Of “Illegal Immigrant Children” And Millstone Necklaces

Let’s play a little game. I’ll provide you with three headlines and you tell me which one is from Fox “News.” Okay? Here we go:

1) Showdown: California town turns away buses of detained immigrants

2) Protesters Block Bus Carrying Immigrants

3) Protests turn back buses carrying illegal immigrant children

I know, I know. That was too easy. That last one, with its purposeful use of “illegal,” tells you all you need to know. And if, like me, you are wondering just how children can be illegal, I’ll get to that in a minute. For now, though, I will note that the obvious Fox headline appeared below an “Illegal Immigrants” header that linked to other stories on Fox, including: “Sheriff Arpaio calls for military action in border crisis.” Damn! I guess the hate-filled sheriff wants to send our troops into Mexico and threaten the kids before they get here! Then we wouldn’t have to worry about all those messy immigration laws! Genius!

In any case, one of the headlines I used was from NBC Los Angeles (“Protesters Block Bus Carrying Immigrants”) and if you bother to read some of the hundreds of comments on that story, you will be amazed at how much support the protesters in Murrieta, California, have. And by support I mean rabid support. It is hard to believe, when one reads through the comments, that the anger expressed is essentially directed toward children. Excuse me. “Illegal” children. As an example, I have selected a comment from “Lola Guin” (an “alternate profile” on Facebook from, uh, Massachusetts), who, as a “Top Commenter,” wrote:

...more of us need to be taking a stand like these good patriots. And to the illegal invader who is quoted in the article, due process only applies to citizens of this country. Illegals are not entitled to such things. When you break the law and invade another person’s country, you’re not afforded privileges like due process. Go back to your own country and make it better. Stop trying to mooch off the hard work of Americans. America is not the birthright of everyone on the planet. Our ancestors worked hard to make this country great. You can’t just show up after America becomes the most successful nation on the planet and expect to reap the rewards without putting in the work. You are NOT entitled to our tax money. Go home and do something with your own nations and get the heck out of ours. We’re all full up here, we can’t even support our own people because we’ve let too many of you leeches in. Trust me, illegal scum. You’re NOT wanted or needed here. Go away.

I remind you that was said to and about mostly kids, “illegal scum” and everything. The comment, so far, received 222 “likes.” Yikes.

I would bet ten-thousand Romney dollars that whoever Lola Guin is that he or she is some kind of Christian. Same with many of the other people whose comments were hateful, bigoted, racist, or some combination. One such commenter to that NBC Los Angeles story happens to be a local woman, a local right-wing woman who often comments on Joplin Globe stories, named Mary Schillaci. A man named Jeff Wagner had the gall to write into the string of vitriolic commentary and say to someone,

I hope you don’t pretend to be a Christian. You make me sick to my stomach.

Our local right-winger from Carl Junction wrote back a shoutin':

Jeff Wagner How about “God helps those who help themselves.” Fair enough? Their countries need to help their own people and we will help ours with OUR TAX DOLLARS. Americans first!

I think she got that “Americans first!” sentiment from the GOP Annotated Bible, although I can’t be sure. But I am sure that in the real, non-GOP Bible the quote she offered—“God helps those who help themselves”—isn’t in there. If it were, then Christianity itself is a joke because its central claim is that Jesus helped us and saved us precisely because we couldn’t help and save ourselves. So it would be more accurate, by Christian standards, to say that, “God helps those who can’t help themselves.” But I digress.

Judging from her Facebook page, Mary Schillaci has some interest in God. Earlier this year she posted the following:

mary schillaci on facebook

Now, in this present humanitarian crisis, that might be a good message to send to those children coming here from Central America, since it appears many of them are down to nothing. And it is likely that many of those children think that what God is up to is making a place for them here in Christian America.

Fat chance.

Commenting on that NBC Los Angeles story, Rich McKeever (his real name), who is another “Top Commenter,” wrote:

This is what needs to happen. It seems we must take a page from the leftist playbook and take to the streets. It worked at the Bundy ranch, it worked here and it will work elsewhere if we can turn out the overwhelming numbers of people we need to become, as they say, too big to fail.

The idea, thanks to Cliven Bundy and his right-wing promoters, is that if enough folks carrying guns get together and are willing to use those guns against the government, then, by God, those children coming up from Central America won’t have a fightin’ chance! And I say “by God” in this case because, as it happens, Rich McKeever says on his Facebook page that he likes “Being Christian,” which is another Facebook page “where you can learn how to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, read daily devotionals, and be inspired.” 

Rich also says he likes a group called “Jesus Loves You,” which claims,

We’re giving away the love of Jesus Christ. 

Apparently when they were giving away the love of Christ, Rich was in a different line. Perhaps he was in line waiting to buy up all the ammo before Obama could get his hands on it, I don’t know. But we can see that Rich at least aspires to be a follower of Jesus. And just for him—no, for all those like him who want to simultaneously follow Jesus while being mean to desperate children from Central America—I have another news story for you about children, this time from a 1st-century journalist named Matthew, who was doing a write-up on Jesus:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Whoops! But he’s not finished:

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Uh-oh. “Illegal immigrant children,” anyone? “Illegal scum”? “God helps those who help themselves?” “Americans first!”? If I were those folks, I’d get to work on learning to swim while sporting a giant millstone necklace. And should they fail to figure out how to make that work, when they hit the ocean floor it might comfort them to know:

When you are down to nothing, God is up to something.

 

Romney’s Runes

The once-secret Romney tapes are a treasure of insight into Romney’s psyche and one needs to step back and look at what they have revealed so far:

♦ Romney has what should be an intolerably low opinion of half of America (no surprise there).

♦ Like his recent shameless exploitation of the murder of Americans in Libya, Romney seems willing to exploit a Jimmy Carter-like hostage crisis for political gain (no surprise there). And by the way: Jimmy Carter got those hostages released, not Ronald Reagan.

♦ He is resigned to doing virtually nothing to help bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, saying, “the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.” Gee, thanks for that uplifting breath of American exceptionalism.

♦ His sarcasm regarding the immigration issue reveals his lack of empathy for and understanding of folks who come here and how hard most of them work:

I’d like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, “Come to America, we want you here.” Instead, we make it hard for people who get educated here or elsewhere to make this their home. Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you’re welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life. [Audience laughs.] It’s very strange.

No, he’s very strange.

♦ Romney, who hasn’t hidden his disdain for labor unions, fielded a suggestion from a big-shot guest (Mittens called them “dignitaries”) at that big-money fundraiser that went like this:

…my recommendation would be clean house, immediately. The SEC, the CFEC are disaster areas.

ROMNEY: I wish they weren’t unionized, so we could go a lot deeper than you’re actually allowed to go. Yeah.

Yeah. All the union voters out there who can’t wait to pull the lever for Romney—and there are plenty of them—should rejoice at that sentiment.

♦ All that stuff we found out about Romney’s view of America and the world is bad enough, but other than the comments about the 47%, the most telling, and perhaps in terms of the country’s economic health, the most outrageous thing Romney said at that gathering of plump partisans, was the following, which I will set in its entire context:

Audience member: When the [unintelligible] in September, the markets are going to be looking—marginal tax rates going up, overheads going, fine, but sequestration under the debt ceiling deal—what do they call it?

Romney: Taxageddon?

Audience member: Yeah, they call it that. The Obamacare, taxes on dividends and capital gains—I mean, the markets are going to be speaking very wildly in October on all of those issues.

Romney: They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends, of course, which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get the—the “Taxageddon,” as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can’t work together, it really is frightening, really frightening in my view.

The idea that the markets could respond any better if Romney gets elected than they have under Obama—they have been up, up, and away since March of 2009—is preposterous. But what is more preposterous is this claim Romney made:

…my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.

Now, that comment, if it happens to be true, is pregnant with irony. Romney’s whole case against Obama is that he is in over his head, that his policies have failed. Yet here Romney is saying that the simple act of a Romney victory will be enough to “see capital come back” and provide “a boost in the economy.” All “without actually doing anything.”

Without actually doing anything“! Since economies aren’t sustained by sorcery—notwithstanding Republicans’ insistence on the magic of supply-side economics—all that “capital” sitting on the sidelines* must actually be partisan capital, with a big fat “R” stamped on it. Which tells us that those holding onto that capital, who are refusing to invest it in American jobs and increased wages, are Republicans before they are Americans.

At least that is what Romney must believe.

_______________________________

* David Cay Johnson wrote in July:

IRS data suggests that, globally, U.S. nonfinancial companies hold at least three times more cash and other liquid assets than the Federal Reserve reports, idle money that could be creating jobs, funding dividends or even paying a stiff federal penalty tax for hoarding corporate cash.

The Fed’s latest Flow of Funds report showed that U.S. nonfinancial companies held $1.7 trillion in liquid assets at the end of March. But newly released IRS figures show that in 2009 these companies held $4.8 trillion in liquid assets, which equals $5.1 trillion in today’s dollars, triple the Fed figure.

“It’s Time To Send A True Conservative To Washington, DC”

When you play with the fire of right-wing social issues, and your personal life is full of kindling, then, well, you just might go up in flames:

One of Arizona’s rising Republican stars is facing allegations he threatened to deport a Mexican resident who claims to have been his gay ex-lover.

The Phoenix New Times is reporting that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who has become one of the faces of the anti-illegal immigration fight in Arizona and nationwide, threatened a 34-year-old man identified only as Jose with deportation if he disclosed details of their years-long affair. Jose had previously been asked to sign paperwork that he would never breathe a word about the affair.

Babeu, who is was co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign and is may be running for a U.S. House seat, has said that he supports Romney’s far-right, inflexible stand on immigration because,

he will not give amnesty; they will not be given voting rights; they will not be given citizenship…

No, but apparently “they” will be given a little tender loving care only a closeted gay Republican can provide:

Here’s a peek at Babeu’s campaign website that I think complements the above photo very well:

During a speech at CPAC this year, Sheriff Babeu, a true Obama-hater, said his campaign for Congress would be,

a fight to define the Republican Party. Are we conservatives? Are we gonna use those bold, bright colors…that define us?

Bold, bright colors“? Hmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

In the mean time: During a press conference on Saturday, Sheriff Babeu admitted that he was gay and that he had a relationship with the man identified as “Jose,” although he denied he or anyone connected to him threatened the man with deportation.

He also said this,

We’re gonna complete our four-year term as sheriff with a bang.

Uh-oh.

In any case, I found this photo on Sheriff Babeu’s website. See if you can find the subliminal message (I cropped it to make it easier for my more conservative readers):

And here is a special photo of the man who would represent the “bold, bright colors” of Republican conservatism in Washington (courtesy of Phoenix New Times):

Perhaps the photogenic conservative meant that instead of completing his “four-year term as sheriff with a bang,” he meant “with a flash.”

The Magic Kingdom Of Conservatism

You’re sailing softly through the sun in a broken Stone Age dawn. You fly so high, I get a strange magic.

Oh, what a strange magic.

—Jeff Lynne, Electric Light Orchestra

Bill Maher made an interesting observation about the difference between conservatives here in America and those across the Atlantic in the land of our Founder’s fathers:

…they just had an election two weeks ago and, power changed hands — but the party that lost is working WITH the part that won — they are not accusing them of being Bolshevik Zulus out to destroy the Magna Carta. Because the English are grown ups, including their conservatives who enjoy a wonderful luxury that conservatives on this side of the pond do not. They’re allowed to be sane. They don’t have to pander to creationists and anti-intellectuals. Only in this dumb country do liberals and conservatives argue over things like “evolution” and “climate change” and whether “sick people should be left to die in the street.”

Maher also pointed out that conservatives in America “tend to believe in magical ideas“:

America is never wrong; you can defeat terrorism militarily; and lower taxes will somehow fix the deficit. And I’m not even mentioning the stuff about how Jesus used to fly around on a pterodactyl and just hated it when homos ate wedding cake.

Now, no matter what you think about Maher’s brand of humor, there is something odd about the current iteration of conservative philosophy, as expressed by right-wing media and echoed by Republican politicians all across the country.

It does sort of have a strange magical quality to it. 

We can wave our tax-cutting wand, and jobs will come back, the deficit will diminish, and our debt will soon disappear.  

We can talk mean and nasty to the rest of the world, and then we can pull a rabbit of peace out of a hat.

We can build a magic wall, and our immigration problems will vanish.

We can elect Tea Party sorcerers to the Congress, and they will restore Lady Liberty—who Obama has cut in half—to her original state.

Oh, what a strange magic.

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