Nel's New Day

March 23, 2019

DDT: Week 113, Part 2 – Deny, Give Orders

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants to destroy free speech in the media but signed an executive order to protect “free speech” on campus—like the First Amendment. DDT said, “People who are confident in their beliefs do not censor others.” Conservative legislatures have already passed laws promoting conservative language on campus. For example, Wisconsin students can be expelled if they interrupt the speech of another student three times. DDT was so excited by signing the executive order that he grabbed a young blonde and kissed her. As he said, “Grab them …. You can do anything.” At least all he did at the signing ceremony was kiss her. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project’s new website, Gov404, tracks online “censorship” on U.S. government websites to show how they have erased important information, especially LGBTQ rights and climate change, with no justification. One of the biggest federal changes began with EPA’s removing the climate change site followed by climate change pages and information from departments of Transportation, Interior, BLM, National Park Service, etc.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” ― George Orwell, 1984

About any problems, DDT says, “Deny, deny, deny.” Now he adds that he knows nothing:

Nothing about Jared Kushner and Ivanka’s extensive use of private email accounts for White House business after constantly using the “lock her up” chant for Hillary Clinton’s emails on the campaign trail. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) used the same chant at a fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago.

Nothing about DDT giving Kushner top-secret security clearance despite proof.

Nothing about the major crackdown, involving many kidnappings and tortures, of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his political foes.

Nothing about MBS’ death squad asking for bonuses for overtime because they worked overtime.

Nothing about MBS torturing and dismembering U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Nothing about the rising threats of white supremacists despite the employment of people; i.e., Confederacy fan and white supremacist Corey Stewart leading DDT’s MAGA PAC because of Stewart’s promise to “run a very vicious and ruthless campaign.”

DDT condemned Rep. Ilham Omar (D-MN) for so-called anti-Semitic remarks but stayed silent about white nationalist Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) tweet about “another civil war” between red and blue states:

“One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use. Wonder who would win….” [visual King]

King represents Iowa, depicted on the losing side.

Counties hosting at least one DDT rally experienced an average 226 percent increase of hate crimes afterward. A large number of the reported hate crimes referenced Trump. In Virginia racist bullying in school increased in counties backing DDT and decreased in regions carried by Hillary Clinton.

Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a bill to stop participating in Title X and put aside more state dollars to expand its family planning program passed two years ago if DDT’s gag rule preventing any mention of abortion succeeds. The new bill declares that Maryland will not participate in a program proving substandard care and require providers to physically and financially separate abortion from other medical services to keep the federal funding. Maryland is also one of 22 states suing the federal government over the gag rule.

DDT will put more elders into poverty with a new policy that employers can give current retirees a one-time payment in exchange for their pensions. Pensions are big liabilities for companies because they depend on investments which are unsure. Retirees with a lump sum of money tend to spend them quickly, within 5.5 years according to a 2017 study, and use the money for short-term items like home improvements. Typically, people get 20 to 30 percent less with that one-time payment than with a pension.

DHS is considering staffing detention centers with the 1,000-person force of government workers who volunteered to leave their jobs to help disaster victims. The Surge Capacity Force, created after Hurricane Katrina to help FEMA if it needs extra staff on short notice, was activated only in 2012 for Hurricane Sandy and 2017 for Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Force members have no training in staffing detention facilities, and the proposal leaves FEMA with no help during disasters from climate change, currently the horrific flooding in three Plains Area states. Wildfire season also begins early this year.

Eric Trump, DDT’s son, accidentally argued on Fox & Friends in favor of net neutrality when he lied in complaints that private sources such as Twitter and Google block conservatives and not “liberals.” He wants the internet to be governed by free speech guidelines, perhaps ignorant that this ruling was made in 2015 when the FCC declared the internet a “utility” to establish “net neutrality” protections, guaranteeing that its traffic be treated equally no matter what the content. DDT’s FCC repealed that rule over a year ago so that companies can dictate what the content that consumers will or not receive and how quickly they will get this content. Eighty percent of people in the United States support net neutrality. Companies have made exceptions to anti-hate speech limits so that DDT doesn’t suffer consequences for his tweets, and research indicates that conservative companies such as Fox get more traffic on Facebook than progressive counterparts.

DDT gets all his “news” for tweets and press conferences from Fox, and now the daily White House “news” releases follow suit with the “announcement that ISIS “has crumbled.”  It does claim that “the official announcement hasn’t yet been made,” but Fox reported it.

The new tax “cut” law can cost 11 million taxpayers $323 billion from the limit on deductible state and local levies, according to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Due process lost in the Supreme Court after the conservative majority ruled that the government can indefinitely detain immigrants, even legal ones, for past criminal records and release. Charles Pierce explains:

“If you did a two-year bid 30 years ago for whatever, and you’ve been the choir director in a Trappist monastery since you got out of stir, ICE can now grab you up and detain you, theoretically, for the rest of your life.”

The plaintiff in the case was arrested twice for cannabis and released in 2006. Seven years later ICE picked him up and locked him in detention. In another case last term, Justice Stephen Breyer read his dissent from the bench:

“Would the Constitution leave the government free to starve, beat, or lash those held within our boundaries? If not, then…, how can the Constitution authorize the government to imprison arbitrarily those who, whatever we might pretend, are in reality right here in the United States? The answer is that the Constitution does not authorize arbitrary detention. And the reason that is so is simple: Freedom from arbitrary detention is as ancient and important a right as any found within the Constitution’s boundaries.”

This year, Breyer wrote about “the Government’s duty not to deprive any ‘person’ of ‘liberty’ without ‘due process of law’; the Nation’s original commitment to protect the ‘unalienable’ right to ‘Liberty.’” Breyer’s dreams are gone.

Companies must report pay data by race and gender after a federal ordered DDT to reinstate the rule. Neomi Rao, DDT’s appointment to replace Brett Cavanaugh on the DC Circuit Court, had blocked the collection. Being forced to report this information, companies provide more equal pay.

DDT wanted the Federal Reserve to stop interest increases, but he didn’t expect the reason for the decision—failing economy. The Feds expect GDP to drop to 2.1 percent, down from a 2.3 estimate three months ago, whereas DDT promised over 3 percent. DDT brags that his “economic miracle” has a 93 percent rating, but the poll was taken at the recent CPAC of the farthest-right conservatives.  Bloomberg has reported gloom in several areas: a reduction in housing activity, consumer spending and consumer confidence shrinking, falling investor confidence shown by the flattening Treasury yield curve, and February’s low job increase.

The news is full of the Robert Mueller investigation, reporting that no one knows anything. DDT warned that “people will not stand for it” if the report makes him look bad and called for his attorney general to “do what’s fair” and open investigations into Hillary Clinton, James Comey, James Clapper, and James Brennan.

February 12, 2019

GOP Builds on Former Hypocrisy

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) listed “American Indian” on her 1986 application for the Texas bar because he family had told her of her Native American background. We’re shocked, despite her DNA shows some Native American ancestry generations in the past.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) family received $7.6 million in government contracts for its company, Vortex Construction, through a program with no-bid contracts for “disadvantaged minorities.” McCarthy’s brother-in-law William Wages told the Small Business Administration that he’s one-eighth Cherokee in the Northern Cherokee Nation with “no federal or state recognition as a legitimate tribe.” The media largely ignored this fraud.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam may have posed for a photograph over 30 years ago either in blackface or in a KKK costume, and the country is questioning whether he should resign.

DDT called neo-Nazi’s at the Charlottesville (VA) racist marches “very fine people” even after they caused the death of Heather Heyer, severely beat a man, and terrorized thousands of others. After his racist comments, DDT was described as appointed by God. He also demanded the death penalty for the young black and Latino men, the Central Park Five, and refused to apologize after their convictions were vacated. DDT continually—and falsely—accused President Barack Obama of being born in Kenyan, called undocumented immigrants rapists and murderers, ridicules Native Americans, and made more racist remarks.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee paying lawmakers to be pro-Israel. When she was accused of being anti-Semite for her factual statement, she immediately apologized:

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar said. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

DDT—who made multiple racist comments—called for Omar’s resignation, and Republicans demanded that she be stripped of her committee appointments. While campaigning, DDT accused Jewish donors of wanting to control politicians and called them “negotiators.” The Anti-Defamation League, which censured Omar, defended DDT. The “very fine people” who DDT protected in Charlottesville (VA) were shouting “Jews will not replace us.” He uses the anti-Jewish slur “globalist” to describe his opposition and vilified Holocaust survivor George Soros, as did McCarthy who called for sanctions on Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), another Muslim who criticized Israel. No Republican criticized McCarthy when he accused Soros of  trying to “buy the election,” a statement that sent a bomb to Soros’ home.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who supported DDT’s anti-Muslim travel ban that blocked entry to the U.S. for everyone from Omar’s native country of Somalia, has harassed Omar since the 116th Congress was sworn in. His attacks on her led to his claim that he would declare her as a hateful anti-Semite if she didn’t vote for the bill penalizing anyone boycotting Israel and has worked for over a month to have her removed from the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations because of her religion. Not one Republican complained about Zeldin’s disgusting comments. (In researching this piece, I also discovered that using terms such as hypnotize, manipulate, and conspiracy are anti-Semitic. Who knew?!)

Steve King may be the most amazing case of GOP hypocrisy. Despite the GOP representative’s ongoing racism, Republicans did nothing about King’s bigotry until he declared that the term “white supremacy” might be acceptable.

2002: In the Iowa State Senate, King filed a bill requiring schools to teach that the U.S. “derived it strength from … Christianity,” and sponsored a law making English the official language of Iowa.

2005: In the House, he introduced the bill to make English the official language of the U.S.

2006: King advocated a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border and falsely claimed that 25 people in the U.S. died daily because of undocumented immigrants, a statement that DDT has repeated. His prototype of the wall, which he showed on the House floor, called for electrified wire on the top. King said, “We do that with livestock all the time.”

2010: On the House floor, King said that law enforcement can spot undocumented immigrants by “what kind of clothes people wear … what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accent they have … sometimes it’s just a sixth sense they can’t put their finger on.”

2011: King opposed the coverage of contraception in the Affordable Care Act because “birth control is “not constructive to our culture and our civilization.”

2012: He described multiculturalism as “a tool for the Left to subdivide a culture and civilization into our own little ethnic enclaves and pit us against each other.”

2013: In opposing legal status for Dreamers, brought into the country as children, he said:

“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.”

2015: King invited the far-right, anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders to Washington and appeared with him at the Capitol, praising him for having “the guts to speak out.” Wilders has called Islam “not a religion,” said the Quran was “worse than Mein Kampf,” and called for the closing of mosques. The two men posed in front of a portrait of Winston Churchill.

2016: At the RNC, King avowed that nonwhite groups have not contributed as much to civilization as whites. Days later, he said:

“The idea of multiculturalism, that every culture is equal — that’s not objectively true … We’ve been fed that information for the past 25 years, and we’re not going to become a greater nation if we continue to do that.”

Meeting again with Wilders and Frauke Petry, the leader of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany party, in Amsterdam, King tweeted, “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.” Endorsing Wilders in the Dutch elections, King tweeted, “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” In Austria, King also met with leaders of the far-right Freedom Party founded in the 1950s by former Nazis, including Heinz-Christian Strache and Norbert Hofer.

2017: On Iowa talk radio, King recommended The Camp of the Saints, a 1973 racist 1973 novel about an invasion of Europe by nonwhite immigrants. He also tweeted agreement with Viktor Orban, Hungary’s authoritarian leader: “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”

2018: Mr. King wanted to block Somali Muslims from working in Iowa meatpacking plants saying, “I don’t want people doing my pork that won’t eat it, let alone hope I go to hell for eating pork chops.” He also reinforced his belief in The Camp of the Saints:

“This narrative should be imprinted into everyone’s brain. When you are importing people, even importing one single person, you are importing their culture.”

He also supports the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory positing that an international elite, including prominent Jews such as George Soros, are plotting to make white populations minorities in Europe and North America. King endorsed Faith Goldy, a neo-Nazi supporter, for Toronto mayor.

2019: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in an interview with the New York Times. At that point, McCarthy, House Minority Leader, and GOP House members stripped King of his committee appointments, but that may not be permanent.

King was a national co-chairman of Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential effort and of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ 2018 election. House leadership made him chair of the subcommittee on the Constitution and civil justice, and DDT boasted from the Oval Office that he raised more money for King than for anyone else. Only when King questioned why “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became “offensive,” did Republicans think they should take a bit of action—and even then, there was no talk of censure. King described his being stripped of committee assignments as a political witch hunt, a popular claim by racists these days.

And Rep. Ilham Omar (D-MN) was damned because she told the truth about AIPAC donating money to U.S. lawmakers.

Congressional Republicans:

  • Hate “socialized medicine” but insist on keeping their own “socialized” federal insurance.
  • Praise “democracy” while keeping people from voting and removing elected leaders from other countries.
  • Call for “humanitarian crisis” aid while killing thousands of innocent civilians in the Middle East.
  • Laud family values while pandering to a serial adulterer in the Oval Office who gained his position through lying, fraud, and bigotry.
  • Fight for barriers on the border while hiring undocumented immigrants to work for them at slave wages.
  • Demand law and order while supporting access to assault rifles for psychopaths and terrorists.
  • Ban guns except for their own personal protection.
  • Claim they want local over central government unless they don’t like local laws.
  • Oppose all abortions unless they are for their girlfriends and mistresses.
  • Object to crime unless it’s by a GOP candidate violently attacked a reporter, choked him, and then lied to the police about his crime.
  • Call for neither deficit nor national debt unless the money goes to the wealthy and big business.
  • Mandate an investigation into FBI supposed partisan views while putting unqualified partisan hacks into federal positions and on the nation’s courts.
  • Criticize any Democratic delay in confirming appointments after delaying a Democrat’s Supreme Court appointment for almost a year as a gift to a GOP president.

And that’s the tip of the hypocrisy iceberg.

August 2, 2015

What Do Christians Do?

What do Christians do? One thing is individuals’ and businesses’ begging for money. Businesses refused to serve some of the population and tried to use GoFundMe websites for being bigots. Now the Duggars—19 Kids and Counting—have lost their $25-million salary after some people were upset with the oldest’s sons pedophilia. As a teenager, Josh Duggar molested five little girls and was protected from prosecution and punishment by his parents while living under the same room with four of his victims. It appears that $25 million a year isn’t enough to save money. Blaming the victims didn’t work for the Duggars, and TLC canceled the show. Instead of getting jobs, they asked fans to contribute to their YouTube account. Fortunately, ridicule made them delete their Internet begging—at least for now.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), known for rabid comments against young immigrants in the country, has decided that the Supreme Court legalization of same-gender marriage means presidential candidate Mike Huckabee “can marry my lawnmower.” I don’t know why King thinks that Huckabee might want to do this because he’s been busy wanting to shower with girls. Maybe King has a thing for his lawnmower and is trying to cover his own desire. I’m still waiting for an announcement that people are marrying their lawnmowers or potted plants or any other inanimate object.

As presidential candidates Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry show off the ultrasounds of their children as fetuses, they might want to take Pat Robertson’s warning. Asked about the safety of posting these on Facebook, Robertson cautioned about the “demons” and “evil people in the world” who may use ultrasound images to start “muttering curses against an unborn child.” Earlier he had claimed that these cultists could use any photos to curse people.

Christians work to lower education standards in the United States. The latest victim is the College Board, which issues standards for high school Advanced Placement courses. Attacks from conservatives have caused this previously venerated organization to issue a whitewashed revisionist history. Oklahoma, Georgia, and Texas all introduced bills threatening to pull the course altogether, and the Republican National Committee passed a resolution accusing the 2014 AP U.S. framework of promoting “a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.” These are some changes:

  • Passages explaining racial attitudes, stereotyping, and white superiority in early American history are rewritten or deleted.
  • “White supremacy” disappeared from the Europeans’ rationale “to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians; instead extended contact with Native Americans and Africans produced “evolving religious, cultural, and racial justifications for [their] subjugation.”
  • Removed was a line about the slave trade “leading to the emergence of racial stereotyping and the development of strict racial categories among British colonists, which contrasted with Spanish and French acceptance of racial gradations.”
  • Also removed was the “Key concept” that read, “By supplying American Indian allies with deadlier weapons and alcohol, and by rewarding Indian military actions, Europeans helped increase the intensity and destructiveness of American Indian warfare.”
  • Implications of early European colonists’ racism and aiding in destructive Native American warfare are softened and replaced with more passive language.
  • President Reagan’s rhetoric is no longer “bellicose.”
  • “American exceptionalism” is added to the standards.
  • Sections on the Progressive Era and the New Deal now include inequality, a legacy of “regulatory agencies,” and the divisions of Progressives.
  • Instead of progressive-era journalists and reformers working to address “social problems associated with an industrial society,” the journalists “attacked” “what they saw” as corruption and inequality.
  • Removed from the document was a section that described English colonialists’ lack of “accepted intermarriage and cross-racial sexual unions” with native people and enslaved Africans that led “to the development of a rigid racial hierarchy” in English colonies.

More details here.

AP students will learn that slaves created institutions to preserve their family unit and formed communities on their own; the Free Market created the American economy; most Native Americans were killed off by the Spanish with the U.S. playing only a minor role in their genocide; and Ronald Reagan single handedly caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. The scant mention of the labor movement ignores leaders such as Eugene Debs, and the United States fought Germany and Japan in World War II all by itself with no help from other countries. Liberalism didn’t exist before the 1960s as an expression of anti-Communism and is now dying off after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The College Board has joined the trend of blaming others, making inaccurate portrayals, and destroying any historical accuracy through far-right propaganda.

pamela beckhamThe religious freedom excuse has now gone beyond denying people goods and services. A Christian woman in Ohio, 62-year-old Marilyn Perry (below), let “Jesus take the wheel” while she was praying—and driving. The result of Perry’s bowing her head while driving was a serious injury to 50-year-old Pamela Beckham (left) who was getting her grandchildren out of a car in front of Bellevue’s public library. Beckham rolled onto Perry’s windshield breaking the glass and Beckham’s neck. A Huron County judge placed Perry into an intervention program with no jail time and pays up to $10,000 for medical costs. Without prayer, vehicular assault is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a mandatory license suspension of one to five years.

Marilyn PerryPerry should know that Jesus is a bad driver. A few months ago, Pridonna Hill handed the wheel to her savior in Indiana and ran over a motorcyclist. “God told her that he would take it from here and she let go of the wheel and let him take it,” police said. Then she just kept driving.

Pastor Matthew Becker, a professor of theology at Valparaiso University, was thrown out of his church because he thinks that women should be able to serve the church and children should be taught evolution. Church president, Mathew Harrison, disagrees and ousted Becker. He had no answer for Becker’s claim that “you don’t need a certain body part to share the love of God.”

Earlier last month, Fox network radio host Todd Starnes told the Abilene Baptist Church (Augusta, GA) that “Chick-Fil-A … is the Official Chicken of Jesus, according to the Baptist Faith & Message.” No, this story didn’t come from Internet satire; he really said it.

straight parade

Almost 50 years ago, the first LGBT pride parades had 50 to 100 people, a number that has grown to tens and even hundreds of thousands of people. Straight pride activist Anthony Rebello started small when he organized a Straight Pride Parade in Seattle. He invited over 2,400 people on Facebook, but he was the only one there. Not even his girlfriend showed up. He said that it was a “warm up” and plans another one next year. Rebello blamed negative attention from the LGBT community for the low turnout. If he were right, no one would have ever gone to any gay pride parade.

Much to the dismay of conservative Christian groups, the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay leaders with 79 percent of its board members in agreement. The reason was not for ethical reasons: Robert M. Gates, the organization’s president, said that it was to avoid costly “simultaneous legal battles in multiple legal jurisdictions.” Not all troops have to accept gay leaders, either. Discrimination can continue if troops refuse gay leaders on the basis of religious belief. Even that doesn’t satisfy groups such as the Mormon Church that may pull all of its troops out of BSA. On the other hand, Gates may not be avoiding legal battles with his “religious freedom” excuse.

Cheers this week for a group of good Christians who visited a Chattanooga mosque in Chattanooga to pray with Muslim worshippers during the funeral procession for Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, one of four Marines fatally shot by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez on July 16. They said they wanted a show of love for the Muslim community. Mainly Baptists with at least one Presbyterian, the Christians requested that their churches not be identified because not everyone agreed with their visit.

What do Christians do? Lie, beg, discriminate, twist facts, and reject church members while the real Christians are forced to hide doing good works. At least that’s what happened last week.

October 26, 2014

Religious Beliefs ‘Not Reasonable’

scalia425x320“Religious beliefs aren’t reasonable.” That’s what Justice Antonin Scalia said in court on October 7, 2014 during oral arguments for Holt v. Hobbs. Mark that date! Of course, the man who ruled that businesses can have religious beliefs (Hobby Lobby) wasn’t dealing with Christianity. The case concerned whether a Muslim prison inmate in Arkansas would be allowed to keep his beard because of his religious beliefs.  [Photo by Pete Marovich, Zuma Press]

In context, Scalia’s statement came from asking the plaintiff to believe that a half-inch beard would fulfill his religious requirement for a full beard. Before October 7, the justice had claimed that religious beliefs are beliefs and therefore don’t need justification with facts. The four drugs in the Hobby Lobby case didn’t actually produce abortions, but the Supreme Court determined that this didn’t matter. What mattered was that the plaintiffs believed that the drugs would result in abortions. No need for facts. The Court got so carried away that they extended the original decision that satisfied Hobby Lobby owners to all forms of contraception with no religious justification.

Arkansas’ argument is that an inmate can hide something in a beard, even in a one-half inch medical beard permitted in 44 other states. Some of those states have no length requirement for beards, and the state’s attorney could not cite any security problems with beards in other states’ prisons. Arkansas has no limit on the length of hair on inmates’ heads. Then the state claimed that the ban on beards was to “keep prisoners from disguising themselves.”

Hobby Lobby plaintiffs suffered little questioning about the “sincerity” of the corporation’s beliefs. The company even provided birth control coverage to their employees before the Affordable Care Act mandate. In the case about a Muslim prisoner wanting to grow a beard, Scalia was intent on forcing the plaintiff to justify his religious beliefs.

For the first time, I agree with Scalia: religious beliefs aren’t reasonable. Here are some examples of the bigoted hypocrisy of “Christians.”

After Jan Morgan, owner of an Arkansas firing range in Arkansas, declared that her business is a “Muslim-free zone” because they are all killers, Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, plans to give her award for her action. It’s his opinion that “the Quran … is an instruction to go kill people.” On the other hand, the bible is far more violent than the Quran.

Dan Patrick, the GOP nominee for Texas lieutenant governor, follows the Texas School Board’s desire to require the teaching of creationism in public schools. His rationale is that children become confused because they learn about creationism in Sunday School and then about evolution on week days. This position follows his belief that “there is no such thing as separation of church and state.” As a newly-elected state senator, Patrick walked out of the chamber because a Muslim delivered the opening prayer. Patrick believes in tolerance but thought that remaining during the prayer would signify endorsement. He recently praised Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) for his leadership in bigotry toward LGBT people, minorities, and women.

According to the Christian bible, Jesus would have tried to heal the people faced with the current Ebola epidemic.  The “Christian” far right, however, wants to close the border and stop people from going to fight the disease in West African. At the same time, they spread fears about undocumented immigrants from Central America although there are no cases of Ebola among them and oppose the free treatment that the few people in the U.S. have received if they are infected with the disease. Ebola could be stopped at the source with millions from the United States, but the far-right prefers to spend trillions of dollars to kill hundreds of thousands of Arabs.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has ratcheted up his rants against gays, cohabators, and divorced people after Pope Francis stated that the Catholic Church should be welcoming to these groups. If King gets his way, these people won’t find eternal salvation in heaven. Asked if divorce and cohabitation are sins, he said:

“What was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and people that were condemned to hell 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to heaven.”

King did mitigate his remarks by saying that he needed to read the pope’s document carefully before “passing judgment” on it.

Last spring, King said that entrepreneurs have “God-given rights that our founding fathers defined in the Declaration,” but LGBT people have no rights because being gay and lesbian is a “self-professed behavior” and can’t be “independently verified.” Two years earlier, he said that LGBT people should just lie about the sexual and gender identity to avoid being fired. Three years before that he wanted the name of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill changed to the “Local Law Enforcement Thought Crimes Prevention Act of 2009″ because he doesn’t believe in hate crimes.

Douglas MacKinnon, a former aide to Ronald Reagan and speech-writer for him and George H.W. Bush, doesn’t want to wait for heaven in order to avoid LGBT people: he wants the South to secede and form an ultraconservative independent state named Reagan. As author of The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country … Now, MacKinnon has everything planned for this achievement. His focus is on Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, leaving out Texas because of the “incursions … from some of the folks in Mexico.” He claims to have the help of a military veteran friend and a group that includes “a constitutional law expert, two former military officers, two former diplomats, a minister, another special operator, and experts on banking, energy, farming, and infrastructure.”

MacKinnon is disturbed with “our leaders” who want:

“… to erase our borders, do away with the rule-of-law, expand the nanny state into a theology, bankrupt or punish American companies in the name of fighting climate change, do away with the Second Amendment, censor or demonize the history of Western civilization and replace it with multiculturalism, give every kid a trophy and turn them into wimps, continue to support the completely unfunded public-employee pensions which are destroying the financial solvency of cities, counties, and states across our nation, add billions every day to our $17 trillion in debt, destroy our health-care system to substitute socialized medicine, vilify fossil fuels, and attack all faith in God with a particular and unhinged bias against the Christian faith.”

Because all the Southern states except Texas take more money from the federal government than they pay into it with their taxes, Reagan–the country–could save the rest of the country lots of money!

Fox and Friends co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, has an argument against separation of church and state in public schools: everyone should accept the “culture” of Christianity instead of requesting the removal of Christian plaques from taxpayer-funded Texas schools. As a representative of the 77 percent of U.S. population declaring themselves to be “Christian,” Earhardt asked two people involved in the debate to talk with her on the show—both of them supporting the plaques. As Pastor Justin Coffman said:

“We’re all about wanting to see the cause of Christ go further. We want to see the cause of Christ in more public arenas in the American culture. We don’t want to take things away from. We want to see Christ in our schools.”

Tiffany Davlin complained that a secular group could “come into a community, which is a strong Christian-majority community, and say what we can or cannot have.”

“Attempt to bully us,” Coffman echoed.

“Yeah,” Earhardt agreed. “Yeah, Justin, you touched on it: the War on Christianity.”

Fox needs a war while waiting for the War on Christmas.

A Texas Justice of the Peace subscribes to the “culture” of Christianity in the South by beginning court sessions with bible readings, followed by a prayer. He promises that the case of anyone who is offended “will not be affected.” Too bad MacKinnon doesn’t want Texas in his new country of Texas.

“Religious beliefs aren’t reasonable.” Justice Antonin Scalia said that on October 7, 2014.

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 20, 2013

2016: Cruz Moves Forward, Borowitz Shows Christie’s Problem

Much as we hate to think about the next presidential race, it seems that the presidential competition for the 2016 election has begun in earnest. The most recent sign is Sen. Ted Cruz’s declaration that he’s renouncing his Canadian citizenship. He announced his decision after The Dallas Morning News wrote that Cruz may have dual citizenship with Canada and the United States after being born in Canada to a woman with U.S. citizenship. From his remarks, Cruz seemed astonished about his dual citizenship status:

“Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”

When he completed the form to renounce his Canadian citizenship, the Harvard Law School graduate and Supreme Court attorney issued a press release explaining that he just followed his mother’s directions:

“When I was a kid, my mom told me that I could choose to claim Canadian citizenship if I wanted. I got my U.S. passport in high school. Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter.”

If Cruz gets rid of Obamacare and loses his job, he might want Canadian citizenship: they have health care up north.

The president is the only elected office in the U.S. mandating that a person be a “natural-born citizen” of the United States. The term “birthers” came from the adamant statements about President Obama not being eligible for the presidency because of the falsehood that he was born in Kenya to a woman with a U.S. citizenship. The question is whether U.S. citizenship is the same as “natural born.”

At least two men not born on U.S. soil have run for president: George Romney (1967) in Mexico and John McCain (2008) in the Panama Canal Zone. The Senate declared that McCain is a natural-born citizen. Presidential eligibility problems go back over 130 years when people argued that President Chester A. Arthur was born in Canada and not Vermont, thereby not meeting the eligibility requirement for President of the United States. In 2011, the Congressional Research Service wrote that people born to U.S. citizens in foreign countries “most likely” qualify as natural-born citizens. The argument, however, is probably not over.

Another apparent interest in being interested in the presidential candidacy came from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who tweeted a photo of himself at Dixville Notch (NH), the first town in the state scheduled to vote in the 2016 primaries. “Just poking around the back roads. Beautiful place 4 first in nation primaries & general election results.” King’s next destination is the Charleston Meeting in South Carolina, also a destination of Republican presidential wannabes. He plans a sit-down on August 26 with 20 local GOP activists, a meeting that Lin Bennett, vice-chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, indicates an interest in become a candidate.

Iowa’s Republican leaders are pleased that King decided not to run for the Senate seat left by Democratic Tom Harkin’s resignation next year. Immigration reform has made King famous across the country, particularly with rejection of giving citizenship to children brought into the U.S. illegally. “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” according to King.

The plethora of far-right potential candidates such as Cruz, King, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is driving the less than far far right interested parties farther in the conservative direction. For example, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has gone from considering immigration reform to being very quiet about his postion.

Andy Borowitz satirizes the frantic move to the right by GOP presidential candidates:

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie withdrew from consideration as a Presidential candidate today after becoming embroiled in what a leading Republican strategist called “a career-ending empathy scandal.”

“After signing a law barring licensed therapists from engaging in so-called gay conversion therapy, Mr. Christie stunned his fellow Republicans by seemingly expressing compassion for gay children, thus disqualifying himself from any further role in the G.O.P.

“In a brief statement to reporters, Mr. Christie expressed remorse for what he called ‘my unfortunate and ill-considered display of understanding for people different from myself,’ and urged the people of New Jersey to remember ‘my strong record of cutting funds for schools and the elderly.’

“While Mr. Christie might try to regain his fellow Republicans’ trust by vetoing more assault-rifle bans, G.O.P. strategist Tracy Klugian says that the governor does not deserve another chance, citing his “dangerous flirtations with compassion” in the past.

“‘After Hurricane Sandy, Chris Christie worried a lot of us with his recklessly sensitive behavior,’ says Mr. Klugian. ‘But we really thought he had put this problem behind him…. But maybe this will force him to get the help he needs.’”

For progressives, however, Christie more than passes the conservative criteria. He admires the regressive Koch brothers, having attended their summer seminar in Colorado, and said he wants to reduce Medicaid and Medicare while raising the Social Security age and cutting many other government programs. His first four budgets cut women’s health funding while spending $260 million on a now-bankrupt Atlantic City casino. Christie canceled the ARC rail tunnel to Manhattan which would have provided thousands of jobs, cleared up congestion, and reduced pollution. In addition, he weakened over 100 essential environmental protections to help big corporations and land developers.

Late last Friday, hoping to hide from the media, Christie worked to get his conservative cred back when he refused to sign three gun control measures, one which he had requested. He had called for a ban on sales of the Barrett .50 caliber rifle (A3659), the most powerful weapon commonly available to civilians. The weapon fires ammunition the size of carrots and can pierce steel plate armor from several hundred yards away. It can even shoot down airplanes.

.50 caliber

Most people would rather avoid hearing about presidential candidate fantasies. But if you hear about politicians straying from their constituents into Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, you might think about the reason.

July 19, 2013

Laws Support Animal Cruelty

The party of small government, aka Republicans, has been sweeping the country with laws against revealing animal cruelty. People investigating the meat industry have discovered levels of cruelty that I won’t even describe although they are available in some of the links in this article. In attempts to expose this abuse for meat recalls or criminal cruelty charges and convictions, activists have documented the scenes, usually through video-taping the activities.

In retaliation, conservative lawmakers have passed legislation, thanks to meat industry lobbyists, that criminalize those who publicize their processes. The meat industry doesn’t want consumers to see how their food is prepared for fear that they won’t buy the product. Meat consumption had already shrunk 12 percent from 2007 to 2012.

Factory farms in the United States are legally protected against trespassing, but these “ag-gag” laws block everyone from exposing animal cruelty, food-safety issues, poor working conditions, etc. People are prevented from taking a photo or video of a factory farm without permission, even if the person is standing on public property. Legislation also stops documentation by people who work at factory farms, and laws require mandatory reporting within a few hours to eliminate the possibility of documenting patterns of abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people become ill and 3,000 die each year in the United States from food-borne illnesses. Last year Ohio State University researchers determined that health care costs from food illnesses amounted to $78 billion a year. In April, Tyson Foods settled for $4 million with the federal government because of ammonia releases.

North Dakota, Kansas, and Montana passed laws in the early 1990s, making it a misdemeanor to enter facilities that are closed to the public or to take photographs and audio/video recordings. In 2012 Iowa passed an ag-gag bill, and Utah and Missouri soon followed.

The first animal cruelty indictments of farmworkers in U.S. history occurred in July 1999 after a three-month investigation into a North Carolina pig farm. Two months later, floodwaters from Hurricane Floyd spread manure lagoons all over the state. To protect themselves, meatpackers began to instigate the rolling back of family-farm protection laws, and huge corporations bought up smaller Midwestern meatpacking plants. Three of the biggest packers—Smithfield, Cargill, and Hormel—gained special exemptions to the family-farm protection law by agreeing that they would not engage in price-fixing of feed or livestock and would not seek to punish whistleblowers.

Some states even exempt factory farms from animal cruelty restrictions.  The government also encourages the growth of factory farms, also known as confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, by shifting billions of dollars in environmental, health, and economic costs to taxpayers. In the past decade, tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were used to provide grain subsidies only to CAFOs–subsidies not available to farms that raise animals on pasturelands. Despite having 7,800 inspectors for 6,200 federally inspected establishments including slaughterhouses, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service has no authority to inspect farms where animals are raised and not slaughtered for cruelty violations.

In the states, the ag-gag law trend is slowing. Only one bill passed in 2013: Arkansas made an “improper animal investigation” by someone who is not a “certified law enforcement officer” a Class B misdemeanor (with the potential for a civil penalty of $5,000). Bills failed in nine other states: California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont. In Tennessee, the legislature passed the bill, but Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed it because the state attorney general found the bill constitutionally suspect.

North Carolina legislators introduced its ag-gag bill after an undercover investigation showed horrific violence against turkeys at five Butterball farm. Mercy for Animals turned over their information to law enforcement officials who used a warrant to raid the property. The result was the first ever felony conviction for cruelty to birds used in agriculture.  Dr. Sarah Jean Mason, the director of Animal Health Programs with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, pled guilty to obstruction of justice charges because she tipped Butterball off about the raid and compromised a criminal investigation. On the same day that a fifth employee was convicted of cruelty to animals, North Carolina introduced a bill to hide any animal  cruelty and corruption in the state.

On the federal level, however, the GOP is trying to prevent any state from enacting laws to protect consumers’ food products. An amendment from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) would remove states’ rights to pass any laws governing the production or manufacture of agricultural products involved in interstate commerce.

The first person to be prosecuted under the Utah law, 25-year-old Amy Meyer, faced a Class B misdemeanor for agricultural-operation interference. If convicted, she could spend six months in jail. Two months after she was charged on February 19 and one day after the case hit national headlines in the media, prosecutors dismissed the charge because the prosecutor discovered she had done the filming on public property.

Meyer may be free, but George Steinmetz, a freelance photographer working for National Geographic, was arrested in late June on a charge of misdemeanor criminal trespassing in Garden City (KS) for taking photos of a feedlot from a paraglider. Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascu said that Steinmetz and his paraglider instructor, Wei Zhang, were charged because they didn’t have permission to take off from private property and didn’t tell anyone they were going to take photos. The question is who owns the air above property.

In addition to keeping consumers from photographing its property, the meat industry is trying to stop any labeling about where animals were born, raised, and slaughtered. Cattle and pork associations are taking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to court because of its new rules issued last May that requires this information to be made public. The memories of mad cow disease and the horsemeat scandal explains the importance of new USDA rules for telling consumers where their food originates.

As ag-gag bills wane,  laws criminalizing anti-fracking activists grow, starting in Pennsylvania. Once again, the bill stops transparency by making it a felony to take photos, video or audio on private land used for “agricultural purposes”; downloading or distributing any such recordings; and entering agricultural property if one plans on recording. Those doing the fracking on land that could otherwise be used for “agricultural purposes,” however, are protected from any documentation. All illegal activities occurring during fracking would be shielded.

Conservatives claim to cherish the U.S. Constitution which includes free-press and free-speech rights. Yet they quell attempts to make corporate-wrongdoing transparent by making criminals out of people who try to expose crimes. Repressive laws state that activists bringing a light to animal abuse are engaging in “an act of terrorism.”

The identical nature of  laws in separate states is no accident. They come from the “bill mill” of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which distributes model bills to conservative state lawmakers. These legislators then introduce the bills as their own, trying to hide the corporate leaders who are paying them to legislate in this manner. ALEC gave the ag-gag bills to state legislators as the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act in 2002.

“If you think this is an animal welfare issue, you have missed the mark,” said Amanda Hitt, director of the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign. If people can be prevented from blowing the whistle on animal abuse, they can also be prevented from stopping environmental and workers’ rights abuses.

June 19, 2013

GOP Protests Immigrants, Filibuster Control

The House GOP passed its ridiculously restrictively anti-abortion bill yesterday, re-alienating women. Now they’re moving on to reject Hispanics with bigoted their stand against immigrants. GOP Congressmen have worked hard to tell anyone that letting minorities into the United States is counterproductive because most of them will vote Democrat, especially those from Latin America.

Tea Party representatives have put House Speaker John Boehner between the proverbial rock and a hard place by demanding that he not allow any immigration reform bill on the House floor unless a majority of Republicans is willing to vote for it—meaning that he must reject all bills that the Tea Party opposes. Unless he doesn’t. When he was asked yesterday if a bill would require majority GOP support to get to the House floor, he said, “We’ll see when we get  there.”

Immediately after the 2012 election, when the GOP was pursuing ideas to move their voting base beyond white men, Boehner said that he and President Obama could find common ground to immigration reform because “a comprehensive approach is long overdue.” Fast forward seven months, and he said that the idea that he is “pushing a comprehensive immigration bill” is “just not true.”

Media have spent a great deal of time trying to determine exactly what Weathervane Boehner means when he says, “I don’t see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn’t have a majority support of Republicans.” One side says he’s bluffing; the other side claims that he will join the GOP in killing immigration reform.

The GOP business community wants the reform bill to pass, not only to get cheap labor but also to win the 2016 presidential election. Yet the party base is dead set against immigration reform. Most likely most of the GOP legislators are bad-mouthing the bill in public while demanding in private that it be brought to the floor. Boehner may think that his language gave him wiggle room, but his base won’t agree. The question for Boehner is how much he is willing to endanger his position as Speaker of the House.

Today the far-right members of the House made themselves very clear in their rejection of immigration reform through a day-long press conference, organized by Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Scheduled for the west side of the Capitol, the group was joined by Tea Partiers who were there to protest the IRS. In addition to the usual far-right suspects from Congress, Glenn Beck, who had decided that he should stop trying to divide the country and then developed paralyzed vocal chords, returned with his toxic rhetoric.

Yesterday he used his television show to draw a comparison between the immigration reform advocates peacefully protesting outside the home of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the Ku Klux Klan. “The left is set up on revenge,” Beck said, comparing the demonstrators to Greece’s Golden Dawn party, a neo-Nazi group with ties to anti-immigrant hate crimes. Kobach was not home during the protest, as the Sunflower Community Action knew, but he threatened to shoot them if necessary. One of Kobach’s achievements is writing Arizona SB 1070, an anti-immigrant law that drove thousands of people out of the state in fear.

King’s six-hour anti-immigration reform press conference/rally today opposed “amnesty” for “illegal aliens,” Sharia law, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). A sizeable group of the conservatives booed Rubio’s name and carried anti-Rubio signs including “Marco Early Advocate of Muslim Brotherhood Takeover. Obamas [sic] Idiot.” Once in favor of the immigration reform bill, Weathervane Rubio opposed it and then appeared on ABC’s This Week last Sunday to say that “95, 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go.”

Rubio is one of the many GOP presidential wannabes of 2016. Meanwhile Allen West, former representative from Florida, has said that he’s considering a run against Rubio, if God sets his feet on that path. In addition to being virulently anti-government, West has shown himself to be sexist, anti-Muslim, pro-corporation—the list continues.

King has compared immigrants to dogs and livestock. For years he has tried to “clarify” the 14th Amendment that provides U.S. citizenship for anyone born in the country. In 2010, he said, “The framers did not consider the babies of illegals when they framed the 14th amendment because we didn’t have immigration law at the time, so they could not have wanted to confer automatic citizenship on the babies of people who were unlawfully in the United States.”

When DREAMers came to his office to advocate for immigration reform after the House voted to deport them, King tweeted:

20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office. Obama’s lawless order gives them de facto immunity from U.S. law.

#Gof8 You promise border security. How, when we can’t secure Congress from Obama amnesty? Schumer, McCain, come guard my door.

Here are the fearsome 20. King would never survive a high school classroom.

king aliens

While part of the GOP Congressional caucus stands on the Capitol steps to alienate Hispanics, House Republicans are planning a series of meetings with Hispanic-Americans in the nation’s capital as part of a GOP effort to woo minority voters. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the one woman allowed to be on the House leadership team, is planning four meetup sessions between Hispanic-Americans and GOP lawmakers at the Capitol Building this summer, starting today. Wonder how that went with the anti-immigration talk outside.

The situation in the Senate is growing so dire that even Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is finally considering the so-called “nuclear option,” ending filibusters of administration nominees in the upper chamber, after years of opposing the loss of the filibuster. If this were to happen, judicial nominees and Senate-confirmed administration positions, including the presidential cabinet, could be approved with a simple majority rule. To employ this option, he would need almost unanimous support of the chamber’s Democrats, which he most likely can’t get, starting with the retiring Carl Levin (D-MI).

GOP senators are coming unglued about the possibility of returning Senate procedures to a few decades ago before they mandated 60 percent of the vote on even the simplest action. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has threatened Reid if he were to follow through with his plans. If the GOP were to take over the Senate, Alexander said that the GOP agenda would repeal Obamacare, convert all federal education funding into school vouchers and scholarships, open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, and repeal the estate tax.

This threat is the most hollow of any I’ve heard in a long time. The minute that the GOP gets a Senate majority, this is exactly what they will do—and far worse!

April 1, 2013

Follow the GOP Fools

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:16 PM
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On April Fools Day, nowhere can a group of fools be more easily found than among GOP legislators. Last week’s fool was Rep. Don Young (R-AK) when he referred to the “wetbacks” that picked tomatoes on his father’s Texas ranch—about 70 years ago. Young did apologize—twice because he forgot to use the word “sorry” the first time—but that doesn’t erase this GOP attitude toward the voters that they are working so hard to woo.

An even more bizarre statement from Young was his recommendation to drink alone as a method of cutting back on domestic violence. Young was speaking at a rally against DV at the Alaska state capitol:

“You look at the relationship between violence against the loved ones you love, [it] is usually related to either one of those. And I’m going to suggest for those that may be drinking together — stop it! If you want to drink by yourself, you may do it. But when you drink together, the possibility of harm becomes greater every day.”

Young is not alone, however, in his foolishness. In his speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Latinos what he found valuable about them—their “romance”:

“Some say to generalize about any ethnic group is to be a racist.  There is a hilarious Seinfeld episode where Jerry admits that he loves Asian women but he frets and worries, ‘Is it racist to like a certain race?’ So it is with trepidation that I express my admiration for the romance of the Latin culture.  I am a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.”

 Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) offended most minority groups during an interview about immigration reform. In his insistence on border security, he said, “As a matter a fact a guy told me last night, he said we’ve got people coming across our place speaking Chinese, French and basically all of the languages in the world, coming through and across our southern border.” The French?! Again?! Some “guy” should tell Cornyn that border crossings are at a 40-year low: the GOP has so trashed the U.S. that people don’t want to come here anymore.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) approaches the immigration problem with expanding “a guest-worker program for immigrant-labor-dependent U.S. agriculture” to ensure that farms have a steady stream of foreign labor to fulfill the “dirtiest jobs.” He opposes any legal ways for undocumented immigrants to earn a path to citizenship; his sole concern is that agriculture workers who obtain citizenship will find different jobs because they won’t want to work on the farms anymore.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a senatorial hopeful, decided to both pick on the president’s daughter while revealing their vacation plans. A caller to King started the discussion: “When I see the First Lady and the beautiful girls going off to the Bahamas waving goodbye to us, it’s really hard to stomach.” King agreed with his caller: “We’ve got the president doing these things. He sent the daughters to spring break in Mexico a year ago. That was at our expense, too. And now to the Bahamas at one of the most expensive places there. That is the wrong image to be coming out of the White House.”

Like many other GOP politicians, King passed along his misinformation about marriage equality. In addition to his belief that the only purpose of marriage is procreation—a statement well debunked by Justice Elena Kagan—King claimed that “the Constitution never contemplated marriage being anything other than between a man and a woman.” The representative who wants to be senator doesn’t even know that “marriage” is not referenced in the U.S. Constitution.

Rep. K. Michael “Mike” Conaway (R-TX) is a typical GOP conservatives who still maintain that tax cuts for the wealthy will create more jobs. Publicly pushing to stop all that “wasteful government spending,” however, he privately lobbies the National Park Service to make the childhood home of former President George W. Bush into a National Park.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (T-TX) told the U.S. Park Police that he would not pay a parking ticket near the Lincoln Memorial because he is on a committee that oversees the agency. His citation was for parking in a place reserved for National Park Service vehicles. A police report described Gohmert as “rude and irate.” What a surprise!

Gohmert has an interesting history of rants.  Before the repeal to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was passed, he called the bill “perverse…social experimentation” with soldiers being “held hostage by a sociological attack.” As for the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill, he claimed that it would lead to legalization of necrophilia, pedophilia, and bestiality. And of course, Hitler came into Gohmert’s speech when he claimed that removing “moral teaching in America” would make the United States similar to Germany in the “1920′s and 1930′s” when a “little guy with a mustache” took over. All in one short speech!

Texas keeps popping up in the world of fools. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) really likes drilling for oil: “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) supported his gay son, but Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) took the opposite stance. “I don’t support the gay marriage [sic],” Salmon said. “My son is by far one of the most important people in my life….”  The son’s importance fell short of Salmon’s allowing his son’s partner into his home. “Everybody’s pretty much told me, ‘You’re fine, we love you, but your partner’s not welcome because we don’t want gay around us,'” the younger Salmon said in 2010.

The fools are readily available among state legislators too, politicians who have gone far beyond mandating teaching creationism in schools and making all women’s reproductive rights illegal:

Wisconsin: Since Gov. Scott Walker got rid of unions, cut public pay, and reduced taxes for the wealthy to create jobs, the state went from 11th in job creation to 44th. Walker has a reason: the workers themselves and liberal voters.

Indiana: Thanks to support from the NRA, this state is the first to allow anybody to shoot at any “public servant”—including the police—for “unlawful intrusion.” I wonder how police recruitment is doing in Indiana these days.

Washington: State lawmakers introduced a bill to outlaw the paper dollar, because “only gold and silver may be recognized as government legal tender.” I guess I can’t visit there any more if the bill passes.

Kansas: The senate approved a bill to quarantine people with AIDS or HIV. When it moved toward the house in that state, some of the legislators backed off from something that draconian but did repeal the 25-year-old law preventing quarantine for people with AIDS or the virus that causes. Meanwhile, a bill requiring doctors to lie to their patients is still in the mill. If it passes, doctors will be required to tell pregnant women that abortions cause breast cancer.

Montana: “Corporations are people, my friend,” said last year’s GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and Rep. Steve Lavin wants these people (aka corporations) to have the vote. He has proposed a state bill that would allow corporations the right to vote in municipal elections. It has been tabled, but the idea is still very peculiar.

Idaho: State Sen. John Goedde of Idaho wants to require all students to read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged before they graduate because “it made my son a Republican.” He said that he hadn’t read the book for 30 years but thought it gave a “sense of personal responsibility.” Raj Patel wrote:

“There are two novels that can transform a bookish 14-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood in which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel. The other is a book about orcs.”

Does Goedde know that Rand was an illegal immigrant?

Happy day of fools! And happy 40th birthday to Rachel Maddow!

 

February 8, 2013

GOP Factions Fight

Since the last election, GOP leadership has believed that its radical (some people say crazy) candidates caused them to lose the presidency and the Senate. While the GOP thinks they won the House—despite having fewer votes—their loonier candidates in the last two elections kept them from taking over the Senate. One idea from part of the GOP leadership is to move ever so slightly back toward the center. (It’s a very long trip!)

Fox News may have started this journey by firing first Sarah Palin and then Dick Morris. They kept Karl Rove, despite his inability to bring Ohio to Mitt Romney (possibly through some computer manipulation). Rove has a plan. After losing his donors about $100 million through failed candidates paid by super PAC American Crossroads, Rove created the Conservative Victory Project. The goal is to find electable  “conservatives” instead of candidates like Christine O’Donnell (“I am not a witch”) and Todd Akin (“legitimate rape”).

Clearly, the Tea Partiers and other far-far-right conservatives are, to put it mildly, distressed. One of Rove’s people, Jonathan Collegio, referred to far-far-right activist L. Brent Bozell as a “hater,” and Bozell’s colleagues demanded that Collegio be fired. The letter of protest described Bozell, nephew of former Sen. James Buckley and deceased National Review founder William F. Buckley, “a beloved and critically important player in American history.” No apology would be “acceptable,” according to signatories Mark Levin, Richard Viguerie, Phyllis Schlafly, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Rick Scarborough, Frank Gaffney, and Ginni Thomas (yes, Clarence Thomas’ wife).

The letter described the far-far-right position: “You obviously mean to have a war with conservatives and the Tea Party. Let it start here.”

David Bossie, president of the conservative group Citizens United, declared “The Civil War has begun.” FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe added, “This is a little bit like gang warfare right now.” He called Rove’s move “Orwellian” and said, “The Empire is striking back.” He continued,

“All events point to a fundamental clash between the old guard Republican establishment dictating outdated ideas from the top-down, versus a tech-savvy younger generation of activists driving their agenda from the bottom-up. These blatant acts of hostility are typical behavior of an entrenched political establishment, circling the wagons around incumbents, regardless of job performance in office.”

Both the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund accused Rove of trying to muzzle the GOP base. Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, named it the “Conservative Defeat Project” and said that it “has chosen to declare war on the party’s most loyal supporters.”

Former Rep. Joe (“deadbeat dad”) Walsh (R-IL), who lost to Iraqi veteran Tammy Duckworth, has announced his own anti-Rove super PAC. “If Rove wants a fight for the soul of the Republican Party, bring it on,” Walsh said.

“I dare say any candidate who gets this group’s support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement,” wrote Erick Erickson on RedState.com.

Amy Kremer, head of the Tea Party Express, warned, “If the establishment’s large donors want to see a complete electoral catastrophe, then all they need to do is push Tea Party conservatives into supporting alternative third candidates.”

Judson Phillips, head of Tea Party Nation, wrote,

“If Karl Rove wants to throw out bad candidates, I have four words for him. John McCain and Mitt Romney. If you are a wealthy Republican donor and are thinking about giving money to Karl Rove or one of his groups, let me suggest you give your money to Bernie Madoff instead. You will get a better return on your money from Madoff or any other ponzy [sic] schemer than you will from Karl Rove.”

Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller said, “They are welcome to support the likes of Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist and David Dewhurst. We will continue to proudly support the likes of Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz.” (Sen. Toomey from Pennsylvania was part of the filibuster to stop the Veterans Jobs bill to find work for those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.)

The Tea Party faced serious losses last year. In Wisconsin, Club for Growth, Tea Party Express, and the Senate Conservatives Fund all backed former Rep. Mark Neumann while FreedomWorks backed businessman Eric Hovde. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson won the primary and then lost to Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November.

In Missouri Rep. Todd Akin won a multi-way Senate primary because Tea Party Express and Sarah Palin supported state treasurer Sarah Steelman and the establishment-oriented U.S. Chamber of Commerce backed St. Louis businessman John Brunner. Akin, as almost everyone knows, went down in flames after his “legitimate rape” statement.

In Indiana, FreedomWorks and Club for Growth beat out incumbent Dick Lugar with Richard Mourdock, the tea partier who lost after saying pregnancies resulting from rape were intended by God.

Rove has his work cut out for him. In Georgia, Rep. Paul Broun is running for the Senate office to be vacated by Saxby Chambliss in 2014. A doctor and member of the science committee, Broun declaimed, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.” He called President Obama a “Marxist” and said the president “upholds the Soviet constitution.”

Rachel Maddow reported:

“Broun, an apparent Birther, believes cap-and-trade would kill people; the Affordable Care Act will dictate what kind of car Americans can drive; the health care reform effort reminds him of “Northern Aggression”; and that he considers President Obama to be a Hitler-like figure intent on establishing a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship on Americans. In 2010, Broun argued that the Centers for Disease Control might ‘give all the power to the federal government to force you’ to eat healthier foods, which would include the CDC ‘calling you to make sure you eat fruits and vegetables, every day. This is socialism of the highest order!’”

Mike Berlon, Georgia Democratic Party chairman, said in an e-mail. “If there is a living God, we’ll be facing [Broun] as the Republican nominee in November of 2014.”

With Tom Harkin leaving the Senate in 2014, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has decided to run for the job, bringing his own personal baggage. He supported Akin, saying that he had never heard of any female becoming pregnant because of statutory or forcible rape. A supporter of legalized dog fighting, King compared immigrants to dogs when he said that immigration law should let only the “best” immigrants into the United States in the same way that dog-buyers select the “pick of the litter.” King said,

“You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest, the one that’s engaged the most, and not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner. If you want a pet to sleep on the couch, get the one that’s sleeping in the corner.”

King justified his statements by saying that he meant the statement as a compliment.

“This American vigor that we have that comes from legal immigrants who came to this country with a dream–we get the cream of the crop of every donor civilization on the planet–and people that can take a compliment and turn it into an insult are not going to be constructive working across the aisle. But that’s what that was, was a compliment. And everyone who was there that heard that knows that.”

King is also a longtime advocate for legalizing cockfighting and other forms of animal torture. Most recently, he fought legislation that would make it illegal to bring a child to an animal fight. He has also set aside his love for states’ rights in order to forbid localities from enacting anti-animal torture standards.

In addition,  King has stated that both the Affordable Care Act and federal regulation of the insurance industry are unconstitutional, and he thinks states can ban contraception.

As he did with American Crossroads, Rove has promised anonymity for the wealthy donors. Last time he was protecting them from the left; this time donors may be more afraid of the right. Rove has his work cut out for him.

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