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“Satan’s Office Party”: It’s Black Friday And The Religious Zealots Are Running Out Of Places To Shop

On this Black Friday, apparently members of the religious right are running into a problem. After having joined the bandwagon of turning Christmas into a commercialized shopping extravaganza, Linda Harvey says that they’re running out of places to spend their money that are content to discriminate against LGBT people.

Of course she warns people to stay away from the usual suspects like Macy’s for allowing a transexual to use a woman’s dressing room and Target for selling gay pride t-shirts. But oh my, she now has to add that conservative bastion known as Wal-Mart to the list for opposing “religious freedom” bills in Arkansas and Indiana.

But my very favorite is her problem with Mattel.

If you’re thinking toys, avoid Mattel. They just created “Moschino Barbie” with an ad featuring a tragically feminized little boy who plays with Barbies, a wicked accommodation to the current gender-destructive culture.

Little boys playing with Barbies? What is the world coming to? For our “gender-destructive culture,” Harvey has a totally hyperbolized name…”Satan’s Office Party.”

Here’s a thought. What if these religious zealots actually DID run out of places to shop and had to spend some time thinking about what the whole Christmas season was originally about?

Let me tell you something about the Jesus that I know.

He was a real man. Born in a poor region to working poor parents. He loved learning, he loved his mother and his father.

But he left them and spent his life with the poor, the outcast, the rejected, the defiled, the sick, the sinners, the bedraggled, the bereft, the self-hating, the lonely, the banished, the foul, the miserable, the desperate and finally, those sick with their own power.

He did this, not because of his ideology or his creed. He did this not because of his doctrine. He did this, quite simply, because he loved them. He preferred them.

Making up a fictionalized “war on Christmas” is a way to avoid the discomfort these folks would feel if they really did attempt to put Christ back in Christmas.

 

By: Nancy Letourneau, The Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, November 27, 2015

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Black Friday, Christian Right, Christmas | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Current Law, But Not Settled Law”: Rubio Not Done Fighting Against Marriage Equality

For a presidential candidate who’s often preoccupied with his youth and reputation for looking forward, Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) policy vision can be strikingly regressive.

Marriage equality, for example, is already the law of the land in the United States, but Right Wing Watch flagged Rubio’s new interview with Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, where the senator made clear he’s not done fighting against equal marriage rights, calling the status quo “current law,” but “not settled law.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called on to participate in that process to try to change it – not ignoring it, but trying to change the law.

 “And that’s what we’re endeavoring to do here. I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman.”

For most of the country, there’s a realization that there is no credible proposal to turn back the clock. Rubio didn’t elaborate on how, exactly, he wants to “change the law” to prevent same-sex couples from getting married, and if he tried, he’d likely fail.

But the key here is understanding just how far the Florida senator is willing to go with the culture war. For Rubio, it’s still not too late to bring back discriminatory marriage laws.

And then, of course, there are reproductive rights, where Rubio still intends to be the most far-right major-party presidential nominee of the modern era.

As regular readers know, Rubio’s position on abortion is that it must be outlawed – without exception. If a woman is impregnated by a rapist, for example, Rubio believes the government has the authority to force that woman to take that pregnancy to term, whether she wants to or not.

This came up in a recent interview with the New Yorker.

On several issues, Rubio has taken a position that suits the faithful in the primaries but is guaranteed to repel voters in a general election. His most obvious vulnerability is on abortion. In the first Republican debate, Rubio said that his opposition to abortion extends to cases of rape or incest – a position at odds with that of more than three-quarters of Americans. [Democratic strategist David] Axelrod told me, “No exceptions is a position so extreme that no Republican candidate has ever held it. Presidential races are defined by moments. Maybe he will try to amend that position, but in the age of video it’s hard to extinguish a declarative statement like that.”

When I asked Rubio about it, he said, somewhat confusingly, “Look, I personally believe that all life is worthy of protection, and therefore I don’t ever require, nor have I ever advocated, that I won’t support a law unless it has exceptions.” After some more twists and turns, I sensed that we had reached the line he plans to use in a general election: “My goal is to save as many lives as possible, and I’ll support anything that does that. Even if it has exceptions.”

This led to some confusion, prompting Rubio to clarify matters in an interview yesterday with the Associated Press. “I, as president, will sign a bill that has exceptions,” he said. “I’ve supported bills that have exceptions.” The senator added, “I do not personally require a bill to have exceptions – other than life of the mother – in order for me to support it. But I will sign a bill as president that has exceptions.”

Here’s the bottom line: if a Republican Congress sends President Rubio an anti-abortion bill, he’ll sign it, even if it includes some exceptions he personally disagrees with. When it comes to abortion restrictions, he’ll take what he can get and then fight for more.

But as far as what Rubio actually, personally wants U.S. policy to be, he’s opposed to exceptions, even in cases of rape and incest – a position further to the right than any Republican nominee since Roe was decided more than 40 years ago.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, November 25, 2015

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Marco Rubio, Marriage Equality, Reproductive Rights | , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Governor For President? No Thanks”: Challenging “Broder’s Law” That Says Governors Are Best For The Oval Office

Let me declare the end of an era: the governor-era in presidential elections. It was mostly nice while it lasted. Senators seem be in, for those who are actually politicians.

For years, pundits felt with all their hearts that governors were golden kings when it came to running for president. This political gospel was spread throughout the land, mostly because the dean of Washington opinion-makers, the late David Broder of The Washington Post, believed it devoutly. Broder’s law was repeated on Sunday talk shows until it had an aura all its own.

Let’s review the facts on the ground. Among the four front-runners in this cycle – Donald Trump (R), Ben Carson (R), Hillary Clinton (D) and Bernie Sanders (D) – the Republicans have zero political experience, and the Democrats have served as senators.

Meanwhile, the governors in the running are lagging far behind. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) thought being a model-good governor would give him a certain “je ne sais quoi.” Clearly not; he’s a distant third behind the opponents with congressional experience. The former mayor of Baltimore has yet to gain traction, though he’s followed all the signs to higher office.

John Kasich, the Republican governor of a swing state, would be the strong candidate to beat in Broder’s book. He’s in the single digits, last I looked. Three sitting Republican governors, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Perry of Texas, fell out of contention. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is hanging on but looks like a loser, too. Two young Cuban-America senators, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, are outrunning Christie in this race.

The late Broder believed in governors the way my grandfather believed in building highways in the Eisenhower era. Don’t get me wrong; I liked Broder and he was kind about my wish to get into his line of work. The reasoning was simple: Those with executive authority over a state have better job training to govern the nation.

In the span of decades from Presidents Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, indeed it was true that governors often made it to the Oval Office. This paradigm crossed party lines, since Carter and Clinton were Southern Democrats and Reagan and Bush were governors of California and Texas, respectively.

The truth is, I noticed the old Broder faith beginning to break down in 2008, but I didn’t want to say anything at first. (I mentioned it in The Huffington Post.) The Democratic crop of candidates fielded more senators than you could shake a stick at: not only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but also Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. The telegenic Republican nominee, Matt Romney, a perfectly good governor of Massachusetts, lost to a younger freshman senator whose oratory could coax the stars out of the sky.

So here’s the thing. The reason why public trust in sitting governors as candidates is not part of the 21st landscape is this. The American people were so disillusioned with George W. Bush’s presidency – marked by war-mongering in the beginning, Hurricane Katrina in the middle and an economic downturn in the end – that governors have no special favor anymore. In fact, they may have to work to overcome that label.

It’s a 2016 amendment to Broder’s law.

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, U. S. News and World Report, November 23, 2015

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Election 2016, GOP Presidential Candidates, Governors | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Week Of GOP Cowardice And Bigotry”: In Time Of Crisis, Too Many Politicians Feed Fear And Scapegoating”:

In the somber days since ISIS terrorists killed 130 people in coordinated attacks on Paris, elected leaders from around the world have been searching for solutions. But far too many American politicians have fallen back, instead, on that old standby in times of crisis: Stirring up fear and finding someone, anyone, to scapegoat, no matter how unconnected the scapegoated person is with the problem at hand.

Sadly, in Congress that took the form of a House vote to in essence stop the U.S. resettlement of refugees from Iraq and Syria by imposing nearly impossible bureaucratic requirements on what is already the toughest vetting system for anyone seeking entry into the U.S. This bill was scapegoating in its purest form, framing as terrorists people who are fleeing the very violence that this bill was supposedly trying to prevent.

The House vote — in which 47 Democrats joined nearly every Republican — was the culmination of a week of cowardice and bigotry sweeping the political landscape.

There was the Missouri state legislator who urged his governor to watch out for “all flavors” of Muslims and the mayor of Roanoke who invoked the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as a positive model for how to treat American Muslims.

And there were the 31 governors who declared that their states would turn away Syrian refugees who go through the U.S. refugee resettlement program.

Not wanting to miss out on the action, of course, Republican presidential candidates have been tripping over themselves to outdo one another. Donald Trump has speculated that refugees from Syria “could be one of the great Trojan horses.” Mike Huckabee, in what can’t even be described as a dog-whistle, has told Americans to “wake up and smell the falafel” when it comes to Syrian refugees. Chris Christie said he’d get tough on Syrian orphans. Ted Cruz has suggested that the U.S. only admit Christian refugees from Syria, although how he plans on testing people’s religious faith is unclear. Jeb Bush has hinted at the same thing, saying he would back refugees who can “prove” that they’re Christian, which shows what this is all about. If you have a system that’s strong enough to “prove” someone’s true religion, don’t you think it could also properly vet people for national security purposes? Jeb Bush was supposed to be the mature establishment candidate. So much for that.

These politicians are feeding what a new Public Religion Research Institute poll reports is an “increased xenophobic streak in the American public.” It’s no coincidence that threats against American Muslims have been reported across the country in the days since the Paris attacks.

It is of course reasonable to ask that refugees be vetted — they already are — but if security were the real issue, our current debate wouldn’t be about refugees at all. In fact, if someone were intent on sneaking into America to cause harm, exploiting the refugee resettlement program with its intensive and lengthy screening processes would be the hardest way to do it. No, what is behind the anti-refugee campaign of the Right is not reasonable concerns about security, but something much uglier.

The candidates who are now spewing cynical anti-refugee rhetoric are often the same ones who claim that their opponents don’t believe in “American exceptionalism,” and the movement so willing to embrace explicit anti-Muslim bigotry is the same one constantly telling us that religious freedom is under attack. They seem to have forgotten the vibrant pluralism and commitment to shared values that make us exceptional, and a beacon of freedom to the persecuted, in the first place. Looking back on the history of our country, our best days have been when we opened ourselves to people facing persecution, not the times we turned them away and demonized them. Let’s not let this become the American Way.

 

By: Michael B. Keegan, President, People For the American Way; The Blog, The Huffington Post, November 24, 2015

November 27, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Bigotry, House Republicans, Syrian Refugees | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Do We Have Basic Minimum Standards?”: Crossing Over From Bravado Into Mental Illness.

Do you think this is the kind of country that would replace Barack Obama with a president who mocks people for their disabilities? This is actually a serious question.

And before you object, I know all about the previous occupant of the White House. I remember when George W. Bush did an interview back in 1999 with Tucker Carlson and decided to make fun of Karla Faye Tucker for pleading for her life:

The most disquieting aspect of Mr. Carlson’s report of Mr. Bush’s language is not what it says about Mr. Bush’s ability to dignify politics after President Clinton’s squalor. Rather, it is that Mr. Bush may have been showing off for Mr. Carlson, daring to be naughty. He may be proving his independence, which Mr. Carlson likes, but it is independence from standards of public taste — not the sort of independence many voters will be seeking in a successor to Mr. Clinton.

Mr. Carlson reports asking Mr. Bush whether he met with any people who came to Texas to protest the execution of the murderer Karla Faye Tucker. Mr. Bush said no, adding: “I watched [Larry King’s] interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like `What would you say to Governor Bush?’ ” Mr. Carlson asked, “What was her answer?” and writes:

” `Please,’ Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, `don’t kill me.’ “

Ms. [Karen] Hughes, who says Mr. Bush’s decision not to commute Tucker’s sentence was “very difficult and very emotional,” says Mr. Carlson’s report is “a total misread” of Mr. Bush. Mr. Carlson, who describes Mr. Bush as “smirking,” says: “I took it down as he said it.”

Nothing remotely resembling the King-Tucker exchange that Mr. Bush describes appears in the transcript of Mr. King’s hour-long Jan. 14, 1998, program. And it is difficult to imagine anything Mr. Bush said that Mr. Carlson may have “misread” that could do Mr. Bush credit.

I also know that the Bushes were the precursors to the current post-truth party. For example, after Carlson reported on Bush’s mocking of a woman he had condemned to death, and also on Bush’s liberal use of profanity, he got some major pushback from the campaign.

“Then I heard that Karen Hughes accused me of lying. And so I called Karen and asked her why she was saying this, and she had this almost Orwellian rap that she laid on me about how things she’d heard — that I watched her hear — she in fact had never heard, and she’d never heard Bush use profanity ever. It was insane. I’ve obviously been lied to a lot by campaign operatives, but the striking thing about the way she lied was she knew I knew she was lying, and she did it anyway. There is no word in English that captures that. It almost crosses over from bravado into mental illness. They get carried away, consultants do, in the heat of the campaign, they’re really invested in this. A lot of times they really like the candidate. That’s all conventional. But on some level, you think, there’s a hint of recognition that there is reality — even if they don’t recognize reality exists — there is an objective truth. With Karen you didn’t get that sense at all. A lot of people like her. A lot of people I know like her. I’m not one of them.”

When Carlson says that Karen Hughes “almost crosse[d] over from bravado into mental illness,” he could just as easily be describing Donald Trump.

There is one difference, however.

When Bush mocked Karla Faye Tucker, he did it in the privacy of the backseat of a car. His campaign could and did deny that it ever happened.

Donald Trump mocked New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski’s disability on a stage in front of thousands of supporters. There’s no denying that he did it or what he meant by it. At another point, Trump said that conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer, who is partially paralyzed, “couldn’t buy a pair of pants.” That was also captured on camera.

So, even if there isn’t as much difference between George W. Bush and Donald Trump as people might think, there’s a lot more ammo to use against Trump.

So, I ask again, is this the kind of country that would replace Barack Obama with a president who mocks people for their disabilities?

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, November 26, 2015

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, George W Bush, People With Disabilities | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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