conservative swindle

Murder Less Foul

A Gadsden flag flies at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, on Jan. 10, 2016. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

“The Tea Party movement is pretty much dead now, but it didn’t die a natural death. It was murdered—and it was an inside job. In a half decade, the spontaneous uprising that shook official Washington degenerated into a form of pyramid scheme that transferred tens of millions of dollars from rural, poorer Southerners and Midwesterners to bicoastal political operatives.”

Paul H. Jossey

Campaign finance attorney Paul H. Jossey confesses to a murder of sorts―

Greedy super PACs drained the movement with endless pleas for money to support “conservative” candidates—while instead using the money to enrich themselves. I should know. I worked for one of them.

―and while the Politico article from the lawyer who made a living fleecing tricornered tinfoils is a laborious but insightful read, the one thing nobody gets to do is pretend surprise.

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Image note: Infamy ― A Gadsden flag flies at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, on Jan. 10, 2016. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Jossey, Paul H. “How We Killed the Tea Party”. Politico. 14 August 2016.

Another Obvious Question (House Divided Hot Mess Mix)

Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk of Courts, listens to Robbie Blankenship and Jesse Cruz as they speak with her at the County Clerks Office on September 2, 2015 in Morehead, Kentucky. (Photo: Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Let us start here:

Importantly, Davis is not claiming a substantial burden on her religious freedom or free speech rights if someone else authorizes and approves a SSM license devoid of her name.

(Mihet and Christman [Liberty Counsel], 28 August 2015; accents per source)

Follow the bouncing ball:

“The stay request offers several options such as removing Davis’s name from the marriage license, thus removing the personal nature of the authorization,” Staver pointed out. “Another accommodation would be to allow licenses to be issued by the chief executive of Rowan County or developing a statewide, online marriage license process,” Staver suggested. “There is absolutely no reason that this case has gone so far without reasonable people respecting and accommodating Kim Davis’s First Amendment rights,” Staver concluded.

(Liberty Counsel, 31 August 2015; boldface accent added)

And then came Friday:

Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel which represents Davis, said he believes Friday’s licenses are invalid because they were not issued with her approval. Davis’ name does not appear on the licenses.

“They are not worth the paper they are printed on,” Staver said, standing in front of the Grayson, Kentucky, detention center where Davis is being held. He added she had no intention of resigning as clerk.

(Bittenbender; boldface accent added)

Would any among Ms. Davis’ defenders care to attempt reconciling, or at least merely explaining that sleight? This much is true: We don’t expect Mr. Staver, nor his colleagues, Messrs. Christman and Himet, to do so. Indeed, we might wonder if they would find demands for such an explanation offensive to their religious freedom.

To be clear, because some need it so expressed:

If Kim Davis’ name was not on the marriage licenses, then the “personal nature of the authorization” would be removed. (Liberty Counsel, 28-31 August)

If the licenses were issued without Ms. Davis’ name on them, then they are “not worth the paper they are printed on” because Ms. Davis has not given authorization of a personal nature.

In the end, Mark Joseph Stern’s question of whether Kim Davis is “getting taken for a ride by her lawyers”, as the headline put it, asserts itself more insistently.

More and more, it’s beginning to look like the Liberty Counsel is taking Davis for a ride, using her doomed case to promote itself and its extremist principles. Davis has certainly humiliated and degraded the gay couples whom she turned away. But I wonder if, on some level, she isn’t a victim, too.

(Boldface accent added)

I mean, really.

This is a sick joke playing out before our eyes.

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Image note: Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk of Courts, listens to Robbie Blankenship and Jesse Cruz as they speak with her at the County Clerks Office on September 2, 2015 in Morehead, Kentucky. (Photo: Ty Wright/Getty Images)

(Tip o’ the hat I don’t actually wear: JoeMyGod)

Mihet, Horatio G. and Jonathan D. Christman. “Emergency Application to Stay Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal”. Davis v. Miller et al. Supreme Court of the United States. 28 August 2015.

Liberty Counsel. “Accommodations Would End Rowan County Dispute”. Press Release. 31 August 2015.

Bittenbender, Steve. “Kentucky clerk’s office ends ban on same-sex marriage licenses”. Reuters. 4 September 2015.

Stern, Mark Joseph. “Is Kentucky’s Infamous Anti-Gay Clerk Getting Taken for a Ride by Her Lawyers?”. Slate. 31 August 2015.

A Note on Republicans and Reality

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 28: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House August 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke on various topics including possible action against ISIL and immigration reform. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This one is really simple, and it is also just about what you would expect. That is to say, the reason Republican politicians loathe science so much is easily enough expressed:

Conservative commentators are fond of pointing to Barack Obama’s excessive use of the word “I” as evidence of the president’s narcissism. (“For God’s sake, he talks like the emperor Napoleon,” Charles Krauthammer complained recently.) But there’s one tiny problem with this line of reasoning. If you’re counting pronouns, Obama is maybe the least narcissistic president since 1945.

BuzzFeed News analyzed more than 2,000 presidential news conferences since 1929, looking for usage of first-person singular pronouns — “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself.” Just 2.5 percent of Obama’s total news-conference words fell into this category. Only Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt used them less often.

That is to say, science makes it harder for conservatives to lie. Put more bluntly: Science makes it harder to justify being politically conservative.

Charles freakin' KrauthammerTrue, John Templon’s article for BuzzFeed is hardly a proper, old-school, blue-blooded monograph, but neither is it supposed to be. But this is why conservatives hate science and all things remotely scientific; reality really interferes with their agenda.

To the other, Republicans should cheer up; it can’t last forever. After all, the way things are going, society will shift again, and suddenly my side of the aisle will become conservative. Now, in that case, it will likely be a social issue that divides, like wage equality for gay, incestuous, polygamous razor-assed baboons. You know, a congress of S&M baboons playing The Brady Bunch, and while that might prove a better idea than the two reimagined movies from a decade best forgotten, well, it is true that looking forward one might have a hard time understanding how, say, gay marriage is going to usher in polygamous or incestuous marriage.α

But, yeah. This is why conservatives and Republicans hate science. Science describes reality, and reality makes the Republican swindle that much tougher to sell.

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α Polygamy is a matter of numbers. Incest would be a true redefinition of family, as it would change the relative values of, well, relatives. Beyond the nine-headed babies, or whatever, consider growing up in a household where your grandpa, father, and older brother are all competing in hopes that you’ll sleep with them upon reaching age of consent. In truth, the best thing that could happen for legalized polygamous or incestuous marriage would be that the evangelical right wing decides to pick a fight. Historically, gay rights were nowhere on the political map in 1990, when Christians in Oregon decided to pick a fight. Nor were they a pressing issue two years later when Christian supremacism went statewide in the Beaver State and also found a home in Colorado. Which, of course, reminds that as the final barriers to nationwide marriage equality collapse, we all owe a raising of the wrist to Lon Mabon, Scott Lively and the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance, Colorado for Family Values, and many others without whom marriage equality would not have happened for another fifty years at least. Nothing increases general societal pathos toward a suspect group of people like proper, self-righteous, hypocritical, faithless Christian outrage.

Templon, John. “No, Obama’s Pronouns Don’t Make Him A Narcissist”. BuzzFeed. 19 October 2014.