Monday, August 3, 2015

A Lesson in Federalism

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who will never be president, wants to call out the federal troops to stop abortions.  He thinks that’s an appropriate response to a lawful activity he disagrees with.

Nearly sixty years ago another Arkansas governor, Orval Faubus, was on the receiving end when President Eisenhower sent in federal troops to end segregation in Little Rock schools.  He thought it was a highly inappropriate response to a lawful activity he disagreed with.

Here endeth the lesson.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

How ISIS Will Win

Via C&L:

During an interview on Wednesday, attorney Elizabeth Beck told CNN that she was representing clients who were trying to get their condominium deposits back from Trump after a failed real estate venture in 2011. She said that she had been taking a deposition from the GOP candidate when she asked for a break to pump breast milk.

“He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me and he screamed, ‘You’re disgusting, you’re disgusting,’ and he ran out of there,” Beck said, calling the incident an “absolute meltdown.”

If Donald Trump is elected president, all ISIS has to do is whip out some breast pumps and we’re toast.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not Outrageous Enough

I’d like to think that Mike Huckabee’s going Godwin on the Iran nuclear deal would mean the end of his public presence, but frankly he’s not really saying anything that the rest of the GOP hasn’t been saying since the deal was agreed to.  He just used a graphic metaphor that Lindsey Graham or Ted Cruz didn’t think of.

So this outrage from Jeb Bush and the rest of the right-wing noise machine sounds more like they’re glad he’s taking the heat for saying out loud what they’ve all been thinking.

What all this ranting, raving, and way over the top spittlefleck from the Republicans reveals is that they are really, really worried about the Iran nuclear deal.  Not because it might result in a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv, but that it might actually bring an end to the Iran nuclear program and the beginning of the end of the diplomatic icejam between Tehran and Washington.  And worst of all, it is a huge win for Barack Obama in the last years of his term in office.

They’d rather have the bomb.  Without it, they’ve got nothing but peace and a Democratic president looking like a statesman, and no Republican can ever put up with that.

This isn’t the first time the GOP has put party politics over policy; far from it.  The most glaring example in recent memory was William Kristol’s memo in 1993 telling the party to defeat the Clinton administration’s plan for health care reform because if it succeeded, the population would like it and credit the Democrats for it.  Therefore it had to fail.  That informs the resistance to Obamacare: forget that it’s saving money and lives; it could be bad for the party at election time.  The same goes for the Iran nuclear deal.  What would you rather have, an agreement to stop the arms race or a Republican in the White House?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Huckabee Clamors For Attention

I guess poor Mike Huckabee feels left out of the fun that that Republican primary race has become.

President Barack Obama is marching Israelis to “the door of the oven” by agreeing to the Iran nuclear deal, Mike Huckabee said Sunday.

The Republican presidential candidate invoked the Holocaust in an interview with Breitbart News.

“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven,” Huckabee said.

There’s nothing like comparing the Obama administration to Auschwitz to get the fundraising going again.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jumping The Gun

Three members of the president’s cabinet went to Capitol Hill yesterday to promote the nuclear deal with Iran, but they might as well have stayed home for all the chances they had of convincing the Republicans.

Their view seems born of genuine distaste for the deal’s details, inherent distrust of President Obama, intense loyalty to Israel and an expansive view of the role that sanctions have played beyond preventing Iran’s nuclear abilities.

The discord began the Sunday before a deal was announced this month, when some high-ranking Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, were booked on Sunday talk shows and denounced the accord ahead of its release.

Hours after the accord was revealed — but before classified sections were made available to Congress — Republican lawmakers raced to send out news releases criticizing it.

That’s the New York Times’ gentle way of saying that they had already made up their minds before the deal was done and even if it had a complete capitulation by the Iranians and a promise to turn Tehran into Jesusland East, they’d hate it because Obama.  These cats would launch an airstrike against Tehran if they looked at us funny.

And don’t you just love the part about their “intense loyalty to Israel”?  That’s nice to support an ally, but just a gentle reminder: you took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  In other words, you work for us, not them.  Try to remember that.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Class Act

Sen. Marco Rubio takes shots at Donald Trump and manages to hit President Obama, too.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said this morning on “Fox and Friends” that he doesn’t believe Donald Trump’s behavior is worthy of the office of the president.

Rubio said that a person must conduct themselves “in a dignified way with a level of class” in order to be president of the United States.

“I don’t think that the way he’s behaved over the last few weeks is either dignified or worthy of the office that he seeks. We already have a president now that has no class,” he said.

Seriously?  Barack Obama has more class in his little finger than you do in your entire body, you little twerp.

Oh, and if that’s me not showing class, make the most of it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What About “Religious Liberty”?

When the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land — and even before — the Religious Right was all twitterpated about their loss of religious liberty and that they were going to be discriminated against.  To demonstrate what it’s like to be discriminated against on the basis of religion, let’s go to Farmersville, Texas.

A proposal to bring a Muslim cemetery to Farmersville has stoked fears among residents who are vehemently trying to convince community leaders to block the project. The sentiment reflects an anti-Muslim distrust that has been brewing over the last year in parts of Texas, most notably 25 miles away in Garland — the scene of a deadly May shooting outside a cartoon contest lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

“The concern for us is the radical element of Islam,” David J. Meeks, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, told The Dallas Morning News. He said he thinks the cemetery would be the first step toward a broader Muslim expansion in town.

“How can we stop a mosque or madrassa training center from going in there?” he asked, referring to a type of Islamic school.

So “religious liberty” only counts if it’s the right kind of religion.  Got it.

Religion vs. Christian 07-07-12

Will Jeb! Apologize To John Kerry?

It was expected that most (but not all) of the Republicans would come down hard on Donald Trump’s comments about John McCain, and of course Jeb Bush was right in there:

Jeb Bush on Trump 07-20-15

How noble of him to defend veterans against slanderous attacks.  That’s now, though.  Ten years ago he was decidedly in favor of it.

It turns out that in 2005, Jeb thought one veteran in particular should be attacked. He even thanked other veterans for swiftboating John Kerry, whom Republican conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who has never served his country, decided to accuse of cowardice in order to keep him out of the White House…

[…]

So Jeb, who at least (unlike Trump – or his brother) had not escaped service by deferment but who graduated late enough that he was simply never called up, feels it is wrong to attack a Republican veteran, John McCain, but perfectly permissible to attack a Democratic veteran, John Kerry.

Pathetic.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Amend This

First Texas had a problem getting their state officials to go along with the Supreme Court’s ruling that banning marriage equality violated the Fourteenth Amendment.  Now they have a problem with the provision that people born on U.S. soil are citizens.

So if this plays out the way most of these things usually do, you’re going to hear people invoking their First Amendment — and possibly their Second Amendment — rights in order to deny people their Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Your Freudian Slip Is Showing

Via Raw Story:

Fox News radio host Todd Starnes over the weekend delivered a sermon encouraging Christians to fight back against same-sex marriage and transgender equality.

Speaking to Abilene Baptist Church in Augusta on Sunday, Starnes began by saying it was good to be back in the South where it was easy to find Waffle House and Chick-fil-A restaurants, which he argued was “the official chicken of Jesus.”

“I believe that the reason that God blessed America is because we know how to smoke a pork butt,” Starnes said, turning to the recent Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage.

He’s got a problem with gay marriage, but he loves him some pork butt…?

Oh, and everybody knows that the “official chicken of Jesus” is Kirk Cameron.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Florida County Goes South

Via TPM, Florida proves again that we’re no trendsetters.

Marion County, Fla. officials took down the Confederate flag that flies at the county government complex last week, temporarily replacing it with a flag bearing the county seal, News 13 reported. The County Commission unanimously approved a move to fly the flag again days later, saying members would meet with historians to discuss placing markers by the flag to “explain its historical significance.”

One Confederate flag supporter told the station: “We live in America, and the last time I checked it was a democracy. So, here in Marion County, which has, what, 300,000 people, how can one man decide to take it off a flagpole?”

And nothing says “democracy” more than flying the symbol of a racist and treasonous bunch of losers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Next Battle

Now that the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, what’s next?  Paul Waldman at the Washington Post says it’s going to be the “religious liberty” issue.

While there’s a political calculation at work and a lot of the rhetoric travels into the territory of the absurd, there are also some legitimate legal questions that have to be worked out.

First, let’s place this in context. For some time now, conservative Christians have told themselves a story of their own oppression, one that testifies to their courage in holding to their faith when hostile forces would rip it from them and send them cowering to the shadows. This is in large part a reaction to the diversification of our society, in which the proportion of Americans who are Christian is indeed declining. As a result of that change, many of the features of civil and commercial life have changed as well, so that instead of being the only religion expressed, Christianity is one among many. Some Christians would obviously prefer it if their particular faith had a monopoly on government expressions and things like signs in department stores, and are genuinely horrified when they see a sign reading “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Since those Christians are mostly Republicans, and evangelicals are particularly numerous in the state of Iowa, GOP presidential candidates almost inevitably echo those sentiments back to the voters, repeating the narrative of oppression. “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian,” said Rick Perry in a famous ad from his presidential run four years ago. So brave, to admit that! “But you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

For the record, people still celebrate Christmas pretty openly last time I checked, and every kid is free to pray in school; what’s forbidden (in most but not all cases) is prayers sponsored and organized by the public school itself.

In any case, the gay marriage decision is easy to turn into a story of Christians oppressed, like the baker who doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple. Conservatives have successfully expanded the realm of the religious beyond things like rituals, worship, and sacraments into other realms like commerce, and if they’re feeling despondent over the Court decision, they should remember that this Supreme Court has agreed with them, holding in the Hobby Lobby case that a corporation can have its own religious beliefs and thus excuse itself from laws it doesn’t find congenial.

The course from there is pretty obvious: the Religious Right and their political allies running for president will use their vast lung power and internet reach to grift money from the foolish and the weak.  Every victory scored by the Radical Homosexuals (which sounds like an ’80’s heavy metal band) will generate e-mail blasts with pleas for money.

The conventional wisdom is that the ruling on marriage equality was greeted privately by the GOP and the Religious Right with, if not joy, at least relief.  For the Republicans, it removes it from the immediacy of the campaign and into the abstract (see Huckabee, Mike, and his plans to fight “judicial tyranny” with tyranny).  For the Religious Right, now they have a whole new flock of pigeons to pluck in the name of fighting non-existent persecution.

“But I Digress…”

State Sen. Lee Bright (R-SC) went all over the place yesterday in defending the Confederate flag, covering ground from laying the blame for slavery at the feet of the founders to wondering why gay couples could put people out of business with ISIS cakes at Walmart and ruminations on Budweiser beer’s support of white supremacists in Gold’s Gym t-shirts.

Oh, and Teh Gayz.  Gotta blame them for everything.

As the senators prepared to debate a measure that would remove the flag, Bright took to the floor to point out that President Barack Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at the funeral for nine black church members in Charleston and then later that night the White House was illuminated in rainbow colors to celebrate a Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

“I watch the White House be lit up in the abomination colors!” Bright said. “It is time for the church to rise up…. Romans chapter 1 is clear, the Bible is clear. This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and they are under assault by men in black robes who were not elected by you.”

Bright argued that lawmakers should be protecting county clerks from the “tyranny” of having to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples instead of debating the Confederate flag.

“Our governor called us in to deal with the flag that sits out front, let’s deal with the national sin that we face today!” he exclaimed. “We talk about abortion but this gay marriage thing, I believe will be one nation gone under like President Reagan said. If we’re not one nation under God, we’ll be one nation gone under.”

“And to sanctify deviant behavior from five judges, it’s time for us to make our stand, church!” Bright yelled. “It’s time to make our stand and we’re not doing it.”

It sounds like what happens when James Joyce meets up with Jesse Helms and they get shitfaced on Jello shots.

For all that, the Senate ended up voting 37-3 to remove the flag.

Monday, July 6, 2015

What’s Love Got To Do With It

It sounds like Mike Huckabee thinks there’s too much love in marriage.

Huckabee said this modern, emotional definition of love will destroy all marriages, not just same-sex marriage.

Sounds like he and the missus have some issues to work out.  Or perhaps he’d rather get back to the real traditional marriage where women were sold off to the highest bidder and the parents sealed the deal with twenty goats and a gift certificate from Golden Corral.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Leave God Alooooone!

A desperate housewife records an anti-gay marriage rant for the ages.

Ellettsville, IN, resident Becky Wegner Rommel recently took a break from house cleaning to record a cellphone video about marriage equality, and it’s a real doozy to say the least.

“This is a really sad day for me,” Rommel begins. “Everything that God created his church to be — as man as woman — Adam and Eve — Five justices decided that God was wrong!

What then follows are four and a half hilarious tear-filled minutes of regurgitated Fox News propaganda and a nonsense prayer about America’s decidedly secular founding fathers.

“God did not change! His word is truth!” Rommel sobs. “And God says that marriage is between a man and a woman! … I don’t care what you think. I don’t care what you think about my opinion because, you know what? I could really care less!”

I’ll bet she really lost it when they cancelled Touched By An Angel.

(For the reference in the title, go here.)

Update: Aw, Ms. Rommel took down her post, so if you missed it, here’s a re-enactment by Oscar Aydin.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The More You Know…

Some people freak out about anything they suspect of even hinting at supporting gay rights…

Don Stair, an Arkansas homophobe, lambasted NBC for changing its logo to rainbow colors in support of the LGBT community. One problem: NBC didn’t change its logo. It’s been rainbow colored since 1986.

Actually, NBC has been doing it for a lot longer.  This is from 1967.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fair Enough

I think Steve M is on to something: if states such as Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi won’t obey the federal laws or the rulings of the Supreme Court, then the next time they get hit by floods, tornadoes, or a hurricane, they can pay for their own disaster relief.

Yes, of course it would be cruel to deny assistance to the innocent people when a natural disaster strikes; why should they suffer because their governor or attorney general is a homophobic asshole?  (Well, for one thing, the people of the state elected them.  They bear some responsibility for putting them in office in the first place.)

The point is that the states can’t have it both ways: demanding to be left alone and stand for states’ rights (and Jesus!) until the going gets hairy.  It’s like a teenager who stomps out of the house swearing he’ll never have anything at all to do with his cruel parents and then demands they give him his allowance.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Out of Control

Watching the response by conservatives and the Republican candidates to the events last week, especially the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, tells me something about them beyond just their political stance and the base they’re pandering to.  It tells me that they have come to the realization that they are no longer in control, and they can’t deal with it on a rational basis.

The responses by the presidential candidates and leading voices in the conservative movement have been both apoplectic and infantile, ranging from threats of secession to indecipherable spluttering about amending the Constitution and bracing for God’s revenge.  These are not the reactions of rational minds and it calls into question whether or not these people should be trusted with positions of power.  Invoking “states rights” may carry some weight when you’re talking about enforcing medical marijuana laws, but when you are dealing with fundamental human rights such as marriage or equal access to accommodations, there has to be an understanding that there are certain things we don’t get to vote on: those are already hard-wired into the foundation of the country.  When the Constitution says that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” that applies to everyone.

This theory presumes, of course, that they ever really were in charge of the narrative of America: that we were a nation of straight white people who went to church on Sunday where the preacher told us that gay people were abominations and that people of other faiths were not to be trusted because they didn’t have the same values as we did.  It never was really that way and it never has been despite their best efforts to make it so.  Now that significant steps have been taken to demonstrate that all people are entitled to all the rights, that making healthcare available to all people is possible, and that old banners of treasonous states are no longer acceptable in polite society, they feel as if they are the ones being marginalized.

Their biggest fear is that they will now be treated the same way as they used to treat the ones they marginalized.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

He Can Dream

Mike Huckabee says that once he’s elected president he’ll block all federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

If the Congress decides that they want to pass enabling legislation, they could put it on my desk and I would veto it, and they can attempt to override it. That’s the process.

Yes, but since the chances of him becoming president of anything more than his HOA are nil, there’s not a lot to worry about unless you happen to be gay and live on the same cul-de-sac as he does.