Tag Archives: People For the American Way

Aug 2011: GOP Presidenti​al Field – Yet Another Summer Disaster

What we Accomplished in Wisconsin

recall Progressives gained two seats in the Wisconsin Senate when Wisconsin voters voted to hold right-wing state senators accountable for their attacks on working families.We changed the game and seized momentum heading into the next battles, and many legislators across the country — especially those in competitive districts — got a message that there are consequences to their overreaching.The successful recalls of Republican Sens. Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper were in districts where PFAW was very active and PFAW enthusiastically endorsed both Senators-Elect Jessica King and Jennifer Schilling — two strong progressive women who will be strong advocates for working families in the Wisconsin Senate.

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And please take a moment to read a special message from Wisconsin Senator-Elect Jessica King to PFAW supporters acknowledging all your hard work and support >

Rick Perry: Uniting the Really Far Right and the Really, Really Far Right

Texas Gov. Rick Perry formally launched his presidential campaign this month and quickly shot to the top of national polls, where he continues to dominate. Maintaining his healthy lead by appealing to Tea Party, he recently came very close to accusing Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke of treason and has raised new concerns over his previous assertions that Social Security and Medicare were unconstitutional by calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme and a “monstrous lie.” People For the American Way continued its coverage of the 2012 presidential primaries with a piece by PFAW president Michael Keegan exposing Perry’s cozy ties with the various factions which comprise the Far Right.

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‘What You Talkin’ Bout, Willard?’

arnold If you watched TV in the 1980s, you surely remember the show Diff’rent Strokes— which featured the iconic tagline “What you talkin’ bout, Willis?” It was produced by PFAW cofounder Norman Lear’s production company. When Norman heard some of the recent things coming from presidential candidate Mitt Romney — whose first name is actually Willard — it rang a bell.In a piece in Variety, Norman asks Willard Mitt Romney, “What you talkin’ bout, Willard?”

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Koch Brothers Sink to a New Low to Undermine Public Education

Koch A new video from our friends at Brave New Foundation — a part of their “Koch Brothers Exposed” series — details the disturbing rise of racial resegregation in one award-winning North Carolina school district. The story goes like this: the Koch-created and funded Americans for Prosperity supported a slate of right-wing school board candidates who ran on a platform that echoed those of 1960’s southern segregationists like George Wallace almost verbatim … they won, and now they are using their power to hurt the public school system by not only erasing the district’s commendable achievements of diversity, but hurting the quality of public education received by all the district’s students.People For the American Way and PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action (AAMIA) program are both incredibly proud to cosponsor the release of this video, and we’re hopeful that we can help shine a light on this latest right-wing attack on public education, racial equality and civil rights.

Watch the video and help spread the word >

Perry, Prayer, Politics and the Presidency

perry Casual viewers of “The Response,” including some political reporters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the Religious Right, may have watched Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally earlier this month and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Most of the time was taken up with prayer and praise music.  Few of the speakers seemed overtly political.  Nobody used the occasion to endorse Perry’s pending presidential bid.But context is everything, and the context for this event was remarkable: a governor launching a presidential bid by teaming up with some of the nation’s most divisive extremists to hold a Christians-only prayer rally that suggested Americans are helpless to solve the country’s problems without divine intervention. Some media coverage is missing the boat: the issue wasn’t whether it was ok for a politician to pray, or the size of the audience, but the purposes of the event’s planners and their disturbing vision for America.

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Pay-Per-View Congress?

PPV Showing a profound disregard for representative democracy and the First Amendment, several Republican members of Congress decided not to hold open-to-the-public town hall meetings for their constituents this August recess and instead, held meetings that required an admission fee — or as Politico put it, “strictly pay-per-view.”

Read More & Speak Out >


Mitt Romney: People Person?

vid Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney turned a few heads this month when he told an audience at the Iowa State Fair that “corporations are people.”PFAW responded immediately by producing and running a TV ad in New Hampshire, where the Romney campaign’s focus has been.

Watch >

And if you have not done so already, please add your name to our petition to Gov. Romney telling him that he’s wrong, corporations are NOT people >

News & Blogs

Anonymous Attacks Against LA Progressives

laane This summer, an organization called Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) finds itself the target of dozens of baseless public records requests instigated by an anonymous right wing entity apparently seeking to intimidate and harass the organization.LAANE has long fought for policies to raise wages, protect the environment, and enhance community input on new box stores. In other words, they have gotten in the way when giant corporations have put profit maximization over the rights of workers, consumers, and communities. Perhaps that is why they now find themselves the subject of an extensive fishing expedition for public records that can be taken out of context and demagogued ad nauseam.

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Darrell Issa’s Two Hats

Rep. Darrell Issa’s ties to big business run deep, and as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, Issa has functioned quite efficiently as an arm of a Wall Street lobbying shop. He has demanded that government regulators back off from applying new rules to Goldman Sachs, and he has fought tooth-and-nail to deny the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and its yet-unconfirmed director Rich Cordray, any significant means to protect the public from fraud and abuse by the financial industry.

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Michael Keegan in Politico’s The Arena: Should disaster aid be conditional?

Republicans in Congress never even suggested “pay as you go” for two wars and massive tax cuts for the rich under George W. Bush, but they are now willing to withhold urgent aid from American communities in crisis in order to prove some point about their new found budget orthodoxy. Republican budget brinkmanship over the debt ceiling cost the country its top credit rating; let’s hope brinkmanship over emergency spending funds don’t cost Americans in storm-damaged states their homes and livelihoods.

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Taking it Back to 1987, Mitt Romney Teams Up with Judge Bork

Mitt Romney yesterday announced the members of his campaign’s legal advisory team, which will be led by none other than Robert Bork.This is interesting because Judge Bork’s views of the law and Constitution were so extreme that his 1987 Supreme Court nomination was rejected by the Senate.

People For the American Way aired a TV spot about Bork at the time…

Read More & Watch >

Anti-Gay Groups Rally To Defend Anti-Gay ‘Charity’ Group

A campaign spearheaded by LGBT rights and women’s rights groups Change.org and AllOut.org, encouraging companies to drop their ties to the Charity Give Back Group (formerly the Christian Values Network), unsurprisingly has the Religious Right up in arms. The CGBG “operates a sort of online mall, donating a portion of each purchase to religious nonprofits,” Michelle Goldberg explains. “Among them are conservative organizations like Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, Promise Keepers, and a number of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.”

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ACLU DNA, Lead Paint, and the Judges who Made it Through GOP Obstruction

As we like to remind people often, the current GOP senate has been shameless in its enthusiasm for obstructing judicial nominees just for the sake of obstruction. For instance, a PFAW memo on August 2 reported that of 24 nominees then waiting for confirmation votes, 21 had been voted through the Senate Judiciary Committee with no recorded opposition. Instead of sending through at least the unopposed nominees in a voice vote and moving on with its business, the Senate decided to keep these potential jurists off the bench for as long as possible  despite the pressing problem of unfilled judicial seats leading to slowed down justice. Ultimately, 4 of those nominees were confirmed by the Senate before it left for its August recess, and 20 remain waiting. (The Washington Postthis morning lamented that such “gamesmanship is not only frustrating but also destructive”)

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THANK YOU from Wisconsin! …Senator-Elect Jessica King

Senator-Elect Jessica King
Wisconsin Senate District 18

People For the American Way came through once again, and I am so glad you did. Thank you!

I called Michael last week to tell him how much I appreciated all the invaluable help from PFAW and its members to unseat Republican Sen. Randy Hopper in the District 18 recall election. I had to write to you to thank you directly.

I won by 1,200 votes and I have no doubt that PFAW’s help was absolutely critical in our victory. I particularly loved the direct mail piece that went out in my district to expose my opponent’s record and his attacks on the middle class and working families. And the extra airtime PFAW bought to run its ad against Sen. Hopper in the final week really made the difference and helped put me over the top.

While we Democrats fell just shy of flipping the Senate away from Republican control, the two seats we gained will make a huge difference, and I look forward to being a strong voice of progress for my constituents and all the working families of Wisconsin. And I will make you proud by fighting every attempt to expand the war on voting rights, public education and the working men and women of Wisconsin.

Thanks again! I can’t wait to work with you on the many battles to come.

With sincere appreciation,

Senator-Elect Jessica King
Wisconsin Senate District 18

Too Close to Call … Michael Keegan, People For the American Way

Wisconsin was the epicenter of the right-wing attacks on middle and working-class Americans that have come to define our policy debates since the Tea Party scored its big victories in the 2010 elections.

TOMORROW is the day when, with your help, we can undo some of that damage and change the direction of our politics heading into 2012.

We have less than 24 hours for the polls to open, when we need to turn out every progressive, common-sense and working family vote we can in order to make sure that when the polls start to close and the sun goes down tomorrow, it will be setting on a new Wisconsin and a new America.

Please help with an emergency, last-minute donation to help us contact and get to the polls every Wisconsin voter we need.

Wednesday morning can be a new day in this country … help us usher in the END of the Tea Party era. The first step is winning in Wisconsin!

We are working aggressively in four districts with very close races to recall the right-wing state senators who declared war on working families. We need a net victory of at least three wins to take back the Senate — that means winning in at least three districts tomorrow and then defending our two Democratic allies who are being challenged by the Right the following week.

The countless hours we’ve worked — you and PFAW together, the thousands of PFAW members and activists who have volunteered time and given money, the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’ve put into persuading key swing voters in the closest races … it’s all come down to this moment.

Please help us finish strong, with a clear, resounding win that sends a message that will echo through 2012. Please make an urgent last-minute gift to help us turn out every progressive vote we need.

It’s been an honor to stand with you in this fight. We’ll be fighting until the last poll closes. Good luck to all of us tomorrow.


Michael Keegan, President

P.S. The polls are showing the races we need to win TIGHTER THAN EVER. We need your help to put us over the top — there’s not a moment to spare. Please give what you can right now.

Thurs. Telebriefi​ng for members w/ Wisc. Sen. Chris Larson

This Thursday, March 24 at 3:00pm Eastern Time, please join People For the American Way, Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson and Michelle Ringuette of the Service Employees International Union to discuss the Right’s relentless attacks on workers’ rights and the middle class in Wisconsin and across the country.

In Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana Florida and other states, right-wing governors and legislators have been using budget shortfalls as an excuse to pursue corporate interests’ longtime goals of busting unions, gutting vital programs that serve the poor and middle class and doing away with other protections for working families. Along the way, these lawmakers have led a campaign to demonize public employees and blame them for the economic mess that Wall Street and big corporations caused.

Can you join us on the phone this Thursday for an important PFAW member telebriefing on the national fight to save the middle class and the American Dream? RSVP now.


Space is limited so don’t delay. We’ll email confirmed participants with the call-in information before Thursday.

Senator Chris Larson of Milwaukee was one of the 14 Democratic state senators who heroically crossed state lines in a last ditch effort to prevent Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature from passing Gov. Scott Walker‘s infamous attack on the basic collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public employees. Ultimately, Senate Republicans did an end run around the rules to ram the Governor’s anti-worker plan through, and now an effort to recall some of those senators is underway. Sen. Larson, a true leader in this fight and a member of PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network, will provide an update on the situation in Wisconsin.

In addition to Sen. Larson’s Wisconsin update, we’ll hear from SEIU’s Michelle Ringuette about the national landscape and how similar fights are playing out in other states. And PFAW’s leadership will provide an update on some of our activities and involvement on the state level.

Please don’t miss this opportunity and join us this Thursday at 3pm Eastern.

Thank you for your ongoing support.


— Diallo Brooks, Director of Field Mobilization

Accountabi​lity in Wisc. a national priority

Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that strips public workers of their rights to collectively bargain after the Republican-controlled legislature rushed through the legislation. The bill also authorizes state officials to fire any state employee who joins a strike, walk-out, sit-in or coordinated effort to call in sick. While Walker maintains that the bill is necessary to solve the budget crisis, this move was purely a power grab by the GOP and its pro-corporate allies.

Two weeks ago, a blogger posing as oil billionaire and Tea Party/Republican mega-donor David Koch recorded a phone conversation with Gov. Walker. Throughout the course of the call Walker talked about various dirty tricks he and his allies had considered, from luring the Democratic Senators back to Madison with false promises of negotiation to infiltrating the mass protests with troublemakers. The Governor even seemed to indulge fantasies about busting public employee unions following President Reagan‘s example of firing more than 11,000 air traffic controllers in 1981.

The Wisconsin GOP’s attempt to pay for massive corporate giveaways that expanded the deficit on the backs of hard working people is not unique to that state. We see it in several other states and, perhaps most visibly, in the current federal budget battle going on in Congress.

We must do everything we can to defend the American Dream, to defend the middle class and to defend fundamental rights all across the United States … that struggle is embodied as clearly as it can be in the current events transpiring in Wisconsin. And that’s why Wisconsin is a battle we as Americans cannot afford to lose. That means unseating by recall election the GOP state senators who are eligible for it now and working to repeal the union-bashing law and hold Gov. Walker accountable going forward.

The response from PFAW members and activists across the country has been truly tremendous. THANK YOU to all of you who have taken action and donated. We need your help to keep the great momentum going, so please continue to spread the word and contribute what you can.

We have our work cut out for us, but with your continued support, together we will help vote out the eight Republican Wisconsin state senators eligible for recall. We’ll help reshape the state government so that this heinous attack on fundamental rights and the American Way can be overturned … and we’ll send a message to right-wing, anti-worker elected officials everywhere, as well as their corporate cronies, that Americans’ basic rights are not on the table and that there are consequences for these attacks.

Thank you for all your support at this historic moment in our nation’s story.


Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager

P.S. Republican State Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald told Fox News that the bill was passed in order to dramatically weaken the clout of unions who could support President Obama’s reelection campaign in the swing state: “If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.”

Randy Hopper, a Republican State Senator who could be recalled by voters this year, also said in an interview with Fox News, “I think there’s absolutely no question that this is an issue for 2012.”

As Republicans admit that the union-busting bill is all about punishing progressive groups and rewarding corporate backers, it is clear that the GOP’s rhetoric on “fiscal conservatism” should not be taken seriously.

P.P.S. Today, the 14 Democratic Wisconsin Senators, who showed America such a great example of progressive strength and unity, are returning to Madison in a “homecoming march” on the capitol. The move is meant to demonstrate that their return to the state is not an acknowledgement of defeat. These Senators continue to have our deepest gratitude and support.