People For the American Way


May 2011

In This Issue


ALEC: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests In State Legislatures

Stand up to the Right's smear attacks on Elizabeth Warren!

Why is the GOP Keeping Women and People of Color Off the Bench?

Darrell Issa's Latest Investigation: The Threats of Government Transparency

PFAW Applauds Ruling Against Wisconsin Back-Room Efforts to Strip Workers' Rights

--Featured Video
--News, Blogs & Right Wing Tracking

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ACTION CENTER: Tell Senators - End the War on Women


The Tea Party and Religious Right-dominated House of Representatives passed one of the most sweeping attacks on choice ever. If we can't stop it in the Senate, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 3) will resurrect the failed "Stupak ban" from the health care debate, effectively banning even private coverage of abortion care ... and a tax provision in the bill will could mean that rape and incest survivors who choose abortion care would be audited by the IRS.

  Take Action >  



ALEC: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests In State Legislatures


When state legislators across the nation introduce similar or identical bills designed to boost corporate power and profits, reduce workers rights, limit corporate accountability for pollution, or restrict voting by minorities, odds are good that the legislation was not written by a state lawmaker but by corporate lobbyists working through the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a one-stop shop for corporations looking to identify friendly state legislators and work with them to get special-interest legislation introduced.

PFAW Foundation this month released a report exposing ALEC and its role behind some of the most extreme recent right-wing state legislation.

Read the Report >



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As right-wing lawmakers lay siege to voting rights, workers' rights and the social safety net, we're gearing up for the fight of our lives in 2012 and working on scoring key victories this year in states like Wisconsin and Ohio to build the progressive momentum we need.

Will you help us by renewing your 2011 membership now?





Stand up to the Right's smear attacks on Elizabeth Warren!

bully report

Elizabeth Warren, recognized by many as a natural choice to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a fierce advocate for consumers' rights, is rightly seen as a bulwark against unscrupulous corporate special interests by GOP members of Congress.

They'll do anything to stop her because of how effective she is at standing up to corporate rapaciousness and malfeasance ... they've threatened a filibuster of her confirmation in the Senate and, now, in the House, they're attacking her character.

Read More & Act >



Why is the GOP Keeping Women and People of Color Off the Bench?


All Senate Republicans except Alaska's Lisa Murkowski united to block Goodwin Liu, President Obama's nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, from getting an up or down confirmation vote.

Over the course of the debate on his nomination, Republicans freely distorted and mischaracterized Professor Liu’s record, but even in that environment, Sen. Charles Grassley's attacks stood out.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Grassley, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, accused Professor Liu, a Taiwanese American, of wanting to make America like "Communist-run China" ...

Read the Report >



Darrell Issa's Latest Investigation: The Threats of Government Transparency


Rep. Darrell Issa, the crusading chairman of the House Oversight Committee, wants to be seen as a clean-government, waste-busting reformer. At the start of the 112th Congress, he started the House Transparency Caucus to "promote legislation that requires federal information to be freely accessible, as well as advocate for new initiatives that support transparency." He declared, "Sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant."

But curiously, since then Rep. Issa hasn't actually shown any interest in promoting government transparency or accountability. Instead, he has devoted his time at the head of the Oversight Committee to two things: asking big corporations which government regulations they don't like, and attacking the Obama administration for whatever it happens to be doing.

Read the Report >

Read More >



PFAW Applauds Ruling Against Wisconsin Back-Room Efforts to Strip Workers' Rights


A circuit court in Wisconsin invalidated Governor Scott Walker's signature piece of legislation: an immensely unpopular bill that removed nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers. After weeks of protests, the state Senate -- illegally, according to the court's decision -- called a special committee meeting to amend the bill with only two hours advance notice and in a location that was not open and accessible to members of the public, in violation of a Wisconsin's open meetings law, which requires 24 hours notice.

Read More >





Lawrence O'Donnell Exposes ALEC


People For's Andrew Gillum went on the Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss PFAW Foundation's new report on ALEC, the group that helps corporate donors get legislation they like placed in statehouses.

Watch >



News & Blogs


Republicans Across the Country Work to Disenfranchise Voters


In the buildup to the 2012 election, Republican legislatures across the nation are implementing a tactic many hoped would die with the signing of the Voters Right Act of 1965 -- silencing the voices of those who disagree with them by simply not allowing them to vote. GOP legislators in at least 20 states are working hard to push through restrictive voter ID laws that all but disenfranchise large, traditionally Democratic segments of the electorate. These laws would require voters to show a DMV-issued photo ID at the polling place, something 11% of US citizens currently lack.

The facts are firmly against such laws. Voters are more likely to be struck by lightening than to commit fraud, and the Bush Justice Department’s five-year “War on Voter Fraud” resulted in only 86 convictions out of nearly 200 million votes cast (a rate of .0000004%). Furthermore, these laws are expensive to implement, wasting millions of dollars in a time when most states are under severe budgetary restraints. So why would Republicans advocate for such an obviously unnecessary law?

Politics, of course.

Read More >


Think Congress's Anti-Choice Legislation Is Extreme? Look at the States.


New Hampshire, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas and Minnesota are considering bills that would cut off state funds to Planned Parenthood. Texas's proposal has an extra twist to it: if Planned Parenthood sues to reverse the law and wins, the state's entire women's health and family planning operation will automatically be shut down.

Other state-level laws are designed to pressure women into refusing abortion services. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is on track to sign a law requiring women to view ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion, and Florida's governor is planning to sign a similar law. And in one of the most startling state-level attacks on the right to choose, Arizona's governor recently signed a bill making it illegal to seek an abortion because of the "race or sex" of the fetus -- allowing the biological father or the woman's parents to sue an abortion provider based on suspicion of the pregnant woman's motivations for choosing the procedure.

Read More >


Scalia and Thomas Urge Results-Based Decision


This week, the two most famous arch-conservative Supreme Court Justices openly praised results-based jurisprudence and the legitimacy of bending the law in order to reach the desired result. Coming from Justices who have derided others for allegedly shaping their legal decisions to reach a preferred outcome, this was a jarring example of hypocrisy.

Read More >


Tea Party Nation: Obama Only Killed Bin Laden To Help His Reelection


Judson Phillips, the head of Tea Party Nation, said that the death of Osama bin Laden happened in spite of President Barack Obama and criticized the President for announcing the breaking news during Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” Phillips suggested that Obama did not want to give the order to raid bin Laden’s compound but if he “did not act, it would have killed any chance he had at reelection.” The Tea Party leader went on to criticize the administration for quickly burying the body, saying that “we should have told everyone that the body was wrapped in pig fat before burial,” claiming that bin Laden “represent[s] the mainstream of Islam.”

Watch >


Tennessee: Front and Center on Anti-Gay Legislation


Tennessee really seems to be going down the rabbit hole with their recent anti-gay legislation. Last month, a bill advanced to their state Senate, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would prohibit educators from discussing any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. This not only applies to lessons in classrooms, but to all discussions between educators and students. Any acknowledgement that gay people exist is officially prohibited, a cruel effort to isolate and declare as abnormal any children who are gay or who have gay family members (including parents).

Read More >


Newt: Worst Campaign Promise Ever?


“I know how to get the whole country to resemble Texas.” -- Newt Gingrich on Sean Hannity, May 11, 2011

Read More & Watch >


House Committee Shills for Fracking, Despite the Risks


Darrel Issa’s House Oversight & Government Reform Committee held a field hearing in Bakersfield, California, where several lobbyists who have made substantial contributions to members of the committee will argue against regulating “fracking,” or Hydraulic Fracturing. This technique for harvesting natural gas from deep within the Earth’s crust requires millions of gallons of water and thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical mixture—the contents of which the industry refuses to disclose.

Read More >


On Climate Change, Oil Industry Pays for Its Own Facts and Its Own Religious Doctrine

Recently a group of climate change skeptics released a list of “900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of 'Man-Made' Global Warming (AGW) Alarm." But where did those 900+ papers come from? The web site GOOD reports that of the ten authors cited most frequently in the list, nine have financial ties to ExxonMobil.

Read More >


Fischer: Gays Are Nazis


There is no more openly bigoted Religious Right leader active today than the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer ... and yet that doesn't stop Republican members of Congress and presidential hopefuls from appearing on his radio program on a regular basis.

Last year, Fischer made news when he asserted that Adolf Hitler surrounded himself with gay soldiers because "he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders."

Yesterday, he went even further (if such a thing is possible) and asserted that gays are literally Nazis and that they will "do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany."

Read More >


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