In an effort to “catch up” on our nation’s political carnival, I present simply the five craziest things I read/saw this week:
HEALTH CARE: RETURN OF THE BUNGLED TEA PARTY PROTESTS -
- Congressional Republicans have been holding a series of protests on the hill regarding health care reform legislation…of course they’re not calling them “protests,” but are rather using the term “press conferences.“ It’s what we have come to expect: buses sponsored by “astroturf” groups dumping groups of disgruntled citizens at the Capitol steps…check. Wildly inaccurate, misspelled, racist, and occasionally simply bizarre hand-held signs (including one featuring pictures of holocaust victims, comparing health reform to Nazi genocide)…check. A Republican legislator (Rep. Todd Akin, R-MO) botching the Pledge of Allegiance right after extolling the importance of the pledge…check. Another Republican representative (John Boehner, R-OH) holding up a copy of the Constitution, claiming that it is the most important guide to his actions and that he’d like to read a little excerpt from it…then proceeding to read from the Declaration of Independence…check. Fox News, using an outdated photograph to misrepresent the attendance at the gathering (not the first time they’ve done this), only to get busted by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show…check. For your viewing pleasure, here’s the Daily Show clip:
- The protests weren’t the only “health-care related” spectacle. Here again is Jon Stewart…to address the OTHER antics of our elected officials:
THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Pro-Sex Offender?
- If you’ve heard about the conservative Heritage Foundation, it is probably due to the health care debate…where they have been quick to provide reform opponents with a variety of unfathomably unscientific and skewed “studies” with which to do battle. They also have some rather interesting legal opinions, which they present on their sister website, Overcriminalized.com. The Heritage Foundation claims that the site “...describes the trend in America – and particularly in Congress – to use the criminal law to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making proper use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives.” What examples do they give of unnecessary laws, to address minor “mistakes” that they’d rather see handled in civil proceedings? How about HR5652, the Child Slavery Prevention Act of 2008…which provides strict sentences to people who engage in human trafficking and sex slavery. And they’re not too fond of HR1632, the International Megan’s Law of 2009, which requires that sex offenders report any intention of travelling abroad, and prevents foreign sex offenders who committed their crimes against children from coming into our country. And there’s HR3513, Prevention and Deterrence Of Crimes Against Children Act of 2009 (strongly penalizes those involved in child pornography), HR288, Save Our Children: Stop The Violent Predators Against Children DNA Act of 2009 (created the DNA database for use in identifying and prosecuting sex predators), and S431, Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sex Predators (KIDS) Act of 2007 (sex offenders have to register all online identifiers, IP address, email accounts, usernames, chat names). Besides being an absolutely inane position to take, claiming that these bills are anything except a GOOD thing…it certainly seems an odd stance for a group that likes to portray themselves as the “law and order” crowd.
CONSERVATIVES: NO MUSLIMS IN THE MILITARY -
- You didn’t need to have a crystal ball to know that the right-wing response to the recent, tragic shooting at Fort Hood in Texas would focus on the fact that the shooter was a Muslim. First there were calls for “screening Muslims” who want to serve in the military. Besides the obviously xenophobic and discriminatory aspects of this suggestion, it is clear that effecting such a policy would be difficult, given our military has been repeatedly and desperately lowering its recruiting standards, and currently fails to “screen out” members of biker gangs, street gangs, assorted violent felons, and individuals with terrifying mental histories. Now, the American Family Association (you guessed it…with a name like that, it has to be a conservative activism group) wants to take things a step further: they call for a ban on Muslims in the military. Quick little bit of history: In WWII…some of our greatest heroes were German-American soldiers who were very much in touch with their ancestry, but they put America first. Also during WWII, Japanese-American soldiers, despite the internment of so many Japanese-Americans in camps…they put America first, served this country, and were recognized for their bravery and sacrifice. If we were fighting in a Christian nation…would Christians not be allowed to serve, for fear of divided loyalty? No…and Muslim-Americans who choose to bravely serve and protect our nation should continue to be afforded not only the opportunity…but also our full gratitude and respect.
CARRIE PREJEAN: FALL OF A POORLY CONCEIVED CONSERVATIVE ROLE MODEL -
- Quick Version: Carrie Prejean, Miss California, loses the Miss America pageant after saying that she opposes gay marriage. Conservatives immediately hail Prejean as a hero, a wholesome Christian girl, and a victim of “political correctness.“ Prejean makes the rounds, speaking at conservative symposiums, tearfully recalling how she believes her First Amendment rights were violated (for the hundredth time…no, Carrie: the government never prevented you from exercising your free speech). The Miss California Pageant fires Prejean, and wants the money for her boob job back (they paid for it) because despite being a “wholesome Christian girl” Prejean apparently never learned the whole “Christian-work-ethic-thing,” and has been ditching on her contractual commitments. Prejean cries “religious discrimination” and sues the pageant for millions. A sex tape appears…when the pageant’s lawyers bring it to a hearing (ouch). Prejean drops her lawsuit…conservative groups drop her as a guest speaker. Prejean tries to get her ex-boyfriend (the source of the tape) to say it was from a LONG time ago…he refuses and tells TMZ it was from 2007. Now…here’s my favorite part: despite all this, Prejean is STILL plugging her new book on the talk show rounds, and I guess she just didn’t figure anybody would ask her about the lawsuit, and the reason she had to drop it. Enjoy this bit from Larry King Live, where Prejean regresses to the level of an eight-year-old:
LOU DOBBS: DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU…
- Lou Dobbs…has quit CNN. When one examines even just his most awful, most racist, most insane moments (much less his consistent stream of unresearched, patently false, and journalistically irresponsible claims), you are left asking: Why was he allowed to continue for so long? Here’s a compilation of some of Lou’s worst moments…CNN is planning to replace him with John King, which can only be an improvement.
Tomorrow…it’s time for our weekly “Chaos Theory” edition, where we’ll try to wrap up all remaining items from the week. Until then…