Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"Project Blitz" - What You Ought To Know (Or - What You Don't Know Can Hurt You)

Forget the Mueller report and the inevitable fallout of Barr's "summary" for now. While we've all been distracted by Barr's stunt the Trump cabal is under the radar to impose even more feral objectives on us.  While we've been focused on Mueller and  Trump's racism and white nationalist agenda,  we've missed the threat of his pseudo-religionist allies in trying to foist "Project Blitz" upon us to remake America as a Christian Right bastion.  Never heard of it? Here's an early (June last year) account from The UK Guardian:

"The emboldened religious right has unleashed a wave of legislation across the United States since Donald Trump became president, as part of an organised bid to impose hardline Christian values across American society. A playbook known as Project Blitz, developed by a collection of Christian groups, has provided state politicians with a set of off-the-shelf pro-Christian “model bills”.

Some legislation uses verbatim language from the “model bills” created by a group called the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), set up by a former Republican congressman which has a stated aim to “protect religious freedom, preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and promote prayer”.
At least 75 bills have been brought forward in more than 20 states during 2017 and 2018 which appear to be modelled on or have similar objectives to the playbook, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a campaign group which tracks legislation that undermines the principle of separation of church and state.
Opponents warn that the CPCF (which claims more than 600 politicians as members across state legislatures ) is using the banner of “religious freedom” to impose Christianity on American public, political and cultural life.
In Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee, so-called “In God We Trust” bills have become law since 2017, which will see the phrase emblazoned on public buildings, hung in schools and displayed on the side of public vehicles including police cars.

But the Project Blitz 148-page playbook sees those largely symbolic bills as just the first stage on the way to more hardline laws."
In fact, as AU noted, these laws re presented as measures to preserve religious liberty, but are intended to give businesses, pastors and childcare providers the right to discriminate against anyone of the "wrong" religion (or none at all) and especially prospective parents of the LGBTQ and transgender populations.    An AU Bulletin I received two days ago, also warns the Blitz buffoons plan to target women seeking health care, for access to birth control as well as abortion services.   Their basic shtick is to "allow state employees, corporations, health care providers and nonprofit organizations to use religion as a justification to discriminate against nearly everyone.
Here's a brief rundown of events from last year to this, from the same AU Bulletin:
- In 2018, 76 Project Blitz bills were introduced in 26 states with 9 bills passing. AU expcts even more to pass in the other states in their legislative sessions.
- On January 31, this year, AU and a broad coalition of 42 other prominent religious, civil rights, secular, LGBTQ and reproductive freedom organizations issued a joint national statement urging state lawmakers nationwide to oppose Project Blitz and related legislation that uses religion as the basis for discrimination.
- January and February, 2019 - Rachel Laser spoke out against multiple newspapers, magazines and online news outlets on the threats posed by Project Blitz and how AU is fighting back.
- February 5, 219-  AU released  a a short video  on Project Blitz  to create public awareness. Watch it and learn more!
We have to thank Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, (a thinktank which studies the political right), who was first to write about Project Blitz, which had up to then been hiding in plain sight.  As Clarkson noted last year:
It’s very rare that you come across a major primary source document that changes the way you view everything, and this is one of those times. This is a 116-page strategy manual hidden away on a website explaining at least what a section of the religious right are doing in the United States. To me that’s astounding.”  
The Blitz playbook came to wider attention in April  last year after Clarkson was tipped off to its existence. He also highlighted recordings of conference calls where leading figures in the CPCF set out their plans to flood state legislatures with bills.

One of the steering team behind Project Blitz is David Barton, the Texas-based founder of an organisation called WallBuilders, which takes its inspiration from the Old Testament in describing a a mission of “rebuilding our nation’s foundations”.

In a recording of a call with state legislators, Barton described in detail the strategy behind Project Blitz, which he said packages together about two dozen bills in separate categories based on the type of opposition they are likely to receive. Three categories of bills dominate  Project Blitz:

-  "In God We Trust” bills designed to trigger opposition by saying the bills are a waste of time, or the sponsor of the bill “just wants to fight culture wars and divide people”.  The strategy is to pave the way for later political attacks, painting an election opponent as “anti-faith”.

- Specious religious proclamation or resolution bills – declaring a religious freedom day or Christian heritage week that can then be used to get religious teaching into schools. The playbook adds: “If any legislator opposes this, it will be helpful to get him or her on the record against this heritage and freedom.

- Bills with  resolutions in favor of “biblical values concerning marriage and sexuality”, such as “establishing public policy favoring adoption by intact heterosexual, marriage-based families” and “establishing public policy favoring intimate sexual relations only between married, heterosexual couples”.
We're on to these slimy bastards now and if we keep our eyes open, heads screwed on straight - especially in states where Barton and his ilk are trying to foist Blitz on an us - we will beat these vermin back.. Again, citizens need to grasp and repeat the famous line from abolitionist Wendell Phillips in 1952: : "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance".
If you're not prepared to be vigilant and attend to all nascent or active threats in the Trump era, you are not prepared to enjoy any liberty, period.  In that case you probably don't deserve it.

See also:

by John Feffer | April 4, 2019 - 6:29am | permalink

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