The thing that usually strikes me about any grouping of Republicans is not how blindingly white they all are, but rather how pinch-faced, nasally and shrew-like most of them seem to be. They’re a very specific type of Caucasian, I suppose. “Cowardly” isn’t the exact word I’m looking for, but Republican men have always struck me as the opposite of what I picture a “hero” to look like.
(*No, that’s not what he said at all, but hey, Matt Drudge can do it, so why can’t I?)
I was as much amused by Rick Santorum’s comment yesterday—“We will never have the elite, smart people on our side”—during his speech at the ultra conservative Values Voter Summit as I was by this paragraph—or some variation thereof—that invariably followed without any need for further comment or elaboration:
“Rep. Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Kirk Cameron, Gov. Jan Brewer, Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Steve King are among other scheduled speakers.”
On nearly every blog, the ingredients of the report were the video of Santorum (see below) and a mention of some of his fellow far-right fuit loops who would be speaking at the conservative Christian political confab. Perhaps they were trying to be droll—I decided to take it that way—or maybe they were just dryly reporting the facts. Either way, a list of those particular Republican names speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
Former GOP presidential candidate Santorum’s full quote was:
“We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do.”
Well, Rick, that’s one way to look at it, but there’s an obvious—or what should be obvious—flip-side to that equation that you might want to take into consideration: WHY do you reckon that it’s difficult for these “elite, smart people” to acquiesce to the will of a bunch of folks who they perceive as a bunch of ignorant hicks who have decided that they’re going to “take back our country” and so forth?
Take it back from…? And where will these science-denying dumbshit Tea party Taliban types take it back to? Before African Americans had the vote or before they were allowed to play Major League Baseball? Just how far back are we talking, here?
His delightfully candid remark calls into question how Mr. Santorum and other Christian conservatives define “freedom,” a word and concept that was thrown around—and shit on—by at least half of the Values Voters Summit’s speakers: Should “the elite, smart people” stand silently by and do nothing and simply allow, without protest or objection, a group of people they consider to be rank ignoramuses and dangerous buffoons to run roughshod over what they see as THEIR OWN RIGHTS (or the rights of others)?
If you take only the example of marriage equality, one groups wants to get married for a variety of benefits that will have virtually ZERO effect—none—on the lives of conservative religious straight people, so why A.) do the people who attend the VVS even care and B.) why do they think that THEY should have final say over what gay people do, simply because they “don’t agree with it”?
That’s not a reason!
What I don’t get, and what is making me laugh, is how it doesn’t seem to phase Rick Santorum even one tiny little bit that he’s is, in essence, defining himself as being a member of the STUPID TEAM that the evil smart elite people want to subjugate with stuff like gay marriage and insurance being required to cover birth control. His argument isn’t “We’re smarter than they are so they should listen to us,” it’s more like… well, to be honest, I don’t even know, really, how the fuck to parse what Santorum believes. Once someone admits that they’re hositle to intelligence itself, I don’t really feel it’s incumbent upon me to search out the nuance of their blinkered, unsophisticated worldview.
Mr. Santorum doesn’t seem to have noticed the causality between his own position of being against birth control and the fact that he lost—and lost miserably—to a man who now seems set to lose handily himself in the general election. But he has made an important observation: “Smart people” and Republicans don’t have a whole lot in common anymore.
In any case, why aren’t the right wing bloggers and peanut gallery commenters at Breitbart, The National Review and WorldNetDaily absolutely up in arms about Santorum calling them stupid?
Tee-hee! Personally, I think Rick Santorum has inadvertently hit on THE defining reason for the GOP’s problems with “the elite, smart people”: Intelligent, NON-GULLIBLE voters will, never, ever cede the control of their lives to the likes of Michele Bachmann, Steve King or Todd Akin. Any Republican politician who could carry Mississippi, Alabama or Arkansas in a national election IS GOING TO LOSE in the more populous, better-educated coastal states. You can stuff your face with Chick-fil-A until you puke, but nothing is going to change that fact, bunky. The GOP has backed itself into a demographic corner, a demographic that’s literally dying off.
So what advice will those multi-million dollar consulting and marketing firms come up with to help the GOP keep winning elections after they get absolutely trounced this November? Forget about them, I say to you, Republican overlords: It was those top dollar marketing smarty-pantses that gave you guys Mitt fuckin’ Romney in the first place
Nope, Rick Santorum has already got it all figured it out for ya, you shadowy reptilian Republican druids who pull the levers of power behind the curtain: It’s all coming down a simple matter of smart vs DUMB and Santorum defined the battle yesterday in a single sentence of crystal clear truth:
“We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.”
The brouhaha about the idiotic letter that Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D) wrote last month to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti regarding Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s outspoken advocacy of a Maryland ballot initiative legalizing gay marriage, inspired Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to pen his own response to Burns.
In recent months, Brendon has taped a web-only video for the Maryland same-sex marriage campaign, written a Huffington Post editorial in support of marriage equality and offered a pair of tickets to tonight’s season-opening game against the Cincinnati Bengals to raise money for the cause. The backlash against Emmett Burns is largely seen as a “win” for supporters of gay rights.
Here’s a pointed excerpt from Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe’s razor sharp open letter to Burns published on Deadspin. Extra points to Kluwe for use of the term “cockmonster” and for calling Burns a “narcissistic fromunda stain”:
What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.
Wait, he’s just getting warmed up:
This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about penis? “Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)
I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?
In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I’m fairly certain you might need it.
Kluwe signs off by telling Burns:
P.S. I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.
Brendon Ayanbadejo says he plans to continue supporting same-sex marriage and has offered to assist Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley with more fundraising for the issue. Ten of his fellow players on the Ravens have offered their support. He says the change in attitude within the NFL (other players used to joke that Ayanbadejo was gay, but he’s married with two kids) “has happened faster than I ever thought it would happen.”
This morning, Emmett Burns appeared to take a step back from the near universal condemnation his letter has generated, according to The Baltimore Sun:
“Upon reflection, he has his First Amendment rights,” Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a telephone interview. “And I have my First Amendment rights. … Each of us has the right to speak our opinions. The football player and I have a right to speak our minds.”
Ayanbadejo hopes that Pastor Burns will “open his heart” on the issue. In the meantime, Ellen DeGeneres has invited Brendon Ayanbadejo to fly to California for a live appearance on her show. Ravens team president Dick Cass has indicated the team would respond to Burns “in time” and hoped that Brendon would continue to speak his mind about matters that are important to him.
Maryland will be one of four states to vote on same-sex marriage in November. The issue has never been upheld by referendum, which is why what Brendon Ayanbadejo (and Chris Kluwe) and other straight people—this is crucial—are doing and saying is so very, very important.
Emmett C. Burns Jr. has had to endure public mockery for his antiquated views. Public mockery seems appropriate to me in this case—after all Burns is the one who pulled the trigger on this in the first place—but it’s also the sort of experience that might change the man. If everyone seems to be pointing at you and laughing, maybe there’s a good reason for that. Maybe it’s because you ARE the idiot.
Maybe it’s time for a little soul-searching Mr. Burns.
To Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, you’re good citizens one of the highest compliments I have to offer. I’m proud to share a country with guys like you.
Those fucking Disney Obama communists also serve FRENCH fries at the American Pavilion! FRENCH fries! Call the Tea party!
GOP delegates Mark and Irene Harris, of Snyder County, Pennsylvania, were “highly offended” to see a Mexican employee working at the “American Pavilion” of Disney World’s Epcot Center, as Irene posted on their “Rock Star GOP” blog from the GOP national convention in Tampa:
Prior to National Republican Convention we visited Disney for three days. During our time at Epcot we visited the different countries. It was neat seeing each country and the employees were from that individual country. Then we visited America . . . one would think you would find American employees. We were offended to find a person from Mexico working in America. Mark spoke up and told them he was highly offended after visiting the other countries and seeing employees from that country and then come to America and find a Mexican. He was very civil but his point was well made.
I’ll bet it was. Imagine being the manager who had to absorb that piece of Mark’s tiny mind… I can’t currently think of anything that could be more painful. Or stupid.
According to their website, “Mark and Irene are both pro‐life, believe marriage is between one man and one woman, are for open records and transparency, believe in very conservative principles and the Republican platform.”
Sounds about right to me! To this information, I have nothing, absolutely nothing, to add.
The Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee mined comedy gold yesterday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida by asking attendees about “individual liberty” and what it means to them and to Mitt Romney.
For Immediate Release:
August 20, 2012
Americans for Inequality
Contact: Warren Bancroft, Interim Director
[Manchester, New Hampshire] The Board of Directors of Americans for Inequality, a citizens’ advocacy group which promotes the benefits of inequality, voted to endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) for President. “The Board of Directors voted to emphatically endorse Governor Romney’s candidacy for President” said Warren Bancroft, interim Chair of Americans for Inequality. “Americans for Inequality is prepared to commit considerable resources to help make Mitt Romney the next President of the United States. We will join Governor Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH Monday August 20th at 8:00AM, and a press conference following shortly thereafter.”
In the 2012 Presidential campaign, Americans for Inequality has been the first organization to educate voters about the benefits of vast inequalities. Americans for Inequality has been a pioneer in changing the narrative away from the costs and perils of inequality—-and toward a new appreciation of how inequality plays an important and beneficial role in our economy.
“For far too long the poor, unemployed, and elderly have been coddled by America’s generous welfare system and exempted from contributing their fair share in taxes, while banks and companies have suffered under an oppressive regime. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s budget plan will mostly rely on ending the era of entitlement and providing tax relief for upper-income households. That’s the beauty of the Romney/Ryan plan: the higher the income, the higher the tax break. Their budget plan will ensure that inequality will remain with us, as it should, for many years,” said Bancroft.
The Americans for Inequality endorsement was not, however, a unanimous one. One member of the Americans for Inequality Board voted against the Romney endorsement.
Chester Prattfield noted how inequality has accelerated under President Obama, and that it could continue for another four years. “The current recovery has been the weakest and most unequal recovery since WWII, both in terms of income and wealth. The financial industry is back on its feet and corporations are making record profits. Class mobility and opportunity are declining as inequality becomes entrenched, and that’s what we want to see. But there is room for improvement. Job creators do 100% of the work, but from 2009-2011, they only received 88% of the national income. And companies such as Exxon Mobil pay as high as 2% in federal taxes—they need relief.”
“While I voted to endorse President Obama, and will continue to personally support his campaign, I understand and respect the decision of the Americans for Inequality Board,” said Prattfield, Americans for Inequality co-founder. “I appreciate the thoughtfulness the Board of Directors has put into this decision.”
A statement from Marxist intellectual Slavoj Žižek on the Pussy Riot trial
The True Blasphemy
Pussy Riot members accused of blasphemy and hatred of religion? The answer is easy: the true blasphemy is the state accusation itself, formulating as a crime of religious hatred something which was clearly a political act of protest against the ruling clique. Recall Brecht’s old quip from his Beggars’ Opera: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?” In 2008, Wall Street gave us the new version: what is the stealing of a couple of thousand of dollars, for which one goes to prison, compared to financial speculations that deprive tens of millions of their homes and savings, and are then rewarded by state help of sublime grandeur? Now, we got another version from Russia, from the power of the state: What is a modest Pussy Riot obscene provocation in a church compared to the accusation against Pussy Riot, this gigantic obscene provocation of the state apparatus which mocks any notion of decent law and order?
Was the act of Pussy Riot cynical? There are two kinds of cynicism: the bitter cynicism of the oppressed which unmasks the hypocrisy of those in power, and the cynicism of the oppressors themselves who openly violate their own proclaimed principles. The cynicism of Pussy Riot is of the first kind, while the cynicism of those in power — why not call their authoritarian brutality a Prick Riot — is of the much more ominous second kind.
Back in 1905, Leon Trotsky characterized tsarist Russia as “a vicious combination of the Asian knout and the European stock market.” Does this designation not hold more and more also for the Russia of today? Does it not announce the rise of the new phase of capitalism, capitalism with Asian values (which, of course, has nothing to do with Asia and everything to do with the anti-democratic tendencies in today’s global capitalism). If we understand cynicism as ruthless pragmatism of power which secretly laughs at its own principles, then Pussy Riot are anti-cynicism embodied. Their message is: IDEAS MATTER. They are conceptual artists in the noblest sense of the word: artists who embody an Idea. This is why they wear balaclavas: masks of de-individualization, of liberating anonymity. The message of their balaclavas is that it doesn’t matter which of them got arrested — they’re not individuals, they’re an Idea. And this is why they are such a threat: it is easy to imprison individuals, but try to imprison an Idea!
The panic of those in power — displayed by their ridiculously excessive brutal reaction — is thus fully justified. The more brutally they act, the more important symbol Pussy Riot will become. Already now the result of the oppressive measures is that Pussy Riot are a household name literally all around the world.
It is the sacred duty of all of us to prevent that the courageous individuals who compose Pussy Riot will not pay in their flesh the price for their becoming a global symbol.
Art and the Human Manifesto of Nadya Tolokonnikova
The punk band Pussy Riot, which I belong to, is a musical group that conducts unexpected performances in different urban spaces. Pussy Riot’s songs address topical political issues. The interests of the group members are: political activism, ecology, and the elimination of authoritarian tendencies in the Russian state system through the creation of the civil society.
Since its origin in October 2011, the band played concerts in the subway, on the roof of a trolleybus, on the roof of the detention center for administrative detainees, in clothing stores, at fashion shows, and on the Lobnoe Mesto on Red Square. We believe that the art should be accessible to everyone; therefore we perform in diverse public spaces. Pussy Riot never means to show any disrespect to any viewers or witnesses of our punk concerts. This was the case on the roof of the trolleybus and on the Lobnoe Mesto, and this was the case at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
On 21 February 2012 Pussy Riot band performed its punk prayer “Hail Mary, Expel Putin” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In the early March 2012 three members of the group were imprisoned because of the music and political activism. The themes of our songs and performances are dictated by the present moment. We simply react to what is happening in our country, and our punk performances express the opinion of a sufficiently large number of people. In our song “Hail Mary, Expel Putin” we reflected the reaction of many Russian citizens to the patriarch’s calls for vote for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin during the presidential election of 4 March 2012.
We, like many of our fellow citizens, wrestle against treachery, deceit, bribery, hypocrisy, greed, and lawlessness, peculiar to the current authorities and rulers. This is why we were upset by this political initiative of the patriarch and could not fail to express that. The performance at Cathedral of Christ the Savior was committed not on the grounds of religious enmity and hatred. Equally, we harbor no hatred towards Orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christianity worships the same as we do: mercy, forgiveness, justification, love, and freedom. We are not enemies of Christianity. We care about the opinion of Orthodox Christians. We want all of them to be on our side - on the side of anti-authoritarian civil society activists. That is why we came to the Cathedral.
We came with what we have and can: with our musical performance. During this performance we intended to express our concern: the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church - the patriarch - supports a politician who forcefully suppresses the civil society, which is dear to us.
I would like to emphasize the fact that, while at the Cathedral, we did not utter any insulting words towards the church, the Christians, and the God. The words we spoke and our entire punk performance aimed to express our disapproval of a specific political event: the patriarch’s support of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who took an authoritarian and antifeminist course. Our performance contained no aggression towards the audience, but only a desperate desire to change the political situation in Russia for the better. Our emotions and expressiveness came from that desire. If our passion appeared offensive to any spectators, we are sorry for that. We had no intentions to offend anyone. We wish that those, who cannot understand us, would forgive us. Most of all, we want people to hold no grudges against us.
Excerpted from the much longer “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” which was cross-posted today at both Naked Capitalism and The Exiled:
Libertarianism isn’t some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional “left to right” spectrum. It’s a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.
So what do we get? The libertarian line: “No, no: the problem isn’t that we’re too capitalist. It’s that we’re not capitalist enough!”
At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think they’re John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doing…whatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)
Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s all make-believe, except for the chain-mail–they brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly “good ones”—anti-war libertarians—we’re still talking about people who think Medicare’s going to lead to Stalinism.
So my advice is to call them out.
Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, they’ll talk about the deficit and say we just can’t afford entitlement programs. Well, that’s obviously a joke, so move on. Then they’ll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantánamo Bay in Greenland.
Here’s the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bosses—this is the power to say “I’m gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my a chillwave band. And I’ll still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.”
Sounds like freedom to me.
Read more of Connor Kilpatrick’s “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” at either The Exiled or at Naked Capitalism. Trust me it’s a fantastic, totally worthwhile read.
Concretely, between 2007 and 2010, while median family wealth fell by 38.8 percent, the wealth of the Walton family members rose from $73.3 billion to $89.5 billion…In 2007, it was reported that the Walton family wealth was as large as the bottom 35 million families in the wealth distribution combined, or 30.5 percent of all American families.
And in 2010, as the Walton’s wealth has risen and most other Americans’ wealth declined, it is now the case that the Walton family wealth is as large as the bottom 48.8 million families in the wealth distribution (constituting 41.5 percent of all American families) combined.
Let’s deregulate the economy! YEAH! Let’s cut the estate tax EVEN MORE so THESE FUCKING PARASITES can, you know, buy more politicians to protect their wealth for generations of worthless heirs to come!
These are the folks who are going to benefit more than practically ANYONE IN AMERICA if Mitt Romney gets elected.
Romney’s own immediate family and their heirs and their heirs and beyond—not to mention his election-buying buddies the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson—would also be on that same list, natch.
Yes, let’s elect HIM and let the FREE MARKET TAKE OVER!
HOORAY FOR AMERICA!
HOORAY FOR CAPITALISM!
HOORAY FOR DEMOCRACY!
If this information doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, you’re an idiot.
This IS a fucking IQ test!
The 50th anniversary of the opening of the first Wal-Mart was two weeks ago. If more wealth than the bottom 40% of the country has, combined, equals what these fucks have got, it stands to reason, does it not, that if this ONE FAMILY has more wealth than that of 48.8 MILLION American families combined, that they got it by placing a TAX—hidden in the price—on absolutely every single item sold in a Wal-Mart. It’s one of the largest, most pervasive cons ever perpetrated, all legal of course.
What have the Walton heirs done to deserve this bounty other than being BORN to the right family? Nothing? Talk about winning the lottery, eh?
AND IT TOOK LESS THAN 50 YEARS TO ACHIEVE THIS TRANSFER OF WEALTH. Don’t call it wealth creation. Being born worth the same as TWO FIFTHS of your fellow Americans COMBINED isn’t wealth creation!
It’s an absurdity. If the Walton heirs collectively possesed more wealth than just 48 American families combined it would still be fucked up!
Think about it: Every item for sale at the largest retailer in the world basically has a TARIFF factored into the price which is paid to the stockholders of Wal-Mart, which is chiefly owned by the members of the Walton family. It’s not like you have to slog through 1000+ pages of Das Kapital to understand how this works. It’s not a complex equation.
If you’re okay with this and you want to continue to give your own hard-earned money to the queen bees of the Walton family, please continue to do so, mentally deficient fool. It’s your dignity!
However, if you think this is totally insane, and if you do not wish to slip a few bucks out of your grocery bill each week to the WEALTHY PARASITES pictured below, then all you have to do in protest is not spend your money in a Wal-Mart ever again.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.