Fox News’ Neil Cavuto opened a discussion on Thursday by saying, “I sometimes wonder” whether fast food workers demanding $15 an hour wages are “union plants.” But instead of any actual reporting, he called on Herman Cain – whose record in the restaurant business is “marked by a long and largely successful battle against minimum-wage increases,” as Huffington Post put it. Cain assured Cavuto that the protesters must be plants because minimum-wage workers “appreciate those jobs.”
On December 5, the day that workers held protests in about 100 U.S. cities, Cavuto implied that Cain was a neutral expert with some kind of first-hand information. Cavuto’s first words to Cain were: “You hear and see what’s going on here.” Then Cavuto asked, “How many of those who are protesting are fast food workers and how many just might be union plants? I sometimes wonder.”
If Cain had any inside scoop to impart other than his (biased) belief, he kept it to himself. Instead, he came up with his own unsupported theory:
Neil, I believe that most of ‘em are union plants because my experience with minimum wage workers, having led the National Restaurant Association, is that most of them appreciate those jobs and here’s why: They are not minimum wage jobs, they are starting jobs, and what never comes through the liberal rhetoric is the fact that most people who start at minimum wage, if they do a good job, they get increases within six months. …If you artificially force the minimum wage to go up, …there would be job losses. The losers would be the minimum wage workers or the potential workers and the consumers because any prices would be passed on to the consumers.
Cavuto asked whether starting wages could be raised “a little higher.”
Not surprisingly, Cain was against that, too. “You could start them a little higher, but that means that we’re going to hire a little fewer. That’s just the fact of the matter.”
DENVER (AP) — A Colorado judge says a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs.
Friday’s order from administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer says Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver will face fines if it continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy cakes for their wedding celebrations.
An attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Shop owner Jack Phillips had argued that making cakes for gay wedding ceremonies violates his Christian beliefs.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against Phillips with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission last year on behalf of Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The couple was married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake to celebrate in Colorado.
Liberty Counsel spokesdouche Matt Barber has posted a World Net Dailycolumn in which he calls for Eric Holder and the federal government to take legal action against me for anti-Christian comments made by alleged JMG readers on a post I wrote about a recent abortion rights rally in Argentina, in which feminists spat upon and sprayed paint into the faces of Catholic men outside a cathedral. After describing the incident, Barber writes:
For liberals, although the means may change, the ends remain the same. Still, equally disturbing are a number of comments posted about the incident on at least one award-winning “gay”-activist blog. Ironically, the site, “JoeMyGod,” a serial Christian-defaming cyber-rag, won the award for “Outstanding Blog” in 2011 at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards. While Joe Jervis – the blog’s militant atheist and “gay” sadomasochist founder – refused to denounce the Argentinian “hate crimes” outright, he at least begrudgingly admitted: “I really can’t see how this advances the cause of abortion rights.” Ya think? Even so, Jervis, who’s blog has a long history of anti-Christian extremism and violence-charged rhetoric, nonetheless permitted several of his regular posters to not only condone the feminist attacks, but to illegally call for a steep escalation in anti-Christian violence in general (up to and including church bombings, and both the castration and even murder of Christians in the U.S.).
Barber then goes on for several paragraphs to quote these “regular posters” (none of whose user names I recognize) and then he concludes:
Indeed, to borrow from Madonna, it seems Argentina has much to cry for.And so does America. But as for “JoeMyGod,” the question is this: Will GLADD now publicly disavow Joe Jervis for allowing (and perhaps tacitly condoning) such violent (and very likely illegal) rhetoric? Will this self-styled “anti-defamation” group rescind its “Outstanding Blog” award? Don’t hold your breath. Even still, a bigger question remains: Will federal authorities investigate these threats? If it were Christians threatening “gays,” Eric Holder himself would kick-in the door with MSNBC in tow. Every newspaper in America would give it above-the-fold coverage. But it wasn’t Christians threatening “gays.” It was “gays” threatening Christians. And that just doesn’t fit the false “gay victimhood” narrative.
The almost-hilarious hypocrisy here, of course, is that anybody who has EVER endured five minutes on WND knows that they not only allow their own commenters to advocate for the death penalty for homosexuals and that they cheer on violent anti-gay hate crimes, WND columnists themselveshave called for executing people who oppose the Christianist agenda, as, for example, when WND’s Erik Rush did last year when he declared that journalists should be executed after Mitt Romney won the election. Erik Rush: “Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply, and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.” Earlier this year WND’s Erik Rush declared that all Muslims should be murdered and underscored that sentiment with this tweet: “Yes, they’re evil. Kill them all.” And just last week WND’s Erik Rush called for the execution of the president of the United States.
The Guardian's documents reveal that State Policy Network's think-tank affiliates sought financial support for this blitz from the GD Searle Trust, a conservative foundation that bankrolls many major nonprofits including Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the climate-denying Heartland Institute. The documents show 40 different funding requests pitching conservative policy reforms that were written by think tanks in 34 states.
American Family Association head Tim Wildmon joined AFA radio host Sandy Rios today to discuss a USA Today article about how “Not all Christians believe there is a ‘War on Christmas.’” Wildmon spent most of the interview complaining that any Christian would dare criticize the AFA, which is a leading voice in movement to expose the “War on Christmas.” He told Rios that he resented Christian leaders who mock the idea of the War on Christmas or note that the AFA’s campaign actually emphasizes the material aspect of the holiday by focusing on how many stores tell customers “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”
Wildmon accused one pastor, who toldUSA Today that Christians needed to come to grips with the religious diversity in the US, of wanting Christians to partake in “a dangerous retreat into isolating ourselves from the larger culture.”
“This is exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany,” Rios said. She went on to compare the supposed War on Christmas to religious oppression in the Soviet Union and North Korea.
“I don’t think this pastor understands and I don’t think people understand what is going on in the world,” she said. “They don’t have a large enough world. Their world is too small and so they don’t understand the dangers.”
From the 12.06.2013 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
A school district in Georgia blasted Fox News on Tuesday and said that they had been “terrorized” after one of the network’s radio hosts falsely reported that Christmas cards had been “confiscated.”
In a Tuesday report, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes turned his daily outrage to allegations that students at Brooklet Elementary School had returned from the Thanksgiving holiday to find that the school’s administration had decided to “confiscate the Christmas cards” that teachers had posted outside classrooms.
Starnes branded the schools’ actions as “Christmas card censorship.”
Brooklet Principal Marlin Baker told WSAV that the “censorship” charge was just not true and that Starnes didn’t bother checking the facts before publishing his report.
"The decision to move the poster had nothing, absolutely nothing, at all to do with any type of religious conversation that is going on in the county," Martin explained.
The principal said that the Christmas card poster had been moved to a faculty work room in order to accommodate the privacy request of one teacher.
And now the school has been flooded with angry calls and emails because of the misreporting.
"[I am] disappointed. We are trying hard in this community to have a good, healthy dialogue and it seems the intentional spreading of this misinformation I see it as destructive," Bulloch County School District Superintendent Charles Wilson told the station.
Starnes updated his report on Tuesday to mention that the Bulloch County School District had released a statement, but failed to note that he and Fox News had been accused of terrorizing the school.
Last month, members of school board in South Dakota said that they received death threats after Fox News falsely reported that they had voted to drop the Pledge of Allegiance at schools.
After the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Rush Limbaugh co-opted Mandela’s legacy as more in line with American conservatism than liberalism. But Limbaugh’s praise for Mandela stands in stark contrast to his repeated attacks on him in the past, even characterizing his world view as racial.
On the December 6 edition of his radio show, host Limbaugh argued that Mandela “had more in common with Clarence Thomas than he does with Barack Obama,” claiming that he was more like American conservatives because he “insisted on compliance with his country’s constitution,” whereas liberals, Limbaugh asserted, only care about “skin color and oppression” and view the U.S. Constitution as an obstacle.
But Limbaugh’s praise of Mandela ignores his past attacks against the South African leader. In 2007 Limbaugh criticized the U.S. foreign policy objectives of Democrats working on Sudan divestment policy, claiming they only wanted to get rid of the “white government” in countries such as South Africa and Sudan and “stand behind Nelson Mandela, who was bankrolled by communists,” in a ploy to win the votes of African Americans.
From the 12.06.2013 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer agreed with a caller who demanded that Republicans in the House of Representatives “take a stand” and impeach President Obama even if he won’t be convicted and removed by the Senate.
Fischer readily agreed, saying that even though there is no chance that Obama would actually be removed from office, House Republicans ought to go ahead and impeach him any way … for educational purposes.
"There could be a powerful educational benefit from the House filing articles of impeachment," Fischer said, because “it would give the House the opportunity to make their case why this man needs to be removed from office … And so they’re be tremendous educational value in that; it may not go anywhere in the Senate … but it may be time to recognize there’s an educational benefit here.”
In an aggressive move designed to crack down on free-spending outside political groups, the Obama administration is proposing strict new rules curtailing nonprofits like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the pro-Obama Priorities USA.
The draft proposal, released Tuesday by the Treasury Department, would keep so-called social welfare 501(c)(4) nonprofits from getting a tax exemption if they engage in too much “candidate related” political activity.
The groups were at the heart of this summer’s scandal over Internal Revenue Service targeting of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax exemptions.
The proposal is the first major response to a Treasury inspector general report in May blasting the IRS for added scrutiny of tea party conservative groups seeking tax exemption — a major scandal that led President Barack Obama to fire the acting IRS commissioner and other officials to exit the agency.
The inspector general report recommended the IRS tighten its rules.
The new regulations would affect a broad swath of political nonprofit groups that have come to play an outsized and influential role in federal elections.
Crossroads, founded by George W. Bush adviser Rove, along with its sister super PAC together spent $325 million in 2011 and 2012 against Obama and Senate Democrats. Priorities, set up by former Obama aide Bill Burton, raised $10.7 million in the 2012 cycle.
Dozens of these political nonprofits have used 501(c)(4) tax status as a way to shield their donors.
In a blog post today, she claims that the Rohingya are waging “jihad in Burma,” but the “goosestepping thugs” of “Jihad agitators and their leftist shills” are covering it up and unfairly criticizing her. “Pure evil. The Left always does this,” she writes.
Geller must then consider Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation as a leftist, jihadist group, as the conservative organization denounced the “ethnic cleansing” and “atrocities” committed against the Rohingya. We’re sure she also has words for the Republican congressmen who are co-sponsoring the resolution.
On a WorldNetDaily column today, Religious Right activist Bradlee Dean warns that President Obama is committed to creating a government system of mass dependency in order to “to destroy what America is.” Dean alleges that Obama wants to “stupefy” young people and keep them illiterate, jobless and on entitlement programs.
“He needed dependents; therefore, he created dependents. Those dependents were sure to keep him in office, and keep him in office they did,” Dean writes. “What would you say if I told you that over 700,000 of the up-and-coming generation graduating from public schools in America each year cannot even read there [sic] own high school diplomas?”
But most Americans are ignorant of Obama’s sinister plot because they just aren’t as smart as Dean: “Oh, how little the American people know about the history of tyrants and dictators like Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, etc.”
Some of the very people lavishing praise on South Africa’s first black president worked tirelessly to undermine his cause.
The world is celebrating Nelson Mandela as a selfless visionary who led his country out of the grips of apartheid into democracy and freedom. But some of the very people lavishing praise on South Africa’s first black president worked tirelessly to undermine his cause and portray the African National Congress he lead as pawns of the Soviet Union.
In fact, American conservatives have long been willing to overlook South Africa’s racist apartheid government in service of fighting communism abroad. Below is a short history, and some explanation, of how conservatives approached Mandela with the hostility they did:
National Review predicts end of white rule would result in “the collapse of civilization.”
After Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, the magazine observed that “The South African courts have sentenced a batch of admitted terrorists to life in the penitentiary, and you would think the court had just finished barbecuing St. Joan, to hear the howls from the Liberal press.” By March of the following year, conservative Russell Kirk argued in the pages of the magazine that democracy in South Africa “would bring anarchy and the collapse of civilization” and the government “would be domination by witch doctors (still numerous and powerful) and reckless demagogues.”
Reagan described apartheid South Africa as a “good country.”
After President Jimmy Carter imposed sanctions on South Africa Reagan reversed course, labeling the African National Congress a terrorist organization. As he explained to CBS’ Walter Cronkite in 1981, the United States should support the South Africa regime because it is “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.” In 1985, he told an interviewer: “They have eliminated the segregation that we once had in our own country — the type of thing where hotels and restaurants and places of entertainment and so forth were segregated — that has all been eliminated.” He later walked back the comment.
Jerry Falwell urges supporters to oppose sanctions.
The late Jerry Falwell urged “supporters to write their congressmen and senators to tell them to oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime.” “The liberal media has for too long suppressed the other side of the story in South Africa,” he said. “It is very important that we stay close enough to South Africa so that it does not fall prey to the clutches of Communism.”
180 House members opposed free Mandela resolution.
In 1986, 145 Republicans and 45 Democrats voted down a none-binding House resolutionurging the Government of South Africa to indicate its willingness to negotiate with the black majority by granting unconditional freedom to Nelson Mandela, recognizing the African National Congress; and establishing a framework for political talks. This included Dick Cheney, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Dan Coats, Pat Roberts, Joe Barton.
20 Senators and 83 House members oppose sanctions.
The 1986 bill cut virtually “all U.S. economic ties with South Africa, requiring American companies to cease operating there within 180 days.” Lawmakers had to overrideReagan’s veto. Sens. Thad Conrad, Orrin Hatch and Reps. Hal Rogers, Joe Barton, and Howard Coble all voted against imposing sanctions on the regime.
Jack Abramoff leads think tank dedicated to tearing down Mandela.
In 1986, the South African government helped fund and establish The International Freedom Foundation (IFF), a conservative think tank designed to “reverse the apartheid regime’s pariah status in Western political circles” and “portray the ANC as a tool of Soviet communism, thus undercutting the movement’s growing international acceptance as the government-in-waiting of a future multiracial South Africa.” The Washington branch of the IFF listed, among others, Senator Jesse Helms, James Inhofe as advisers. The lobbyist Jack Abramoff led the organization.
U.S. Senator testified in support of the apartheid government.
“In the late 1980s and early ’90s, after returning from his Mormon mission to South Africa,” Flake lobbied for South African interests and in 1987, “testified before the Utah State Senate in support of a resolution expressing support for the government of South Africa while racial segregation laws were enforced — largely to support U.S. mining interests in the region.”
Now, it would be unfair to say conservatism spoke univocally in condemnation of Mandela. A group of upstart Republicans in the mid-80s, led by Reps. Vin Weber, Robert Walker, and Newt Gingrich pushed hard for the United States to take a more critical stance on apartheid.
But this group was bucking the conservative mainstream at the time. “South Africa has been able to depend on conservatives in the United States … to treat them with benign neglect,” Weber said. That has a lot to do with the enduring conservative hostility towards rapid change. Conservatives see broad challenges, even to oppressive systems, as dangerous “revolutionary” change, whereas slower “evolutionary” tweaks in a better direction would be preferable.
Reagan’s South Africa point man, Chester A. Crocker, made this revolutionary/evolutionary binary into one of his three main principles for thinking about South Africa policy. “The circumstances in South Africa do not justify giving up on the hopes for evolutionary change (as distinguished from a revolutionary cataclysm),” he wrote in a famous Foreign Affairsessay. Many in the West, Crocker believed, held “a mistaken assumption that American and South African clocks are synchronized-that our impatience signifies the imminence of the revolution.”
It was Crocker, of course, who was mistaken, writing only about a decade before Mandela was freed from prison. But this skepticism about the possibility and desirability of radical change (Crocker seemed to think any dissolution of the apartheid government would necessarily be in part a violent one), together with the obvious cultural affinity that mainstream conservatives felt with Westernized Afrikaner elites, made conservatives distinctly inclined to view Mandela’s calls for political transformation with jaded eyes.
Heritage Foundation says Mandela is no “freedom fighter.” “Americans nevertheless have reasons to be skeptical of Mandela,” the foundation warned as he planned to visit the United States in 1990. “First, Nelson Mandela is not a freedom fighter. He repeatedly has supported terrorism. Since Mandela’s release from prison and his subsequent refusal to renounce violence, the Marxist-dominated ANC has launched terrorism and violence against civilians, claiming several hundred lives.”
Conservative think tank links Mandela to communists. “When Mandela made his first visit to the United States in 1990, following his release from prison, the IFF placed advertisements in local papers designed to dampen public enthusiasm for Mandela,” Newsday reported. “One ad in the Miami Herald portrayed Mandela as an ally and defender of Cuba’s Fidel Castro. The city’s large Cuban community was so agitated that a ceremony to present Mandela with keys to the city was scrapped.
National Review labels Mandela a “communist” for opposing the Iraq war.
“[Mandela’s] vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given his long-standing dedication to Communism and praise for terrorists. The world finally saw that his wife Winnie, rather than being a saintly freedom-fighter, was a murderous thug.”
This positioning of Mandela as being on the wrong side of a divide between “friends” and “enemies” — once communism, in the 2000s Saddam and terrorism — is the most important ideological lesson to learn from this history of hostility to Mandela. Conservatives have a deep tendency to judge foreign conflicts principally by the proximity of each side to the enemy du jour.
The treatment of South Africa in Jeane Kirkpatrick’s famous “Dictatorships and Double Standards” essay, where she argued that authoritarian anti-Communist states were more amenable to transition to democracy than revolutionary socialist governments, exemplifies this point nicely. She listed Jimmy Carter’s more confrontational South Africa policy as an example of the Carter Administration taking “at face value the claim of revolutionary groups to represent ‘popular’ aspirations and ‘progressive’ forces–regardless of the ties of these revolutionaries to the Soviet Union.”
Modern conservatives explaining the movement’s Mandela position in the past 12 hours have repeatedly employed Kirkpatrick-style to argue that conservative positions were, at the time, reasonable. “In retrospect, it’s easy to think of Mandela as the grandfatherly statesman,” Matt Lewis writes, “but the Soviet Union posed an existential threat; it’s not like nuclear weapons weren’t aimed at us. Such a thing has a way of focusing your priorities. In that milieu, one can understand why the U.S. would have been very cautious about anyone who had even ‘dabbled’ in Communism.” Deroy Murdock describes the view at the time as “Nelson Mandela was just another Fidel Castro or a Pol Pot, itching to slip from behind bars, savage his country, and surf atop the bones of his victims.”
Now, both Lewis and Murdock readily admit that this view was in hindsight mistaken. But the overemphasis on the friend/enemy distinction that blinded conservative’s to the justness of the ANC’s cause has hardly gone away.
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah writes today that the death of Nelson Mandela should not be mourned because “the system Mandela’s revolution brought about” is bent on “the deliberate, systematic elimination” of the white race in South Africa.
In an editorial entitled, “Don’t Mourn for Mandela,” the right-wing activist claims Mandela was a terrorist and “the Mandela mythology is as dangerous as the terror he and his followers perpetrated on so many innocent victims – white and black.”
Joseph Farah, you have been masturbating to Stormfront’s website too many times to count.
In 1986, Nelson Mandela — the former president of South Africa who died Thursday at the age of 95 — was serving the 23rd year of what would ultimately be a 27-year prison sentence. The Western world was finally acknowledging the true horrors of Apartheid, a system of racial segregation that denied basic rights to blacks — including citizenship and the right to vote — and brutally oppressed a generation of South Africans fighting for equality.
In the U.S. Congress, lawmakers were ready to show their opposition to the South African regime with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, a bill that called for tough sanctions and travel restrictions on the nation and its leaders, and for the repeal of apartheid laws and release of political prisoners like Mandela, then leader of the African National Congress (ANC).
The measure passed with bipartisan support, despite strong and largely Republican opposition. President Ronald Reagan was among those most opposed to the bill, and when he finally vetoed the measure over its support of the ANC, which he maintained was a “terrorist organization,” it took another vote by Congress to override it. Among the Republicans who repeatedly voted against the measure was future Vice President Dick Cheney, then a Republican congressman from Wyoming.
Cheney’s staunch resistance to the Anti-Apartheid Act arose as an issue during his future campaigns on the presidential ticket, but the Wyoming Republican has never said he regretted voting the way he did. In fact, in 2000, he maintained that he’d made the right decision.
“The ANC was then viewed as a terrorist organization,” Cheney said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I don’t have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago.”
The news today of Nelson Mandela’s passing is also time to reflect on the complicated relationship between Mandela and his anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) with the US, which did not always support the anti-apartheid struggle. In fact, American conservatives lobbied the federal government in the 1980s to withhold support from the anti-apartheid movement.
Mandela faced criticism from Republican leaders including Dick Cheney, who described Mandela’s ANC as a “terrorist organization,” and Jesse Helms, who “turned his back during Mandela’s visit to the U.S. Capitol.” Even in 1998, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly lumped Mandela together with notorious dictators.
The late Jerry Falwell urged [PDF] his supporters to write their congressmen and senators to tell them to oppose sanctions against the apartheid regime. “The liberal media has for too long suppressed the other side of the story in South Africa,” he said. “It is very important that we stay close enough to South Africa so that it does not fall prey to the clutches of Communism.”
“South Africa is torn by civil unrest, instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people who are capitalizing on the many legitimate grievances created by apartheid, unemployment and policy confrontations,” Falwell continued.
Finally, we should, if possible, invest in South Africa, because this inevitably improves the standard of living for nonwhites there.
Now is not the time to turn our backs on South Africa. The world has witnessed the Soviets capture nation after nation. They have been particularly aggressive in Africa. South Africa must not be the next victim!
David John Marley notes in Pat Robertson: An American Life that Robertson criticized the ANC because it was “led by communists and was hostile to Israel” and “far too radical an element to ever work with,” while “his campaign literature made similar claims for the need to support the white government.”
The televangelist regularly spoke ill of Mandela’s group and his Christian Broadcasting Network ran segments critical of sanctions against the apartheid government as Congress debated sanctions.
In 1986 The 700 Club did a series of reports on South Africa and the white government’s struggle against the African National Congress. While many socially liberal religious leaders decried the apartheid regime, Robertson openly supported it because he felt that it was a bastion against communism. For Robertson, everything else was secondary to defeating what he saw as the enemies of God. Robertson sent a copy of The 700 Club program to Freedom Council’s Dick Thompson to have it forwarded to Pat Buchanan, who in turn promised to show it to the president. Reagan’s attitude toward South Africa was one of his most controversial foreign policy stands, and Robertson was one of Reagan’s few allies on the policy.
Sam Kleiner mentions that now-Sen. Jeff Flake, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff were also active in lobbying against the anti-apartheid movement:
Jack Abramoff, now a disgraced former lobbyist convicted of fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion, got much of his start from his work with South Africa. Abramoff visited the country following his term as National Chair of the College Republicans in 1983 and met with pro-apartheid student groups linked to the South Africa’s Bureau of Security Services. In 1986, he opened the International Freedom Foundation. Ostensibly a think tank, it was later revealed as a front group for the South African Army as part of “Operation Babushka” meant to undermine Nelson Mandela’s international approval. The group had over “30 young ideologues in offices on G Street in Washington, Johannesburg, London and Brussels” working on propaganda in support of the South African government.
Like Abramoff, GOP tax guru Grover Norquist became enamored with the conflict in South Africa and went there to extend his support. Norquist ran College Republicans from 1981 to 1983 and went to South Africa in 1985 for a “Youth for Freedom Conference” sponsored by South African businesses. While other college students, such as Barack Obama, had been active in anti-apartheid work, this conference was seeking to bring American and South African conservatives together to end that movement. In his speech there, Norquist said, “The left has no other issue [but apartheid] on campus. Economic issues are losers for them. There are no sexy Soviet colonies anymore.” A few months after the conference, Norquist went to Angola to work with Jonas Savimbi, the rebel leader that Abramoff valorized in his film. Norquist became a ghost-writer for Savimbi’s essay in Policy Review. When he returned to Washington, he was greeted in conservative circles as a “freedom fighter,” and he proudly placed an “I’d rather be killing commies” bumper sticker on his brief case.
A few years later and much further along in the anti-apartheid movement, a young Jeff Flake (now a senator from Arizona) became active in lobbying for South African mining interests in the late 1980s and early ’90s, after returning from his Mormon mission to South Africa. As a graduate student at Brigham Young University, he testified against an anti-apartheid resolution in the Utah State Senate and then became a lobbyist in Washington for Smoak, Shipley and Henry, a lobbying firm specializing in representing the South African mining industry. Flake went on to personally represent the Rossing Uranium plant in Namibia, which had been a major target of anti-apartheid activists for its discriminatory and unsafe practices.
Decades later, these Republican leaders would prefer not to have their adventures in South Africa mentioned. While Abramoff went down in a corruption scandal, Norquist went on to remake himself into a libertarian anti-tax activist, and Flake moved back to Arizona. The anti-communism that motivated the Republican allegiance to South Africa fizzled with the end of the Cold War, but the history of the Republican entanglement with South Africa remains one of the party’s darker episodes.
President Obama can proudly talk about how his first political act was in response to apartheid. While a few Republicans stood against apartheid, much of the Republican Party has nothing to offer about its position at the time but silence. I wouldn’t expect any reflections on apartheid from Abramoff, Flake or Norquist anytime soon.
1. IT WOULD CREATE JOBS.Low wages are holding back economic growth, but a raise for our country’s lowest paid workers would put money in the pockets of those most likely to spend it, generating much-needed consumer demand and contributing to economic growth across industries. That translates to higher GDP and new hiring in the labor market. 2. IT WOULD REDUCE POVERTY. More than ten million Americans—and the family members they support—live beneath the poverty line even though they have jobs. With a median wage of $8.85, a fast food cook in a family of three lives in poverty even if she never takes a day off. Raising wages in the fast food industry could improve living standards for millions of hard working people. 3. COMPANIES CAN AFFORD IT. With annual profits in the billions, the largest fast food companies could raise wages for their entire workforce and shareholders would still see a return. In fact, many of these employers already do pay higher wages to workers in other countries without wrecking their bottom lines. 5. COMPANIES THAT INVEST IN THEIR WORKERS THRIVE. Low-wage jobs are a business choice, but some employers take the high road offering fair wages, hours, and benefits. This investment in the workforce pays off in lower turnover and higher worker productivity, generating good service to customers and a solid bottom line. 8. IT WOULD PUSH UP WAGES FOR OTHER UNDERPAID WORKERS. Increasing the standard for decent pay in fast food could be a boon to low-wage workers across industries. The ripple effects start with increased consumer demand and economic growth, and create pressure in the labor market to raise wages in other low-pay positions. Contrary to popular myth, the vast majority of those affected by a raise at the bottom are working adults, struggling to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Even in fast food, most workers are 21 or older and have at least a high school degree. Raising wages in fast food could impact living standards for millions of American workers and the families that depend on them.
Dana’s baseless smears of fast-food workers who are striking:
Visiting fast food businesses today to support free enterprise. — Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) December 5, 2013
Fast food workers are planning a strike to force employers to pay them $15 per hour. This Thursday, in over 100 cities across the nation, Big Labor is coordinating with “grassroots” activists to pressure these employers to pay a “living wage.” From all the press, you’d think the push toward higher wages was something noble. But, this is Big Labor. And no one will bully, threaten or intimidate to steal your hard earned money more than Big Labor. The group Fast Food Forward, one of the organizations in sync with Big Labor to shame fast food restaurants into extinction, states their purpose:
In America, people who work hard should be able to afford basic necessities like groceries, rent, childcare and transportation.
While fast food corporations reap the benefits of record profits, workers are barely getting by — many are forced to be on public assistance despite having a job.
Raising pay for fast food workers will benefit workers and strengthen the overall economy.
It’s not the workers that Big Labor wants to benefit. It’s Big Labor that Big Labor wants to benefit.
There is no way to determine a living wage anywhere in America. It’s a lie, and so is the idea that groups like Fast Food Forward and Big Labor care about fast food employees. Listen up, fast food workers, because you’re being used! Not by McDonald’s or Wendy’s or Chick-Fil-A, but by Big Labor and the political candidates (ideology) they support. BIg Labor wants you to unionize because Big Labor wants you to pay union dues. They want your money, and they don’t give a good holy damn about you!
This morning, as minimum wage workers in 100 cities around the country went on strike, CNN’s New Day, in 90 seconds, demonstrated how to cover issues of poverty.
CNN’s Alison Kosik deserves credit for reporting the facts about low-wage workers.
Her subject is a 58-year-old man with two college age children who works at Kentucky Fried Chicken, scraping by with a second job at Kennedy Airport — not a teenager working for spending money — which is who conservatives claim minimum wage workers are.
"Living on $7.25 — you cannot do it," he tells Kosik. "You couldn’t even pay your apartment, buy food."
She goes on to acknowledge the struggle that fast food workers face in their daily living, pointing out how far their medianwages — even if working full time — fall below the poverty line for families.
Then she turns to Columbia University Professor Dorian Warren, who studies ”inequality and American politics” to explain that workers are not taking these jobs by choice, but because they are “desperate.”
In a blog post this week, former Florida congressman Allen West gets behind a conspiracy theory that holds that the Environmental Protection Agency is launching a “clandestine” and “backdoor” assault on the Second Amendment. The gist of the theory is that President Obama used the EPA to shut down a Missouri smelter that refused to comply with anti-pollution regulations, thereby creating a scarcity of bullets and, in West’s words, “destroy[ing] the Second Amendment.”
Of course, there is noactualevidence to support West’s claim. In fact, the EPA first went after the smelter in question in 2008, the year before Obama became president. Steve Benen notes: “If enforcement of environmental safeguards was used to secretly undermine access to ammunition, the plot was launched by the notorious gun-grabbers in the Bush/Cheney administration.”
Despite the lack of evidence and the fact that the smelter was targeted before Obama even took office, now Gun Owners of America is also embracing the patently bogus conspiracy.
Back in June, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins pointed to the marriage equality fight in Illinois to argue that marriage equality is not inevitable:
Today, Pew Research Center did its part to dispirit supporters of natural marriage by insisting that 72% of Americans believe same-sex “marriage” is inevitable (including 85% of same-sex “marriage” supporters and 59% of natural marriage proponents). Apparently, the folks at Pew didn’t survey anyone in Illinois. Advocates of same-sex “marriage” thought victory in the President’s home state was “inevitable” too — until the churches got involved.
The reality is, same-sex “marriage” is only as inevitable as we make it. If Christians play into the media’s hands and adopt this defeatist attitude, then the Left is right: It is helpless. But if believers rediscover the power of the truth, they can do more than stop the dissolution of marriage (like they did in Illinois), they can “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
Marriage equality may also soon arrive in Oregon and New Mexico (where it is already legal in some counties), which may disappoint Perkins as he tries to pretend anti-gay activists are somehow winning the fight on marriage rights.
The last time a Democrat was elected to statewide office in Texas, pagers were still cool.
The era of Ann Richards and beepers may be long gone now. But 20 years, and a generation of smart phones later, Democrats are plotting a resurgence.
And leading the charge are two women, Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, at the top of the Democratic ticket running for governor and lt. governor respectively.
Republicans, however, are fighting hard to keep alive the rotary phone days with a cast of ultra conservative white males seeking to defeat Davis and her running mate.
The likely GOP candidate for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott is as conservative as they come. A close friend to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Abbott too has made waves on the national stage. He has stood out in curtailing the voice of minority communities. Before the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Abbott was at the helm of defending Texas’ strict voter ID law.
And then there’s his fight against Texas’ Planned Parenthood clinics. In 2011 the state legislature banned Planned Parenthood’s participation in the state’s Women’s Health Program that serves low income women. When that ban went into effect a year later, a federal appeals court judge issued an emergency stay blocking the law. Abbott promptly appealed, successfully that time.
Last month, Abbott appealed another stay involving women’s reproductive health. After the Texas abortion ban went into effect a stay for some parts of the law was put in place but within 72 hours Abbott saw that the stay was lifted.
Abbott’s possible running mate is state Senator Dan Patrick, who kicked off his campaign with an ad touting how tough he would be on immigration. Shortly thereafter the rest of the GOP lt. governor hopefuls jumped on the anti-immigrant bandwagon so as to not be left behind.
The top of the Republican ticket will be one that not only seeks to maintain the status quo but one that is for aggressively tamping down attempts to challenge the status quo.
Texas today is a majority-minority state, with Hispanics making up around one-third of the state. But the Republican Party still thinks it is the last century, when non-Hispanic whites were the majority population. Or perhaps more troubling, the GOP recognizes that there has been a demographic change but they think they can keep that change from affecting political representation.
While the demographics of the state have shifted, the leadership has not. It’s an old conservative boy’s club over at the pink dome. But this old style has come into stark relief with next year’s gubernatorial election pitting the old against the new.
Davis, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and Van de Putte, by definition are not part of the old boy’s club. But more importantly, they represent the interests of those not in the old boy’s club – women, the poor, veterans, minorities, young folks, undocumented immigrants, etc.
State senator Davis’ abortion bill filibuster highlighted the growing voice of women. In Texas, men more than women believe that abortion should not always be legal and available.
I appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday to talk about the state of HealthCare.Gov. Before I came on, Mike Rogers, a Republican congressman from Michigan, delivered his take. Obamacare’s effects turned out to be more dire than I’d ever imagined.
"The next go-round on the business side is 80 to 100 million people will get cancellation notices," he said. Challenged by Democrat Chris Van Hollen, Rogers doubled down. "Eighty million people are going to get pink slips," he continued. "Their own estimate. Eighty million."
That’s more cancellation notices than the estimates I’ve seen by a factor of at least 10. I asked Rogers’s press secretary where the number came from. Turns out it’s not exactly the administration’s own estimates. It’s a Daily Callerinterviewwith Christopher Conover, a research scholar at Duke University and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
According to Conover, Rogers, if anything, understated his case: Conover says “at least” 129 million people will lose their coverage by the end of 2014.
How does Conover reach such a startling estimate? Byredefiningwhat it means to lose your coverage.
What Conover’s talking about here isn’t cancellation notices or pink slips, as Rogers says. It’s any change to a plan at all. One of the examples he gives is the requirement to cover children up to age 26. Though plans offered by large employers are exempt from most of Obamacare’s regulations, they have to abide by that one. And that regulation, popular as it is, costs money. So millions of employer plans expanded to cover older children and, in most cases, raised premiums slightly. According to Conover, all the people in those plans lost their plans because they “no longer have the health plans they used to have.”
This isn’t how most people define losing their plan. I have family members whose insurance expanded to cover their adult children. They didn’t call me complaining that they lost their plan. They called me ecstatic that their plan had improved.
Obama has taken deserved heat for downplaying the individual-market insurance cancellations that were a predictable and intended consequence of Obamacare. But Republicans are now wildly exaggerating the number of people who will lose their plans in order to spread fear and anxiety about Obamacare.
A federal judge should strike down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban because the precedent has been set by the U.S. Supreme Court and discrimination has gone on long enough, an attorney for three gay couples challenging the 2004 voter-passed law argued Wednesday.
During a nearly four-hour hearing in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, lawyer Peggy Tomsic contended marriage is a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution.
"This case embodies the civil rights movement of our time," Tomsic said. "This is the time and this is the place for this court to make it clear that the 14th Amendment is alive and well, even in Utah."
About 100 people packed the courtroom in the city that is home to the Mormon Church, known for its efforts in helping California pass its anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby heard arguments from both sides as he weighed what will be a precedent-setting decision that he hopes to make by early next year.
His ruling would be the first on a state same-sex marriage ban since the Supreme Court last summer struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which stipulated that marriage was between a man and woman.
Attorneys for the state asserted it is not the courts’ role to determine how a state defines marriage, and that the Supreme Court ruling doesn’t give same-sex couples the universal right to marry.
They also reinforced the state’s argument that Utah has a right to foster a culture of “responsible procreation,” and the “optimal mode of child-rearing,” which the state believes the law does.
Though more than 40 similar court challenges to same-sex marriage bans are pending in 22 states, Utah’s is among the most closely watched because of the state’s history of staunch opposition to gay marriage, said Jon Davidson, director of Lambda Legal, which pursues litigation on a wide range of LGBT issues across the country.
Utah is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which believes homosexuality is a sin. The state was among the first to pass a state amendment banning same-sex marriage, Davidson said.
"Utah has a particularly symbolic position in the history of the struggle of same sex couples to be able to marry," Davidson said.
Michigan lawmakers are currently deciding whether to advance a bill that would require women in the state to purchase a separate insurance policy for abortion coverage, even in cases of rape or incest. If it’s approved, Michigan would join a long list of other states that have attacked abortion access by preventing women from using their own insurance to pay for it.
The debate over the legislation has heated up this week, particularly since the measure would deny abortion coverage even to women who have become pregnant as a result of rape. Although the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that rape victims should have access to legal abortion services, lawmakers continue to propose policies that would have callous implications for individuals who have been sexually assaulted.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) vetoed the proposed insurance ban last year for exactly this reason — pointing out that it would require rape victims to pay for the total cost of their abortion procedure out-of-pocket, unless they had thought ahead and purchased a separate insurance rider for abortion services. “I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage,” Snyder noted when he rejected the bill last December.
But Michigan’s anti-choice community disagrees. Earlier this year, when advocating for the proposed legislation, a prominent anti-choice leader in Michigan suggested that rape is like a car accident and it’s appropriate to require women to buy “extra insurance” to prepare for it. After Snyder’s veto, abortion opponents decided to simply circumvent the governor and collect enough signatures to provoke a “citizen-initiated” vote on the measure. That petition was successful, and the measure headed to the legislature on Tuesday.
Lawmakers now have 40 days — not including the upcoming holiday break — to act on the measure. If they don’t take any action, the issue will be placed on the 2014 ballot for a statewide vote. If the legislature approves it, on the other hand, the bill will immediately become law — even without Snyder’s signature.
Leading Democrats in the legislature are blasting the proposed measure. “Forcing women to decide whether they want to buy ‘rape insurance’ and even compelling parents to make the unfathomable decision about whether to buy it for their daughters is truly despicable,” State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D) said in a press release on Monday. “Requiring Michigan women to plan ahead for an unplanned pregnancy is not only illogical, it’s one of the most misogynistic proposals I have ever seen in the Michigan Legislature.”
But abortion opponents aren’t giving up. Save the 1, a national anti-choice group that advocates for abortion restrictions without exceptions, organized a press conference at the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday to make the point that rape victims shouldn’t ever have the option of choosing abortion. A group of adults who were conceived as a result of rape argued that “no child deserves to be punished for the crimes of their father.”
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) said Wednesday that it is in the Middle Eastern culture to lie during negotiations.
"In the Middle Eastern culture, it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible no matter what it takes — and that includes lying," Hunter said in an interview with C-SPAN. “That’s one reason that these Gulf states like to work with the United States — because we’re honest and transparent and we have laws that we have to live by.”
The host then asked Hunter to clarify, “Are you saying all Middle East countries are this way? Willing to lie in negotiations?”
Hunter explained that Middle Eastern politicians negotiate the same way they would barter for goods.
"It is is in the Middle Eastern culture to get the best deal that you can whether you’re at the marketplace arguing over buying vegetables or buying shoes at the marketplace, to do anything that you can to get the best deal," he said. "They like to barter there."
The host then asked the representative, “Are you speaking from personal experience, talking about all Middle East countries?”
Hunter then said that it is not in the nature of all Middle Eastern countries.
"I would say not necessarily all Middle Eastern countries. I know that’s a big generalization," he said. "They do business different than we do business in the West."
In talking about the interim nuclear deal with Iran, Hunter said that the Iranian government is not a rational actor.
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer discussed a report that a few Christian colleges in the United States had built Muslim prayer rooms on campus. Fischer was, of course, predictably disturbed by the fact that these colleges were willingly building “idolatrous temples” through which people could worship “a counterfeit god.”
"These are basically idolatrous temples,"Fischer said. "You set up a prayer room for Muslims, they are praying to a counterfeit god, they are praying to a false god. It’s no different in the days of Judah and Israel when they set up temples to Baal and altars to Baal, it is exactly the same thing and we know exactly what God thought about all that."
Last night, Stan Solomon hosted Eagle Forum head Phyllis Schlafly to discuss his latest conspiracy theory that liberals intend to take kids away from conservatives and give them to gay people, some of whom will inevitably molest them.
Why haven’t you and I heard of this plot? Because the media is covering it up, of course!
Schlafly also criticized President Obama for “insulting” Americans when he “omitted” the word “God” from his recent recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Of course, her claim is completelyfalse: Obama was reading the first draft of the speech, which did not include a reference to God.
Solomon called Obama a “foulmouthed, homosexual, drug-using, ne’er-do-well,” while Schlafly suggested that he only became president because “he had people behind him pushing him all the way.” “I really don’t think he’s very smart,” she said. “He can only say what somebody puts on the teleprompter for him.”
From the 12.03.2013 edition of CPNLive’s Talk To Solomon:
MSNBC host Martin Bashir has resigned from the network following controversial comments about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Mediate reported Wednesday:
After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday.
Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.
I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.’
During a segment discussing Palin’s comparison of the national debt to slavery last month, Bashir suggested the governor be subjected to certain disciplinary tactics used by a slave owner.
I bet Joy Reid (or a promotion for Karen Finney) may be the replacement for Martin Bashir.
Pamela Geller is telling her fellow anti-Muslim activists to convince Congress to reject a resolution “urging the Government of Burma to end the persecution of the Rohingya people and respect internationally recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma.”
The Rohingya minority have faced vicious persecution in Burma, but Geller accuses them of “waging jihad in Burma.”
She claims that the Rohingya are to blame for the atrocities against them because of a bombing at a Buddhist shrine in India by the Islamic extremist Indian Mujahideen, and is demanding activists stop the resolution from turning into a “battering ram to impose Islam on small, defenseless countries.”
Please have yourself some shut the fucupcakes (shut the fuck up), Pamela Geller!
This coming Friday, CNN will once again turn over its airwaves to everyone’s favorite caliphate-spotting, end-times-prophesying, gold-hucksteringbad novelist: Glenn Beck. He will be the special guest for the entirety of the December 6 edition of Piers Morgan Live, which will be guest-hosted by S.E. Cupp, the co-host of CNN’s Crossfire who pulls double duty as a contributor to Beck’s news venture, The Blaze. Beck’s return to CNN (he decamped from the network in 2008, describing the newsroom environment as a “pit of despair”) will “likely” feature, according to The Blaze, a discussion of “Beck’s latest book, ‘Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America,’ the creation of TheBlaze and current events.”
So CNN will have a conservative pundit interview her own boss about his various business ventures for an entire hour, which should allow plenty of time for all the various conflicts of interest this presents to come to the fore.
But if CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is to be believed, this is the sort of programming we should come to expect from CNN going forward. “We’re all regurgitating the same information. I want people to say, ‘You know what? That was interesting. I hadn’t thought of that,’” Zucker told Capital New York during a recent interview. “The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts.”
If you’re looking to send a message that you’re prioritizing “attitude” (Zucker’s word) and showmanship over actual useful information, an hour-long primetime interview with Glenn Beck is an excellent way to do that.
Jeff Zucker, you have found a way to ruin CNN (and HLN, where Beck once was on the air) even further.
One thing that you realize after studying David Barton for any bit of time is that one key to his success is the fact that his audiences blindly accept everything he says without question, never bothering to actually verify anything he says.
And Barton is fully aware of this, which is why he has no qualms about lying to them time and again about things that a simple five minute Google search would prove to be false.
For example, Barton recently sat down for a series of programs on “The Gospel Truth” with Andrew Wommack where he falsely declared that President Obama does not mention “God” in his Thanksgiving proclamations.
Barton: One of the unfortunate things, this is in the past several years, the Thanksgiving message out of the White House no longer even mentions God. When we give thanks, God’s not part of that.
Wommack: Part of that’s because of who is in the White House.
Barton: That’s a real problem. You check Thanksgiving proclamations of this president with the previous ones and it’s not the same.
As usual, some basic research proves this claim to be utterly false (emphasis added).
According to a release distributed by Change.org, Rep. Karen Clark, D-Minneapolis, plans to introduce a bill during the upcoming legislative session that would make Minnesota the third state (following New Jersey and California) to ban the type of therapy Marcus Bachmann made famous — ex-gay therapy.
It’s likely a companion bill would be pushed in the Senate by openly gay Sen. Scott Dibble, D-Minneapolis, who earlier this year told City Pages, “These therapies are premised on a falsehood… We all know that you can’t change people.”
Clark’s bill was drafted with the help of Alec Fischer, a young Minneapolis resident who authored a Change.org petition calling on legislators to “protect children from dangerous anti-gay conversion therapy.” His petition has been signed by more than 75,000 people as of this morning.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a Scottsdale, AZ-based legal group committed to rolling back the rights of women and LGBT people on the grounds of “religious liberty.” The organization has played a leading role in combatting marriage equality and non-discrimination policies in the U.S. while working internationally to criminalize homosexuality. Despite its rabid anti-LGBT extremism, ADF receives reliably friendly treatment from Fox News.
Established as the Alliance Defense Fund in 1994, ADF’s founders include such religious right leaders as Focus on the Family’s James C. Dobson and Campus Crusade for Christ’s Bill Bright. According to ADF’s website, the organization changed its name to Alliance Defending Freedom in 2012 to highlight its “enduring mission to gain justice for those whose faith has been unconstitutionally denied in the areas of religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”
Headed by President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears, staffed by more than 40 attorneys, and boasting an annual budget in excess of $30 million, ADF bills itself as “a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system.” As part of its effort to remake the American legal system along quasi-theocratic lines, ADF has:
Partnered with more than 300 like-minded institutions, including the Federalist Society, the Home School Legal Defense Association, the rabidly anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute, the Thomas More Law Center, anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council, the Heritage Foundation, and the now-defunct “ex-gay” organization Exodus International.
Filed a brief supporting statutory bans on gay sex in Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 case in which the Supreme Court ultimately found state anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional.
Opposed anti-bullying efforts in public schools, calling for exceptions for speech or actions based on religious views and decrying “tolerance training” and “special protection” for LGBT students.
Created its own "Day of Truth" to combat the Day of Silence, which commemorates LGBT victims of bullying, harassment, and violence.
Crusaded against a gay-inclusive Boy Scouts of America, calling the BSA’s decision to allow gay scouts an assault on “freedom” and working with churches that sponsor scout troops to work around the new membership policy.
Offered free representation to Iowa county recorders who refused to provide same-sex couples with marriage licenses.
Dispatched chief counsel Benjamin Bull to Russia to meet with Yelena Mizulina, the legislative leader of that country’s crackdown on LGBT people.
Represented 18 plaintiffs challenging the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that for-profit employers cover contraception at no additional cost to employees.
ADF’s relentless legal campaign against LGBT equality led the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to describe the organization as "virulently anti-gay." SPLC proved instrumental in exposing an aspect of ADF’s work that the organization chooses not to tout on its website - its international work to criminalize homosexuality.
Drafted in accordance with other 19th-century British colonial laws, Section 53 of Belize’s criminal code bans “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal.” Violation of the code is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In May 2013, gay rights activist Caleb Orozco launched a legal challenge to Section 53, enduring homophobic death threats as a result.
Section 53 is no mere anachronism in Belize. The SPLC highlighted a March report by the Heartland Alliance, which documented Belize’s climate of anti-LGBT violence and discrimination, stoked by laws like Section 53. The Heartland Alliance cited the brutal murder of an openly gay doctor and the slaying of a lawmaker’s gay brother, in addition to anti-LGBT harassment by law enforcement officers in the country. Media have further fanned homophobic sentiment in the country, particularly in light of the Section 53 challenge. Amandala - Belize’s top newspaper - has compared homosexuality to pedophilia, while online comment sections on the case are rife with anti-gay vitriol.
SPLC reported in July that ADF has rushed to the defense of Section 53, offering legal help to the right-wing group Belize Action. As SPLC notes, ADF has touted Belize Action’s defense of Section 53 without mentioning that it has supplied lawyers in the case.
Wholly unbothered by ADF’s anti-LGBT extremism, Fox News has repeatedly sought to elevate the organization to a position of respectability. Fox personalities have hosted ADF attorneys for softball interviews and openly celebrated the organization’s work - even going so far as to solicit donations for the organization.
Fox reporter Shannon Bream - among the network’s most consistent purveyors of the Christian persecution narrative so beloved by ADF - has made a name for herself as an cheerleader for anti-LGBT discrimination. On August 23, Bream conducted a one-sided interview with ADF senior counsel Jordan Lorence, who unsuccessfully defended a New Mexico photographer who refused to serve a same-sex couple. Pronouncing herself “confused” by a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling against the photographer, Bream - a trained attorney - suggested that businesses should be able to discriminate against gay customers.
After the photographer appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Fox host Megyn Kelly invited Lorence onto her show, The Kelly File. Kelly - also an attorney - stoked fears about the case, asking Lorence whether a loss for his client could lead to “a lawsuit by a gay couple that won’t, you know, see a wedding service performed in a Catholic Church.”
ADF’s work on the New Mexico case so inspired Fox contributor Erick Erickson that he wrote a post on his RedState.com blog begging readers to send money to the organization, saying that he had already done so himself. Casting ADF as “lone and brave warriors” in a battle against the irredeemably evil left, Erickson wrote: “Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, then seeks to silence good. We must fund the fight for Truth and Light.”
While it’s hard to top Erickson’s enthusiasm for ADF, Fox host Bill O’Reilly came pretty close on the December 2 edition of The O’Reilly Factor. Hyping his annually-manufactured “War on Christmas” meme, O’Reilly showered ADF with praise for its efforts to fight “Happy Holidays syndrome.”
Throughout the 1980s, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — now infamous for its work on behalf of “stand your ground” laws and restrictions on voting rights — was instrumental in pushing anti-gay policies throughout the country, according to documents recently uncovered by People For the American Way and the Center For Media and Democracy.
A 1985 policy memo entitled “Homosexuals: Just Another Minority Group” [PDF] sums up ALEC’s anti-gay policy positions and the false claims and outrageous stereotypes on which they were based. ALEC disseminated the memo to its public sector members, arguing that the “homosexual movement has had an impact too great and far reaching for Americans to ignore.”
Through the policy memo and its monthly newsletters, ALEC tracked local, state and federal legislation and provided its members with “research” to help them prevent advances in gay rights. However ALEC of course did not view these rights as rights; instead, ALEC asserted that the gay community was organizing “to achieve the privileges it thinks it deserves.”
So what “privileges” exactly were gay people demanding that infuriated ALEC so much? To name a few, the “privilege” to not be physically assaulted for being gay; the “privilege” of not being incarcerated for being gay; the “privilege” of not being barred from employment opportunities, housing and public accommodations for being gay; the “privilege” to dress as they liked; or the “privilege” of not being compiled into state directories to be blacklisted and discriminated against.
In order to counter the gay rights movement, ALEC argued in “Homosexuals: Just Another Minority Group,” one had to understand first that gay people were corrupted beings, since “the homosexual makes the conscious choice to pursue members of his or her own sex.” The answer therefore did not lie with treating gay people fairly, but instead with providing them psychotherapy or by having them join the Christian faith. “The evidence is too great to deny it,” the memo stated.
ALEC classified all gay people into six categories: “the blatant, the secret lifer, the desperate, the adjusted, the bisexual and the situational.” The “blatant” gay person was “obvious and ‘limp-wristed’”; the “adjusted” would “try to conduct a ‘conventional’ gay marriage”; and so on. Yet no matter what category a gay person fell into, ALEC argued, the most dominant practice within “the homosexual world is pedophilia, the fetish for young children.” This tendency, the group claimed, was the product of the fact that “the homosexual cannot reproduce themselves biologically, so they must recruit the young.”
ALEC lamented that the federal government funded AIDS research and allocated tax money to counter the AIDS epidemic. The group discouraged states from passing anti-discrimination laws because, according to one ALEC newsletter from April 1984, such legislation “might jeopardize public health in restaurants, dental offices, and other areas because of the communicable disease AIDS.” ALEC claimed that under the Carter administration, in addition to funding AIDS research, “the federal government had been active in directly funding the homosexual movement” by approving federal grants to organizations that served gay communities.
When lawmakers led efforts against gay rights legislation, ALEC celebrated their acts in newsletters. For vetoing a gay rights bill, California Governor George Deukmejian was deemed “a political leader with courage.” Likewise, the group lauded ALEC State Senator H.L. Richardson for claiming the bill “would take away the liberty of an employer to refuse to hire homosexuals, even if the employer strongly believes that homosexuality is an abomination.”
Today, decades later, ALEC has stopped referring to homosexuality as “an abomination” in its literature, yet the organization continues to push legislation and policy ideas founded on the notion of exclusion – policies that protect the “liberties” of corporations rather than those of individual Americans.
The organization is currently in Washington, DC for its 2013 States & Nation Policy Summit. A protest against ALEC will be held tomorrow, Thursday December 5th, at Franklin Square (13th and I St NW) at 11:30 AM.
Pension reform might happen in Illinois after all. After years of posturing, inertia and debate, the Illinois House and Senate each passed a controversial reform bill in a lightning fast one-two punch Tuesday afternoon. Now it’s headed to Gov. Quinn, who’s expected to sign the bill.
Adding to the drama, the two votes came just moments apart, capping hours of debate.
The votes topped one of the most dramatic Springfield showdowns in memory, a day when the power of Gov. Pat Quinn and the legislative leaders is put to the test as they try to muscle through a complex and controversial fix to Illinois’ $100 billion pension crisis.
With the Statehouse shrouded in fog, the day began with three of the four legislative leaders appearing jointly before a bipartisan, House-Senate panel that late Monday signed off on a 327-page bill bitterly opposed by a coalition of the state’s most powerful labor organizations.=
The complex and controversial fix to Illinois pension crisis passed in the Illinois Senate on a 30-24 vote. The House passed the measure on a vote of 62-53.
Now the measure heads to the governor’s desk for final approval.
During debate before the senate vote, Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago) blasted the bill as “morally wrong, morally corrupt.”
He also said the bill will “punish retired teachers, the janitor, the woman who serves lunch to your child in school.”
Before the vote, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, spoke from the floor saying “We all know something’s gotta be done….We can’t go on dedicating so much of our resources to this one sector of pensions.”
The Senate was poised to follow suit later in the day in order to get the legislation to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk.
The legislation agreed to by Quinn and the legislative leaders, including Madigan, state Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, state Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, would curtail annual, compounding 3 percent cost-of-living increases received by retired state workers, Downstate and suburban teachers and university employees, slowing the growth of their future annuities.
The deal — expected to save $160 billion over 30 years and reduce annual pension payments by as much as $1.5 billion — also would hike retirement ages for younger workers and force some of them to go as many as five years without a post-retirement increase in their pensions.
The “reason we’re here today … is because the Illinois pension systems are just too rich to be afforded as the state goes forward,” Madigan said earlier in the day.
In return, existing government employees would have less withdrawn from their paychecks to cover pension premiums, and four of the five state retirement systems covered under the 327-page bill would get new powers to sue the state if it ever skipped or shorted making annual pension payments.
Opponents, including powerful labor organizations, have argued that the bill tries to fix the system on the backs of state workers.
Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery called the plan “theft” and “blatantly unconstitutional.”
“It only makes one thing certain: that we’ll be back here again after we see the bill struck down by the courts,” he said.
The legislators’ votes Tuesday will carry enormous implications as Illinois heads into the 2014 campaign season.
Democrats, particularly Quinn, are banking on passage of the pension legislation to feed a narrative that they hope to sell to voters that the party has been able to tackle the state’s most serious problems, even if it meant alienating one of its most enduring and powerful allies: organized labor.
Right now in Maine, you have to be 16 to work. LePage wants to lower that to 12 because “12-year-old children should not be restricted from working and learning life skills.”
I think the key words here is “children.”
At 12 years old getting through the day without springing a leak of hormones is work enough. You can’t drive at 12 years old so that means walking to work. In Maine. Where I hear it snows. And there’s more uphills than downhills.
While making for great stories to your grandchildren, I’m not sure being exploited as cheap labor is a “lifeskill.”
Republicans are determined to undo every labor reform we’ve had in this country since sweatshops burned to the ground. And trust me, they don’t mean having their own kids work. They mean your kids.
Hey, LePage, you know what they call a 12 year old forced into the workplace to take a job from an adult worker who needs a job? Two Democrats in training, my friend, that’s what you call them.
One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, is furious that Macy’s included a performance by the award-winning musical “Kinky Boots” in its Thanksgiving Day Parade. The anti-LGBT group is urging its members to tell Macy’s that the company’s “blatant agenda and in-your-face message was quite offensive” and “it is clear that Macy’s does not have my children’s best interest in mind.”
As a parent and a member of OneMillionMoms.com, I am greatly disappointed in your company’s choice to include the “Raise You Up” drag performance during your Thanksgiving Day Parade with millions of children present and watching from home. It is inappropriate to highlight cross-dressing in a sexually charged performance during a traditional family activity. Your blatant agenda and in-your-face message was quite offensive, and Macy’s cannot be trusted. Shame on Macy’s for promoting this behavior. It is clear that Macy’s does not have my children’s best interest in mind. I can no longer trust Macy’s Dept. Store. Your company needs to know that trust must be earned and once trust is lost it is difficult to get back.
“This is the straw that broke the camel’s back” the group said in a statement today, adding that it was especially offended by “Kinky Boots” lyrics such as “learn something new,” “you’re beautiful; it’s beautiful,” and “accept yourself and you’ll accept others too.”
Note to OMM: There is NOTHING offensive about Kinky Boots on Broadway performing at the Macy’s Parade; however, homophobic and transphobic bigotry from fake “Christians” like you and your ilk are highly offensive.