More and More Leaders Support Constitutional Amendment to Fix Citizens United Decision
Most Americans think corporations have too much influence in the political process. But the Supreme Court put up the ultimate roadblock to taking corporate money out of politics with its 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Since we launched our campaign to amend the Constitution to fix that disastrous decision, members of Congress have been joining our call as well as candidates for office like Ted Deutch, running to replace retiring Congressman Robert Wexler in Florida's 19th District, and Rep. Paul Hodes, who is running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.
If you have not yet joined PFAW's petition urging Congress to begin the process of amending the Constitution, please do so now.
This month, Congress passed historic health care reform legislation, extending coverage to over 30 million Americans and fulfilling a major promise made by President Obama on the campaign trail.
The debate over health care reform served as stark illustration of the GOP's willingness to sink to virtually any depth in order to obstruct this President's agenda. From dangerously irresponsible racial rhetoric to tactics borrowed from Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Right's campaign against health care reform put on display a disturbing willingness to appeal to fear and bigotry for short term political gain.
But the victory on health care affirmed that progress will not be stopped, even in the face of the most intense right-wing, reactionary opposition.
No other organization has PFAW's know-how and credibility when it comes to exposing -- and defeating -- the kind of zealots who want to hold our country back.
We're ramping up our efforts in this critical election year... the Radical Right has never been more radical... and the threat posed by it has never been greater. 2010 is a year that we need you with us.
GOP Obstruction of Executive Branch Nominees
In the Obama presidency, there has been an increase of more than 2000% in the rate of forced cloture votes on nominations -- with nine cloture votes on nominations in only 13 months, compared to a total of 24 over the previous 60 years. Republicans are on pace to force 29 cloture votes by the end of Obama's first term. This is indicative of the unprecedented Republican obstruction which has held up judicial confirmations and legislation as well.
No one nominee represents the face of GOP obstruction more than Dawn Johnsen, nominated to head the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel. PFAW has fought for her confirmation for over a year, but she has been a favorite punching bag of the Far Right because of her outspoken criticism of the Bush administration's legal policies and her past advocacy on behalf of reproductive health and freedom. Her credentials and qualifications for this job are second to none and she enjoys broad-based support from people whose endorsements should matter.
This month, Republican Senator Jim Bunning (KY) made headlines with his filibuster of a health benefit extension to the unemployed. Hundreds of thousands of Americans began to lose critical health coverage and thousands of government employees were furloughed from their jobs -- all because Bunning simply objected to proceeding with a vote on the bill.
It was a ridiculous and petty power play with dire consequences for Americans.
But Bunning, having decided not to seek reelection, is just a convenient shill for what has been the Republican strategy since President Obama took office: block all important legislation and well-qualified nominees to score political points against the Democrats, regardless of how many Americans it hurts.
McCarthyism 2.0: Has Liz Cheney No Sense of Decency?
Progressives and conservatives alike this month slammed one of the most blatantly McCarthyist attacks yet. People For the American Way released a report several months ago on the rise of what we called the New McCarthyism. Clearly, that trend is growing.
An attack ad by Liz Cheney, archconservative daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Bill Kristol, Head Cheerleader for the Iraq War, brands Eric Holder's DOJ the "Department of Jihad" for employing nine lawyers who represented detainees and asks of these lawyers: "whose values do they share?" The ad, produced by Cheney and Kristol's new Swift Boat-style front group, "Keep America Safe," labels seven then-unidentified DOJ lawyers "The Al Qaeda 7."
We'd like to share some commentary from members of PFAW Foundation's Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, a network of progressive leaders under the age of 35 who share a passion for building communities that reflect the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity.
By County Legislator Nathan Shinagawa (Ithaca, New York)
The Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network is a program of People For the American Way Foundation.
PFAW Report Exposes Right Wing Playbook Against Immigration Reform
This month's report "(P)reviewing the Right Wing Playbook on Immigration" is the latest in People For's "Right Wing Watch: In Focus" series and adds to research already published on PFAW's RightWingWatch.org. We already saw how the vicious rhetoric in previous debates on immigration reform was accompanied by a rise in anti-Latino hate crimes. Now, opponents of comprehensive reform will exploit economic woes as an addition to their strategies.
Drawing on years of expertise on the Right, the report lays out nine strategies the Right will use to attack the progress of any common-sense immigration reform and provides tools for fighting back against these dishonest attacks.
In a hearing this month entitled "We the People? Corporate Spending in American Elections after Citizens United," the Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the impact of the Citizens United v. FEC decision and possible steps to repair the damage. In addition to touching on legislative fixes, the question of a Constitutional Amendment came up, posed by Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland.
Time for the GOP to Own up to Inciting the Tea Partiers
Tea Party activists, ginned up on Republican rhetoric about tyranny, socialism, and death panels, have been lashing out directly at Democrats across the country. On Capitol Hill, members of Congress faced slurs and one was even spat on. Around the country, death threats have poured in along with numerous reports of vandalism.
Given all that has happened over the past week, it's incredible that some Republicans are trying to blame the victim. For instance, NRCC spokesman Andy Sere accused Rep. Tom Perriello of using a potentially life-threatening act of vandalism as a 'cynical ploy to distract Virginians.'
GOP Adopts Sophisticated "Take My Toys and Go Home" Strategy
In case you missed it, the GOP is not pleased about the passage of health care reform, and after careful consideration they've decided that the best strategy going forward is to stomp their feet harder and scream louder.
Right Wing Watch: The NRCC Goes Where Even Ken Cuccinelli Will Not
The Roanoke Times contained this rather stunning reaction from the NRCC to the serious threats made against Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello:
While his organization doesn't condone such behavior, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere said Perriello is not the victim.
"Central and Southside Virginians are the ones who are going to have the bear the burden of increased taxes," he said. "What you're seeing is a frustration among his constituents who believe he's not listening to them."
But we're not talking about folks letting off steam, we're talking about life and death...
The First Corporate Ad -- An Avalanche Begins with One Flake
An ad purchased by KDR Development Inc, in Texas may not look like much, but it's a sign of much greater -- and troubling -- things to come. It appears to be the very first political ad purchased with corporate money, all thanks to the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United.
Right Wing Watch: Christian Coalition: Bart Stupak Is a Traitor Just Like Benedict Arnold and Julius & Ethel Rosenberg
It seems that the passage of health care reform legislation has awakened the fury in the Christian Coalition.
Earlier this week, they compared its passage to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 and now they are back labeling Rep. Bart Stupak a traitor on par with Benedict Arnold, Julius & Ethel Rosenberg ... and Jane Fonda...
Former DOJ Official Discusses Impact of GOP Obstruction
On Tuesday, former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden spoke publicly for the first time since leaving the Justice Department.
Among other pressing issues, Ogden addressed the ongoing obstruction of key Obama nominees to the department, including Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel and Chris Schroeder to head the Office of Legal Policy.
In Ogden's words, "it causes problems for the department not to have key" positions filled.
Right Wing Watch: Porter: Only The May Day Prayer Rally Can Wash The Blood From America's Hands
Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter outdoes herself with her latest WorldNetDaily column, explaining that America needs her May Day prayer rally now more than ever as the nation has fallen under control of "national socialists" who have placed us on the verge of a full-blown "communist dictatorship," while she declares that anyone who voted to elected the Democrats must live with the blood on their hands...
LA Times: Corporate Money Pours into Chamber of Commerce to Sway Elections Thanks to Supreme Court
Investigative reporter Tom Hamburger had an excellent article in the Los Angeles Times on the tens of millions of dollars pouring into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to defeat candidates who stand in the way of Big Business.
As Hamburger reports, the Chamber spent $144 million last year on advocacy and plans to spend substantially more this year. And those dollars will have more impact than ever thanks to the Supreme Court, which recently ruled 5-4 that giant corporations can directly oppose or support candidates for public office.