Republicans are Nothing More Than Cheerleaders for Hate, Ignorance and Intolerance

Source: ForwardProgressives

Author: Allen Clifton

Emphasis Mine

Sometimes I’ve joked that my life would have much simpler had I just been a Republican. Doesn’t it just seem easier? Just grab a Bible; go to church 52 days a year; hang a flag at your home; go buy a gun; only worry about yourself; and repeat whatever talking points you’re fed by the conservative media and you’re good to go.
No complex or critical thinking is required. In fact, both of those are highly discouraged. Look at some of the more well-known members of the conservative media; people like Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly. These are people who’ve become stars among conservatives for simply spouting utter nonsense as often as possible. I firmly believe that right now I could go give a speech at a conservative event, have no idea what the event was about, and just using what I know about Republicans I could have people in attendance giving me standing ovations throughout most of my speech. It’s not hard to do. These are the people who claim to be “fighters for good, Christian family values,” yet support people like Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump (who was actually a speaker at the Iowa Freedom Summit) simply because they often make derogatory statements about President Obama and liberals in general. I’m not sure how you can claim that you’re defenders of “family values” when: Trump has been married three times (so much for that sanctity of marriage). Nugent dodged the draft (so much for supporting the troops), has threatened the president’s life and is an admitted sexual predator. Limbaugh has been married four times (again, so much for sanctity of marriage), is an admitted drug addict and constantly demeans women. Oh, but it’s okay because they all love guns and hate President Obama. And apparently that’s all you really need to do in order to be “loved” by these good, wholesome “Christians” standing for family values and the “moral majority.” And let’s not forget the “family values” that were on full display a few months ago by tea party queen herself Sarah Palin during a late-night drunken brawl her family was involved in. Apparently, even her 5-year-old grandson was a witness to it. Nothing says “good Christian values” quite like riding around in a limo late at night with several members of your family intoxicated, crashing parties – with a 5-year-old in the car.
But, again, she loves guns and hates President Obama, so she’s just fine by conservatives. The truth is, these people are nothing but cheerleaders for hate, ignorance and intolerance. Anyone can get on a stage and bash homosexuals, attack President Obama, praise guns and say “God Bless America” and these people would stand in awe, cheering like mindless drones programmed to respond to certain words or phrases. That’s really all it takes for conservatives to support anyone. If you can spout enough anti-liberal nonsense on a large enough stage, you’re only a few steps away being the next conservative hero. Because at the end of the day, these people don’t stand for anything. They claim they’re all about Christian values, but that’s negated when they throw their support behind adulterers and sexual predators. It’s just millions of people who are distracted by talking points, an American flag, a gun and the Bible. And when it’s all said and done, they’re really nothing more than cheerleaders for anyone who can get on a stage and preach hate, ignorance and intolerance.


Rush Limbaugh’s Anti-Pope Freakout Proves That He Needs a Crash Course In Reading Comprehension

His distortions have stopped making sense altogether.

Source: Salon, via AlterNet

Author: Steve Neumann

Emphasis Mine

Shortly before beginning to write this, I read a transcript of a recent Rush Limbaugh show titled “The Pope’s ‘Science Advisor’ Is an Atheist Who Worships the Earth,” which begins:


“My friends, not one to let things go, I have dug deep, and I have found out practically everything there is to know about the science advisor to Pope Francis on this encyclical. And the main thing you need to know, the guy’s an atheist.”

Why is that the main thing we need to know? Because atheists are evil, of course, and therefore their judgment can’t be trusted. But then Limbaugh says “the word for it in the story that I found, one of the most credible stories, is a pantheist, which is a variation of atheist.” Really? An a-theist is someone who doesn’t believe in God, but a pan-theist is someone who believes that God is the universe, or that the universe is a manifestation of God. (You know, “pan” means “all” and “theos” means “God,” and all that.) But Limbaugh says that a “pantheist is somebody that believes the earth is a living organism that has the equivalent of a brain and reacts to horrible things done to it by humans,” and that in this view “the earth becomes the deity and there is no God.”

Limbaugh’s deep digging raises more questions than it answers. Does the Pope’s science advisor, Hans Schellnhuber, really believe that the Earth is a living organism like you or me — or God? And if he does, does it matter? Do only atheists believe in anthropogenic global warming? If so, how do you explain someone like Katharine Hayhoe, an Evangelical Christian who “believes her religious faith obligates her to spread the word about climate change”? Can we trust her judgment? Limbaugh should really worry more about her because, as member of their tribe, she has the power to change Christian minds. Christians certainly aren’t going to be swayed by an evil atheist pantheist.

A search for Katharine Hayhoe on Limbaugh’s site turned up only one mention of her name. In a 2011 show where he interviews Marc Morano, who runs the climate denier blogClimate Depot, Limbaugh brings up the fact that Hayhoe was slotted to have a chapter in an upcoming book by Newt Gingrich:

“This woman is writing Newt’s chapter on climate change in the new book. She says, ‘It is primarily laypeople like talk show hosts who are perpetuating the idea that there is no scientific consensus.’ Marc Morano, our man in Washington, claims that Newt’s new book has a chapter written by a babe named Hayhoe — no offense, Reverend Jackson — that man-made global warming is happening, caused by man.”

Limbaugh doesn’t try to understand how an Evangelical Christian could believe that “among climate scientists, people who spend their lives researching our world, there’s no debate regarding the reality of climate change and the fact that humans are the primary cause.” He doesn’t even mention the fact that she’s a Christian. It turns out that just mentioning her on his show was enough to discredit her, though; Gingrich subsequently cut her chapter out of his book completely.

But back to Schellnhuber. Does he really believe in her holiness, Mother Gaia? I’m not 100 percent sure, but I doubt that he believes the Earth is literally a god to be worshipped. In a Nature article from 1999, titled “‘Earth system’ analysis and the second Copernican Revolution,” Schellnhuber argues that “sophisticated information-compression techniques including simulation modelling are now ushering in a second ‘Copernican’ revolution” that strives to understand the Earth holistically, hoping to develop concepts for global environmental management from that. A holistic approach is common in medicine, for example: the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease. A holistic approach to understanding the Earth seeks to take into account every relevant factor, too. Doesn’t seem too controversial.

Where people like Limbaugh really blow a gasket is when Schellnhuber writes that “ecosphere science is therefore coming of age, lending respectability to its romantic companion, Gaia theory.” To Limbaugh, this is an admission of allegiance to a pagan religion. But the “ecosphere” is just the biosphere of the earth, with emphasis on the interaction between its living and nonliving components. Gaia theory is a hypothesis formulated by the chemist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, that proposed that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.

The philosopher Michael Ruse notes in 2013 that “as science, Gaia never really made it, but it has provoked important scientific work nonetheless. The world as a whole, its homeostasis or lack of it, is interesting, important, and worthy of investigation,” and that even if Gaia theory hasn’t been accepted by most scientists, he says that “‘Earth Systems Science’ flourishes.” A charitable reading of Schellnhuber would lead us to conclude that he’s not shilling for a new religion. Consider his use of the adjective “romantic” to describe Gaia theory. He’s not taking Gaia theory literally, he’s saying that it’s “suggestive of an idealized view of reality,” as my Oxford dictionary defines “romantic.”

In other words, he’s using it as a metaphor to help him understand the issue. Schellnhuber also says that this “hotly debated ‘geophysiological’ approach to Earth-system analysis argues that the biosphere contributes in an almost cognizant way to self-regulating feedback mechanisms that have kept the Earth’s surface environment stable and habitable for life.” Notice that he uses scare quotes to describe Lovelock’s idea of studying the Earth’s “body.” Schellnhuber also utilizes metaphorical language again when he says that the Earth acts in an almost cognizant manner. That is, almost but not really.

Science thrives on the use of metaphor and analogy, especially when trying to communicate complex ideas and processes. Think of Richard Dawkins’s concept of the “selfish gene,” or pretty much anything written on physics by Brian Greene. In an episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” Greene has a cameo appearance where he uses a metaphor to introduce a wacky quantum effect:

“You can think of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle much like the special order menu that you find in certain Chinese restaurants, where you have some dishes in column A and other dishes in column B, and if you order the first dish in column A you can’t order the corresponding dish in column B — that’s sort like the Uncertainty Principle.”

Does Greene really believe that quantum physics is like a Chinese menu? Do I really need to answer that question?

I don’t think these subtleties are lost on people like Limbaugh; I think they believe they’re used as subterfuge by what they consider to be evil, liberal secular fascists to control the world. But that still doesn’t explain people like Katharine Hayhoe, who recently commented on the Pope’s “Laudato Si” encyclical at fellow Evangelical and scientist Francis Collins’s BioLogos website. The title of her post is “Why All Christians Should Heed Pope Francis’ Call to ‘Care for Our Common Home,’” where she writes:

“This is why the Pope’s unprecedented encyclical on climate change matters so much. It makes a moral call for action based on the fundamental premises of the Christian faith – premises so fundamental that we can all, and must all, agree…In this world, there is only really one thing we Christians are called to do: to fearlessly express Christ’s love to others. In the case of climate change, how do we express this love? Through acknowledging the reality of the issue; supporting action to help others who are being harmed now, today, and in the future; and taking our responsibility to care for God’s creation seriously.”

I think it’s clear that the Earth system science that people like Schellnhuber and others engage in makes generous use of metaphors to both understand the issue of global climate change and to communicate that understanding to the rest of us. Whether it’s called “Gaia” or “God’s creation,” it’s a poetic metaphor that has the power to motivate us to make the necessary changes because it shows how much we’re actually invested in it.

Speaking of poetic metaphors, the late poet Denise levertov, a former agnostic who converted to Catholicism in her sixties, combines Schellnhuber’s Gaia and Hayhoe’s Creation in her poem “Tragic Error” from her 1992 book Evening Train:

Surely we were to have been
earth’s mind, mirror, reflective source.
Surely our task
was to have been
to love the earth,
to dress and keep it like Eden’s garden. 

That would have been our dominion:
to be those cells of the earth’s body that could
perceive and imagine, could bring the planet
into the haven it is to be known. 

But as is usual for Limbaugh and others like FoxNews hosts and pundits, the invocation of an atheist who believes in Gaia is meant to instill fear in the GOP base, motivating them to vote against the Democratic Devil.



Biker Gangs, Tamir Rice, And The Rise Of White Fragility

Source: TPM

Author: Aurin Squir

Emphasis Mine

This scenario has repeated itself too many times to be coincidence. An 8-year-old child shot and killed by officers while she slept, a 17-year-old killed by police in his own home, a 22-year-old immediately shot and killed in a Wal-Mart, and many more cases of unarmed African Americans immediately getting shot down and labeled as menaces. While on the other side of reality, the Aurora shooter, Timothy McVeigh, and many other armed mass killers were arrested without a scratch on them.

The most dangerous uprising that’s threatening America’s stability isn’t black protests in places like Ferguson or Baltimore. It’s taking place among an aging white majority that is losing its bearing on reality and destroying the gears of government, media and public welfare. At its center is an inexplicable, illogical and dangerous fear that some sociologists are now defining as white fragility.

I have witnessed this strange phenomenon intensifying over the last several years, but I first became aware of it immediately after the election of Barack Obama.

On the Wednesday after the 2008 election, I drove from Cleveland to Columbus to catch an afternoon flight back to New York City. Out of curiosity I scanned the AM dials until I found a few conservative political talk shows. The sustained and palpable panic was amusing at first, then outrageously funny, before settling into deeply disconcerting. Despite the fact that virtually every poll had shown Obama as the predicted winner for weeks, the election results felt like a political Pearl Harbor for some.

Conservative callers were predicting the end of democracy, how 2008 might be the last election ever held in America, how the economy was going to be destroyed. In some exchanges the radio host egged on the callers’ conspiracies, while other times he warned listeners to be afraid: Taxes were going to skyrocket for the average working family, gas prices would climb. Rush Limbaugh encouraged everyone to start referring to the economic blight rendered by President George W. Bush’s administration as ‘the Obama economy.” And so they did. He proposed that all the issues in Iraq and Afghanistan were now Obama’s fault. And so they are. He predicted the end of American dream. And so they have worked to see the fulfillment of their prophecy.

These callers were borderline hysterical. Even though I couldn’t see what they looked like, I could make a safe guess as to the age and race of the average listener. As I sat in my rental car listening to the unfolding audio riot of an aging generation, it felt like I was at an unveiling of some absurdly humorous and horrific performance art piece. I was watching the polite mask fall away from a hateful, illogical and destructive mindset that has thrived for hundreds of years and is still going strong today: white fragility. 

White fragility is a termed coined by Robin DiAngelo, an associate professor of education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. In her 2011 academic pedagogical analysis titled “White Fragility,” DiAngelo goes into a detailed explanation of how white people in North America live in insulated social and media spaces that protect them from any race-based stress. This privileged fragility leaves them unable to tolerate any schism or challenge to a universally accepted belief system. Any shift away from that (like a biracial African-American president) triggers a deep and sustaining panic. Racial segregation, disproportionate representation in the media, and many other factors serve as the columns that support white fragility. Professor DiAngelo said she came up with the term when she was a diversity trainer for the state of Washington.

“The participants were mostly white, working [in] offices that were 98 percent white, living lives of never having to see people of color, and they were incredibly hostile and mean when discussing anything about race,” said DiAngelo, who’s white. “Some guys would pound their fists on the table in fury at being in a room where this discussion was taking place, many sulked silently.”

DiAngelo began reframing the conversation in a more constructive way in order to get participants to see how power structures of racial supremacy work in their lives. The misunderstanding was caused by misidentification of what white privilege and power means. Privilege doesn’t mean automatic wealth and health. What “white privilege” means is that society is rooting for one particular segment of the population to succeed over all others, and has installed a disproportionately high amount of institutional and  psychological helpers every step of the way.

Author and public speaker Tim Wise said he has encountered similar confusion.

Part of white fragility is to assume that when we talk about racism, we are calling someone out as being individually a racist,” he said. “So if you say we’re going to talk about racism, white people think you’re going to call them a name. But for most people of color it’s a system. And we’re talking about dealing with a structure so the real problem is the system.”

When separate groups of people are using the same word with different implied meanings then problems will persist. When it comes to racism and increased segregation, both Wise and DiAngelo noted that there seems to be this rigid unwillingness to address any inequality, because it would upset the very people who are both benefiting from the injustice and refusing to acknowledge its existence.

The fear is that if someone seeks to define and fix racism, many white people feel like they’re being directly attacked. So instead of waiting for the attack, white fragility promotes protection by putting punitive restrictions on “the others.”

The Obama era has been an interesting petri dish of white fragility. On the heels of a moderate economic recovery, we’ve seenvoting righ sweeping new state laws aimed at social issues:voting rights restrictions,, defunding of Planned Parenthood, anti-gay legislation, Stand Your Ground bills, and restrictive union laws to weaken their bargaining power. These laws have resulted in a rollback of rights for minorities, women, the LGBT movement, and the working class.

The marketing angle used for many of these legislations is that the white, straight, Christian status quo is threatened. New voter restrictions have been enacted in over 20 states to address fraud issues that did not and do not exist. But the restrictive laws will hurt minority communities. Stand Your Ground was an NRA boilerplate bill aimed encouraging a shoot-first cowboy mentality of murdering another person simply on the appearance of a threat. Anti-gay marriage amendments are passed to “protect traditional marriage.” The goal of defunding Planned Parenthood is to “protect life.

The strangest thing about white fragility politics is that the detrimental policy results are spread out across race and class. Yet, the political results for the conservative movement priming the pump of white fragility and rage is election victories. And why should they change when they can get large sections of an aging white population to consistently vote for policies proven to statistically hurt their economic chances, personal health, their children’s education, and their very safety?

What do you say to a state like Indiana that rolls back Planned Parenthood for political points based in white fragility and then watches as HIV infection rates explode in the community? What can be said of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and the legislators who knowingly bankrupt the state’s treasury to promote an economic philosophy of tax cuts to the wealthy that result in fewer services, broken infrastructure, suffering in schools, and—in the long run—more deaths? These are not rational decisions. These are fear-based politics that create avoidable disasters in which all suffer. This new wave of segregation fear is surging across the country. In response to the continued white fragility panic of 2008, conservative political movements are set to capitalize on the cycles of manufactured hysteria.

“We are watching the repeal of the 20th century,” Wise said.

Despite these social rollbacks, economic doomsday predictions under an Obama administration has turned into a fairly strong recovery. The stock market is soaring, unemployment rates are falling, and gas prices are down. The United States stands as one of the few countries to have not only recovered from the Great Recession, but to be somewhat thriving. It would seem like now would be the perfect moment to push the issue of white privilege and fragility forward. After the Ferguson movement and videotapes of countless unarmed black men and women being murdered by police, it seems like this nation might be headed toward some moment of truth: the start of a movement toward greater justice for all.

“I get emails saying ‘you’re a disgusting human being’ and people are just upset,” Di Angelo said. “They’re upset that they have been challenged and they can’t really handle it.”

When I asked Wise and DiAngelo to give me something hopeful for the future, they both gave me a bleak picture. When I suggested that more facts and evidence could sway people, they disagreed.

“People who are deeply committed to a world view don’t change their opinions when confronted with new facts,” Wise said. “Oddly enough, new facts cause them to dig in more deeply.”

Clarification: This post has been updated to reflect that police would have wanted Tamir Rice to be charged for his conduct prior to the shooting. Rice was not actually charged. It was also updated to reflect that it has not yet been established whether the victims in Waco were killed by bikers or police or both.

Aurin Squire is a freelance journalist who lives in New York City. In addition to being a playwriting fellow at The Juilliard School, he has writing commissions and residencies at the Dramatists Guild of America, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and National Black Theatre.


GOP’s Woman-Haters Club Swells: Why Their Hatred Is Actually Getting Worse

From Christie to Limbaugh the right’s view of women is steeped in the 18th century. It may finally catch up to them.

Source: AlterNet

Authors: Andrew Burstein & Nancy Isenburg

” In the recently released report he commissioned on the bridge closing scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s lawyer depicts the client as the innocent who was ensnared in the web woven by an “emotional” woman. No longer is Bridget Anne Kelly his hardworking deputy chief of staff, doing the bidding of a canny, no-nonsense governor; instead, she is your run-of-the-mill hysterical female lashing out against the multitude of commuters to get revenge, somehow, for being dumped by a guy.

Does this scenario make any sense? Why is it so common to subject to psychoanalysis a public official who is a woman? Why must she be cast as the dangerously “emotional” one in a political drama that paints Christie as a properly sensitive, duly caring public servant with “heartfelt” concern for his staff? Kelly’s attorney reacted to the obvious gender bias: “The report’s venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks concerning Ms. Kelly have no place in what is alleged to be a professional and independent report.”

The Christie report’s sexist motif cannot be treated in isolation. The evidence suggests a deep-seated hatred that calls to mind the hatred directed at President Obama for his oft-imagined illegitimacy. Just like the knee-jerk “You lie!” and “subhuman mongrel” that Obama unfortunately has to hear, sexist remarks from thought-deprived men are more than an eye-rolling distraction. “Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen” is not a dead ideology; insidious remarks about women’s “natural” helplessness are automatic in certain circles. They keep popping up like an annoying Whack-a-Mole. Can we figure out what’s going on?

The month just past was a heckuva month for know-nothingness and woman-bashing. In mid-March, responding to news of a projected National Women’s History museum, the always instructive Rush Limbaugh auto-blurted: “We already have, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know how many museums for women all over the country. They are called malls.” Pregnant pause. “Hey, I could have said brothel.” Yes, and you could have admitted that in your oafish imagination a woman who is not deferential is a militant.

The marginally less rude but equally humorless Sen. Rand Paul grabbed momentary headlines when he tried to smear Hillary Clinton by associating her with the decades-old taint of her husband’s infidelity. Meanwhile, in defense of his own political virtue, Paul added a personal reflection to his stock of convenient statistics. “I’ve seen the women in my family and how well they’re doing,” he explained. “My niece is in Cornell Vet School, and 85 percent of the people in vet school right now are women. Over half the young people in medical school and dental school are women. Law school, the same way. I think women are doing very well, and I’m proud of how well we’ve come and how far we’ve come, and I think that some of the victimology and all this other stuff is trumped up.” Nothing to worry about, ye women seeking an equal place in society. He’s got anecdotal evidence. So stop complaining.

On March 20, apocalyptic visions with political resonance came from the lips of the author, onetime Limbaugh research assistant and born-again Christian Joel Rosenberg, a guest on the “700 Club.” He assured sympathetic host Pat Robertson that God will punish America when it reaches 60 million abortions – which, he hastened to compare, would mean six times the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis. He also likened those Christians who refuse to actively oppose abortion to the German Protestants who collaborated with Hitler’s Bible-burning regime.

Then, on March 28, radio talk show host Bryan Fischer, the director of “Issues Analysis” for the American Family Association, said he only hires women as secretaries because of “God’s basic design,” which necessitates gender discrimination; a woman’s “primary outlet” was at home. The same sentiment was expressed by New Mexico Republican Steve Pearce in his new book: “The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice.” By his logic, her submission to him is equally rooted in submission before God and love for a husband. Pearce, a Baptist, places on the man the biblically inspired requirement that he “take the leadership role” in all principal issues, “and be accountable for the outcome.”

And who can forget Mike Huckabee’s precious, upside-down defense of womanhood earlier this year: “Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have a government provide for them birth control medication … If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.” You tell ’em, Mike.

Time for a history reminder. Some appear to have forgotten that the reason women did not gain the right to vote until 1920 was because male politicians felt a female franchise threatened the institution of marriage. Under the common law definition of marriage, women were defined as subordinate and dependent on their husbands; in no uncertain terms, their identity was subsumed into their husband’s.

Case in point: adultery. It caused husbands to divorce their wives, but not the other way around. The fear was that the wife might give birth to another man’s child and corrupt the husband’s ability to reward his legitimate heirs. Another example: immigration. From 1855 to 1922, a woman who bore a child outside the U.S. was unable to confer citizenship upon the child; only an American man could do so. In the early 20th century (1907-1922), a women could be divested of citizenship if she married a non-American. Meanwhile, it was acceptable to grant citizenship to a foreign woman who married an American male. Can you say, “double-standard”?

In the 1873 Supreme Court decision of Bradwell v. Illinoisthe court ruled that a woman could not practice law because she could not represent her client. Myra Bradwell was married; her first allegiance was to her husband. She could not represent herself, let alone a client. This immutable fact was based, reasoned Justice Joseph Bradley, on the “law of the Creator” and common-law dicta from “time immemorial.” Women’s bodies undermined their authority, Bradley contended. They lacked the “confidence,” “decision,” and “firmness” of the “sterner sex.” Yes, the women of 1873 were viewed the same way Christie’s report painted Bridget Kelly. That’s the cultural and judicial tradition from which the nonsense we hear spouted today arises.

Men were men. The standard. That’s why it was always “mankind” and “All men are created equal.” Women were referred to – and this is not a joke – as “the sex,” because everything they did was viewed through a sexual lens. Eve was the gateway to evil. Without ministers, husbands and, now, Republican politicians to supervise their behavior, they invariably fall prey to uncontrollable libidos. As it was in the 18th and 19th centuries for mainstream America, it remains in select circles in the 21st.

Now then, when was the last time you read of a female gang member who shot up a neighborhood; or a young, disturbed female who went on a rampage in an elementary school, a mall, a military base; or a congresswoman who slept with an intern, a male prostitute or a campaign aide’s husband?

Women in politics do not tend to be the philanderers, adulterers, harassers, or johns. And they certainly appear the more trustworthy gender when it comes to responsible gun ownership. If Americans really prioritized sexual purity or rational behavior, they would have to assume that a vote for a woman was less likely to be regretted; and that a female politician was at least slightly less likely to be compromised in today’s court-sanctioned corporate-owned electoral money game that puts the lie to our insistent definition of the United States as a representative democracy. Note that more women than men graduate college these days. Note that more women vote Democratic, and more men vote Republican.

The real question is: Why aren’t Republican men suffering more at the polls for their bad behavior? Why, as we approach the midterm elections, is it so hard for prospective voters to acknowledge what stares them in the face? In their crippled efforts to redefine in less obnoxious language its ever-active legislative war on women, the Republican Party employs diversionary tactics to hide sad truths about a morally bankrupt gender bias.

We’re not making news, or offering a rare insight, when we denote today’s far right as a loud, angry, fear-mongering, control-oriented faction that accuses government of meddling in people’s lives when it is they who really want to enforce submission. The economic arm of conservatism protects moneyed power, while the socio-religious arm does its best to enforce patriarchy. And yet these same people never tire of tossing out the word “liberty” in their opposition to a supposedly meddlesome federal government. Apparently, to them, liberty means “you can’t take away what I hoard or what I command.” Indeed, they are the party of hoarding and commanding, keeping some people down and pushing other people around. They (more than their typical targets: IRS, Affordable Care Act, etc.) are the meddlesome ones. Why is equal pay for women – or fairness of any kind in the workplace – still at issue?

Before the weaponless, holier-than-thou Rand Paul attaches Hillary Clinton to husband Bill’s Lewinsky affair, the Kentucky senator ought to have a word with Newt Gingrich, who cheated on his second wife because he loved America so much. And he should ask Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn why he covered up Nevada Sen. John Ensign’s sordid, payoff-laced affair with his campaign director’s wife, when Ensign used their ultra-Christian bachelor pad in D.C. to stage his trysts. There are enough Republican libertines to go around – and generally speaking, they are the same men who attack women for using birth control.

Andrew Burstein is Charles P. Manship Professor of History at LSU. Lincoln Dreamt He Died: The Midnight Visions of Remarkable Americans from Colonial Times to Freud is his ninth book. It will be published by Palgrave later this month.


Emphasis Mine


Rush Limbaugh’s Radio Decline Is No Fluke: Twitter-Fueled Advertising Boycott Could Usher In The End Of Host’s Deal With Cumulus Media

And what has been the result of this yearlong scourge of the companies responsible for Limbaugh’s livelihood? It has been working.

Source: International Business Times

Author: Christopher Zara

“The declining influence of Rush Limbaugh has been a topic of discussion for some time now — for so long, in fact, that there’s little left to discuss. Throughout the presidential election last year, if he was talked about at all, it was mostly in the context of how poisonous his divisive shtick has become to the Republican Party. That’s a far cry from the early 1990s, when the radio host changed the face of modern discourse with his ability to break down the country’s salient liberal-conservative divide into the most puerile of terms.

Now, Limbaugh is feuding with Cumulus Media Inc. (NASDAQ:CMLS), the company that broadcasts his radio program on 40 stations in 36 markets, over who is to blame for an ongoing decline in advertising revenue. Lew Dickey, Cumulus Media’s chief officer, has been pointing the finger at Limbaugh and in particular a grassroots advertising boycott that erupted in early 2012, following the infamous Sandra Fluke controversy. Limbaugh, in case you’d forgottencalled Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after the Georgetown University student spoke out in support of insurance mandates for contraceptives. He later apologized — profusely so — but the damage was done. People were fed up, and they took to the Internet and social media to send a message to Limbaugh’s advertisers that they won’t support any business that supports Limbaugh’s brand of radio rabble-rousing. Jittery over the response, advertisers began to bolt. Some never came back, including Geico, Sears, John Deere, Netflix, Capitol One and hundreds of others.

The International Business Times reached out to some of those advertisers for comment. Only the Home Depot responded. In an email, spokesman Stephen Holmes said the company does not advertise on Limbaugh’s program or any opinion show. “It’s been our policy not to sponsor opinion shows, which would include Rush or any others, for that matter,” Holmes said. “An ad might run occasionally during a news break, but those are programming errors that occur at local stations from time to time.”

Meanwhile, keeps a running list of companies that advertise on Limbaugh’s program, including phone numbers, emails and Twitter handles of the companies’ contacts. (Several recent instances of Home Depot ads have been reported.) There’s even a Web browser extension — launched by — that helps users avoid businesses that advertise with Limbaugh. Of course, all of this comes with the usual online petitions from and, yes, even

And what has been the result of this yearlong scourge of the companies responsible for Limbaugh’s livelihood? It has been working. That free-market system that conservatives are so fond of touting is operating with machinelike precision — or at least that’s one way to look at Cumulus Media’s first-quarter results released on Tuesday. Adjusted Ebitda fell 22.1 percent from the same period last year, while net revenue fell 1.3 percent to $232.9 million due in part to “general lower advertising spending in some of our markets,” according to the company’s statement.

During a conference call with analysts, Dickey was asked if the decline can be attributed directly to the StopRush campaign. According to Daily Kos, his only response was to say that it was a “tough go of it in the last year and that the facts are indisputable.” He had a similar take in August when he reported that the company’s top three radio stations had lost $5.5 million in advertising revenue, which he attributed in part to the boycott.

One of the basic tenets of the free-market system is that the market participants choose what gets produced, and, from the looks of things, they’re not choosing Limbaugh. Not that Limbaugh himself sees it that way. On his radio show, he has made it clear that he believes “media buyers at advertising agencies are young women fresh out of college, liberal feminists who hate conservatism.” And according to the New York Daily News, he’s absolutely fed up with taking the blame for Cumulus’ advertising woes. On Sunday, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported that Limbaugh is even considering severing ties with Cumulus when his contract expires at the end of this year.

That would put Limbaugh’s show in potential limbo for Cumulus’ network of radio stations. The show could get picked up by competitors or Limbaugh could go the Howard Stern/satellite radio route, as Mediabistro’s Alex Weprin theorized on Monday. But even if that were the case, it wouldn’t bode well for the host’s declining influence. When Stern made the transition to satellite, he was left with a fraction of his former audience. And while he has publicly stated that he’s happier without the FCC-imposed restraints of terrestrial radio, his recent judging gig on “America’s Got Talent” is proof enough that he missed the spotlight.

Could a similar path be in the cards for Limbaugh? Imagine him sharing a panel with Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on “American Idol.” It would certainly get people talking.


Emphasis Mine


Rush Limbaugh Is A “Low-Information” Radio Host

Rush Limbaugh has frequently attacked citizens who voted to re-elect President Obama as “low-information voters,” but Limbaugh has made so many false and misleading attacks that he could be considered a low-information radio host.

From: Media Matters

Limbaugh Does “Low-Information Voter Segment” Of Celebrity News. In an effort to appeal to “low-information voters,” on the January 7 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh ran a segment on “breaking news from TMZ” about how “Kyle XY star Matt Dallas has come out.” [Premiere Radio NetworksThe Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/7/13, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh: “A Low-Information Voter Is Actually A High Liberal Information Voter.” On December 21, 2012, Limbaugh defined a “low-information voter” as “actually a high liberal information voter” that cares about celebrity news, and “there just isn’t much room left” in their brains for things like “deficits, tax cuts, economic matters, the country going to hell in a handbasket.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show,12/21/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh: Obama Won “Person Of The Year” Honor Because He Attracted Low-Information Voters.Limbaugh said that Obama was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” because “he turned low-information, apathetic voters into people who vote.” Limbaugh added that Obama is “a symbol of the new low-information America” and “it’s only a low-information voter — we used to call them morons — that could think he’s outside politics.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/19/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Displays Debt Ceiling Ignorance While Attacking CNN’s Velshi. Limbaugh insisted that the federal debt ceiling is like a limit on credit card spending in an attempt to prove that CNN’s Ali Velshi was a “low-information reporter.” In fact, failure to raise the debt ceiling is actually like refusing to pay a credit card bill because it restrains the government’s ability to pay its debts, not future spending. [Media Matters1/4/13]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Union Members Have No Say In How Dues Are Spent. Limbaugh claimed that “there a lot of union workers who are not Democrats, not liberals,” but they “have no control” over how union officials spend their dues on political activities. In fact, workers at unionized workplaces already can choose whether to pay for the political activities of the union that bargains on their behalf. [Premiere Radio Networks,The Rush Limbaugh Show12/12/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters, 12/11/12]

Limbaugh Mocks Fact That Unemployment Benefits Are Stimulus. Limbaugh denied that unemployment benefits have a positive effect on the economy, saying it’s a “crock” that extending them translates into economic growth. In fact, studies show that these benefits stimulate the overall economy and provide greater economic impact on growth than the Bush tax cuts for upper-income earners. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/10/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Dismisses Guns’ Role In Domestic Violence Deaths. Limbaugh dismissed the notion that Kasandra Perkins, who was killed in a murder-suicide by her boyfriend, NFL football player Jovan Belcher, would still be alive today if Belcher hadn’t had a gun. In fact, data show that guns greatly increase the probability that women who are victims of domestic violence will be killed by their abuser. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show12/3/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh: “Everything — Except The Polls — Points To A Romney Landslide.” Under the headline “Everything — Except The Polls — Points To A Romney Landslide,” Limbaugh’s website posted a transcript of his radio show in which he said his “intellectual analysis” of the election was that “it’s not even close. Three hundred-plus electoral votes for Romney.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/5/12]

Limbaugh: Climate Change Is “A Nonissue Anymore Because It’s Fraudulent. The Whole Thing Has Been Proven To Be A Hoax.” Limbaugh asserted that climate change is “a nonissue anymore because it’s fraudulent. The whole thing has been proven to be a hoax.” That statement was one in a long series of Limbaugh repeatedly denying the scientific consensus that climate change is driven at least in part by human activities. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/30/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters,12/19/11]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Reagan “Inherited A Worse Recession Than Obama Did.” Limbaugh said that President Reagan “inherited a worse recession than Obama did.” In fact, the two recessions are not comparable; the recession in the early 1980s was caused by monetary restriction aimed at bringing inflation under control, while the 2007 recession was caused by a financial crisis, which typically takes more time to recover from. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/15/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters8/3/12]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Conservatives Didn’t Attack Supreme Court Nominees. Limbaugh declared he and other conservatives “don’t try to destroy” the careers of Democratic nominees to the Supreme Court. But Limbaugh himself, backed up by the right-wing media, launched a string of vicious and offensive attacks on both Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor during their appointment processes. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/12/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Peddles Unproven Conspiracy Theory That Jobless “Numbers Have Been Cooked.” Limbaugh said he agreed with former General Electric CEO Jack Welch that unemployment “numbers have been cooked.” In fact, experts dismiss the claims as unfounded conspiracy theories and agree that the numbers are accurate. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/8/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters,10/5/12]

Limbaugh Promotes Discredited Obama Gun Grab Conspiracy. Limbaugh claimed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Operation Fast and Furious was hatched as an Obama administration plot to disarm Americans. In fact, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General found “no evidence” that the agents involved in Fast and Furious had “improper motives” and that the goal of the operation was “dismantling a dangerous firearms trafficking organization.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show9/21/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Spreads Discredited Rumor That Marines At U.S. Embassy In Cairo Didn’t Have Bullets.Limbaugh said that on the day of the attack on the diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, “the Marines didn’t have bullets in Egypt.” In fact, the rumor that Marines protecting the embassy in Cairo were prohibited from carrying live ammunition was debunked by the Marine Corps itself, which called it “not accurate.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show9/14/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters9/13/12]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed Obama’s Election Caused 2008 Job Losses. Limbaugh encouraged his listeners to “[g]o back and look at the monthly unemployment numbers” to confirm his claim that job losses in 2008 were a reaction to President Obama’s election in November of that year. In fact, the U.S. economy began losing jobs in February, and the pace of job losses began to accelerate prior to the election. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/3/12, via Media Matters]

(N.B.: this is a an example of a Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy (after this, therefore because of this.) A confused relationship of antecedent-subsequence with a cause and effect relationship.

Limbaugh Returns To Years-Old Smear By Saying Obama “Trash[ed] The Founders.” Limbaugh claimed that Obama was “trashing the founders” by saying that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren “wasn’t that radical.” In fact, Obama was pointing out that because the Warren Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution,” it was not as radical as its critics have claimed. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/2/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters10/28/08]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims IRS Is Hiring “16,000 New Agents” To Implement Health Care Reform.Limbaugh said that the Internal Revenue Service is hiring “16,000 new agents”  who will determine whether individuals and businesses are buying “the right kind” of insurance inder the Affordable Care Act. In fact, according to, that claim is “wildly inaccurate” and “stems from a partisan analysis based on guesswork and false assumptions, and compounded by outright misrepresentation.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/2/12, via Media Matters;, 3/30/12]

Limbaugh Entertains Absurd Conspiracy Theory That President Obama Might “Dispense With Elections.” Limbaugh said, “What if Obama decides that the 22nd Amendment is no longer relevant?” adding the idea is “worth throwing out” because Obama championed a health care reform law that “basically pees all over” the Constitution. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show6/25/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Rewrites Obama’s Dreams To Falsely Claim “Racist” Attack. Limbaugh used a new biography about President Obama’s life to claim he viewed his high school basketball coach and his team as “racist” and that Obama wrote in his book Dreams From My Father that “he played black ball, the coach coached white ball, and as such the coach was a racist, the team was racist, strategy of the game was racist, and Obama rode the bench.” In fact, Obama wrote that he disabused a friend who suggested racism was a factor in him not getting more playing time on the basketball team. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show,6/25/12, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Endorses Romney’s Discredited Allegation That Obama Knowingly Slowed Down The Recovery. Limbaugh said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was “getting a lot of positive feedback” for claiming that the Obama administration “knowingly slowed down our recovery in order to put in place Obamacare,” adding, “That is something we would say and have said, but to hear a Republican presidential candidate say it, it is kind of cool.” In fact, the actual comments to which Romney and Limbaugh were referring make clear that the White House has always rejected the dubious claim that it could not focus on economic recovery and health care reform at the same time. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show6/7/12, via Media Matters; Media Matters6/6/12]

Limbaugh Promotes Dubious Story About “Necrophilia Law” In Egypt. Limbaugh hyped a thinly sourced column in an Egyptian newspaper about a supposed proposal to legalize necrophilia, saying that “one question I had of my own was, ‘Who provides the contraceptives when an Egyptian guy has sex with his dead wife?’ ” But Al-Arabiya reported that members of the Egyptian parliament were denying that any such law was ever proposed. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show4/27/12Media Matters4/30/12]

Limbaugh Revives Bogus Attack That Obama Supports “Infanticide.” Limbaugh said that while serving in the Illinois State Senate, Obama “voted for infanticide,” claiming that “Barack Obama voted to allow babies who survived an abortion to go ahead and be killed.” In fact, Obama voiced his opposition to the legislation as a state senator because it would have given legal status to fetuses and would thus have been struck down by the courts, and because Illinois already had laws to ensure infants who survived abortions would be given medical attention. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show2/23/12, via Media Matters; National Journal2/22/12]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims “There Is A Relationship Between Abortion And Breast Cancer.” Limbaugh said that “there is a relationship between abortion and breast cancer,” adding that “it’s been medically documented.” In fact, the American Cancer Society says that “research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer,” and the National Cancer Institute states that it found that “having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.”  [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show2/3/12Media Matters11/19/09]

Limbaugh: Nobody Is Mentioning That Sandusky Is “A Gay Guy.” Limbaugh said that the media refused to identify former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who had been charged with child molestation, as “a gay guy,” due to the influence of a powerful “gay lobby.” In fact, experts say that men who molest young boys aren’t necessarily gay, and there is no credible link between homosexuality and pedophilia. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/18/11Equality Matters11/17/11]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed Obama Is “Target[ing] Christians” In Uganda. Limbaugh said that “President Obama has deployed troops to another war, in Africa,” adding that the group being targeted, the Lord’s Resistance Army, “are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. … So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians.” In fact, claimed Christian ties of the Lord’s Resistance Army are reportedly part of a mish-mash of other religious and occult beliefs, and the group has a long record of alleged atrocities, including sexual enslavement and forcibly conscripting children. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/14/11, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed That “The Democrat Party” Was Proposing To “Outlaw Your 401(K) Plan.”Limbaugh claimed that Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a proposal to eliminate 401(k).  Rather, the idea of guaranteed retirement accounts — which was distorted by Limbaugh — was mentioned by a panelist from the Economic Policy Institute during a hearing held by Harkin and Sanders on retirement security issues. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show11/2/10, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed That Obama Thinks Iran Should Have A Nuclear Weapon If Israel Does.Limbaugh claimed that President Obama believes Iran should have a nuclear weapon because “that’s fair,” commenting that “Obama knows he can’t make any other nation get rid of theirs” and so Obama has decided that “If the Israelis have one, the Iranians should.” However, Obama and his administration had repeatedly called Iranian nuclear activity a “threat” and demanded that they adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/13/10, via Media Matters]

Limbaugh Falsely Claimed Center For Science In The Public Interest Wanted To “Ban Chinese Food.”Limbaugh discussed the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which advocates for nutrition, health, and food safety, and its intent to file suit against McDonald’s for its “unfair and deceptive” promotion of toys to children through its Happy Meals. The CSPI has lauded Chinese restaurants and labeled most Chinese dishes “healthy,” yet Limbaugh stated of the Washington-based group: “They wanted to ban Chinese food. These people want to get in your life and tell you what to eat,” and attacked them as “kooks, statists, [and] nannies.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/9/10, via Media Matters]

Emphasis Mine


Cui Bono?

The key is messaging; messaging is the key. Listening to conservatives yesterday, their message was that this is a large tax burden. Our first message? That is a Lie: the only people who would pay the fee are those who can afford health care insurance, and choose not to get it. (The best example of a tax on Pure, Utter, Stupidity yet offered!)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been protected by the SCOTUS, who judicated that to those for whom health insurance is affordable, they must either purchase same, or pay a fine.

Hooray for Us!

The question is: who benefits?

There are three dimensions to the answer: human, business, and political.
The first two are straight forward.  For the first: those under 27, those over 65, those who cannot afford adequate health care, and those who can. The second: private health insurance companies (at least for a decade), and health care providers will benefit from an increase in customers.
Political?  “Aye, there’s the rub…”
This decision may well have motivated the conservative base – something their candidate has been incapable of achieving.  (To those who find joy in others not being able to obtain adequate health care, there is no hope.)
It also provides a unifying issue for progressives, and defines a clear difference between the parties: The GOP, who want to go back to the past; and the Democrats, who want to move forward.
How do we progressives protect our gains and move forward?  By re-electing President Obama, and by electing solid progressive majorities in the House and Senate.   How do we achieve that?  By organizing, motivating, messaging, and getting out the vote.
The key is messaging; messaging is the key.  Listening to conservatives yesterday, their message was that this is a large tax burden.  Our first message? That is a Lie: the only people who would pay the fee are those who can afford health care insurance, and choose not to get it.  (The best example of a tax on Pure, Utter, Stupidity yet offered!)
We must frame messages to the middle of the political spectrum on why the ACA is good for all, bad for none, and that includes them.
N.B.: cui bono is Latin for Who Benefits: the basis of any homicide case.

Incomes down for most but up for wealthiest

growing income gap between the nation’s rich and poor.

News Alert?!

By Associated Press Staff

“The government is reporting that 50 percent of U.S. workers earned less than $26,364 last year, reflecting a growing income gap between the nation’s rich and poor.

According to the Social Security administration, there were fewer jobs, and overall pay was trending down — except for the wealthiest Americans. The number of people making $1 million or more soared by over 18 percent from 2009. There were 5.2 million fewer jobs in 2010 than in 2007, when the deepest recession since the 1930s began.

The payroll figures are based on W-2 forms submitted by employers to the IRS. The figures were posted by Social Security on its website as demonstrations raged on Wall Street and across the country protesting high unemployment and a growing income gap.”

Emphasis Mine


The Definitive Guide to Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in the 2012 Republican Primaries (So Far)

The Republican field for 2012 is pretty competitive–when it comes to regressive statements and bigotry, that is.

From AlterNet, by Sally Kohn

“There is a reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital. Stretched out between the memories of two presidents, the water reminds us that politics are merely a reflection of American society, for better or worse. The best of our society was on display 48 years ago when hundreds of thousands of Americans stood in scenic unity along the reflecting pool in support of civil rights. Today, the 2012 presidential elections reflect a nation still plagued by bias and inequality. Troubled and ugly waters indeed.

The following is a guide to use when you consider casting a vote for one of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates. You may be among the Americans who have lost faith in Obama or the Democratic Party and pondering a step to the right. Faulty as the Democrats may be, read this guide and remember that liberals still believe abolishing slavery was a good idea and that women should not be confined to the kitchen—which is not something you can say about all of the Republican contenders.

Rick Santorum, Former Senator from Pennsylvania

In 2003, then-Sen. Santorum conflated being gay with bigamy, incest and having sex with farm animals, then said, “That’s not to pick on homosexuality.” Really?

Later, Sen. Santorum actually copped to his prejudices, but spun them as a positive trait. “You can say I’m a hater, but I would argue I’m a lover,” Santorum said. “I’m a lover of traditional families and of the right of children to have a mother and father…. I would argue that the future of America hangs in the balance.” Sounds like a hater to me.

In 2008, Santorum tried to manufacture liberal angst about then-candidate Barack Obama, saying Democrats feared Obama “may go to Indonesia and bow to more Muslims.” That’s not to pick on Muslims, right? Still, the one thing I can say about Santorum is at least he’s openly and consistently bigoted. There’s something oddly old fashioned about that.

Michele Bachmann, Representative from Minnesota

Bachmann signed the infamous “black kids were better off under slavery” pledge and ushered in a real high point in the campaign season as pundits struggled in-artfully to talk about the nation’s ugly racial history. Then Bachmann demeaned President Obama’s economic policies by alleging he’s tying the U.S. economy to Zimbabwe.

But Bachmann is not all rhetoric—she takes it to the streets. In 2006, then State Sen. Bachmann hid behind a bush to spy on a gay rights rally, crouching with her husband Marcus who runs a cure-away-the-gay reparative therapy organization of which she is “extremely proud.”

Speaking of her husband, Bachmann’s gender does not make her a feminist. She once told wives “to be submissive to your husbands” like she was when Marcus told her to go to grad school and run for Congress. “I was going to be faithful to what I felt God was calling me to do through my husband,” Bachmann said.

Herman Cain, Former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza

I hate to suggest that an otherwise ridiculously under-qualified black conservative is only a contender for the Republican nod because mildly self-aware conservative voters think they can cover up their profound racial resentment toward the current black president by endorsing Cain. So I won’t suggest it.

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas

Gov. Perry has some extreme beliefs. “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme,” and “Medicare needs to be changed or potentially abolished” are two that have gotten lots of attention since he joined the race. But it’s his constant embrace of “states’ rights” that has me most worried, given that “state’s rights” was a pro-segregation refrain when white southerners wanted to preserve the right to own slaves. And taking “state’s rights” to a whole new creepy level, Perry has actually endorsed the idea of Texas seceding to become a separate nation. Maybe the Confederate flag can be re-appropriated?

There’s more. Activists and bloggers are now digging into Perry’s relationship with David Barton, a pseudo-historian and close ally of Glenn Beck who has argued that the California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were “God’s punishment for tolerating gays.” Barton also argued that Martin Luther King, Jr., doesn’t deserve credit for civil rights because “only majorities can expand political rights“—in other words, Barton thinks white people in power should get all the credit. If Obama got flack for his ties to Jeremiah Wright, Perry should be scrutinized for his embrace of Barton and his extremism.

Ron Paul, Representative from Texas

The libertarian member of Congress has said plainly that he would have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And a newsletter Paul published in 1992 says the Los Angeles riots only stopped when blacks went to “pick up their welfare checks.” Another Paul newsletter alleged that black children “are trained to hate whites, to believe that white oppression is responsible for all black ills, to ‘fight the power,’ to steal and loot as much money from the white enemy as possible.” Paul has denied authoring these newsletters, though they were published by him and called “The Ron Paul Political Report.” Perhaps for Paul—or whoever he let write under his name—libertarianism means government shouldn’t stop people like him from being racist.

Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts

In April of this year, Romney said conservatives have to hang something called the Obama Misery Index “around [the President’s] neck.” In the same speech, Romney tried to step it back, saying “We’re going to hang him—uh, so to speak, metaphorically—with, uh, with, uh—you have to be careful these days, I’ve learned that.” It was either an idiotic choice of metaphors or a revealing slip of the noose—I mean tongue. In the past, Romney has used the racial epithet “tar baby” to demean government programs.

And if Obama has Jeremiah Wright and Rick Perry has David Barton, some wonder whether Romney should have to answer for the racist history of the Mormon Church, which until 1978 did not allow blacks to become priests or lead certain ordinances. In 1963, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was quoted in Life Magazine defending his religion’s racism, saying, “Darkies are wonderful people.”

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney was for marriage equality before he was against it. Now, to prove his homophobic bona fides, he’s signed an anti-gay marriage pledge by the National Organization for Marriage. Santorum and Bachmann have also signed.

Jon Huntsman, Former Governor of Utah and Ambassador to China

Last but not least, there’s Jon Huntsman. But the fact is he is far too knowledgeable, experienced and, above all, reasonable to have a shot at winning with the increasingly fringe Republican base. Huntsman has far too few overt or even veiled racist, sexist or homophobic rants under his belt to gain popularity with today’s influential right wing voters.

Oh, and I’ve skipped Newt Gingrich, because he’s a joke even to Republicans.


Whether it’s a reflection of actual values or of the values that GOP candidates feel they must project, all the people above oppose abortion rights. All except Ron Paul favor amending the United States Constitution to prevent two men from getting married. All have engaged in feverish anti-immigrant rhetoric and complained that the Obama administration, which has deported more Americans than the Republican president before him, isn’t doing enough to persecute immigrants.

Republican voters say that jobs are their number one concern. Do they think aborted fetuses and gay couples are stealing their jobs along with blacks and immigrants? How else can we explain such persistent pandering to manufactured culture wars, even in the midst of very real and ominous economic disaster that is affecting all of us?

A friend told me that the reflecting pool on the Mall rippled during last week’s earthquake. Unlike Michele Bachmann, I don’t think it was a message from ananti-government God, but I do think the symbolism is stunning in the context of these candidates—all of whom have a shot at becoming the next president. The ripples in the reflecting pool were not ripples of hope and change that echoed from 1963 all the way to the election of Barack Obama. Rather, they were ripples of fear emanating from the GOP candidates and targeting our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

The recent earthquake also cracked the Washington Monument. It was as though, already destabilized by centuries of racism and bias, the tremors of politics unearthed the structural cracks. If we brush off hateful views as political theater, we face a deepening of the cracks that threaten to fracture our entire political system and society.

Then again, as Mitt Romney said, one has to be careful with metaphors.”

Sally Kohn, Chief Agitation Officer of the Movement Vision Lab, is a community organizer, writer and political commentator. You can read more about her work at:

emphasis mine


Al Gore On Climate Change Deniers: It’s Crucial To ‘Win The Conversation’

from HuffPost, see link below

“former Vice President Al Gore suggests that people today need to “win the conversation” against skeptics of climate change in the same way people stood up to racist comments during the civil rights movement.

Speaking with Climate Reality Project’s Alex Bogusky, Gore argues that in some places, even the words “climate change” have become politically incorrect.

Bogusky explains that it is often difficult to stand up to climate change deniers, but Gore says, “it is no more difficult than it was for Southerners to talk about the evils of racism.”

Gore agrees that explaining the science beyond climate change may be more difficult than confronting racism, but says the moral component is the same.

In the same interview, Gore takes on comments by Texas Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who has been an outspoken critic of climate change scientists. Perry recently said he believes there are “a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects.”

Gore explains that scientists have previously overturned accepted views, so there’s a “natural respect” for a contrarian impulse in the scientific community. But he argues that comments by Perry and others are totally different. He says, “This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole. To attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money.”

Gore says members of the scientific community did not enter their profession to make money. Nor did they expect to be regularly defending themselves from political attack.

Out of fear of the public supporting “the scientific reality,” Gore contends that:

Powerful polluters … see it as a useful strategy to try to convince the public that the scientists are liars and that they’re greedy and they’re making stuff up. All in the service of their overarching strategy of creating enough doubt to persuade people that there shouldn’t be any sense of urgency about addressing this crisis.

Not all of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are as unconvinced of climate change as Perry, however. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman tweeted several weeks ago that he “trust[s] scientists on global warming.”

The Huffington Post’s Lynne Peeples reported that, according to some scientists, Hurricane Irenemight be part of a growing trend of extreme weather events that are linked to climate change.

Over the past two weeks, hundreds of people have been arrested in front of the White House for protesting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. According to Tar Sands Action leader Bill McKibben,it is expected to be “the largest collective act of civil disobedience in the history of the climate movement.”

Emphasis Mine