Wednesday, July 1, 2015

JUNE 2015 BONEHEAD ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH

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1. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). Johnson offered this pearl of wisdom for all the working single moms out there:  If she wants to "increase her take-home pay” instead of having yet "another child out of wedlock" to increase her welfare windfall, she should instead "find someone to support her."

Johnson is quick to admit that he stole this incredibly sexist riff from his uber-misogynist Wisconsin colleague, Rep. Glenn Grothman.  Variations of this single mom marrying the government instead of marrying a real man has become a central talking point of Johnson's stump speech as he gears up for his re-election in 2016.

Of course it doesn’t matter to Johnson and Grothman that there is no evidence to support the claim that a single mom working below the poverty line would intentionally have another child to get healthcare, food stamps and other forms of government assistance to, as Johnson put it, “increase your take-home pay.” As most people, and especially the poor, know, government assistance does not come close to covering the cost of having, feeding, clothing, and supporting another child. Moreover, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act limits how long a woman can stay on welfare. It is outrageous that the false and stigmatizing “welfare queen” label persists and continues to shape public perceptions. We have Johnson and Grothman and other insensitive ignoramuses to thank for this. They should be ashamed of themselves.

2. Michael R. Strain, American Enterprise Institute “Scholar.” The recent Supreme Court ruling in King v. Burwell that Obamacare’s mandated health insurance subsidies are legal must have really pissed off Strain, who was not bothered by the prospect that millions of people could have lost their health care coverage and possibly their lives. In a Washington Post op-ed titled “End Obamacare, and People Could die. That’s Okay,” he published before the decision, Strain argued that higher death rates an acceptable price to pay for certain goals, including “less government coercion and more individual liberty.”

Acceptable that is to Strain and his AEI colleagues, as well as many others in America who value individual liberty over the common good. But this isn’t a philosophical debate. It’s about people, human lives, and basic decency. The absence of compassion on the far right is sickening.  Good thing I have health care.

3. Conservative Activist Phyllis Schlafly. In a radio address for the Eagle Forum last month, Schlafly as usual minced few works and once again demonstrating her utter contempt for people with brown skin. Her words are worth quoting at some length:

“One of the biggest political issues in America today is Obama’s plan to give illegal amnesty to 5 million South Americans. Obama is already admitting tens of thousands of aliens from South America and trying to justify it by repeating the line that "we are a nation of immigrants." The problem is that the immigrants coming into our country today are not the same sort as the immigrants who contributed so much to building our great country. The immigrants who came to America in the 1920s and ‘30s were different – with very different motives. . . .

“It’s quite true that America was built by hard working people from all over the world who sought a place of freedom where they could succeed if they had a dream, worked hard, and no tyrannical king or dictator could keep them down. But the illegal immigrants today are not the same as those who built this country. They don’t want to leave their homes and become Americans, accepting all that comes along with it. Many of them just want to reap the rewards of our free nation without accepting American culture, the English language, and the rule of law.”

Yes, Phyllis, immigrants from below our southern border are not like the lily white ones you gush about, but they’re far from the America-hating, lazy grafters you conjure up in your racist mind. Many do the back-breaking work that produces food for your table—work, I might add, that few whites will do. Many struggle hard against hatred and discrimination to enable their children to get good educations, children that go on to be doctors, teachers, lawyers, businessmen, dedicated public servants, and, yes, even Senators and Congressmen. The immigrant-bashing Schlafly’s of this country would have us build a 20-foot wall across our Southern border and shoot anyone who dared to climb over it. What then? Would America be a purer, better place? Southern immigrant, legal and illegal, have enriched our great country in many ways. It’s very sad that the Schlafly’s of our world don’t realize, let alone appreciate, it.

4. Mike Huckabee.  (Former Arkansas Governor and 2016 GOP Presidential Candidate). Do you ever wonder what drives the self-righteous moral rigidity of right-wing religious zealots? I can’t say for sure, but Mike Huckabee provided a clue that sex-obsessed prurient desires may be lurking deep inside. Vexed by Bruce Jenner’s sex change, Huckabee showed his prurient side when he joked he wished he could have pretended to be transgender in high school PE shower time:

“Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE… I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’ You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous doesn’t it?”

Right on, Mike. It might be easier, though, if you had just installed a camera in a women’s bathroom.

5. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. There have been many testaments to Justice Scalia’s brilliance, not the least of which from himself, so it’s hard to figure a statement he made in a recent commencement address. He told the Stone Ridge High School Class of 2015 graduates:

". . . you should not leave Stone Ridge High School thinking that you face challenges that are at all, in any important sense, unprecedented," he said. "Humanity has been around for at least some 5,000 years or so, and I doubt that the basic challenges as confronted are any worse now, or alas even much different, from what they ever were."

Scalia exposed! His apparent ignorance that modern humans evolved in East Africa some 200,000 years ago shatters his brilliance label. Or perhaps it simply further validates what many Scalia critics have believed for years: this nutcase is a certified religious right fanatic. “5,000 years or so” is what it says in Genesis. That must make it true. Attributing everything bad that happens to the will of God helps me understand his unwavering opposition to government regulations. And I always thought he just loved American plutocrats.

6. Rick Perry (Texas Governor and 2016 Presidential Candidate). After Hillary Clinton took Republicans to task last week for intentionally trying to restrict the voting rights of minorities, the new, improved, and ever-sophisticated Perry knew just what to do: compare voting to flying. On Fox and Friends, Perry said he thinks "it makes sense to have a photo ID to be able to vote." And he brought up the requirement to present a photo ID in order to fly on commercial airplanes numerous times while defending his voter ID law.

"When I got on the airline to come up here yesterday, I had to show my photo ID."

In 2011, Perry signed a Texas law requiring voters to show a photo ID. He managed to get the flying jab in at least three times on Fox. Impeccable logic; flying has a lot to do with voting. Perry’s a sick moron. He fits well into the GOP presidential race.

7. More Rick Perry. The ever-quotable dumb-ass Perry added his two-cents to the competition among Republican presidential candidates to say the most absurd thing about the killing of nine black Americans inside a historic church. This one may be the winner. Avoiding talking about racism or why mass murderers can so easily acquire guns, which all the GOP candidates have done, Perry stooped to a new low in linking the “accidental” attack to prescription drugs:

“This is the (modus operandi) of this administration, any time there is an accident like this,” Perry said. “The president is clear, he doesn’t like for Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message.” [...] “It seems to me, again without having all the details about this, that these individuals have been medicated and there may be a real issue in this country from the standpoint of these drugs and how they’re used.”

Perry must know what he’s talking about; after all, didn’t he blame his poor debate performance in 2012 on prescription painkillers he had taken beforehand?

Though there’s still time to go in the stupidest candidate excuse for the racist mass murder, I declare Perry the front-runner over Jeb Bush, who’s still not able to figure out if the racist murderer was really a racist, and Mike Huckabee who suggested that if more people brought more guns to church these things wouldn't happen.

8. Rick Santorum (Former Pennsylvania Senator and 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate). When he heard that Pope Francis was about to make a statement in favor of confronting the problem of climate change, Santorum went into the damage-control mode by lecturing the Pope not to pronounce on a subject about which he lacked scientific credentials. The Rickster arrogantly announced:

“When it comes to climate change, the Pope needs to leave the science with the scientists.”

Sorry, Rick, Pope Francis has a Master’s Degree in chemistry. What are your scientific credentials? The idea that a person should have scientific credentials to pop off an opinion, however, does have merit: we wouldn’t be hearing much from right-wing zealots.

9. Sarah Palin (Former Alaska governor and 2008 Vice-President Candidate).  There seems no limit to Palin bonehead statements, but her absurd reference to Paul Revere may top them all. She made the statement a few years ago, but I just came across it, so I’m entering it in this month’s competition. The nitwit had this to say about Revere warning the British (?):

“ . . he who warned, uh, the … British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms…uh, by ringin’ those bells and um…makin’ sure as she’s ridin’ his horse through town…. to send those warning shots and bells…that, uh, we were gonna be secure and…as we were gonna be free…and we were gonna be armed.”

Funny, this wasn't what my teachers taught me about the Revere ride.  Maybe Palin wasn't paying attention.  Or, maybe she missed that day-- and many more.  

10. Steve Yuhas (Conservative Radio Personality in Southern California). I guess it was inevitable that wealthy Californians would put up a stink about being forced to conserve water. Yuhas strongly disagrees with the mandate. After all, why should rich people be penalized for being rich? According to Yuhas:

People “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” Yuhas fumed recently on social media. “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he added in an interview. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”

Yuhas is a resident of the ultra-wealthy enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, a bucolic Southern California hamlet of ranches, gated communities and country clubs that guzzles five times more water per capita than the statewide average. The one thing about narcissists, they really don't care how anybody else feels about anything and therefore can't help but tell you exactly how they feel about things. The sad thing is, their clout in our political system will probably win them an exception to the water rationing.

11. Donald Trump (Business Magnate, 2016 GOP Presidential Candidate, and All-Around Ass-Hole). An outspoken climate change denier and ignoramus (“Iran is taking over Iraq”), who, ala Nixon, tells us he has a “foolproof” plan to defeat the Islamic State, which he will not reveal so as not to tip off the militant group, Trump again shows his pure brilliance with his take on the immigration problem:

"They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we're getting."

Absurd xenophobia to be sure, but it resonates well with the Republican base. It’s why Marco Rubio has distanced himself from immigration reform and now talks about border security first, and why John McCain now urges Obama to “complete the danged fence” at the southern border. He’s also right on the GOP base in denying that humans are contributing to global warming. And, what about his secret ISIS plan? What could it be--nuc em?

12. Rudy Giuliani (former NY Mayor and Presidential Wannabe). Responded to accusation of being a racist for claiming President Obama doesn’t love America because "he wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country," Giuliani “defended” himself by saying:

“Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Mr. Giuliani said in the interview. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”

With his legal background, you’d think he’d offer a better defense than pointing to the fact that “his mother was white." What a moron; turning to completely racially-based logic is about the least convincing possible way to rebut charges of racism.


And the winner is:

With several worthy candidates, I’ve decided to separate the sexes in bestowing the June Bonehead Absurdity Award. For the female award winner, it’s a tie between Phyllis Schlafly and Sarah Palin. Palin is a certified dimwit, but Schlafly is just plain mean. As to the male winner, Rick Perry edges out Senator Ron Johnson.  If Texas and Wisconsin can elect these clowns, they deserve them.





































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