People For the American Way


JUNE 2010

In This Issue


SPOTLIGHT: PFAW Poll Shows Americans Want Action to Correct Citizens United

Texas Textbooks: What Happened, What it Means, and What We Can Do About It

Right Wing Playbook on the Kagan Confirmation Hearings

The Corporate Court at Work

House Passes the DISCLOSE Act

YEO National Convening 2010 -- A Smashing Success!

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PFAW Poll Shows Americans Want Action to Correct Citizens United


Results of a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates for People For the American Way revealed that Americans across the political spectrum are intensely concerned about corporate influence in our democracy and disagree with the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

In addition, more than three-quarters of voters said that they support a Constitutional Amendment if one is necessary to limit the amount that corporations can spend in elections. A similar majority are inclined to support a candidate who has spoken out in favor of an amendment. The support cuts across party and ideology, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents in support of the measure.

Read More >


The Right that will stop at nothing to take back Congress and derail any hopes of achieving the progressive reforms America so desperately needs. With some of the most radical Tea Party extremists the Right could muster running for both federal and state office, we need you more than ever to support our work by renewing your 2010 membership with a donation today.

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Texas Textbooks: What Happened, What it Means, and What We Can Do About It

Texas Textbooks In focus

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People For the American Way Foundation is pleased to share with you a report titled, Texas Textbooks: What happened, what it means, and what we can do about it.

Religious Right leaders in Texas have been waging war against science and history for the past few decades. A primary target and battleground has been the state's public schools, in particular the statewide approval process for textbooks. People For the American Way Foundation first started working with Texans to resist Religious Right takeovers of textbooks back in the 1980s.

Read the Report >


This month, People For the American Way Foundation, CREDO, and Brave New Foundation delivered over 131,000 petition signatures to the offices of McGraw-Hill in New York City, urging the publisher to reject Texas' right-wing curriculum standards and publish textbooks free of political ideology or bias.

Delivering the petitions, the organizations were joined by tenants of Kittay House, Jewish Home Lifecare's independent senior-living apartment residence in the Bronx. Signatures from ninety-one Kittay seniors were among those delivered.

Read More >



Right Wing Playbook on the Kagan Confirmation Hearings

Right Wing Strategy on Kagan Hearing

Earlier this month, People For the American Way released a report: Previewing the Right Wing Playbook on the Kagan Confirmation Hearing.

Right-wing activists and GOP senators signaled early on their strategies to play election year politics with the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

We've seen our predictions play out as the Right has embraced the four primary strategies we exposed in the report:

  • Peddle the narrative, "Obama is radical so Kagan is radical so Obama is radical."
  • Recycle gross distortions on "empathy" to attack "understanding."
  • Lie big and lie often.
  • Use the confirmation hearings to court anti-government Tea Party voters.

Read the Report >


This month, People For the American Way released a suggested list of 20 serious and substantive questions for members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Solicitor General Elena Kagan in the hearings on her Supreme Court nomination.

Read More >



The Corporate Court at Work


The end of June saw some very important Supreme Court decisions which provide further evidence of the Roberts Court's strong bias in favor of corporations as well as a willingness to put right-wing politics and ideology ahead of constitutional values and the rights and wellbeing of people. Not surprisingly, many of these decisions were 5-4, as was the decision in one case in which Justice Kennedy sided with the five-justice majority against the Court's ultraconservative bloc to repudiate unconstitutional discrimination.

Read More >



House Passes the DISCLOSE Act


The House passed a version of the DISCLOSE Act, the first legislative "fix" to the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, said:

The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United overturned a century of established law in order to give big corporations unprecedented influence in our electoral process. We appreciate the work that members of Congress have done to try to dampen the effects of this disastrous decision and restore some transparency and accountability to our elections.

As important as this measure is, in the long run the way to truly fix the damage done by Citizens United is to pass a Constitutional Amendment to restore our government to the people."

Read Our Press Statement >



YEO National Convening 2010 -- A Smashing Success!

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The YEO Network's 5th Anniversary National Convening was held in Washington, DC from May 13-16, 2010. The biggest and most exciting National Convening to date, the weekend was filled with great events and interesting sessions.

Read More >

Young Elected Officials Network is a program of People For the American Way Foundation.





Citizens United panel at America's Future Now! Conference

AFN Video

At June's America's Future Now! Conference, People For's Marge Baker participated in a panel called "Changing Citizens United and Fixing the Supreme Court." The panelists explained the negative impact of the Roberts Court's corporate bias, the Citizens United decision, and the influence of big businesses on our elections.

Watch >





A New Debate on the Court and the Constitution


For the last 25 years, Americans have been given a Hobson's choice when it comes to the Supreme Court, a choice that has served the right wing exceedingly well. But thanks to the Court's recent string of pro-corporate decisions, culminating in the infamous Citizens United v. FEC, progressives have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take back the debate on the Supreme Court.

Read More >


Kagan Hearing: A Break from Umpire Analogies?


Well, this is a nice change. In her first few minutes of testimony, responding to questions from Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan spoke about the Constitution as an enduring document that can be amended and interpreted in a changing world.

PFAW's Blog Coverage of the Elena Kagan Confirmation Hearings >


Sessions: Citizens United was just like Brown v. Board!


You do have to feel for the big corporations who were being discriminated against before the Supreme Court decided they could spend unlimited amounts of money in elections, right? Jeff Sessions, for one, is standing up for corporate underdogs who have fallen victim to moral injustice.

Read More >


Right Wing Watch: Palin's Newest Endorsement: Star Parker


Last month we noted that Star Parker had announced that she was running for Congress. A longtime right-wing activist, Parker was a regular participant at events like the Values Voter Debate and the annual FRC Values Voter Summit.

Read More and See Parker in Action >


The New Originalism Debate -- An Early Roundup of Good Reads


Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter delivered a call to arms against the misguided theory of "constitutional originalism" that has dominated recent debates on the Supreme Court. "The Constitution is no simple contract," Souter said, "Not because it uses a certain amount of open-ended language that a contract draftsman would try to avoid, but because its language grants and guarantees many good things, and good things that compete with each other and can never all be realized, all together, all at once."

Read More >


Right Wing Watch: Fischer: God Is Cursing Us With Bear Attacks For Failing To Follow The Bible


Researchers at Yellowstone National Park trapped a Grizzly Bear, tranquilized it and fitted it with a radio collar. Shortly after the bear awoke, it attacked and killed a man who had apparently "ignored warning signs posted advising hikers to avoid the area because of the likelihood of a dangerous bear encounter."

So you know that means -- Bryan Fischer is back with a new post about how this tragic death is proof that God is cursing us for failing to abide by his Biblical rules.

Read More >


Chamber of Commerce Wages "Unprecedented" Campaign Against Lead Paint Lawyer


We've been covering the Chamber of Commerce's campaign to prevent the confirmation of attorney John McConnell to be a Rhode Island district court judge, because of his work as a personal injury lawyer to hold corporations accountable for damage caused by their products.

Read More >


Palin takes her cartoonish extremism to the next level, endorses comparison of Obama to Hitler


Sarah Palin followed in the footsteps of Glenn Beck and started echoing hysterical right-wing cries of "Obama=Hitler!" She tweeted an endorsement of a recent article by Thomas Sowell, which has been making the rounds in right-wing circles, that compares the Obama administration to Hitler's Nazis via the $20 billion fund provided by BP to compensate victims of the Gulf oil spill. Apparently Palin agrees with Sowell that Obama's decision to accept money offered by BP is exactly the same as Hitler forcibly seizing private assets from German companies.

Read More >


Right Wing Watch: Generals International on Israel, The Oil Spill, And Demonic Vortexes


Cindy and Mike Jacobs of Generals International hosted a special webcast with Chuck Pierce on their website that focused primarily on explaining how the BP oil spill in the Gulf is due to President Obama's poor treatment of Israel.

Jacobs explained that years ago Bob Jones prophesied that following the death of Oral Roberts, the Gulf Coast would be hit with an oil spill and two hurricanes. Apparently that prophecy is now coming true and it is because God is angry with Obama's attitude toward Israel.

Read More >


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