Friday, April 1, 2016

MARCH 2016 BONEHEAD ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH

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1. Rock and Roller Ted Nugent. I’m used to Nugent’s angry screeds against liberals, but his latest outburst against American Jews ramps his hate up a notch. On his Facebook page, Nugent posted a graphic which pointed to American Jews as being responsible for the push for more gun regulations in the United States.  Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt was quick to respond:
 
“Ted Nugent has a long history of being an equal opportunity offender. But his latest share on Facebook, making the outrageous suggestion that Jews are behind gun control, is nothing short of conspiratorial anti-Semitism. Regardless of one’s views on gun control, this kind of scapegoating of an entire religious group is completely unacceptable and completely divorced from reality.”
 
It should go without saying that anti-Semitism has no place in the gun control debate. Nugent should be ashamed for promoting anti-Semitic content, and we hope that good people on both sides of the gun control debate will reject his tactics and his message. We hope that Nugent will have the good sense to remove this share immediately so that it does not spread virally across the internet. No chance!
 
Not only did Nugent refuse to remove the graphic, he doubled down:
 
“Just when you thought that mankind couldn’t possibly get any dumber or more dishonest, superFreaks rise to the occasion. What sort of racist prejudiced POS could possibly not know that Jews for gun control are Nazis in disguise? "NEVER AGAIN!" Anyone? Anyone?? RUFKM! The founder of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership called me his 2nd Amendment/Freedom hero. The NEVER AGAIN battle cry was universally embraced by all good people who will make sure another Holocaust never happens again. Freaks have plummeted to whole new low. Plummet on punks. Plummet on. Meanwhile I adjust my yamika at my barmitzva playing my kosher guitar. My dad killed Nazis & saved Jews in WWII. Eat me.”
 
Ted Nugent has been on the board of the National Rifle Association since 1995.
 

2. House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan waxed eloquent at CPAC this month on how completely Republicans understand the American people, in stark contrast to how "the left" is offering people "a full stomach and an empty soul." Ryan cited a story he heard from Eloise Anderson, who "serves in the cabinet of my buddy Scott Walker." Anderson told Ryan of an encounter with:

“... a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
 
Hey, maybe if we take that kid's free school lunch away, his parents will be able to scrounge up a brown paper bag he can take to school every day. Too bad it'll be empty, like his stomach, but it will show his parent’s love.
 
In Ryan’s view, what the left doesn't understand, apparently, is that this child should go hungry because it's been made clear to him that being poor means his parents somehow love him less. Trust Ryan to miss the pathos of a child having been taught this. And what about kids whose parents send them to school with lunch money, not brown paper bags, because both of their parents work and do not have time to be packing a lunch every day? Ryan's version of parental love doesn't make room for them either. What else might he require for a family to qualify as loving—a mother who meets the kids at the door after school bearing freshly baked cookies?
 
If you're middle class and living a 1950s sitcom lifestyle, there's room for you in Paul Ryan's vision of non-empty souls. But, as poll after poll shows, most American voters prefer a vision of a higher minimum wage, unemployment aid, Social Security, and a host of other programs that Ryan's "empty soul" rhetoric is designed to cheapen.
 
3. South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds. Welcome to 2016, when the Republican Party has finally decided to trade in its dogwhistles for megaphones. That includes Senator Rounds, who says that even if Donald Trump meant it when he said he would not disavow David Duke, he'd still be a better choice than a Democrat.
 
Here's part of the exchange between Huffington Post's Ryan Grim and Rounds, when Grim is asking him about Rounds’ earlier comments that Trump would be great for general election turnout. He followed up to see what Rounds might have to say about that whole racism thing:
 
"It's unfortunate that it happened," he [Rounds] went on. "You know, the only part I saw the other day is where he said he was disavowing it. I understand that some other people said he didn't do it loud enough or whatever."
 
"No," I [Grim] said. "Jake Tapper said to him 'I'm talking about David Duke and the KKK,' and he said 'Ku Klux Klan,' just in case he didn't know what KKK stood for. And Trump responded, 'I have to look into these groups... I don't know David Duke.'" […]
 
"Even if you're disappointed with the way he's responding to things," [Rounds responded] "even if you're mad at him, you disagree with him, if he did it intentionally—don't think he did, I think he just made a mistake—even if he did, they're still going to do a better job with him there than if you had Hillary or Bernie in his place.”
 
Enough said.
 
4. Donald Trump. Trump continues to dig himself deeper into the shit pile caused by his David Duke comment. George Stephanopoulos asked Trump if he was "prepared to make a clear and unequivocal statement renouncing support of all white supremacists."
 
"Of course I am. There's nobody that's done so much for equality as I have," the billionaire responded, before pointing to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, as an example.
 
Mar-a-Lago is "totally open to everybody," Trump said, and is "a club that, frankly, set a new standard—a new standard in clubs and a new standard in Palm Beach. And I've got great credit for it. That is totally open to everybody, so of course I am."
 
Yeah, totally open to everyone, except those who can't afford the $100,000 membership fee, and the $14,000 in annual dues. The most equal place in the whole world—right! Few of his supporters could get in.
 
5. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. If we ever needed more evidence of the NRA’s hold over the Republican Party, McConnell put the debate to rest. When asked if the Republicans in the Senate would consider the nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court before President Obama leaves office if a Democrat gets elected president, the Mitchster told Fox News Sunday:
 
“I can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame-duck session, a nominee opposed by the NRA and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NIFB).”
 
As is its bent, the GOP is conjuring-up phony reasons to not consider Garland’s nomination. The latest is his alleged opposition to the Second Amendment, which of course has no basis in fact. But, so what, this hasn’t stopped conservatives in the past. The behavior of Republicans throughout the presidential campaign, and now towards the Garland nomination, reminds me of elementary school children on the playground with prejudices and tantrums in full display. McConnell should get credit for his honesty, however.
 
6. Senator Ted Cruz. Within hours of the terror attacks in Brussels, Senator Ted Cruz sent out a press release that declared, “The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we are are at an end.”
 
The Texas senator and presidential candidate called for more security on the southern border and said the United States needs to “halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence.” He also advanced a radical idea: “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
 
Cruz’s campaign did not reply to immediate requests for clarification, but his proposal raises several questions: What powers would Cruz grant law enforcement that it doesn’t already have? How does one identify what is, and is not, a Muslim neighborhood? What does it mean to “secure” the area? Would non-Muslims in that area also be subject to law enforcement surveillance and unspecified “securing”? How are these pre-emptive law-enforcement actions constitutionally permissible?
 
Cruz didn’t want to be bothered with the details. His response to the hostile reception his proposal received was to get pissed off. So he and/or his staff piped up with a gigantic op-ed screed in the New York Daily News defending it. It's a good reminder of just how off the rails his party has gone. He wrote:
 
“One of the causes of this horror [in Brussels] has been European bureaucrats restraining law enforcement from fully engaging with the Muslim community in “no go” zones.”
 
Cruz is into “zones”: no go zones, no-fly zones, no-Constitution zones, and any other zone that does not fit with his bigotry. He also likes to play loose with facts and has no shame in revealing his prejudices and utter ignorance. “Islamism,” in his expert view, is an existential threat that’s being aided and abetted by liberals who coddle potential terrorists.  He wrote:
 
“Liberal politicians, including President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Mayor de Blasio, all loudly denounced my approach. Indeed, they seemed far more outraged at my calling for us to prevent radical Islamic terrorism then they were at the terrorists who attacked in Brussels.” He went on to write that:
 
“Islamism is a political and theocratic philosophy that commands its adherents to wage jihad, to murder or forcibly convert the infidels (by which they mean everyone else). Islamism is the enemy, and it must be defeated. . . . [O]ver the last seven years, the focus on protecting the homeland has been lost. The Obama administration has even joined Islamist governments in sponsoring a UN resolution that would shred our First Amendment by threatening to make discussion of radical Islamism potentially illegal.
 
So Cruz thinks President Obama wants to make conservative rants against Islam illegal-- and this kook wants to be president. The shocking thing is that many see him as a less extreme alternative to The Donald, who only appears to be more insane, conspiracy-minded, and racist than Cruz. These twin demagogues and paranoia-mongers demonstrate just how extreme the Republican Party has become. The previous Republican president, George W. Bush, held views towards "Muslim Americans" that would be non-starters on the Republican campaign trail today. He emphasized the need to differentiate between Muslim-branded terrorism and Islam, one of the world's largest religions, and in particular the dangers of demonizing Muslim Americans or portraying them as dangers to their nation. Today all such talk is deemed by his party to be machinations of The Liberals, and he would get his ass handed to him in this primary campaign. Ronald Reagan would have bowed out before Lindsay Graham.
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And the winner is . . . .

Hands down it has to be Ted Cruz. No wonder he’s the least-liked member of the US Senate.

1 comment:

  1. Ted Cruz for sure. The fact that someone who was afforded an education at two of the best institutions of higher learning in this country can hold such extreme and ignorant views is staggering. Forget Trump -- who knows what he really thinks? -- Cruz is hands down the most dangerous ideologue in our country.

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