Nel's New Day

January 2, 2014

Right-Wing Heroes of 2013

A common complaint from the far right is the so-called “liberal media.” Looking at the guests on Sunday political talk shows, however, gives a different picture. Republicans dominate such shows as Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week, State of the Union, and, of course, Fox News Sunday. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) topped the list of those who made ten or more Sunday show appearances in 2013; he was on 27 different times, averaging one appearance every 1.9 weeks. Sen. John McCain increased his 21 appearances in 2012 to come in second at 24 times this year. As the chart shows, only three of the top 13 are Democrats. Six of the top seven are Republicans.

Sunday Show Guests

During Rogers’ appearance last Sunday on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked him what the New York Times got wrong in its investigation on Benghazi—definitely not a “fair and balanced” question. Rogers was offended that the NYT reported “that Al-Quaeda was not involved in this.” He was also upset that the article questioned GOP claims that an anti-Muslim video made in the U.S. had nothing to do with the attack.

Who are other potential far-right heroes?

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) may be the finest example of GOP extremist wingnuts at the national level. After he decided to run against incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) this year, he received more publicity, but his has a rich history of far-right positions since he was sporadically elected since his first bid for the House in 1990:

  • Wants to impeach President Obama to keep him from passing any gun-related legislation, providing every House member with a copy of Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office.
  • Compares President Obama and Saddam Hussein based on the presence of children at the president’s announcement pushing for new gun legislation  like Saddam Hussein using children as human shields during the Gulf War.
  • Claims that President Obama’s support for gun safety shows that he has “no sympathy for unarmed women raped by criminals.”
  • Views climate change as “the new fad thing that’s going through America and around the world.”
  • Tweets, “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”
  • Also tweets that the Boston bomber “thought he could escape in backyard boat after hearing Gore speak on global warming.”
  • Defends the Young Conservatives of Texas group at the University of Texas for its “game” called  “Catch an Illegal Immigrant.”
  • Invites the rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask in the Missouri rodeo to perform in his home state of Texas.
  • Sells this campaign bumper sticker: “If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted.”
  • Raffled off an AR-15, the same weapon type used in the Newtown (CT) massacre, leading to condemnations of “outrageous” and “insensitive” even from GOP colleagues.
  • Used the term “fag” while talking to a reporter.


Food stamps are unnecessary, according to Stockman; his aide accused Democrats trying to live on food stamps were “intentionally buying overpriced food and shopping at high-priced chains to make it appear the cuts go too far.” named Stockman  “the new Michele Bachman,” and he was one of two House members to oppose Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) reappointment.

Frustrated because the NRA endorsed Cornyn for the senate in the upcoming primary, Stockman used his endorsement for the House in the last election for his Senate campaign website, “Endorsed by the National Rifle Association.” Recently he tweeted a photo of “liberal tears” as being “the best gun lubricant around. He also takes the position that God granted people “the right to keep and bear arms.”

Liberal tears guns

Elected in 2012 to Ron Paul’s district after a 16-year hiatus from the House, Stockman failed to disclose 17 business affiliations in four states and the British Virgin Islands as mandated by law and gave no details about his personal business. Somehow, $350,000 is unaccounted for, a matter that the House Ethics Committee is addressing.

Washington state Rep. Ed Orcutt (R–Kalama) has potential to be another national far-right hero with his statement that bicycle riders are worse polluters than people who drive cars because they produce more carbon than cars do. It’s all because of the “increased heart rate and respiration” that bicycle riders have. His statements were made in a defense of the proposed 5-percent bicycle tax on bikes that cost more than $500. He lost some of his right-wing cred, however, when he apologized for his comments. The bicycle tax didn’t pass.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), aTexas wingnut like Stockman, has been at the top of the extremists’ popularity poll, but he may struggle in the coming year. After bragging for the government shutdown almost three months ago, he reversed his opinion when he blamed President Obama and Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV), calling it a mistake for them “to force a government shutdown.” He got a lot of cred from shutting down the government; now he’s saying that he didn’t do it. Stockman could make Cruz look like a minor player.

What’s wrong with an honorary and unpaid science laureate to travel the country and inspire children, especially girls and minorities, to be scientists? Larry Hart, a former GOP congressional aide and the legislative director of the American Conservative Union, warned that the position could teach people about climate change. More than half the GOP members of the House and 65 percent of GOP in the Senate deny the existence of climate change or oppose any action connected with it. The position was not approved.

Laura Dimon, daughter of financial criminal and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, wants criminals such as Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman, doing hard time, but her list of “6 Most Notorious Criminals [Who] Aren’t Facing the Justice They Deserve” exempts her father. His actions, capitalizing on the subprime mortgage crisis and the rampant foreclosure fraud, negatively affected millions of lives. His bank managed profits in the billions of dollars by forging signatures to force people out of their homes. The financial crisis, which Dimon manipulated and exacerbated as Chase Bank’s CEO, led to at least 5,000 suicides, far worse than the Boston Marathon bombing.

In the “London Whale” scam, Dimon’s bank admitted that it violated securities laws, and Dimon himself admitted that he violated the law by guaranteeing that all information in the SEC filings is accurate. His penalty would have been a $5 million fine and up to 20 years in prison if he had been indicted and convicted. No one went to prison, and taxpayers will pay $7 billion of the $13 billion settlement.

Billionaire founder of Home Depot Ken Langone can be representative of many wealthy people in this country. He’s trying to raise $180 million to restore New York’s St Patrick’s Cathedral and thinks that Pope Francis’s criticism of capitalism and wealth might discourage donors. Langone has said:

“I’ve told the cardinal [Timothy Dolan], ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country. You get more with honey than with vinegar.”

Dolan will also be revered by the right wing for his comment that the pope “also loves rich people” and that the wealthy donor misunderstood Francis’ message. Langone agrees, explaining that capitalism in Argentina is different than in the United States. He missed the point that as of 2011, inequality of income was far greater in the U.S. and in Egypt—and it’s only gotten worse in this country during the past two years.

Along with the beloved right-wing people is the corporation, McDonalds. Its website is now gone, but these insults toward its poorly-paid employees will remain on the Internet for long into the future. Although intended to be helpful advice for its employees because some of them could not survive on the minimum wage paid by the company, recommendations from the McResource Line showed the tremendous gap between the wealthy and the rest of the people in the United States:

  • A budget plan allowing for a whopping $20 per month in health insurance and $0 for heating; totaling both car and homeowner’s/renter’s insurance for $100 per month; and requiring a second income, such as another job.
  • Seeking government assistance at a time when the GOP is blocking any safety net and the unlivable pay at fast-food industries costs taxpayers $7.7 billion per year.
  • Cutting food into small pieces to reduce workers’ hunger.
  • Selling Christmas gifts on eBay for additional income.
  • Advice on tipping people like dog walkers, personal trainers, housekeepers, pool workers, caddies, and au pairs, among others, including how to give gifts as tips.

The tipping point in the decision to drop the website may have been the recommendation for healthy eating.


In this case, the hypocrisy was double-headed: the advice pointed out that the company’s own food is not healthy. Instead, of getting a McDonalds cheeseburger, fries, and drink, Resource Line recommended something like Subway food—a sandwich, salad, and water. I will miss the website, but the tragedy will remain .

July 1, 2012

Conservatives React Strongly to SCOTUS Health Care Ruling

As the dust settles over the health care decision, the fallout continues. From 10:09 am last Thursday morning when both CNN and Fox erroneously announced that the health care act had been struck down to the great wailing and gnashing of teeth since then when regressives get TV time, the reaction has been extreme. Rush Limbaugh screamed on the Glenn Beck show, “Why can’t we appoint out own judges.” Oddly enough, Mr. Limbaugh, after Citizens United  I thought that was exactly what you had done.

From the wingnuts’ bitterness at what they perceive as the loss of freedom and liberty came the appalling statement from Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) equating the ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act to the September 11 terrorist attacks. This man is running for governor of Indiana. When criticized for this statement, he gave the usual half-baked apology: “I certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced, and I apologize.” Nothing about how he was wrong in the extreme.

Tea Party members have called for violent revolution. Mississippi Tea Party Chairman Roy Nicholson wrote, “To resist by all means that are right in the eyes of God is not rebellion or insurrection, it is patriotic resistance to invasion.” Matthew Davis, an attorney and former Michigan Republican Party spokesman, wants armed insurrection.

Unhinged is probably the best description for some right-wing comments. I especially like “I’m moving to Canada” which might have been the progressives’ answer if the ACA had not been upheld because Canada has universal health care. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote, “Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so.” Ben Shapiro compared the health care act to slavery. And Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) made this twisted statement: “When you create a right for somebody, you create an obligation for somebody else, and then you’re taking away that person’s right.”

Regressives look for a reason to Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision to align  with the Supreme Court moderates. Right-wing radio host Michael Savage, who called  autism a “phony disease,” explained that Roberts’ epilepsy caused his “cognitive dissociation” in the Obamacare ruling. Savage said, “Neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) thinks that Roberts might have been “playing to the editorial pages of the Washington Post and The New York Times. David Berstein suggested Roberts was coerced into ruling for the health care act because President Obama and “unidentified circles” threatened to “delegitimize the Supreme Court.” One desperate person concluded that President Obama and David Axelrod threatened to kill Roberts’ family. After the plot was discovered by a Secret Service agent, according to “Harry” at ToBeRight, Roberts will reverse his ruling when “Obama and Axelrod will be taken away in handcuffs.” That was three days ago; I’m still waiting.

Some complained that the law gave women an advantage. They said that it , complaining that men didn’t received free STI treatment and contraception. ACA doesn’t cover free STI treatment for anyone, and there is no reliable male hormonal contraception. It’s back to confusion about what the law says as well as an ignorance of female and male biology.

Right-wing governors assert that they will refuse to carry out the law. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) said that he would not follow the provisions of the law until his attorney general—a Republican—reminded him that he was required to follow federal law. Govs. Rick Scott (FL), Bobby Jindal (LA), and Bob McDonell (VA) are some who just won’t bother to do anything about it as they work to elect Mitt Romney president in November. They ignore two factors: Romney can’t do anything about the health care act legally, and the federal government will devise the plan for health insurance exchanges if states which don’t have one by January 2013. They also ignore the fact that 80 percent of the people in the country actually want the health insurance exchanges.

Presently Chief Justice John Roberts is heading to Malta, an isolated island nation south of Italy, to teach a class for the next two weeks. He said, “Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress. It seemed like a good idea.” This may not be humor.

One message that keeps coming from small business is that employers won’t hire more than 50 people because above that the company has to provide health care or pay a fine. Fox pointed out the Joe Olivo, CEO of Perfect Printing in Moorestown (NJ), has this concern. NBC also cited John Olivo’s concerns. And MSNBC. And NPR. Olivo also testified in front of House and Senate committees.  As a representative of ALEC and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, Olivo may be the major business owner objecting to the ACA. In Delafield (WI), however, James Stoffer, owner of Wholly Cow Frozen Custard, said he was so happy after the ruling that he acted like a 10-year-old because the law will keep his premiums down. Stoffer evidently doesn’t belong to ALEC or Karl Rove.

The dissent statement reveals that Medicare would probably be gone if Roberts had sided with them. Approximately 100 million Medicare claims are processed each month using a formula that was altered by the Affordable Care Act. If the entire law were tossed, new rates could not be calculated under the old, pre-ACA formula until after a rulemaking process that can take months to complete. Medicare could not pay doctors for what would be many months, and Medicare systems would likely crash because its computers aren’t equipped with this backlog.

There is also a theory that the wording of the dissent indicates that the original decision might have been the opposite. Some experts believe that Roberts might have dissented but changed his mind at the last minute.

Although some people thought Justice Anthony Kennedy would be the swing vote, he was the driving force behind Citizens United; Roberts advocated for a less radical approach. Kennedy is a zealous supporter of forced arbitration decisions enabling corporations to force people into a corporate-run court system. He cast the key vote against Lilly Ledbetter and against equal pay for women in the workplace, and he voted to install George W. Bush as president.

Quotes from the left—or at least moderate world:

“What was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty. It would be one thing if, at any point, they had offered any hint of an alternative proposal to help Americans with pre-existing conditions, Americans who simply can’t afford expensive individual insurance, Americans who lose coverage along with their jobs. But it has long been obvious that the opposition’s goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences. We should all be thankful that, for the moment at least, that effort has failed.” Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman 

“The only health care mandate they [conservatives] can embrace are transvaginal probes for women.”—Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley

“By requiring most residents to obtain insurance … the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] ensured that insurers would not be left with only the sick as customers. As a result, federal lawmakers observed, Massachusetts succeeded where other States had failed….  The Commonwealth’s reforms reduced the number of uninsured residents to less than 2%, the lowest rate in the Nation, and cut the amount of uncompensated care by a third…. In coupling the minimum coverage provision with guaranteed­ issue and community-rating prescriptions, Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead.”—Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her ruling

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