Palmetto virtue

Chairman Trey Gowdy

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC04), chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, speaks in an interview 16 October 2015.  (Detail of photo by Getty Images)

“I would say in some ways these have been among the worst weeks of my life. Attacks on your character, attacks on your motives, are 1,000-times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically―at least it is for me.”

Rep. Trey Gowedy (R-SC04)

The first point, to wonder what it is Mr. Gowdy, the chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, thinks he is doing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should meet resistance; set that urge aside. There is a lot going on, here. Rachel Bade of Politico hopes to explain:

Gowdy says the specifics of his rebuttals don’t matter; he feels he “just can’t win.

“I think that’s just [the Democrats’] MO: If you can’t attack the facts, you can attack the investigators … just attack, attack, attack and something will take hold,” he said. “[A]t some point, maybe something will stick, or maybe you get them off track or you get them to do or say something stupid, then you can seize on that.”

He also lays some blame at the media’s feet, arguing they’re too quick to report Democrats’ accusations without checking the merits, or the story of an ex-committee staffer who accused the panel of focusing on Clinton.

“You can work your entire career to have a reputation, and then someone you have no recollection of ever meeting sits down with a reporter and you’re immediately in a position of having to defend and it’s impossible to prove a negative,” he said.

This is a basic political maneuver very much associated with Karl Rove: Assign your greatest weakness to your opponent. With Republicans, it has pretty much become a tell: “I mean, honestly,” Gowdy complained of Huma Abedin’s testimony, “have you ever heard a more absurd critique than leaking the fact that one of the more recognizable people in the world was coming to Capitol Hill?”

This is a problematic complaint. Trey Gowdy is simply not an honest man.

(more…)

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The Value of Woman in South Carolina

Undated photo of South Carolina state Sen. Thomas Corbin (R-05, Greenville/Spartanburg).

The question sometimes arises: What the hell is wrong with Republicans?

And, yes, there is a reason for this. No amount of pathetic equivocation―no mewling about how both parties are the same―can really stand up to scrutiny; they are the words of embittered surrender.

Because, really, while many might stop to wonder about the abysmal situation in South Carolina, most are also quietly and sadly aware that according to Palmetto virtue things can only get worse. After all, this is a state where prosecutors argue that women are not allowed to defend themselves against domestic and intimate violence.

And when we stop to look at who the people of South Carolina are choosing to represent them, we need not wonder how those Palmetto virtues have become such an embarrassment to pretty much everyone. We might also add that in South Carolina, if embarrassment is the worst one suffers for this situation, they ought to consider themselves fortunate. In a state where women cannot defend themselves yet unsettle those Palmetto virtues by going and dying of domestic violence at a rate of one every ten days on average, people like state Sen. Thomas Corbin (R-05, Greenville/Spartanburg) pretty much sum up what’s wrong with South Carolina:

Chauvinist in any context, Corbin’s remarks occurred during a legislative dinner this week to discuss domestic violence legislation. Sources present at the meeting told FITS that Corbin directed his comments at fellow GOP state senator Katrina Shealy, the sole woman in the 46-member chamber.

“I see it only took me two years to get you wearing shoes,” Corbin told Shealy, who won election in 2012. Corbin, the site explains, is said to have previously cracked that women should be “at home baking cookies” or “barefoot and pregnant,” not serving in the state legislature ....

.... Indignant at Corbin’s rank sexism, Shealy asked him where he “got off” making such remarks.

“Well, you know God created man first,” a smirking Corbin replied. “Then he took the rib out of man to make woman. And you know, a rib is a lesser cut of meat.”

(Brinker)

Ah, South Carolina. And this is the part where we should just crack a glib joke about what passes for “family values” in the Palmetto State, but the truth of the matter is that this just isn’t funny.

South Carolina, where domestic abuse victims should not be allowed to defend themselves, according to prosecutors in Charleston.We might wonder just how much gravity such dense ignorance as Sen. Corbin’s might actually have, and even make the point about his bizarre obsessions in general, including the time in 2013 he suggested Sen. Shealy (R-23, Lexington) leave the room while he discussed children performing oral sex on older men.

It probably wouldn’t help to ask him to explain why, if the Adam’s rib story is supposed to be true, God went so far as to make all humans female by default. No, really, even XY starts out female; hormones received in utero trigger the physiological male development. We ought not be surprised that the Bible has it backwards; after all, we’re talking about a bunch of men writing down oral traditions.

Sen. Corbin was elected in 2012; the question remains whether Palmetto virtue in District Five want another four years of this sort of madness. Then again, it’s South Carolina, so … right.

An equally fair question: What the hell is wrong with South Carolina?

____________________

Brinker, Luke. “GOP lawmaker calls women ‘a lesser cut of meat'”. Salon. 13 February 2015.

¡Benghazi! (Walk and Chew Tinfoil Mix)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) thinks his fellow Republicans are full of crap because they couldn't find a way to support his pet tinfoil conspiracy theory.

Sometimes we need a specific setup to make the punch ilne; this isn’t high comedy theory, or anything, but part of the latest episode in the Benghazi debacle only stands out in relationship unto itself, that this is the House Intelligence Committee report:

A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

(Dilanian)

So let that be a lesson; yes, when it comes down to the proverbial brass tacks, Congress can occasionally be expected to do its job. There are, of course, any number of explanations for the GOP’s partisan pandering over the interim, and a lot of it just comes down to fundraising to the one and the difference between acknowledging or exploiting human frailty to the other. The tinfoil scheme was largely a fundraising gig, you know? Intended to fleece willing sheep. Right?

“I think the report is full of crap,” [Sen. Lindsey] Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union” ....

.... CNN host Gloria Borger then told Graham that the House report concludes that the administration received bad information at first and did not lie.

“That’s a bunch of garbage,” Graham shot back. “That’s a complete bunch of garbage.”

(MacNeal)

Oh.

I guess tinfoil is as tinfoil does.

____________________

Dilanian, Ken. “House intel panel debunks many Benghazi theories”. The Big Story. 21 November 2014.

MacNeal, Caitlin. “Lindsey Graham Won’t Accept New Benghazi Report: It’s ‘Full Of Crap'”. Talking Points Memo Livewire. 23 November 2014.

Dereliction of Duty

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

Six years is a long, long time. Well, no, not really, but we’re talking about Americans, so yeah, it’s a long, long time. To wit, two phrases from 2008: “flyover country” and “Middle America”.

The phrases were intended to invoke a cultural split whereby the wholesome, Christian states in between the coasts are under constant assault by anti-Christian elites in coastal metropolitan centers.

Which, in turn, makes it really easy to poke fun at “Middle American” and “traditional family” values. And that aspect begs a specific question: What part of these “values” demands abject cruelty?

The writing is on the wall for gay marriage bans in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina after federal appeals courts that oversee those states have made clear that keeping gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional.

But officials in the three states are refusing to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses without a court order directing them to do so. It could be another month or more before the matter is settled.

In a political campaign debate Monday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vowed to defend his state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A federal court hearing is scheduled for Friday.

There seems little doubt that U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ultimately will set aside the state’s gay marriage ban. That’s because the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, encompassing Kansas and five other states, has said a state may not deny a marriage license to two people of the same sex.

(Sherman)

According to John Eastman of the National Organization, while it is true that heterosupremacism has reached the end of its rope, refusing to respect a federal court “remains a viable option”.

Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) swore an oath of office before assuming office:

I do solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Kansas, and faithfully discharge the duties of ______. So help me God.

And what does that mean to Mr. Brownback? Apparently, it means he will not perform his duties except under court order.

But why? How does one justify such dereliction of duty?

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