right wing

That Sinking, Sickening Irony

Kamon Dreams and Stranger Things: Detail of frame from 'FLCL' episode 5, "Brittle Bullet".

“Indeed, we need a whole lot of refusal to cooperate with these tyrants, just as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and their fellow civil rights champions refused to cooperate with the Democrats who were trampling freedom and the Constitution.”

Bob Ellis

In truth, it probably is not a healthy amusement we feel upon witnessing bigots such as professional propagandist and Tea Party organizer Bob Ellis appealing to the heritage of Civil Rights icons such as Dr. King and Ms. Parks.

Although, for the moment, we will certainly take the pause―

As I have pointed out before, there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that supports counterfeit marriage. The U.S. Constitution is completely silent on marriage. Why? First, the founders of our country would not have even imagined that a culture could become so insane as to consider that two men sodomizing each other might be considered “marriage.” Further, regulating marriage is not found in the enumerated powers granted to the federal government in Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Also, the Tenth Amendment makes it clear that any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are retained by the states and the people (and the people of the vast majority of the states have made it clear that they believe what every civilization in human history has always recognized: that marriage can only be formed by a man and a woman).

―to wonder at the difference between left- and right-wing extremism. While revolutionary speech from the left is still disdained as dangerously undignified, we are for reasons never really explained expected to treat this kind of right-wing tantrum as a valid component of the discussion. Remember, these are people who think their free speech is violated if you simply disagree with them.

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Image note: Kamon the Would-Be. Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, “Brittle Bullet”.

Ellis, Bob. “AL Judges Demonstrate Leadership Against Federal SSM Tyranny”. BarbWire. 4 March 2015.

Marco Rubio, Struggling

Yeah. Sounds about right.

Right off the bat, the notion that the president wouldn’t go after ISIS because he “doesn’t want to upset Iran” is bizarre – ISIS and Iran are enemies. Tehran is more than happy to see U.S. forces go after ISIS targets; in fact, Iran has done the same thing. When it comes to the terrorist group, Americans and Iranians are on the same side. How could Rubio not know this?

For that matter, the argument that Obama “hasn’t put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS” is plainly untrue. Rubio should know this, not only because he’s a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an unannounced presidential candidate, but also because Obama’s strategy to defeat ISIS is largely identical to Marco Rubio’s.

The senator fleshed this out at CPAC: target ISIS by using local ground forces, coupled with air support from the United States, all while U.S. officials take the lead in assembling an international coalition.

That, as of this morning, is Rubio’s plan. It’s also exactly what Obama has been doing since August.

(Benen)

The obvious question: Is this really what counts as presidential timbre among Republicans?

It is one thing to attempt the false equivalence that both the major parties are pretty much the same, but on an occasion when there is, in fact, policy overlap, does it really count for nothing that one of the parties is incapable of perceiving that overlap?

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Benen, Steve. “Rubio agrees with Obama’s ISIS strategy”. Twitter. 27 February 2015.

—————. “Rubio blasts ISIS strategy he supports”. msnbc. 27 February 2015.

A Profile in Political Courage (Bizarro Bonehead Mix)

Undated, uncredited photo of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin)

It would be difficult enough to construct an infraction scheme for our political discourse, but at some point Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) needs some time in the penalty box. After ducking obvious questions about evolution and the ravings of a madman, the Badger-in-chief has once again stared into the eyes of a straightforward question and buckled.

Dan Balz and Robert Costa of the Washington Post explain the latest fold:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a prospective Republican presidential contender, said Saturday he does not know whether President Obama is a Christian.

“I don’t know,” Walker said in an interview at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, where he was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

Told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith, Walker maintained that he was not aware of the president’s religion.

“I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” Walker said, his voice calm and firm. “I’ve never asked him that,” he added. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

True, the proposition of “dog whistle” politics is always a sketchy one; we prefer to call it by its name, which is “bigoted” politics. But given an example of this basic function, it really is the proper indictment.

But here’s the thing. The governor responded that “this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press”, a point reiterated by spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster when she called the Washington Post to try to salvage the governor’s performance:

“Of course the governor thinks the president is a Christian,” she said. “He thinks these kinds of gotcha questions distract from what he’s doing as governor of Wisconsin to make the state better and make life better for people in his state.”

Mr. Walker and his staff, including Ms. Webster, need to recognize that they are asking to play at the highest valence of American politics, and cheap excuses are unproductive. To explain it as simply as possible for both their benefits: When the eventual answer is, “Of course he thinks ____”, it would behoove the candidate to say so in the first place.

And this is where the dog whistles come in. (more…)

How To Blame Women for Anything

Left: A protester throws a smoke bomb back at police in Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014 (photo: Reuters).  Right: Dr. Ben Carson at CPAC, 8 March 2014 (photo: Susan Walsh/AP).

Every once in a while, the question of conservatives and racism arises, and in most cases such inquiries are at least a little sickening. For instance, former RNC chairman Michael Steele is a lot more tolerable as an individual on the television screen now that he’s been booted from the gig and no longer has to pander to other black people by wearing his hat sideways and explaining that this is just how conservatives roll. Still, though, there is almost always reason to wonder. For years, conservatives kept Alan Keyes around, and there really are no polite analogues from literature or history; it is as if his role was to say things that made white supremacists feel better about themselves.

The latest right-wing champion of color is Dr. Ben Carson, who recently explained to American Family Radio, a broadcast arm of the premiere hate organization American Family Association, that racism in these United States is to be blamed squarely on women:

“Certainly in a lot of our inner cities, in particular the black inner cities, where 73 percent of the young people are born out of wedlock, the majority of them have no father figure in their life. Usually the father figure is where you learn how to respond to authority. So now you become a teenager, you’re out there, you really have no idea how to respond to authority, you eventually run into the police or you run into somebody else in the neighborhood who also doesn’t know how to respond but is badder than you are, and you get killed or you end up in the penal system,” Carson said.

“If the so-called leaders were really interested in the community, they would be trying to deal with that problem, because that’s happening every single day,” he added.

When host Lauren Kitchen Stewards broke in to tie his remarks to young people’s “sense of entitlement,” Carson traced it all back to the women’s liberation movement.

“I think a lot of it really got started in the ’60s with the ‘me generation.’ ‘What’s in it for me?’ I hate to say it, but a lot of it had to do with the women’s lib movement. You know, ‘I’ve been taking care of my family, I’ve been doing that, what about me?’ You know, it really should be about us,” he said.

(Blue)

This is a point that cannot be understated: Black people are not going to vote for a black politician simply because that politician is black.

One would think it obvious, but the steady stream of Obamanoia from the right wing is enough to make a prima facie argument that Republicans do need reminding from time to time.

(more…)

Unfortunate Thematic Consistency

Detail of Tom Tomorrow, 20 October 2014Well, we would have gone with the gay joke, or the one about Daa’ish … or ebola or climate change or whatever … but, you know, this panel is, shall we say, a bit more on topic given the way things are going around here today. Via Tom Tomorrow and Daily Kos comes this look into the nightmare season, a misfortune of cyclical proportions that Hallowe’en and Election Day are so narrowly separated. To the one, Christmas starts in June, these days. To the other, it’s a Year Six election.

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Tomorrow, Tom. “The House of Feeeaaaarrrr”. This Modern World. Daily Kos Comics. 20 October 2014.

A Reminder (With Pictures)

Detail of Brian McFadden, 'What Would Boehner Do?'Brian McFadden asks the obvious question: “What would Boehner do?”

Reality must, at some point, resolve to make sense. Oh, wait, that’s wrong, isn’t it?

Damn.

A United State of Americans

US Domestic Terror Incidents 2008-11Perhaps the ugliest demand of politics is that tragedies often have political implications, and at some point those must be discussed. The end result, of course, is the often undignified spectacle of pundits trying to score public relations points in the face of human suffering and sorrow.

To wit, I’m pretty sure I just heard, on BBC’s Newshour, one of the right-wing authors cited in Norway shooter Anders Brevik’s outsize manifesto compare himself to The Beatles.

Or a blogger for Crooks and Liars suggesting that FOX News is unwilling to describe Breivik as a “conservative” extremist. And while there is no question about why FOX News might want to protect the word “conservative” from any negative associations, there really isn’t a dignified way to go about that discussion:

As you can see, the host is getting away with blaming social media, Norway’s law enforcement authorities for not monitoring social media more closely for people like this, and just about everything but coming out with the truth: Brevik was not a “domestic extremist.” He is a radical right-wing cultural warrior who has been influenced by many different people, including Tim Phillips, director of Freedomworks, apparently.

FOX News — Catherine HerridgeHerridge, instead of discussing the fundamental problem here, spends an inordinate amount of time blaming the Internet for his views. There is some truth to what she says. It’s easy to turn social media, blogs, and other content into an echo chamber which then magnifies anger and hate. Just have a look at Andrew Breitbart’s timeline sometime for an example. He specializes in that kind of tactic. Still, it’s beside the point. The point here is that Brevik espoused extreme right-wing political positions and acted on them to inflict political mayhem on his countrymen.

Let’s not forget that he didn’t just target a random group of people. He chose to target the youth movement of the current political party in power, which is further evidence of just how far he was willing to go to eradicate opposition.

(more…)