Friday, June 9, 2017

May 2017 BONEHEAD ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH


clip_image001


1. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). A constituent told Labrador at a town hall meeting at Lewis-Clark State College: “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying …. You are making a mandate that will kill people,” to which Labrador responded:

“No one wants anybody to die. That line is so indefensible. . . . Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,” he continued, drawing loud jeers from the audience.

Not only is this untrue, this is so transparently untrue that you would have to be in a Guyana cult leader's camp for the last decade to even give him the benefit of contemplating it for a half-moment. Americans attempting to struggle along despite not having access to health care is a staple of the news cycle. Americans showing up in emergency rooms suffering from acute dangers that would have never happened in the first place, had they been given access to preventative care beforehand.

Not only do Americans die from a lack of access to health care, they do so regularly, and by the tens of thousands. Labrador's insistence otherwise is not just a lie, it's a thumbing of his nose at everyone in the room. There's no way Labrador believed what he said to be true.

It's rare that we can conclusively answer the age-old question of dishonest politicians—evil, or just stupid?—but in this case it's fairly clear that Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador is lying on purpose and sincerely does not care if his constituents know it.


2. Former Arkansas Governor and President Wanabee, Mike Huckabee. Most politicians made it a point to appropriately commemorate the Cinco de Mayo. The clued-in sorts praised hard-working Latinos, who, every day, do the hard jobs most white Americans shun. Most Red Staters, of course, didn’t go this far, confining themselves to posting some mariachi music or making some vague reference to Mexico’s Independence Day. Then there was Mike Huckabee. The Huckster had this to say:

“For Cinco de Mayo I will drink an entire jar of hot salsa and watch old Speedy Gonzales cartoons and speak Spanish all day. Happy CdMayo!

In honor of Huckabee, I will drink a jar of mayonnaise, watch Hello Larry episodes, & have relations with a blood relative. 

3. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis). I thought I’d heard it all as to why right-wing politicians want to defund Planned Parenthood, but Grothman raised absurdity to a new level. At a town hall meeting, Grothman explained his vote to defund by claiming women can simply get birth control and reproductive services at the pharmacy or even the grocery store!

In the exchange below, a constituent asks Rep. Grothman why he supports defunding Planned Parenthood. She reminds him ZERO federal dollars go toward abortion services and warns him not to use that as an excuse. Rep. Grothman isn’t quite sure what Planned Parenthood does, but he is sure women can just hop on down to the grocery store and get the same services. Rep. Grothman’s response and similar responses from his all-white, all-male Republican colleagues in the House are precisely why we need more women in office. Women’s lives and their futures depend on it.

This exchange went something like this:

GROTHMAN: You look at every city, and you can get birth control in, I would guess, in Neenah—

WOMAN: You would guess?

GROTHMAN: … uh six or ten different places. In pharmacists [sic], in many grocery stores, not to mention you can get it in a variety of clinics.

WOMAN: I’ve never gotten a prescription from a grocery store.

GROTHMAN: My guess is, in a city the size of Neenah … there have to be six or eight clinics where you can get birth control.

WOMAN: But what about rural communities?

GROTHMAN: I don’t respond to questions out of the blue. But I will say this: If you look at where all the Planned Parenthood clinics are in the state of Wisconsin, they are usually in more urban areas. I looked one time and got a list of all the clinics, Planned Parenthood clinics, in the state of Wisconsin. I don’t think there were any that I’m aware of, just pursuing it, in which you would say the village was so small that they didn’t have any other health care providers. I mean, they’ll throw that out, but if you look, it is usually in larger areas.

Cancer screenings? Check the produce department.  Quit your whining, ladies.

4. Donald Trump. No matter how hard I try, I can’t go a month without a Trump absurdity.This time it involves his reference to President Andrew Jackson and the Civil War. (NOTE: Andrew Jackson was president of the United States from 1829 to 1837 and died in 1845. The Civil War began in 1861.)

Here’s what Trump had to say: 

“I mean had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said “There’s no reason for this.” People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Maybe Trump has some kind of direct line to the afterlife and has used it to get the scoop on Jackson’s feelings about the Civil War, but otherwise, there are some chronological issues with the claim that when Jackson “saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said ‘There’s no reason for this.’”

But beyond the chronology … “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War?”

Did Donald Trump not take middle school or high school or college history? Because “What were the reasons for the Civil War?” is pretty much the classic thing U.S. history classes talk about. And the answer, after much debate, is, of course, slavery. Maybe the current occupant of the White House thinks slavery is something made up by the media—fake news.

His next question: “Why could that one not have been worked out?” Why? because Donald Trump was not there to do a deal, of course.

Trump’s rambling shows not only his historical ignorance but that he’s willing to whitewash the horrors of slavery. Steve Bannon must be telling him bedtime stories.

5. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. Johnson, the guy who got rich by finding someone to support him, has a 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 pal, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman.  But some things are so awesome, that you just have to use them yourself! Some variation of this single mom marrying the government instead of a marrying real man has become a central talking point of Johnson's stump speech as he gears up for re-election in 2016.

As anyone who works and has kids would expect, Johnson and Grothman's modern redux of the "welfare queen" has been rated "Mostly False" by Politifact and was given "Two Pinocchios" by the Washington Post's fact checker. Why?  Because it is a ridiculous notion to suggest that when you’re a single parent, working below the poverty line, that you would intentionally have another child to get more government assistance and "increase your take-home pay."  Obviously, food stamps, health care and other government assistance don't come close covering all the expenses that come with having a child and what Johnson and Grothman fail to grasp in their misleading calculations of "income," is that children actually eat and children actually get sick-- the "increased income" they're talking about comes in the form of increased benefits that all (in most cases literally) get eaten-up by the children. 

Which is why, as we still struggle to climb out of the Great Recession, during which a record number of people (including families headed by single moms) needed help in the form of food stamps and other government assistance programs, the birth rate in the United States came to a screeching halt.

It's also important to point out that in the current generation of children, more than half will spend at least part of their childhood in a single-parent household and although most of these single-parent households are headed by women,  most single women with children don't receive government assistance that we typically think of as "welfare."

Chalk this up as one more example of a false right-wing assumption—like election fraud necessitating voter restrictions—that leads to horrific consequences, mostly for our non-white and poorest citizens.

6. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Appearing on CNBC to talk about his trip to Saudi Arabia with President Trump, Ross raved about Saudi Arabia’s increasing liberalism (false), the offered this jaw-dropping observation:

“There was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.”

At this point, the CNBC anchor interrupted to say that didn’t mean people in Saudi Arabia didn’t want to protest, the Saudis tightly control their citizens. Ross brushed her off, saying: “in theory that could be true,” then continued raving about protest-free Saudi Arabia.

Maybe Ross in unaware of how Saudi Arabia deals with dissenters. How about jailing, torture and executions (beheadings are favored)?

As just one example, forty-seven protesters and alleged supporters of al-Qaeda were executed in a single day in January. In July, the number of beheadings in Saudi Arabia reached 108 this year, putting the country on track to exceed its 2015 execution total.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners. Research last year by human rights organization, Reprieve, found that, of those identified as facing execution in Saudi Arabia, some 72 per cent were sentenced to death for non-violent alleged crimes, while torture and forced confessions were common.

The willingness of so many Americans to tolerate autocratic, human rights abusing regimes like Saudi Arabia, because government officials tell them it’s somehow in our national interests, exposes the lie in America’s claim to being not only the essential global protector of human rights and freedoms.

Most Americans think of the U.S. as exceptional, not just in power, but in virtue. Our democracy stands as a model for the world. But ours is a “democracy” that works best for the wealthy. It’s a democracy that continues to regard people of color as inferior. It’s a democracy that elects a president who received more than three million fewer votes than his opponent. It’s a democracy where over 30 of its states have voting restriction laws that kept hundreds of thousands of citizens from voting in the last election. (I call your attention to the irony of Iran keeping its polls open later than usual so everyone could vote in its recent election.) Maybe this is why so many like Saudi Arabia so much.

And the winner is . . . .
_____________________________

It has to be Mike Huckabee.

1 comment:

  1. Its getting harder to pick a "Bonehead Absurdity" because all the candidates' remarks are either racists (Huckabee) or politically ideologically based to appeal to the conservative electorate.
    The President of the United States is so willfully ignorant of historical events such as the cause of the Civil War, that he should be placed in a special category. "An honorary member of the Bonehead Absurdity Hall of Fame."
    While he praises slave owner Andrew Jackson it wouldn't surprise me if in his limited knowledge of history that he would blurt out that maybe Jackson could have stopped the attack on Pearl Harbor or maybe 9/11 if only he had been born later.
    But to make a statement "People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War?” shows why Trump is unqualified to speak about historical events in American History. Every library has sections devoted to the subject of the Civil War, so Mr. Trump you see many scholars and historians have asked that question and have written extensively on this subject. But then again when you speak you are talking to your blind folded base who believe anything you say.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting!