Statewide Madness In Kansas

In a blog post more than a month ago, I waved goodbye to my old home state, Kansas, after GOP primary voters decided to,

officially become the property of Koch-sponsored fanaticism.

Voters did that by tossing out relatively—and I do mean relatively—moderate Republicans in favor of right-wing zealots.

Those zealots now dominate the state completely.

Well, since I wrote that piece what has happened? Let me see:

♦ Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder took his love truncheon for a short dip in the Sea of Galilee.

♦ The all-Republican Kansas Objections Board finally bowed to reality and admitted, sort of, that Barack Obama belongs on the Kansas ballot in November. The board had previously dithered on the issue, with members saying they needed more information from Hawaii and indicating they were pissed that Obama did not take their delusional deliberations seriously enough to send a representative to their ridiculous meeting.

♦ Orly Taitz, that crazy-mad woman who commands much Tea Party respect over her insistence that Mr. Obama is a Kenyan by birth, has managed to convince a silly Kansas judge to give her yet another hearing on whether the decision by the all-Republican Kansas Objections Board should be overturned.

♦If that ain’t enough Kansas craziness for ya, in today’s Joplin Globe we had a story on the draconian Kansas voter ID law that began:

There were 251 votes statewide in Kansas in the Aug. 6 primary that weren’t counted because the voters didn’t present the proper photo identification under the new voter ID law.

The father of that voter ID law, and a man well known to right-wing extremists everywhere, is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who called the new law an “outstanding success“—no, even better, he added that it was an “extraordinary success.” At least I think extraordinary is better than outstanding.

In any case, he really liked it, despite the fact that it disenfranchised 251 Kansans who went to the trouble of going to the polls.

Kobach, of course, doesn’t see it as disenfranchisement, but merely that folks who were challenged simply didn’t bother to come back with the proper papers:

Most of them had a photo ID and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. They weren’t disenfranchised.

Hmm. That’s amazing, if you really think about it. And you should really think about it.

But the most amazing comment Kobach made is found in this excerpt from Roger McKinney’s story in the Globe:

An American Civil Liberties Union analysis of a report produced by Kobach’s office related to alleged voter fraud incidents between 1997 and 2010, finding no cases of voter impersonation fraud, which the voter ID law is designed to prevent.

Kobach disputes that, saying there was one report during that 13-year period.

If this weren’t so serious, Kobach’s response would be side-splittingly funny. He disputed the ACLU’s contention of zero cases in 13 years by citing, uh, ONE! Uno! Or, well, in his case, maybe: Eins!

That is the goings-on in my birth state, a place I once called home, a place that has its priorities straight, by God. I know that because on Friday night, two teeny-weeny southeast Kansas high school football teams, Frontenac (302 kids) and St. Mary’s Colgan (231 kids in grades 7-12), played each other.

The game was broadcast statewide—state-bleeping-wide—on cable TV.

Kreeping The Faith

A man named Gary Kreep—a prominent birther and right-wing Christian in California—may become a Superior Court judge in San Diego County. With about 13,500 votes left to count, he and his opponent,
Garland Peed, are separated by a few hundred votes (out of about 400,000 cast), with Kreep currently holding the edge.

Kreep is the Executive Director of a right-wing nut group called the United States Justice Foundation, which has lately attempted to convince courts that President Obama is not our legitimate leader.

Mr. Kreep recently failed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to take seriously a case brought by the reactionary freak Alan Keyes and other assorted kooks, but he may have been successful in convincing enough voters in San Diego County to take him seriously as a judge.

All of which makes the roughly 200,000 voters who voted for Kreep creeps themselves.

_________________________________

Meanwhile, speaking of creeps and right-wing Christians, the popular website WorldNetDaily (WND), the flagship of a flaky fleet of Obama-haters and birthers, is promoting this:

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – WND-TV will provide gavel-to-gavel, live video coverage of the latest challenge to Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility in a courtroom hearing that could deny him ballot access to this all-important electoral swing state in November…The hearing will focus on Obama’s claim to be a “natural born citizen,” as required under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution.

You see, even if Obama were really born in Hawaii (and God knows he wasn’t), he’s still illegitimate because he was “not born to two citizen parents.” Tune in on Monday, June 18, at 9 a.m. Eastern and find out if Obama can really call himself “President” Obama or must refer to his lying self as “the black man illegitimately and temporarily sitting in the White’s House waiting for that rich white guy to take it back.”

To give you an idea of the mentality of the fans of WND, here is a headline from about a month ago:

The founder of WND  is a man named Joseph Farah, an evangelical Christian allegedly with Jesus-love in his heart for everyone—except our phony president.  Farah, who has helped Rush Limbaugh write his book-form trash, has nothing but a heart full of hate for Mr. Obama and particularly is focused on Obama’s right to be president of the United States.

But Farah also has a heart full of hate for our culture. In response to a question about how he protects his five homeschooled daughters, he said the following in 2003:

Don’t scan the radio. Don’t even turn on the television. The whole culture has become so degraded that there’s no escaping it outside the home. So we work at home, we school at home, we do everything at home. We still have to go get the groceries and go to the bank, that sort of thing. If you follow our example you will be insulted from time to time, but at least you will minimize the consequences of cultural poisoning for your children…

We try to teach our children to be rebels. That is what Christian, moral people are in our society today, like it or not. Most Christians and other moral people don’t like it. Most of them don’t think of themselves in that way and few truly are rebels. But I think we need to be. That’s one of the things I advocate in this book: a whole new orientation of mind.

And forget this idea of being conservative. It’s too late to be conservative. To be conservative in a society that’s become as degraded as ours has become means settling for what we see all around us. I don’t want to settle for that. That’s not good enough for my kids. I want better. I want to go on the offensive.

Well, apparently these days reorienting the Christian mind and going on the offensive involves undermining the legitimacy of President Obama, even if doing so violates the very scripture that people like Mr. Farah say they trust and revere. Here speaketh Paul the Apostle in Romans, Chapter 13, verse 1:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Undoubtedly, the meaning of that text would also include President Barack Hussein Obama, but, in a spasm of convenience all too typical of Bible thumpers like Mr. Farah and his fellow Christians who gawk at WND, the Apostle’s admonition is swept away by a rather unholy and Kreepy tide of Obama hate.

God And Donald Trump

When I have doubts about God, I think of Donald Trump.

I wonder just how there can be a God, an all-powerful being who loves us and cares for us, who would unleash upon us such an obnoxious, loathsome stream of diarrhea as the potential GOP candidate for president most certainly is.   

I mean, if God loves us, why is there a Donald Trump?

According to some of my conservative Christian friends, God is busy sending earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes and cancer and AIDS as punishment for our sins, so does that explain why there is a Trump?

Or, if not, why does God put up with him? Or with our fawning media, who treat him like he is some kind of ethereal being?  Mika Brzezinski, of Morning Joe, practically pees on herself, so excitedly grateful is she for being in the presence of The Donald, who appears too often on that show. 

But back to God. Just what Being worthy of worship could tolerate for long a creature who said this on Good Morning America:

Part of the beauty of me, is that I’m very rich.

The Republican Party, the Party of God, deserves this arrogant and ignorant bastard in its primary. 

Here, in case you didn’t see it, is his latest excursion into narcissistic nonsense, including the stupidity about Obama’s youth:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

 
 
 

 

Huckabee, Hickabee

The field of potential Republican candidates for president is, to be kind, a pitiful lot, but some of them are just plain dumb.

Let’s look at Mike Huckabee, who led all comers in a new Winthrop University poll of Southern voters with almost 22%.

Huckabee, whose appeal is primarily among white evangelical voters, is set to undertake a book tour of the South next week, where his recent stupid statements on Barack Obama’s childhood will, no doubt, serve him well.

A few days ago, on a right-wing  whack job’s radio show,  Huckabee got caught up in the whack job’s invective about Obama’s birth certificate and managed to move the conversation down from there. For those who haven’t read the exchange between Huck and Steve Malzberg, here it is in all its colossal idiocy:

MALZBERG: Don’t you think it’s fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don’t have a health record, we don’t have a college record, we don’t have a birth cer – why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It’s one thing to say, I’ve — you’ve seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don’t you think we deserve to know more about this man?

HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits —

MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.

HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.

Now, obviously Huckabee’s basic facts are all wrong: Obama didn’t grow up in Kenya.  And he therefore didn’t grow up with his father and grandfather there. In fact, he didn’t grow up with them at all, anywhere. He only met his father one time, and he spent most of his childhood in Hawaii, as everyone outside the South and the Republican Party knows.

And Huckabee’s attempt to subsequently explain his idiocy is even worse than the original statements, because he had ample time to think about the explanation.  A spokesman first said Huckabee simply “misspoke,” claiming Huckabee meant to say Obama grew up in Indonesia.  Now, you can go back to that conversation and substitute Indonesia and you will find this:

But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Indonesia with an Indonesian father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Indonesia is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.

You can see how dumb it was to say he misspoke and meant Indonesia. That turns Obama’s father and grandfather into Indonesians and moves the Mau Mau Revolution out of Kenya, which is kind of strange since that’s where it happened and since the Mau Mau anti-colonialists were most definitely Kenyans, unless they all forged their birth certificates, which is just as likely as Obama forging his.

But then to make it worse, Huckabee published a statement on his blog, not only reaffirming that he meant to say Indonesia instead of Kenya, but claiming that he always knew there was no issue with Obama’s birth certificate and then blaming the New York Times for sensationalizing the story!  He then compared Obama’s “57 states” gaffe to his Kenyan gaffe, as if they were somehow qualitatively the same.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.  But that’s what you get when you play in the sandbox with idiot birthers. 

Besides the obvious, my problem with all this, in terms of Huckabee’s qualifications to lead the country, is that even if he in fact believes there is no issue with Obama’s birthplace, why didn’t he tell Malzberg that?  Why did he allow himself to get caught up in the spirit of that wacky moment?  Why didn’t he have the guts to set him and his listeners straight? What kind of bleeping leader is that?

The truth is that Huckabee, like so many Republicans and so many Southerners, wants to keep alive the notion that Obama is “the other,” not one of “us,” not a real American.

It’s shameless, and it should disqualify Huckabee from doing anything outside his Fox “News” gig.  Unfortunately, though, for so many Republicans, it makes him more attractive.

[photo: Timothy Devine]

Eric Cantor Is Not A Homosexual Traitor. I Think.

If you watched Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Meet The Press appearance on Sunday, you learned the following:

Unlike Obama, Republicans don’t want to “invest” in America:

CANTOR: What we’ve said is our Congress is going to be a cut and grow Congress; that we believe we’ve got to cut spending, we’ve got to cut the regulations that have stopped job growth. When the president talks about competitiveness, sure, we want America to be competitive.  But then when he talks about investing, I think even someone from the White House this week had said that this is going to be a cut and invest White House.  We want to cut and grow.  Because when we, we hear invest, when–from anyone in Washington, to me that means more spending. 

Get it?  Cut and grow.  Cut and grow. Cut and grow.  Sort of like pruning roses. That’s it!  America is just one big rose garden!  If we just cut, cut, cut, in no time millions of job-flowers will bloom!  Just make sure you don’t get cancer. In the interview, Mr. Cantor suggested that even cancer research is “on the table.” 

We learned Republicans will violate their Pledge To America and not cut $100 billion from the budget, and, guess what? It’s the Democrat’s fault! Here is part of an exchange between host David Gregory and Cantor: 

MR. GREGORY:  It seems like it’s a straightforward question, though.  Are you going to live up to the $100 billion pledge?  I assume you’ve put a lot of thought into that…$100 billion figure.  Can you make it or not?

REP. CANTOR:  Absolutely.  On an annualized basis, we will cut spending $100 billion.

MR. GREGORY:  You do it this year as you pledged?

REP. CANTOR:  On an annualized basis…

MR. GREGORY:  Which means what exactly?

REP. CANTOR:  Well, again, David, look where we are.  We are where we are because the Democratic majority, last Congress, didn’t pass a budget, right? They didn’t do it.  So we’re in a continuing resolution environment.  So now we’ve got an interim step to take to make sure that we reset the dial and bring spending back down to ’08 levels.  We will do that.

Annualized“?  “Interim step“?  I looked and didn’t find those words in the Pledge. Whoops. 

We also learned that Republicans will definitely deploy their hold-America-hostage strategy again this spring, as we approach the debt ceiling:

MR. GREGORY:  You talk about the debt, it’s passing $14 trillion.  And last week you gave an interview to The Washington Post about this important vote that’ll come up in the spring about raising the debt ceiling, which has been done for a long time in the past.  And this is what you said in The Washington Post:  “`It’s a leverage moment for Republicans,’ Cantor said in an interview…  `The president needs us.  There are things we were elected to do.  Let’s accomplish those if that the president needs us to clean up the old mess.'”

I want you to be specific here.  What’s the leverage moment?  What will you exact as a promise in order for your members to vote to increase the debt ceiling?

REP. CANTOR:  Well, let, let me be clear, David.  Republicans are not going to vote for this increase in the debt limit unless there are serious spending cuts and reforms.

MR. GREGORY:  Like what?

REP. CANTOR:  I mean–and, and that is just the way it is, OK?

MR. GREGORY:  Right.

Get that?  We have to go through another “or else” moment.  Geez.

Via Mr. Cantor we also found out that the anemic BoehnerCare is “just a starting point,” and that the reason Republicans haven’t done better is the fault of Democrats!  Yep:

MR. GREGORY:  All right, let, let’s, let’s move on to health care because House Republicans did repeal the president’s healthcare reform plan, but the real question is what Republicans are prepared to replace it with and whether you have a serious plan.  Major Garrett in the National Journal reports this week the following about the speaker’s plan, Speaker Boehner:  “The Boehner plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would add just three million Americans to the insurance rolls, leaving about 50 million still without coverage through 2019.  CBO said that the proposal would reduce costs in the group-insurance market, which constitutes nearly 80 percent of private-sector premiums, by less than 3 percent.  `If it’s all they do, it is not a serious effort,’ Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director and chief policy adviser for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said of the Boehner alternative.  `You can’t just do that.'”

The truth is, Republicans do not have a serious alternative to covering more Americans, do they?

REP. CANTOR:  I disagree with that, obviously, David.  First of all, you know, we believe you can do better in health care.  I mean, we want to try and address the situation so more folks can have coverage, can, can have the kind of care that they want.

MR. GREGORY:  But that’s not what the Boehner plan does.

REP. CANTOR:  Well, the…

MR. GREGORY:  It’s not more folks being covered.

REP. CANTOR:  Well, the–if you recall last session, we Republicans were given one shot; we didn’t have any open debate for both sides at all on the healthcare bill the way it was jammed through.  The Boehner plan is just a starting point… 

Finally, we learned that Eric Cantor—the second-in-command in Republican leadership—”thinks” Obama is a citizen.  He doesn’t “know” he is; he “thinks” he is. It’s like when Hillary Clinton told 60 Minutes that, “as far as I know,” Obama is not a Muslim.

And as far as I know, I don’t think Eric Cantor is a traitorous Zionist homosexual. There. That settles it.

Here’s the weird exchange between Gregory and Cantor, which—eventually— ended in Cantor’s quasi-acknowledgement that Obama is legitimately our president: 

MR. GREGORY:  There’s been a lot of talk about discourse, about how you all can get along a little bit better and do it a little bit more civilly.  And I wonder, this is the leadership moment here, OK?  There are elements of this country who question the president’s citizenship, who think that it–his birth certificate is inauthentic.  Will you call that what it is, which is crazy talk?

REP. CANTOR:  David, you know, I mean, a lot of that has been an, an issue sort of generated by not only the media, but others in the country.  Most Americans really are beyond that, and they want us to focus…

MR. GREGORY:  Right.  Is somebody brings that up just engaging in crazy talk?

REP. CANTOR:  Well, David, I, I don’t think it’s, it’s nice to call anyone crazy, OK?

MR. GREGORY:  All right.  Is it a legitimate or an illegitimate issue?

REP. CANTOR:  And–so I don’t think it’s an issue that we need to address at all.  I think we need to focus on…

MR. GREGORY:  All right.  His citizenship should never be questioned, in your judgment.  Is that what you’re saying?

REP. CANTOR:  It is, it is not an issue that even needs to be on the policy-making table right now whatsoever.

MR. GREGORY:  Right.  Because it’s illegitimate?  I mean, why won’t you just call it what it is?

REP. CANTOR:  I–because, again…

MR. GREGORY:  I mean, I feel like there’s a lot of Republican leaders who don’t want to go as far as to criticize those folks.

REP. CANTOR:  No.  I think the president’s a citizen of the United States.

MR. GREGORY:  Period.

REP. CANTOR:  So what–yes.  Why, why is it that you want me to go and engage in name-calling?

MR. GREGORY:  No, I’m just…

REP. CANTOR:  I think he’s a citizen of the United States.

MR. GREGORY:  Because, because I think a lot of people, Leader, would say that a leader’s job is to shut some of this down.  You know as well as I do, there are some elements on the right who believe two things about this president:  He actively is trying to undermine the American way and wants to deny individuals their freedom.  Do you reject those beliefs as a leader in our Congress?

REP. CANTOR:  Let me tell you, David, I believe this president wants what’s best for this country.  It’s just how he feels we should get there, that there are honest policy differences.

MR. GREGORY:  Fair enough.

After all that, we have a grudging admission by a big-time Republican—who leads a party in which nearly one-third of its members believe Mr. Obama is a Muslim—that he thinks—thinks!—Mr. Obama is a citizen and that he “wants what’s best for this country.” 

Oh, well, these Tea Party days, that counts as progress.

 

Remarks And Asides

Here’s what wrong with Washington:  Harry Reid was told by nine Republicans that they would support his efforts to get the omnibus budget bill—which would have funded the government through next September—to the floor for debate, which meant it would have eventually passed the Senate. 

But because of a fear of the Tea Party—in the person of Jim DeMint, who demanded the 1900-page bill be read by the Senate clerk, a 50-hour endeavor—Republicans who gave their word to Harry Reid stabbed him squarely in the back at the last minute Thursday night, while he was on the floor.  He was forced to pull the bill and make yet another deal with Mitch McConnell over a continuing resolution.

Now, backstabbing Republicans are a problem, no doubt.  But why can’t the guys on our side at least name names when deceit like this happens?  Reid said on the floor that he would not call out the names of those senators—liars, all—who pulled back their support.  He said they knew who they were.  Yes, they do.  But the rest of us don’t. 

UPDATE: At noon today, I heard Andrea Mitchell, on her show on the “liberal” network MSNBC, say that Reid was “outfoxed.”  Outfoxed? The definition of that word is, “to surpass in guile or cunning.”  In other words, both sides were using guile and Reid simply got out-guiled by a better guiler.  That’s what happens when Democrats refuse to name names and put a face on the deception of the other side. 

At least Missouri’s own Claire McCaskill, who was going to vote against the omnibus bill anyway, did call them out. She specifically mentioned that the Republican Minority Leader had his own earmarks in the bill and fiercely criticized Republicans for their hypocrisy. 

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Last night, the headline on CNN was: House passes Obama tax plan.  Get that?  It’s Obama‘s tax plan.

On CNN’s Anderson Cooper last night, I watched the first ten-minute segment, which was about all the “game playing” in the Congress.  Except, that if one were just a casual observer of American politics and didn’t know the truth, the impression left by Cooper and cast was that “both sides” were engaging in the game playing. 

This is Anderson Cooper and CNN at their split-the-difference best.  In order to solidify their self-described standing as the anti-Fox and anti-MSNBC network, they distort the truth to make it appear they are being neutral.  That’s not journalism, people.  Both sides are not equally guilty as regards the mess that is Washington, D.C.

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A new poll found what we all know:  Republicans believe certain facts about the world that are not in fact facts.  But so do Democrats.  The study also found that “those who had greater levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation.”  Of course, that makes sense. 

But then there’s this:

There were, however, a number of cases where greater exposure to a particular news source increased misinformation on some issues.

Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely), most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points), the economy is getting worse (26 points), most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points), the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points), their own income taxes have gone up (14 points), the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points), when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points) and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points). The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it–though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican.

Surprise!

To be fair, there was one case in which MSNBC and NPR were allegedly the guilty party:

Daily consumers of MSNBC and public broadcasting (NPR and PBS) were higher (34 points and 25 points respectively) in believing that it was proven that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending money raised from foreign sources to support Republican candidates.

Given the fact that the Chamber of Commerce won’t—and doesn’t legally have to—release donor lists or reveal just how it keeps foreign money separate in its accounting, it’s understandable how folks could jump to that conclusion.  But, again, to be fair, it is conclusion jumping, since apparently there isn’t a way to prove it.

So, in the Misinformation Olympics, Fox “News” has nine gold medals, and MSNBC and NPR have one bronze.  In other words, Fox is the East German swim team of propaganda.  Congratulations!

It’s As Obvious As A Hitler Mustache At A Tea Bagger’s Placard Painting Party

Naturally, some folks don’t want to hear that much of the Tea Party “movement” is not what it purports to be.  I understand that. Committed to the issues that allegedly animate the organizers, they don’t want to believe that the core of the movement is really about fear, fear of a strange black man from Kenya Hawaii, who now leads our country.  

Someone by the name of Captain Obvious, whom I have now officially busted to Lieutenant Oblivious, complained about my analysis of the Winston Group findings on the composition and motivation of the Teapartiers. He wrote,

I have never seen such a worthless string of simplistic speculation and voluminous bloviation based upon nothing more than a personal assumption of mala-fides.

At first I thought he was commenting on the Rush Limbaugh Show, but then he clarified:

Even if in bizarro world Democrats were noble saviours out to repel the Republican scourge, it isn’t sufficient for you that tea partiers could just be “wrong.” No, using your psychic “intention detector” you KNOW it’s all racism.

No, Lieutenant, it’s not all racism.  And, of course, no one has said such a thing.  We all understand that many people, in both parties, are concerned about the deficit and the national debt.  It’s just that most people don’t dust off their 18th-century Sunday best and hustle down to the town square and make fools of themselves degrading our democratically-elected leader, calling him silly names while holding grammatically-challenged signs.

So,while acknowledging that there is much public angst about our long-term fiscal health, some of us wonder just what the Tea Party movement is really about, since most of the worried public does not identify itself with it.  The reason we wonder is because of the dissonance between the alleged concerns of the movement and its rather selective timing of the expression, as well as the target,  of those concerns.

As fellow blogger Juan Don pointed out in a comment:

Squawking about President Obama’s reckless spending is much more fun when you’re not attached to the previous administration’s strange homage to “fiscal conservatism”. Of course, it’s purely coincidental that deficit hawks flex their feathery outrage only after their party is out of power.

And as Jim Stone, another blogger pointed out in his comment:

Leading up to the present, Democrats (every President) have IMPROVED our situation regarding this issue. Eisenhower’s administration is the ONLY Republican administration which reduced the debt.

Here are a couple of simple charts to illustrate Juan’s and Jim’s point (click on for a better view):

 

So, given the fact there is objective, historical evidence that under Republican governance the things that allegedly bother Teapartiers so much—worries about the size of government, deficit spending, mounting debt—have grown much worse under Republican control, we have a right to ask about the Teapartiers, Why? Why now? and, Why are they so angry at President Obama?

Why, beginning shortly after Obama was inaugurated (but with roots going back to before the election), did a group of almost exclusively white folks decide to get together with misspelled placards, misplaced rhetoric, disingenuous and anachronistic use of the Founder’s words—not to mention the caricatures of Obama that had racist overtones—and decide to start a “movement” whose alleged concerns were the size of government, its spending increases, and its debt, when Republicans have been the demonstrable cause of those concerns for years?

The truth is that at the core of the Tea Party movement is a group of disgruntled and fearful white conservatives and Republican sympathizers, whose fears are not as much about the deficit, debt, or the size of government as much as they are about Barack Hussein Obama, the “exotic” black man, who some on the right think is the anti-Christ, who many on the right think is a Muslim, and who most on the right think is a socialist—if not a Communist bent on destroying America.

That fact is as obvious as a Hitler mustache at a teabagger’s placard painting party.

“Political Violence” Has A Right-Wing Father

Eugene Robinson, Op-Ed columnist for the Washington Post, wrote this today about the Christian militia arrests yesterday: 

The episode highlights the obvious: For decades now, the most serious threat of domestic terrorism has come from the growing ranks of paranoid, anti-government hate groups that draw their inspiration, vocabulary and anger from the far right.   

He is exactly right.  And Robinson points out the myth of moral equivalence that seems to qualify much of the coverage of the Hutaree case:  

It is disingenuous for mainstream purveyors of incendiary far-right rhetoric to dismiss groups such as the Hutaree by saying that there are “crazies on both sides.” This simply is not true. 

Admitting that a generation ago the “political violence” came from the far left, Robinson says these days, “it is hard to identify any kind of leftist threat.” 

 He continues: 

By contrast, there has been explosive growth among far-right, militia-type groups that identify themselves as white supremacists, “constitutionalists,” tax protesters and religious soldiers determined to kill people to uphold “Christian” values. 

If you have listened to any conservative pundits on television or radio the past two days, you have heard a steady diet of “both sides do it.” To which Robinson says,

It is dishonest for right-wing commentators to insist on an equivalence that does not exist. The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction — the right, not the left. The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day — and, quite regularly, at Tea Party rallies — is calibrated not to inform but to incite.

Demagogues scream at people that their government is illegitimate, that their country has been “taken away,” that their elected officials are “traitors” and that their freedom is at risk. They have a right to free speech, which I will always defend. But they shouldn’t be surprised if some listeners take them literally. 

As for the issue of Obama’s “legitimacy,” the president himself had the following to say about it and the Tea Party phenomenon, and notice how this dangerous radical who wants to destroy America has a hard time containing his utter hatred for teapartiers:  

Vodpod videos no longer available. 

The Closing Of The Republican Mind

Daily Kos has finally released its Republican Poll, which was done by Research 2000. The survey was conducted between January 20 and January 31 of this year and involved just over 2000 “self identified Republicans.”

The results are a gold mine for those of us who want to know more about what it is that inhabits the Republican mind.

Let’s lead off with what I consider to be the two main questions designed to test the intelligence of any citizen these days. First:

Should Barack Obama be impeached, or not?

68% of Republicans believe either Barack Obama should be impeached, or they are “not sure.”  Only 32%—one in three—believe that Obama should not be impeached.  But before we jump to conclusions and pass judgment on the intelligence of Republicans, let’s look at the second question.

Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?

58% of Republicans either believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States or are not sure he was.  But wait: 43% of Republicans in the South believe Obama was not born here, compared with 36% overall.  So, around four in ten Republicans believe the President of the United States is not a citizen of the United States! Oh, boy!

We can now safely conclude that somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of Republicans are either a) idiots, or b) irredeemably ignorant.  Your choice.

More results:

23% of Republicans believe their state “should secede from the United States.”  In the South, one in every three Republicans so believe.  One-third.  33%.  More than 3 in 10. Get that? Didn’t those people learn anything from the Civil War?

64% of Republicans believe or are “not sure” that “Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people?”  Only 36% believe that Obama is not a white-hating racist.  Is anyone shocked by these numbers?  No. Sadly.

57% of Republicans (61% in the South) either believe or are not sure that “Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win.” No surprise here, given Republican politicians’ rhetoric surrounding the issue.  Think about this:

Nearly 25% of Republicans believe that Obama wants the terrorists to win. 

63% of Republicans “think Barack Obama is a socialist.” Only 21% said they didn’t think so.  Again, Republican elected officials are largely responsible for this result because they have given Fox “News” and right-wing radio talkers plenty of “official” cover to broadcast this nonsense.

53% of Republicans believe “Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama.” 33% are not sure.  So, 86% believe that Palin either is or may be more qualified.  Can anyone imagine Sarah Palin standing before a room full of hostile Democratic congressman the way Obama stood before hostile Republicans last week? Apparently, more than half of all Republicans can so imagine.

21% of Republicans are sure that ACORN stole the 2008 election. Only 1 in 4 Republicans say that it did not.  That leaves 55% who simply aren’t sure.  Not sure? Given the coverage of ACORN on Fox “News,” it’s quite surprising that half of all Republicans aren’t sure yet.

67% of Republicans believe that “the only way for an individual to go to heaven is through Jesus Christ.”  No surprise here, since Jesus is a Republican.

91% of Republicans support the death penalty.  No surprise here, since Jesus the Republican loves the death penalty.

76% of Republicans consider abortion to be “murder.”  No surprise here either, since Jesus hates abortion, although he managed to say exactly nothing about it, when he had the chance to do so.

34% of Republicans believe the birth control pill is “abortion.”  Therefore, it is likely that 1 in 3 Republicans believe that women who use birth control pills are committing “murder.” I don’t have words to explain this one.

31% of Republicans believe contraceptive’s should be outlawed.  Considering the last two items, no surprise here.  Laws outlawing the pill are the same as laws outlawing murder. We can all see that, right?

77% of Republicans (82% in the South) believe “public school students” should “be taught that the book of Genesis in the Bible explains how God created the world.”  While it wasn’t a part of this survey, I have it on good authority that 77% of Republicans also believe students should be taught how God created corporations with “free speech” rights.

51% of Republicans (56% in the South) believe that sex education shouldn’t be taught in the public schools.  Apparently, the children of Republicans know all they need to know about sex from great Republican examples like Senator David Vitter and Senator John Ensign.

77% of Republicans (82% in the South) believe same sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry.  In other words, they agree with that terrorist-loving, capitalist-hating, Kenyan-born Obama.

73% of Republicans (77% in the South) oppose gay teachers in public school.  Sounds about right, since 68% (73% in the South) don’t believe “gay couples” should “receive any state or federal benefits.”

55% of Republicans (60% in the South) oppose gays in the military. There’s no way that self-respecting conservatives will have gays in their fox holes, unless you’re talking about Larry Craig.

68% of Republicans believe Congress should not “make it easier for workers to form and join labor unions.”  No, no, no.  Republicans don’t want those nasty unions to help negotiate higher wages, better working conditions, and greater job security for them.  They prefer doing it the old fashion way: begging.

This profile of the Republican mind is a little depressing, but not a bit surprising.

Born-Again Christians Shouldn’t Drive

Globebloggers Johnny Kaje and Anson Burlingame have had a dispute over the issue of “faith is crap,” culminating in Anson blogging about it and Kaje writing a humorous piece about her trip to Springfield to the Skepticon II event.

All of which has made me think about one of the most bizarre beliefs in the fundamentalist world.  There are some weird and disturbing interpretations of the Bible, and then there is the doctrine of the Rapture.

For those of you out of tune with modern fundamentalism and evangelicalism, here is the Rapture in one sentence:  At some point in the future—usually in “our lifetime“—Jesus is going to return to the Earth to “gather” his born-again followers, who will be “taken up” into the air to be with him, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves in the dark days ahead, which Christians call the Tribulation.

Now, as bizarre as this seems, apparently more than 40% of all Americans believe in some version of it.  I don’t mean they believe in Jesus’ return in general (most Christians so believe), but in the specific idea of the Rapture, the one in which a car on I-44, full of people, could have its driver raptured into heavenly bliss while its other, less saintly passengers, would end up smashed against an oncoming big rig, the driver of which was also the recipient of a ticket to ride. 

So, what does this have to do with politics?  Well, I have suggested that some Republican candidates, like Mike Huckabee for instance, sometimes appear to be unable to make a distinction between American foreign policy and Israeli foreign policy, as when the Huckster visited Israel recently and criticized Obama’s position on Jewish settlements in occupied territory.

Since Huckabee is a born-again Christian who believes in the Bible as the Word of God, his biblical views obviously have some impact on his political views and thus on his political decisions, particularly involving the Middle East.  And so do the biblical views of millions upon millions of other Americans.

As Sam Harris put it:

It really is not an exaggeration to say that some significant percentage of the American electorate, which if they turned on their television today and saw that a mushroom cloud had replaced Jerusalem, they would see a silver lining in that cloud.  In so far as people like that elect our presidents and congressmen and in so far as they get elected as presidents and congressmen, that’s a terribly dangerous state of affairs.

Dangerous, indeed. 

Just to remind you of how dangerous, here is a clip of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson—just two days after 9/11—discussing their religious view of America—again, one with which many Americans concur:

Now, that is why these bizarre beliefs must be challenged and ridiculed. 

Faith in a “higher being” is one thing, but specific beliefs that lead to the kind of reasoning employed by wildly popular evangelists like the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson is another.

UPDATE: 

Fox 31 TV in Denver posted a story on yet another right-wing Christian, this time a car dealer just outside of Denver, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, who posted this billboard:  

A reporter for Fox 31 interviewed the car dealer:

“Since Fort Hood, I’ve had it,” owner Phil West* told FOX 31 News Friday. “You can’t suggest things. You can’t profile. You gotta call a spade a spade.”

“Everything I have read about Mr. Obama points right to the fact that he is a Muslim. And that is the agenda of what Muslim is all about. It’s about anti-American, it’s about anti-Christianity,” West said.

As I said, there are political implications of bizarre religious beliefs.  In fact, I’m surprised John Putnam, local birther, born-again Christian, and Captain of the Jasper County Morality Police, hasn’t erected such a sign on I-44.

*I believe the gentleman’s name is Phil Wolf.
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