People For the American Way



In This Issue


SPOTLIGHT: Combating the New Rise of McCarthyism

Hate Crimes Prevention Act Signed Into Law

GOP Obstruction of Executive Branch Nominees

Announcing YP4's New Director and More

Full Equality: Real Momentum?

Congressional Interns the Target of McCarthyist Witch Hunt ... For Being Muslim

--Featured Video


The Equine Posterior Achievement Award




September's winner:
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)

Rep. Franks got 1st place but Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) was nipping at his heels in a very close 2nd.

Franks, speaking the Radical Right 'How to Take Back America Conference', declared President Obama "an enemy of humanity."

Wilson, of course, was the House member who shouted out, "You lie!" at the President during his health care address to Congress.

The Awards Committee is taking a break but will be back next month with more instances of lunacy and wackiness worthy of the Equine Posterior Achievement Award.




This Tuesday, critical elections will take place in three states.

In Virginia, Far Right Republican candidates threaten to take control of the state government if progressives don't turn out to the polls in force.

In Washington, the state's domestic partnership law is being challenged by a ballot initiative.

And in Maine, the recently passed law providing for full marriage equality same-sex couples is under attack by the Religious Right, which is pouring vast resources into turning back equality.

If you live in, or know people in, any one of these states, do what you can to help get out the vote. Maine is perhaps the race the most national significance and it is incredibly close, so if you would like to volunteer to phone bank right from you are, travel to Maine to help in the final days or contribute money, you can visit the No On 1 Campaign online.

  NO ON 1  



Combating the New Rise of McCarthyism


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We are seeing one witch hunt after another led by right-wing opinion leaders, media outlets, organizations and even members of Congress. They pursue personal smear campaigns, grasping at straws to create "guilt by association" and challenge the legitimacy, allegiances and patriotism of their opponents.

This dangerous and growing trend has already claimed victims and we are seeing more examples everyday. The Right is intent on destroying the Obama presidency while at the same time demonizing progressives and our values and using fear and intimidation to divide America. A major focus of People For the American Way's work over the next months, and if need be, years, will be on exposing this insidious threat and turning back the tide of what is very clearly modern-day McCarthyism.

Read More >


Please renew your support of People For the American Way with a donation today and we will put it to use immediately to expose the resurgent Radical Right and fight back the rising tide of modern-day McCarthyism.

This is a task that gets bigger every day, and we need the full support of all of our members.





Hate Crimes Prevention Act Signed Into Law

Hate Crimes Signing
President Obama with the mother of Matthew Shepard, Judy Shepard, and the sisters of James Byrd, Jr., Louvon Harris and Betty Byrd Boatner. Shepard and Byrd both lost their lives as victims of violent hate crimes.

This week, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The legislation will extend important protections to victims of violent hate crimes committed based on a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and/or disability. It also strengthens existing hate crimes protections for a variety of other categories, including race, color, religion, national origin and ethnicity. People For the American Way and many others have fought hard for years to see this important legislation finally become law.

Read More >


GOP Obstruction of Executive Branch Nominees


Despite the fact that Democrats hold a substantial majority in the chamber, Republican senators are blocking President Obama's Executive Branch nominees at a rate never before seen, according to a review of records by People For the American Way.

From 1949 (when Senate rules were changed to provide for cloture on nominations) through 2008, cloture votes have been forced on only 24 executive branch nominations. However, in just the first nine months of the Obama administration, there have been five such cloture votes: Cass Sunstein (OMB), Robert Groves (Census), Harold Koh (State Department), Chris Hill (Ambassador to Iraq), and David Hayes (Interior).

That's an increase of more than 1500% in the rate of forced cloture votes on nominations!

Read More >


Announcing YP4's New Director and More

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Young People For is happy to welcome its new Director, Rebecca Thompson. Rebecca brings with her a wealth of experience as well as a strong commitment to progressive values and a passion for developing young leaders.

Read more about what's going on at Young People For >

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


Full Equality: Real Momentum?


Earlier this month, tens of thousands marched on Washington in support of full legal equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans. President Obama spoke at a dinner the night before where he:

  • promised that hate crimes legislation passing the Senate was imminent and that he would sign it (which he has since done),
  • promised that the destructive "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that costs patriotic LGBT servicemen and women their careers and hurts our national security would be ended, and
  • promised that he would work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

We commend the president for addressing these important issues, and the victory on hate crimes gives us cause for celebration and optimism, but some things were missing.

Read More >


Congressional Interns the Target of McCarthyist Witch Hunt ... For Being Muslim


Earlier this month, four Congressmen, obviously concerned that they had so-far failed to plumb the depths of anti-Muslim bigotry, decided to demand an investigation into Muslim interns in Congress. Their evidence? A book published by World Net Daily, itself a monument to America's First Amendment protections for the ignorant and the morally bankrupt.

But before this story gets swept into the dustbin of political history, we should applaud some folks who stood up against the reckless, McCarthy-like accusations being leveled against young people who wanted to get engaged in the political process.

This week, Rep. Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim-American member of Congress, took to the floor of the House to read a statement from the Congressional Tri Caucus. The statement made clear that people of all races and religions are welcome in the halls of Congress.

Read More >

Check out Rep. Ellison's statement >




Right Wing Watch: DC Anti-Marriage Equality Rally

DC Harry Jackson Rally

At the beginning of the month, a marriage equality bill was introduced in the Washington, DC City Council. Bishop Harry Jackson, the Radical Right's favorite African American voice, led a so-called "People's Rally" in DC to protest the legislation. It was more a protest of gay people themselves, with speakers misusing the Bible to peddle their extreme hatred and bigotry.

PFAW had someone with a camera in the crowd and we got the video. But be warned, it's ugly.

Watch >




Right Wing Watch: Right Wing Round-Up, 10/26


Anti-abortionists using E-Bay to raise funds for Tiller's killer, how to burn pelosi and reid in effigy and racism on the RNC's Facebook page.

Read More >


Roberts and Alito Legislating From the Bench


The Supreme Court heard arguments in Maryland v. Shatzer, a case involving the constitutional right to counsel during police questioning. The questions asked by the Justices even the most conservative of them exposed one of the great lies the Far Right tells about our nation’s judiciary: that courts should not make policy.

Read More >


Changing Hearts and Minds


Changing Hearts and Minds. That was the focus this past weekend at two panel discussions I moderated at the California NAACP State Conference on the topic of Homophobia in the Black Church. From my vantage point i's clear that these real in-person talks truly help people understand the dangers of homophobia. After the panel, a few people testified that their views about homophobia and even LGBT equality have changed completely. It’s remarkable the change that we can effect through honest, respectful conversation.

I wanted to share just a few highlights from the panel.

Read More >


PFAW Opposes Unconstitutional Vitter-Bennett Amendment


People For the American Way was represented by our General Counsel Debbie Liu at a press conference to oppose the Vitter-Bennett amendment, which would require Census workers to ask all Americans their citizenship and immigration status in the 2010 census. Doing so could discourage minority communities’ participation in the 2010 census, and would result in an inaccurate census. Not only is the amendment unconstitutional, it is a thinly-veiled effort by the radical Religious Right and their counterparts in Congress to target undocumented immigrants.

Read More >


Marriage Equality Marathon


Almost 100 people testified on Monday, October 26 in a 7 1/2 hour hearing on marriage equality legislation moving in the District of Columbia council. Another 169 people who signed up will testify on Monday, November 2. After that, marriage equality will move from committee to the full council and should be passed into law by the end of the year.

Read More >


Right Wing Watch: Drinking, Smoking, Drugging ... And Gays


Pastor Rudy DePass speaks at Harry Jackson's "People's Rally" in Washington, DC, where he claims that "heterosexual people are being discriminated against" and says that while those in attendance love gays, they don't like what gays do, which is no different than "drinking, smoking, drugging, [and] whatever else destroys us as human beings."

Watch >


Perez Says Justice Department Will Attack Gay Discrimination


Tom Perez, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, has celebrated the imminent passage of legislation that will allow the Justice Department to prosecute discrimination against the LGBT community.

Perez began his position in the Civil Rights Division after failed attempts by Senate Republicans to block his confirmation. Senate Republicans have continued to block well-qualified nominees like Perez from being confirmed to important offices, especially Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to head the Office of Legal Counsel.

Read More >


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