Sin, Sodomy, And The Smiling Face Of God

“…the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage. This requires the Court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”

—Justice Kennedy, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act

“I do not believe any of us is entitled to rearrange God’s divine order for the universe and its inhabitants.”

Franklin Graham, son of Billy

frank Page, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, found Jesus when he was all of nine years old.

When you think about it, it is a very strange notion that a third-grader would, of his own volition, go looking for Jesus. I mean, if it weren’t for adult interference, kids that age would be more interested in video games or picking their noses. But Frank Page had some help in finding Jesus. Here are the heroes, or culprits, depending on your point of view, behind his story:

frank page

Those rather harmless looking folks in the photo above, Raymond and Elsie Hampton, first brought Frank Page into contact with zealots who, through years of indoctrination, finally convinced a nine-year-old kid that he was a flawed human being beyond any earthly hope of redemption—in other words a “sinner”—and put Page on a leadership path within the Southern Baptist Convention, which after the Catholics, is the largest group of organized Christians in the country.

Here’s how the Baptist Press described Page’s conversion:

…as he listened to the pastor, he became more aware of his need for Christ.

“In one of those somewhat classic situations, during the invitation I went forward and I asked the pastor if he would help me come to know Christ,” Page said. “He prayed with me, and I prayed a prayer of confession and repentance and of begging God to come into my heart.

“Right there in front of the congregation there at Southside Baptist Church on that Sunday night I gave my life to Christ. I was baptized shortly thereafter, and then later my brother, my sisters, my mom and dad were as well.”

It often works that way. Some caring, or meddling, soul invites a kid to church and before you know it the whole family becomes zealots. Or, more often, parents drag their kids to church and make them zealots that way. Either method, bottom-up or top-down, is effective for spreading fundamentalism, and fear.

And if it ended there, if it ended with a bunch of people crowding churches on Sunday to hear about Jesus and to learn Iron Age theology, that would be one thing. Theoretically, not much social harm, and indeed some social good, might come from such gatherings, from such dedication to a higher purpose.

But in practice the Frank Pages do much damage to the notion of a civilized society because they are not just worried about the sweet by and by, not just concerned with the everlasting home of individual sinners. And the reason they are not is contained in that conversion story of the nine-year-old Page:

I prayed a prayer of confession and repentance and of begging God to come into my heart.

Confess, repent, and beg. It is a pattern that fundamentalists and evangelicals learn early on in church and one which they follow in the world at large, especially when it comes to certain social issues like abortion and homosexual rights. These folks feel compelled to work out their repentance and to satisfy an angry God by forcing the rest of us to bend our knees to their theology, to their view of what Franklin Graham called “God’s divine order for the universe and its inhabitants.

That is what makes what these people do on Sunday, and beyond, so potentially damaging to the social fabric of our modern, secular Republic. They don’t want to just huddle together on Sunday and share stories, or fantasies, about Jesus. They don’t just want to meet and discuss how many angels can dance on Bill O’Reilly’s pin head.

They want to mold society into one that, by law, is bound to follow the ancient teachings of the Jesus they adore, at least the Jesus preached from the pulpits in the churches they populate, the Jesus who would outlaw abortion (though he never spoke a word about it) or outlaw gay marriage (though he didn’t say a word about homosexuality).

It’s no coincidence that just about a month after Barack Hussein Obama was reelected, Frank Page addressed his fellow churchmen with this:

I am asking all Southern Baptists to join me in a year of emphasis on prayer like none we’ve ever seen before.

Interestingly, Page admits that “for some time” God had burdened his heart “about prayer and spiritual awakening,” as far back as 2006. But for some strange reason, just after the 2012 election, Page felt it necessary to urge the Southern Baptists to join him,

in a year-long emphasis for calling to our Lord for His mercy, for His guidance and for His forgiveness.

Seeking God’s mercy and guidance and forgiveness, part of the pattern of fundamentalist thought both here and around the world, is how many American conservative Christians no doubt spent this Sunday, at least that part of the day spent listening to people like Dan Biser, a Southern Baptist pastor, who had urged fellow believers to make a point of begging God for forgiveness today:

For many followers of Christ, this Sunday, June 30, is their first gathering following the momentous historical announcement by the Supreme Court. The churches I serve have set aside this Sunday as A Day of Mourning and Prayer. I am calling our people to assemble with a solemn awareness of the state of our nation and the impact of these rulings upon us.

In the Old Testament, national and spiritual leaders often confessed the sins of the nation in their cries to the Lord. Sometimes they were in political positions to effect immediate change, such as Nehemiah’s prayer in his leadership role in post-exilic Jerusalem. But others cried out to God from an adversarial national setting, such as Elijah under Ahab’s wicked rule over the northern kingdom of Israel.

As we pray, let us acknowledge that every act of sin legalized and embraced by our culture is a provocation of the Lord God and His holiness and righteousness as declared in His Holy Word.

Let us acknowledge that, though the Lord God is kind, patient and longsuffering, He has never (and will not) grant His continued blessings on any nation or people that chooses sin over our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In other words, if Christians aren’t busy confessing, repenting, and begging this Sunday, the loving Almighty Savior is gonna get real mad over the fact that the homosexual folks He created can now enjoy all the blessings of liberty, and tax breaks, that the federal government can give them. Yes, that’s enough to piss off the King of the Universe, who, if He is to be pissed off at anyone, should be pissed off at Himself, since, presumably, He is the one Who created folks with a fondness for same-sex matrimony.

Most right-wing Christians believe—at least the ones I am familiar with—that there is a conspiracy behind extending equal protection under the law to what conservative Bible-believers call sodomites.  An article on, quoting the authors of The Homosexual Agenda, claims that some gay-friendly people are,

using tactics on ‘straight’ America that are remarkably similar to the brainwashing methods of Mao Tse-Tung’s Communist Chinese — mixed with Madison Avenue’s most persuasive selling techniques.

Yes, it is ironic that conservative Christians, who recruit and indoctrinate kids, who feed them full of scary stories of hell and everlasting punishment, who then bid them to come forth to the altar and “wash” their sins away, yes, it is ironic that those folks would dare to say that attempts to gain equal rights under the law for homosexuals smell of Mao’s “brainwashing methods.”

Besides the irony, there is the politics of the matter. The recent Supreme Court decision to stop discriminating against a class of Americans who the Bible finds detestable and worthy of death poses a problem for the Republican Party. As David Brody, the chief political correspondent (!) for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (Robertson, predictably, compares DOMA decision to Sodom and Gomorrah), put it,

Republican politicians are going to be faced with a political dilemma. The Brody File calls it a, “Judeo-Christian Backbone Moment.” Will they run away from the issue of traditional marriage or embrace it? Polls suggest more Americans (especially younger voters) are accepting of gay marriage so does that mean these “pro-family” politicians will modify their views? Does it mean they will change their views (Hello Rob Portman)? Or will they simply stop defending traditional marriage and run away from it like the plague? After all, unless they live in a super secure congressional district or a very conservative state, they may believe that one of the options above may keep them afloat politically. The American people are about to find out who the pretenders are. Will these GOP Congressman choose political survival or Judeo-Christian Statesmanship?

At least one GOP Congressman, from my old home state of Kansas, is taking up the fight—uh, crusade—to rid the country of equal protection under the law for sodomites. Tim Huelskamp, who represents the nearly-unpopulated parts of Kansas—more than half of the state geographically—has introduced yet another Federal Marriage Amendment as a way to alter the Constitution so that it will conform to what he believes is God’s Law.

As RightWingWatch reported, the congressman appeared on a right-wing radio show hosted by Steve Deace and,

Huelskamp accused the justices of trying to “rewrite the Constitution” and of attacking Jesus Christ himself. “The idea that Jesus Christ himself was degrading and demeaning is what they’ve come down to,” he said.

The congressman agreed with Deace’s charge that the left “has every intention of turning government against the church.” He added that progressive are bent on “ramming their views down the throats of Americans.”

Again, how ironic that a man who, according to his own bio, had “the essentials” of his Catholic faith “instilled” in him “at an early age,” would claim that those who seek equal protection under the law are “ramming their views down the throats of Americans.”

It may be that the issue of homosexual marriage weakens the bond between conservative Christians and the Republican Party, which would not only be good for the party but good for the country. Or it may be that the GOP doubles down on attempts to put the sodomites back in their rightful place, a move that would further alienate the party from young people and others who no longer view homosexuals as sinners worthy of death and additional tax liability.

Whatever happens with the politics, we do know that there are many, many Christians out there who think God is busy figuring out ways to execute judgment on the nation for embracing equality before the law. And apparently he is starting with, of all places, Colorado Springs. Who could have guessed that?

“God,” as William Cowper told us, “moves in a mysterious way.” And if, after all the confessing and repenting and begging that is undoubtedly going on this Sunday in reactionary churches around America, if God doesn’t kill us all, then I, for one, will see that as a sign that Cowper was right:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

Texas Spring?

Tuesday night I followed on Twitter the progress of Texas state senator Wendy Davis’ heroic filibuster against evangelical governance in that state, governance represented by a proposed law—which earlier in the special session had passed the Texas House—that would essentially rob many Texas women of their constitutional right to govern their own reproductive lives without interference from an Old Testament Yahweh, a first-century Jesus, or their self-proclaimed representatives in the state legislature.wendy davis

If you think that first sentence was a mouthful, you should have seen Democrat Wendy Davis in action, all 11 hours of action performed before her frustrated Tea Party colleagues, an admiring gallery, and almost 200,000 livestream viewers of the filibuster on the Internet.

That last datum is significant. For most of us, the only available means of seeing Senator Davis in action, of watching the proceedings—which were quite exciting at the end because of a midnight deadline at play and Republicans’ willingness to lie about the vote taken after the deadline—was the Texas Senate Livestream on YouTube, not on cable television news. Or, like me, one could follow it on Twitter and get updates from folks who were watching on YouTube.

I tried in vain to get live TV coverage of the rather unique and significant event that was unfolding as midnight approached in Texas.  MSNBC’s tagline is “The Place for Politics,” and since there was some interesting politics going on in the Lone Star State, particularly a liberal-versus-conservative style of politics, naturally I figured I could follow it on The Place for Politics.

Except that MSNBC wasn’t covering it live (they did mention it during evening programming). Neither was the Cable News Network or the Fox “News” Channel. Nothing live. As James Poniewozik of Time pointed out,

As midnight approached in Austin, political observers were watching a nailbiter on YouTube; but on cable, you could see an interview about Iraq on Fox, a climate debate on MSNBC, and, toward the end of Anderson Cooper’s CNN show, a report on an attempt to ban the wearing of saggy pants.

Poniewozik also noted:

It was online and in social media where the story really took off, and even played out. As partisans from both sides traded shots on YouTube, Twitter became an extension of the Senate gallery, with users weighing in (President Obama’s twitter account directed attention to the filibuster at one point), cracking jokes, and even offering unsolicited  advice to the legislators on the points of Texas parliamentary procedure.

If all this sounds like an American version of “Arab Spring,” in which social media has played a critical role in the attempted dissolution of Middle East despotism, then maybe it is, at least a tiny little bit. Cable news, whether it was because of producer indifference, lack of resources, or poor editorial judgment, missed something exciting and, we can hope, ultimately game-changing—there is talk already of Wendy Davis running for Texas governor in 2014!

The point in all this is that these days, just because the official news bidness misses something, that doesn’t mean it will escape the instant notice of motivated people who care about, in this case, the right of women to control their own reproductive health and to keep religious and other zealots from dictating to them when to become parents.

The Center Of “The Nation’s Life” Holds, At Least Today

Yep, the Supreme Court found that federally discriminating against same-sex couples who are lawfully married is unconstitutional. A great day for equality under the law, even if there is much unfinished business—38 states representing two-thirds of the population of the country still prohibit same-sex matrimony—before genuine law-based equality becomes a reality for all.supreme court white

I do, though, want to remind everyone just how “damaging” was Tuesday’s decision on the Voting Rights Act, which was a victory for reactionary forces still hard at work across the land. And I want to remind everyone that whether it is Tea Party-dominated Texas—which will, despite the heroic efforts of a Democratic state senator, eventually severely limit reproductive rights in that state—or other laboratories of intolerance in other cuckoo-conservative jurisdictions, the right-wingers are unrelenting in their pursuit of a reactionary agenda. They won’t quit trying to apply their Iron Age evangelical theology to contemporary governance.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that even though today’s DOMA decision is a winner, those Four Conservatives of the Judicial Apocalypse—Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts—still wield considerable power on behalf of the reactionaries among us.

Justice Scalia’s dissent in the DOMA case, in which he unbelievably and hypocritically denounced his colleagues in the majority as embracing “black-robed supremacy”—as if he had not embraced such supremacy in the Voting Rights case the day before (not to mention in Bush v. Gore, which “settled” the 2000 presidential election)—is dripping with disdain for what the majority did to DOMA, that is, strike down the Clinton-era law without what the black-robed Scalia claimed was a legitimate reason to do so. He said the majority had expressed,

a desire to place this Court at the center of the Nation’s life.

For better or worse—and there are examples in history representing each extreme—the Supreme Court is sometimes at the center of the Nation’s life. And that center can be a fresh stream of equality and justice and liberty under the law, as Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 or Roe v. Wade in 1973 or today’s DOMA decision demonstrates.

Or at the center of the Nation’s constitutional life can exist a stagnant pool of narrow-minded conservatism, as Dred Scott  v. Sandford in 1857 or Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 or the Voting Rights Act demolition yesterday represents.

supreme court blackAnd as long as there are four reliable defenders of retrogressive philosophy, of constitutional stagnation, sitting on the Supreme Court—with a sometimes reliable reactionary like Justice Kennedy making a majority—it will be hazardous to have the Court in a position to make monumental declarations about what the law, including constitutional law, finally means.

For that hazard we can thank the folly of the Founders, or their genius, depending on one’s view.

But ultimately it is the people who vote conservatives into high office, and, more important, the people who sit at home and don’t vote at all, who are responsible for the anti-progress we have seen, will see.

Even if today we can, but only for a moment, celebrate.

The Supreme Court Conservatives Make Me Long For George W. Bush

If you are among those who don’t think it matters all that much what the Supreme Court did yesterday to the Voting Rights Act, then I implore you to watch this ten-minute segment from the slightly tarnished but still sainted Rachel Maddow:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Who’s The Hero After All?

I like Michael Moore, I really do. But sometimes he acts like a mirror image of Glenn Beck.

And thanks to Bartcop, there is evidence, sad evidence, that, despite their ideological differences, they are twins separated at birth:

moore and beck

The reference, obviously, is to Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information to Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post, who, naturally, leaked it to the world. Whether Snowden is a hero or a criminal has divided both the liberal and conservative camps.

At this point in time, when not many details are known, I tend to side with Jeffrey Toobin, who called Snowden “a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison.”

Time and details may change my opinion, but there is something narcissistic about the way Snowden has behaved, and there is certainly an element of grandiosity in this whole thing.

And I like Toobin’s cautious reasoning about the tension between knowing and not knowing what the government is up to:

What makes leak cases difficult is that some leaking—some interaction between reporters and sources who have access to classified information—is normal, even indispensable, in a society with a free press. It’s not easy to draw the line between those kinds of healthy encounters and the wholesale, reckless dumping of classified information by the likes of Snowden or Bradley Manning. Indeed, Snowden was so irresponsible in what he gave the Guardian and the Postthat even these institutions thought some of it should not be disseminated to the public. The Postdecided to publish only four of the forty-one slides that Snowden provided. Its exercise of judgment suggests the absence of Snowden’s.

I also like the way Toobin concluded his piece:

The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions. But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this. Instead, in an act that speaks more to his ego than his conscience, he threw the secrets he knew up in the air—and trusted, somehow, that good would come of it. We all now have to hope that he’s right.

This issue has caused me to separate myself from a lot of liberals I greatly respect. It’s not that sometimes Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, or for that matter, myself and Glenn Beck, shouldn’t have intersecting interests. As Americans, we should.

But before all the facts are known, when all we really know right now is that some 29-year-old employee of a private contractor leaked classified information he swore to keep secret, to label Edward Snowden a “hero” is ridiculous.

White Guilt And The Black Guy In The White’s House

Last night Sean Hannity referred to the IRS mess as the “IRS enemies-list scandal.” The only thing you can say about that particular phrasing is that the man who said it is, well, nuts. He’s nuts with Obama-hate. He and other Republicans will not rest until they turn Barack Obama into a darker version, literally and figuratively, of a White House-fleeing Richard Nixon.

And speaking of nuts and Obama-hate, yesterday Rush Limbaugh, speaking of all the non-scandals going on, said,

The real danger to me, though, is not one or two rogue employees at the IRS or the NSA or the CIA. The real danger is having a rogue administration. And we do, I think. This is the primary challenge that we face.

Yes, that’s nutty. But not as nutty as something else Limbaugh presented to millions of right-wing worshipers:

obama regime

In his IQ-draining monologue, Limbaugh advanced his long-held and long-articulated theory of how it is that Barack Obama is able to remain relatively popular and get away with all these scandals and governmental malfeasance and socialist destruction:

White guilt.  Race…In addition to everything else in the Limbaugh Theorem, the fact that there is so much guilt, white guilt that’s behind the election of Obama, that that same white guilt is simply not gonna show up and hold him responsible.  Not you and I.  I mean, we voted against Obama, so we don’t have white guilt, but there’s a lot of white voters that voted for Obama simply because of racial reasons, hoping to get rid of racism or wanting people know they weren’t racists or whatever, but it’s all oriented towards how Shelby Steele has described it, and I think brilliantly, white guilt. 

…It’s why he’s not going to be held responsible for anything.  The whole reason for his existence — and he’s exploiting it, by the way, and knows it — is that enough people in this country feel so guilty over slavery and the civil rights violations that whatever is necessary to assuage that, they will do. 

I mentioned to you two weeks ago, maybe longer, that, in my view — and I’d like to be wrong about this — but I can’t foresee any circumstance where the first African-American president be removed from office.  Can you tell me who in the Congress is gonna make that move?  Give me a member of the House of Representatives that is gonna make that move and then be joined by enough other members to make it a reality?  Tell me who’s gonna do it?  Nobody’s gonna do it.  And why aren’t they gonna do it?  If it were ever justified, if it were ever something that were truly constitutionally justified, still not gonna happen because of race. 

There you have it. Barack Obama is able to destroy America because there are too many white people out there paralyzed with guilt over how their ancestors treated black folks. If we white folks could only get rid of our white guilt the way Rush Limbaugh has, we would see the world as he sees it.

Enlightening commentary from the most popular pundit in conservative media, a man whom Republicans dare not challenge.

The Sin Of St. Rachel Maddow

Just before President Obama was set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday (at a 200-acre resort in Palm Springs, to which neither you nor I will ever be able to resort), NBC news reported this:

The U.S. secretly traced a massive cyberespionage operation against the 2008 presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain to hacking  units backed by the People’s Republic of China, prompting  high level warnings to Chinese officials to stop such activities,  U.S. intelligence officials tell NBC News.

This leak, obviously, had a purpose, which was to publicly highlight the ongoing, but mostly secret, complaints from the U.S. about Chinese computer-hacking. We were essentially trying to embarrass the Chinese because behind-the-scenes efforts to get them to stop hacking our information systems and stealing our secrets wasn’t working. All well and good, as far as I’m concerned. We should be embarrassing authoritarians everywhere.

For their part, the Chinese, desirous of some American good will before Xi Jinping met with President Obama, granted passports to family members of the blind Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng, who is here in the United States, far from the tyranny that still characterizes the Chinese government.

Now, keep that last line in mind: China, despite its incremental turn towards capitalism, is still, especially compared to the United States, a bastion of communist bullies who watch over the population truly like Big Brother. But given the news and the punditry of the last few days, you wouldn’t know that. You would think that President Obama is a despot ever bit as despotic as Xi Jinping or any other tyrant in the world wishing to “spy” on his people.

This rubbish, unfortunately, has infected the minds of a lot of people I respect, people on the left, people who I have sainted on this blog. In this case, I’m talking about St. Rachel Maddow, who ended her Friday broadcast with this commentary on the Obama-Xi meeting:

…the Chinese government on the occasion of [Xi Jinping’s] visit to the U.S., they decided to finally give passports to the family members of this Chinese dissident who took refuge in our country from Chinese persecutions. Now his mother and his brother can visit him here, all of a sudden because of this, because of this meeting.

[She shows a video clip of Obama meeting with Xi Jinping] This was the scene in Palm Springs about 90 minutes ago, President Obama greeting the Chinese president, and they sat down for the first of their big, important meetings.

And this is kind of how these things are supposed to go on the sidelines of these meetings, right?  On the occasion of a high profile meeting with the President of the United States, on that occasion, you know what? Kindnesses towards dissidents should suddenly become possible. Other countries should think we expect that. Contact with us, desire to have good relations with us, is supposed to drive other countries towards better human rights policies and better civil rights policies, because that’s what we are supposed to stand for.

So far, so good. St. Rachel is acting the saint, saying everything right, analyzing the situation perfectly. Then, as many on the left are wont to do, she gives in to temptation and commits the sin of Big Brother-is-watching-us hysteria:

So the timing is tough right now, right? We like to think of ourselves as the good guys, where the international cost of doing business with United States of America is that you have to be less evil. It would be a lot easier for the United States to pull off this attempted embarrassment of the Chinese government over them hacking our politicians, were it not for the coincident revelations floating out of our own media this week about our own government mercilessly hacking us.

There it was. In front of God and everyone. Rachel Maddow committing the sin of a ridiculous comparison between the United States government’s data aggregation policy—authorized by Congress and overseen by the judicial branch—and an authoritarian communist country actually spying on its people. There she was implicitly putting President Obama and Xi Jinping in the same “hacking” boat.

If it weren’t for St. Rachel’s many virtues, if it weren’t for her former wind-driven-snow pureness, I would have to take back the halo I have put over her noggin. For now, though, it is prayer she needs. Lots of it. Prayer that she, and other liberals and progressives, will come to their senses and realize that what has been revealed so far in what is now being called the “NSA scandal,” is not Big Brother watching over us in order to then force us to get our minds right. That is what Big Brother is doing in China, not the United States.

And until someone shows me how aggregating data, a policy designed to help the government uncover terrorist plots, is a massive violation of the civil rights of Americans, I will continue to reject the notion that President Obama, or President Bush before him, is using the National Security Agency as a spying apparatus designed to arrest Americans and put them in prison or under house arrest like the Chinese do.

Finally, for those of you out there who buy into the notion that your government is out to spy on you and catch you looking at porn, or secretly emailing your mistress, or worshiping a very strange god, or whatever it is you don’t want the government to catch you doing, consider this recent report from NBC News:

The National Security Agency has at times mistakenly intercepted the private email messages and phone calls of Americans who had no link to terrorism, requiring Justice Department officials to report the errors to a secret national security court and destroy the data, according to two former U.S. intelligence officials. 

First, imagine the Chinese government admitting such a thing and rectifying such a mistake. And then imagine the Chinese government allowing that story to be widely dispersed in China.

Then start praying for St. Rachel and other liberals who are embarrassing themselves by way of this—so far—phony NSA “scandal.”

Why There Is No “Liberal Movement”

Wanna know what’s wrong with the left in this country? This:

george w. obamaThat was from yesterday. Here’s today’s HuffPo header:

george w. obama

Some liberals and progressives, now joining libertarians in the wacky wing of the Republican Party, are aghast that the government—all three branches being involved—is snooping around the Internet looking for terrorists. What did people think was happening since the country—Democrats as well as Republicans, liberals as well as conservatives—demanded that 9/11 never happen again?

And the right wing crazies, those like Ann Coulter, have a slightly more nuanced take on all this:

Coulter Blasts Obama For NSA Snooping: Cares More About ‘Harassing Americans’ Than Fighting Terrorism

The un-delightful Ms. Coulter, as reported by Mediaite, sees things through a pair of Obama-hating glasses:

Ann Coulter did not object to the news about NSA phone snooping on principle, but does have a problem with it under this particular president. She told Sean Hannity tonight that under an “honorable administration,” the government should be able to collect phone records, but said that President Obama, with all the other scandals that have come out, has proven to be untrustworthy and he cares more about “harassing Americans” and his political opponents than actually fighting terrorism.

Those are the kinds of people that HuffPo and The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and The New York Times editorialists are getting in bed with, rolling under the covers with, and who knows doing what with.

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the story on the allegedly widespread NSA surveillance scheme by publishing leaks about it, has been an Obama critic almost from the beginning, often getting credit for criticizing the President “from the left.” Bullhockey. Greenwald could jump in the political sack with Rand or Ron Paul, or both, and enjoy every minute of it. As the Rooted Cosmopolitan put it, Greenwald,

is not a liberal or progressive with a broad sense of the common good.

No, he’s not. I have followed his Tweets for months and some of them have shocked me in terms of their breathtaking hysteria related to President Obama.  Not only that, Greenwald doesn’t respect those on the left who don’t spend all their time denigrating the President. He once tweeted in support of someone who said of Obama supporters, “Obama could rape a nun on NBC and you’d say we weren’t seeing what we were seeing.” Greenwald’s reply:

No – she’d say it was justified [and] noble – that he only did it to teach us about the evils of rape.

The guy who wrote that, who doubled-down on the rape “joke,” is the one who broke the story on the NSA surveillance. That’s why I will wait until more sober minds have examined this issue’before I trash the man in the White House who has actually offered to hand back significant executive power to Congress.

By the way, Greenwald told CNN:

There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world. That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.

If that sounds like Glenn Beck instead of Glenn Greenwald then you don’t know Glenn Greenwald.

There are questions that need answered related to this NSA story, for sure. But people can’t have it both ways. They can’t demand that the government keep us safe from terrorists who want to kill us, while expecting government officials not to use technical means to do so.

And all of this stuff is especially ironic in an age in which people share all kinds of private information with strangers on the Internet or through emails.

In any case, the hysteria from the left—Obama is now George W. Bush—is why liberals cannot have a “movement” in the way conservatives can. They almost always let the perfect not only be an enemy of the good, but kill it in its tracks.

Our (!!!!) House Of Representatives At Work

I am happy to pass on a report that the U.S. House of Representatives, as part of its ongoing tribute to Tea Party-induced paranoia, has momentarily stopped its futile attempts to repeal ObamaCare and taken on a more important task: prevent the government from getting enough bullets to kill us all, or at least those of us foolish enough to pick a gunfight with the feds.

Via The Hill:

The House late Wednesday voted to stop the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from entering into new contracts to buy millions of rounds of ammunition until DHS reports to Congress on the need for the ammo, and its cost.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) proposed an amendment to the DHS spending bill for 2014 that would require the report to Congress before it can pursue plans to buy 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition. Meadows said the speed bump is a necessary reaction to news of the huge purchase, which alarmed many Americans and prompted conservative groups to suspect that the government was stocking up on the rounds to fight citizens.

How ironic and delicious is the fact that House right-wingers are now afraid of the monstrosity—Homeland Security—that House right-wingers mostly created.

Congressman Meadows is one of those House right-wingers who believes that President Obama’s administration “has trampled on our Constitutional safeguards” and that “our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms is absolute.” Yep, alone among Americans, gun-toters have absolute rights.

Now, most readers of this blog, not being Obama-haters and not having the gun lust, may not know that across the country there has been a shortage of ammo. Some conspiracy-minded folks believe the government is stockpiling ammunition in order to have enough on hand to support Barack Obama, when he finally decides to take over the country by force—which could be any day now, given that Michelle has had it with hecklers.

Others, more sober-minded reactionaries, believe the President is hoarding the lead as part of an effort to make it more difficult for Ted Nugent to get rich selling the stuff.

The truth, though, is that fear and paranoia among gun freaks—much of it generated by Ted Nugent types—is mostly responsible for the shortage. Many of these fearful folks belong to a group of delusively vigilant Americans who call themselves “Oath Keepers.” Yes, that’s right. There are out there a lot of people who swear that when Big O decides to quit trampling on the Constitution and start trampling on people, they,

will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders, such as orders to disarm the American people or to place them under martial law and deprive them of their ancient right to jury trial.

We Oath Keepers have drawn a line in the sand. We will not “just follow orders.”

Our motto is “Not on our watch!”

These folks are serious.  They call themselves “Guardians of the Republic” and claim they “are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our own troops.” And, of course, God must be on their side:

Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters who will fulfill the oath we swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God.

It is unclear how God will help these folks defend the Constitution, should the President declare war on Americans. Because, after all, God also has an obligation to Obama, since, as the Bible declares, Obama wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for the Almighty:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Whoops! Something has to eventually give here. Either God has to admit He made a mistake in appointing Barack Obama as the Commander-in-Chief, or He has to abandon the Oath Keepers and leave them to the mercy of Obama, after the President fires up those black helicopters and starts shooting.

Since God hasn’t admitted to a mistake since the sixth chapter of Genesis, I’m betting that He won’t repent of appointing Obama as president and that Ted Nugent and the Oath Keepers will have to handle the upcoming battle without the benefit of fire and brimstone from on high.

In the mean time, the Tea Party-dominated House of Representatives will do all it can to save the country from its government, a government once, now laughingly, characterized as “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Corporations Are People Except When It Really Matters

We know, because the Supreme Court and Mitt Romney told us, that corporations are people. And we know, because we have been at war for more than a decade, that it is people who fight our battles and who get wounded and die for our country. It is people who are persuaded that, sometimes, it is necessary to summon up the courage necessary to sacrifice for a cause greater than mere individual self interest.

We call that patriotism and such patriotism is taught to our children, when we take them to parades where old men in uniforms wave to the crowds, when they hear Taps played at funerals of the fallen, when they see the President place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We teach this kind of patriotism to our kids because the national well-being may one day require some amount of sacrifice on their part, if we want to remain strong and free.

But for all the lessons on sacrifice we teach to our young ones, for all the talk of patriotism we try to instill in our people, some people among us—those now disguised as corporations—reject that message. These corporate-people don’t give a damn about sacrifice or patriotism or anything except one thing: keep as much money as possible away from the government, away from the entity that enables these corporate-people to thrive and profit.

From Citizens for Tax Justice via MSNBC this morning:

corporations hiding money

One panelist on Morning Joe tried to make the point that this was all perfectly legal. That there is a distinction between tax “avoidance” and tax “evasion,” the first being okay in the eyes of the law and the second bringing down the real fury of the IRS on the guilty.

I suppose, during any of our wars involving conscription, a person who refused military service could have claimed that he was merely avoiding the draft and not evading it and then throw himself on the mercy of the court, but I would not have liked his chances because at one time we actually required young men to go and fight and, if necessary, die for America.

But the truth is that all this tax avoidance-evasion is perfectly legal, if perfectly dreadful and absolutely unpatriotic. And as long as lawmakers, most of them Republicans, honor this practice rather than abhor it, as long as they enable it rather than abolish it, the practice will continue and our country, for which many real people have fought and died, will suffer.

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