Day: 2013.05.21

Your Right Wing

Perhaps feeling threatened by rising competition for the tinfoil crown, or perhaps just feeling lonely in the lull following his infamous CNN tantrum, bombastic wingnut radio host Alex Jones upped his ante today:

Alex JonesOn the May 21 edition of The Alex Jones Show, a caller asked Jones whether he was planning to cover how government technology may be behind a recent spate of sinkholes. After laying out how insurance companies use weather modification to avoid having to pay ski resorts for lack of snow, Jones said that “of course there’s weather weapon stuff going on—we had floods in Texas like fifteen years ago, killed thirty-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force” ….

…. According to Jones, this possibility hinges on whether people spotted helicopters and small aircraft “in and around the clouds, spraying and doing things.” He added, “if you saw that, you better bet your bottom dollar they did this, but who knows if they did. You know, that’s the thing, we don’t know.”

Yes, really.

Steve Benen makes the obvious point:

Now, I realize that fringe figures are going to share nutty ideas all the time, and it was probably inevitable that some nonsensical allegations about the Oklahoma tornado would pop up. I didn’t realize “weather weapons” would be part of the story, but there’s probably no reason to be surprised.

This caught my eye, however, because of recent developments—we’ve seen Republican officeholders in state legislatures, the U.S. House, and even the U.S. Senate take Alex Jones’ ideas seriously. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) intends to run for president—of the United States—and he’s been a guest on Alex Jones’ show.

In other words, the guy raising the specter of Obama using “weather weapons” to kill Oklahomans is the same guy helping influence several Republican policymakers in 2013.

And it’s a fair point, to be certain. Of course, it will be hard to top Pete Santilli’s sexual violence fantasy, but Jones is already syndicated, so he can take comfort in getting actual U.S. senators like Rand Paul, instead of whack-job nobodies like Ted Nugent and Larry Pratt.

Or something.

Seriously, the weather machine is up and running?

An Update: It Ain’t the Mulberries

Excess flake can by an embarrassing problem, especially when it is not something that can be cleared up with shampoo. Even more so for Arizona, where it turns out that one Flake really is too many.

Senator Jeff Flake, that is. The junior Republican senator from Arizona last month, in trying to make the case justifying his vote against the background checks firearm bill, managed to make the case that maybe he just isn’t ready for the major leagues.

And as one might expect after that kind of preface, yes, Sen. Flake is back at it:

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is pushing back against attack ads that say he broke his promise to support passing new gun laws.

Flake, Senator Jeff Flake“If you are anywhere close to a television set in Arizona in the coming days, you’ll likely see an ad about gun control financed by NYC Mayor Bloomberg,” Flake wrote Friday on his Facebook page. “Contrary to the ad, I did vote to strengthen background checks.”

Flake is responding to ads from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s (I) group that supports tightening gun laws. Recent advertising by the group accuses Flake of breaking his promise to help pass expanded background checks.

Flake voted against an amendment co-sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have expanded background checks to include firearms purchases at gun shows and over the Internet. But Flake says he did not break his promise because he supported an alternate gun control proposal by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

The most obvious problem with this approach to the issue is that others have tried, and the tack doesn’t work. Indeed, Flake himself has already tried it, and, well, it didn’t work.

No, really.

(more…)

The Morbid Dose

Today in news that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone:

God is LoveThe debate continues over whether we should be amused or offended by Westboro Baptist Church’s balbutive.

• How does one earn the attention of the Secret Service? Try sharing your craven fantasies of sexual violence against Hillary Clinton with the world in a desperate bid to draw attention to your internet radio show. Very well; attention gained.

• The former Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, appointed by President Bush in 2008—you know, the guy who was in charge when agency started targeting conservative political groups?—told Congress he has no idea how it happened. It should go without saying that nobody’s surprised. (If the whole thing seems something of a confusing mess, Reuters offers a handy overview.)

• Republicans in Virginia find themselves suddenly painted into a corner. By their own hand. It’s almost funny, and actually quite an impressive feat, when you stop to thik about it.

Bolling on JacksonThe GOP’s slate is, by any fair measure, jarring. The Virginia Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate is one of the fiercest culture warriors of any officeholder in the country. The Virginia Republicans’ candidate for lieutenant governor is almost comically extreme on social issues. The Virginia Republicans’ candidate for attorney general once advocated requiring women to report miscarriages to the police—or face jail time.

It’s almost as if the state GOP went out of its way to think of a scheme to motivate the listless Democratic base, alienate as many women as possible, and drive moderate voters away from Republicans in droves.

• Oklahoma’s delegation to the U.S. Senate finds itself facing unfortunate controversy in the aftermath of yesterday’s tornado, largely because they voted against Hurricane Sandy relief.

Yep. Just another day in these United States.