Friday, August 10, 2012

Romney Spokesperson Ignites Right-Wing Backlash (PLUS) Religious Extremist: Kidnap Children of Same-Sex Couples and Create 'Underground Railroad', Bonfire of the Vanities: Robert Parry and the Red Mist of Partisanship, Blackwater Pays $7.5 Million To Avoid War Crimes Prosecution and Christians Declare Independence From The Far Right, Promising A Forceful Push Back On Right-Wing Bullying And Hypocrisy

Romney Spokesperson Ignites Right-Wing Backlash (PLUS) Religious Extremist: Kidnap Children of Same-Sex Couples and Create 'Underground Railroad', Bonfire of the Vanities: Robert Parry and the Red Mist of Partisanship, Blackwater Pays $7.5 Million To Avoid War Crimes Prosecution and Christians Declare Independence From The Far Right, Promising A Forceful Push Back On Right-Wing Bullying And Hypocrisy

Mitt Romney’s press secretary Andrea Saul brought the full wrath of the GOP’s right-wing down on her unsuspecting head today by suggesting that Romney is, you know, proud of his signature health care bill. The scene of the crime was a Fox News discussion of an ad arguing that a woman died because her husband lost his insurance when a Bain-controlled plant laid him off. To this Saul responded, not unreasonably, that, “[I]f people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.”

But, then, what is “reason” when you’re up against your party’s id?

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson promptly announced that Saul’s foray into health-care wonkery could “mark the day the Romney campaign died,” since it would send the right’s thinly-suppressed doubts gushing to the surface. “Consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again,” he wrote.

Then, later in the day, the conservative performance-artist Ann Coulter dropped by Fox News to chat up her buddy Sean Hannity and issue a fatwa against Saul, urging Republican donors to go on strike until Saul is unemployed.

As we await the Romney campaign’s decision about Saul’s fate, it’s worth reflecting on one under-reported aspect of this latest conservative blow-up: Saul was saying precisely what her superiors in the Romney campaign believe, not least of them Mitt Romney.

I spent a lot of time talking to Romney campaign officials while reporting my recent profile of Stuart Stevens, his chief strategist. The unmistakable impression I got from them is that, to this day, Romney remains extremely proud of having passed health care reform in Massachusetts. As I write in the piece, it’s one reason Romney hired Stevens in the first place:

In 2012, Stevens sought to reprise the attack strategy for Romney, except with an added wrinkle. Rather than simply knee-cap his conservative rivals, Romney would also channel the country’s frustration with Obama. This would appeal to the base, which considered the president illegitimate, without alienating general election voters, who considered Obama’s economic policies a failure.

Romney could capture the nomination without moving rightward. He wouldn’t even have to renounce his own health care plan so long as he was sufficiently scathing toward Obamacare.

Somewhat unusually for a presidential candidate, Romney has been deeply involved in hashing out his own campaign strategy. “Romney plays a big role in the strategic direction,” says one Romney aide. “Stuart is the artiste.” And Romney liked what he heard. He was especially hesitant to abandon his health care record and was heartened that Stevens urged him not to [emphasis added].

Saul was surely aware of this—as I say, it’s common knowledge in Romneyworld. So it’s no surprise that she grasped for it while defending her boss on television.

Unfortunately for Saul and Romney, the whole episode confirms the main conclusion of my piece, which is that the campaign has massively underestimated the fever on the right from the very beginning, and that this underestimation continues to complicate their lives in all sorts of ways.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul thrust herself into the spotlight today by making a super lame argument against Burton’s outrageous “Romney killed my wife” ad by arguing that if the wife had been in Massachusetts, she would have had Romneycare for insurance. This has enraged Ann Coulter and she rips Saul to shreds, saying that Romney donors should demand Saul is fired or they won’t give another dime. Watch the FOX Video.

The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has sunk to a new, disturbing low with his anti-gay statements. In two separate tweets last night, he called for an “Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households.” In one tweet  he was referring to the sad story of Lisa Miller, who, after declaring herself ex-gay, kidnapped her daughter away to Central America to prevent her former partner from having any custody. (She is still being tracked by federal agents as a fugitive of the law.)

In the other tweet, Fischer referred to the testimony of a individual named Robert Oscar Lopez, who blames all of his social problems on being raised by his mom and her lesbian partner. Here’s a sampling:

Inside, however, I was confused. When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird. I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast.[...]

Life is hard when you are strange. Even now, I have very few friends and often feel as though I do not understand people because of the unspoken gender cues that everyone around me, even gays raised in traditional homes, takes for granted. Though I am hard-working and a quick learner, I have trouble in professional settings because co-workers find me bizarre.

Perhaps unfamiliar with the concepts of self-fulfilling prophesies and internalized homophobia, this man’s odd testimony seems to attack gay parenting merely because he believes his bisexual mother’s decision to live with a woman made it a struggle for him to identify as bisexual himself. Unlike his mother, his preference seems to be to conform to heteronormative society, and he feels unable to do that because he feels he wasn’t properly conditioned by archaic gender stereotypes. 

Given the added incentive to defend Mark Regnerus’ “bullshit” faulty study attacking gay parenting, he is clearly trying to pin his panoply of personal problems on his mother (and all same-sex parents as a result.) His story is not a valid representation of anything except his own unique perception of the world.

And yet, Bryan Fischer believes it to be the perfect example of why the children of same-sex parents should be kidnapped away for their protection — that they are the equivalent of slaves who need to be rescued. This is incredibly dangerous rhetoric that has the potential to do great harm. How much destruction could self-declared “Harriet Tubmans” do to same-sex families, motivated by Fischer’s claims? More than ever, the “culture war” is a direct attack on the lives of LGBT and their families.


 TUESDAY, 07 AUGUST 2012 01:38

Over the decades, Robert Parry has done yeoman service in exposing the vast criminality of the American state. From the foul bloodwork of American power in Central America to the treasonous machinations of the Iran-Contra scheme to the long, corrupt, murderous history of the Bush crime family, Parry has broken many important stories and brought much "lost history" -- the title of his best book -- to light. I have drawn on his work frequently, and learned a great deal from it.

Therefore it is extremely dispiriting to read his recent bitter blasts (here and here) at any and all of those "on the left" who might even contemplate refusing to support Barack Obama for re-election. Such people, he tells us, are vain, preening perfectionists who care more for their own self-righteousness than the fate of the world. Indeed, "leftists" who have refused to support the Democratic candidate -- no matter who he is, no matter what he has done -- are complicit, we’re told, in all the atrocities perpetrated by Republican presidents since 1968.

(Apparently, no Democratic president has ever perpetrated any atrocities; they are just "imperfect" politicians who might sometimes "do some rotten things" but always "fewer rotten things than the other guy.")

Parry believes he is preaching a tough, gritty doctrine of "moral ambiguity." What he is in fact advocating is the bleakest moral nihilism. To Parry, the structure of American power -- the corrupt, corporatized, militarized system built and sustained by both major parties -- cannot be challenged. Not even passively, not even internally, for Parry scorns those who simply refuse to vote almost as harshly as those who commit the unpardonable sin: voting for a third party. No, if you do not take an active role in supporting this brutal engine of war and injustice by voting for a Democrat, then it is you who are immoral.

You must support this system. It is the only moral choice. What’s more, to be truly moral, to acquit yourself of the charge of vanity and frivolity, to escape complicity in government crimes, you must support the Democrat.

If the Democratic president orders the "extrajudicial" murder of American citizens, you must support him. If he chairs death squad meetings in the White House every week, checking off names of men to be murdered without charge or trial, you must support him. If he commits mass murder with robot drones on defenseless villages around the world, you must support him. If he imprisons and prosecutes whistleblowers and investigative journalists more than any other president in history, you must support him.

If he cages and abuses and tortures a young soldier who sought only to stop atrocities and save the nation’s honor, you must support him. If he "surges" a pointless war of aggression and occupation in a ravaged land and expands that war into the territory of a supposed ally, you must support him. If he sends troops and special ops and drones and assassins into country after country, fomenting wars, bankrolling militias, and engineering coups, you must support him. If he throws open the nation's coastal waters to rampant drilling by the profiteers who are devouring and despoiling the earth, you must support him. If he declares his eagerness to do what no Republican president has ever dared to do -- slash Social Security and Medicare -- you must support him.

For Robert Parry, blinded by the red mist of partisanship, there is literally nothing -- nothing -- that a Democratic candidate can do to forfeit the support of "the left." He can even kill a 16-year-old American boy -- kill him, rip him to shreds with a missile fired by a coddled coward thousands of miles away -- and you must support him. And, again, if you do not support him, if you do not support all this, then you are the problem. You are enabling evil.

Given this wildly askew moral compass, what would Parry make of that great American refusenik, Henry David Thoreau, who went to jail rather than pay taxes to support a deadly militarist adventure in Mexico and the government-sanctioned system of slavery, and whose thoughts on civil disobedience and disengagement with evil inspired Tolstoy and Gandhi? Thoreau said: “How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.”

What would Parry say to that? “Enough of your vain moral posturing, Thoreau. Forget the Mexican War; get out there and support James K. Polk. He’s a Democrat, for god’s sake! Do you want someone worse to get in there? It’s a disgrace not to associate yourself with this government!”


Parry’s “logic” is breathtakingly, heartbreakingly faulty. Perhaps that’s not surprising; after all, partisanship is the sworn enemy of logic, of objective reasoning, of clear thinking. But what is surprising, given Parry’s decades of deep-delving in the mines of politics and history, is how wrong he is on the “savvy” realpolitik he espouses, and his wanton misreading of history.

Parry rails against the “left” for not giving enough support to the Democrats in elections of 1968, 1980 and 2000. If these fastidious perfectionists hadn’t tried to “punish” the “imperfect” Democratic candidates in the those crucial years, the nation and the world would have been spared much suffering, we are told.

Well, maybe so, maybe not. This kind of ahistorical speculation is pointless in the extreme. If Hitler had been run over by a Vienna streetcar in 1919, then perhaps the world would have been a better place; or perhaps someone even worse would have come along.  You can’t unring the bell of historical events – or tell what other tunes might have chimed in their place.

But even on a surface level, Parry’s analysis fails. He seems to think that the “left’s” desertion of the Democrats in 1968 gave the presidency to Richard Nixon and prolonged the Vietnam War. It was not the “left” that abandoned the Democrats that year; it was the millions of ordinary Americans who had only four years before given Lyndon Johnson the biggest electoral mandate in history up to that time. If every leftist in the country had stayed home (and of course the overwhelming majority of them did not, and almost all of them voted for Hubert H. Humphrey), the Democrats still would have lost. Parry, astonishingly, forgets the presence of George Wallace in the race (and race is the operative word here). Wallace’s pro-segregation campaign took five states from the Democrats’ formerly “solid South” and won 10 million votes, almost all of them from Democratic constituencies.  Even if every “leftist” had been burning with fervor for HHH, no Democrat could have survived such a blow to the party’s base.

What’s more, the real abandonment of the party that year came not from disaffected leftists, but from the Democrat’s own leader: LBJ, who simply dumped the party, and the presidency, out of hurt feelings at being challenged in the primaries. He didn’t stand up and fight for his social programs and Civil Rights measures, he didn’t end the war (which Parry tells us he was “seriously” contemplating – and which he could have done with a snap of his fingers). Nor did he give more than the most tepid support to Humphrey until the very end of the campaign, when he knew it was too late. He just quit and walked away, with the nation reeling in turmoil from the war he had escalated, and from the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. If any one person could be said to have given us Richard Nixon, it was LBJ.

Parry also seems to think that if Jimmy Carter had not been “abandoned” by “leftists" in 1980, in his second term he would have not kept supporting the Afghan religious extremists he himself had loosed on the Soviets (to the world’s everlasting betterment, as we see each day around us). Or that Carter would not have continued supporting murderous Latin American dictatorships and surrogate wars in Africa as he had done throughout his term. Or that he wouldn’t have continued the massive arms build-up he had launched, or continued saber-rattling at the Soviets, or proclaiming the American right to launch pre-emptive war if anyone threatened the vicious tyrants in the Middle East who supplied us with oil. And so on and on. (For more, see here.)

But neither was Carter abandoned by ‘leftists’ to any significant degree. He too lost the votes of millions of ordinary Americans who had supported him four years previously. The third-party “spoiler,” Republican-turned-Independent John Anderson, ended up with less than 7 percent of the vote, with polls showing his meager numbers of supporters split equally between Democrats and Republicans.  Carter lost primarily because of a poor economy (not helped by his avowedly conservative economic policies), his own tepid ineptitude, and because of the Iran hostage crisis -- which occurred after his boneheaded mismanagement of the American reaction to the Iranian revolution, including his decision to allow the ousted Shah into the United States, and other measures which aided the revolution’s most radical elements and undercut the secular moderates at every turn. (A practice that has been faithfully followed by every American president since.)

As for 2000, Gore actually won that election, of course, which moots Parry’s point about leftist lethargy robbing worthy Dems of the big brass ring. Of course, the corrupt system that Parry urges us to preserve by continuing to legitimize its perpetrators with our votes did take the presidency away from Gore – or rather, Gore meekly allowed them to take it without pursuing the constitutional challenge he could have made in Congress. And even though my family’s tenuous connection to Gore goes back a long way – I first met him when my father introduced the young Congressional candidate around our town during his first run for elective office, and my cousin once worked as his press aide – I have to say that Gore, as Bill Clinton’s very active vice president, had his hand in a number of activities that might conceivably make even the most acquiescent “leftist” hesitate just a teeny bit. But let’s let his distant cousin, Gore Vidal, tell it (from The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2001):

“In order to be re-elected in 1996, the Clinton-Gore administration adopted a series of right-wing Republican, even protofascist, programs, with lots more prisons, death penalties, harassment of the poor, cries of terrorism, and implicitly, control by government over the citizenry.”

Gore’s tenure at the top also saw the stripping of the financial controls on high finance – a surrender of Democratic (not to mention democratic) principles that ushered in the casino royale that led to the current – and increasingly permanent – economic crisis. And there was also the little matter of the deaths of at least 500,000 children from the US-UK sanctions on Iraq. (And half a million – a vast mountain of child corpses – is just what the Clinton-Gore administration were happy to admit to on national television, to show how tough and savvy they were. The real figure is certainly much higher.)

Would Gore, who didn’t flinch at amassing that mountain of corpses, have launched a war against Iraq, as Bush – who, again, was given the presidency not by “leftists” but by a corrupt Supreme Court rife with partisan (and financial) conflicts of interest – did? Who knows? But we do know that it was the Clinton-Gore administration that signed bills formally committing the United States to “regime change” in Iraq. And Gore did pick the fanatical neo-con warmonger Joe Lieberman as his VP nominee. Gore had always aligned himself with the “Scoop Jackson” militarist wing of the party, unlike this father, Sen. Albert Gore Sr., who sacrificed his political career by publicly opposing the Vietnam War. Vidal again:

Alone, I believe, among the usually war-minded Southern legislators, Albert Sr. spoke out against the long idiocy of the Vietnam War. Essentially, populists don’t like foreign wars, particularly in lands that they know nothing of and for no demonstrable goals. For exercising good judgment, Albert Sr. was defeated in 1970 by an opponent who used the familiar line that he was ‘out of touch with the voters of Tennessee. If this was true, the voters, supremely misled by three administrations, were seriously out of touch with reality. ….

The classic Gores are against foreign military adventures. It was here that Al Jr. broke with tradition when he was one of only ten Democratic senators to support George [H.W.] Bush’s Persian Gulf caper [in 1991]; before that, he had approved Reagan’s Grenada invasion and Libyan strikes.

Gore also went to the Vietnam War his father had opposed – albeit just for a short resume-building, non-combat tour as a military journalist.

None of this is to exonerate the Republicans of the monstrous crimes they have most assuredly committed –and/or continued – during their turns at the top of the bipartisan helter-skelter. It is simply to note what the historical record clearly shows: first, that lack of ‘leftist’ support did not cost the Democrats the presidency in any of these years. And second, that the Democrats’ own crimes and atrocities and follies are part and parcel of a system of corporatist/militarist rule that has become so abominable that no one can without disgrace be associated with it. To see this clearly and say it plainly is not “vanity” or “perfectionism.” It is reality. And to deny this, distort it, and denounce those who no longer wish to legitimize it with their votes is not a courageous grappling with “moral ambiguity;” it is a self-infliction of moral blindness.

And I think this is Parry’s main problem: he still doesn’t see – or can’t quite believe – what is going on right in front of his eyes. He thinks we have some kind of normal politics in some kind of normal nation. He can’t seem to grasp that a bipartisan system that has wrought the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children and a million more Iraqis in a war of aggression; that has killed countless thousands of Afghans in a pointless, atrocity-ridden, deeply corrupt occupation;  that operates a global death squad – out of the White House, directed by the president himself;  that kidnaps and tortures innocent people and then protects the torturers; that prosecutes truth-tellers and investigative reporters – like Robert Parry – who expose state crimes; that gorges its wealthy, greedy, above-the-law elites with tax cuts and bailouts and war profits and privileges without end while sharpening its bipartisan knives to gut the last, frayed remnants of the social safety net, is a system that has gone far beyond “moral ambiguity” and “imperfection” and “lesser evilism.” It is itself a product and producer of evil.

Parry says there are no viable alternative parties to this double-headed beast. And he is right. He says there are no popular movements out there right now “that can significantly alter government policies strictly through civil disobedience or via protests in the streets.” And he is right. Therefore what is left to us, at the present moment, in this election, but the power of refusal? (Whether this is exercised by “throwing your vote away” on a third party or absenting yourself entirely from the legitimization and normalization of imperial monstrosity.)  Where is the dishonor, the vanity in such a stance, in refusing to accept and affirm mass murder, repression, corruption and injustice in an implacable system that offers no other choices?

Would Parry have told Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn or Boris Pasternak or Josef Brodsky or other Soviet dissidents that they should not have disassociated themselves from the implacable system they confronted? “You should join the Party, Aleksandr, you must work within the system. That’s the only way we’ll see real change.” Perhaps Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst  of the White Rose should have stifled their concerns about the “imperfections” of the German government and sought the path of “lesser evilism” instead, working to advance, say, Albert Speer or Herman Goring or some other figure who might have “done some rotten things” but “fewer rotten things than the other guy.”

Yes, I know the United States in 2012 is not the USSR or Hitler’s Germany. And Parry would doubtless say, “Of course they were right to disassociate themselves from such monstrous systems.” But where do you draw the line? How much evil is acceptable?  Is there a certain number of victims that a system must reach before one is allowed to disengage from it honorably and morally?  To murder six million in death camps or millions in purges is obviously unacceptable; but to kill 500,000 children – is that OK? A million innocent people in a war of aggression – is that beyond the pale? Or can you work with that, can you accommodate that, should you swallow these mountains of dead, washing them down with a big swig of moral ambiguity?

Romney might well prove to be a “worse” president than Obama. (Although Parry does not address the realpolitik argument that a Romney victory would likely wake the ‘left’ from its slumber and cause it to oppose heinous crimes and vicious policies – aggressive war, murder programs, safety net slashing – that it is now happily supporting because a Democrat is doing them.) But that is not the issue. The issue is whether or not one gives legitimacy and justification to a brutal and unjust system by actively supporting and empowering it – and thus perpetuating its bipartisan evils far into the future.

Robert Parry says we should do this. He says: if you don’t support one murderer, the other murderer (or rather, would-be murderer, since Obama has actually directed death squads and drone attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent people, including American children, while Romney is still just hoping to do so) might be worse. To choose one murderer over another murderer is the only moral choice open to us, Parry says.  To refuse to cooperate with evil – as Tolstoy did, as Solzhenitsyn did, as Sophie Scholl, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King did – is pointless, perfectionist, vain. That’s what Robert Parry evidently believes.

But with all due respect to Parry and his valuable body of work, I disagree. On this, I will take my stand with Thoreau. I refuse to give this evil my assent.

The notorious mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater  and then XE services, among other names  has just paid a $7.5 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement that let’s them get off the hook for a wide range of criminal activities – from smuggling arms to providing weapons to a foreign head of state to supplying mercenary forces to government under US sanctions – as long as they don’t get caught again within the next 3 years.

The firm which has now been bought up by Wall Street banks who have secretly built the world’s largest private army has been in the news for repeated scandals and outright war crimes only to change their name and continue their criminal activities under a shell of umbrella corporations.

Most recently, they made news for being deployed by Disney to crackdown on protestors in Anaheim who are trying to get justice for a wave of police brutality that has included police killing of two unarmed men on separate occasions.

During the BP spill they were deployed to help cover up the disaster and keep the press out of areas declared off-limits by Obama’s media blackout. (The coverup was so bad in fact that even CNN’s Anderson Cooper went literally went live on National Television and gave an epic rant about the constitution was suspended under Obama’s order).

There were even reports the firm was spraying BP’s toxic dispersant at night to cover up how much was actually sprayed into the Gulf and independent scientists being threaten by the thugs for reporting they detected the substance in people’s swimming pools.

More recently, the firm has been outed for training to terrorist rebels in Syria which was revealed to have been ordered by US officials and who can forget how the firm was filmed driving through Baghdad and shooting random civilians.

Their list of crimes really goes on and one, which is why the saying is “Under Obama your safer committing a war crime than reporting one.

Wired reports:

Depending on how you look at it, the world’s most notorious mercenary firm just got away with misleading the government about arming and training foreign governments — or the company agreed to pay millions, only to defer a potential prosecution on those charges.

The firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to fork over $7.5 million to the Justice Department $7.5 million to avoid going to court on 17 criminal charges. It’s not exactly a bank-breaker for the company, now known as Academi LLC.
On Tuesday, Academi and the Justice Department entered into a “Deferred Prosecution Agreement” that allows Academi to spend the next 36 months convincing the government that its extra-legal extracurricular activities are all in the past, a vestige of the firm’s former owners.

[...]As far back as 2005, Blackwater pursued a deal with the proto-government in what would later be the independent nation of South Sudan. One problem: the company did so without a necessary State Department license. The proposed deal began after unnamed U.S. officials approached Blackwater with an ultimately-unfruitful proposal to do business in South Sudan. The idea was that the mercenaries would train the South Sudanese army; serve as bodyguards of South Sudan’s president; place a “HUMINT (human intelligence) collection team” in the country; secure the ruling officials’ communications; and deliver “a full range of data collections and monitoring technology.”

The problem was that South Sudan wasn’t yet independent; and the Sudanese government that it fought for independence was under U.S. sanctions. Meetings with State Department officials in 2005 to carve out geographical exemptions to the sanctions, allowing Blackwater to do business, were unsuccessful. According to the statement of facts, Blackwater employees shipped satellite phones to South Sudanese contacts after marking the boxes “Not For Sale,” apparently to elide the sanctions.

In 2006, an internal Blackwater email about the South Sudanese deal instructed, “Remember, the money has to come from a Ugandan government account, and we have to have a Ugandan security forces contact info [sic] to get this finished.” The company looked forward to a huge payday. South Sudanese officials didn’t just want to buy a security sector from Blackwater, they wanted the company to construct and protect an oil pipeline that could net the firm $15 billion.
Then come the gun charges. A Blackwater employee failed to register two Steyr machine guns with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, opting to register them with a North Carolina county sheriff. Then the employee parlayed that into a deal for the company to purchase AK-47s for the sheriff’s office after a “terrorist threat” analysis recommended the sheriff buy them.

More bizarrely, in 2005, the King of Jordan visited Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C. headquarters, where Blackwater employees presented him with the mercenary version of a fruit basket: an assortment of Glocks, along with a Remington shotgun and a Bushmaster M4 rifle. Blackwater forgot to report to the government that it had given weapons to the head of a foreign country, which is illegal.
Two employees who worked for Academi under its current management are suing the company for wrongful termination after they blew the whistle on a third employee’s attempts to fake the results of a gun test for Afghan security forces.

Stay up to date with the latest news:

On July 4, progressive Christians signed a "Declaration of Independence from the Far Right."  The Declaration coincided with the launch of Christians For A Change, a new political action committee for progressive Christians.

Within two weeks, 1,000 Christians signed the Declaration and since then, close to 13,700 people have joined the cause on the Facebook page for Christians For A Change.

The group's website exposes some of the horrible remarks from right wing conservative politicians and pastors who claim to be promoting Christian values by calling for the death of gays, blaming the Aurora, Colorado, theater mass killing on "attacks against Judeo-Christianity," and demanding huge budget cuts targeted at the poor and hungry.

 The Minnesota Republican has been roundly criticized by faith groups, elected officials, media outlets and leaders of her own party in the past few weeks for her attempt to intimidate and demonize Huma Abedin, Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Department of State. Bachmann has called on the Inspector General of the State Department to investigate Abedin’s background and ensure her loyalty because of fears Bachmann has raised about Abedin's Muslim faith and her family’s ethnic background.

"Michele Bachmann claims she’s not the new Joe McCarthy," said CFAC’s senior political adviser Jack Quigley. "But she's using the same tried and true tactics that brought us the Red Scare in the 1950's. Accuse, threaten, intimidate and conduct a witch hunt. We're going to make sure the people of Minnesota’s 6th District know what she's been up to in Congress."

"Michele Bachmann has been saying lots of outrageous things for years that she wraps in her Far Right style of Christianity and her warped view of patriotism," said Roger Smith, Treasurer of Christians for A Change. "This time, she's gone too far. Congresswoman Bachmann needs to be held accountable by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the US House of Representatives. It needs to be clear that we won't allow this kind of abuse of power in 2012."

"Congresswoman Bachmann is demonizing Mrs. Abedin and her family because of their religion, plain and simple," said Reverend Mark Sandlin. "It's wrong when we have victimized Jews or Catholics or Mormons in the past. It's wrong today for Congresswoman Bachmann to be targeting Muslim Americans. No person of faith– and certainly no Christian leader– should tolerate it."

"Fundamentally, what Michele Bachmann is doing is un-American and un-Christian," commented Charles Toy, CEO of The Christian Left and board member of Christians for A Change. "Progressive Christians are tired of just talking about this type of Far Right hypocrisy. With the arrival of Christians for A Change, now we’re going to hold people like Michele Bachmann politically accountable."

Christians for A Change launched an online petition July 27 calling on the US House of Representatives to censure Congresswoman Bachmann. Within a few hours, nearly 500 people had signed on and hundreds of others had shared the petition in social media networks with their friends.

The organization intends to begin outreach to Members of Congress about censuring Bachmann in the coming days while continuing to build public support and pressure for the effort.

"This is just the beginning of our Christian Change Campaign in Michele Bachmann's district," CFAC Treasurer Roger Smith concluded. "We're going to work to make sure the people of Minnesota's 6th District know just how far off the deep end their Representative has gone. Bachmann is a 21st century Joe McCarthy. She must be stopped."

Faith in Christ's love, education, economic justice, women's rights, marriage equality and science are a few of the core beliefs of the group.

"We believe that faith in God and belief in science aren’t mutually exclusive.

We reject 'faith-based' attacks on sound scientific findings on topics ranging from climate change to evolution to life-saving genetic research," the belief statement remarks.

 Suspicions that Romney might seek to inflame racist anger toward America’s first black president began to arise when his campaign strategist Stuart Stevens – a scion of Mississippi’s Republican Party – coined the slogan “Obama Isn’t Working,” which sounded to some like code for ethnic stereotyping. Others charitably attributed the gaffe to mere insensitivity typical of the Republican campaign’s insular, monochromatic staff.

Then came the candidate’s speech to the NAACP convention, which seemed to have been drafted to elicit booing from the African-American audience – a reaction instantly framed by Rush Limbaugh and the right-wing propaganda machine as an assault by blacks on Romney simply “because he is white.” Nevertheless some observers, including members of the NAACP,  still gave him credit merely for appearing before what he had to expect would be a skeptical if not hostile audience.

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