Michele Bachmann Thinks Obama Has a God Problem

One of the few bright spots – perhaps the only bright spot – since the Presidential elections is the absence of the annual calls for an anti-flag burning amendment or the “if you don’t wear a flag pin you’re the Anti-Christ” movement. Of course, we still have the War on Christmas, but even Bill O’Reilly’s heart doesn’t seem to be in it this year.

But take heart America, there’s always one loon with Orly Taitzian persistence who’ll never give up on the inane…Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Dumbassasota).

Big surprise, huh?

Dear God, Who Aren’t in Speeches…
This time her special crusade is that Obama doesn’t say God enough – an ‘issue’ so spectacularly stupid, even John Boehner can see it. And to compound the asshattery, her Christian sensibilities were offended by a speech in which Obama actually used the word God – four times by my count.

Go figure.

Bachmann and some in the Congressional Prayer Caucus wrote a letter (.pdf file) to The Messiah™ objecting to his incorrect citing of the phrase, E pluribus unum as our national motto. Nay, nay they say, tis really In God We Trust, as if God’s name isn’t already invoked enough for the American Taliban.

Of course, they are correct. Their Christian forebearers, in 1955,  parted a sea of people who didn’t give a whit to officialize the motto and print it on money because, well, religion and money go together like stink and sh*t.

So OK, the O-Man – or more precisely his speechwriters – don’t know their ass from their motto. If Bachmann wants to criticize that, so be it, she IS correct. But isn’t Obama a bit distracted by a country going down the tubes like a hairball in a freshly plunged toilet? Shouldn’t Bachmann be just a tad worried about such things too.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Earmarklessness
Of course, there are better things for Bachmann, the Congressional Prayer Caucus, and President Careless Bear to do. For example, Bachmann’s crusade against earmarks. Apparently not aware of it herself, some people actually listened to her for once and went along. The problem was – oops – that meant she wouldn’t get any earmarks either. So, she’s decided to “redefine earmarks” in much the same way Christians redefined the national motto as In God We Trust.

Oddly, I’m actually heartened by this news. It only confirms just how goobulent she and her followers are and provides a nice comedic respite from The Party of Hell No and The Party of Pusillanimous Pussies. Clearly, Jay Leno has a thing or two to learn about writing a good comedy monologue.

Michelle, expect a letter from me soon. Your dedication to the public service of making your fellow citizens laugh their asses off in the face economic collapse and an outbreak of leaking wikis is admirable. In fact, it may be the only rock left for an unstable nation to attach itself to.

Thanks Rep. Bachmann, the people of America salute you!

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

DADT and the Wall of Whoop

DADT has been studied more than cancer, but the data is finally in. A vast majority of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines said, “big whoop”. The Secretary of Defense and many senior commanders have said – as they have for quite some time – “big whoop”. And the public, which the Tea Baggers and Republicans claim gave them an overwhelmingly clear mandate to do whatever they wanted screamed, “big whoop!” The Republican caucus, a minority of military commanders, and most notably Lindsey “Rentboy” Graham and the world’s most petulant child, John McThuselah, have said, “Not so fast. There’ll be no whooping in my military.”

On this issue – come to think of it, on most issues – McCain has been a major pain in the tuchus. He whined because the 17 gazillion studies that have been done since DADT was enacted just weren’t thorough enough, if by thorough you mean agreed with him. He said he’d gladly go along with repeal once the troops on the ground said, “big whoop”. Not unexpectedly, when confronted by the troops’ Wall of Whoop, his response is, “Whaaaaaaaa! I don’t wanna!”

McCain: Formally Admiral Crybaby
How the hell did such a crybaby survive being a POW? “Wahhh! I want more gruel. Whaaaa! I’m hot, and cold, and hot. Whaaaa! You waterboarded me with a neti pot instead of a towel and bucket. What kind of enhanced interrogator are you?!”

Look, almost every military on Earth, except perhaps Pope Ratzzie’s Swiss Guard, accepts gay people. And like the old saw about masturbation (with apologies to Christine O’Donnell), those that think there are none already there are lying. So far as I know, there has never been a military failure attributable to sexual orientation unless you count drumming out qualified and critically needed translators at just the time we needed them most.

Way to fight the War of Error there Boehner Bitches.

There have been no instances of soldiers running out of the shower tent directly into the groping hands of a TSA agent because someone looked at their junk. Even little old ladies from Pasadena waited until someone took x-rays of their desiccated old vajayjays followed by the most embarrassing crotch grab in history to complain.

AAAAAHHHHH! Look, It’s a Dick
Are you saying that accidentally looking at an underwhelming, soap-lathered dick will cause a top notch military to take up arms and resist the legal orders of Congress and the President – who ought to stop pussyfooting (no pun intended) around and issue? If you do, are you not saying, “These colors never run!” but, “These colors will always run from a comrade they never even knew was gay before they were allowed to ask”? You’re not describing a world class military; you’re describing an extremely well-armed gaggle of unpatriotic, cowardly traitors.”

As a veteran, I for one am as insulted as those in uniform should be.

John Boy, Graham Cracker, Boehner Boys, Senate Leader Yertle, stop turning an issue with as much import to the country as your last 27 anti-flag burning amendments into a holy crusade that allows you to stomp your little wingtips and whine whenever the Democrats’ chiropractor accidentally finds a spine.

I believe you’ve been bragging about that massive mandate you got from the public. A public, BTW, that rates you several points below your craven Democratic colleagues and that sorry excuse for a President across the aisle. Quitcher bitchin’ and do as the vast majority of voters have commanded.

Your behavior is just so, um, gay (apologies to the LGBT community for the insult).

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!



Weekly Pulse: Bloomberg Shaking up Soda Pop with Politics

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is asking the USDA to approve a pilot program that would prevent his city’s residents from buying sugar-sweetened soda with food stamps. Some have called the proposal paternalistic. However, at In These Times, Terry J. Allen argues that Bloomberg’s proposal makes sense.

Allen notes that New Yorkers may spend up to $135 million in food stamp benefits on sodas. Nationwide, the food stamp program funnels about $4 billion into the pockets of soda manufacturers. Sugary carbonated drinks are artificially profitable for Big Pop because they are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, a heavily subsidized by-product of our broken agricultural system.

There are already restrictions on what you can buy with food stamps. Nobody thinks it’s patronizing that alcohol is off-limits, even though alcoholic beverage are a potential source of calories. A little discussed benefit of ending the soda subsidy within the food stamp program would be the incentive it gives to small storekeepers in poor neighborhoods to devote less floor and refrigerator space to carbonated drinks and more room to real food. Many low income New Yorkers struggle to buy healthy food in their neighborhoods. Soda subsidies only make the “food desert” problem worse.

Impatient to die

Prisoners on Death Row in Texas spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. The death house in Texas is one of the most restrictive in the nation. Conditions are so bad that many inmates are actively looking forward to their execution day to put an end to the crushing isolation, Dave Mann reports in the Texas Observer. There is a growing consensus among psychiatrists that solitary confinement is a form of torture. Some experts, and many inmates, believe that solitary confinement is literally driving Texas death row inmates insane.

Daniel Lopez is in a hurry to die: “I don’t see no point in waiting 20 years for them to finally decide to execute me.” That’s the first thing he tells me when I sit down to interview him. We are seated in the Polunsky Unit’s visiting room. Lopez is encased in a small booth. We are separated by thick, soundproof glass and talk through phones. [...] [Lopez] says he has no desire to remain on death row. He says he’s looking forward to execution day. He doesn’t want to live much longer in his small cell. “I don’t think that’s a life for somebody,” he says.

Health reform and the courts

Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones takes a closer look a the legal challenges to health care reform. Republicans in Virginia have been given the green light to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate in court. In October, a U.S. District judge in Detroit refused to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of health care reform in Michigan. On Monday, a U.S. District judge in Lynchburg, VA, dismissed Liberty University’s anti-health reform lawsuit. Another Virginia judge says he will rule on a similar suit by the State Attorney General by the end of the year.

The current crop of politically motivated lawsuits challenging the individual mandate are legally tenuous at best. Aziz Huq wrote in The Nation: “Among constitutional scholars, the puzzle is not how the federal government can defend the new law, but why anyone thinks a constitutional challenge is even worth making.”

As Columbia law professor Gillian Metzger explained to Chris Hayes of The Nation earlier this year, the constitutionality of the individual mandate is basically a “no-brainer.” The way the Affordable Care Act is written, everyone who doesn’t have health insurance from some provider has two options: Buy subsidized health insurance or pay a tax. The federal government obviously has the right to collect taxes. The case is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court, but it seems unlikely to prevail. The real fear is that a lower court will paralyze the implementation of health care reform while the decision is pending.

Crisis pregnancy center bill

Shakthi Jothianandan of Ms. Magazine has the latest on proposed legislation that would force so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in New York City to disclose that they are not real reproductive health clinics. The New York City Council held a hearing on the proposed legislation in mid-November, which brought together officials from the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, Planned Parenthood, Concerned Clergy for Choice and staff from CPCs around the city. The representatives for the CPCs claimed that the bill violates their free speech rights, but the head of the New York Civil Liberties Union testified that requiring organizations to disclose that they are not real health care facilities and don’t provide a full range of services does not infringe on any First Amendment right.

CeCe Heil, senior counsel with the Christian anti-abortion group American Center for Law and Justice, claimed the legislation was unnecessary because women are already smart enough to know that “abortion alternatives” means “alternatives to abortion.” Many of the CPCs have “life” in their name, which should signal to potential clients that they do not provide abortion or abortion referrals. But if it’s really so obvious that CPCs are just anti-choice ministries posing as reproductive health clinics, why oppose a law that simply requires all facilities to disclose the obvious?

Boehner meets with anti-choice extremist

Future Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) met with anti-abortion extremist Randall Terry, as Miriam Perez of Feministing reports. Terry is the founder of the radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue, which has a long record of advocating violence against abortion providers. After Dr. George Tiller, one of the country’s last high-profile late-term abortion providers, was assassinated, Terry called Tiller a “mass murderer” who “horrifically, reaped what he sowed.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.



The Pillsbury Newsboy and the NPR Nazis

Roger Ailes, the Pillsbury Newsboy, hates NPR. Thinks they’re a bunch of Nazis. That’s no surprise. Most Republicans hate them. This week they hate NPR because they fired that poor, beleaguered liberal Juan Williams for admitting he’s a pusillanimous ninny who pisses his Sansabelts at the mere sight of a Muslim, just like Ailes and his stable of the Biggest Gigantic Screeching Heads.

Conservatives like Roger like to whine that NPR is single-handedly crushing conservative discourse in this nation.  Apparently Roger has very low self-esteem evidenced by the fact that his conservative gab goobs crush all his liberal competitors, including NPR, in the ratings. I guess he’s not only irrationally afraid of Muslims, but liberals too.

Whadaya Know Fanatics at Risk
Now anyone, left or right, can make the legitimate case that NPR doesn’t deserve funding. It’s not exactly like they’re as influential as say, Newscorp. They serve a narrow audience of opera lovers and Whadya Know fanatics, so it’s a safe bet the nation won’t perish without them.

Yes, times are tight and the government could use the money, but in the time Congress takes to vote on this, they’ll have spent about 10 times NPR’s annual budget. But then, that’s the sort of spectacular financial acumen they used to drive us into the dumper to begin with.

You could legitimately argue that NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting shouldn’t get government funds, but you could say the same thing about our other government corporationsAmtrak and the Postal Service. But if a politician is taking donations from the direct mail lobby, they should STFU. Ditto for all the Midwestern pols who cry like babies every time Amtrak cuts back. It’s ghastly that 12 of their constituents who board trains in their state each year will surely swoon without their subsidized rail service.

And, NPR may be a government corporation, but it’s still a corporation. It has a board of directors and everything,  just like Chevron (one of their sponsors). Whatever happened to deregulation and staying out of a corporation’s business? After all, part of the reason it isn’t self-sufficient is that Congress severely limits the ways it can collect money. Come to think of it, that may be answer to high oil prices…but there I go talking like a socialist again.

Look, this country is in deep trouble whether you think Obama is a Kenyan  Kommie intent on crashing the country like an Islamic hijacker or that Boehner and Mitch are trying lurch the country back to 1879 when men were men and women were women (who MitchBo and the Boys don’t think deserve equal pay for equal work).

Slapping the Faces of Creationists
I admit it, sometimes I listen to public radio or watch public TV. There’s some interesting stuff on there and the bulk of  it has no ideological bent at all – unless you count those documentaries about animal evolution as a slap to the face of Creationists everywhere.

Even so, I could go for defunding them even if the Dems won’t. It would only offset the deficit by the amount it took me to type this sentence, but I do get that it’s importantly symbolic. I can even sympathize that it’s wrong to use public monies for purely political purposes, but so are the bucketloads of cash Republicans piss away politically preening to the great unwashed.

But if you’re going to defund them, be honest. It’s not about the money. It’s not about the librul programming. It’s not about the threat All Things Considered poses to conservatism. It’s not even about Juan Williams. It’s about being pains in the ass for the sake of being pains in the ass.

So conservatives, if you’ll cop to that, I’ll gladly picket the local NPR outlet and demand they return last year’s pledge to me.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Weekly Diaspora: Immigration Reform Falls to the GOP

by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

The precarious fate of comprehensive immigration reform has fallen into the hands of staunch nativists. With Republicans now leading the House and a new crop of anti-immigrant governors stepping up to bat, the road to immigration reform just became more arduous than ever.

The results of the mid-term elections are a heavy blow to immigration reform advocates who have recently contended with a DREAM Act defeat, a pandemic of state-level anti-immigrant measures, attempts to stifle Latino votes, and an allegedly disaffected Latino electorate. And, to add insult to injury, the election season was tainted by a slew of race-baiting campaign aids and sensational anti-immigrant soundbytes (AlterNet has the rundown).

But, amid the upset, there is some hope. Despite pessimistic predictions, Latinos voters defiantly flexed their electoral muscle, effectively creating a “Latino firewall in the west” that helped save the Senate for Democrats, according to Elena Shore at New America Media. Moreover, numerous anti-immigrant measures are finally getting their day in court—though the results of those hearings may be as mixed as the outcome of this election.

Immigration reform in the hands of House Republicans

While Democrats retained control of the Senate, the Republican seizure of the House bodes ill for comprehensive immigration reform.

As Elise Foley note at the Washington Independent, immigration legislation will now be at the mercy of John Boehner (R-OH), the new speaker of the house, and Representative Steve King (R-IA), who will now chair the immigration subcommittee. Both legislators oppose comprehensive reform and will likely project their shared anti-immigrant agenda on House legislation:

King tends to be on the extreme end of anti-illegal immigration rhetoric: He favors changes to birthright citizenship to keep U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants from receiving citizenship and argues more states should pass immigration crackdowns like Arizona’s SB 1070. King has pushed for more border enforcement and an electrified  fence along the border to keep illegal immigrants out. “We do that with livestock all the time,” he said. […]

Of course, King won’t have ultimate power over the House Republicans’ priorities on immigration. Boehner will set a good deal of the agenda, and is likely to follow some of the plans hinted at in the Pledge to America, a vague but enforcement-heavy document released in September.

Foley also reports that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which supports comprehensive immigration reform, lost three House members this election—Reps. John Salazar (D-CO), Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) and Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX).

An influx of anti-immigrant governors

State gubernatorial races proved similarly disappointing for reform advocates, as a host of anti-immigrant candidates were propelled into office on a wave of Tea Party-backed, anti-immigrant sentiment.

Just before the election, Mother Jones’ Suzy Khimm profiled a series of anti-immigrant gubernatorial front runners, most of whom ended up winning.

In Georgia, a state poised to replicate Arizona’s SB 1070, the governor’s seat went to Nathan Deal, “an early supporter of a birthright citizenship bill that would deny granting citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.” Moreover, in Nevada and New Mexico, two anti-immigrant Latino candidates prevailed: Susana Martinez (R-NM), who was endorsed by Sarah Palin and accused her opponent of defending child-molesting “criminal illegals,” and Brian Sandoval (R-NV), who supports SB-1070 and famously bragged that his children “don’t look Hispanic.”

Brewer skips town to attend SB 1070 hearing

Meanwhile, Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) retained her governorship this week, in spite of some really disastrous campaigning. Fittingly, Brewer spent election day appealing the federal injunction issued against SB 1070, the harsh anti-immigrant law that made her famous, last spring.

New America Media’s Valeria Fernández reports that Terry Goddard, Arizona’s current attorney general and democratic gubernatorial candidate, blasted Brewer’s decision to attend the SB 1070 hearing and suggested that her relentless defense of the anti-immigrant law has more to do with her connections to the private prison industry than her concern over public safety:

Goddard pointed to Brewer’s staff—including political advisor Chuck Coughlin, president of High Ground Public Affairs, which also represents Correction Corporation of America (CCA), the country’s largest private-prison company —as evidence that she is more concerned with helping private business make a profit than with public safety.

Goddard isn’t the first to make such a claim. Media outlets have reported on Arizona legislators’ suspicious connections to the private prison industry for several months. In June, Beau Hodai revealed for In These Times how SB 1070 was steered and shaped by private prison lobbyists:

… the bill’s promoters are as equally dedicated to border politics as they are to promoting the fortunes of private prison companies, like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Geo Group, which stand to reap substantial profits as more undocumented residents end up in jail.

Hodai’s findings were further validated by a much-publicized NPR investigation last week.

All of the bad press has done little to hurt Brewer, however. She retained her governorship and managed to collect $3 million in private donations to continue defending SB 1070, which she is prepared to take all the way to the Supreme Court.

Of course, that may not be necessary—as Fernández notes, “longtime legal observers who watched the hearing said the judges seemed to be leaning toward partially reinstating the provisions” previously thrown out by federal Judge Susan Bolton. It’s still too soon to tell for sure, but preliminary indicators suggest that legal challenges to recently passed anti-immigrant legislation will obtain mixed results. Two lawsuits against SB 1070 have already been dismissed, while several other anti-immigrant measures have recently been overturned, blocked, or delayed by federal judges.

The fight for comprehensive immigration reform has clearly taken a big hit on all fronts—not least of which, electorally. But while election results were disappointing for reform advocates, they also clearly demonstrated the undeniable electoral might of Latinos—who, in spite of low expectations, came out in strong numbers and disproportionately supported pro-immigration candidates. It’s not over till it’s over.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.




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