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DAHOF: South Dakota Rep. Michael Clark

Not every selection for the Dumb Ass Hall Of Fame is an idiot, dotard, or buffoon. Some, like this week’s honoree, are just brain-numbed by hate and ignorance.

America In Decline, From Facebook.
Bigoted SD Rep. Michael Clark doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the tribute to these great leaders.

The morality of the nation crumbles around us, hurtling toward a precipice of as-yet-unimaginable depth, spurred by the pubescent leadership of our President, the jibbering sycophants who surround him, and the spineless cowards of the Senate and Congress, most of whom are more than intelligent enough to see what this man is, but refuse to act for reasons both partisan and personal. I awake each morning, take my pills, and empty my bladder beneath a cloud of dread: what terrible things have transpired since the day before. What has the skulking boy king said, what has he done or, most often, what excremental feats of churlish impertinence have the lunks and sneering bounders emboldened by his example been up to?

Another cop killing an unarmed black man? Running him down with a patrol car? Shooting him seven or eight times in the back? Gunning him down for closing a door–a fragile blue ego more important than a warrant and the Fourth Amendment? Or maybe another ally insulted? Another adversary provoked? Another treaty broken? Another bold faced lie maintained in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Another denial of that lie, despite video?

Given all of this and so much more, I am barely surprised to hear that South Dakota stateScreenshot(1) Representative Michael Clark tried to press the argument, that businesses should be allowed to turn down people based on the color of their skin. As my dad used to say, “I shit you not.”

In a heady stupor of exclusionist victory dancing following the Supreme Court ruling in favor of a homophobic Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs, Clark boasted on Facebook that the decision was a “win for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” Other FB users called him on his gleeful embrace of bigotry, and the intrepid lawmaker doubled down.

“It is his business,” Clark wrote in a comment. “He should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants. If he wants to turn away people of color, then [that’s] his choice.”

We’ve seen this mindset before. On buses in Tennessee. In schools in Arkansas. At lunch civil-rightscounters in Alabama.

It is modestly affirming that a furor quickly built, on Facebook and among the general public and first regional, then national news organizations began covering the incident. At first he tried to frame his bigotry as standard anti-government rhetoric, asserting that  business owners only need serve certain segments of society and that the market would ultimately determine if the business succeeded or failed. The negative comments and press coverage built up, as some of reminded this attorney and elected lawmaker of a not-so-irrelevant document called The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Predictably, the heat was too much for tough cowboy Clark, who ultimately deleted the post on Tuesday. He said he had “jumped in on it a little bit too fast,” the Argus-Leader reported.

ScreenshotNot long  after, he apologized via email to a reporter for the Leader, followed by a glib, insincere retraction on Facebook. “I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments. “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race.”

But in an interview with the Argus-Leader, Clark said he believed that business owners should be able to turn away certain customers if they would otherwise violate their religious beliefs. “If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away,” Clark told the Leader. “People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business. The vote of the dollar is very strong,” he said.

I’m still parsing which is more disgusting, the unapologetic awfulness of the President and his Trumpkins, or these slimy, cynical clones who imitate his success playing to the lowest common denominators, shouting whatever vile and hateful bile they happen to indexbe regurgitating at any particular moment? It is a tough contest indeed. Trump is culpable for setting the tone, but they’re all playing the same game: vomit out sinful rhetoric to the bleating masses and keep pressing–then either deny it completely and blame the press for making it up, or mutter a dishonest, heartless apology rife with crocodile tears and move on. “I didn’t say that. But if you have tape that shows I did, then I certainly didn’t mean it.”

Well,  Mr. Clark, we’re not buying what you’re selling. You don’t get to worm and squirm out of it with a cynical “I’m sorry,” so take ownership for the man you’ve become. Burn a cross, beat a gay man–be your honest self. Your soul is already exposed before your neighbors, your friends, and especially your God.

It is easy to say, “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their 1963-derechos-civilescolor or race” but the simple fact is that yes, you would, because yes, you did. It’s not like we haven’t seen your kind before.

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Commentary Dumb Ass Hall of Fame

D.A.H.O.F. Returns: Blake Farenthold, Masterduelist

House GOPNobody  ever accused Mrs. Farenthold of raising a gentleman, and unconventionally telegenic Blake Farenthold, apparent owner of website http://www.blowme.org and republican congressman from east Texas best known for a particularly unseemly sexual harassment complaint lodged against him (click here, beware eeeww factor), is not content to rest on his laurels. He likes to say that ethics investigators dismissed that charge, but only after he reached an undisclosed out of court settlement with the victim.

In a recent interview, the former right-wing radio schlock jock wanna-be lashed out at Duckythe failure of the dysfunctional Trump government’s inability to conjure up sufficient support to pass its deeply flawed repeal-and-replace of the Affordable Healthcare Act, placing the blame on “some female senators from the Northeast,” according to The Associated Press. Unable to muzzle his drooling yapper, the dashing troglodyte suggested what he felt was an appropriate solution. “If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” he bragged.

First of all: no, he wouldn’t. As Democratic Senator commented to Maine Republican Susan Collins, one the targets of Farenthold’s bile, “”Trust me — you know why he challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the shit out of him.” Other Republicans who have come out strongly against the deeply flawed “TrumpCare” scheme include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), either of which could easily thrash their corpulent colleague from way down south in Dixie.

True to form for all loudmouth bullies, Farenthold changed his tune once the story went viral, insisting that his venal rhetoric was all in good fun, his comments reflecting that ““Like the President, I am sick and tired of the left-wing biased media trying to make something out of nothing. This was clearly tongue in cheek”

Note the key phrase there: Like The President.

Plenty more to read about Farenthold, another one of those redneck republicans too full of themselves to even try to hide and hold back the stupid from foaming out of their mouths, and for this, Blake Farenthold has been  nominated to the “back in business” Dumb Ass Hall of Fame.

*The Dumb Ass Hall of Fame regrets squandering the opportunities presented by the current democratically elected leadership of the United States of America and is, once again, welcoming nominations.

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Resistance Hero: Beth Fukumoto

Hawaii’s Republicans responded on one of their leaders participating in the recent Women’s March in Honolulu by stripping one of their best and brightest, State House of Representatives Minority Leader Beth Fukumoto. Fukumoto, who maintains her seat, also critcized President Donald Trump during the March–an action that “party-first” Republicians just could not abide.

fukumotoThe 33-year old Fukumoto was confronted by members of the Republican Caucus who demanded that she commit to not criticizing Donald Trump under any circumstances. When she refused, she was ousted from her leadership role.

“What ended up being very problematic for me was that my caucus and others said, ‘If you want to stay in leadership, then you need to make a commitment to not criticize the president for the remainder of his term,'” Fukumoto said. “And with what we’ve been seeing in the news with the different executive orders coming out every day, I didn’t believe I could make that commitment.”

During an ensuing House floor session, she stated. “I believe it is our job as Americans and as leaders of this body to criticize power when power is wrong,”

In the aftermath, Fukumoto is considering joining the Democratic Party. Conscious of her responsibility to those who voted for her, she has contacted her constituents in order to hear their input and opinions.

“In the last couple years, I’ve watched leaders in the Republican Party become less and less tolerant of diverse opinions and dissenting voices,” Fukumoto said today in a news release. “Today, I’m facing demands for my resignation from leadership and possible censure because I raised concerns about our President’s treatment of women and minorities. I’ve been asked by both my party and my caucus to commit to not criticizing the president for the remainder of his term and to take a more partisan approach to working in the Legislature. That is not a commitment I can make. As a representative of my community, it is my job to hold leaders accountable and to work with anyone, regardless of party, to make Hawaii a better place for our families.”

“This morning, I sent a letter to my district explaining that I would like to leave the Republican Party and seek membership in the Democratic Party,” Fukumoto said. “When I was re-elected in November, I was elected as a Republican, and I want to honor my community’s choice by consulting them before any decision is made. As I articulated in my letter, I encourage my constituents to contact me with input and provide feedback. I was elected by the people of Mililani, and I am here to represent them.”

Predictably, Republican leaders resent Fukumoto’s putting morals above Party loyalty.  Hawaii Republican Party Chair Fritz Rohlfing demanded that if Fukumoto chooses to leave the party three months after being re-elected as a Republican, she must immediately resign from her seat entirely so the GOP could have time to propose replacements to Gov. David Ige.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/hawaii-republican-leader-vocal-trump-opposition-ready-leave-gop-n716071?cid=sm_fb

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Commentary

F*ck Donald Tr*mp

donald-trump-hairNot long ago I decided that I would enter the same comment beneath every article, essay, or blog post that mentions his name, no matter how humorous or interesting or disgusting Three short words that echo his nuanced, thoughtful response to the great issues of our day:

F*ck Donald Tr*mp.

It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s as straight to the point as a giant wall in the desert.

F*ck Donald Tr*mp.

Try it. The sensation is a little heady, a little intoxicating, like four shots of smooth, cheap Canadian whiskey poured over a couple of ice cubes in a cool, wide highball glass.

F*ck Donald Tr*mp

You really want to get in on this, to be part of this movement from the ground floor. Imagine a world in which every media mention of him was followed by a cacophonous roar of

F*ck Donald Tr*mp.

It would be just like every day was Christmas, and what a wonderful world that would be.

and here I go:.Fuck Donald Trump. In fact, I”m going to make a post of it, maybe try to start a movement….

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Tunesday: The Mockers: Republican Girl

For anyone who ever suppressed an agonizing, embarrassing, disturbing little crush on Ann Coulter….

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Ted Cruz Campaign Slogans

When manna like this falls from heaven it’s almost enough to make you believe in, well, heaven.  I’m generally frustrated at the realization that I’m basically a man without a political party–too poor and yet too smart to be a Republican, and too smart and yet too practical to be a Democrat–but there are times when, along with double the disgruntlement, that I enjoy double the hilarity.  It is in times like these that I thank the Great Spaghetti Monster for men like Ted Cruz, and the n’er-do-wells who mock him.  This is going to be fun.

cruz1 cruz2 cruz 3 cruz 4 cruz 5 cruz 6 Screenshot_4 Screenshot_5 Screenshot_7

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Commentary Funny and/or Strange

Rick Santorum Explores New Presidential Run

In honor of Rick Santorum’s potential run (yet again) for the White House, I offer my very favorite cut and paste tribute to the spasmodically homophobic zealot.  If this isn’t the best headline, maybe ever….

Seminal Santorum

Rick Santorum. If you know me, or read this blog often, you know I’m not a fan, and I haven’t been since well before he slithered onto the national stage after his vicious and duplicitous campaign against Harris Wofford for a senate seat twenty years ago.  It was an ugly, negative campaign–beyond negative, it was brutal and desperately misleading, and it paid off.  The upright, distinguished Wofford, whose achievements dated back to the Kennedy administration and included the establishment of the Peace Corps, refused to play tit for tat, sticking to his vow to campaign on the issues and refusing to shrink to the level of Santorum’s shrill and angry personal attacks.  When Santorum ultimately won, his campaign staff scheduled a celebration the day after the election–in the lobby of the office building where Wofford’s campaign headquarters was located, forcing the Wofford’s staff to walk through catcalls and taunts in order to go home that afternoon.  It was outrageous, and it’s not anecdotal–I was there in the Federated Tower in downtown Pittsburgh that November afternoon in 1994.  I’ve despised the guy–not only for his politics, but for his angry, hysterical persona.  When he compared homosexuality to bestiality I wasn’t surprised, nor was I surprised when a reporter discovered that after his election Santorum moved his entire family to suburban Virginia, hiding the fact from the school district where he’d lived in Pennsylvania so they would keep paying cyber school tuition for his children.  Yep, this was the same Santorum who worked himself up to a lather denigrating single mothers who received benefits, and who desperately wanted to cut off social security benefits to folks under the age of 70, conning the system.  Nobody familiar with him was surprised.

I was thrilled to learn he’d be running again–he’s unelectable, of course, and his backers support him primarily as a tool through which the debates for the republican primary may be swayed to the right–because he’s a car crash waiting to happen every time he steps in front of a microphone, a stereotype of of thew swarmy, insincere politician conning his core constituency (white, racist, homophobic, teabagger christians) by playing to their fears and hatreds. If you’ve ever seen the brilliant political satire “Bob Roberts,” you’ll recognize a lot of Santorum as a living, breathing example of the disingenuous, cynical, power-mad con-man/politician whose willingness to crawl in the darkest, dankest mud and slime and shit in order to grab a taste of power.

More later.  (I have to go spend the day shopping for prom gowns.  Really.)

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Commentary

John Boehner & His Executive Order Fetish

This post isn’t about my politics, mind you, but I do want to get my biases out front–I’m worse than a Liberal, I’m a Rational.  The closest analog I’ve been able to find is Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party, but that’s hardly a good fit.  You haven’t heard of us yet, much, but you will.  We are legion–and I’ll tell you all about it in another post.

Injun John BoehnerThat said, this started out as our third edition of Dumb Ass of The Week, but the more I wrote the more I realized that in order to accommodate Mr. Weepy Tanning Bed himself, Speaker of the House John Boehner, we would have to stretch the meaning of the term “Dumb Ass” to include “Ass Hats” and “Assholes.”  Then there would be the inevitable outcry from the “Ass Clowns,” demanding inclusion,  but we have to draw a line somewhere. So, as Boehner is clearly more of the “Ass Hat” variety, we’re giving the award to a more bizarrely cracked sumbitch, and that’s okay.  He’ll understand.

It’s important to note that Mr. Boehner wouldn’t have earned this award by himself, and should share it with the cabal of hardline Randian teabaggers and Fox news paint huffers who now drive the Republican Party, as well as those weak-spined opportunists who capitulate to the extremists and abandon their moral and intellectual capacities in order to court the teabag vote.

The thing is, Boehner knows better.  He’s smart, and he used to be an effect legislator, but no longer.  He fears the powerful extremist right and covets their contributions to his war chest.  What got him on the list is the absurdly wasteful and divisive lawsuit that the Speaker has begun, cagily timed to provide angry talking points for conservative candidates in the upcoming elections.  How much money will be spent, how much time?  What will the cost be of one more political stunt aimed to widen the rift between the two major, useless parties?

But what about these horrible EXECUTIVE ORDERS?  (That’s a link with some fascinating info regarding them–check it out in another tab.)  You’ll learn more than this:

Executive Order

A presidential policy directive that implements or interprets a federal statute, a constitutional provision, or a treaty.

The president’s power to issue executive orders comes from Congress and the U.S. Constitution. Executive orders differ from presidential proclamations, which are used largely for ceremonial and honorary purposes, such as declaring National Newspaper Carrier Appreciation Day.

Executive orders do not require congressional approval. Thus, the president can use them to set policy while avoiding public debate and opposition. Presidents have used executive orders to direct a range of activities, including establishing migratory bird refuges; putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II; discharging civilian government employees who had been disloyal, following World War II; enlarging national forests; prohibiting racial discrimination in housing; pardoning Vietnam War draft evaders; giving federal workers the right to bargain collectively; keeping the federal workplace drug free; and sending U.S. troops to Bosnia.

That’s the gist of it.  Executive Orders were included as part of the original establishment of our government, and the first President to issue one of these orders was George Washington himself.  In the intervening years they have been used by every President, including President Barack Obama’s predecessor,  President George W. Bush.  And how many of these evil, supposedly illegal manuevers did Bush perpetrate?  One?  Two?  Ten?  Twenty?

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

Ha.  In his first term, Dubya Bush signed 173 executive orders, compared to Obama’s 143.  In Bush’s second term, he was less aggressive, signing a mere 118 orders, while Obama is (through July 20) clocking in at a modest 36.

My point is not that Bush’s actions were even more egregious than Obama’s, but that this is how it works.  Presidents do this all the time–always have–and in while those numbers seem high, Obama and Bush both clock in as relatively restrained practitioners of the Executive Order.  Crazed liberals like Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower averaged considerably more Executive Orders, and let’s not even talk about Truman and Roosevelt.  Ronald Reagan pulled the trigger 381 times over two years, and milquetoast Gerald Ford managed an astound 176 in little more than a year in office.  The scoundrel.

Let’s see the lawsuit expanded to throw Bush in there as a co-defendent.  Or Reagan’s gristly corpse.

What lets me feel good about trashing Boehner is that he knows this.  He has to.  I managed to educate myself on this subject in about 40 minutes, counting the time it took to go grab a glass of water and a handfull of Fritos.  I’m wagering that the Speaker of The United States House of Representatives might know a little more than I do about how the law works, of course maybe he doesn’t.

The thing is: he doesn’t care. Every Republican looking at an election this fall will face a plethora of rheumy-eyed mouth-breathing self-educated constitutional experts who demand to know what those candidates are doing about impeaching “Barack Hussein Obama,” as they love to say.  Forget that most of them don’t actually understand what the word “impeachment” means, let alone the process behind it–they want action.  With this lawsuit, the candidates will be able to say, “Look Mr. Cletus, we’re suing the closet Kenyan-In-Chief” and then they’ll all be friends.  Secondly, as less imperatively, the republicans are using this bull to raise funds–“help us win!”  Of course, the Democrats are pulling in just as much scratch–millions and millions.  What sucks about this is that millions and millions of dollars of government money will be spent prosecuting this case–and that’s the real kicker.

*As an afterthought, each time I mention Boehner’s name I’m compelled to point out that every spell-checking software I use, on every device, begs me to correct his name to “Boner.”  Could be the machine revolution won’t be as bad as Terminator and The Matrix led us to expect.

 

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Quotes From The Dark Side: Paul Ryan

Because he cares….

”We’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.”

—Rep. Paul Ryan, March 12, 2013

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Commentary Quote

Quotes From The Other Side: Henry Kissinger, Evil Personified

You might need to be like me, old as dirt, to experience the truly appropriate, visceral, shiver of disgust at the sound of his name, but when I was a little kid Henry Kissinger was a political name one heard almost as frequently as his primary employers, Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.  My fingers are crackling and steaming from just typing his name, such is the hellfire summoned by a mere mention.

Henry Kissinger

Fred Banfram expounds on one of Kissinger’s more appalling chestnuts in a fine article on Alternet,  which I very much encourage you to read:

“The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

He was Secretary of State for two Presidents, this guy, and still appears regularly on TV news shows while drawing huge speaking fees for sold out venues.  And then there’s this one:

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy, and if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

Yikes.