Nel's New Day

March 15, 2012

The Foreign Press Takes on Our Brave New World

What Europe thinks of the American Republican primaries: 

The German Press: The Republican presidential contest in America is a “freak show,” said Marc Pitzke in the German der Spiegel. The candidates vie with one another to spew the most outrageous hard-right positions denying evolution while endorsing torture and joking about electrocuting illegal immigrants. How did a major party in the world’s sole superpower become a “club of liars, debtors, betrayers, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites, and ignoramuses”? These know-nothings are enabled by a U.S. press that has been “neutered by the demands of political correctness” so that it can’t say what’s obvious: These people are daft! Instead, it “proclaims one clown after the next to be the new front-runner.” Newt Gingrich is actually considered an intellectual merely because he can create sentences with multiple clauses. Scarcely a one has even the most basic grasp of foreign policy. One said Africa is a country, another that the Taliban rule in Libya. Collectively, “they expose a political, economic, geographic, and historical ignorance that makes George W. Bush look like a scholar!”

The French Press: That’s the scariest part, said Lorraine Millot in the Paris Liberation. The only GOP candidate who knows a thing about diplomacy, Jon Huntsman, is gone. The others “careen to extreme positions that include starting new wars and abandoning old allies.” And that’s when they even have a position. Herman Cain, now thankfully out of the race, was the front-runner even though he couldn’t find a single coherent word to say about President Obama’s policy on Libya. He even boasted of knowing little about foreign countries. And yet it was his adultery, not his astounding ignorance, that brought him down.

The British Press: There’s a simple explanation for this bizarre phenomenon, said Max Hastings in the London Daily Mail. In the “lunatic, gun-toting badlands of America’s Hicksville, Tea Party country,” it’s considered suspiciously elitist to show an interest in modern science or the world beyond America’s “borders. “Say what you like about British politics, no MP of any party would dare to offer themselves as town dogcatcher while knowing as little about the world as the Republican presidential candidates.” We take public service seriously. Yet we in Britain, and everyone in the rest of the world, will suffer if “one of the lunatics” vying for the nomination makes it to the White House. “The American political system has seldom, if ever, looked so inadequate.” Don’t worry, said Matthew Norman in the London Independent. The fact that Gingrich is the latest threat to Mitt Romney’s inevitability just “confirms how inevitable” Romney’s nomination is. The thrice-married, ethically challenged Gingrich is unlikable in the extreme. Which means the nominee will be Romney, “the slimiest, phoniest opportunist to run for president since … well, ever.” So sit back and enjoy this circus passing for a presidential election. It can’t possibly end in a GOP victory. Can it?

[The part about Gingrich is a bit out of date—but still applies!]

January 3, 2012

What Would Jesus Think of the Candidates?

Every day all the Republican presidential candidates fall over each other trying to move farther to the right (although it seems impossible to go farther!) and convince the fundamental religious people that each one of them is the most religious. But What Would Jesus Think? From the stories published about him in the bible, he would be pretty disgusted. These candidates and their followers are people who think that the United States should be a theocracy. It’s pretty evident that Jesus does not play into their belief that God should run the country.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”—Jesus

By this rule about 1 percent of the people in the United States aren’t going to get into that kingdom, but they are graciously making sure that the other 99 percent will go. Rick Perry lauds his state’s tax system in which the poorest 20 percent of Texans generally pay more than four times in state and local taxes of their overall income than the richest 1 percent of the people in the state. That’s because Texas counts on sales and excise taxes for income gathering. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan would have saved $1.4 million a year for the taxpayers in the top 0.1 percent making more than $2.7 million. (Yes, I know Cain is gone, but his ideas aren’t.)

Mitt Romney’s tax plan would save Koch Bros up to $8.7 billion each. Romney’s philosophy of curing the foreclosure problem, according to one debate, was to “let it run its course, to hit the bottom and let investors buy the home.” Michelle Bachmann likes the China approach because they let their poor people rot and die in the streets.

The candidates missed the story about Jesus’s socialist action of throwing the money changers out of the temple.

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”—Jesus

Candidates and their followers who support this guideline must be totally sinless. The cheering at debates for Perry’s execution of 234 death-row inmates during his term and Ron Paul’s response to a question that he would let someone without health insurance just die have become infamous. Cain also got cheers for possibly killing immigrants trying to come into the country from Mexico.

Paul also has support from a religious leader who wants to kill the gays. Perry is milder about LGBT people: he just wants to jail them.

“Peacemakers” are “blessed” and would be considered “sons of God.”—Jesus

Most of the candidates defend waterboarding, torture that used against terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. (Note the word “suspects.”) Those who think that waterboarding is not that uncomfortable haven’t had it used on them. Perry said he would defend the use of torture techniques “until the day I die.”

Except for Libertarian Paul, the candidates unanimously endorsed invading and bombing other countries. Newt Gingrich was very specific, delighting in “taking out their scientists” and “breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable.” Rick Santorum believes in long-term wars; he thinks that our Good versus Evil Battle against Muslamonazism will be “1000 years long.”

Any man who “looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”—Jesus

Gingrich went much farther than lusting; he acted on his impulses and then lied about his first wife wanting a divorce. The lies were after he said that he cheated on his wife because he was “driven by how passionately I felt about this country” and thus “worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”  When the religious right wanted to vote for him (remember those two weeks?), they forgave him because he had repented.

More recently than Gingrich’s peccadilloes were Cain’s affairs which the religious folk declared were either lies on the part of the women or just the women’s fault. As customary in our society, the advantage goes to the poor abused male.

A look at the candidates shows that Rick Santorum’s statement about Romney four years ago is still accurate: “Sometimes the best isn’t that great, but it’s the best.” Speaking of Santorum, he’s finally getting his brief day in the sun at the Iowa caucus. With about half the “votes” in, he’s a few votes ahead of Romney. Sometimes the best isn’t that great ….

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