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Nov 18, 2005

Action Request:Read
Location:Illinois, United States
People For the American Way
People For the American Way  
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Want to hear more about Samuel Alito?

Join Julie Sweet of PFAW’s Midwest Regional Office for a briefing on the Alito nomination and what’s at stake. Find out what you can do to protect our rights and liberties.

When: Sunday, November 20
Where: NSS Beth El
Address: 1175 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, Illinois

All are welcome! The program begins with breakfast at 9:30 am, followed by the presentation from 10 to 11 am.

RSVP to Lesley Waxman at

Save the Date

International Human Rights Day is December 10. Join People For the American Way and allies on December 8 in Chicago to mark this important day. Contact Julie Sweet at for more information.

In the News:

Right on...
Just about every news source and political blog has picked up on PFAWF's exposé of the quote from Pat Robertson warning Dover, PA, that God will lift his protection because of how residents voted in last week's school board elections. But unfortunately, just about everyone missed the hidden jewel in Robertson's rant.

On the Ground:



PFAW's Director of Religious Outreach, Rev. Steven Baines, represented PFAW at a Portland, Maine, interfaith rally opposing Issue 1, which would have sanctioned anti-gay discrimination. Maine voters rejected the measure on November 8th.

Allies in Action:

Human Rights First pressures President Bush to stop threatening to veto a senate measure prohibiting torture. Take Action!

Action Updates:
Religious Liberty Under Threat!
When senators take up legislation to reauthorize Head Start, right-wing activists will pressure them to include language allowing federal funds to be used by groups that discriminate on the basis of religion in their hiring practices. The House has already adopted such a proposal-don't let the Senate! Take Action!

Voucher Victory!
Rep. Boehner failed to get his voucher bill attached to the House version of the stalled budget reconciliation bill. Though voucher partisans may try another tactic later this year, they have failed this round.

In this Issue:

  1. Alito Documents Reveal Smoking Gun
  2. We Defeat Program Cuts! Let's Beat Tax Breaks!
  3. Marriage Amendment
  4. IN FOCUS:
    Election Day 2005

Alito Documents Reveal Smoking Gun
A new bombshell document - a 1985 letter written by Bush Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito - confirms what People For the American Way has warned you about and what the White House has been trying to obscure: this nominee is a true believer and a dedicated foot-soldier in the right-wing plan to remake the judicial landscape of the United States of America. (Don't miss these stories in the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.)

Writing that he was honored to "help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly" as part of the Reagan Justice Department, Alito took particular pride in working against affirmative action and asserting that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." He also defended "the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values."

The letter landed him a job with Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese, but it could cost him one on the Supreme Court. Judge Alito showed a fervent allegiance to virtually every pet cause of the radical right. And there's no way for him to disavow these views by attributing them to the Reagan Administration, as Chief Justice John Roberts tried to do during his hearings.

So, how many people have you gotten to sign the petition to the Senate?
Take Action!

We Defeated Program Cuts--Let's Beat Tax Breaks!

Last week the Republican leadership of the U. S. House of Representatives abandoned a vote to slash $50 billion from programs for low-income and middle class families because they lacked the votes to pass their budget reconciliation bill. This is a major victory for PFAW activists and their allies in the Emergency Campaign for America's Priorities. But the fight is not over yet. The GOP leadership is expected to make another try at passing these cuts this week.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is planning to try to push through TODAY a $60 billion tax breaks bill which they intend to use to give tax breaks to the wealthy.
Moderate Republicans joined Democrats to keep the worst provisions out of this tax bill in committee, but right-wing senators have pledged to try to restore them on the Senate floor. Act now to keep the Right on the defensive! Take Action!

Marriage Amendment

Having failed in the last Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples, right-wing lawmakers are trying again. Last week, a Senate subcommittee narrowly approved such an amendment on a 5-4 party-line vote; the full Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to take it up soon.

If adopted, this would be the first constitutional amendment that would enshrine discrimination in our Constitution - it would actually compel states to discriminate against their gay and lesbian citizens. Take Action!

Election Day 2005
Progressives celebrated many victories last Tuesday. In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine overwhelmingly defeated right-wing Republican Jerry Kilgore in the race for governor; and former congresswoman Leslie Byrne's narrow defeat for lieutenant governor showed that progressive candidates can run credible campaigns even in a traditionally conservative state. New Jersey's next governor will be Jon Corzine, who established a solidly progressive record as one of the state's US senators. The Democratic mayor of St. Paul, MN, who angered progressives by endorsing President Bush's reelection last year, was voted out of office.

PFAW activists helped win very important victories on ballot measures. The citizens of Maine rejected a measure sanctioning anti-gay discrimination. Californians rejected all of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposals, including a provision targeting the power of unions to protect the rights of their members. California also became the second state to vote down a parental notification requirement restricting reproductive freedom.

Despite the hard work of PFAW activists in Ohio and Texas, progressives suffered two defeats last Tuesday. The complexity of Ohio's election reform package made it possible for right-wing special interests to use cynical attack ads to confuse voters, and voters may not have been clear on the makeup of the progressive coalition backing the ballot measures. Texans overwhelmingly voted to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage--the road to equality remains a long one.

As we head into a busy political year in 2006, please join PFAW as a contributing member.
Not only will this make you a participant in all of PFAW's efforts to fight for progressive change, it also makes it possible for you to be fully included in the activities of PFAW's political action committee, PFAW Voters Alliance.


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Posted: Friday November 18, 2005, 3:53 am
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