health care

Randall Terry and Crew Met With Boehner's Chief of Staff

It is no secret that Randall Terry is an attention-seeking right-wing zealot, always on the lookout for ways to get his name in the press.

From burning effigies of Nancy Pelosi or Lindsey Graham to destroying Korans and protesting outside the school attended by President Obama's daughters, Terry is constantly working to draw attention to his cause ... mainly as a means to draw attention to himself.

And all of that self-aggrandizement occasionally pays of, as it helps Terry to secure meetings with incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner's Chief of Staff, as he revealed when he included this photo in a recent email alert:

With Boehner’s chief of staff, after the election.

And Terry apparently  issued some big demands for Boehner and the Republicans now that they have taken control of the House - the complete end of abortion in America:

We must demand that Republicans who won the House of Representatives hasten the end of legalized child killing in America. Their victory could be a strong step forward for the babies, but it also might be yet another set back after 50,000,000 dead babies.

We must not delude ourselves! The landslide the Republicans enjoyed in the House of Reps was a repudiation of President Obama’s overall agenda; it was about the economy, about jobs, corporate bailouts, the debt, and about his health care bill.

Yet we already see pro-life fundraising letters and petitions heralding this GOP victory as an automatic victory for the babies’ lives. This is simply not true!

...

When the Republicans are in power, pro-life groups and leaders become way too “polite.” We lose our edge; we don’t hold them accountable; we settle for trite phrases and broken promises as long as they will meet with us for 10 minutes, and we can take our picture with them, or they come to one of our meetings and receive some useless award.

I beg you to carefully consider my words; look at this situation with prophetic insight. Unless the Republicans do something concrete to save babies from murder, then they are collaborators with child killers, and we must treat them as such.

We have Pro-Life DEMANDS for Mr. Boehner & House GOP

We Must Play Hard Ball: They Must Fear Pro-Lifers!

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 11/23/10

Newt Gingrich

Government: Claims that Attorney General Eric Holder “endangered national security” and should resign (NewsMax, 11/21).

Media: Says he will refuse to attend a debate hosted by “hostile” and “left-wing” Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann (Mediaite, 11/21).

Mike Huckabee

2012: Warns that GOP takeover of the House will help Obama in 2012 (The Note, 11/22).

Religious Right: Iowa Independent looks at Huckabee’s ties to Vander Plaats, IFPC (Iowa Independent, 11/22).

Iowa: Congratulates voters for ousting judges who backed same-sex marriage rights (AP, 11/21).

Sarah Palin

Obama: In new book says that the President betrays “a stark lack of faith in the American people” (USA Today, 11/23).

Media: Tells Sean Hannity she will only speak to non-biased reporters and shun Katie Couric (CBS News, 11/22).

2012: Conservatives4Palin lists the five top reasons she is qualified to be President, includes PTA volunteering and “Pro-Life Advocacy” (C4P, 11/19).

Tim Pawlenty

Government: Calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign (Iowa Independent, 11/22).

Health Care: Writes Op-Ed on how states can stop health care reform (San Diego Union Tribune, 11/18).

Mitt Romney

Poll: New poll has Romney as most competitive Republican, in statistical dead heat with Obama (Quinnipiac, 11/22).

Fundraising: NYT explores Romney’s web of state leadership PACS (NYT, 11/20).

Rick Santorum

2012: Set to address Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in February (Sunshine State News, 11/22).

New Hampshire: Plans on seventh appearance in the Granite State later this month (CNN, 11/17).

Tea Party: After claiming to be only Tea Party presidential hopeful, says that Angle, Miller, and O’Donnell don’t represent movement either (GOP 12, 11/16).

Meet Renee Ellmers: Cracking down on Monarchy and Mosques

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Right Wing Round-Up

Meet Congressman-Elect Tom Marino: Plagued by Corruption Charges

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

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

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

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

The DeNaples affair wasn’t even the first time Marino had run into corruption accusations. When Marino was District Attorney in Lycoming County, he tried to get a friend out of a drug charge by going behind the back of the county judge who had refused to toss out his friend’s conviction. According to the Luzeme County Citizens Voice, Marino “approached another judge and won the expungement, but the plan backfired when the second judge learned of the first judge's involvement in the case.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 11/16/10

Newt Gingrich

Obama: Calls President’s policies “very dangerous” but believes “he loves this country” (CBN News, 11/15).

GOP: Says Republicans can “replace the left” with a ten-year plan (CBS News, 11/12).

Mike Huckabee

Congress: Like Romney, launches petition to support earmark ban (HuckPac, 11/15).

Defense: Open to cutting defense spending to reduce the deficit (Think Progress, 11/15).

Religious Right: Confusion over form of Huckabee’s speech to Iowa Family Policy Center (RWW, 11/11).

Sarah Palin

Reality TV: Premier of new show draws close to 5 million viewers (WSJ, 11/15).

Alaska: Lisa Murkowski criticizes Palin’s leadership capabilities (CBS News, 11/15).

Language: “Refudiate” declared the year’s best new word by the New Oxford American Dictionary (LA Times, 11/15).

Economy: Reuters analyst explores Palin’s “free-market populism” (Reuters, 11/12).

Book tour: Releases schedule for latest book tour with focus on “the heartland” (LA Times, 11/12).

Tim Pawlenty

Health Care: Files amicus brief to support lawsuit calling health care reform unconstitutional (Gov Monitor, 11/15).

Electability: Nate Silver dubs Pawlenty a “league-average politician” (NYT, 11/15).

New Hampshire: Writes anti-spending Op-Ed for state’s foremost conservative newspaper (Union Leader, 11/14).

Mitt Romney

Congress: Like Huckabee, launches petition to support earmark ban (The Hill, 11/15).

Fundraising: Has edge among early fundraisers (NYT, 11/12).

Tea Party: Tea Party Express leader says conservatives “not going to let go of the health care” law in Massachusetts (ABC News, 11/11).

Rick Santorum

2012: Building infrastructure in key states for 2012 run (Sunshine State News, 11/12).

Tea Party: Dubs himself the only authentic Tea Party presidential prospect (Politico, 11/10).

Meet Tim Walberg: The Birthers’ Man in Washington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Meet Tim Griffin: Karl Rove’s Man in Congress

Following last Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our fifth candidate profile is on Tim Griffin of Arkansas:

Running in an open Democratic district, Tim Griffin defeated progressive champion Joyce Elliott to win the election to represent Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District.

Tim Griffin worked in the two Bush presidential campaigns and McCain’s 2008 campaign as the Republicans’ chief opposition researcher. In 2000, he said with regards to his opposition research department: “We think of ourselves as the creators of the ammunition in a war…. We make the bullets.” Conservative columnist Robert Novak called Griffin “a protégé of Karl Rove, who is a leading practitioner of opposition research — the digging up of derogatory information about political opponents.”

He received notoriety in 2004 for his work to advance the false smears propagated by the discredited group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Griffin next came to light when President Bush appointed him U.S. Attorney as part of his ongoing efforts to politicize the Department of Justice. “In December 2006, US Attorney Bud Cummings was fired from his district in Northeast Arkansas and replaced with Tim Griffin,” writes investigative journalist Shannyn Moore, as the Bush Administration used a little known provision of the USA Patriot Act to avoid confirmation hearings and votes by the US Senate. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNaulty later testified that “Cummings was fired to make a place for Griffin at the urging of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers,” the former White House Counsel. Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s Chief of Staff, wrote in an email that “getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.”

Paul Charlton, who was also ousted in the Bush Administration’s Purge of US Attorneys, said that Griffin “spread the rumors around the White House that Bud Cummins was not a good U.S. attorney” in order to get him fired. Another U.S. Attorney who was pushed out during the purge, David Iglesias, maintains that Tim Griffin “never should have been U.S. Attorney, he was fundamentally unqualified.”

When defending Griffin’s nomination, the Bush Administration used “misleading talking points” which significantly exaggerated his experience as a prosecutor.

Griffin continued his deeply political work while serving as a U.S. Attorney, but was forced to resign in 2007 when he was caught in a “vote caging” operation to prevent minorities from voting. The BBC uncovered emails sent by Griffin during the 2004 campaign which included ‘caging lists’ to bar typically marginalized groups voting, and Griffin’s “caging lists were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.”

According to Iglesias, his management of the vote caging maneuvers represents “reprehensible conduct and it may be illegal.” As a result of his disreputable background, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) rated him one of the “most corrupt” candidates for Congress.

When he was not working in the Bush Administration or for GOP campaigns, Griffin was a high-paid consultant and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars while working for “lobbying and consulting firms on shadowy causes,” including the corporate astro-turf campaign that was fighting Alaska’s Clean Water Initiative.

Throughout his congressional campaign, Griffin has closely followed the Karl Rove-playbook of appealing to both corporate interests and the Religious Right. Griffin wants to repeal health care reform and once supported the elimination of corporate taxes in favor of a national sales tax. At a candidate forum, he even went out of his way to laud the state’s relatively low wages for workers and anti-union laws.

An opponent of equal rights and a woman’s right to choose, Griffin supports a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, believes that employers should be allowed to fire their employees due to their sexual orientation, and has pledged to protect the discriminatory Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA). The fervently anti-choice group Americans United for Life Action ran ads boosting Griffin and criticizing his opponent, saying that she does not care about “the life of an innocent child.”

After a long career of dirty tricks, corporate astro-turfing, and Rovian politics, Griffin is a darling of the Republican leadership and set to become a star member of the GOP’s freshman class.

Watch this segment from the Bill Moyers Journal on Tim Griffin:

 

 

 

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 11/09/10

Jim DeMint

Far-Right: Radio talkshow host Michael Savage wants DeMint to run (NewsMax, 11/8).

Book: Authors new book, “The Great American Awakening” (PoliticalWire, 11/8).

Mike Huckabee

Religious Right: Marquee speaker for Iowa Family Policy Center event (IDA, 11/8).

Alaska: Solicits help for Joe Miller’s legal effort (TPMDC, 11/6).

Sarah Palin

GOP: Congressman blames Palin for Senate losses (The Hill, 11/8).

Economy: Plans to criticize Fed Reserve at trade convention (LA Times, 11/8).

George Pataki

Palin: Stresses his own political experience over Palin’s in interview (Daily News, 11/8).

GOP: Wants Party to reevaluate after failure of “extreme candidates” (The Note, 11/8).

Tim Pawlenty

Health Care: Will focus on repealing reform law if President (MN Independent, 11/8).

Minnesota: Recount in governor’s race may mean an extension of Pawlenty’s term (Star Tribune, 11/4).

Mike Pence

2012: Weighing bids for Indiana governor or President (CBN News, 11/8).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Rick Perry says that Romney’s MA health care law will sink his 2012 bid (Daily Caller, 11/9).

Obama: President compares his law to Romney’s MA health care law (Boston Globe, 11/8).

Right Wing Round-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is now only one abortion clinic in Mississippi.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Meet Congresswoman-Elect Sandy Adams: Conspiracy-Theorist, Religious Extremist

Following Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress."  Our first candidate is Florida's version of Sharron Angle, Sandra "Sandy" Adams:

After serving four terms in the Florida State House, Sandy Adams ran for US Congress and handily defeated freshman Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas. She built-up a far-right voting record as a state representative, and she campaigned as the most conservative candidate in the competitive Republican primary.

As a legislator and candidate Sandy Adams has embraced the agenda of the Religious Right. Adams voted to enact burdensome waiting periods and tougher parental notice laws for young women seeking abortions, and voted in favor of forcing women to have ultrasound tests before terminating their pregnancy, which the Governor ultimately vetoed for placing “an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.” During the GOP primary she was endorsed by militantly anti-choice groups such as the Republican National Coalition for Life and the American Conservative Union. Moreover, she is on-record opposing stem-cell research and boasts that she “fought against this type of research funding in the Florida House of Representatives.”

She is also an avowed opponent of teaching evolution, and voted in favor of a bill that calls on teachers to “teach theories that contradict the theory of evolution.” Adams herself does not believe evolution and says that Christians should reject evolution in favor of “the biblical terms of how we came about.” When asked “by a caller in a telephone town hall meeting whether she believed in evolution…Adams replied, ‘I’m Christian. What else do you want to know?’” Adams also supports Florida’s unsuccessful private school vouchers program and wants the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public schools.

Like Sharron Angle, Sandy Adams floats the baseless conspiracy theory that Islamic, or Sharia, law is thriving in Muslim communities in Michigan and in danger of spreading throughout Michigan and the United States:

The Muslim extremist project is to create pockets and to grow their Muslim extreme philosophies, and if you look at some of our towns within our own borders, like Michigan, Michigan has cities that have a lot of Muslim influence and even so much as I would say some extremist Muslim influence because they are trying to operate under Sharia law, not American law. And I believe that we need to continue to operate under our Constitutional laws and the laws of our country and our state and we should not be under any other form of the law.

Sarah Palin endorsed Sandy Adams, and Adams claims that she “can’t wait to join the Tea Party Caucus” and said that “I believe what Michele Bachmann is doing is the right thing to do and I will be part of that Caucus, I can assure you of that.”

She has embraced anti-government extremism, and wants to radically alter the Constitution by repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments, which would eliminate the progressive income tax and the right of voters to elect their US Senators, respectively. Adams believes that instead of voters, state legislators like herself should pick the state’s Senators. Adams also wants to abolish the Department of Education, said that the Departments of Energy and Interior Departments should be “completely dismantled” because they are “not allowed by our Constitution,” and strongly opposes Wall Street Reform. She wouldn’t “vouch for the constitutionality of the federal Clean Water and Clean Air acts without reading them,” writes the Orlando Sentinel, “yet she’s all for big government when it comes to NASA.,” which is based in her district.

Furthermore, she backs Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America,” which calls for the privatization of Social Security and Medicare. According to Florida Today, Adams “wants to cut government spending, but couldn’t cite one area to cut; wants to repeal health care reform, but offered no alternative; and is willing to look at privatizing Medicare, something that should alarm seniors.” Adams was also the chief sponsor of a state constitutional amendment that would stop Florida from cooperating with the recently passed health care reform law by barring mandatory insurance coverage.

Adams is also ardently opposed to immigrant rights and touts the endorsement of Americans for Legal Immigration, which has been classified as a “nativist extremist organization” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group is “allied with various Minuteman factions” and according to the SPLC, the group says that its “‘rallying cry is: Illegals Go Home!’” While serving in the State House, Adams was one of just fourteen members to vote against allowing undocumented children to receive healthcare through Florida KidCare.

On the environment, Adams supports offshore oil drilling off Florida’s coast and tried to censure the Governor for attempting to pass a constitutional amendment to prohibit such drilling.

A steadfast and longtime advocate of the Religious Right and anti-government extremism, Sandy Adams plans to be a bridge between Christian conservatives and Tea Party reactionaries in addition to a stalwart ally of Michele Bachmann in the House.

 

 

 

 

Fischer: "The American Standard Ought to be a Minimum of Three Children per Married Couple"

The great thing about the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer is his willingness to take a current Religious Right issue and carry it to its logical conclusion, regardless how of extreme said conclusion might be. 

Case in point, last week we noted that the Family Research Council announced that it was willing to fight any effort to include coverage for birth control in health care reform legislation on the grounds that "fertility isn't a disease."

But leave it to Fischer to take an even more radical position by announcing not only his opposition to using tax dollars to provide birth control to the unmarried couples, but to married couples as well ... and then taking a position even more radical than that by declaring that married couples ought to be obligated to have a minimum of at least three children

We want married couples to have more children, not fewer. Our problem is not that married couples are having too many kids, our problem is that they aren't having enough.

Our fertility rate right now is barely at replacement level, and that’s with 40% of our children born out-of-wedlock -- bastards, to use the quaint and correct term (dictionary: “bastard: a person born of parents not married to each other”). That’s not name-calling, it’s telling the truth.

...

The last thing we need is any public policy that encourages married couples to have fewer children. In fact, the American standard ought to be a minimum of three children per married couple.

God’s original instruction to our first parents was to “be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth.” This command, which theologians call the “Cultural Mandate,” has never been rescinded. It’s still in effect today, just as much in effect as it was when first uttered 6,000 years ago.

In order to “multiply” - that is, to grow in number - each couple has to have at least three children.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 11/02/10

With the midterm elections taking place today, tomorrow is the unofficial beginning of the race for the 2012 GOP nomination.

Haley Barbour

Tea Party: Claims that Tea Party candidates will find a home in the GOP (AP, 11/2)

GOP: Says that Party will have to earn trust since voters are “not saying ‘Hey, we love you Republicans,’” (CBS, 11/1).

Newt Gingrich

2012: Tells WaPo that a 2012 bid is becoming “increasingly” practical (WaPo, 10/29).

Florida: Holds “Jobs Here Jobs Now” rally in Florida (Florida Times-Union, 10/29).

Mike Huckabee

Alaska: Making robo-calls on behalf of Joe Miller (AP, 11/1).

Iowa: Making robo-calls against the retention of three Iowa judges (Daily Caller, 10/29).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Defends MA health care program, says national reform law is “unconstitutional” (GOP 12, 11/2).

Maine: Stumps for congressional candidate Dean Scontras, who is challenging Rep. Chellie Pingree (News 13, 11/1).

Iowa: Campaigns with GOP gubernatorial nominee Terry Branstad (Des Moines Register, 10/27).

Sarah Palin

2010: Find out how Palin-endorsed candidates perform on election day (WaPo, 11/2).

GOP: Says that the “good old boys club” is working against her (Politico, 11/2).

Colorado: Making robo-calls on behalf of Tom Tancredo (ABC, 11/1).

Media:  Floats Breitbart-linked conspiracy theory (Media Matters, 11/1).

West Virginia: Stumps with John Raese and praises “Mountain mamas” (LAT, 10/30).

Tim Pawlenty

Minnesota: Low favorability numbers may hurt GOP chances of retaining the governorship (City Pages, 11/1).

Palin: Defends Palin over Twitter over claims that she is unelectable (TPM, 11/1).

Mike Pence

GOP: Calls on his Party to focus on deficit reduction if in power (National Journal, 11/2).

2012: May leave GOP leadership to seek presidency or governorship (Indy Star, 10/31).

Dobson Urges Christians To Vote With A Speech From Jerry Boykin

Last week we noted on James Dobson was practically begging Christians to get out and vote tomorrow in order to save America from certain destruction. 

Well, he is still hammering home that point and so has decided to dedicate his next two days to reminding his listeners of the importance of freedom ... and he is doing so by honoring the military on his program.

And how is Dobson honoring the military, you ask?  By running a speech recently delivered by Jerry Boykin:

“God Bless America” is a beloved patriotic tune we might hum while watching fireworks or standing on the curb at a Veteran’s Day parade. The lyrics take on a whole new meaning when sung by soldiers preparing for battle overseas, however. On today’s program, retired three-star General Jerry Boykin recalls the times he led his troops in singing this song before heading into battle. Join us as he shares a few miraculous stories of war.

You remember Jerry Boykin, don't you?

I'm a Special Forces officer, I'm a Green Beret and I've studied Marxist insurgency, it was part of my training. And the things I know have been done in every Marxist insurgency are being done in America today.

The final thing has been to establish a constabulary force, a force that can control the population. You say "well, we don't have that." Well, let me remind you that prior to the election, the President stood up and said that if elected he would have a nation civilian security force that would be as large as and as well-equipped as the United States military.

For what?

Remember Hitler had the Brownshirts and in the Night of the Long Knives, even Hitler got scared of the Brownshirts and killed thousands of them.

So you say "are there any signs that that's happened" and the truth is yes. If you read the health care legislation which, by the way nobody in Washington has read, but if you read the health care legislation it's actually in the health care legislation.

There are paragraphs in the health care legislation that talk about the commissioning of officers in time of a national crisis to work directly for the President. It's laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America.

In introducing the speech, Dobson and his son Ryan positively gush about Boykin as someone who perfectly represents the "enormous commitment to freedom" that Christians are obligated to honor by voting in tomorrow's election:

James Dobson: But people don't realize that they have a personal stake in these elections. If they did, surely half the Christians wouldn't sit around and let that day come and go and not participate in the wonderful freedom of voting.

Tomorrow is election day - please, please go and cast your vote, according to your values. If you don't, you yield by default to those who may have a very different system of values.

Now that's why we thought it would be fitting today especially - today and tomorrow - in the light of this election to honor the enormous commitment to freedom that has been made by our servicemen and women around the world.

And who better to represent that than a three-star general at the Pentagon, now retired. Someone with a military service record spanning three decades. And I'm speaking of General Jerry Boykin, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence in the Pentagon, who served multiple Special Ops assignments over the years earning him two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star medal.

And I know this man personally and he is definitely a hero to me and many, many people across this nation.

Ryan Dobson: General Boykin is a man's man and he has stood up the bias against the Christian faith.

FRC To Fight Coverage For Birth Control Because "Fertility Isn't a Disease"

Everybody knows that the Religious Right was dead-set against abortion and fought tooth-and-nail against health care reform on the grounds that it provided for taxpayer funded abortions. 

But it is also important to keep pointing out that it is not just abortion that FRC opposes, but birth control entirely:

Is Fertility a "Pre-existing Condition?"

Planned Parenthood certainly thinks so. That's why the country's biggest abortion provider is pushing to include free birth control as part of the new health care law. Making a change in the law would not only add billions more to the tab, but it would force Americans to pay for something they shouldn't. Birth control is not only optional, it's objectionable to some people. Despite what Planned Parenthood may believe, fertility (like pregnancy) isn't a disease. It shouldn't be placed in the same category as other basic types of medical care. FRC Action has actively lobbied against the possibility of making abortion a preventive service for women and will continue to do everything possible to ensure that this does not happen.

Just to be clear, FRC is announcing that it will fight any effort to get health care reform to cover birth control because "fertility isn't a disease" and therefore shouldn't be included among the "basic types of medical care" that are covered.

Boykin Exposes Obama's Health Care Conspiracy to Build His Brownshirt Army

This is Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, who was the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under Donald Rumsfeld until video emerged of him explaining that we were engaged in a spiritual war against Islam that the US would eventually win because our God was bigger than their God.

Shortly thereafter Boykin retired and aligned himself with fringe Religious Right leaders by teaming up with the likes of  "Christocrat" Rick Scarborough and Dominionist Janet Porter and even sharing the stage with professional anti-gay activists like Peter LaBarbera.

He also sits upon the board of Rick Joyner's "The Oak Initiative" along with people like Porter, Lou Sheldon, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, and Cindy Jacobs and he recently recorded this video for the organization explaining how his years of Special Forces training in fighting Marxist insurgencies enables him to identify the plot underway to take over America through a variety of means, including President Obama's attempt to create an army of Brownshirts loyal only to him though the passage of Health Care Reform:

I'm a Special Forces officer, I'm a Green Beret and I've studied Marxist insurgency, it was part of my training. And the things I know have been done in every Marxist insurgency are being done in America today.

The final thing has been to establish a constabulary force, a force that can control the population. You say "well, we don't have that." Well, let me remind you that prior to the election, the President stood up and said that if elected he would have a nation civilian security force that would be as large as and as well-equipped as the United States military.

For what?

Remember Hitler had the Brownshirts and in the Night of the Long Knives, even Hitler got scared of the Brownshirts and killed thousands of them.

So you say "are there any signs that that's happened" and the truth is yes. If you read the health care legislation which, by the way nobody in Washington has read, but if you read the health care legislation it's actually in the health care legislation.

There are paragraphs in the health care legislation that talk about the commissioning of officers in time of a national crisis to work directly for the President. It's laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America.

Let me also just point out that Senate Republicans actually had Boykin on their witness list to testify against Elena Kagan at her confirmation hearing until they dropped him at the last moment. 

Gee, I can't imagine why.

Here is the entire thing:

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.
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health care Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Monday 02/28/2011, 2:03pm
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) today sat down with Kaiser Health News to discuss her proposal to repeal and replace the health care reform law. However, Ellmers was unable to name a single policy alternative to the reform law. The Tea Party-favorite recently defended her decision to take a taxpayer-subsidized health care plan because she said that her $174,000 annual salary is too little to live on in Washington DC, and also opposes mandatory coverage for maternity care and pre-existing conditions. Ellmers, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Health and Technology, was unable to muster a single... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 02/28/2011, 2:03pm
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) today sat down with Kaiser Health News to discuss her proposal to repeal and replace the health care reform law. However, Ellmers was unable to name a single policy alternative to the reform law. The Tea Party-favorite recently defended her decision to take a taxpayer-subsidized health care plan because she said that her $174,000 annual salary is too little to live on in Washington DC, and also opposes mandatory coverage for maternity care and pre-existing conditions. Ellmers, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Health and Technology, was unable to muster a single... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/24/2011, 7:03pm
PFAW - Right Wing Watch In Focus: Citizenship in the Balance: How Anti-Immigrant Activists Twist the Facts, Ignore History, and Flout the Constitution.    Steve Benen: How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont'd.    Jim Burroway @ Box Turtle Bulletin: Tennessee Lawmakers Propose Ban on Mentioning LGBT People in Schools.    Nick @ Bold Faith Type: Fact-check: Religious Right Overstates Opposition to Expanding Marriage.    HRC Back Story: Hawaii Governor Signs Civil Unions into Law.   ... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/24/2011, 7:03pm
PFAW - Right Wing Watch In Focus: Citizenship in the Balance: How Anti-Immigrant Activists Twist the Facts, Ignore History, and Flout the Constitution.    Steve Benen: How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont'd.    Jim Burroway @ Box Turtle Bulletin: Tennessee Lawmakers Propose Ban on Mentioning LGBT People in Schools.    Nick @ Bold Faith Type: Fact-check: Religious Right Overstates Opposition to Expanding Marriage.    HRC Back Story: Hawaii Governor Signs Civil Unions into Law.   ... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/23/2011, 6:37pm
Rick Santorum defends the Crusades. Ken Cuccinelli is scheduled to speak at Regent University. As promised, Randall Terry's crew was arrested at Speaker John Boehner's office today, though Terry himself was not. Mike Huckabee needs to make up his mind about how easy it will be to beat President Obama in 2012. For some reason, the ACLJ has been very silent on their loss in their suit against health care reform. Matt Barber says that everyone who doesn't realize that Muslims are out to enslave us all are "idiots." Finally, John Hagee explains... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/23/2011, 4:06pm
Earlier today it was reported that President Obama had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. So far, reactions from the Religious Right have been few and far between but we are going to post them here as they trickle in: National Organization for Marriage: “We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM. “The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/23/2011, 4:06pm
Earlier today it was reported that President Obama had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. So far, reactions from the Religious Right have been few and far between but we are going to post them here as they trickle in: National Organization for Marriage: “We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM. “The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in... MORE