1 of 3
1
News Items
Posted: 22 April 2005 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  819
Joined  2004-12-21

It might be useful to dedicate a thread to news items and comments thereon.

Here is one that is so bizarre that I can't yet find the words to express my outrage.  I think it does point out the value of AU and I again encourage all to support this organization.

LA Times

By Peter Wallsten Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Evangelical Christian leaders, who have been working closely with senior Republican lawmakers to place conservative judges in the federal courts, have also been exploring ways to punish sitting jurists and even entire courts viewed as hostile to their cause.

An audio recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times features two of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, at a private conference with supporters, laying out strategies to rein in judges, such as stripping funding from their courts in an effort to hinder their work.

The discussion took place during a Washington conference last month that included addresses by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who discussed efforts to bring a more conservative cast to the courts.

Frist and DeLay have not publicly endorsed the evangelical groups' proposed actions. But the taped discussion among evangelical leaders provides a glimpse of the road map they are drafting as they work with congressional Republicans to achieve a judiciary that sides with them on abortion, same-sex marriage and other elements of their agenda.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, according to an audiotape of a March 17 session. The tape was provided to The Times by the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

DeLay has spoken generally about one of the ideas the leaders discussed in greater detail: using legislative tactics to withhold money from courts.

"We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse," DeLay said at an April 13 question-and-answer session with reporters.

The leaders present at the March conference, including Perkins and James C. Dobson, founder of the influential group Focus on the Family, have been working with Frist to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominations, a legislative tool that has allowed Senate Democrats to stall 10 of President Bush's nominations. Frist is scheduled to appear, via a taped statement, during a satellite broadcast to churches nationwide Sunday that the Family Research Council has organized to build support for the Bush nominees.

The March conference featuring Dobson and Perkins showed that the evangelical leaders, in addition to working to place conservative nominees on the bench, have been trying to find ways to remove certain judges.

Perkins said that he had attended a meeting with congressional leaders a week earlier where the strategy of stripping funding from certain courts was "prominently" discussed. "What they're thinking of is not only the fact of just making these courts go away and re-creating them the next day but also defunding them," Perkins said.

He said that instead of undertaking the long process of trying to impeach judges, Congress could use its appropriations authority to "just take away the bench, all of his staff, and he's just sitting out there with nothing to do."

These curbs on courts are "on the radar screen, especially of conservatives here in Congress," he said.

Dobson, who emerged last year as one of the evangelical movement's most important political leaders, named one potential target: the California-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court," Dobson said. "They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone."

Robert Stevenson, a spokesman for Frist, said Thursday that the Senate leader does not agree with the idea of defunding courts or shutting them down, pointing to Frist's comments earlier this month embracing a "fair and independent judiciary." A spokesman for DeLay declined to comment.

The remarks by Perkins and Dobson drew fire from Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who charged that the two leaders were more brazen in such private encounters with supporters than their more genteel public images portray.

"To talk about defunding judges is just about the most bizarre, radical approach to controlling the outcome of court decisions that you can imagine," Lynn said.

Frist is expected to try as early as next week to push the Senate to ban filibusters on judicial nominations — a move so explosive that Democrats are calling it the "nuclear option."

Democrats have been using the filibuster to block 10 of Bush's appeals court nominees who they believe are too extreme in their views, but the skirmishes are considered a preview of a highly anticipated fight over replacing the ailing Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, whose retirement is considered imminent.

"Folks, I am telling you all that it is going to be the mother of all battles," Dobson predicted at the March 17 meeting. "And it's right around the corner. I mean, Justice Rehnquist could resign at any time, and the other side is mobilized to the teeth."

The remarks by Perkins and Dobson reflect the passion felt by Christians who helped fuel Bush's reelection last year with massive turnout in battleground states, and who also spurred Republican gains in the Senate and House.

Claiming a role by the movement in the GOP gains, Dobson concluded: "We've got a right to hold them accountable for what happens here."

Both leaders chastised what Perkins termed "squishy" and "weak" Republican senators who have not wholeheartedly endorsed ending Democrats' power to filibuster judicial nominees. They said these included moderates such as Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. They also grumbled that Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and George Allen of Virginia needed prodding.

"We need to shake these guys up," Perkins said.

Said Dobson: "Sometimes it's just amazing to me that they seem to forget how they got here."

Even Bush was not spared criticism. Dobson and Perkins encouraged their supporters to demand that the president act as aggressively on the judiciary as he has for his Social Security overhaul.

"These are not Bill Frist's nominees; these are President George W. Bush's nominees," Perkins said. "He needs to be out there putting pressure on these senators who are weak on this issue and standing in obstruction to these nominations," he said.

Dobson chided Frist, a likely 2008 presidential contender, for not acting sooner on the filibuster issue, urging "conservatives all over the country" to tell Frist "that he needs to get on with it."

Dobson also said Republicans risked inflicting long-term damage on their party if they failed to seize the moment — a time when Bush still has the momentum of his reelection victory — to transform the courts. He said they had just 18 months to act before Bush becomes a "lame-duck president."

"If we let that 18 months get away from us and then maybe we got Hillary to deal with or who knows what, we absolutely will not recover from that," he said.

Perkins and Dobson laid out a history of court rulings they found offensive, singling out the recent finding by the Supreme Court that executing minors was unconstitutional. They criticized Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's majority opinion, noting that the Republican appointee had cited the laws of foreign nations that, Dobson said, applied the same standard as "the most liberal countries in Europe."

"What about Latin America, South America, Central America? What about China? What about Africa?" Dobson asked. "They pick and choose the international law that they want and then apply it here as though we're somehow accountable to Europe. I resent that greatly."

DeLay has also criticized Kennedy for citing foreign laws in that opinion, calling the practice "outrageous."

As part of the discussion, Perkins and Dobson referred to remarks by Dobson earlier this year at a congressional dinner in which he singled out the use by one group of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants in a video that Dobson said promoted a homosexual agenda.

Dobson was ridiculed for his comments, which some critics interpreted to mean the evangelist had determined that the cartoon character was gay.

Dobson said the beating he took in the media, coming after his appearance on the cover of newsmagazines hailing his prominence in Bush's reelection, proved that the press will only seek to tear him down.

"This will not be the last thing that you read about that makes me look ridiculous," he said.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2005 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

Wait, executing underage people, ie death sentence for minors, is something the evangelicals think should be legal?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2005 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  106
Joined  2004-12-21

After much, much exposure to fundies, I can safely say the only way to beat them into submission is to belittle their beliefs (making valid analogies like comparing Jesus to unicorns) on a daily basis.  They can NOT deal with the “attack” on their faith.  It’s too much to deal with on a daily basis.

If/when the conservatives add a new ammendment to the Constitution outlawing the free speech of belittle Xians, then it’s time to move on somewhere else.

JL

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2005 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

Iisbliss:  Does the insane, murderous hypocrisy surprise you?  Remember, out of the womb they’re fair game!
Regarding the story, I at least appreciate the past line.
My other two favorite notions:  1) that the Republicans must become (even) more extreme or be seen as “weak” or “ineffective,” & 2) that learning from other nations should be seen as wrong.  Tempting though it is to go on about how appalling these sentiment must be to anyone with two working brain cells, I’m going to leave off and hope someone else will pick up the critique.  My head hurts.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2005 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

Oooh, I’m tired.  I meant to refer to the “last” line of the article.  I’m not sure what the “past” line would be.  Sorry.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2005 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  819
Joined  2004-12-21

Iisbliss said:

Wait, executing underage people, ie death sentence for minors, is something the evangelicals think should be legal?

Apparently so. In the next breath they say “err on the side of life”

And no one calls them on the hypocracy.

Stay Well

Wot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  819
Joined  2004-12-21

“We need to shake these guys up,” Perkins said.

Said Dobson: “Sometimes it’s just amazing to me that they seem to forget how they got here.”

Even Bush was not spared criticism. Dobson and Perkins encouraged their supporters to demand that the president act as aggressively on the judiciary as he has for his Social Security overhaul.


Excuse my ignorance here but why are these folk not considered to be lobbyists? I think they enjoy the priveledge of tax-exemption.

Perkins is from the Family Research Council
http://www.frc.org/

and Dobson is from Focus on the Family
http://www.family.org/


Seems like these folks are putting the hit on Frist, DeLay and even Bush under the threat of withdrawing their support or even open oppostion.

Stay Well
Wot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

You can’t really trust it if it comes from the LA Times. They been know to engage in half truths and smear campaigns to further their liberal agenda. Call this journalism?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  754
Joined  2005-01-03

It is somewhat ironic that in the situation that we find ourselves in where the electorate is more or less equally divided 50/50 between the Republicans and Democrats, rather than driving policies toward the “center” in search of compromise, our politicians are becoming increasingly polarized between the extremes of left and right.

I think that this is because in a 50/50 world, a few thousand, a few hundred thousand or a few million votes have enormous leverage.  Therefore, if you represent a relatively small voting block that can be swung between parties and/or convinced to come out to vote or stay home, you can demand a steep price for the allegiance of that particular voting block.

That is why something like 4 million Fundy Christian Evangelists (less than 2% of the US population and less than 4% of voters) seem to have the ability to dictate so much of the political agenda while the vast “centrist” majority (probably 50-70% of voters) standby with their mouths agape wondering what the hell is happening to their country.

Obviously, this is not just a right wing problem.  If the Democrats were in power, the extreme left wing of their party would have the same kind of dangerous leverage and claim on the national policy agenda.

In a 60/40 world, such leverage would be significantly reduced. 

It could also be reduced if the “centrist” majority would stand up and declare that they are not going to put up with any more of this Sh**t and will only vote for candidates who represent moderate policy views.

The time may be ripe in this country for a new “centrist” political party?

 Signature 

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

What? You said: “4 million Fundy Christian Evangelists “

Where oh where do you get your figures? The LA Times?

Poll: 63% of Americans think Bible literally true.
Those believing Scripture is Word of God higher among Republicans than Democrats

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43957

(this is why we’re the Republicans are running the country)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  819
Joined  2004-12-21

CA said:

That is why something like 4 million Fundy Christian Evangelists (less than 2% of the US population and less than 4% of voters) seem to have the ability to dictate so much of the political agenda while the vast “centrist” majority (probably 50-70% of voters) standby with their mouths agape wondering what the hell is happening to their country.

Obviously, this is not just a right wing problem. If the Democrats were in power, the extreme left wing of their party would have the same kind of dangerous leverage and claim on the national policy agenda.

In a 60/40 world, such leverage would be significantly reduced.

It could also be reduced if the “centrist” majority would stand up and declare that they are not going to put up with any more of this Sh**t and will only vote for candidates who represent moderate policy views.

The time may be ripe in this country for a new “centrist” political party?

True enough but the 2% are highly motivated and organized while the “mouth agapes” are languishing in passive bewilderment. Unfortunately, the Centrist Party is no where on the radar screen and even the development phase seems far away. We seems to be moving more in the direction of a one party system, which we should rightfully blame on the Democrats.  Libertarians don’t seem to be the answer appearing to be leftover Democratic zombies from another era.  Maybe we should call it the Rationalist Party and start developing a platform that appeals to the centrist. A basic founding principal would be to advocate only those policies which conform to rational thinking. Any ideas for platform specifcs?

Stay Well
Wot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

Yes, it is a very interesting development how we’re moving to the one party system. I think Dems have lost credibility. They lost it during the first Bush administration when they would demonize him regardless of the issue or the issue’s outcome.

They should have said, we’ll work with him now, but we can do it better. Instead, they paraded folks like Rangel, Biden, Kennedy to say the most outlandish things, things even a novice could instinctively know is over the top. So I think psyhologically the nation backed away from the dems. I think they were saying, whoa, something just ain’t right with these people.

I think they didn’t connect like Bill Clinton did. Clinton was likeable, believable (even when lying about his affair with Flowers), and enjoyable to listen to.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  819
Joined  2004-12-21

Reliance on the accuracy of any media organization is not requied. Listen to the tapes yourself at:

http://www.au.org/site/PageServer


Stay Well
Wot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State….I think the only ones that are really interested in this organization are those who want to suppress the church. The church and state are mired together already thanks to our forefathers. As long as congress makes no law regarding religion, anything is fair game. The state should would be wise to keep the gap between church and state very slim.

The wider the gap gets between church and state, the more likely we will remove ourselves from God’s blessing and incur his judgement.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

Those guys are always up to something funny. On the website it says this about religion in public school:

“Parents are the proper agents to determine what religion, if any, their children are exposed to. Public schools have no right to usurp parental authority by imposing religion on schoolchildren. Mandatory prayer, Bible reading or other religious activities sponsored by public schools are fundamental violations of the right of conscience. Public school students have the right to pray on their own in a non-disruptive fashion, and schools may teach about religion as a part of objective instruction, but public schools must not sponsor religious worship. That job belongs to America’s houses of worship.”

Sounds great on the surface. But then why do they fight so hard against non-mandatory prayer and the teaching of Christianity as a religion? The above is just lip service. These folks have an agenda.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2005 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  819
Joined  2004-12-21

You quote one thing and say you agree. Then you quote nothing and make unsupported accuzations. You are a bad boy and are gonna get your mouth washed out with soap.  You must be a product of “spare the rod” parents.


Stay Well
Wot

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 3
1
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed