Nel's New Day

February 4, 2018

God Says ‘No’ to Bachmann

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 9:11 PM
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Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) had considered running for U.S. Senate after Al Franken’s resignation, but she had to get permission from God. Goodlordabove.com has provided her an answer

The definition of “Christian” those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Bachmann’s Christian god may not want her for a senator for some of these reasons:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” [John 13:16]

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7:1-2]

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” [Luke 6:41]

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” [Matthew 5:9]

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” [Matthew]

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” [John 8:7]

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” [1 John 3:17]

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” [Matthew 9:35]

“Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” [Matthew 23:28]

“And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” [John 2:14-16]

“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” [Matthew 19:24]

“Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 22:37-40]

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” [Matthew 6:5]

“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” [Matthew 12:7]

“But Jesus said unto them, they need not depart; give ye them to eat.” [Matthew 14:16]

“And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.” [Luke 11:46]

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” [Luke 12:48]

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew: 11:28]

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” [Matthew 25:34-40]

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.” [Matthew 25:41-43]

Conservative Christian pretenders hate peace, charity, mercy and acceptance. They want power and wealth for themselves with none left over for anyone else and presume to set themselves up to judge everyone else. They are the only ones deserving of health care. The Christian god will not want to set Michele Bachmann up in the U.S. Senate to be another vote for anti-Christian beliefs. And those of us who follow these egalitarian Christian beliefs without bragging about what spiritual following we have don’t either.

August 16, 2015

‘End Times’ Guide Religious Direction

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is framing the Iran deal in terms of the Bible, claiming that the UN vote to approve the Iran deal fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 12:3 that all the nations of the world will unite against Israel, “with the United States leading that charge.” According to Bachmann, God and “heaven’s armies” will use groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so “prove to the world His power and His strength.” She added that people are lucky to be living in these dark times because the world will soon come to an end.

John Hagee concurs, explaining fundamentalist Christian love for Israel with the belief  that Israel is connected to the Christian belief of End Times. Like ISIS, these Christians think that we’re nearing the time when the Rapture will take all those faithful up to heaven while the rest of us burn down below. In 2011, Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL), said that if “we stop helping Israel, we lose God’s hand and we’re in big time trouble.” This week, Hagee said:

“God could care less about what we say about Russia, about China, about Iran, but when we as a nation take a stand against Israel, God will take a stand against us.”

A pop-upon Hagee’s website this week states, “Bibi [Netanyahu] Did His Job. Now We Must Do Ours.” Since 2001, his foundation has donated over $58 million to hard-right Israeli organizations, and Christian Zionists have paid millions of dollars for Jews to immigrate to Israel. Over 60 percent of white evangelicals believe that at least half of world Jewry must be in the Land of Israel for the End Times to proceed, and 77 percent of evangelicals think that they are living in the End Times as do 40 percent of all people in the U.S.

Jim Bakker, the televangelist who went to prison for bilking over 152,000 of his flock, is back with a new scam—selling gear and food to survive the End Times. Hoping to instill even more fear from the projected End Times, he advertises:

“New York, Chicago, all of your big cities, will be Hell. The gangs will take what they want. They will kill to take what they want. Then they will start eating bodies of the people they kill.”

This past week he talked about the End Times with Rick Wiles, who has his own issues:

“Add it up: Bird flu is killing tens of millions of chickens and turkeys, a mysterious virus is killing millions of piglets, a mysterious colony-collapse disorder is killing billions of honeybees, California is in the throes of a mega-drought unlike anything seen in over 1,200 years. Why? The answer is very simple: America is in a state of rebellion against almighty God.”

Wiles has had a good talk with God:

“He said, ‘America has dealt treacherously with me as a treacherous wife.’ And He said, ‘She wants what’s beautiful and good and then she began to commit adultery with other men and I forgave her, and she did it again and I forgave her, and she did it again and I forgave her, and she did it again and I forgave her. But now she’s committing homosexual sex with another woman and I cannot look at her anymore.’ He said, ‘I can’t even look at her, she’s not my wife anymore. The divorce is final.’ He told me that on the day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, God went to court too and he got a divorce.”

Bryan Fischer joined Wiles in lambasting same-sex couples through his complaint about their trying to adopt children. Somehow he managed to compare forcing to do things against their will to slavery, ending with the “homosexual lobby” trying to bring “slavery back to the Confederate States of America.” Even if anyone could follow his irrational pretzeling, why would he think that racists in the former Confederacy wouldn’t want a return to slavery?

Rafael Cruz, Christian father of wannabe “Christian” president Ted Cruz is also agonizing about his loss of freedoms. Liberty is important to the elder Cruz because he escaped the Batista regime in Cuba, and he wants everyone here to know how freedom is being taken from us. On the Jan Mickelson show, he listed examples of our lost free will: our ability to buy incandescent light bulbs and our preference of toilet seat is gone. Another myth from Cruz is that the Clean Air Act will regulate the puddles in our own backyard: two mistakes—it’s the Clean Water Act, and it’s not happening. The younger Cruz is equally wacky; he’s claimed that the UN wants to close down all the golf courses in the United States. Racism, uncontrollable gun ownership, healthcare, income inequality, crumbling infrastructure, climate change, lack of food and water aren’t worth a mention, but don’t take away preferred Cruz’s toilet seat.

The War on Christmas has started four months before the actual holiday. Elizabeth Hasselbeck, conservative reject of The View, fired the first salvo from her current position on Fox and Friends when she addressed the story of how people asked for the move of the nativity scene in Belen (NM) from public to private property. The mayor will use taxpayers’ money to go to court because the town is named after Bethlehem. Fox is most likely looking forward to its one-sided “war” after losing the one against Donald Trump.

Outdoing all these ridiculous religious views, however, is this story. The Family Council Action Committee is presenting its first annual “Power of Courage” award to Arkansas state Rep. Justin Harris and another state legislator, Rep. Charlene Fite. Earlier this year Harris “rehomed”—aka gave away—two adopted daughters to a sex offender who then raped the six-year-old daughter. That was after Harris and his wife tried to exorcize the three-year-old and six-year-old girls. FCA’s press release praises the two lawmakers because they “demonstrated courage by standing strong in faith when situations were tough at the State Capitol and they did so with grace. They are consistently models of their Christian values in their homes, their communities, and their churches.” The press release made no mention of Harris’ behavior other than he won’t be seeking reelection.

The Arkansas Times was careful to point out that this news was not satire because it could come straight out of The Onion. The award was to have been presented at an event headlined by GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) until the organizers, the Crawford County Republican Party, asked FCA not to do this at this event.

Despite hate messages from radically-right Christians, the world of religion has some good news this week. Muslim leaders plan to issue a call next week to protect the planet and demand that Islamic followers help the environment. They are taking the same position that Pope Francis has espoused—that humans are stewards assigned to care for the Earth and leave it “a better place than we found it.”

Georgians in the 80th state house district has overturned tradition by electing a Democrat in a district that voted for Mitt Romney by a 56-43 margin. In a special election, Taylor Bennett won the seat over Max Davis by 55 to 45 points, despite spending only one-third as much as his opponent. The winning Bennett ran on his opposition to a proposed “religious freedom restoration act” and talked about his lesbian mother and sister.

The best religious quote of the week comes from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):

Cory Booker

Glenn Beck makes me proud to be from Oregon. Number One of the 15 worst cities in the United States (to quote Beck, “avoid like the plague when things go bad”) is Portland. The remainder are, in order, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, St. Petersburg (FL), Columbus (OH), Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Washington, DC, and St. Louis.

[Chuck Todd update: After Todd interviewed Donald Trump on Meet the Press, his conservative panel concentrated on bashing Trump. No one pointed out that the same criticisms, such as Trump not directly answering questions, are also true of other GOP candidates. Or the fact that both Chris Christie and Rand Paul already said that they want to rescind automatic citizenship for everyone born in the U.S. Todd consistently interrupted Trump but treated Ben Carson with great courtesy. Bernie Sanders, another interview subject, had to disabuse Todd of the notion that he and Trump are alike. The husband of a staff member for Democratic candidate Jim Webb, Todd praised Jeb Bush for his speech at the Iowa State Fair but trashed Hillary Clinton, providing the conservative press with several criticisms for the Democratic candidate. Todd is at least consistent in his openness to endorse candidates while trying to keep up a pretense of being a journalist.]

March 15, 2014

Bachmann–and the House–on Bullying

Bullying is repeated behavior causing emotional or physical danger that comes from an imbalance of power. These actions could be threats, rumors, exclusions, or attacks either physically or verbally. The key term is power imbalance: if all participants are on the same level, it is probably a disagreement. Recently Michele Bachmann brought a lot of media down on her head for accusing gay people of “bullying” her and the American people.

Her accusation came from the Arizona bill that could have made discrimination against anyone the law of the state if Gov. Jan Brewer had signed it. To Bachmann, the LGBT community is so powerful that it is persecuting religious people and taking away their freedom. She also railed against wealthy liberals who donate money to protect people from discrimination. Her goal is to have Democrats prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for their intimidation of conservative billionaires.

Bachmann won’t be back in the 114th Congress, but the FBI is investigating her and her husband, Marcus, for possible money laundering, mail fraud, and wire fraud. The Department of Justice is also looking into a possible illegal coordination between Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign and a super PAC. It may have made her a bit testy. Meanwhile she’ll continue to vote for harassing bills like the following one.

Yesterday, the GOP members of the House passed the 51st bill in 38 months to water-down the Affordable Care Act. Deep Medicare cuts will go into effect at the end of the month without this bill, but a five-year delay of ACA was attached to the bill, meaning it will fail in the Senate. The American Medical Association opposed the bill despite the damage for its members without the bill’s changes. As with the shutdown of the government and the refusal to raise the debt limit, the GOP continues their rule of “give us what we want” or …. 

The Congressional Budget Office determined that the GOP bill would cause health insurance premiums to increase and leave 13 million people with no insurance. The refusal to repair the Medicare cuts will also disrupt the health care system. The GOP created a lose-lose situation with its efforts at extortion.

n_maddow_6issa_140313_video_340x227House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is known for being a bit of a bully for his refusal to allow votes on bills that the people of the United States want. Just Google “Boehner refuses to allow votes.” This month the GOP House leaders upped the ante when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the Oversight Committee, made a literal motion to “cut” the mic the minute that ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) began to speak.

As a protest, House Democrats introduced a resolution to condemn Issa’s shameful move. Dozens of them flanked Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) as he introduced the measure and held up iPads or other mobile devices showing the Issa’s action.

Issa ipads

 

No surprise when the motion was voted down, but a Republican invoked a non-existent rule: “Representatives will lower their iPads, as it is against the rules of the House!” Ironic, because the failed motion was to condemn Issa for not following the rules.

Issa said his actions didn’t affect possible House contempt action against former IRS employee Lois Lerner, but Cummings disagrees:

“Not two, but seven independent Constitutional law experts have now concluded that Chairman Issa botched the contempt proceedings…. No reasonable person would accept his legal views over those of the United States Supreme Court. Contrary to Chairman Issa’s accusations, we are not defending Lois Lerner or her actions—we are defending the Constitution and the rights it guarantees to all Americans.”

In trying to win his points against the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) attempted to bully Dr. Danielle Martin, vice-president at the Women’s College Hospital (Toronto), during a subcommittee hearing about healthcare in Canada. During his question time, he brought up the tired chestnuts of Canadian doctors moving to the United States and rich people going to the U.S. for surgery.

Martin’s replies:

“Thank you for your question, senator. If I didn’t express myself in a way that made myself understood, I apologize. There are no doctors exiting the public system in Canada; and in fact we see a net influx of physicians from the United States into the Canadian system over the last number of years.”

Burr asked, “On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?”

Martin answered, “I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all.”

Still smarting from President Obama’s refusal to protect the unconstitutional anti-marriage equality law DOMA, part of which was overturned last summer by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the House has passed the “Enforce the Law Act.” If it became law, the House could sue the president) if anyone in the administration does not follow through in “enforcing, applying, following, or administering any provision of a Federal statute, rule, regulation, program, policy, or other law.” Other of the GOP-perceived offenses by the president include not enforcing deportations of “DREAMers,” delaying parts of the Affordable Care Act, and working with states that have now legalized medical or all use of marijuana.

If this bill were to become law, individual states would lose all ability to make laws. One part of control over states is the new guidelines for food stamps. Thus far six states have increased the amount of energy assistance funding to low-income people to comply with food stamps requirement, and another nine states could follow suit. This is within the purview of the states, but House conservatives are claiming that these actions are fraudulent.

When Michele Bachmann was confronted by real bullying, she stayed silent. Nine students in one school district represented by Bachmann killed themselves within two years because of their treatment in the schools. Other students in the same district were hospitalized because they had attempted suicide. Bachmann’s anti-gay allies were responsible for the climate of intolerance that continued the crisis. Bachmann herself began her political career as an education activist and has always fought what she called the “homosexual agenda.”

The district prevented students from starting a gay-straight alliance club (GSA), widely known as one way to prevent suicides among LGBTQ youth. It’s also another way to prevent youth from being bullied even if they don’t identify as LGBTQ. The district policy requiring teachers to remain “neutral” about homosexuality even led them to look the other way whenever they saw bullying on the school campus. Harassed students were told to transfer to another school and blamed for physical attacks on them.

The school district allowed religious activists to hold a “Day of Truth,” championed by the “ex-gay ministry” Exodus International that is usually held the day before the Day of Silence. Students were encouraged to “preach to the gay kids.” After 15-year-old Justin Aaberg told his mother that another student said he would go to hell because he was gay, he hanged himself in his bedroom.

Although Bachmann had nothing to say about the suicides, she does oppose anti-bullying legislation. At a hearing on a state legislature bill, she testified that bullying is simply a fact of life. She said, ”There have always been bullies, always have been, always will be.”

Suicide doesn’t bother Bachmann, but selling cakes to “undesirable” people is not okay. And she still votes with the other far-right House members to oppose rights for minorities, women, the poor, and LGBT people. Bachmann is not running again, but everyone now knows that her Waterloo is—cake.  People should tell her that “there have always been bullies.”

October 13, 2013

Day Thirteen of the GOP Government Shutdown: No Movement, GOP in Fantasyland

With the GOP holding the country hostage, one person is in control—Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Late September 30, the House Rules Committee changed the standing House rules. Normally any member trying to address a disagreement between the House and the Senate would have the “privilege” to make a motion to bring the Senate bill to the floor of the House. The rules change just before the actual shutdown applies only to the CR keeping the government running.  that could keep the functioning of the federal government.

New rule: any motion to take up the Senate bill “may be offered only by the majority Leader or his designee.” That designee is Cantor, making him the only person in the 532 people currently serving in Congress who can break the deadlock. “I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said.

The rules change may have led to an heated exchange on the House floor between Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Cantor’s floor director, Chris Vieson, after Democrats made requests for a vote for a clean CR. To avoid media attention—and make sure that members got their flights home—Vieson yelled that they were shutting down the debate and pulling the bill. Crowley asked Vieson if a staffer was shutting down democracy, and Vieson said, “That’s right.” Crowley told him that he was behaving in an inappropriate way. Cantor’s spokesman said that Crowley poked Vieson with an index finger; Crowley denied doing it. 

Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) said, “This is what happens in the public process when we stymie opposition, when we cut off debate, and when we continue to tilt on disaster by manufactured crises. It is time for us to reopen the government.” House members did manage to escape on Friday, planning to return tomorrow.

At this time, there is no movement toward opening the government, and Cantor and GOP members of Congress claim that there would not no problem if the debt ceiling is not raised in less than 72 hours. Reasonable people are horrified by their lack of concern. Why aren’t they afraid of what Businessweek, called “a financial apocalypse” that would cause a worldwide economic depression? 

Most of the Tea Party base, especially the leadership, are fundamentalist Christians whose religion controls their worldview. This is not a secularist movement interested primarily in promoting “fiscal conservatism.” Tea Partiers are people guided by magical thinking and belief. Pew Research shows that Tea Party members are likely to cite religious belief as the prime motivation for their political views. This latest power play from the GOP is simply a repetition of white fundamentalists to assert their “right” to control the country even if their politicians aren’t in power.

A movement controlled by fundamentalist Christians ignores any real dangers that their actions cause. Fundamentalist religion convinces followers to be more afraid of imaginary threats than real ones. People who believe that the Lord’s work is forcing the government into default in an attempt to eliminate Obamacare cannot see the real, negative effects of their beliefs. They simply continue to believe that the president is an agent of the devil and the world will devolve into mayhem and apocalypse if he is not stopped. 

With no reason, Christian conservatives such as Ellis Washington are convincing people that the ACA  will lead to “the systematic genocide of the weak, minorities, enfeebled, the elderly and political enemies of the God-state.” Twenty percent of Republicans believe Obama is the Antichrist.  Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner argued that President Obama is using health care legislation to promote “the destruction of the family, Christian culture” and demanded that Christians “engage in peaceful civil disobedience against President Obama’s signature health care law.” 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops joined the evangelicals with their demand that the GOP shut down the government rather than let Obamacare go into effect. The excuse was their objection to the requirement that insurance make contraception available without a copayment, saying ending this requirement matters more than “serving their own employees or the neediest Americans.”

Pat Necerato of the Christian News Network accused the supporters of the law of committing idolatry and accused people who want health care of being covetous. The Christian Post approvingly reported various Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, saying things like the health care law is “a profound attack on our liberties” and repeating “today is the day I will tell my grandchildren about when they ask me what happened to freedom in America.”

Rick Phillips, writing for Christianity.com, hinted that Obamacare might be predicted in Revelations, resulting in the End Times. Others went beyond hinting by falsely proclaiming a conspiracy theory of Obamacare requiring microchips planted in all citizens, the “mark of the beast” predicted in Revelations that portends the return of Christ and the end of the world. 

To people who believe in fire and brimstone, worldwide economic depression is no problem. Fundamentalist Christians minimize the problems of the real world while inventing imaginary ones. To these deniers, climate change doesn’t exist because they are more worried about abortion and LGBT rights. 

The far-right have become obsessed with the End Times; one-third of people in the U.S. believes that the Syrian conflict portends the end of the world. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed this is true because President Obama is intentionally sending arms to terrorists which tells her that“the leaf is on the fig tree.” 

Even more horrifying than her mythical approach to politics, however, is her delight in a worldwide war that would kill millions. “Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann claimed. And most horrifying is that she has access to the nation’s most sensitive and highly classified materials because of her membership on the House Intelligence Committee. 

Three-fourths of the evangelicals who foresee God’s mass murder and hellfire believe they will escape any difficulties because the Rapture will whisk them off to a heaven before anything bad happens. This 19th-century invention took off in the late 20th century after pop culture products like the Left Behind series. The world’s end is also important to evangelicals because it proves they are right—they will have won the argument. There’s nothing like a fiery apocalypse to let people say, “I told you so!” That way they would see the non-believers punished and evangelicals would be instated as the rightful rules of all humanity.

Even Senate Chaplain Barry Black is fed up with Congressional stupidity. His opening prayers for Senate sessions have demonstrated increasing frustration. By today, he said in a Fox network interview that there’s a level of “insanity”  in the current government shutdown and ending the impasse will “take humility.”

When the shutdown seemed eminent, Black prayed, “Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis, empowering us to be responsible stewards of your bounty. May they remember that all that is necessary for unintended catastrophic consequences is for good people to do nothing.” Early in the shutdown, he said, “Unless you empower our lawmakers, they can comprehend their duty but not perform it.” On Day Two, he continued, “Save us from the madness.” 

By the fourth day of the shutdown, Black became even more direct: “Remove from them that stubborn pride. Forgive them for the blunders they have committed… the collateral damage of this government shutdown, transforming negatives into positives as you work for the good of those who love you.” He also said, “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.” 

On Day Nine with the delay of benefits for military families, Black said, “Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on far-away battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough. Cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness.” By Day Eleven, Black called on the Lord to “give our lawmakers the wisdom to distinguish between truth and error. Give them a hatred of all hypocrisy, deceit and shame as they seek to replace them with gentleness, patience and truth.”

The looming disaster is caused by a small cabal of hard-right legislators and back-benchers pushing the entire GOP into a radically extremist position regarding the Affordable Care Act and other laws. Take a look at this interactive description of 20 people behind the conservative groups with the ability to make the lives of Republicans who seek compromise very, very difficult. 

It’s Sunday night. Black will return to pray tomorrow, and members of Congress are still being paid despite the government shutdown. 

September 14, 2013

Oregon’s Own Wacko, Art Robinson

Most states have memorable politicians who “entertain” both the media and its readers/listeners. New York’s Anthony Weiner comes to mind as does Iowa’s Steve King, famous for comparing the thighs of undocumented people to cantaloupes as he accuses them of smuggling marijuana.

In another embarrassing event for people in the United States, King was joined last week by Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minnesota’s embarrassment) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas’ problem) in an impromptu trip to Egypt. In a horrifyingly condescending manner, they praised the military and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of bombing the World Trade Center 12 years ago. As icing on the cake, Gohmert compared Egyptian General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi to President George Washington. The trio looked as if they were doing a Saturday Night Live skit while they ignored the U.S. position that the U.S. suspend aid to Egypt after the military’s ousting of the democratically elected Mohammed Morsi for president. Watch the video!

After state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered the Texas chamber for 11 hours to stop its draconian anti-abortion bill, her fame went viral across the nation, so much so that there were calls for the Democrat to run for governor. Texas did pass the same law in a second session, and Dave Carney, aide to gubernatorial candidate and AG Gregg Abbott, dismissed Davis as “too stupid to be governor.”

Last week, however, Davis won her case against Texas’ gerrymandering district maps to disenfranchise minority voters. In addition, the court ruled that the state must pay her court costs. Davis is now even more famous and looks even smarter. In contrast, Texas’ current governor, Rick Perry, couldn’t remember which three federal agencies he would get rid of when he was debating other GOP presidential candidates last year. And Sen. Ted Cruz wants the federal Senate to be composed of 100 racist members just like former Sen. Jesse Holmes.

Arizona, of course, has had Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a long time. After decades of racially profiling Latinos, he may end up with a court-appointed monitor to check on his activities. In May, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow found that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office singled out Latinos for unreasonably prolonged detentions. In the case, Arpaio’s office also objected to the requirement that deputies have a reason to pull over a vehicle and approach the driver. Recently Arpaio threatened to put “30 rounds into” self-proclaimed vigilantes searching for drug smugglers on the desert after one of them pointed a rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy. Just another one of those responsible people with a gun.

Another well-known figure in Arizona is Sen. John McCain who has never seen a country in the Middle East that he didn’t want to destroy—except Israel. After spending years as a POW in Vietnam, he should be more aware of the negative aspects of starting wars.

Virginia has a governor and a gubernatorial candidate who both take illegal donations from constituents and then claim that they cannot afford to pay them back. The list could go on and on.

As an Oregonian, I’m proud that our state finally has its resident wacko. Made infamous in the national media thanks to his appearance on a 2010 Rachel Maddow Show, Art Robinson ran against Democrat incumbent Rep. Peter DeFazio that year and two years later. Maddow claimed that he’s the only person on her show who made her bang her head on the desk. Since he complained that Oregon State University discriminated against three of his six children, there hasn’t been much publicity about Robinson—until the GOP elected him the chair of the state Republican party.

Robinson’s latest publicity came from a request for donations—for urine. His mailing to every household in Josephine County stated that they need only return the enclosed coupon to receive a sample container and box for the urine that should be mailed back to Robinson. He plans to do research on detecting diseases before any symptoms appear. To be honest, some people in the field such as David Wishart, a professor in the departments of Computer Science and Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, think his idea might have merit.

Robinson’s other ideas, however, totally lack credibility:

  • Nuclear Waste: Because Robinson believes in “radiation hormesis,” beneficial properties of radiation, he says that it should be diluted and “sprinkle[d] over the ocean,” added to the drinking water, and stored in building foundations.
  • Public Education: Robinson called for the abolition of public education, describing it as “the most widespread and devastating form of child abuse and racism in the United States.”
  • Homeschooling: Robinson’s personal curriculum asks students to read “all 99” G.A. Henty books, which are notable for their “undisguised racism.” In one book, the main character states that the “intelligence of an average negro is about equal to that of a European child of ten years old.” Robinson also wants parents to teach children from books “written in the 1950’s and earlier” to avoid the “overt racism” of “multiculturalism,” supporting his stance with anecdote that starts with him being frightened into “survival” mode by a “tough-looking character whose dark skin perfectly matched his leather jacket”–who turned out to be a professor.
  • Climate Change: Robinson supports the Global Warming Petition Project that claims it has signatures from 31,487 American scientists opposing the position that humans are the root cause of global warming. He defines “scientist” as anyone who claims to have a bachelor’s degree in fields such computer science, statistics, and metallurgy. Robinson is a chemist with no background in climate change and acknowledges that fake names such as the Spice Girl’s Geri Halliwell are the list.
  • Carbon and Climate: Robinson told the conspiracy website WND.com in 2002 that “[t]here is absolutely not a shred of evidence that humans are causing any change in the climate by generating CO2.”
  • AIDS: Robinson questioned whether HIV is the cause of AIDS and alleged that the epidemic was exaggerated to create a “crisis.”
  • Financial Reform: Financial reform is nothing more than an excuse for the government to grow itself and greatly increase its power.
  • Social Security: Social security is a Ponzi scheme.
  • Evolution: Robinson signed an anti-Darwinism statement “skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life,” contrary to peer-reviewed studies repeatedly supporting evolution.
  • Diversity: Robinson claimed that his alma mater, Cal Tech, had a vast majority of white males because “its applicants are weighted toward those who seek severe, difficult, total-immersion training in science—an experience few women and blacks desire.”
  • Abortion: Robinson believes in banning all abortions even in cases of rape.

Robinson’s ideas are extreme and destructive. Yet they are representative of many other GOP leaders in the country. These are the people who prevent the United States from achieving the exceptionalism that liberals know that the nation can be.

August 10, 2012

U.S. Still Not ‘Post-Racial’

Previous elections have had one-day stories—here for a few hours and then gone. This year is different. Stories stick around. One example is Mitt Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns. Perhaps this might have been because people now are getting more news from the Internet that keeps the issues at the forefront. For whatever reason, the stories that pervade the Internet these days frequently depict the prevalence of racism.

The election of Barack Obama to the office of president created the myth that the United States had entered a post-racial era. Instead, racism has become more and more widespread. For example, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), commonly known as the deadbeat dad because he owed more than $100,000 in child support, is calling on the Tea Party to pat the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama, on the head and call him “son.” (Walsh is also known for attacking the service of his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, for her value as a veteran; Duckworth is well known as a helicopter who lost both legs and damaged an arm when her UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.)

Andrew McCarthy renewed another story that won’t go away when he gave a speech at the National Press Club supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) horrific charges that Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. He went further than Bachmann, saying that she “actually understated the case” because “Ms. Abedin had a very lengthy affiliation with an institute founded by a top figure at the nexus between Saudi terror funding, Brotherhood ideology, and al-Qaeda’s jihad against the United States.”

McCarthy claimed that one connection came from Abedin’s exerting influence over Clinton by having her appear at a college that Abedin’s mother had founded in Egypt, the same school where George W. Bush’s adviser Karen Hughes spoke. Mother Jones reporter Adam Serwer asked McCarthy how the president supported sharia law when he also support marriage equality. And what about his position that the president killed Osama bin Laden because

“the Islamists [Obama] wants to engage have decided al-Qaeda is expendable” and counter to their peaceful takeover of American institutions.

McCarthy responded, “I’m a whack job, I guess.” But he keeps promoting whack ideas so that other whack jobs can follow him.

And Bachmann isn’t alone in her whack job attitude: her letters calling for an investigation about the Muslim Brotherhood’s “deep penetration” in the U.S. government were also signed by Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).

Even anti-President Obama religious leaders condemned these far-fetched claims. One of 42 organizations signing a letter of protest to these letters is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which has opposed many of the president’s policies.

Gohmert called his critics “numb nuts.” One of the “numb nuts” is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who has seemingly returned to sanity after his campaigns for president (2008) and senator (2010). On the floor of the Senate, he said, “These allegations about Huma Abedin, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant.”

Wes Harris, the founder and chairman of the Original North Phoenix Tea Party, ranted against McCain and promised a recall. Harris’ blog piece against the senator ended with what sounded like a threat: “Go to hell, Senator, it’s time for you to take your final dirt nap.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) demanded “credible, substantial evidence” from Bachmann to back up her accusations. In response, he received a letter he described as “16 pages worth of repeated false allegations. Just regurgitated nonsense.” In the letter, Bachmann did omit one of prime sources, Frank Gaffney, so far right that even the far-right organizations have refused to allow him to attend their meetings. He is the source for Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) claim that the House is sheltering 80 communists among the Democrats. On Gaffney’s radio show, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) endorsed Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) paranoia. Bachmann is a member of this committee.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) defended Bachmann in her Islamophobic quest. In a CBS interview with Charlie Rose, Cantor stated that her accusations came from her “concern about the security of the country.” Romney’s campaign advisor John Bolton joined Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in saying that there was nothing wrong with Bachmann’s investigation.

Bachmann’s website has posted this statement: “The letters my colleagues and I sent on June 13 to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State – and the follow up letter I wrote to Rep. Ellison on July 13 – are unfortunately being distorted.”

One serious effect of Bachmann’s stupidity was the protesting against Secretary of State Clinton in Alexandria last month. Bachmann’s lies  led Egyptians to believe that the country’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, was pushed on them through a U.S. plot. One of them explained to journalists “that the Obama Administration is pursuing a closeted pro-Muslim agenda.” A Egyptian blogger used information from Gaffney’s radio show as evidence that the U.S. has a strong connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

After Japan won the 2011 Women’s Soccer World Cup by defeating the United States, U.S. fans flooded social media sites with racist comments about “Japs” and “Pearl Harbor.” The situation was no better this year when the U.S. defeated Japan 2-1 when U.S. fans  gloated about payback, comparing the defeat to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs (MS) refused to marry church members Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson because they are black. No black wedding is permitted at the church. The Southern Baptist Convention still supports slavery.

The killing of six Sikhs in Wisconsin last week is the culmination of over 1000 cases of random violence, killings, vandalism, bullying, beatings and intimidation against the Sikh community since 9/11.

The current Republican presidential nominee told the world in a speech that people in Israel are better off because the Palestinians are a “different” (aka lower) culture than the Israelites, in the same way that people in the United States are more productive than the people in Mexico because of U.S. “culture.”

Google “U.S. racism,” and you get almost 5,000,000 hits—from just the last month. This country is nowhere near “post-racial”!

Everyone in the country should heed McCain’s statement about Bachmann’s actions: “When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”

November 20, 2011

GOP Presidential Candidates Gobble Social Justice

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and turkey is on the minds of a lot of people. Turkey  may not bring to mind just the food served on Thursday.  One definition of a turkey is a loser; another, in the case of a jive turkey, a double-crosser. The current crop of Republican presidential candidates reminds me of real turkeys, flocking and gobble-gobbling and strutting as they fan their tail feathers to conservative media and organizations. (Clue: Texas has lots of wild turkeys.)

The more overtly religious five candidates seem to consistently make the dumbest moves. Herman Cain can’t open his mouth—or just sit in a chair—without creating fodder for late-night comedians. Libya? Now what did the U.S. do in Libya? And who didn’t we like there? Newt Gingrich lost when he thought he could claim his high salary from Bush’s government was for being an “historian” for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not an unlicensed lobbyist.

Rick Perry wanted to debate Rep. Nancy Pelosi about his new idea for “a part-time Congress where their pay is cut in half, their office budgets are cut in half, and their time in Washington is cut in half.” Even the most conservative Congressional members are nervous about his brainstorm. Either Perry forgot that Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) is currently Speaker of the House, or he believes that the Democrats will take the majority in the next election. Caught up in criticism, he cited recent reports of insider trading by Congressional members. “When you have routine insider corruption on Capitol Hill, when you have liberal opposition for freeing the economy of this country, when you have just total disrespect for family values, I would suggest to you that’s the reason Nancy Pelosi is running away from having a debate with me.” Perry forgot two other important pieces of information: Pelosi and her husband made less than a dollar on each of the 5,000 shares that they bought, and the rest of the insider traders outed were Republicans.

Cain remembered that God asked him to run for president, bringing the count up to three with Michele Bachmann and Perry the other two. Evidently God told Mike Huckabee that it was okay for him not to run this time. In Cain’s speech about God, he also blamed President Obama for canceling the space shuttle program; George W. Bush had done that in 2004. Considering his penchant for a bad memory, could he have the same health issues as Ronald Reagan without a wife to cover for him?

The first formal vote of 2012, Iowa, is less than six weeks away, and candidates have flowed into the state. (Don’t worry, Iowa. They’ll be leaving immediately afterward to head to New Hampshire.) Only Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman were absent from yesterday’s Thanksgiving Family Forum, sponsored by the James Dobson-founded Focus on the Family, a religious right powerhouse known for its bizarre cultural agenda; the National Organization for Marriage, perhaps best known for its unintentionally hilarious anti-gay commercials; and The FAMiLY Leader, an Iowa-based group of extremists that put together “The Marriage Vow” for GOP candidates, which argued, among other things, that slavery wasn’t that bad for African-American families.

The forum was about “social issues”—nothing hard like foreign policy. Held in the sanctuary of the First Federated Church of Des Moines, a church that has fought LGBT people for at least 15 years, it featured right-wing pollster Frank Luntz as a talk-show host. Gingrich received the loudest applause for his promise to restore the role of faith in American life. Either Iowans have the same short memories as Perry, or they chose to ignore Gingrich’s infidelity and three marriages.

Evangelical theology purports that until one’s heart has been broken, usually by one’s own sin, one will not be truly ready to receive Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Savior. Evangelical services often feature the tearful testimonials of those whose hearts are so broken; thus Luntz asked them to reveal the moments when their faith was most tested.

Ron Paul appeared the most uncomfortable, talking about an injury cutting short his high school track career, and Gringrich had to borrow a friend’s injured child. I’m guessing he didn’t want to talk about his first wife’s cancer because that was when he served her with divorce papers in the hospital after her surgery

Cain got to talk about when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, Rick Santorum berated himself for being emotionally distant from his youngest daughter who had almost died twice, and Bachmann revealed how her mother had to sell wedding gifts after the candidate’s father deserted the family.

Although Perry’s biggest problem was feeling “lost” when he left the Air Force at the age of 27, he was in his element with fundamental rites, something that doesn’t happen with any of the debates. Discussing the success of The Response, an event that brought 33,000 people together in Texas to pray for the country, he urged pastors to preach about values. “Somebody’s values are going to decide what the Congress votes on or what the president of the United States is going to deal with. And the question is: Whose values? And let me tell ya, it needs to be our values–values and virtues that this country was based upon by the Judeo-Christian Founding Fathers.” (Another part of conservatives’ revisionist history.)

Speaking of God in his life, Perry said, “I’ve been driven to my knees multiple times as the governor of the State of Texas, making decisions that are life or death–have huge impacts on people’s lives. The idea that I would walk into that without God Almighty holding me up would scare me to death.” Evidently God told him to kill those people whether they were innocent or not, including at least one person executed in violation of an international treaty.

In a preface to one question, Luntz explained that church-goers are happier than people who don’t go to church or pray, implying that liberals do neither. Gingrich agreed, saying that conservatives are “happy” while liberals are “angry” and “miserable.” Then his historian persona rolled in as he said that liberals were all products of the French Revolution.

“The French Revolution was an anti-clerical, anti-God rejection of the larger world in favor of secularism. It has dominated our academic world; our academic world supplies our news media, our courts and Hollywood. And so you have a faction in America today which believes things which are profoundly wrong. Now that is a fight; that’s not a passivity. And in a culture in which they know what they’re doing, and they are determined to destroy our value system, and we are passive and confused is a world in whichAmerica’s going to stay in deep trouble.” (More revisionist history.)

Bachmann accused the new health care law of forcing taxpayers to fund “chemical abortion” that she claimed was being “pushed” by Planned Parenthood. Many conservatives  don’t believe this, but the claim brings in votes and money. Private coverage for abortions may be almost nonexistent when the new health care law goes into effect which would make these candidates very happy.

Referring to the Occupy Movement, Gingrich quoted John Smith (of Pocahontas fame): “In 1607 in the first English speaking permanent colony, [Smith said] to the aristocrats who had paid their way and didn’t want to work: ‘If you don’t work, you won’t eat.’” He may have been confused about the “class” status of the current protesters. His vitriolic statement concluded with “Go get a job. Right after you take a bath.” I wonder if there are more openings at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for “historians.”

The candidates had an easy time in Des Moines last night. No questions about taking money from the government to advise its mortgage agencies, no questions about sexual assault or campaign fraud, no questions at all about embarrassing gaffes or long pauses. They all pretty much agreed to define “personhood” at conception, stop gay couples from adopting children, reverse restrictions of churches’ involvement in politics, and prevent same-sex marriage. People who think that the conservative movement is all about economics need to pay close attention to this showing of Christians demonstrating how they would turn the United States into a theocracy.

Sorry you missed the event? Check it out here. Otherwise wait until day after tomorrow when the full complement  of Republican candidates gathers at the DAR Constitution Hall (Washington, DC), 8pm ET, with sponsors CNN, The Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute. Wolf Blitzer moderates; the topic focuses foreign policy and national defense.

Happy turkey!

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