Tuesday, February 2, 2016



1. House Speaker Paul Ryan. The new House Speaker, who insists on lots of family time for himself, explained his opposition to paid family leave for other people:

"I don't think people asked me to be speaker so I can take more money from hardworking taxpayers to create some new federal entitlement. But I think people want to have members of Congress that represent them, that are like them," Ryan said. "Don't you want your member of Congress to be a citizen legislator who lives with you, among you, who has your own kinds of concerns, who wants to spend time with his children on Saturdays and Sundays? "That I think is what most people want in their life, a balance. So if you're asking me because I want to continue being the best dad and husband and speaker I can be — getting that work-life balance correct — means I should sign up for some new unfunded entitlement, that doesn't make any sense to me."

He doesn't want to take money from hardworking taxpayers ... to give those hardworking taxpayers paid leave if they have a child or need to care for a sick family member. He opposes an unfunded entitlement ... except that "unfunded entitlement" is, in California for instance, actually a small payroll deduction that's helped 1.8 million Californians take paid leave, 90 percent of them to care for a new baby, over the law's first decade, without hurting businesses or killing jobs.

In short, Paul Ryan does not care about the facts. He cares about spending time with his family while standing in the way of you doing the same. He has a job that lets him make that kind of demand, and if you're not so lucky and powerful, screw you. Basic rights for you—the kind of thing that three American states and virtually every other country on earth can somehow provide—can be boiled down to meaningless Republican buzzwords for "no."

2. Ohio Governor and Presidential Candidate John Kasich. Kasich exposed the hollowness of his “moderate” credentials when he echoed Ryan in announcing his opposition to paid family leave, saying that new mothers and fathers should rely on their employers being “creative” instead of being required to offer paid leave. Kasich’s message:

“The one thing we need to do for working women is to give them the flexibility to be able to work at home online,” Kasich told the man who asked the question. “The reason why that’s important is, when women take maternity leave or time to be with the children, then what happens is they fall behind on the experience level, which means that the pay becomes a differential.

Kasich is not only flat out wrong on the effects of maternity leave (women who get paid leave don’t lose wages and those who take unpaid pay leave are 50 percent more likely to wind up in a different job, often with lower pay than their previous one), but is also clueless about how most employers would apply “creativity”: “come to work or you’re fired,” as it is for so many Americans.

Like his fellow presidential contenders, Kasich is oblivious to facts, or maybe he’s just plain contemptuous of them. It sure doesn’t take much to appear moderate among the current crop of Republican contenders.

3. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The bombastic one once again showed his self-serving interpretation of the Constitution when he the audience at Archbishop Rummel High School that there is "no place" in the country's constitutional traditions for the idea that the state must be neutral between religion and its absence.

"To tell you the truth there is no place for that in our constitutional tradition. Where did that come from?" he said. "To be sure, you can't favor one denomination over another but can't favor religion over non-religion?"

Our Founding Fathers were strong in their belief in the separation of church and state and also that government should not take sides on the question of an individual’s belief in God. Not Scalia. He believes public officials, at least, should defer to God—that is, the Christian version. Why? Because God has been good to us; he’s even helped win naval battles. In Scalia’s words:

“God has been very good to us. That we won the revolution was extraordinary. The Battle of Midway was extraordinary. I think one of the reasons God has been good to us is that we have done him honor. Unlike the other countries of the world that do not even invoke his name we do him honor. In presidential addresses, in Thanksgiving proclamations and in many other ways.”

You may not personally see the link between the Battle of Midway and how often our presidents have invoked God during Thanksgiving addresses, but you are not Antonin Scalia and so your opinion means not a damn thing here. That, too, is one of the perks of being on the Supreme Court.

Just for the record, we are not the only nation on Earth whose top government authorities are constantly making pronouncements about how our nation is uniquely blessed by a God who grants us military victories in exchange for incessant proselytizing. We consider those other countries to be run by lunatics, or, in the case of the pseudo-Islamic State, extremist jihadists.

4. Fox News Commentator Andrea Tantaros. Right-wing hatred of Presidential Obama has no bounds. It certainly represents the most disrespect for a president that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. In addition to blaming Obama for virtually everything, the right-wing haters don’t miss a beat in questioning his motives and sincerity. Fox News’ Tantaros seized the opportunity to ridicule the President’s tear-shedding in his talk about school shootings and gun control. She suspected raw onions were at work.

“I would check that podium for like a raw onion or some no-more-tears,” Tantaros said, “I mean, it’s not really believable.”

No comment.

5. Evangelist Pat Robertson. We all know Pat Robertson can be completely off his beam, but this month on his program, The 700 Club, he ventured into the realm of downright cruelty. An elderly woman, clearly on a very tight fixed income, wrote in for advice on what to do about her money woes. His response is absolutely brutal. Here’s the exchange:

Terry Meeuwsen: ‘My husband and I are in our 80s and have been tithing for many years. We both love the Lord and give willingly and our tithe is over 10 percent. I praise Him and thank Him for our blessings. I declare that this is our time of prosperity, but we never have an extra penny after our bills are paid. Our old car just broke down and we had to borrow money to fix it. We both need dental work, but we can’t afford it. I constantly have to use our credit card to pay for medical needs. I speak the verse about "give and it will be given to you." We have no unforgiveness in our lives. What could we be doing wrong?

Pat Robertson: “Ask God to show you some ways of making money. There are many ways of making money, even at 80 years old. You know, you can get on the telephone, people are hiring. There are all kinds of things you can do. For example, you may have a bunch of junk lying around in your garage that you can sell on eBay, and get some money that way…. There are many, many ways of making money. And you’re looking at the downside of all the bills you’ve got instead of saying, ‘God, I’ve been faithful to you. Now, I claim my blessing, and I ask you to open the windows of heaven and pour me out a blessing. Show me what you’re going to do, show me how I can move into blessing.’ So, just ask him. He'll give you some concepts. Your mind will open up.”

You read/heard that right. Anyone with a head with which to think would have immediately told this woman that tithing at this point in this aged couple's life has come to a necessary end. In fact, a reasonable person holding a responsible position at a church might even ask if there is anything the church might be able to do to help. Perhaps dipping into the tithing basket to provide comfort to a fellow congregant in dire straits would please the Lord. But no, this money grubbing scammer has been on the take for so long, it obviously didn't even cross his mind that a religious institution might look into its heart instead of someone else's wallet. Wouldn't the very philosophy of Christianity dictate that the least fortunate among the flock should not be put in a position to sacrifice medical attention or to keep the lights on for the sake of a tithe basket?

I'm sure Pat didn't give it another thought as his driver drove him home to his mansion. Makes sense he has endorsed Donald Trump.

6. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Haley, the current Republican governor of South Carolina, continues to defend her (gentle) criticism of Donald Trump in her State of the Union response, saying that Trump's demands to "ban all Muslims" were “the one thing that got me."

After all, she says:

"When you've got immigrants who are coming here legally, we've never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion. Let's not start that now," she said while speaking to reporters in South Carolina.

Oh really?

7. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Alabama). Brooks said on Thursday that Barack Obama is the most “racially divisive” president since the days when American presidents supported slavery.

“He’s clearly the most racially divisive president we’ve had since I’ve been alive,” the congressman said. “But again, we did have presidents in the first 80 to 100 years of our country that supported slavery. And you cannot say that Barack Obama was worse than them. But he’s probably the worst one since the Civil War and the passages of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.”

So Obama is divisive because he is black, though not as "racially divisive" as actual slaveholding presidents.

Most American presidents opposed the right to vote for women. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, I suppose Brooks will call her the most gender divisive president, perhaps ever—or at least since the 19th amendment. How do bigots like Brooks get elected?

8. Sarah Palin. I was determined to offer no more Palin absurdities, but I just can’t resist this dilly. It warrants quoting at length.

It was widely reported that Palin's son, Track, was arrested for beating up his girlfriend and wielding an AR-15 rifle while intoxicated—just another episode is the dysfunctional Palin family. Leave it to Palin, though, to defend Track by—you guessed it—blaming Obama.

"I can talk personally about this - I guess it's kinda the elephant in the room - because my own family going through what we're going through today with my son, a combat vet, having served in the Stryker Brigade, fighting for you all, America, in the war zone. But my son, like so many others, they come back a bit different, they come back hardened, they come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country."

It's disturbing, to say the least, to hear Palin's pontificating about the honor of America's military in conjunction with the news that her drunken son punched and kicked a woman while brandishing a gun. That's not exactly the best demonstration of military pride. And while it's true that many veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, this is not an excuse for domestic abuse. And it should not be used to callously dismiss violence in a stump speech at a political rally. But Palin wasn't through, and it got much worse.

"It's a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder if they have to question whether they're respected anymore. It's starts from the top. The question though that comes from our own President where they have to look at him and wonder 'Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we're trying to do to secure America and to secure the freedom that have been bequeathed us?"

So it's Obama's fault that Track Palin got drunk and put his girlfriend in the hospital? Somehow, in Palin's view, the President is to blame for every veteran's psychological problems. And she also seems to think that PTSD is caused by not being respected enough on returning from a war, rather than by the horrific experiences inherent to war. Palin thinks that if everybody would just thank a vet, then coping with the nightmare of battle and seeing your buddies blown to pieces would be a cake walk. And she still wasn't finished.

"So when my own son goes through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who kinda feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness [sic] that our soldiers do return with. And it makes me realize more than ever, it is now or never for the sake of America's finest that we have that Commander-in-Chief that will respect them and honor them."

Not one word about what the victim is going through. With a son who is a divorced domestic abuser, a daughter with two out-of-wedlock kids from different fathers, and as a defender of the deviant Duggar family, Palin has the audacity to lecture others on family values. And, she endorses and campaigns for a racist, wannabe fascist tyrant who mocks the disabled even though she is the mother of a special needs child. Has there ever been a more nauseating, heartless, self-promoting, ignorant, pair of American politicos? They’re a perfect match of loathsome demagogues who feed off of each other and the dimwitted idolatry of their glassy-eyed followers.

And the winner is . . . .

Although I would like to give the January award to Pat Robertson, because of the widespread belief among pseudo-intellectuals that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a brilliant jurist, I must give this month’s award to the dogmatic bully. Congratulations Justice Scalia.

1 comment:

  1. Scalia is a great choice if for no other reason than his boneheadedness can do more damage than all the other boneheads listed. I do like Rep. Brooks as a second choice -- I am a sucker for a politician with a sense of history.


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