Saturday, August 1, 2015



1. Rep Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Like his fellow right-wing colleagues, Issa rarely misses an opportunity to evoke the image of Reagan the Great. In an award-worthy absurdity, Issa has proposed naming U.S. coastal waters after the former president. Issa’s bill would rename the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, which generally extends from three to 200 miles offshore, as the Ronald Wilson Reagan Exclusive Economic Zone, in honor of the man who first said “yeah, all that over there? That’s ours.”

What’s next? Adding Reagan’s head to Mount Rushmore? How about renaming the Hawaiian Islands the Reagan Islands? The real irony here is that most right-wingers despise the policies and actions Reagan undertook as President. No matter, the name works wonders with the uninformed.

2. Paleo-Conservative Political Commentator Pat Buchanan. In making a case for civil disobedience among right-wingers to overturn the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, Buchanan reached a new low in absurd logic. In an op-ed piece, he waxed philosophical in offering the following examples as justification for rebellion against the Court’s ruling:

“New England abolitionists backed the anti-slavery fanatic John Brown, who conducted the raid on Harpers Ferry that got him hanged but helped to precipitate a Civil War. That war was fought over whether 11 Southern states had the same right to break free of Mr. Lincoln’s Union as the 13 colonies did to break free of George III’s England.  Rosa Parks is a heroine because she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, despite the laws segregating public transit that relegated blacks to the 'back of the bus.' In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King, defending civil disobedience, cited Augustine – 'an unjust law is no law at all' – and Aquinas who defined an unjust law as “a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” Said King: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Come on, Pat! Never mind that all those named in your op-ed were people fighting to gain liberty and equal rights under the law. Where does it say in the Constitution that freedom of religion supersedes all other individual rights and liberties? Religious rights aren’t being denied. Their ability to discriminate based on their own personal religious beliefs are being stunted-- as they should be.
3. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois). Going an extreme step further in criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, the so-called "moderate" Republican said the only reason Obama supported Bob Corker’s legislation enabling Congress to do a resolution disapproving of the deal, which he will certainly veto, is that it allows him to get what he wants on Iran, which is to get nukes to Iran.

And that wasn’t all. Kirk went further with his histrionic hyperbole in an interview with Boston’s WRKO:

“This is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler. He is doing this because of his very poor understanding of history and what happened to Neville Chamberlain. And Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler, but the key lesson of the 1930s is that appeasement leads directly to war. . . . “What will that war look like? …. Obama's going to force Israel to do the dirty work, because he's now "condemned his allies in Israel to taking military action against Iran." And we aren't talking conventional war, oh no.” The nukes are gonna’ fall: “This agreement condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf. It condemns our Israeli allies to further conflict with Iran. . . “My guess is they'll have nukes in a couple of years under this agreement, with the $100 billion Obama's going to give to the Iranians. They'll go on to the market as the most well-funded terrorists in history and buy whatever they want.”

Alas the extreme right’s worst fear: Barack Hussein Obama shows his true cards in siding with his Muslim bros in Iran over the U.S. of America. Kirk’s histrionic may not alarm most Americans about the Iran deal; let us hope, however, it does alarm Illinois voters in the next election.
4. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fl). The cat’s out of the bag. Now we know why Donald Trump is saying such absurd and reckless things: he’s a plant sent by the Democrat Party to foul up what would otherwise be a perfectly genteel GOP primary season. Finally, there's a Republican willing to blow the lid off this whole Donald Trump running for president business. In a radio interview, Curbelo suggested that Trump is

“a phantom candidate recruited by the left to create this entire political circus.” And then he repeated the claim in a separate interview, saying “there’s a small possibility that this gentleman is a phantom candidate.”

“Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Curbelo said in the interview. “They were at his last wedding. He has contributed to the Clintons’ foundation. He has contributed to Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious.”

Need any more evidence of how poisoned the partisan divide has become?
5. Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee. I’m sure Phronesis readers heard or read about Huckabee’s revolting comment about Obama marching Israelis to the door of the oven. Specifically, he said:

“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.”

The comment has been widely condemned, as it should, even by Fox News. Of the GOP presidential contenders only Donald Trump was reportedly not bothered by it. A shocked Mika Brzezinski from MSNBC best summed up the feelings of many when she said on Morning Joe:

“Here’s the response that I have to Huckabee’s comments. If you’ve been to Auschwitz, if you’ve been to Birkenau, if you’ve been to any of these places where people were killed and you see the piles of glasses, the piles of hair, the piles of shoes and the piles of clothes,” she said as she began to choke up. “And every bit of their humanity that had to be stripped away, handed over as they went and burned to their deaths among other things, it’s really not a good comment to say.” “It’s a deal breaker!” Brzezinski gasped. “It should be over for him. You don’t say that. And by the way, if you said it by mistake, that’s a sign of who you really are.”
6. Fox News’ Elisabeth Hasselbeck. A straight-faced Hasselbeck suggested that Officer Brian Encinia may have been physically threatened by the flaming weaponized cigarette being smoked by Sandra Bland. Here's the conversation:

Hasselbeck:  But, what if, I mean, there are times, I'm sure, someone has, in the history of this     land, used a cigarette against a police officer, maybe chucked it at him, pushed it at him.
Rafferty: Absolutely.
Hasselbeck: If he indeed felt it could be a potential threat, was that the wise thing to do?

There is simply no limit to preposterous Fox News absurdities.
7. Republican Presidential Candidates. This is a collective nomination. The current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls are in a mad rush to out-militarize each other, with each upping the ante of an opponent’s statement.

After Rick Santorum called for sending 10,000 troops to Iraq, Senator Lindsay Graham upped the ante by promising to send another 10,000 to Syria. Not to be outdone, Marco Rubio stole a line from the movie Taken in calling for the deployment of “devastating” American air power: “We will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you.” George Pataki wants to send in troops to destroy ISIS training and “recruitment centers” (?), and any other areas where it is looking to plan an attack. John Kasich was less specific about his militancy, simply saying: “Let’s just do it.”

Hand it to Governor Scott Walker, who has compared fighting ISIS to battling labor unions in his state, to raise the stakes even further. Walker insisted that he would not only tear up the nuclear accord with Iran on the first day of his presidency, but that between his swearing in and inaugural ball, he might well launch military action—presumably against Iran.

But, as expected, Donald Trump “trumped” them all. Claiming he was a military genius, Trump said he who would instantly find a “General Patton” or “General MacArthur,” who would finally put our military in a win column. How? He had his own foolproof plan for stopping ISIS. As he put it: “Take back the oil. Once you go over and take back that oil, they have nothing. You bomb the hell out of them, and then you encircle it, and then you go in. And you let Mobil go in, and you let our great oil companies go in. Once you take that oil, they have nothing left.”

The only thing missing is Ted Cruz promising he would nuke the wider Middle East (don’t be surprised if he does). This is unbelievable. Haven’t Republicans learned anything from our disastrous wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now unfolding in Syria? Instead of realizing that war should be resorted to as a last resort, and only when it’s clearly in our national interests, they continue to offer it as our first response to a threat, and to them every threat is existential. More bombs and more troops is always their “solution.” And, if this doesn’t work, send in more of the same. This war-hawk mend set has so engulfed the party, it should be renamed the “War Party.”
And the winner is:

No doubt about it; it’s the current crop of republican presidential hopefuls for their irresponsible war mongering along with other absurdities they've been spewing forth on the campaign trail.

1 comment:

  1. I vote for Hasselbeck, if for no other reason than your description of the threat of "a flaming weaponized cigarette." If that doesn't evoke absurdity, I don't know what does.


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