Cliven Bundy Just Put Away The Dog Whistle, That’s All

I don’t know, I really don’t know, what everybody is so upset about.

So Cliven Bundy said the following, via The New York Times:

I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

So what? Why are so many people, who jumped in bed with Cliven Bundy and began a rather lurid affair (Have a nice day, Senator Dean Heller!), now scurrying around looking for their clothes and the door? What is in Bundy’s racist remarks that hasn’t been endorsed, in one form or another, by any number of Republicans, especially during the 2012 presidential election? There are many examples to choose from, but I will give you only two.

Remember back in 2012 when two GOP presidential candidates—I said, presidential candidates, people!—Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, signed a “Marriage Vow” pledge that included the following as a preamble:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President, according to the document.

Translation from Cliven Bundy: “Are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things…?”

But we don’t have to go back to 2012, which featured Mitt Romney’s class warfare on the mooching 47%. His partner in that presidential run, Paul Ryan, recently made remarks that mirror Bundy’s comments about how blacks “never learned to pick cotton” because of all the government subsidies they enjoy. On right-wing Bill Bennet’s radio show Ryan said:

Bennett: You gave a talk about poverty, lifting people out of poverty. A great party has a plan to help people get out of poverty. What’s the plan? What are the broad outlines? What’s the roadmap, as someone might say?

Ryan: In a nutshell, work works. It’s all about getting people to work. And when you were one of the leaders of welfare reform in the late ‘90s, we got excoriated for saying you know what, as a condition of welfare, people should go to work and it should be a bridge, not a permanent system. And it worked very well, but there were dozens of other welfare programs that did not get reformed that have sort of overtaken events and have now made it harder for people to get into work. We call it a poverty trap. There are incentives not to work and to stay where you are; that’s not what we want in society. 

And later he told Bennett:

Ryan: And so, that’s this tailspin or spiral that we’re looking at in our communities. You know your buddy (conservative scholar) Charles Murray or (public policy professor) Bob Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this, which is we have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities, in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work; and so there’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with. 

The only difference, to my ears, from what Ryan said and what Bundy said is that Ryan was careful to substitute “inner cities” for “Negroes.” The rest of it is essentially the same idea: if you don’t make black people work by threatening to starve them to death, then what will happen is that all the older blacks will sit on the porch and count their food stamps, while their young girls get pregnant and then get abortions and their young boys commit crimes and end up in jail.

So, let’s get off Cliven Bundy’s racist ass and congratulate him for saying plainly what many, many Republicans have been saying in code for so long.

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“A Murderer Is Less To Fear” Or How Barack Obama Is Driving Right-Wingers Crazy

We’ve all seen it since 2008. They hate this man. They hate the President of the United States. And there is no sign that the hate will abate. In fact, it may be getting worse.

I received today an email from a group called TheTeaParty.net. The subject line shouted:

You are going to WANT to listen to this!

“This” was an interview of Rep. Pete Olson from, where else, Texas. He is lately famous for introducing “articles of impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder for high crimes and misdemeanors,” as his official government website proudly boasts. Texas Pete’s resolution has 22 co-sponsors, including Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert. So, you sort of get the idea. These Obama-haters can’t yet impeach President Obama, so they are trying to impeach his pigmented friend at the Justice Department.

I visited the website of TheTeaParty.net, which brags about having “well over 3 million members and a huge national social media presence.” Yeah, well, I don’t know about all that, but I did find this tweet, which was posted just yesterday:

obama the traitor

Sure, we’ve seen this stuff before. Obama is a traitor, blah, blah, blah. But this one seems particularly vicious. “He rots the soul of a nation and works secretly to undermine the pillars of the city…” Really? Just whose soul is rotting here? And just who is working, not so secretly, to undermine the pillars of our civilization? Huh? In any case, you know what is left out of that Cicero quote? This:

A murderer is less to fear.

That’s right. The next line in that Cicero citation is “A murderer is less to fear.” Why did they leave that line out? Is it even too much for these Tea Party folks to say the President of the United States is worse than a murderer? Well, let’s see.

If you go to TheTeaParty.net website, you will find the usual nutjob fare: a “DEFUND Obamacare NOW” petition, a “Demand Full Benghazi Investigation” petition, and, yes, an “Impeach Obama & Remove Him From Office” petition (“President Obama is the most corrupt president in U.S. history”). These things are all designed to entice the haters among us and, more important, to separate the haters from their money. Conveniently you can donate to the cause.

But there was one petition that is more disturbing than the rest, even by the pitifully low standards of Tea Party groups out to make a buck. It’s called:

Show President Obama That He Is Not A King!

Now, again, we’ve all seen this sort of thing before. It’s the everyday kind of stuff on, say, the Rush Limbaugh Show. But this one goes a little deeper. While the Obama-is-a-traitor tweet left out the “A murderer is less to fear” line, this petition begins:

Untouchable. That is what President Obama believes that he is. If you’ve seen the movie “The Untouchables” that chronicles the days of Al Capone in Obama’s hometown of Chicago, then you will totally get this. Capone broke every law in the book, yet still viewed himself as untouchable. After all, he had law enforcement agents, attorneys, even judges bought and paid for. They towed the line and Capone beat the rap over and over again for crime after crime. Until, that is, a certain tax agent named Elliot Ness entered the picture. He was relentless in his pursuit of Capone and, when one of his men was murdered, the killer scrawled the word “Touchable” in blood on the wall.

Forget for a moment the fact that it was not Al Capone who was considered “untouchable.” It was the small group of feds trying to bring him down who were called the Untouchables. How could these Tea Party nuts muck that up? And forget for a moment the irony of having an anti-big-government Tea Party group extol the virtues of “a certain tax agent named Elliot [sic] Ness.” Ness wasn’t just a tax agent, he was first an agent for the Bureau of Prohibition, and if there ever was an intrusive government agency, it was that one. Besides that, the hero of this Tea Party story never did get Al Capone. It was really the IRS that brought him down. And Eliot Ness, according to one source, had a heart attack at age 54 and died “depressed, disillusioned and deeply in debt.” Oh, yeah, Al Capone allegedly found Jesus in prison. Yikes.

Anyway, forget all that. Look at the Tea Party image created so far: President Obama is a gangster who will not only kill his enemies, but taunt them with blood-scrawled writing on the wall. To these Tea Party-crazed people, “a murderer is less to fear” than our president.

Here’s a little detail from the petition:

The self perceived ‘untouchable’ Obama Regime has blood on their hands. They have the blood of the four men, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, on their hands since they sat back and did nothing while the torturous massacre at Benghazi occurred. They have the blood of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the hundreds of Mexican citizens killed by individuals wielding guns from the botched gun running Operation Fast and Furious on their hands. They have the blood of all those who were killed during the shooting initiated by the Muslim serviceman Nidal Malik Hasan who is still not prosecuted under Eric Holder’s Department of (In) Justice. The fact that the Obama Regime refuses to answer questions surrounding these avoidable, tragic situations is an insult to the American people and those victims who died in these incidents…

Add in his thuggish threatening of journalists Bob Woodward, Lanny Davis, and a reporter with the National Journal and we have a presidency ripe for the investigation of a special prosecutor!

You can see now why Attorney General Eric Holder is under attack by at least 23 Republicans in the House and, if the impeachment resolution ever came to a vote, likely many more. If you read the press release introducing the articles of impeachment drawn up by Texas congressman Pete Olson, you will find some of the same references as in the Obama-is-Capone petition:

During his tenure, Mr. Holder refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious and the resulting death of a Border Patrol agent, refused to prosecute IRS officials who unlawfully disclosed private tax records to third party groups, and misled Congress about his involvement in the investigation of a journalist…

At least Rep. Olson had the decency to leave out not only the “A murderer is less to fear” quote, but also the Al Capone reference. I guess these days that’s saying something. But there is no mistaking one thing. These teapartiers are full of hate for this president and most everyone around him. Congressman Olson and his House friends, Michele Bachmann and Louis Gohmert and the others who co-sponsored that Eric Holder impeachment resolution, may have dressed it up in slightly kinder legislative language, but at its base it is still “Show President Obama That He Is Not A King!”

And do it all in the name of Cicero and, uh, Elliot [sic] Ness.

Guns, God, Hemp, And Ozark Billy

The local wingnuts have been busy.

The Joplin Globe reported:

More than 150 residents, local politicians and rally organizers attended what was described as a “peaceful demonstration to support and defend the Second Amendment” Saturday at Landreth Park in Joplin…

One of those residents is a man named John Broom, who the Globe said is trying to start a “permanent group” of locals in order “to support firearm rights.” Apparently for Broom the NRA isn’t doing enough.gun rally in joplin

Broom, I must say, did an excellent job—much better than I could do—of exposing just how misguided gun enthusiasts can be:

We want people to know what we are about and why we support this right. The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting. It’s not about competition or sport, and it really isn’t about self-defense. It’s about rights of the people to protect themselves from invaders and from tyrants. We have to start educating folks really quick.

Yep, really quick, I mean, quickly: before people figure out how dumb it is to sit around the house with a small arsenal, waiting for invaders and tyrants. In any case, thanks to John Broom for that enlightening interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Last Saturday proved to be a busy day for local reactionaries. The Jasper-Newton County Lincoln Days brought into Joplin none other than Tom Schweich, who is Missouri’s auditor. Schweich told his Republican congregation:

God is a part of the Republican Party.

Yep, he said it. And, as the Joplin Globe reported, he said it “to applause from the crowd.” God always gets an ovation around here, don’t you know.

Apparently, the Globe couldn’t get God to comment on the remark, or, more likely, the paper didn’t bother to ask Him. Maybe next time. Oh, and maybe the Globe could ask God about that ass whippin’ that Barack Obama and the Democrats gave His party last November and just what He intends to do to get even. Democrats would do well to remember: Vengeance is mine, I will repaysaith the Lord.

During his keynote speech, Schweich estimated that 70 percent of the gathered locals were Christian conservatives. He was way off on that one. I doubt you could have found anyone in the crowd who would have courageously testified to being, say, an Allah-loving Republican. It’s GOP Jesus or nothing around here.

And speaking of GOP-Jesus-loving Republicans, Ozark Billy Long was in attendance. My congressman did not disappoint. He gave my president a compliment:

We spent all our time saying Barack Obama was nothing but a community organizer. He organized his community and got out the vote.

That had to hurt the Sarah Palin fans in attendance. The former fractional governor and former Fox babe made a small fortune by making fun of the community organizer. But fearless Billy had more to say, as reported by the Globe’s Susan Redden:

Long, speaking at the local Lincoln Days event, noted that a recent National Journal ranking had placed him as more conservative than Reps. Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan.

Only in Southwest Missouri would a congressman actually brag about being nuttier more conservative than Michele Bachmann. And although Redden didn’t report it this way, I’m guessing that Long made his I’m-crazier-than-Bachmann statement “to applause from the crowd.”

Finally, Ozark Billy has been called out by, uh, The Weed Blog: Marijuana News and Information. It seems one of Billy’s constituents wrote him, asking support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013. Yes, there is such a bill, and it has several bipartisan co-sponsors in the House (the Senate version includes Mitch McConnell as a co-sponsor).billy long and hemp

For those of you who don’t touch the stuff, industrial hemp is not marijuana, although both are prepared from Cannabis plants. As Wikipedia points out,

Hemp is refined into products like hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, and fuel.

The stuff in the Cannabis plant that gives you the munchies (THC) is very low or nonexistent in industrial hemp. Thus, when we’re talking about hemp farming we’re not talking about growing pot, as disappointed as that may make some of you out there, and you know who you are.

In any case, Billy Long responded to his constituent with a letter that, as The Weed Blog noted, indicated Long didn’t have the slightest idea what industrial hemp was. In the response letter, Long said,

While I am a strong believer in personal freedom, I do not support the recreational or medical use of illegal drugs regardless of whether the drug is marijuana, cocaine, or any other illegal substance.

The Weed Blog writer, Johnny Green, wrote:

I find it odd that someone who dislikes hemp so much, doesn’t even understand what it is. Is he serious?

Well, it’s hard to answer that question, Johnny. Perhaps Billy Long, somewhere in his past, had a bad experience smoking industrial hemp. Who knows? Smoking industrial hemp may explain a lot about Billy Long.

But I certainly don’t find it “odd” that Long, like so many Bachmannish conservatives, can dislike something without understanding it. That’s how they manage to stay in power in places like Southwest Missouri. From evolution to global warming to hemp farming, the less they understand, the more popular they are.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, everyone!

Only In America?

One kid dreams of fame and fortune, one kid helps pay the rent,

One could end up goin’ to prison, one just might be President

— “Only in America,” by Brooks and Dunn

hat other universe, the one inhabited by mutants who love Jesus more than they love the things Jesus arguably stood for, was at it again with their creepy 2012 Values Voter Summit, brought to us by that extremist hate group, the Family Research Council.

Amid all the talk at the summit of just how right Romney was to lie about and then trash the Commander-in-Chief during an international incident that saw an American ambassador killed, these GOP Jeezus-loving folks also managed to pile on the Commander-in-Chief by loudly accusing him of bending his knee before “radical Islamists” and causing all those extremists to flex their very tiny muscles in the face of our beloved America.

The usual irrational suspects (irrational in this universe, but coldly logical in the one in which they live and move and have their being) were at it, including Republican foreign policy expert Michele Bachmann, who as HuffPo reported:

slammed President Barack Obama and his administration on Friday for pursuing a foreign policy of what she called “apology and appeasement” and claiming they played a direct role in enabling the recent attacks in Egypt and Libya that took the lives of four Americans.

Her exact claim was,

[W]hat we’re watching develop before our eyes today are the direct consequences of this administration’s policy of apology and appeasement across the globe and the supposed success of the president’s foreign policy genius…

Yes, all that apologizing and appeasing, which Mr. Obama has delivered time and again via drones and dead terrorists, has definitely pissed off the extremists. In fact, let’s go ask Mr. bin Laden how he feels about it:

ERSTWHILE CONSERVATIVE: I’d like to ask the leader of al Qaeda if he is taking advantage of Mr. Obama’s weakness as an American president. Well, is he?

SPOKESMAN FOR OSAMA BIN LADEN: Uh, Mr. bin Laden cannot come to the phone right now. He has gone deep sea diving in the Arabian Sea.

ERSTWHILE CONSERVATIVE: Okay. When do you expect him back?

SPOKESMAN FOR OSAMA BIN LADEN: Uh, it will be a very long dive.

Oh, well. Maybe he will get back to us real soon.

In the mean time, Ms. Bachmann finished up her bearing-false-witness speech by offering some GOP Jesus love to our president:

Barack Obama has been the most dangerous president we have ever had on foreign policy.

You mean, more dangerous than Jimmy Carter? Come on now, Michele. You can’t mean it. President Carter will be upset that he is no longer the poster child for bad foreign policy at Republican gatherings.

In any case, Gary Bauer, an evangelical zealot who gives me the willies, had the crowd on their holy feet with this:

Don’t tell me to worry about Muslim sensibilities.

Okay. So nobody should tell Mr. Bauer to worry about Muslim sensibilities. I know I won’t tell him to because, well, I don’t much worry about them either. But thank Allah that somebody told George W. Bush and Barack Obama to worry about them, because if our political leaders don’t, then more Americans may die.

I guess one can conclude, using the logic governing that strange Bachmann-Bauer universe, that evangelical American Christians who don’t care about Muslim sensibilities apparently want Americans to die.  Yeah, that’s it. They don’t give a damn if Americans die, right?

And speaking of that strange universe with its strange logic, we now know it is okay to pal around with terrorists as long as,

a) they now love GOP Jesus, or

b) they weren’t really terrorists at all.

I am talking about the appearance at the screwy summit of a man who John Glasstetter of Right Wing Watch called a “fake terrorist,” a man who,

is identified on the schedule as Kamal Saleem, but his real name is Khodor Shami. He claims that he was a Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country” and crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” He also claims to have “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”

Saleem is widely known to be a fraud. Yet he’s being presented by the Family Research Council as the real deal and appears next to Ryan on the featured speakers page, with “former terrorist” under his name.

For a complete rundown of just how deluded this guy is, of how he is able to fleece gullible right-wingers, go here and be prepared to puke uncontrollably, as you contemplate the fact that he was prominently featured on a program of prominent conservatives that also featured appearances by Paul Ryan and, via video, Mitt Romney. It truly is sickening.

Given the endless and factless attacks on President Obama for hanging out with terrorists, I would never have thought it was okay for followers of GOP Jeezus to not only hang out with a terrorist, phony or no, but to embrace him with loving, if hypocritical, GOP Jeezus arms. Especially a man who claims that “killing Jews and Christians” was his “dream as a child.” 

I guess the following words helped make that awkward embrace easier, which Mr. Saleem-Shami uttered before those gathered angels of Republicanism at the Values Voter Summit:

How do you change a terrorist? Introduce him to Jesus.

Okay. The old “I’ve been redeemed” play. I get it . But which Jesus did he meet? Because Barack Obama also claims to have been introduced to Jesus, redeemed by Jesus, albeit not GOP Jeezus. It’s important to identify correctly this Jesus fella, because the former or fake terrorist, either Mr. Saleem or Mr. Shami, said the following about Mr. Obama’s was-it-or-wasn’t-it curtsy to Saudi King Abdullah:

When the president bowed before the King of Islam and bowed his knees — in Islam we bow five times a day, that’s what we used to do, and when we kiss the signet ring of the king, that means we are under his authority. And when we surrender to that authority and we apologize to everybody over there, in Islam that is a victory, and that is the start of the march now, somewhere to take over your land, take over your country and fulfill your purpose and become united Islamic nation. This is what happened.

Yes, he said that. But he also said more than that. He said that Hillary Clinton is about to introduce a UN resolution that will,

subjugate American people to be arrested and put in jail and their churches and synagogues shut down and go under ground…

Yes, he said that, too.

Talking, falsely, about how much Obama wants to arm Egypt (“our president enabled Egypt to have two submarines to control the Suez Canal against Israel“) and how Obama has turned his back against Israel, this crazy man on the program with Ryan and Romney also said of our president:

Netanyahu wanted peace, but our president says, “I don’t have time for peace. You all go knock your heads together.”

Maybe they want Iran to obtain the nukes so they can control the region.

Of course! It’s obvious. President Obama wants Iran to rule the world!

Needless to say, after his speech, this Obama-hating self-proclaimed terrorist exited to thunderous applause from the Saints of Obama Hate, as Brooks and Dunn bellowed out “Only in America.”

Only in America, indeed. Only in a very strange America in a very strange and disturbing universe, a universe peopled by conservative Christian Republicans who worship an equally strange and disturbing Jeezus.

Muslim Internment

Recently I read an essay written by one of my favorite thinkers, Sam Harris (author of bestsellers The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, And the Future of Reason and Letter to a Christian Nation, among others). The essay is titled, “In Defense of Profiling,” and its basic argument is that at our nation’s airports,

We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.

Harris claims that all the unnecessary screening procedures at airports amount to a “tyranny of fairness” because they are wasted on “people who do not stand a chance of being jihadists.”  While I recommend reading Harris’s post, I also recommend reading a thoughtful rebuttal of it written by security expert Bruce Schneier, who argues that Harris’ profiling idea is a bad one because,

It doesn’t make us any safer—and it actually puts us all at risk.

Schneier offers several good arguments against profiling Muslims at airports and the one I find most convincing is this one:

Beyond the societal harms of deliberately harassing a minority group, singling out Muslims alienates the very people who are in the best position to discover and alert authorities about Muslim plots before the terrorists even get to the airport. This alone is reason enough not to profile.

This deliberate harassment and resulting alienation is not something to ignore just because “we” are not the ones being harassed or alienated. As with most important policy issues, it comes down to this: What kind of country do we all want to live in?

I bring up all this because of the shameful nonsense in the news about right-wing legislators, including Michele Bachmann, and their conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, being nefariously connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Even John McCain found what these legislators did—and continue to do— shameful and he, along with a handful of Republicans, denounced it. But other prominent conservatives, including Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, have defended Bachmann and her colleagues, claiming she was only asking questions and not making allegations.

Gingrich suggested that the Muslim Brotherhood may have influence over the Obama administration and he asked Bachmann’s critics,

What is it they are afraid of learning?

Gingrich’s and Limbaugh’s and Bachmann’s curiosity would be admirable if, say, it was applied to Mitt Romney’s tax returns, but it is disgusting in this case because there is no evidence—exactly no evidence—that the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Muslim group has “infiltrated” our government. The only “evidence” is that there are folks working in the government who happen to be Muslims.

And that is why people like Sam Harris are wrong to endorse profiling at airports. Once such profiling is widely accepted, the public can easily slither into dangerous reasoning like the following, from the founder of an Arizona Tea Party group:

Have you ever read the Quran? I suggest you do so, because anyone that is a Muslim is a threat to this country, and that’s a fact. There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. If they are Muslim they have to follow the Quran. That’s their religion and that’s their doctrine.

As the AzCapitolTimes reported, the Tea Party honcho is planning on recalling John McCain for criticizing Michele Bachmann’s smearing of a government official and he also endorsed an email from an extremist website (which used to be hosted by WordPress, by the way) that accused McCain of defending “Islamic enemies of America.”

You see? If you are a Muslim you are ipso facto a threat to the country and if you dare to oppose such specious and culturally-damaging reasoning you are defending our “Islamic enemies.” Such hysteria characterizes reactionary politics these days, and Sam Harris, a man whose mind I admire greatly, contributes to it with his advocacy of profiling Muslims at airports.

I share with Harris a deep aversion to fundamentalist Islam, which is similar to my deep aversion to all fundamentalist religions. But I ask again: What kind of country do we want to live in? Isn’t taking your shoes off at an airport and undergoing a brief screening better than pushing a whole group of people into metaphorical internment camps?

The Real Muslim Conspiracy

Look, it is obvious that congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a nut’s nut, is a very sick woman. But her conspiracy-laden, paranoic mind couldn’t do the country much harm if it weren’t for folks like John Boehner, who appointed her, for God’s sake, to sit on the House Intelligence Committee.

And her paranoia would mostly go unnoticed, if it weren’t endorsed and spread far and wide by people like Glenn Beck, who said on Thursday:

There are a few people in Washington D.C. that I trust and tell the truth…Michele Bachmann is one of them…

One of the Beckian truths that Bachmann is still telling, despite a scolding by John McCain, is that our government is being infiltrated by double naught Muslim Brotherhood spies, one of whom may be Hillary Clinton’s long-time aide, Huma Abedin. The truth is, though, that our government, particularly the House of Representatives, has been infiltrated by some folks with double naught IQs.

As Salon pointed out, Michele Bachmann, who is taking much of the criticism for slandering Huma Abedin, is not the only one who signed onto letters demanding investigations of five national security agencies. One of those other nuts is a man named Louis Gohmert, needless to say a Tea Party Republican from Texas. Gohmert warned just a few short years ago that Muslim terrorist babies—yep!—were invading us:

It appeared they would have young women who became pregnant [and] would get them into the United States to have a baby. They wouldn’t even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would return back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, 20, 30 years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life.

Yes, I know. It sounds like I’m just making that up, a fine piece of satire. But I’m not making it up, just like I’m not making up what Gomer, uh, I mean Gohmert said today about the killings in Aurora, Colorado:

You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of a derelict takes place…People say … where was God in all of this? We’ve threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God’s name, they’re going to be jailed … I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don’t want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present.

If God had a protective hand, surely he would use it to slap some sense into people like Louis Gohmert and Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck, wouldn’t he? I mean I can’t think of a better use of his hand than that.

But the sad fact about all this is that even paranoics have enemies. As Nina Burleigh pointed out, there is something to worry about in terms of a global Muslim conspiracy, and the latest nuttery from the right-wing draws attention away from it and even undermines an understanding of it:

There is a kernel of truth to Bachmann’s paranoia. If she really cared, she could start looking at America’s good friend, Saudi Arabia, which, according to political scientist Alexi Alexiev, spent over $80 billion between 1973 and 2002 creating a worldwide network of Wahhabi mosques, Islamic centers, madrassas, and charities “that constitute the actual infrastructure of Islamic extremism worldwide,” including in many Western cities. Among the recipients of Saudi money are the Afghan Taliban and Islamic fundamentalists as far away as Indonesia. “This truly colossal sum” Alexiev told a Congressional committee, was “the largest worldwide propaganda campaign ever known.”

Saudi Arabia’s publicists and agents in the United States and on K Street include highly paid men in fine suits and savvy blonde PR girls who tote expensive designer bags and sport gold earrings snagged during layovers in Dubai. They have American and British accents and names that Bachmann’s constituents at Lake Woebegone can pronounce. Some of them have probably even walked through the Capital Hill offices of the intelligence expert and Congresswoman from Minnesota.

Note: Before some of you, especially my liberal friends, criticize me for including the above quotation, please read “The Global Spread of Wahhabi Islam: How Great a Threat?” as well as this article by Thomas Friedman, then we can have a discussion.

There’s No Such Thing As A 9-Year-Old Activist

This post isn’t going to win me any points with some in the liberal community, but here it goes.

First, let’s start with this:

And then this:

The story behind these headlines is that the LGBT “activist” is a “soft-spoken 8-year-old.” That’s right, a second-grader named Elijah.

That second-grader said this—after what is termed “some lighthearted coaxing”—to Michele Bachman at a book signing event:

My mommy— Miss Bachmann, my mommy’s gay but she doesn’t need fixing.

The reference is to Bachmann’s Christian counseling business, operated by her husband, that purports to use some kind of “reparative therapy” to undo the gay in those folks who happen to be afflicted with it. Yeah, I know, that sounds crazy doesn’t it? It’s hard to believe that anyone in the 21st century believes such stuff.

But plenty of people do believe that stuff, and plenty of those who do believe it happen to live in South Carolina, where Bachmann was signing copies of her book (imagine that: a conservative presidential candidate has a book for sale!) when little Elijah bushwhacked her.

The HuffPo story noted:

A dumbfounded Bachmann then shot the boy’s mother an icy look before the pair walked away.

The story also urged us to “Watch Bachmann’s awkward moment below.” Okay, let’s watch the 40-second video:

As bad as Michele Bachmann’s position on homosexuality is, and as much as her position deserves ridicule, the real awkward moment in the video is not hers but Elijah’s mother, who put him up to the stunt.

I have been critical of Tea Party activists here in Joplin for using their kids as props to make political points at Tea Party rallies. It is no less offensive when those on the left use their kids to make points, or in this case, to embarrass a political candidate.

There are other ways to address Ms. Bachmann’s Iron Age views on homosexuality than by putting shy second-graders on the spot and calling them “activists.”

“The Dumb Spake”

And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.”

—Luke 11:14

 

We now have two stunning episodes in which a Republican presidential candidate was unable to articulate what should have been for them the obvious: Rick Perry’s blanking out on the three agencies he would eliminate and Herman Cain’s stuttering search through his obviously spacious mental warehouse of world knowledge for a response to an easy question on Obama’s Libya policy.

Let’s face it: Rick Perry and Herman Cain have about the same chance of becoming president as a fried turkey leg has of surviving an encounter with Newt Gingrich, so it’s not what those two couldn’t say that scares me about this crop of GOP candidates.

It’s what actually escapes, with varying degrees of fluency, from the mouths of some of the rest of them:

In March, Newt Gingrich, who is now the Republican front-runner in some national polls and in all campaign-trail buffets, said this:

I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American. 

Newt was 67 when he made that statement. You do the math as to how long we have before the “radical Islamists” dominate a “secular atheist” America, and then wonder why Newt didn’t bother to explain how the country could be secular and atheist if it were dominated by folks who adhere to a very radical and non-secular and non-atheist version of Islam.

Gingrich’s reputation for brilliance, as you can see, is well-deserved.

Then there’s Michele Bachmann, who said last Saturday:

I think, really, what I would want to do is be able to go back and take a look at Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society … The Great Society has not worked and it’s put us into the modern welfare state.

If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They don’t have AFDC [Aid to Families with Dependent Children]. They save for their own retirement security. They don’t have the modern welfare state. And China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone.

I can’t remember the last candidate from one of the two major parties who used China as a model for American domestic policy, can you? Reagan? Bush?

And by the way, we don’t even have AFDC anymore, thanks to the 1996 welfare reform bill that changed it into a block grant program. So take that you wonderful Chinese! We’re catching up!

And here’s don’t-Google-me-please Rick Santorum, who said last month

I’ll repeal all funding for abortions…We’ll repeal Obamacare and get rid of any kind of idea that you have to have abortion coverage or contraceptive coverage. And one of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is that I think the dangers of contraception in this country—the whole sexual libertine idea. And many in the Christian faith say, “Well, that’s okay, you know, contraception’s okay.” It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be…

Let me see. Besides putting restrictions on our sex licenses, Santorum is opposed to contraception, abortion, and has bragged about killing the federal entitlement program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, that Michele Bachmann thinks still exists.  It all makes sense to me.

Then there is the “sensible” and “adult” Jon Huntsman, who said during last Saturday’s debate, in response to a question from Tea Party kingpin Sen. Jim DeMint on “federal spending and debt”:

My speech was a very short one on debt and spending. It’s three words: The Ryan Plan. I think The Ryan Plan sets out a template that puts– everything on the table.

I’ve got three words for Mr. Huntsman: Find another job. The Ryan plan, besides morphing Medicare out of existence, did not put “everything on the table.” His plan was advertised as revenue neutral and all the deficit reduction pain would be felt by—guess who?

Finally, there’s the eventual Republican nominee, Mitt. This one is short and sweet and easy to remember:

Corporations are people, my friend.

“And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.”

Strange Things From The Mouths Of Evangelicals

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me…See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven…So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

—Jesus of Nazareth

 

As a former evangelical Christian I know that evangelical Christians sometimes say strange things.

For instance, after the St. Louis Cardinals’ heart-stopping victory in Game Six of the World Series, Josh Hamilton, who had hit for the Texas Rangers what appeared to be a series-clinching two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning, told reporters about the dramatic hit:

I would tell y’all something, but y’all wouldn’t believe me. The Lord told me it was going to happen before it happened.

Hamilton said the Lord’s words were: “You hadn’t hit a home run in a while. You’re about to right now.”

Now, it’s not unusual that people like Josh Hamilton—who very publicly claims the Lord helped him with a severe addiction to drugs and alcohol—believe the God of the Universe speaks to them and tells them things before they actually happen.

What is unusual in Josh Hamilton’s case is that God chose that particular time and that particular game to get all chatty with the talented outfielder. You see, in July at another Texas Rangers game, when God could have done some real good in the world, he didn’t have much to say.

Everyone remembers that on that sad day a fireman named Shannon Stone, 39-years-old, was at the Rangers game with his little boy, six-year-old Cooper. Cooper’s favorite baseball player is Josh Hamilton and his dad was trying to get Hamilton to toss him a foul ball to give to his son.

Hamilton said that he heard the father shout, “Hey, Hamilton, how about the next one?” after Hamilton had tossed a foul ball to the ball girl. “I just gave him a nod,” Hamilton said, “When I got it, I found them again.”

He tossed the ball to Shannon Stone who reached for it over the railing and fell 20 feet to his death.

This tragedy was not Josh Hamilton’s fault and he was obviously distraught over it.  But that’s not the point. My question for Mr. Hamilton is this: If you honestly believe that God would give you a heads-up on a tie-breaking home run and you felt it necessary to tell the world about it, then you owe the world an explanation as to why God did not whisper in your mind, just before you tossed that ball to Shannon Stone, to throw it somewhere else, or give it to the ball girl.

What must Shannon Stone’s family have thought upon hearing that the Almighty is on speaking terms with Josh Hamilton?

If he can go public with the homer revelation from God in October, Hamilton can also go public about God’s stunning and deadly silence in July. He should tell us how God has the time and inclination to talk baseball with Hamilton in a World Series game but apparently not the time and inclination to issue a warning to save a little boy’s dad at a regular season contest.

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Michele Bachmann, who says she gave her heart to Christ and “wept before the Lord” when she was in high school, believes she is “pro-life.”  She said so, just last week:

I want you to know quite firmly, I stand for life – from conception to natural death.

Quite firmly,” she said, she stands “for life.”  “From conception to natural death.” We know this all-inclusive statement means she believes that just-fertilized eggs are deserving of the full protection of the U.S. Constitution, which, no doubt, her followers find quite charitable and godly.

By Saturday, however, her all-inclusive statement about firmly standing for life had been subjected to what appears to me to be a rather uncharitable and ungodly revision. MSNBC reported:

A 19 year-old college student, identifying himself as Latino, asked what Bachmann would “do to” the children of illegal immigrants.

Bachmann responded that she is “not doing anything to them,” and described why she is against the federal government rewarding citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

“Their parents are the ones who brought them here,” Bachmann said.

“They did not have the legal right to come to the United States,” Bachmann added, of the parents.  “We do not owe people who broke our laws to come into the country.  We don’t owe them anything.”

Bachmann is right of course. We don’t “owe them anything” in a frosty technical sense. Their parents did bring them here illegally, obviously for a better life, and the children have no legal claim to stay and no legal claim on our American stuff.

But all that Arctic Christian hair-splitting is not exactly what most people understand someone to mean when they say, again:

I want you to know quite firmly, I stand for life – from conception to natural death.

And neither is it all that spirtually becoming for someone who says she “wept before the Lord” and gave her heart to Jesus so long ago, to harden her heart toward kids brought here to live.  That same Jesus who allegedly witnessed a weeping Bachmann told a famous little story that went sort of like this:

A certain family with children was going up from Juarez to El Paso to escape poverty and drug dealers, who were destroying their homeland.

By chance a certain conservative evangelical Christian presidential candidate was going up that way.  When she saw them, she passed by on the other side.  She said, “We don’t owe these people or their children anything.We need to build a secure double fence because they are burdening taxpayers in America.”

In the same way, a conservative Mormon presidential candidate also, when he came to the place and saw them, passed by on the other side. “These folks are just here for the in-state tuition,” he said. “It’s like a magnet.”

But a certain liberal, as he traveled, came where the family was.  When he saw them, he was moved with compassion, came to them and told them: “Look, we’ll let your kids go to school, we’ll get them some food and make sure they have health care. After all, this is supposed to be a Christian nation.”

Which now of these three, do you think, was neighbor to him that came to America for a better life?

For someone who has made her Christianity a very public matter, it seems to me an answer to Jesus’ updated question is in order.

 

Remarks And Asides

An amazing coincidence in the news, or is it?

♦ House Speaker John Boehner says that Republicans are from a different planet.

♦ Scientists have discovered a new planet orbiting two stars. The planet is quite frigid—too cold for life—and is about 200 light years away from earth-bound reality.

That pretty much describes the Republican Party.

___________________________

Speaking of John Boehner, not only has he rejected Mr. Obama’s call for taxes on the rich to pay for the new jobs program, Boehner has presented a jobs program of his own: No new taxes, reform the tax code, and end excessive government regulations.

Why didn’t the rest of us think of that?

Oh, I know why.  See the item above.

___________________________

And Boehner says, “Hell no, I’m not having any fun!”  That makes 300 million of us, John.

___________________________

Rick Perry has been hammered by Michele Bachmann for indulging in crony capitalism. Alas, it is true. Former staffers and appointees of Perry have cashed in on their relationship with the government-hating governor. But doggone it! Crony capitalism is the only reason why government-hating Republicans run for office in the first place! They’re not socialists, for God’s sake.

___________________________

Speaking of God, who, when he isn’t busy keeping the universe from collapsing into the Big Crunch, occasionally wrestles with GOP presidential candidates.

One of his past opponents was Rick Perry, who spoke recently at the University of Iron Age Thinking, also known as Liberty University, and said:

…what I learned as I wrestled with God was I didn’t have to have all the answers, that would be revealed to me in due time, and that I needed to trust him.

At some point during the wrestling match, Perry got impatient and dropped God to the canvas with a flying clothesline and pinned him down until God told Perry all the answers to the nation’s problems.

Then Perry got up and ran for president.

___________________________

Speaking of Rick Perry and running for president, the wrestler’s Ponzi scheme comments about Social Security don’t seem to bother Republicans all that much, at least right now (36% say they “don’t know enough to say”). 

But 32% of independents are “less likely” to support him against 12% who are “more likely” to support him.

For his part, Perry is not backing down (if you’d wrestled God and survived to tell Jerry Falwell’s kids about it, would you back down? ).  Stone Cold Rick Perry from Austin told a fawning Time magazine:

If you want to call it a Ponzi scheme, if you want to say it’s a criminal enterprise, if you just want to say it’s broken –they all get to the same point.

Well, not exactly. Unless you’re Dick Cheney, normally criminal enterprises land you in jail. That’s sort of why they call them “criminal.” And Ponzi schemes and other such criminal enterprises aren’t “broken” such that they can be fixed. So, no, they all don’t “get to the same point.”

Boy, where’s God when you need him? Oh, yeah. He’s still on the canvas.

Never Fear, Pat Robertson’s Here

Thank God for Pat Robertson. 

Some storm tracks show Hurricane Irene heading for the nutty evangelist’s Magic Kingdom in Virginia Beach, so naturally he has more than a passing interest in the big storm.

Pat already has a couple of victories over hurricanes on his divine résumé.  He prayed away Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Felix in 1995, so Irene should be no match for his imprecatory powers.

Word has it that he petitioned God on Thursday to send the monster out into the ocean, away from his headquarters and by extension the rest of American civilization.

So, I suppose we shouldn’t worry about it anymore.

By the way, no word from the small-v vicar of Christ on just why the Almighty is sending Irene up the east coast.   Let’s see, Robertson suggested Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of punishing America for (I forget which) the sin of abortion or the sin of homosexuality or—worst of all—the sin of being a Democrat.

My money this time is on the fact that GOP Jesus is still a little pissed that North Carolina turned Democratic blue in 2008, helping put The Scary Negro in the White’s House.  Those disobedient folks should prepare for a heavenly beating this weekend, should the Republican Savior turn a deaf ear to his earthly champion in Virginia.

By the way, Tuesdays earthquake in the D.C. area—which reportedly happened while the evangelist was in the middle of yet another “end times” broadcast—apparently cracked the Washington Monument, which, of course, meant it also cracked Pat Robertson’s head:

It seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power. It has been the symbol of our great nation. We look at the symbol and we say ‘this is one nation under God.’ Now there’s a crack in it… Is that sign from the Lord? … You judge. It seems to me symbolic.

Now, I’m not one to question the Almighty’s methods, but it seems to me if God wanted to send the important message that America is in decline, he didn’t need to use that age-old natural disaster trick the Big Showoff always uses.

He’s done enough by telling Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry to run for president.

You judge.

Cheer Up, Dems

Some nervous Democratic partisans are a little anxious by Gallup’s latest polling regarding President Obama’s chances against four “leading” GOP candidates.

First, here’s the bad news for those who tend to take these kinds of polls seriously this far out:

Now, does anyone believe that Mr. Obama would only beat Michele Bachmann by 4 points? That he and Medicare-is-an-unconstitutional-Ponzi-scheme-failure Rick Perry would split the vote?

How about Mr. Obama only beating Ron Paul (!) by 2 points? Or, God help us, Obama losing to my-3000-square-foot-beach-house-is-too-small-so-I’m-gonna-bulldoze-it-and-build-a-11000-square-foot-mansion Mitt Romney?

Come on peeps, cheer up.

Here’s the good-news skinny, thankfully, on just how inaccurate these types of long-distance Gallup polls can be, thanks to Steven Shepard of the National Journal:

♦ In August 1999, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush led Vice President Al Gore by 14 points. Gore ended up narrowly winning the popular vote.

 ♦ In August 1995, then-Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, R-Kan., had a two-point lead over President Bill Clinton. Dole lost by eight.

 ♦ In August 1983, Ronald Reagan had a slender, one-point lead over former Vice President Walter Mondale. Reagan would be re-elected by 18 points the following November, after economic growth spiked in the second half of Reagan’s first term.

♦ In August 1979, President Jimmy Carter and Reagan were tied at 45 percent. Reagan won by 10 points in 1980.

Look, no one is saying the road to reelection for Mr. Obama is an easy one.  But if Big O takes E. J. Dionne’s recent advice—”Go big, go long, and go global“—he’s got a very good chance of keeping his government housing, despite the angst among pale-faced teapartiers who want to throw him out of the White’s House.

Dionne says:

♦ Keep the current proposals to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, as well as patent reform.

Add to them:

♦ Aid to state and local governments, which are cutting budgets and killing jobs.

♦ Boost spending “on roads, bridges, transit and other building projects,” including rehabilitating “the nation’s dilapidated schools.”

♦ And a biggie: “Do far more to resolve the mortgage mess.”  Amen.

Dionne claims that “big investors and business leaders“—the “heart of capitalism“—are panicking and asking for “the world’s governments to step up to the challenge of avoiding a second recession by spending more money.”  Apparently, drunken overnight flirting with the Tea Party has succumbed to the sobering morning of economic reality, at least for now.

As far as the long-term deficit problem we have, Mr. Dionne has that covered too:

♦ “Obama should not be shy about urging eventual tax increases, particularly on the wealthy. And let’s be clear: these would not be immediate tax hikes; they’d kick in a year or two from now.”

♦ “A carbon tax, partly offset by tax cuts or rebates for middle-income and poorer taxpayers, could provide additional revenue.”

♦ “And we need to do still more to contain health care costs without hurting those who can’t afford insurance, and without voucherizing Medicare.”

Other Democrats, including former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, have even more ideas to help, including Medicare-for-all.

All of this stuff is easier said than done, obviously, but Big O has to think outside the Boehner box and start to channel Mitt Romney: A $12 million 3000-square-foot beach house in La Jolla is simply not good enough, what with all the children and grandchildren to consider.

Think big, Mr. President, think big.

Break ground on an economic-recovery plan that Mitt Romney’s kids and grandkids would be proud of.  Go for that 11,000-square-foot economic-policy.

Remarks And Asides

Like President Obama, who cut Rick Perry some slack for “almost” rhetorically executing Ben Bernanke for treason, I am willing to cut Michelle Bachmann some slack for getting all mixed up about Elvis. 

After all, it’s hard for some folks to tell the difference between being born and being dead, just as it’s hard for some folks to tell the difference between God telling you to run for president and God telling Rick Perry to run for president.

It’s all very confusing sometimes.

 _________________________________

Speaking of Michele Bachmann, she will never, ever be president. Not even in 2102:

__________________________________

Governor Chris Christie has once again found it necessary to beat back rumors that he is considering running for president next year.  Among others, Karl Rove hinted on Monday that Home Depot co-founder and Obama-hater Ken Langone told Christie that he needed “to think seriously” about a run.

I have it on good authority, though, that Christie told Langone this:

Look, I appreciate the nice orange Home Depot apron you gave me, Ken, but I’m not running.  And since I’ve already missed the deep-fried butter on a stick at the Iowa State Fair, nothing could get me to run now.

__________________________________

Fox Bidness Network’s Lou Dobbs—who has a hit-and-miss relationship with reality—learned from Texas congressman Louis Gohmert—who has a miss-and-miss relationship with reality—that President Obama was “out there acting like the evil emperor” in his “Darth Vader bus.”

The evil emperor, of course, was Palpatine, who as a Galactic Republic politician rose to Chancellor and began to reveal his true identity as Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the evil Sith.

Now, you can tell by looking at Darth Sidious that Obama is no Darth Sidious. He doesn’t have the complexion or the temperament.  But Louis Gohmert does.  Let’s compare (hint: Gohmert is on the right):

You can see now that Gohmert, in a clear case of deflection, was trying to hide his true identity.

Meanwhile, far from a Dark Lord, Obama has the complexion and temperament of a Jedi Master, perhaps Mace Windu:

By the way, anyone remember how Star Wars ended?

Confirmed: Jesus Is A Republican!

First Michele Bachmann hears from God and runs for the presidency.

Then Herman Cain, another Republican presidential candidate, presumably hears from God and says Christian folks in Tennessee have the right to strip Muslims of their constitutional rights regarding the building of an Islamic Center.

Then we have Rick Perry, governor of Texas and also A Republican Who Hears From God, apparently getting the divine thumbs up for a presidential run, despite God previously giving the thumbs up to Michele Bachmann.

It’s all really quite confusing, if you’re trying to discern the will of the Almighty in these complicated matters. 

But then I saw this headline and things cleared up:

Couple finds Jesus on receipt

And, to boot, it was a Walmart receipt, praise God!  Jesus loves the giant retailer! He really is a Republican!

I’m still a little puzzled, though, as to why Jesus looks like a Picasso-esque Wolfman, but in any case it’s good to know that whatever he looks like, he has moved on from appearing on Cheetos and toast and grilled cheese sandwiches to the big time of supercenter advertisements.

Here’s the story from CNN, if you can bear to watch it:

Obama, Tomcat

Republicans, because they rightly don’t trust other Republicans, like to create—and force their candidates to sign—pledges. 

Forget the standard, the old allegiance-to-the-flag pledge (with, of course, the necessary “under God” language). That’s old school.

Nowadays, there are no-tax-increase pledges, anti-choice pledges, “Cut, Cap, And Balance” pledges, and the latest way to demonstrate Republican unseriousness, the it-was-better-to-be-a-negro-slave-than-an-Obama-era-negro pledge.

That last one is a creation of the Iowa Christian Taliban, better known as The Family Leader, a group headed by gay-gripped Bob Vander Plaats, a man every bit as obsessed with enforcing Allah’s God’s word than any member of al Qaeda, living or, thankfully, dead.

The Family Leader’s pledge, which Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have duly signed, featured this:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.

You see?  It is more important for kids to have both parents, even if they happen to be the property of wealthy white conservatives, than it is to be born “after the election” of Barack Obama, who is, when he’s not otherwise engaged in destroying America, responsible for every out-of-wedlock birth among American blacks today.

Obama is quite a tomcat, don’t you know.

Now, it is true that these religious zealots in Iowa—who have a mind-boggling amount of clout due to the state’s first-up primary—have “removed the language from the vow,” under pressure from people in their right minds.

But what kind of mind is it that would put such language in a pledge in the first place?  And, more important, what kind of presidential mentality would actually sign it?

On goes the 2012 conservative circus.

Remarks And Asides

Jon Huntsman, for a brief shining moment the only adult in a room full of Republican presidential hopefuls, essentially sealed his doom in the Republican primary by making the following statement about the Evil One, the America-hating Kenyan socialist, Barack Hussein Obama:

He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better President; not who’s the better American.

Nice knowing you Jon, even if it were only for a few hours.  Once upon a time, most Republicans were like you.  We will miss your kind.  How about becoming ambassador to, oh, I don’t know, say, China?

                                                                           [Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America]

________________________________

Speaking of Huntsman, even if his civility toward Obama doesn’t do him in, his expressed tolerance and “respect” for states that have legalized or may legalize gay marriage will.  Again, thanks for the memories, however brief, Jon.

________________________________

Speaking of “the gay,” former Texas A&M cheerleader and long-time governor of Texas, Rick Perry—who had a one-night-stand with secessionism—will be prepared, should he decide to run for president, to combat old rumors that he is, well,  a Kenyan homosexual.  According to Politico, Perry’s top strategist said:

…unfortunately there are always going to be some people who feel the need to spread false and misleading rumors to advance their own political agenda. 

Noooooooo.  Really? 

I don’t know just how Governor Perry can prove to conservative Republican primary voters that he doesn’t have the gay.  We all know by now that a Certificate of Live Heterosexuality won’t do. 

I guess we’ll just have to “take him at his word,” won’t we, Ms. Bachmann?

_____________________________ 

Fox “News” and other conservatives got their prayer shawls in a tangle over NBC Sports godlessly excerpting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance during its golf telecast.  Now, I for one am comforted to know that conservatives, always eager to embrace policies that would take us back to the good old days, are content to stop at 1954, the year “under God” was wedged into the pledge.

That is progress.

_____________________________ 

Speaking of Fox, Ann Coulter, who makes a good living from saying dumb and outrageous things that have the virtue of being consumable by gullible conservatives with disposable income, said on Bill O’Reilly’s “show” Tuesday that Afghans are “perfectly happy being poor, ignorant and having a 30-year lifespan.”

That, my friends, passes for high-brow Christian comedy on Fox “News.”

Or, maybe it’s serious commentary.  It’s hard to tell.

_____________________________ 

Finally, and speaking of high-brow Christian comedy or serious commentary, I found the following on “The Blaze,” a website founded by the caliphate-obsessed, Obama-hating Mormon, Glenn Beck.  By the way, OIL_ROBB‘s comment, complete with misspelling and dumb insult, reads like it was written by a certain Globe blogger I know: 

My Country, America and/or Israel, ‘Tis of Thee

If you have a stubborn doubt that God is a Republican, I suggest you go to C-SPAN and watch any part of the recently completed Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference and Strategy Briefing, an event inspired not only by GOP Jesus, but by the disgraced and disgraceful Ralph Reed.*

Naturally, the conference featured the usual demonization of Barack Obama; I mean, what is a gathering of pious American Christians without a wholesale bearing of false witness against our Christian President?  I particularly enjoyed the moment when Tim Pawlenty was recalling how unfaithful Mr. Obama has been and some God-fearing member of the audience shouted, “He lied!

Praise God!

In any case, the event started innocently enough:

Lord, we thank you for this land. We thank you for a nation that was founded for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith.

That utterly dishonest prayer was uttered by a Georgia pastor, Benny Tate, who also opened a legislative day in the House of Representatives in 2009 with this heavenly gem:

We acknowledge freedom is not free and the trees of every generation are watered with the blood of its sons and daughters.

Praise God for our sons and daughters and the blood-nourished trees!

In all seriousness, though, one of the most troubling themes of the FFC conference was expressed best by Richard Land, who heads a public policy agency for the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention and who was appointed to his current federal government post by George W. Bush. 

Mr. Land clearly laid out what many people outside the evangelical community fail to understand about evangelicals: They have a dual national allegiance, to both America and Israel, and it’s not always clear which allegiance comes first.

If you want to understand the evangelical mind, and if you want to understand just how dangerous the thinking is that motivates these Christian folks, and if you want to understand how perilous is the mixture of fundamentalist faith and politics, I urge you to read the following lengthy quote from Richard Land’s appearance at the Faith and Freedom conference this past weekend:

God prophesied that he would bring his chosen people, the Jews, back into the land, and we have seen in many of our lifetimes the fulfillment of that prophecy, as they have come back into the land and they have succeeded against fearsome odds…

My mother, who taught me to love Jesus and who taught me to love God’s Word—I remember my mother saying to me, “Richard, God blesses those who bless the Jews; God curses those who curse the Jews.”  And she said, “Remember last week we were watching that special on television and the airplane was flying across Germany in June of 1945 and all you saw were bombed-out buildings and flattened cities?  That’s what happens when you curse the Jews.”

If we want God to bless America, then we have to bless the Jews. God gave that land to his chosen people forever.  That issue is settled by God Almighty.

Now, I support Israel because Israel is more like America than any other country because we’re founded on the same basis: The Word of God.  But I also believe that we must bless America because I’m an American and I love America and I want God to bless America and God blesses us when we obey him and he doesn’t bless us when we disobey him.  And he has made it very clear that Israel has an ally far more powerful than the United States of America. It’s called the Lion of Judah [Jesus, in the Christian tradition].

Now, we can say many things about President Obama, but one thing we can’t say about him is that he’s stupid.  He’s a bright man—he’s a foolish man, but a very bright man.  He knows what he’s doing and he knows what he says…the worst president of the United States Israel has ever had is Barack Obama [thunderous applause].

There is no question that he is pro-Palestinian and his policies are pro-Palestinian.  Well, I have a word of encouragement for our friends in Israel, who must be feeling a little abandoned and a little abused and a little used right now: My dear friends, help is on the way! [Applause.]

With absolute confidence I can tell you that social conservatives in this country are with one voice saying, “Israel today, Israel tomorrow, and Israel forever!  We are with you because God is with you and we understand that we are going to defend your right to live in the land that God gave to you and to your children.  Rest assured, help is on the way!  You are not alone!”

Evangelical voters, particularly in the primary process, are the backbone of the Republican Party. Without evangelical support, Republicans couldn’t win many elections.  So it is important to understand that dynamic, as scary as it is.

And we must understand, too, that evangelicals have a hard time differentiating between loyalty to America and loyalty to Israel, as well as differentiating between truth and falsehood regarding Obama’s position on Israel, a position that is almost identical to George W. Bush’s.

If you are tempted to think that such nonsense like the nonsense Richard Land spouted is confined only to crazy evangelical Christian pastors or their followers, or to silly politicians like Michele Bachmann (who during the weekend conference said Obama’s speech on Israel was a “shocking display of betraying our greatest friend and ally“), read the following, spoken by Republican presidential candidate and Catholic-turned-evangelical Tim Pawlenty—who gets credit for being an “adult” candidate—at the Faith and Freedom conference:

We need to be a nation that turns toward God, not away from God…We need a President of the United States who stands shoulder to shoulder with our great friend Israel and make sure there is no daylight between the United States and Israel [standing ovation].

No daylight, Mr. Pawlenty? 

__________________________

* Reed was involved in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.  He took millions of “In God We Trust” bucks from Abramoff and proceeded to use his influence among Christian voters in Alabama to stop Indian casinos and state lotteries that were competitors of Abramoff’s clients.  Praise God!

Michele Bachmann Wants To Raise Taxes, But Not On The Wealthy

Michele Bachmann, billed as a “Tea Party star,” appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America this morning and said some amazing things.  But before I get to those amazing things, I want to show how George Stephanopoulos set up the interview. 

It began with these revealing graphics created from the newest ABC News/Washington Post poll:

Let’s talk about these poll numbers,” Stephanopoulos began, “that seems to be very strong support for President Obama’s position in this budget fight and a rebuke of the House Republican position.” 

Bachmann responded:

I think if you look at those numbers that would be accurate, but I don’t think that totally reflects where the American people are coming from.  First of all, if we tax 100% of what everyone made who make $250,000 or more—everything they made—that would get us about 6 months worth of revenue—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Every bit helps, doesn’t it?

BACHMANN: Well, but it wouldn’t be enough.  I think that’s what’s shocking. We could take 100% of all the profits of every Fortune 500 company and that would give us 40 days worth of revenue. We could also take 100% of everything that the billionaires in this country own and that wouldn’t be enough to solve the problem.  So it’s really a matter of having everyone involved. Part of the problem, George, is that 47% of all Americans pay virtually no federal income tax.  So, we need to broaden the base.

Let’s stop here and analyze what she has said so far:

♦ The ABC/Post poll numbers aren’t accurate because they don’t fit her view of what the American people believe.

♦ She dodges the issue of the wealthy paying more taxes by turning the conversation to an absurd idea of confiscating all profits and all wealth (no matter how accurate her numbers), a typical Rush Limbaugh trick.

♦ She argues for a tax increase on all Americans.  Yes, she did, my teapartying friends.  She just sat there in front of God and George Stephanopolous and said,

“We need to broaden the base.”

What base?  The income tax base.  Those deadbeat Americans who aren’t paying any federal income tax need to cough it up.  How else do you “broaden” the income tax base without making people who aren’t paying income taxes pay them? 

Let’s be clear: In response to a question about widespread support among Americans for raising taxes on the wealthy, a popular Tea Party Republican (potential) candidate for president insisted that instead of the wealthy, the non-wealthy ought to pay more taxes!

Nevermind that most of those who don’t pay federal income taxes are among those with low or moderate incomes, who nevertheless pay Social Security and Medicare and sales and property taxes.

But she wasn’t done:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say that everyone has to be involved and I think that’s reflected also in those numbers. A lot of Americans look at those numbers and say it’s wrong for seniors who rely on Medicare to get cuts when wealthy people get tax cuts extended.

BACHMANN: Well, and I think that again President Obama was the one who was behind the tax cut extension bill in December. That was his position.  And I would agree with senior citizens. We’re very concerned.  And I think that’s why a better name maybe for the Paul Ryan budget would be the “55 and under plan.”  Because no one 55 years of age or older will see any change whatsoever to Medicare. That’s an extremely crucial piece of information.

So, we don’t want any senior citizen to feel, or near senior citizen—I’m 55 years old, and so it wouldn’t apply to me either—and so there are no changes to people who are 55 years or older…

Besides the disgusting chutzpah of blaming Obama for the tax cut extension for the wealthy—when Bachmann and her Republican friends were holding hostage the unemployed and the economy last December—here we see, as Bachmann laid it out, the strategy for attacking Obama during the 2012 campaign season and defending the Republican “kill-Medicare and maim-Medicaid” budget plan:

♦ Claim Obama agrees that cutting taxes for the wealthy helps the economy since he signed off on those tax cuts.

♦ Claim that the Republican Party is really the party looking out for seniors since the GOP plan would leave a relatively generous Medicare benefit package in place until those seniors die, no matter how much hurt it places on those under 55.  Thus, Bachmann labels this “an extremely crucial piece of information.” 

It’s “crucial” because those 55 and older show up and vote in droves both in mid-term elections (around 60%) and presidential elections (around 70%).  And those who show up tend to vote for Republicans (in 2010, 59% of them). In fact, in 2010, even though voters 65 and older make up only 13% of the population at large, they accounted for a staggering 21% of the 2010 electorate. 

And the wealthy, of course, are part of the mix, too. A Project Vote study reported that in 2010:

The number of ballots cast by Americans from households making over $200,000 a year increased by 68 percent compared to 2006.

It’s not hard to understand how Republicans are planning their path to victory in 2012.

But despite Bachmann’s extremely crucial piece of information, Democrats have their own, which they need to broadcast night and day:

Republicans will stop at nothing to defend their rich constituents and they want to solve all of our budget problems on the backs of the poor, the disabled, and the working class.

Just think about this: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that those unfortunate folks under 55 today, if the GOP has its way with its budget plan, would be expected to fork over more than two-thirds of the cost for their health care by the year 2030, even while paying current Medicare benefits for those currently 55 and over.

If that crucial piece of information doesn’t get the young and non-wealthy out to vote next year, then nothing will.

Ozark Billy Says “No” To Victory

All of our local Missouri representatives voted for the Boehner-Obama-Reid agreement on a short-term resolution to keep the government running until a final vote on the 2011 budget later this week. 

All except one. 

Ozark Billy Long, as the Springfield News-Leader reported, was one of only 28 Republicans who simply couldn’t say yes to a substantial victory for the GOP.  Long joined his auctioneer brother and union-hater Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, along with other Republican stars like Michele Bachmann, Joe Barton, Louis Gohmert, and Steve King. When you cast a vote with those folks, you know you have arrived in Republican Looneyville.

But Ozark Billy ran into a little trouble explaining his vote:

“They rattled off more different numbers than an auctioneer [sic] Friday night in explaining what had been agreed to,” Long wrote in an e-mail to the News-Leader.

“I voted against the one-week stop gap continuing resolution Friday night because it didn’t fund the troops for the rest of the year and didn’t cut enough spending. We need to quit using our fighting men and women as political pawns.”

Let’s forget for a moment that Ozark Billy apparently couldn’t digest all the “more different numbers” thrown his way Friday night, so he just said to heck with it, pardner.  And let’s forget the fact that the bill Long criticized because it “didn’t cut enough spending” wasn’t suppose to cut spending. It was designed to only fund the government through the end of this week, until the House and Senate can vote on the real deal. 

I’m not sure what Billy thought he was voting on, but clearly he was confused about the nature of the budget deal.

Additionally, the resolution Long didn’t vote for early Saturday morning not only didn’t fund the troops for the rest of the year, it didn’t fund anything for the rest of the year. That wasn’t its purpose. 

And Long’s statement, “We need to quit using our fighting men and women as political pawns,” is quite interesting, since that’s exactly what he and his Republican colleagues tried to do on Thursday, when they passed a stopgap measure that would have funded the government through April 15 and the Defense Department through the end of the fiscal year. 

And Long voted for that bill, which most certainly was using the troops as pawns in the budget game.  Here’s what House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said during floor debate on the measure:

If you vote against this bill, you are voting against the troops, who are engaged in three wars.

One of Ozark Billy’s handlers tried to clean up the mess a little bit with a lame explanation that was reported this way:

Bret Funk, spokesperson for Long, said the proposed resolution that will be voted on before Thursday is supposed to fund troops for the full year; Long favored a bill the House voted on earlier in the week that guaranteed funding for troops so they wouldn’t be left as pawns in the budget negotiations.

The truth is that Long is lost in Washington.  With all those “more different numbers” and confusing resolutions and budget dealing, he’s just out of his league.  But if you ever need to sell off grandma’s old furniture or grandpa’s old farm equipment or other second-hand goods, Ozark Billy, southwest Missouri’s most famous auctioneer, may be able to help you.

America Held Hostage, Act Two

Almost exactly as I predicted, Democrats, fearful of a government shutdown, paid yet another ransom to Republicans, who have become quite good at holding the country hostage and extracting concessions from the “party of government.”

Last night, President Obama was almost giddy in making the announcement of the budget deal, which he said—no, he bragged—contained “the largest annual spending cut in our history.” He followed with this:

Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them.  And I certainly did that.

Hmm. Let’s see. Since this was supposed to be a “budget” deal, let’s talk about the money involved. The Republicans wanted $61 billion in cuts. Democrats gave them $38.5 billion.  That’s not exactly a 50-50 compromise.  More like 63-37.  Republicans won that one in a landslide.

So, let’s look at the “deal” in the budget deal.  What did the Democrats manage to extract from the Republicans in exchange for meeting them 63% of the way (some calculations have it at more than 70%) on the budget cuts?  Did Democrats get a tax increase on the rich?  Did they get an elimination of tax breaks for oil companies? 

Well, uh, no.  They didn’t get any agreement on revenues.  Nothing.

Oh, they did get Republicans to drop their ridiculous demands to defund Planned Parenthood, NPR, and the Affordable Care Act, and they did get them to drop the rider on stripping the EPA of regulatory authority on greenhouse gases.  But that’s not a victory, unless you think that it is a victory to pay a knife-wielding kidnapper the ransom he demands, as long as frees the hostage he’s holding.  If he gets away scot-free with the money, he won.  Period.

But in a way, the whole hostage-ransom metaphor explains why this play works so well for Republicans.  A real knife-wielding kidnapper, with his knife to the throat of the hostage, can be expected to use the knife to kill the hostage because presumably he doesn’t care about the hostage as much as he cares about the potential ransom.  The negotiators who pay him the ransom are under pressure from the hostage’s family and friends to give the kidnapper what he wants because they don’t want to see their loved one harmed.

Democrats, who believe in government, are fearful that Republicans, who are holding a knife against government’s throat, will actually use it. They worry that Republicans will slash government’s gullet if they don’t get what they want. Thus, Democrats are under pressure to pay the ransom.  Every time.  It happened last December.  It happened last night. 

The sad thing about all this is that after last December’s agreement on the Bush tax cuts and after last night’s budget deal, President Obama, rather than tell the American people the truth about what happened—that he had to give in to Republican demands or they would kill the hostage—”thanked” John Boehner for his “leadership” and “dedication.”  He said last night:

A few months ago, I was able to sign a tax cut for American families because both parties worked through their differences and found common ground.  Now the same cooperation will make possible the biggest annual spending cut in history, and it’s my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead, from creating jobs and growing our economy to educating our children and reducing our deficit. 

With this kind of attitude, as we move toward the real fight over the debt ceiling and next year’s budget, I’m not encouraged that some on our side—including President Obama–understand just how ruthless the current crop of GOP extremists are.  In fact, I’m quite discouraged today.  It doesn’t look good going forward.

In any case, you might remember how often Obama and the Democrats have told us that we need government spending—stimulus—first to start the recovery and then to keep it going until the economy could make it on its own.  We need government spending, not budget cuts, they have said time and time again.  The President has repeatedly said that now is not the time to pull back.  And there are plenty of economists who concur.

But even as Republicans this morning are insisting that the latest budget cuts are only a down payment on more to come, to show how even more depressing is the current state of affairs, I want to end with a quote from one of the parties in the latest budget deal, who said last night:

…beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect those investments that will help America compete for new jobs…

That wasn’t John Boehner or Michele Bachmann or Rand Paul.

That was Barack Obama.

Prediction: The Good Guys Will Blink

Even as the results of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race demonstrate that if Democrats will fight, they can win, we have the specter of President Obama trying to—politely—broker a deal on the budget in order to avoid a quasi-closing of the government.

Obama is so politely characterizing the current fight—essentially he keeps saying that “both sides” need to give a little, as if Democrats haven’t quite given enough—that it’s sometimes hard to tell which side he is on in this squabble.  He, as always in these kinds of things, plays the role of president of all the people and not some partisan out to slam the other side.

He is not, as Sean Hannity said last night, “gutless” or unwilling to fight. It’s just that he takes his job as president seriously. He has a genuine regard for the well-being of the country at large, not some parochial interest in his own ideological purity.

And while that is normally a good thing, in this case, it works against what he says he’s trying to do.

On Wednesday night, after he met with the principals, John Boehner and Harry Reid, Obama’s remarks included a mention of a Kentucky man named J. T. Henderson, who, the President said, needs his tax “rebate” to help his family, a rebate that might be jeopardized by a government shutdown.  Near the end of his statement, Obama ended with this:

There’s no reason why we should not be able to complete a deal.  There’s no reason why we should have a government shutdown — unless we’ve made a decision that politics is more important than folks like J.T. Henderson. 

Notice that “we” in there?  “Unless we’ve made a decision that politics is more important than folks like J. T. Henderson.”  Does Obama really think that Democrats and Republicans are equally indifferent to people like Mr. Henderson?  Huh?

Wouldn’t it help Mr. Henderson more by actually reminding the American people that it is in fact Republicans who won’t take yes for an answer and accept what Democrats are offering? Essentially, our side has given Boehner everything his leadership team originally proposed a few months ago.  That’s some savvy negotiation strategy on our part, isn’t it?  And that strategy only breeds more demands from the other side because they smell blood. 

Mr. Henderson’s blood.

For the record, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the two sides will reach a deal.  They will reach a deal because our side will give Tea Party Republicans—who apparently know how to play poker—even more of what they want.  I’m guessing the number will be around $35-38 billion, along with a watered down version of the EPA rider, which would delay implementation of any greenhouse gas regulations until a future date.  The Planned Parenthood rider would be dropped for now.

That’s what I think because I don’t have much confidence in our side’s brinkmanship.  John Boehner, who has been playing his hand like a good poker bluff, has fooled most of the cable talking heads. Boehner is torn, they say.  He is a trained dealmaker who wants to make a deal, they lament, but the Tea Party won’t let him. Even many of the Democrats talk this way.

But it’s all nonsense. 

Sure, Boehner isn’t exactly a spaced-out Michele Bachmann.  And sure, he is getting pressure from the extremists on his side.  And while he isn’t necessarily a radical, he nevertheless senses weakness in the Democratic position. The more he plays the agonized leader who is being held hostage by his hard-core members, the more Democrats keep giving him. He plays this beautifully.  And the media accentuate his theatrical agony.

In the end, he will emerge with a little more than the $33 billion Democrats have offered, and he can tell the Tea Party that he did the best he could and it’s time to move on.  If some rebel, he can still count on Democratic votes to pass the compromise and in two days, all will be forgotten, as the spotlight turns on Paul Ryan’s crazy budget plan and the looming fight over the debt ceiling.

There you have it. A prediction.

In this case, I hope I’m wrong about our side.  I hope they surprise me.  No, I hope they shock me.

Remarks And Asides

Mitch McConnell, who at one time resisted the Tea Party temptation, has now succumbed and is apparently willing to drink a sweat Slurpee straight from Jim DeMint’s booty crack—with a short straw, mind you.

McConnell attacked Chuck Schumer today for accurately describing non-compromising Republicans as “extremists.”  McConnell said that Democrats are the real extremists.  Okay. I agree. Given the state of the budget discussions, congressional Democrats are extremely poor negotiators.  One might even say that if throwing in the towel were an Olympic sport, Democrats would be the Michael Phelps of surrender.

So far, they have managed to give Republicans more than half their budget cuts and have received next to nothing in return.  There must have been some sort of special election I missed.  When did the GOP grab control of the entire government again?

__________________________

Donald Trump, God’s gift to atheists everywhere, says that the reason President Obama won’t produce yet another valid birth certificate is that he may be hiding his Muslimism.

I am embracing this issue,” he told MSNBC, “I’m proud of the issue…somebody has to embrace it.” 

Thank you, Jesus.

Trump, by the way, has finally produced a valid birth certificate of his own, which proves once and for all he was not a creation of the Democratic National Committee’s Avatar Division. Let’s face it, that division has its hands full, what with creating and animating Michele Bachmann.

And technicians are still fine-tuning the latest version of Newt Gingrich, a project began long go.  The investment in the Gingrich-bot has paid off handsomely over the years and Democratic programmers are promising even more useful Gingrich quotes as time goes by.

___________________________

Speaking of Gingrich, I missed it last week when he criticized House Republicans for not being aggressive enough in the budget negotiations. On blabbing Hugh Hewitt’s talk show, he said Congressional Republicans should demand that President Obama give up his health reform law in exchange for Republicans agreeing to raise the debt ceiling.

I hate to admit it, but given the Democrats’ skill at negotiating, that might not be a bad strategy. If the GOP lawmakers try something like that, expect Democrats to counter-offer with a proposal to repeal those parts of the law already in effect and delay implementation of the rest until 3014.

___________________________

An Indiana Republican state legislator said the following in a debate over a jobs highly restrictive abortion bill he introduced, to which an amendment was proposed to make an exception for victims of rape or incest:

…someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest…

To that outrageous pap, Democrat Rep. Linda Lawson, a former sex crimes investigator for the Indiana police, replied:

Women don’t make this up! My Goodness! This is the state of Indiana!

Yes, unfortunately, Ms. Lawson, it is.

Remarks And Asides

Dear God,

Please talk Donald Trump into running for president. I take back everything I’ve ever said about Your Party, about Michele Bachmann, about Sarah Palin, even about Anson Burlingame.  Just please let him run and let the GOP pick him as its nominee.  Pretty please?

Prayerfully,

Duane

________________________

Everybody’s making a big deal out of Newt Gingrich’s egregious flip-flop on what to do in Libya. First he can’t wait to go in, then when Obama goes in, he says he shouldn’t have gone in.  If a man can’t make up his mind about which woman with whom he wants to live happily ever after, why should anyone think he can make up his mind about which dictator we should bomb?

________________________

A new Pew poll shows that “nearly half (47%) of registered voters say they would like to see Barack Obama reelected, while 37% say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win the 2012 election.”  The overview of the Pew survey, though, says,

In part, Obama is benefitting from the fact that the GOP has yet to coalesce behind a candidate.

All the more reason, God, to get Donald Trump to run.  Please?

________________________

Speaking of Republican candidates for president, Herman Cain, famous for broiling Whoppers for Burger King (actually, he’s somewhat famous for running Godfather’s Pizza), attended a rally of home-schoolers yesterday in Des Moines. 

Along with other candidates present, he, of course, trashed the public school system, obligatory behavior for anyone wanting to be the GOP nominee.  But Cain, an African-American Tea Party favorite from the South, said something I found interesting. He reportedly denounced all government involvement in education and then said this:

That’s all we want is for government to get out of the way so we can educate ourselves and our children the old-fashioned way.

The “old-fashioned way“?  Hmm.  Was he talking about the real old-fashioned way, back when there were no schools, no books, and no teachers?  That far back?

Or was the 65-year-old Herman Cain, who admits to a working-class pedigree, talking about the old-fashioned days in the 1950s when he would have spent his formative years in Georgia public schools?  

The old-fashioned way in those days in the South was to segregate-then-educate kids like Herman Cain, and despite the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, some parts of Georgia did not even begin to integrate the schools until 1970.

According to Professor Michael Gagnon,

In defiance of Brown v. Board of Education, The Georgia School Board required public school teachers to sign a pledge that they would not teach in integrated schools in 1955 or they would lose their teaching license.

Is that the old-fashioned way the GOP candidate for president pines for?

________________________

Finally, James O’Keefe, the scoundrel whose creative video edits have killed ACORN and wounded NPR, while simultaneously giving Sean Hannity a Viagra-like boner, is in debt.  In fact, he claims he’s in debt up to $50,000.  Fifty G’s.  He has sent out a fund-raising email to supporters, saying he had to finance much of his wonderful work on the credit card:

We made a lot of sacrifices—personally and financially —because we fight for what we believe in.

It’s not clear to me how he can both claim he has sacrificed financially and yet beg others to pay his bills, but in any case, I am setting up the James O’Keefe Relief Fund here at The Erstwhile Conservative.  Just send in your donations and I will be sure he gets the money. No amount is too small.

Trust me at least as much as you trust him.

Remarks and Asides

Jason Linkins of HuffPo, previously a semi-supporter of Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, has changed his mind. Here’s why:

Snyder’s just lost me completely with his apparent desire to enact a law that would impose “financial martial law” upon struggling communities in the form of “financial managers” that would have the power to abrogate contracts at will and supercede the democratic process. There’s been a lot of recent media attention focused on a similar disregard for the public will in Wisconsin, but what’s happening in Michigan really makes Scott Walker look like an amateur.

Linkins quotes the Michigan Messenger:

According to the law, which has already been approved in the House, the governor will be able to declare “financial emergency” in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services.

Under the law whole cities or school districts could be eliminated without any public participation or oversight, and amendments designed to provide minimal safeguards and public involvement were voted down.

Czars, anyone?

_______________________

Politico is reporting on the “conservative backlash” against Sarah Palin, including one Weekly Standard writer calling her an Alaskan Al Sharpton.  Wow.  That has to hurt the pale-faced Palinistas out there.

_______________________

Speaking of Palinistas, I saw George Will, who admitted his wife “occasionally advises” the Lady Gaga of the Tea Party movement, Michele Bachmann, dismiss her presidential candidacy as not serious:

We know who settles presidential elections, they’re independent voters. Independent voters are not inflamed, and not inflamed in the way that some of the marginal Republican candidates are.

Oh, George!  “Inflamed”?  That is a perfect description of the Tea Party, whose “energies” you welcomed last year into your party:

But eight months ago, the worry was the worst case analysis for Republicans was that the Tea Party energies would be diverted in a third party candidacy splitting the conservative vote in this country. Sarah Palin, think of her what you will, has brought them into the Republican Party, and they are one of the main reasons for what is going to be probably decisive in November and that is the enormous enthusiasm and intensity gap that favors the Republicans this year.

You see? The unelectable teapartier Bachmann is “inflamed,” but teapartiers in general are endowed with “enormous enthusiasm and intensity.”

Only conservative intellectuals can weave these kinds of contradictions into a seamless defense of the indefensible.

___________________________

Democrats have been damning Mitt Romney with praise lately. They have been reminding voters that Romney’s 2006 health care law in Massachusetts was sort of the model for the much-hated “Obamacare.”

Some worry it will backfire, should Romney win the GOP nomination next year and Democrats are left trying to convince independents that Romney is really, truly a scary sort of guy.

Well, I wouldn’t worry.  By the time Romney makes himself fit to win the nomination, he will be a really, truly scary sort of guy.

The Gadsden Guerillas Want To Evict The Uppity Negro From The White’s House

As a difficult-to-perform public service to my readers, and while the world was focused on the confusion in Egypt, I listened to Michele Bachmann and others speak today at the gathering of Gadsden Gorillas Guerrillas, also known as CPAC.

At least one of the things Bachmann said demonstrates her intermittent connection with reality:

Obamacare is quite clearly the crown jewel of socialism.

Now, you might not like the Affordable Care Act; you might think it won’t do much to keep health care costs down; you might even think it will destroy the country.  But only a colossal fool like Michele Bachmann would say “Obamacare is quite clearly the crown jewel of socialism.”  Would to God it were, but given how it props up the private, employer-based health insurance system, it would be more accurate to call it the “crown jewel of capitalism.”

Bachmann, who suffers from the delusion that she could possibly be President of the United States, has used this nonsensical metaphor before, both during the so-called debate in the House on repealing the health reform law and last week at a Republican dinner in Montana, where she put it in this incomprehensibly dramatic way:

I take my first political breath every morning with one thought in mind – repeal Obamacare. That’s my motivation in life. … This bill is something else. It is the crown jewel of socialism. President Obama, and I’m willing to say it, ushered in socialism under his watch.

There are four possibilities that account for such agonizingly incorrigible ignorance:

1) She doesn’t understand “Obamacare.”

2) She doesn’t understand what the term “crown jewel” means.

3) She doesn’t understand what the term “socialism” means.

4) All of the above.

Oh, there is a fifth:

She’s nuts.

In any case, Bachman, who seems to have a strange fascination with despotic headgear, also talked today about the “Triple Crown of 2012,” which, in case you don’t know, involves Republicans maintaining control of the House, a conservative takeover of the Senate, and, of course, the crown jewel of the Triple Crown: throwing the Uppity Negro out of the white’s house

That seemed to be the theme of the day, perhaps of the conference, since Bachmann said, “all our chips are in on 2012…this is it!” and a plump Newt Gingrich, who never misses a chance to diminish the value of his college degree, naturally changed the metaphor from crowns and poker to food:

2010 was the appetizer; 2012 is the entrée.

If Gingrich becomes president he will eat us all.  And he could do it.

Rick Santorum, who has been crowned the “relentless ethicist” by George F. Will, made an appearance today and regaled the crowd with more relentless moralizing and exploitation of our social differences.  Besides expressing his support for a military dictator in Egypt, Santorum used yet another bleeping political metaphor, this time the old three-legged stool of fiscal policy, national defense, and, his speciality, social issues:

When you start throwing away the third leg of a three-legged stool, it is not going to be stable very long.

I happen to subscribe to the four-legged school of political metaphors, which, I think, is much sturdier. The fourth leg is sanity.

Speaking of the missing fourth leg, Donald Trump, whose Michele Bachmann-sized ego has convinced him he has a chance to be president, made a surprising appearance today.  Who knew there was a Gadsden flag flying over Trump Tower? 

Anyway, besides truthfully trashing Ron Paul (“Ron Paul cannot get elected. I’m sorry folks.”) and essentially trashing the country (the “United States is the laughingstock of the world.”), Trump trumpeted his greatness and told the hopped-up Gadsden guerillas that he was a pro-lifin’ gun lovin’ tax hatin’ Republican, and that, if he ran and won, “this country has a chance of being respected again.”

What he didn’t tell his frothy admirers is that he is a billionaire whose financial savvy is so spectacular that he used bankruptcy as a way of forcing investors in his business competence to take hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.  I can’t wait for President Trump to restore respectability to our declining land. We would be so fortunate if he allows us the honor of voting for him. What a guy! 

And what a day!  I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s festivities.

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