interconnections between the Religious Right and Tea Party movements. Mencimer, who has spent a lot of time on the road getting to know Tea Party members, encouraged progressives to recognize that, whatever the motivations and machinations of the corporate interests and GOP strategists who are working to hijack the movement to their own purposes, many Tea Party activists are individuals motivated by love of country and excited about their first intense experience of democratic participation. Stan encouraged members of the diverse crowd, representing many strains of the progressive movement, to introduce themselves to others in the room, because the energized Tea Party movement is going to give progressive activists a lot of reasons to get to know each other in the coming years.

Right Wing Round-Up

Targeting Iowa Judges To Send A Message To the Supreme Court

Following in the wake of Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling in the Prop 8 case, Chuck Colson declared that the Religious Right must prevent the Supreme Court from ever ruling in favor of gay marriage by building a groundswell of opposition in order to convince the Court that any ruling recognizing the right to marriage equality will not be accepted by the people.

Today, the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown was on "Wallbuilders Live" with David Barton and Rick Green and explained that the effort to unseat three judges in Iowa was part of an effort to send just that sort of signal to the Supreme Court:

Barton: I guarantee you, if these judges can be thrown off in Iowa, you watch as state after state after state as people start going and saying "time for accountability, time to get our government back." I'm loving it, it's going to be fun.

Green: It's great, this is really opening the flood gate in a very positive way.

Brown: Many people that have commented on what we're going through right now, especially with the Proposition 8 case in California, are looking at the Iowa judicial retention election - and even though there are many important elections about the country - they're actually saying this is the most important election because it will send a clear signal to the Supreme Court and other judges that they don't have the right to make up the law out of thin air. Their job is to interpret the law, it is not to be out robed masters and judicial activists imposing their will on the rest of us.

And so if the people of Iowa do what I think they'll do and stand up and remove these judges, there will be reverberations throughout the country all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

And just in case you were operating under the delusion that the Religious Right would actually accept any Supreme Court in favor of marriage equality, rest assured that they most certainly will not:

Brown: Ultimately if this Perry vs Schwarzenegger case out of California goes to the Supreme Court - and I'm confident that we will win at the Supreme Court - but if we were to lose and if the Supreme Court was to force same-sex marriage on, for example, Texas or Alabama or states that have voted by something like seventy-five percent to support marriage as a union of a man and woman and you have the US Supreme Court throwing out the vote of these states, I think you're going to have a strong movement for a federal marriage amendment. And that would also be a very clear sign to the courts that they are bound by the law and they don't have the right to simply put into law their own personal preferences.

You also have under Article III in the Constitution the idea that Congress could limit the appellate jurisdiction of some of these federal courts, so that's another way in which, that's already in our law, that Congress could limit the ability of the federal courts to force same-sex marriage on the rest of the country, or any other issue on which the court's overstepping its bounds.

Is Eight Enough? Hagee Gets In On Election-Oriented Prayer Effort

As I have been chronicling for the last few months, it seems like every time we turn around another Religious Right group has launched its own 40-day prayer effort timed to coincide with the mid-term elections.

There were already seven different efforts underway, but it looks like John Hagee has gotten in on the action as well so that the "hand of God [will] take charge of this nation and to bring us back to righteousness":

A Gallup Poll says 93% of Americans believe in prayer. Our country desperately needs prayer. It is headed in the wrong direction and we need every Bible-believing Christian to prayer. We're inviting you to join us for 40 days of prayer from September 20 - October 30. I want you to pray for the hand of God to take charge of this nation and to bring us back to righteousness. Go to JHN.org and make your voice heard today.

SBA: It Is Unconstitutional To Not Let Us Lie About Democratic Candidates

The Susan B. Anthony List has been spending millions of dollars targeting Democratic members of Congress who voted for Health Care Reform with claims that they voted to expand taxpayer-funded abortions.

It's not true and Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) got fed up with SBA lying about it so he filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission that the group was violating Ohio election law which makes it illegal to "post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not."

The Elections Commission agreed with Driehaus and so now, of course, SBA is suing ... on the grounds that the Ohio laws preventing them from lying about candidates violate their free speech:

A national anti-abortion group blocked from putting up a billboard against a Democratic anti-abortion congressman from Ohio has asked a federal judge to overturn a state election law standing in its way.

The Susan B. Anthony List, based in Washington, D.C., filed the suit after the Ohio Election Commission ruled in favor of GOP-targeted, first-term Rep. Steve Driehaus. The commission said there was probable cause that the planned billboard includes false statements.

Driehaus was one of several anti-abortion Democrats in Congress whose votes sealed the passage of President Barack Obama's health care law, which abortion opponents argue promotes taxpayer funded abortions. He has been the target of abortion opponents since the vote.

In its lawsuit, filed Monday, the anti-abortion group argues that the Ohio law barring false statements about a candidate's voting record is vague and violates free speech. It also says the law is unconstitutional because it does not require the offended candidates to prove actual malice.

Modern Day Prophets and Apostles Are Burning False Idols and Shifting The Nation Through Elections

Last week I wrote a few posts continuing our on-going look at the rise of the New Apostolic Reformation and self-proclaimed prophets and apostles like Lou Engle, Cindy Jacobs, and the like within the traditional Religious Right movement.

Today, I want to call attention to this really great post by Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action about Duke Aiona, the Republican candidate for Governor in Hawaii, and his ties to Jacobs, Ed Silvoso, and various other NAR leaders ... and I especially want to highlight Wilson's excerpts from books in which both Jacobs and Peter Wagner lay out the importance of the practice of burning and destroying items associated with witchcraft, the occult, or any other religion:

During a worship service that evangelist Cindy Jacobs held on October 7, 2008, at Ed Silvoso's 18th International Institute on Nation Transformation, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Jacobs called on assembled local area pastors at the conference,

"Pastors, sanctify your people! You go and you tell 'em, if you have any idols in their homes we're gonna to burn 'em! If you have any witchcraft items in your homes, you bring 'em Sunday and we're gonna burn 'em! We're not gonna have witchcraft in this church!"

Jacobs was not merely referring to objects associated with contemporary interpretations of Wiccan practice, or with Satanic ritual. Cindy Jacobs and her colleagues, Peter Wagner, Ed Silvoso, and others in the New Apostolic movement cast their net of purported "witchcraft" and "idolatry" over objects associated with major world religious traditions such as Catholicism, Mormonism, and all Eastern religions, and also many native art objects.

As Cindy Jacobs wrote in her book Deliver Us from Evil (Regal Books, from Gospel Light, 2001),

"There are certain occult items were are not to possess. If we own any of the following objects we need to get rid of them. If the object was at any time worshiped as a god or used in the worship of a false god, then we should burn it or otherwise destroy it.

It is not unusual for tourists to bring home keepsakes from faraway lands that have demonic attachments or are idols. What we often do not realize is that these objects can curse us. For instance, many people purchase African masks that have been used in worship ceremonies. Others buy native art such as Kachina dolls, statues of Hindu gods and statues of Buddha. Back home, havoc starts to reign in the form of sickness, tragedy, depression of marriage break-ups. Usually the person does not know why these things have happened."


As Peter Wagner wrote in his book Hard-Core Idolatry - Facing the Facts,

Doris was preparing to travel to Argentina with Cindy Jacobs for the climactic evangelistic campaign. As she was reading scripture the morning she was to leave, the Holy Spirit told her that in Resistencia they must burn the idols, like the magicians did in Ephesus. Ed Silvoso, Cindy Jacob and the Resistencia pastors agreed. So the evening before the evangelistic crusade, all the city's believers came together for prayer. The leaders explained how important it would be to do spiritual housecleaning in their homes before they came to the meeting. They began mentioning the kinds of material things that might be bringing honor to the spirits of darkness; pictures, statues, Catholic saints, Books of Mormon, pictures of former lovers, pornographic material, fetishes, drugs, Ouija boards, zodiac charms, good luck symbols, crystals for healing, amulets, talismans, tarot cards, witch dolls, voodoo items, love potions, books of magic, totem poles, certain pieces of jewelry, objects of Freemasonry, horoscopes gargoyles, native art, foreign souvenirs, and what have you.

The believers agreed to obey God and to cleanse their homes, even if it meant giving up what might have been expensive items. They were to wrap each item in newspaper to protect privacy, and then cast the objects into a 55-gallon drum set before the platform the following night. The drum was heaped to overflowing! They poured gasoline on it and set it on fire."

On a related note, last month I wrote that various leaders would be gathering in Washington DC before the election as part of an effort called "The Shift" which is intent on "electing a new leadership for the United States of America" and now it looks like Chuck Pierce, Bob Jones, Rick Joyner, and Dutch Sheets will all be participating as well:

Clearly, this is an Esther moment for the Church of Jesus Christ to step in and reverse the wicked plot of the enemy who is determined to destroy our nation. So we must ACT NOW!

Come as we gather together leading apostles, prophets and intercessors to pray and decree a supernatural shifting of America back to Godly values. Link arms with us as we let the Holy Spirit birth through us the third great awakening that will cause radical reformation across the land. As the elections are upon us, let us seize the moment to affirm God’s new chosen leaders who are humble yet whose hearts are uncompromisingly set on the values of Heaven—those who love life and justice, compassion and truth more than their own reputation or gain.


The nation is methodically being pushed to abort her assignment of being a beacon of freedom, hope for the struggling nations, publisher of the Gospel and supporter of Israel.

The Shift is a call to the Bride of Christ who solely contains the power of God to rescue the nation from the spirit of greed that is destroying our nation, and realign our country with her destiny course.

For this history-making event, we are gathering around apostles, prophets and intercessors in the spirit of worship and prayer to declare our utter dependency on Christ to heal our land. Join us as we partner with thousands across the nation and activate this dramatic shift. God is not just changing the fiber of our government; He is also causing reformation across all seven mountains that shape our culture and society.

History has witnessed the Ancient of Days who used His prophets to change entire nations overnight and turn captivity into triumph time and time again. That same Spirit who was upon Haggai, Ezra and Nehemiah and the joy that strengthens the people to finish the rebuilding of the temple is upon us now.

The finished work of Christ on the Cross has provided us with an out-of-all-proportion solution to every human dilemma, including today's complexities. There are supernatural solutions waiting to be released into the fiber of our families, our economy, and the laws governing the land. Join as we corporately honor Christ by embracing what His blood paid for in full.

Extraordinary economic miracles are ready to explode upon our nation as we gather around the Throne of God in holy assembly. New signs and wonders of unprecedented proportion will become the clear guideposts on the road to recovery.

As we gather together with faith-filled joy and expectancy for the manifestation of His Kingdom reign thundering here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Disgraced Ten Commandments Judge Heads To Iowa to Seek Removal of Iowa Judges

Earlier today we noted that Cornerstone World Outreach Church in Sioux City, Iowa was playing a leading role in right-wing effort to remove three Supreme Court Justices over the ruling in favor of marriage equality.

And nothing quite demonstrates the extremism of Cornerstone's so-called "Project Jeremiah" effort to overturn the "ungodly decisions of the Iowa Supreme Court" like bringing in disgraced "Ten Commandments" judge Roy Moore on behalf of the effort:

On October 16-18, 2010, Judge Roy Moore, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, will speak to pastors and others across the State of Iowa about the need for Christians to become involved in upcoming elections. Specifically, three Appellate Court Justices on the Iowa Supreme Court are on the Nov. 2 ballot and are being opposed for their recent vote to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Judge Moore will speak at rallies and meetings in Oskaloosa, Sioux City, and Perry, Iowa and will be a guest on WHO Radio in Des Moines with Steve Deace. WHO Radio, where President Ronald Reagan once served as host, is a strong conservative voice in Iowa.

Judge Moore's speaking events:

Saturday, October 16th

7:00 p.m. Public Rally at William Penn University in Oskaloosa , IA

Sunday, October 17th

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Cornerstone World Outreach morning church services in Sioux City , IA

6:00 p.m. Evening Church Service at Abundant Life Fellowship in Jefferson , IA

Monday, October 18th

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the air across Iowa with Steve Deace, WHO Radio, Des Moines , IA

Apparently, right-wingers in Iowa think the best person to make the case for removing three sitting Supreme Court Justices is a former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who was himself removed from office for "willfully and publicly" defying federal court orders.

Jacobs Calls The "Blood-Covered Justice and Judgments of God" Down Up Her Enemies

I admit that I find the Religious Right's commingling of prayer with politics endlessly fascinating, especially the way they formulate specific political goals as prayer targets, which is why I keep posting them.

The targets set out by Cindy Jacobs and Generals International are particularly revealing, as she has been providing specific day-by-day prayers heading into the election.

Her latest prayer update focuses mainly on reclaiming the "education mountain," and seeks to remove "unrighteous leadership" for the nation's public school system so that the "light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the fear of the Lord" can be spread by educators. 

In addition, Jacobs declares that "progressive politics" and "multiculturalism" must be stripped from the nation's textbooks because they are "denigrating the importance of Christianity in American culture" and asks God to "break unholy conspiracies and expose for public scrutiny those who are advancing pro-Islamic textbooks and school curriculums under the rhetoric of diversity, rights, tolerance and democracy."

And, of course, Jacobs urges activists to pray to end "Homosexuality and Sexual Perversion in our Children's Schools" and calls the "blood-covered justice and judgments of God" down upon those who seek to "destroy the family unit through the advancement of the homosexual agenda":

· Pray for exposure to public scrutiny those who are covertly working to advance the homosexual indoctrination of our children through the educational system.

· Pray that God would raise up righteous leaders to successfully contend against the encroachments of the homosexual activists upon our nation's educational system.

· Pray that defenders of family and protectors of our children's welfare remain strong and courageous and true to their calling.

· Pray for protection of our children's minds and hearts as they sit in school, college and university classrooms.

Father, we come before you humbly crying out for mercy upon America's civic and household leaders for allowing the minority homosexual community to make such deep inroads into our nation's educational system. In Jesus' Name, we pray that You would awaken believers to the critical importance of being involved in preserving Biblical principals for living as the foundation of our children's education. Father, raise up Christians across America who will vote in leaders that will strongly oppose the encroachments of the homosexual activists upon our nation's educational system and diligently protect our children from being subjected to lessons in sexual perversion, deviance and decadence in their school classrooms and libraries. We ask You would expose to public scrutiny those who, under a cloak of "equality" that is devoid of Judeo-Christian values, are working to undermine parental rights in education and indoctrinate our impressionable school children in an effort to change public attitudes toward homosexuality. We release into our children the knowledge and wisdom of God and the boldness to stand up for what is true, holy and pure. We release strength, boldness and divine strategies to the faithful defenders of Your precepts for the instruction of our children and declare that they will not compromise their standards or cave to the abhorrent demands of the homosexual community even in the face of great opposition and threats. We release the blood-covered justice and judgments of God upon those forces that are trying to subjugate American education and thereby, destroy the family unit through the advancement of the homosexual agenda.

Why the Religious Right is glomming on to the Tea Party

Several scholars of religion and politics held a briefing at the National Press Club today to discuss the role of religion and religious voters in the upcoming elections. Polling presented by Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute and Gregory Smith of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life included some bad news for Democrats (e.g., among white Catholics, party identification has flipped from a 49-41 Democratic advantage to a 42-49 Republican advantage in just two years), some potentially good news for progressives (there’s huge majority support across religious groups for a boost in the minimum wage), and some very good news for advocates of marriage equality (support for same-sex marriage is growing significantly). The data also include some bad news for Religious Right leaders, which may explain why they have been so eager to attach themselves to the Tea Party movement and why they were so willing to settle for a few crumbs from the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America.” According to Pew, when voters were asked about the importance of 13 issues to their thinking about this year’s elections, abortion and same-sex marriage were at the very bottom of the list. Special note to Maggie Gallagher, Robert George, and the Knights of Columbus: same-sex marriage was also the very last issue in importance to Catholic voters. 

Operation Black Storm Will Save America From Obama's Socialist Nazi Tyranny

Do not delude yourself into thinking that you can withstand Operation Black Storm, because you cannot:

Patriot PAC has unveiled Operation Black Storm, a national coalition effort to unite the nation behind the 15 black conservative congressional candidates running in key districts around the country as Republican nominees for the upcoming November elections.

Helping to lead the charge among the Tea Party and Patriot movement in America for substantive political reform, Operation Black Storm will fight to fundamentally reshape the makeup of the U.S. Congress on November 2, 2010.

Star Parker - CA-37, Ryan Frazier - CO-7, Allen West - FL-22, Isaac Hayes - IL-2, Marvin Scott - IN-7, Robert Broadus - MD-4, Charles Lollar - MD-5, Bill Marcy - MS-2, Michael Faulkner - NY-15, Bill Randall - NC-13, Tim Scott - SC-3, Charlotte Bergman - TN-9, Stephen Broden - TX-9, Chuck Smith - VA-3, and Vince Danet - US Virgin Islands are Operation Black Storm candidates, several of whom have received endorsements from conservative grassroots favorites Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Alan Keyes.

This coalition has put its collective weight behind these highly qualified conservative black candidates to provide the resources and exposure they need to win on Election Day. Coalition members helping with voter education and candidate scorecards include Break the Bonds of Tyranny, Unite in Action, The ConservativeMESSENGER, The Frederick Douglass Foundation, and The Black Sphere, among others.

And come Election Day, you will get on your knees and thank these warriors for stepping up and putting an end to the Hitler-Stalin-Carter-Obama-Nazi-Communist tyranny that is destroying America:

Iowa: Mobilizing Pastors To Remove Judges

Yesterday we noted how Rick Scarborough of Vision America was mobilizing pastors across Texas to help Republicans win the upcoming mid-term elections and now, via the Iowa Independent, we see that similar efforts are underway in Iowa as part of the right-wing effort to vote out three Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality:

A pastor from Waukee is wading into the retention election for three Iowa Supreme Court justices, asking religious leaders around the state to inform their congregations about “out of control” judges. But some contend the effort is actually encouraging churches to violate federal tax law.

Jeff Mullen, senior pastor of Point of Grace Church in Waukee, has launched IowaPastors.com, a site that aims to “build strategic partnerships to mobilize Pastors and Congregations to pray effectively and to vote righteously.” The site, along with its sister site – IowaJudges.com — focuses almost exclusively on the judicial retention vote. A disclaimer on the sites says they are “not associated with any other organization.”

Mullen and church officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment. But in a video posted on the site, Mullen takes direct aim at the judges, pointing specifically at the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in April 2009 that legalized same-sex marriage. And while he never specifically says pastors should encourage their congregations to vote “no” on retention, it’s clear he disagrees with the court’s decision.

“Our freedoms are in peril today because of judges. Not legislators, but judges,” Mullen said, later adding: “Inform your congregation about the importance of the judicial retention election and what it means to turn the ballot over and vote their values.”

Mullen is distributing voter guides put together by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a state affiliate of Ralph Reed new organization, and also appears to have partnered with Iowa Renewal Project, which is an American Family Association-backed effort that supported Mike Huckabee during the GOP primary:

Lucky Number Seven: Liberty Counsel Launches Election Prayer Effort

I feel like I keep writing the same post, but so long as Religious Right groups are going to keep launching prayer efforts aimed at the upcoming elections, I am going to keep mentioning them.

As I noted a week ago, there are already six such efforts underway, but now Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel have announced their own effort to save America from all the socialists and communists who are out to destroy it:

Our nation's future is riding on November's midterm elections. Many are calling it the single most important election in decades. Concerned Christian and values voters MUST turn out in record numbers for this election! We simply must reverse the momentum of the radical socialists.

That's why, today, I am announcing the election countdown phase of our "Pray & Vote 2010"campaign that will help restore our nation.

Pray & Vote 2010's goal is to reach FOUR MILLION pro-faith, pro-family, and pro-liberty citizens and fully engage them in this historic election. We believe that four million committed conservative voters could change the course of the election - and our nation!


Make no mistake: Our national character will be greatly impacted by the 2010 midterm elections. With so much at stake, Liberty Counsel is calling on members and friends to help re-kindle the spiritual fire in our nation through this powerful Pray & Vote initiative.

In the eyes of the leftist elites who rule the media, education and much of our government, your bold declaration that you will Pray & Vote is radical and unacceptable.

But to our Founding Fathers, combining prayer with political participation was a sacred duty!

By signing up for this "Pray & Vote" campaign, activists are vowing to ... well, pray and vote:

I will pray for our nation's leadership.
I will pray for God's guidance in the direction of our country.
I will pray that God restores the biblical pillars that made our nation great:
(1) Leaders who turn to God in prayer; (2) The individual right to exercise religious freedom in all areas of life - free from the attacks of godless organizations and societal pressures of political correctness; and (3) The restoration of our churches and families so they can take their rightful place as pillars of our society.

I acknowledge that the right to vote is a right obtained for us by God-fearing forefathers who understood what a privilege and honor it was to bestow that freedom upon our nation's citizenry! Further, I accept voting as my duty as a citizen of the United States of America. I will vote in the November 2010 elections and attempt to assure other like-minded citizens will do the same.

Scarborough: Pastors Must Use Politics To Maintain Order Until Jesus Returns

You have to admire Vision America's Rick Scarborough for finally giving up the pretense of being "nonpartisan" and openly admitting that he votes Republican 90% of the time.

Scarborough claims to be a "Christocrat," but since he freely admits that he votes Republican as a "matter of principle," it's pretty obvious that when he tells people to vote a followers of Jesus Christ, he is really saying "vote Republican."

As such, it comes as no surprise that he is sending out emails seeking to get other pastors likewise commited to voting Republican in the coming elections:

Next year Texas will receive four additional Congressional Seats in the House of Representatives. Currently Republicans hold a slim three vote majority in the Texas House of Representatives and the party that holds the majority in the Texas House will control how the new seats are allocated through redistricting. Both parties decry the politics involved in redistricting, but the fact remains that either the Republicans or the Democrats will draw those lines and you can rest assured they will draw them up in such a way to affect outcomes. Right now millions of dollars from liberals are pouring into Texas from around the country seeking to buy enough seats in our state legislature to assure a liberal outcome.

I believe that Pastors and Christians are the secret to making sure these efforts fail.

Are both parties the same? According to the non-partisan American Conservative Union, Democrats vote for abortion and for the redefinition of traditional marriage approximately 85% of the time while the Republicans vote exactly opposite. That means that if Democrats control our state legislature, Texas will send a majority of liberal Democrats back to Washington DC in 2012 and for the next ten years.

Your vote on November 2nd does matter. And what your Pastors says and does matters even more because of the tremendous influence for good or bad that he possesses. I am a Minister who believes that every Pastor should address moral issues from the pulpit, including encouraging their congregations to vote, not as Republicans or Democrats but as sons and daughters of Jesus Christ.

And to that end, Scarborough has also recorded this accompanying video in which he explains that while Jesus might be returning at any moment, pastors are called up to maintain order and establish righteousness until he does ... and the way that they do that is by getting people to vote for Godly conservative candidates in the upcoming election:

My name is Rick Scarborough and I want to give you a greeting in Jesus' name. We're here in my office in Nacogdoches, Texas where I headquarter an outreach to pastors all across America.

I'm speaking to you because I need your help. A lot of times preachers won't listen to anyone talk about politics. I want to speak to your pastor for two or three minutes, so I want to ask you if you find worth in this - watch it all - if you think it's worthy, to send it when an email covering personally to your pastor and urge him to watch what I am about to say.

Pastor, when the people go to the polls on November the second, just three weeks away from the time of this taping, they're going to choose either conservative leadership or continued liberal leadership. I think most of us who preach and pastor and minister to people and pick up the remains of the liberal agenda through broken lives, abortions, homosexuality, and all the attendant ills that go with all of these things that are happening in our country, shake our heads in disbelief and say "how did this happen and how can it be stopped?"

So of us believe that a lot of these things have to happen before Jesus returns and I live every day of my life anticipating the return of Christ. But frankly, a thousand years with the Lord is like a day, and a day is but a thousand years and while we anticipate the imminent return of Christ, it may be another generation or longer before Christ comes. And what you and I have got to do is maintain order, establish righteousness in the public place until he comes.

I'm not asking you to depart from preaching the Gospel, I would never do that and I know you wouldn't do it if I asked. But I am asking you to see the urgency of this election. I am asking you to encourage your people to vote not as Republicans or Democrats but as followers of Jesus Christ and particularly this election year on November the second.

I urge you to stand in your pulpit and remind the people that their rulers will make the laws under which they will live. And the only way to reverse the direction of this country is to elect righteous men and women.

We are providing though our organization, at VisionAmericaAction.org, down-loadable free voter guides, I'll be sending you emails with all the right information where you can download nonpartisan voter guides. We're hosting luncheons across the state that many of you pastors will get invitations to over the next couple of weeks. I want to urge you that when you get that invitation to respond to it. And I want you to pray for the redemption of this nation. It is now or never for the church and the only hope of this church being mobilized that you and I attend is for you and I to stand before those people and say "vote your values on November the second."

Pastor, would you help me?

Our website is VisionAmericaAction.org. We have another educational website, VisionAmerica.org. Please look at what we have to say there and download the materials. We even have preaching materials there for you.

God bless you, dear brother. I wish you well and look forward to meeting you soon.

Right Wing Round-Up

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 10/5/10

Newt Gingrich

Government: Bashes the welfare state in Texas speech (Dallas Morning News, 10/4).

2010: Raising money for right-wing Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (MPR, 10/4).

Mike Huckabee

2010: Says that mid-term elections will be a “political tsunami” (The Page, 10/4).

Florida: Refuses to back Florida GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott (Florida Times-Union, 10/4).

New York: Praises controversial New York GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino (NewsHounds, 10/1).

GOP: Claims that he backs the Tea Party over the Party “establishment” (The Page, 10/4).

Column: Knocks “Kleptocrats” in Fox News column (Fox News, 10/4).

Sarah Palin

Critics: Tells Mark Levin that she and her husband “bite our tongue” at critics (GOP12, 10/4).

2010: Holding GOP Victory rallies in California and Florida (HuffPo, 9/30).

Alaska: Ties to Senate GOP nominee Joe Miller go back to Troopergate (KTUU, 10/1).

Religious Right: Speaks to “pregnancy crisis center” advertising organization tonight in Houston (Houston First Baptist Church, 10/5).

Tim Pawlenty

Government: Receives an “A” grade from libertarian Cato Institute (Cato, 9/30).

New Hampshire: Campaigns in the Granite State for GOP candidates (NECN, 9/30).

Mike Pence

Religious Right: Speaks to Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa (Caffeinated Thoughts, 10/3).

Mitt Romney

Poll: Leads all 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls with 19% of support from Republicans (US News, 9/30).

Iowa: Endorses 38 Republican candidates in Iowa (CNN, 10/1).

Rick Santorum

Iowa: Will visit Davenport’s GOP headquarters next week (Quad-City Times, 10/4).

2010: Talks midterm election with National Review Online (NRO, 10/1).

Right Wing Leftovers

Some Voting Advice From Focus on the Family

With the mid-term elections approaching, Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery has some simple advice on how to choose the correct candidate for whom to vote: vote for the Christian.

And how do you know which candidate is the true Christian? Well, it is the candidate that supports Focus on the Family's agenda, of course:

Does the candidate have a Christian world-view? Is he pro-life? A clue is whether he knows the embryonic stem-cell debate and opposes the process. Does she firmly support God’s definition of marriage, and does she oppose civil unions that give marriage benefits to same-sex couples? Does he believe that parents, rather than the state, have ultimate say over what a child learns in school? Is she hostile toward or silent on matters of faith? A candidate’s positions on all these issues are important indicators.

But beware that you can't just vote for the Christian - you have to make sure that you vote for the candidate from the right party because that determines who gets to set the agenda: 

Political Parties matter. You like the platform and values of a local candidate who’s running with the party you typically vote against. Should you cross party lines and vote for him? Don’t forget that whichever party is in the majority has control over which bills eventually reach the floor. You’re voting for more than individual candidates; you’re voting for which party sets the agenda.

Gee, since Focus on the Family is nonpartisan, I wonder what they could possibly mean by warning their activists not to "cross party lines"?

Right Wing Watch In Focus: "Rogues' Gallery"

Today, People For the American Way released out latest Right Wing Watch In Focus report examining the slate of extremist GOP Senate candidates running for office this year.

Entitled "The Rogues' Gallery: Right-Wing Candidates Have A Dangerous Agenda for America and Could Turn the Senate," the report examines the radical agendas and views held by Joe Miller, Carly Fiorina, Ken Buck, Christine O'Donnell, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Roy Blunt, Sharron Angle, Kelly Ayotte, Richard Burr, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Dino Rossi, plus the role that Sen. Jim DeMint has played in dragging the GOP further and further to the right.

Here is the introduction:

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have already broken all records for unprincipled partisan obstructionism, preventing the administration from putting people into key positions in the executive branch, blocking judicial confirmations, and delaying and preventing Congress from dealing with important issues facing the nation, from financial reform to immigration. Now a bumper crop of far-right GOP candidates threatens to turn the "deliberative body"into a haven for extremists who view much of the federal government as unconstitutional and who are itching to shut it down.

Fueled by the unlimited deep pockets of billionaire anti-government ideologues, various Tea Party and corporate-interest groups have poured money into primary elections this year. They and conservative voters angry about the actions of the Obama administration have replaced even very conservative senators and candidates backed by the national Republican establishment with others who embrace a range of radically right-wing views on the Constitution, the role of government, the protection of individual freedoms, and the separation of church and state.

Recently, Religious Right leaders have been grousing that Republican candidates arent talking enough about abortion and same-sex marriage. But this report indicates that anti-gay and anti-choice activists have little to worry about, as the right-wing candidates profiled here share those anti-freedom positions even if theyre talking more about shutting down federal agencies, privatizing Social Security, and eliminating most of the taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans. A number of these candidates oppose legal abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is helping to lead the charge with his Senate Conservatives Fund. DeMint, an absolute favorite of both the Tea Party and Religious Right political movements for his uncompromising extremism on both economic and social issues, is at the far right fringe of the Republican Party and has committed himself to helping elect more like-minded colleagues. Sarah Palin, also popular among both Tea Party and Religious Right activists, has also injected her high-profile name, busy Twitter fingers, and PAC cash into numerous Senate races.

Among the right-wing insurgents who defeated candidates backed by national party leadership are Christine ODonnell of Delaware, Joe Miller of Alaska, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sharron Angle of Nevada, Ken Buck of Colorado, and Mike Lee of Utah. Others, like Carly Fiorina of California, came through crowded primaries where right-wing leaders split their endorsements, but have now coalesced around her candidacy.

And thanks to the conservative Supreme Courts ruling in the Citizens United case, which said corporations have the same rights as citizens to make independent expenditures in elections, right-wing candidates across the board will be benefitting from a massive infusion of corporate money designed to elect candidates who will oppose governmental efforts to hold them accountable, for example environmental protections and government regulation of the financial industry practices that led the nation into a deep recession.

This In Focus provides an introduction to a select group of right-wing candidates who hope to ride a wave of toxic Tea Party anger into the U.S. Senate. The potential impact of a Senate with even half of these DeMint-Palin acolytes would be devastating to the Senates ability to function and the federal governments ability to protect the safety and well-being of American citizens.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 9/29

Your update on the right-wing candidates running for US Senate for 9/22-9/29.

Sharron Angle

Government: Angle and her husband are both covered by government health care plans (Alternet, 9/28).

Health Care: Criticized for mocking “Autism” coverage (The Plum Line, 9/27).

Fundraising: Comedian Dennis Miller to raise money for Angle (LVRJ, 9/28).

House: Angle’s unpopularity may hurt Nevada’s GOP House candidates (The Hill, 9/28).

Poll: One poll shows Reid leading Angle by 5%, other finds a tie (Las Vegas Sun 9/25, LVRJ 9/28).

Ken Buck

Poll: DSCC poll shows Buck trailing Bennet by 2% (Politico, 9/29).

GOP: Senators McConnell and Cornyn host fundraiser for Buck (AP, 9/28).

Right-wing: Tries to portray himself as more moderate after primary (RCP, 9/24).

Carly Fiorina

Corporate: Rightwing Koch brothers take interest in Fiorina’s campaign (LA Times, 9/25).

Outside groups: Chamber of Commerce and FreedomWorks to bolster Fiorina (LA Times, 9/28).

Poll: Trails Boxer by 8% in new poll of California voters (San Jose Mercury News, 9/25).

Ad: New ad labels Boxer as “arrogant” (The Atlantic, 9/23).

Joe Miller

Government: Expresses support for increased spending for public health and education in 2004 survey (KTUU, 9/24).

Controversy: Classified himself as “low-income” on hunting license application (Anchorage Daily News, 9/27).

Outside groups: Tea Party Express to help Miller against McAdams, Murkowski (Daily News-Miner, 9/28).

Christine O’Donnell

Finances: CREW looks into O’Donnell’s poor financial record (News Journal, 9/29).

Science: Declares evolution “a myth” on Politically Incorrect (Huffington Post, 9/25).

Controversy: Falsely claims she attended Claremont McKenna and Oxford for graduate school (Mediaite, 9/29).

GOP: Shames Republican leadership for not supporting complete repeal of Health Care Reform (ABC News, 9/28).

Rand Paul

Ad: Blasted for supporting $2,000 Medicare deductible (Herald Leader, 9/29).

Right-wing: Member of ultraconservative medical group (Courier Journal, 9/24).

Poll: Leads Conway by just 2% in latest poll of Kentucky voters (TPMDC, 9/27).

Economy: Speaks out against raising taxes on wealthy (Huffington Post, 9/27).

Dino Rossi

Controversy: BIAW fined for illegally supporting Rossi’s gubernatorial campaign (Seattle PI, 9/24).

Ad: CommonsenseTen hits Rossi on housing crisis (Politico, 9/24).

Marco Rubio

Controversy: Releases Spanish-language ad despite support for English-only policies (Florida Independent, 9/29).

Social Security: Reverses himself on Social Security privatization (St. Petersburg Times, 9/28).

Finances: New questions about Rubio’s expenses flare (Orlando Sentinel, 9/24).

Pat Toomey

Poll: Toomey holds slight lead, but one-third of Pennsylvania voters still undecided (WPVI, 9/29).

GOP: Distances himself from spending under Bush Administration (AP, 9/27).

Right-wing: Columnist examines Toomey’s far-right beliefs while leading Club for Growth (Inquirer, 9/26).

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Elections Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/17/2011, 2:33pm
During last week's CPAC, Grover Norquist spoke on a panel entitled "It's the Spending, Stupid!" during which he made the claim that what really unites the conservative movement is the desire to just be left alone.  Even social conservatives, he claimed, really just want to be left alone to pray, raise their families, and practice their religion as they see fit ... which made me laugh, because we all know that is not the case at all.  As evidence, all me to point to Georgia, which is only one of three states in the nation to prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday.... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/17/2011, 2:33pm
During last week's CPAC, Grover Norquist spoke on a panel entitled "It's the Spending, Stupid!" during which he made the claim that what really unites the conservative movement is the desire to just be left alone.  Even social conservatives, he claimed, really just want to be left alone to pray, raise their families, and practice their religion as they see fit ... which made me laugh, because we all know that is not the case at all.  As evidence, all me to point to Georgia, which is only one of three states in the nation to prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday.... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/15/2011, 11:10am
While the Conservative Political Action Conference may be over, the controversy over the gathering’s handling continues. RedState Editor-in-Chief and CNN commentator Erick Erickson first criticized GOProud, the gay conservative group whose involvement in CPAC sparked a Religious Right boycott, for attacking prominent right-wing leaders. Now, Erickson is going after Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and a GOProud adviser who knocked CPAC boycotters as “loser organizations.” Norquist has long been a target of far-right groups for his outreach to Muslim... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 02/15/2011, 11:10am
While the Conservative Political Action Conference may be over, the controversy over the gathering’s handling continues. RedState Editor-in-Chief and CNN commentator Erick Erickson first criticized GOProud, the gay conservative group whose involvement in CPAC sparked a Religious Right boycott, for attacking prominent right-wing leaders. Now, Erickson is going after Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and a GOProud adviser who knocked CPAC boycotters as “loser organizations.” Norquist has long been a target of far-right groups for his outreach to Muslim... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Friday 02/11/2011, 3:35pm
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... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Friday 02/11/2011, 3:35pm
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... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/08/2011, 6:47pm
Lynda Waddington @ Iowa Independent: Vander Plaats denies involvement in anti-gay seminars. Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Tim Pawlenty Refuses To Say Whether Gays Should Be Allowed To Serve In The Military At All. Americablog: Gay CPAC attendee GOProud belittles Pawlenty over DADT stance. Julie Ingersoll @ Religion Dispatches: Barton: Founders Intended to Ban Abortion. Amanda Marcotte @ RH Reality Check: Why Give Lila Rose's Dishonesty Mainstream Media Attention? Ryan J. Reilly @ TPM: Peter King To Critics: 'Political Correctness' Won't Stop... MORE