Thursday, October 30, 2014



Wow, what a month for absurdities. I don’t know if there’s something about October or if I’m just finding more bonehead statements. Whatever, here are 12 worthy candidates:

1. New Hampshire GOP state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt raised sexism and ageism to new heights when he called Democratic incumbent Ann McLane Kuster "ugly as sin" and therefore too ugly to win!! His words:

"Let's be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as UGLY AS SIN? AND I HOPE I HAVEN'T OFFENDED SIN," Vaillancourt wrote on NH Insider, a New Hampshire politics blog.   His bonehead absurdity is representative of the kind of misogynistic theater of the absurd that inhabits right-wing talk radio shows.
2. Louisiana Senator David Vitter is urging colleagues to hold up the $1 billion the white House has requested to combat the Ebola virus because it: “focuses on Africa and largely ignores our own borders.”

Most of the money has been held up for nearly a month, as Republicans on key committees demand more details from the administration. The $1 billion is to be used for the construction of medical facilities, supply distribution, and medical training for military and civilian personnel. Given that speed is critical to fighting the epidemic, the Vitter statement and GOP intransigence are not only absurd, they’re unconscionable.

3. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the man who made his name attacking unions, is at it again. In rejecting a request by a group of low-wage workers to use an unusual Wisconsin’s law saying that the state’s minimum wage has to be a living wage, he again demonstrates his contempt for low-wage workers. The reason for refusing to raise the minimum wage? They claim $7.25 IS a living wage.

Robert Rodriguez, an administrator in the Department of Workforce Development’s Equal Rights Division, summed up the Walker Administration’s absurd position on the legal request:
“The department has determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the wages paid to the complainants are not a living wage.”

4. Representative Dan Benishek (R-Mich) during a recent visit to a Skandia dairy said he does not believe the many computer models and other climate change evidence.
“The climate may be changing, but I don’t think man is contributing to it [...] Well I just think it’s the natural course of things. There is no scientific evidence that shows any of that.”  He goes on to display his scientific brilliance:  “Well, I’m a scientist, you know, I believe in peer-reviewed science, but I don’t see any peer-reviewed science that proves there is manmade catastrophic climate change”

Wow! If you don’t see something it doesn’t exist. Next time I run a red light I’ll tell the officer I just didn’t see it. That’ll get me off. No evidence? Think he’s read IPCC reports, which are based solely on peer-reviewed research? Like other climate change deniers, Benishek seems to believe that just repeating it over and over will make it true.
5. House Speaker John Boehner had the audacity to boast: “House republicans have protected 98% of Americans from permanent tax increases.” …
And, he should have added, absurd tax cuts for the other two-percent, cuts that have not led to expanded financial investments and job creation, as the GOP promised, but to cuts in government programs and services.
6. Republican right wingers and their media mouthpieces never miss an opportunity to blame Obama and the Democrats for something. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex), speaking to Glenn Beck (of course), is angry that the CDC said the Texas nurses who contracted Ebola had violated protocols:
“It’s a shame that the CDC head, Frieden, is apparently the new commander of the Democrats” war on women nurses,” Gohmert told Beck. “Because, goodnight, they wet them up, and then they throw them under the bus.”

7. Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to insult hard-working Americans. Commenting on how hard it is these days for high income earners to make ends meet, with taxes, expenses, and all, it sympathized with their pain:

“How can you make $400,000 dollars a year and still feel like you’re just getting by?”

Poor, poor people, it must be hard. I guess they forgot forget that the median middle-class household income peaked at $56,080 in 1999 and it stands at roughly $50,017 now. Welcome to the shrinking middle class, Wall Street Journal.
8. Representative Tom Foley (R-Conn), who is running for Governor, blamed current Governor Dannel Malloy for the closing of the Fusion Paperboard Company, costing 140 jobs in this struggling mill town.

Such Republican finger-pointing is, of course, nothing new, but Foley took things to the next level when he defended the decision by the absentee global investment firm that decided to close the plant when he told Democratic state senator Cathy Osten, a Malloy supporter, and plant workers that they shared blame for the mill’s demise.
“You want to blame people that are hundreds of thousands of miles away, malign management … Listen, you have failed, because you have lost these jobs.”
9. The Missouri GOP. Need any more evidence that the GOP has become an extremist far-right party? Recently word leaked out that Debbie Dunnegan, the Republican recorder of deeds in Jefferson County, asked her military friends on Facebook if they had the right to remove Obama from office since he was a "domestic enemy."
Not an unusual seditious statement coming from a Republican Obama-hater, but what is worthy of Bonehead consideration is the lack of condemnation from Republican officials in the state: nothing from the Lieutenant Governor, Senator Roy Blunt, five Republicans in Missouri’s congressional delegation, or GOP state lawmakers.
Wouldn’t you think that something this outrageous, even in this climate, would have brought immediate denunciation from all sides of the spectrum? Not from today’s GOP.  Maybe they should be forced to watch Seven Days in May.
10. Of course, Fox News is blaming President Obama for the Ebola crisis. News contributor Keith Ablow took the cake when he accused he accused the President of failing to protect the country against Ebola because his “affinities, his affiliations are with” Africa and “not us . . . He’s their leader.”

"Ablow-hard" is Fox’s resident “psychiatrist.” He claims he can understand human behavior. On Obama’s Ebola failure, he offered his “medical” opinion that the President has a number of psychological conditions that cause him to hate, and want to destroy America, and make him happy when something bad happens to our country. What a charlatan.
11. Representative Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina), of “You lie” fame, responding to a question on the Ebola threat offered this bit of brilliance:
“I’m very concerned. We had people who, I’ll repeat it, the creed of Hamas: We value death more than you value life. What? That’s their creed.” [...] “Okay, well, part of their creed would be to bring persons who have Ebola into our country. It would promote their creed. And all this could be avoided by sealing the border, thoroughly....”

12. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reported on her “News” show this week that Democrats are trying to do away with “traditional polling places.” “What could go wrong, she added with a smirk.” 
 Kelly drew viewer attention to possible voter fraud in Colorado by claiming the state “literally allows residents to print ballots from their home computers, then encourages them to turn ballots over to collectors.” (She used air quotes to say “collectors)
This is an outright lie—par for the course for Fox News and their right wing supporters. Colorado citizens cannot print their ballots and give them to "collectors".  One simple phone call to any elections supervisor or Sec. of State office would have told her that, if there was any fact-checking going on at Fox.   Republicans nationwide respect the sanctity of “traditional polling places. What they don’t respect is the right to vote for all American citizens.

And the winner is . . ..   I leaned toward Joe Wilson (absurdity #11) as the winner, but after a solicitation of opinions from some faithful Phronesis readers, a consensus was reached to present this month’s award to two institutional winners: Fox News as the employer of Ablow (absurdity #10) and Kelly (absurdity #12), who both well represented the “news” station’s tradition for regurgitating false, ideologically-driven drivel, and the Wall Street Journal (absurdity #7) for its sick suggestion that people making $400,000 are finding it hard to get by.

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