Keeping Up With The Republicans

Here’s a headline from USA Today this morning:

Obama to propose paid sick leave for American workers

Now try to imagine this headline:

Romney to propose paid sick leave for American workers

I know, I know. You can’t imagine such a thing. There is no way Republicans would put workers on their agenda, except to attack workers’ rights to organize or sustain a union. But Republicans are up to something, right? They’re not just sitting around waiting for Jesus to come back, are they?

Nope. They’ve been busy. But besides saying President Obama is worse than Hitler, and besides saying he should start a religious war against Islam, what is the GOP doing these days? Oh, you know:

♥ The family values party has told Hispanic families to go straight to hell.

♥ And speaking of family values, God’s man in the upcoming GOP presidential field, former Arkansas governor and always a preacher Mike Huckabee, recently criticized the Obama’s for their parenting skills.

It seems Huck doesn’t like Beyoncé or her husband Jay-Z and thinks it is God-awful for the Obama daughters to be exposed to them.  As many have pointed out, though, the Huckster is a friend of Ted Nugent, who wrote a song about raping a 13-year-old girl, which apparently satisfies Huckabee’s lofty standards of moral decency.

huckabee and nugentOh, not only is Huckabee a friend of the draft-dodging Nugent—a man so vile and full of hate that calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” is one of the nicer things he has said about him—Huck also had Nugent on his Fox television show, where he played bass for the aging rocker on a nice rendition of “Cat Scratch Fever,” a song Ted wrote about getting laid when he was “just ten years old.” The song, performed before a mostly lily-white audience of like-minded evangelicals, also features this paean to godliness:

Well, I make the pussy purr with the stroke of my hand
They know they gettin’ it from me
They know just where to go when they need their lovin’ man
They know I’m doin’ it for free

Amen. Thank God for Republican family values!

♥ Sen. Rand Paul, who also wants your vote for president, naturally thinks the way to demonstrate his qualifications for the office is by attacking disabled folks. That is in sync with the Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives, which on its first day in session this year passed a new parliamentary rule that will, essentially, hold hostage Social Security disability benefits, as GOP New Deal-haters figure out how much to cut from the program. Because, as we all know, there are tons of people—parasites, all—out there defrauding the system. Except there aren’t. Like most of these things, it is a Republican fantasy that people are lazy and don’t want to work, a fantasy that Rand Paul believes he can exploit for political gain, just like President Romney did.

♥ Speaking of Rand Paul, the man who is now directing RANDPAC, Paul’s political action committee, is John Yob. Who is John Yob? He’s the same man who helped get Dave Agema elected to a position on the Republican National Committee. So what? you might say. Who the hell is Dave Agema? Allow the National Journal to introduce him to you:

In a New Year’s Eve Facebook post, Michigan RNC Committeeman Dave Agema republished an essay from American Renaissance, a white-supremacist newsletter. The article, which Agema said he found “very enlightening,” argued that “blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.”

That ain’t all:

Agema has a well-documented history of making inflammatory statements. He argued that President Obama is really a Muslim. He praised Vladimir Putin for Russia’s brutal stance on homosexuality. He blamed Satan for dividing the Republican Party. He even shared what he called an “eye opening” essay on Facebook that posed the question: “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”

Yep. He sits on the Republican National Committee, even though, finally, the GOP is “censuring” him.

♥ A man the GOP won’t censure, however, is that great American patriot, Louie Gohmert of Texas. Gohmert wishes “our top leaders in this country” had “the courage” of the military dictator—I said dictator—running Egypt. But the Tea Party genius didn’t stop there. He crapped on the efforts of the U.S. military, which has been at war, fighting terrorists, since 2002:

If the story is properly written about Egypt, and one day it will be, they will see that in the last six years, that besides Israel, the country that has been most fearless in standing up for freedom and against radical Islamic terrorism, unfortunately, has not been the United States because of our leadership. It has been the nation of Egypt.

I am sure the families of all those Americans killed, as well as all those Americans who have been wounded fighting “radical Islamic terrorism” for the last six years, appreciate the fact that a Republican congressman has their backs—at least long enough to stick an Obama-hating knife in them.

♥ On a happier note, one of the Tea Party nuts who voters, wisely, tossed out of Congress in 2012 is Joe Walsh from Illinois. Here is a headline about him that appeared on Talking Points Memo yesterday:

Ex-GOP Congressman Hopes ‘Cowards At CNN, MSNBC’ Are Beheaded

I remind you that this crazy man, despite losing to Tammy Duckworth in 2012, still got 45% of the vote.

♥ Oh, Mittens is back and this time he promises he will—really, truly, honest-to-Kolob—worry about the poor. And we know that, just like in the case of Joe Walsh, at least 45% of the electorate will believe him.

____________________

[AP photo: “A bugler plays during burial services for Army Staff Sgt. Scott W. Brunkhorst, Tuesday, April 13, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.” Staff Sgt. Brunkhorst, who was 25 years old, died “in the Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.”]

Oh, But We Do Understand—Now, It’s Your Turn

Because I’ve been on the move, I have been unable to get involved in the ongoing debate in this blog’s comment section, even though I have enjoyed reading it.

I do, though, want to point out that one commenter, Rawhead, has been trying to defend what I consider to be an indefensible position on guns. One of his latest comments included the following, which I will use to respond to the debate that has been going on:

You guys are full of “what if’s” which could be continued ad infinitum. The fact is that the vast majority of gun owners never do anything even remotely malicious with their firearms and just because YOU don’t see use or value in something doesn’t mean that plenty of others don’t.

 Why is it that you people laugh at the paranoia of survivalists but fail to recognize your own paranoia about firearms owners misusing their weapons when, in fact, it just doesn’t happen that often?

The argument here is as follows:

1. Most gun owners don’t misuse their guns.

2. Gun owners value their guns in ways some of us don’t understand or appreciate.

It is undeniable that most people who own guns “never do anything even remotely malicious” with them. I have yet to come across anyone advancing an argument that says they do. So, we can all agree that, as the unfettered gun rights propaganda points out endlessly, most folks who possess firearms do so responsibly.

Now on to that second proposition. I fully understand why most people value guns. It’s just not that hard to figure out. Some people value them for protection and some value them for hunting and some value them for just the pleasure of target shooting.  Oh, yeah. There are those who value them for committing all sorts of crimes.

Thus, it is pretty easy to understand why people like guns, why they defend so vigorously their right to own and shoot them, if not the right to own and shoot them while holding up a liquor store or, well, shooting up a classroom full of children.

But here’s what people like Rawhead don’t understand. They don’t understand why some of us think that while it is okay for folks to have handguns in their homes to protect themselves, or guns to go hunting, or even guns to go target shooting, we don’t think it is worth the risk to allow them to own guns that have the capability of doing what that sick killer in Connecticut did, in a short time, to those children.

You see, we don’t think it’s okay to risk such things just so law-abiding folks can enjoy a day at the range unloading a high-capacity magazine into something not alive. We think there is too much at stake just so people can get their jollies firing weapons that only cops or soldiers should possess.

And the Rawheads of this world don’t understand why some of us think Louis Gohmert, that loony Texas Republican congressman, is out of his mind by suggesting that the principal of Sandy Hook, if she had an M4 in her office, could have got into a gunfight with the killer and saved the day. You see, we think educators ought to be in the business of educating, not in the business of law enforcement.

But most of all, the Rawheads don’t understand why some of us, hopefully most of us, find what Gohmert said on Fox “News” last Sunday absolutely insane, as reported by Think Progress:

Pressed by host Chris Wallace on why ordinary citizens need semi automatic weapons that shoot 5 bullets per second, Gohmert said that any restrictions on fire arms could lead to the slippery slope of full prohibition and said that American amass weapons to protect themselves from the government.

“For the reason George Washington said a free people should be an armed people,” Gohmert explained. “It ensures against the tyranny of the government, if they know the biggest army is the American people, then you don’t have the tyranny that came from King George. That is why it was put in there and that’s why once you start drawing the line, where do you stop?”

I am prepared to admit that I don’t fully understand or appreciate the mind from which that stupidity, that utterly anachronistic paranoia, flowed. But I am prepared to say that I don’t give a damn whether Louis Gohmert thinks the government may one day come after him, the rest of us no longer want to indulge his dark fantasies by watching more children, more innocents, die.

And that, Rawhead, is something you need to understand.

The Enablers

Blogger Erick Erickson of RedState.com is now a very popular conservative, partly because CNN chose to employ him as a political contributor. The network chose him to represent conservatives on its network even though:

he referred to Michelle Obama as “Obama’s Marxist harpy wife,”

he called former Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglas “the Joseph Goebbels of the White House Health Care shop,”

he smeared retired Justice David Souter a “goat f*&king child molester,”

he labeled the Democratic National Convention, “The Vagina Monologues.”

Yes, despite all that, Erickson has a job at CNN and has become quite popular.

When he was hired by the network, first as a contributor to the old John King, USA program, CNN’s political director said Erickson was “an agenda-setter whose words are closely watched in Washingtonand that, “as a person who still lives in small-town America, Erick is in touch with the very people John hopes to reach.”

So, Washington pays attention to this guy and this guy is in touch with those small-town folks and CNN thus blesses his noxious rants with legitimacy.

And I’m afraid that in that formulation we can find the reason our divisions in America are so deep and so bitter.

You see, because Erick Erickson does speak for some people, some conservative people, he does get attention, even, I’m sorry to admit, in Washington, D.C.  But because CNN, which used to be a first-class news organization, gives him a platform that reaches millions of people, he gets much more attention than he deserves.

And so it is with most of what is now being called the “conservative media complex,” of which Erick Erickson’s RedState is a small part. Without help from more mainstream outlets, like CNN, these corrosive conservative voices would have a limited impact on our discourse, beyond selling their ideological trinkets to a relatively small but gullible audience.

A larger part of that conservative media complex, Fox “News,” is also given undeserved credibility by mainstream news outlets, which, just because there are some real journalists working there, treat Fox as a completely legitimate journalistic enterprise, thus damaging the brand of all.

About three years ago, bona fide reporters, like Jake Tapper of ABC News, came to the aid of Fox, as the White House was pushing back against the network and accusing it, accurately, of being “a wing of the Republican Party.” Tapper referred to Fox as “one of our sister organizations.”

Some sister.

Enabling Fox to do what it does—which is to provide part of the country with its own set of facts, facts that happen to support the conservative agenda of the Republican Party, and facts that often don’t happen to be the facts that the rest of us understand as facts—is part of why there were a lot of conservatives who woke up on November 7th and couldn’t believe their eyes: Barack Obama is still alive!

Our country has always been divided in various ways, but never have we had anything like a Fox “News,” a large-scale enterprise that not only broadcasts our differences, which would be okay, but it magnifies them, exploits them, and then profits from them.

While there have been a multitude of examples that I could cite to back up this claim, none of them are as stark, as telling, as what has been happening on that network since Mitt Romney first shamefully tried to exploit the tragedy in Benghazi.

In fact, as I write this, Fox is featuring the nutty right-wing congressman Louie Gohmert, who is unashamedly calling for a “special prosecutor” to investigate what happened in Benghazi, even though there are already investigations going on all over the place.

But Gohmert was really on the network to promote a group called “Special Operations Speaks,” which claims to have 100,000 signatures on a petition, the title of which is:

Special Operations Speaks DEMANDS an Independent Investigation to Uncover Potential High Crimes and Misdemeanors in Benghazigate

In case that doesn’t make clear the motives of this right-wing group that purports to represent “the Special Operations community,” how about the group’s logo, complete with the universal symbol for Obama haters:

______________________________

Having Gohmert on this morning is just another attempt by Fox “News” to commodify ignorance, and, perhaps more important for its profitability, to undermine and delegitimate President Obama.

In fact, things have gotten so bad on Fox, that this morning even Geraldo Rivera went on the network and called the latest claim by Foxers—that David Petraeus was essentially forced to cover for the Obama administration because of the investigation over his extra-marital affair—”absolutely reckless, and it has no fact base at all and really is a disgrace to a man who has served us honorably.”

No fact base at all,” says Geraldo, yet the beat goes on, and on.

And the vitriol continues to flow.

As do the profits for the father of Fox, Rupert Murdoch.

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.

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?

%d bloggers like this: