In a rambling speech today before a group of onlookers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum pulled out of the race for President…and the heavens wept.
In his typically brain-addled style, Santorum recalled some of the highlights of his campaign:
Even fun things like the sweater vest—amazing thing, that sweater vest. From then on the sweater vest became the official wardrobe of the Santorum campaign . . . We sourced that sweater vest to a company that was making them here in the United States.”
Expect the sweater vest-wearing, right-wing, religious zealot to re-emerge like the walking dead in 2016.
A shocking piece of investigative journalism from The Rachel Maddow Show has been percolating up the charts at reddit and elsewhere. Trust me, it’s absolutely worthy of your undivided attention for the next 16 minutes.
Here’s the gist of it: The Michigan constitution deliberately calls for an exceptionally slow process before bills can be signed into law. Of the 566 bills that have been signed into law in the past year—since all three branches of government came under the control of the Republicans—546 of them were passed under “immediate effect,” implying an emergency or timely necessity of some sort.
Chris Savage at Eclectablog explains why this is so disturbing:
“Immediate effect” can only occur if 2/3 of the members of the House vote for it. But Republicans do not HAVE 2/3 of the House. The entire reason that they have been avoiding using roll call votes is because they did not have the votes to make the laws immediate effect. In other words, over 96% of the laws passed by the Republicans since January 2011 have been illegal in their implementation.
Simply stated: Michigan Republicans are putting their radical laws into “immediate effect” in a blatant power grab, even though they don’t have enough votes to do so. Democracy? They don’t need your stinking democracy!
National treasure Rachel Maddow on why you should care:
The 2010 elections ushered in a lot of radicalized Republican legislatures and governors across the country and have done a lot of radical things. Scott Walker is famous for a reason.
But what`s happened in Michigan is the most radical thing Republicans have done anywhere in the country. They have eliminated democracy. They have eliminated voting rights at the local level in their state. They have tried to eliminate Democrats` voting rights in the state legislature.
Whether you`re on the left or you`re on the right or you`re in the center or if you don`t particularly care about politics, if all you care about is that we have a form of government in this country called democracy, we vote. If you care about the idea that we still use voting here, we still use democracy, if you care about the Constitution—frankly, Michigan ought to have a flashing red light siren on it right now.
And indeed since the original Maddow segment aired last week, both the media and the public have taken notice. What was little-known even in the state of Michigan is now becoming a major national story. If the furor grows loud enough, even Fox News will be obliged to tackle it—as opposed to simply ignoring it the way they normally would ignore something like this. But HOW will they report APPROVINGLY on THE SUBVERSION OF DEMOCRACY BY THE REPUBLICANS??? It will be interesting, amusing and probably alarming to hear how the Republican establishment will try to spin this in the coming week.
And what about the Tea party-types who got these “conservatives” into office? How do they feel about their candidates now? Cognitive dissonance R US!
At approx 12 and a half minutes in you get to see these wascally Republican clowns in action. By the end of this piece, my jaw had dropped to the floor. This story is nothing short of mind-blowing.
It occurred to me, though, where were the fucking Democrats when all this happened? Were they sleeping? Not there? I can see this happening a few times, sure, but at what point would you cry foul? After 2 or 3 dozen times? After maybe 300 bills passed by “immediate effect”? How many was too many? That’s a bit ridiculous, too. Michigan needs to toss these GOP brownshirts out pronto, sure, but after that, the state needs to look into getting some new Democrats.
I mean, Christ, this is like sending Hobbits to do battle with Orcs.
Maddow promises a follow-up segment on Monday’s program.
You see, on March 31, between 8:30 and 9:30 pm, when environmentally conscious people were turning their lights OFF to observe Earth Hour, Helen turned her lights ON—in solidarity with some other free-market dipshits at a reichwing “think-tank” called the Competitive Enterprise Institute—to celebrate “Human Achievement Hour.” Why did these “CONSERVATIVES” want everyone to turn their lights ON to WASTE some energy “in honor of human accomplishments”?
And what’s so “conservative” about wasting energy, anyway? Let’s see!
Technology and innovation have made our lives immeasurably better. We can fly to other countries in hours. Medical achievements have made formerly deadly diseases curable. The poorest people in the United States have what would have, until recently, been considered luxury items. There are seven billion people living on this planet, and lives have never been so long and so prosperous. Talk about a cause worth celebrating.
By senselessly wasting electricity? That seems like a great idea! Wait a minute, actually it seems like a rather petty, ridiculous and ludicrously small-minded way to celebrate “human achievement”!
This point comes up (albeit hyperbolically) in Atlas Shrugged, when Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden shared the following exchange:
“I keep thinking of what they told us in school about the sun losing energy, growing colder each year. I remember wondering, then, what it would be like in the last days of the world. I think it would be…like this. Growing colder and things stopping.”
“I never believed that story. I thought by the time the sun was exhausted, men would find a substitute.”
I’ll wait while you wipe the tears of your laughter away…. Quoting Ayn Rand to back up ANY argument is obviously the fall-back position of a smug fool with shit taste in literature, but in this instance, the smug fool seems hellbent on crawling even further up her own ass. Like I said, Helen’s kinda “special.”
Human beings have made untold achievements until now. Who knows what will be accomplished in the future. In honor of that, I plan to spend Human Achievement Hour reading Atlas Shrugged, with all my lights turned on and Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For the Common Man” playing in the background.
And with that last paragraph, Helen Whalen Cohen defiantly proves herself to be one of conservatism’s dimmest bulbs (But she’s a REAL LIGHT BULB, not one of those pansy “green” ones that Rush Limbaugh thinks Republicans should hate. Nanny state, Obama, sluts, Democrats and blah, blah, blah).
It’s one thing to think “This ‘Earth Hour’ is stupid” and quite another to not only act a total prat by yourself and for your own benefit/amusement—WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS???—and then broadcast how ludicrously lame you are to the Internet. It’s like she’s proud of being… a fucking idiot!
I don’t know, but challenging Jim Hoff in the abject stupidity sweepstakes is not a career distinction most people—even, I’d suppose, the vast majority of conservative bloggers—would want following them around like a sulfurous cloud, but Helen Whalen Cohen isn’t afraid to go there, making her one to watch!
God help me, but not only do I once again find myself agreeing with something that David Frum has written, I’m actually finding myself drawn to his byline these days.
One of us has changed. It ain’t me!
Frum’s short piece on The Daily Beast yesterday rather eloquently summarizes what will happen after the Supreme Court makes its ruling and was pretty much on the money, I thought. After making the case that Justices who have made their careers decrying judicial activism probably shouldn’t go there themselves—everyone is looking at you, Antonin Scalia—Frum predicts in favor of ACA standing. I wish I could say I was as optimistic as he is, but his analysis of the fallout is still sound:
What then is that healthcare comes roaring back as a campaign issue, to which Republicans have failed to provide themselves an answer. Because of the prolonged economic downturn, more Americans than ever have lost—or are at risk of losing—their health coverage. Many of them will be voting in November. What do Republicans have to say to them?
Make no mistake: If Republicans lose in the Supreme Court, they’ll need an answer. “Repeal” may excite a Republican primary electorate that doesn’t need to worry about health insurance because it’s overwhelmingly over 65 and happily enjoying its government-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized single-payer Medicare system. But the general-election electorate doesn’t have the benefit of government medicine. It relies on the collapsing system of employer-directed care. It’s frightened, and it wants answers.
“Unconstitutional” was an answer of a kind. But if the ACA is not rejected as “unconstitutional,” the question will resurface: if you guys don’t want this, want do you want instead?
In that case, Republicans will need a Plan B. Unfortunately, they wasted the past three years that might have developed one. If the Supreme Court doesn’t rescue them from themselves, they’ll be heading into this election season arguing, in effect, Our plan is to take away the government-mandated insurance of millions of people under age 65, and replace it with nothing. And we’re doing this so as to better protect the government-mandated insurance of people over 65—until we begin to phase out that insurance, too, for everybody now under 55.
Mitt Romney, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night said the following and it’s blandly revealing of where the GOP stands on the matter:
JAY LENO: Well, suppose if they were never insured before?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, if they’re 45 years old and they show up they say ‘I want insurance because I’ve got a heart disease,’ it’s like hey guys, we can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well, and then if you get ill then you’re going to be covered.
Let me translate that for you: “Hey guys, if you’re 45 and don’t have health insurance because you’ve been out of work for the last two years due to the mess me and my Wall Street buddies in the oligarch class have put you in, YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO DIE.”
Or you know, Google “WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?” (Google should do the public a service and link the first result to a Willy Wonka meme that says “Don’t have health insurance? You’re fucked”)
Leno pressed him, but Romney kept the line:
JAY LENO: I know guys at work in the auto industry, and they’re just not covered…they’ve just never been able to get insurance. And then they get to e 30, 35, and were never able to get insurance before. Now they have it. That seems like a good thing.
MITT ROMNEY: We’ll look at a circumstance where someone was ill, and hasn’t been insured so far. But people who have had the chance to be insured — if you’re working in an auto business for instance, the companies carry insurance, they insure all their employees — you look at the circumstances that exist. But people who have done their best to get insured, are going to be able to be covered. But you don’t want everyone saying, `I’m going to sit back until I get sick and then go buy insurance.’ That doesn’t make sense. But you have to find rules that get people in that are playing by the rules.
What an asshole! But this is what the GOP is running on! Does this make any sense? It seems suicidal to me!
“Nothing” is what 31 million uninsured Americans—many of them with pre-existing conditions and children—will get if the Republicans get their way. 31 million people—many of them voters—is a lot of people to fuck over and make angry. If the SCOTUS decides that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the GOP is going to regret what they wished for.
Because if that happens, all Hell is going to break loose.
No one’s going to be talking about “Obamacare” anymore. They’ll be talking about HEALTH CARE and why so many people DON’T HAVE IT in this fucking madhouse of a country. The issue is going to CRUSH the GOP. The BEST outcome for them would be the Supremes letting ACA stand as is because it’s the only thing that would (or could) save the Republicans from themselves.
The thing that’s not getting brought up in all of this, and I think it’s a valid thing to ponder: What happens to 31 million pissed-off people who’ve been counting down the days until they can get health coverage? Do they just shrug it off? Tell their sick kids that it’s what’s best for the country???
Imagine needing a hernia stitched up for years and now that’s off for you, buddy. Just like Denzel Washington in John Q or the main character in Bobcat Goldthwait’s new dark comedy film God Bless America—a guy who is diagnosed with a terminal disease and decides to kill off a bunch of rightwing assholes before his own demise—should they yank away all hope for that many Americans, just imagine the repercussions to the individuals—people with names, social security numbers and street addresses—who will be seen as responsible for destroying the lives of people for whom there was once a light at the end of the tunnel?
My prediction: If the Supremes deep-six Obamacare, things will get fucking nuts.
The documents reveal some of the group’s overtly racially-driven strategies. None of this is a surprise, of course—the Prop 8 matter here in California, it has been argued by many, was decided by African-American churchgoers—but to see it laid out with such vulgar bluntness is nevertheless disturbing:
“The strategic goal…is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…”
“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity—a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
HRC President Joe Solmonese denounced the group: “Such brutal honesty is a game changer, and this time NOM can’t spin and twist its way out of creating an imagined rift between LGBT people and African Americans or Hispanics.”
Some additional highlights of the NOM documents, via Think Progress:
Interrupt the “attempt to equate…sexual orientation with race” so that marriage inequality is not perceived as discrimination.
Draw attention to the “bigotry and intolerance” displayed by equality advocates and “document the victims” through a rapid response media team.
Emphasize the importance of “religious liberties” to limit the impact of marriage equality’s legislative advancements.
“Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders” like pornography, “protection of children” and religious liberty at the federal level.
Expose Obama administration programs that “have the effect of sexualizing young children” or threatening “childhood innocence.”
“Find, train, and equip young leaders” to become a “next generation of elites” capable of opposing marriage equality.
Foster closer relationships with Catholic bishops to “equip, energize, and moralize Catholic priests on the marriage issue.”
Focus on “the consequences of gay marriage for parental rights.”
And force your superstitious religious beliefs down everyone else’s throats! Shameful.
An Eagle had made her nest at the top of a lofty oak. A Fox, having found a convenient hole, lived with her young in the middle of the trunk; and a Wild Sow with her young had taken shelter in a hollow at its foot. The Fox resolved to destroy by her arts this chance-made colony. She climbed to the nest of the Eagle, and said: “Destruction is preparing for you, and for me too. The Wild Sow, whom you may see daily digging up the earth, wishes to uproot the oak, that she may, on its fall, seize our families as food.” Then she crept down to the cave of the Sow and said: “Your children are in great danger; for as soon as you shall go out with your litter to find food, the Eagle is prepared to pounce upon one of your little pigs.” When night came, she went forth with silent foot and obtained food for herself and her young; but, feigning to be afraid, she kept a look-out all through the day. Meanwhile, the Eagle, full of fear of the Sow, sat still on the branches, and the Sow, terrified by the Eagle, did not dare to go out from her cave; and thus they each, with their families, perished from hunger.
Moral: Gay folks and black folks can argue all day as to who gets to be the “sow” and who gets to be the “eagle.” But both groups better damn well recognize who the hell the fox is.
Oh is this good. Click here to read the “free” first issue of The Conservative Teen, the new magazine for a virtually non-existent audience of conservative teenagers. Judging from the number of advertisements, it looks like this is an untapped audience best left untapped…
In the pages of The Conservative Teen, you can read about the bizzaro world of teen abstinence that really works, how to draw Obama, and how the government creates poverty by giving money to a bunch of undeserving lazy poor people just so they can eat food! It’s true!
Charles Simic really lets it fly with his scathing polemic, “Age of Ignorance” on The New York Review of Books’ blog. Over a lifetime of teaching college level American literature courses and watching aghast as each subsequent crop of students washed ashore dumber than the crew the year before, Simic has seen firsthand what the reichwing’s war on education has wrought and it ain’t pretty.
It’s becoming harder and harder to ignore The Great IQ Stratification—for what else could you call it?—that’s taken place in America over the past 40 years. Idiocy is the American way of life. Stupidity r “us” or more pointedly “U.S”?
No doubt, the Internet and cable television have allowed various political and corporate interests to spread disinformation on a scale that was not possible before, but to have it believed requires a badly educated population unaccustomed to verifying things they are being told. Where else on earth would a president who rescued big banks from bankruptcy with taxpayers’ money and allowed the rest of us to lose $12 trillion in investment, retirement, and home values be called a socialist?
In the past, if someone knew nothing and talked nonsense, no one paid any attention to him. No more. Now such people are courted and flattered by conservative politicians and ideologues as “Real Americans” defending their country against big government and educated liberal elites. The press interviews them and reports their opinions seriously without pointing out the imbecility of what they believe. The hucksters, who manipulate them for the powerful financial interests, know that they can be made to believe anything, because, to the ignorant and the bigoted, lies always sound better than truth:
Christians are persecuted in this country.
The government is coming to get your guns.
Obama is a Muslim.
Global Warming is a hoax.
The president is forcing open homosexuality on the military.
Schools push a left-wing agenda.
Social Security is an entitlement, no different from welfare.
Obama hates white people.
The life on earth is 10,000 years old and so is the universe.
The safety net contributes to poverty.
The government is taking money from you and giving it to sex-crazed college women to pay for their birth control.
One could easily list many more such commonplace delusions believed by Americans. They are kept in circulation by hundreds of right-wing political and religious media outlets whose function is to fabricate an alternate reality for their viewers and their listeners. “Stupidity is sometimes the greatest of historical forces,” Sidney Hook said once. No doubt. What we have in this country is the rebellion of dull minds against the intellect. That’s why they love politicians who rail against teachers indoctrinating children against their parents’ values and resent the ones who show ability to think seriously and independently. Despite their bravado, these fools can always be counted on to vote against their self-interest. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is why millions are being spent to keep my fellow citizens ignorant.
You’ll note that Simic’s list contains only idiotic rightwing beliefs which are commonly held only in red states where people tend to be the most religious. Coincidence? I think not…
And it will only continue to get worse. Who reading this thinks it will get better in our lifetime?
If the Democrats are smart, they’ll just step back, allow the debate to come to a full boil and wait until this nail bomb goes off:
Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health-care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.” Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers.
Taken together, Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.
Ryan’s justification was straight out of Dickens. He wants to improve the moral fiber of the poor. There is, he told the audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Too many Americans, he said, are receiving more from the government than they pay in taxes.
After recalling his family’s immigration from Ireland generations ago, and his belief in the virtue of people who “pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” Ryan warned that a generous safety net “lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”
How very kind: To protect poor Americans from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to give the wealthiest Americans a six-figure tax cut.
If some Americans have to fuckin’ starve to death, this is what it takes to preserve our—and their—freedom!
Ryan’s not joking about this stuff. Amazingly, there are actually people within the Republican who consider Paul Ryan something of an “intellectual”!
Keep thinkin’ that, goofballs. If this guy is the best you’ve got, you’ve got nothing at all.
Ryan’s budget outline omits specifics about how much he would take from programs. Instead, it provided a string of Orwellian euphemisms. The budget “repairs the safety net” by allowing the states to award public assistance to fewer people — “those who need it most.” Financial aid for college would be slashed — er, “put on a sustainable funding path.” And the Ryan plan would give workers “the tools to thrive in the 21st century” — by killing off various job-training programs.
Ryan would cut Medicaid by a third and ship the remnants to state governments to handle. Or, as the congressman described it: “We also propose to strengthen Medicaid by empowering our states.”
Because you have to hurt the poor and sick in order to help them?
The beauty of all of this coming now is that Paul Ryan himself is up for reelection this year and this paints a bright red target on his back. Nothing would be more satisfying than seeing him defeated (except something even more humiliating happening to him, of course) as a referendum on this kind of nonsense once and for all.
Look at this, it’s a trailer—a fucking trailer—for the Ryan plan. Astonishing.
Here’s a transcript of the idiotic robocall that the Santorum campaign tried to ding Mitt Romney with in Ohio prior to Super Tuesday:
“Hi, my name is Brian Camenker; I’m a Jew from Massachusetts. And this is Darcy Brandon; I’m a Christian from California. If you believe as we do that marriage and sexuality should only be between a man and a woman, please help us stop Mitt Romney. As Governor, Romney signed “Gay Youth Pride Day” declarations, promoted homosexuality in our elementary schools, and unconstitutionally ordered state officals to make Massachusetts America’s first same-sex marriage state. Romney supports open homosexuality in the military, the appointment of homosexual judges, and the ENDA law, making it illegal to fire a man who wears a dress and high heels to work, even if he’s your kid’s teacher. When you vote tomorrow, please vote for social sanity and Rick Santorum, not for homosexuality and Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum is the only candidate who can be trusted to uphold traditional marriage, a straight military, and the rights of American children to have both a mother and a father. This message paid for by JewsandChristiansTogether.org and not authorized by any candidate. To get the facts before you vote, visit Jews and Christians Together.org.” (You can listen to it at Gawker)
If I got a robo-call like that, I’d be fucking furious—I never will, I live in Los Angeles—but it almost becomes amusing when you look into the background of Brian Camenker, a longtime anti-gay activist in Massachusetts, as Sarah Posner did on Religious Dispatches.
Here’s how the “Jews and Christians Together” press release described Camenker’s views on Mitt Romney:
Brian Camenker, president of Mass Resistance and compiler of much of that Romney research and one of the robo-call voices said, “Mitt Romney would be the most liberal Republican ever nominated for the Presidency. Romney is so far left, he spoke against the right of the Boy Scouts to screen-out homosexuals. Mitt Romney proved during the January 8 Meet the Press debate that he’s still as far left on the gay agenda as always. He proudly announced, ‘a member of my cabinet was gay. I appointed people to the bench regardless of their sexual orientation.’ Asked when he last stood up and spoke out for increasing gay rights, Romney said ‘Right now.’”
At yesterday’s hearing of Joint Committee on Education, Brian Camenker of MassResistance in support of Bill S321—Parental Notification—spent his three minutes of allotted time to speak in support of this bill by claiming that homosexuals were not among the 6 million Jews, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and social outcasts killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Camenker went as far as to say that the whole “pink triangle” was made up in order to arrest Catholic priests.
And it gets worse, one of Camenker’s minions who testified twice agreed with Brian. In her testimony before the Joint Committee on Education, she said that it was the Nazis themselves who were the homosexuals and they gave pink triangles to and arrested only the “most flamboyant of their own people.”
Look, I think Mitt Romney absolutely sucks, but the idea that these appalling weirdos (and Rick Santorum) think they can get any traction with this kind of stuff is bloody preposterous, like Mr. Camenker himself, as seen in this hilarious Daily Show piece from 2008: