Campaigning with Kansas legend Bob Dole on Tuesday, Sen. Pat Roberts warned attendees at a Dodge City event that the United States was on the path to “national socialism.”
“There’s a palpable fear among Kansans all across the state that the America that we love and cherish will not be the same America for our kids and grandkids, and that’s wrong,” Roberts said, according to a video of the event posted on the YouTube account of the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge.
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Michelle Nunn’s own plan says she funded organizations linked to terrorists. She’s for amnesty, while terrorism experts say our border breakdown could provide an entry for groups like Isis.
- Campaign Ad for David Perdue (R-GA), September 17, 2014
We haven't seen accusations on this scale within an official political ad in a while. We have seen a member of the state department attacked by a few conservatives. The parallels are striking.
A couple of years ago, Michele Bachmann and a few other conservatives warned about terrorist fellow travelers infiltrating the State Department. They specifically pointed to Huma Abedin, an aide to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Huma Abedin's previous claim to fame had been her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the sex-texting representative who resigned in humiliation.
It seemed Ms. Abedin's father, now deceased, had once had ties with individuals who, later in life, developed ties with others who had ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, which brotherhood eventually formed ties with terrorist groups. One of the first to defend Ms. Abedin was Congressman Keith Ellison, one of only two Muslims in Congress.
It's like a bizarre game of six degrees of separation. She mentions that her father, who has been dead for two decades, knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who was connected to the Muslim brotherhood in some unspecified way!
- Keith Ellison (D-MN), July 19, 2012
Michele Bachmann answered Representative Ellison by attacking his patriotism. Prominent Republicans, like John McCain and John Boehner defended Huma Abedin and denounced the attacks against her.
I don’t know Huma, but from everything that I do know of her she has a sterling character. Accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.
- John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House, July 26, 2012
The latest attack, this time against Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, follows similar logic. She once worked as a director of MissionFish, which merged with the Thousand Points of Light Foundation, an organization started by President H. W. Bush. Michelle Nunn ran the Bush Foundation for a number of years. MissionFish worked through internet technology to make it easier to contribute to charitable organizations around the world. MissionFish was sold to ebay for use as a charitable fundraising group.
After Michelle Nunn retired from the Thousand Points of Light Foundation, one small group that eventually qualified for funding by MissionFish was called Islamic Relief USA.
That group had the word "Islamic" in the title. It was part of a community of Islamic charities, Islamic Relief Worldwide. That larger organization was accused by an Israeli official of having ties to Hamas. It now appears the accusation came from a similarity of names with another group.
When Michelle Nunn was considering a run for the US Senate from Georgia, she had her staff put together a list of the dirtiest, most vicious possible attacks that Republicans might launch against her.
That explains, after a fashion, the way David Perdue describes Michelle Nunn’s relationship to the organization. Michelle Nunn’s own plan says she funded organizations linked to terrorists. Actually, Michelle Nunn’s own plan says she might be accused by unethical Republicans of funding organizations linked to terrorists.
Neil Bush, son of former president George H.W. Bush, had run the Points of Light Foundation for some years. He condemned the Perdue attack, calling it "shameful," and defended Michelle Nunn.
To attack an organization founded by my father, whose integrity is unimpeachable, to smear our organization for political gain, is in my opinion shameful.
- Neil Bush, September 22, 2014
Let's review. Michelle Nunn once worked for a charity that merged with a group started by President Bush, which she ran for a number of years. The smaller group was later was sold to a third group. Then she retired. The smaller group which was then run by that third group helped fund thousands of charities. One of those thousands contributed to another group that was accused of having terrorist connections. That charge apparently was caused by confusion with yet another group with a similar name.
Someone in Michelle Nunn's campaign wrote an analysis that speculated about what dirty tactics might be used by unethical opponents. One of those tactics was the possible accusation of that she funded terrorists.
Now her Republican opponent says Michelle Nunn’s own plan says she funded organizations linked to terrorists.
You might say It's like a bizarre game of six degrees of separation.
Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) proves that firearms are rarely used to stop criminals, according to the Violence Policy Center (VPC) report Firearm Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use.
In 2010, across the nation there were only 230 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm reported to the FBI. That same year, there were 8,275 criminal gun homicides.
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From The Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin:
A self-described militia group claims to be checking names on the 2012 Scott Walker recall petition and plans to confront those found to have outstanding warrants or tax defaults at the polls on Nov. 4.
"We prefer our people be armed," reads a Facebook post by Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia, screen captured on a blog at Politicususa.com.
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From The Hill:
Google said on Monday it doesn't plan on funding the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council in the future due to the organization's climate change skepticism.
During an interview on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show," Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company regretted funding a political campaign for ALEC, even though it was on a different topic.
"And so we should not be aligned with such people — they're just, they're just literally lying," he added.
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From The New York Times:
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced rules on Monday that are aimed at making it more difficult for American companies to lower their tax bills by relocating overseas and that would wipe out the benefits for those that do. It is the administration’s latest move to sidestep a paralyzed Congress and tackle a politically charged element of President Obama’s agenda.
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After O.J. Simpson murdered his ex-wife, then killed a witness who happened upon the scene at the wrong time, a theory of innocence developed. He was framed by a conspiracy. The theory had a number of problems.
The conspiracy involved a vast number of police personnel who did not know each other before the crime. Had a single one of many strangers not signed on, jail would have been a possibility for many.
Evidence would have had to have been planted while photographers were doing their jobs. How would an individual officer know what photos had already been taken? A picture that showed evidence that another did not would have put someone in jail.
The risk to career and reputation would have been intense. And for what? To frame an innocent man whose previous encounters with police had been so friendly they left his ex-wife without protection?
The final straw was when O.J. dismissed evidence involving Bruno Magli shoes. He would never wear such "ugly ass" shoes. Photos were eventually found in the archives of the Buffalo Bills football team of Simpson wearing those shoes while covering a game some years before the murder.
I remember thinking that now the Buffalo Bills were in on the let's-frame-conspiracy.
There are actual conspiracies, of course. We knew that well before Watergate changed our vocabulary, putting "gate" at the end of every potential scandal.
Most conspiracy stories that I encounter, at least those involving criminality, dissolve under even cursory examination. How many conspirators does a conspiracy take to succeed? Too many, and the chances of being caught expand like a balloon about to break. What is the penalty if caught? What is the motivation? If the risk outweighs the benefit, it tends to degrade any willingness to participate.
Conspiracy tales need to pass a threshold before we can buy them. A plot by a couple of Russian Muslims to blow up innocent people in Boston is believable. A plot by a majority of American Muslims in some municipality to replace secular law with sharia is not.
The numbers of conspirators needed, the risk of being caught, the penalties, convince me that the first Kennedy assassination was likely not a conspiracy. The Martin Luther King assassination was, at least after the fact, a conspiracy.
The conspiracy theory put forth by Governor Nathan Deal, Republican of Georgia, seems unlikely. It is a theory largely bereft of detail as he tries to explain the high unemployment rate in his state.
It's ironic that in a year in which Republican governors are leading some of the states that are making the most progress, that they almost, without exception, are classified as having a bump in their unemployment rates. Whereas states that are under Democrat governors' control, they are all showing that their unemployment rate has dropped.
Now, I don't know how you account for that. Maybe there is some influence here that we don't know about. But when you say that California is in a better position in terms of unemployment than the state of Georgia, there's just something that just does not ring true.
- Governor Nathan Deal (R-GA), September 18, 2014
The state unemployment rate has jumped way up to 8.1 percent. That's according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in a routine list published on September 19, 2014. That's the highest unemployment rate in the nation. It's higher than Mississippi, which had been the state with the highest rate until they got bumped by Georgia.
It's hard to say just what conspiracy Governor Deal has in mind. He's only pointing out "some influence here that we don't know about." He seems a little indignant about it.
His argument was undermined by his own administration, however. The day before the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published their list, the Georgia state labor department published its own report. It showed the exact same unemployment rate for Georgia, 8.1 percent.
So the conspiracy involves, not just the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but also the state labor department of Georgia. That would be the labor department within Governor Deal's own administration.
This is certainly a wide and ever growing conspiracy with the goal of influencing a couple of routine reports on unemployment. The governor has not yet mentioned the part played by the Buffalo Bills football team.
Slurs are slurs, even if they were commonly used when we were kids. The time of our childhood ought to be gone.
After the Governor and Senator get through the election, Kansas Republicans have nothing to worry about. Unless they do.
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My friend Jack Jodell at The Saturday Afternoon Post brings us a few more Republican policies that compel him to embrace progressive politics. Jack has a special place in my heart because he posts the most frightening photos of me almost every week. The puppies and I viewed them together last night. My loved one later came home to find the dogs hiding under the bed.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist. He also is also on television a lot, explaining science in terms we can understand. This is outrageous to a strain of conservatism that goes for biblical literalism. Conservatives who deny human impact on climate change join in. Attacks on the scientist who seems to think he knows more about science than the average blogger have a racial tinge. Critics also go after his personal integrity. Tommy Christopher, at the Daily Banter, mentions the consistent patterns in the anti-science narratives but, as usual, his analysis goes deeper than most. He deconstructs the main attack points in detail. Good show, Tommy.
Mad Mike's America brings the news that the United States Air Force will no longer discriminate against atheists in their service oath. As I see it, Christians should be happy about the decision. Over the centuries, we have suffered enough, and afflicted enough, religious based hardship.
The Moderate Voice reports that the NFL is getting some attention from the Department of Defense. The DOD? Turns out there is a reason for the attention, but reports have exaggerated a little. There is no investigation and no review. But DOD spends a lot on advertising, and they do want to monitor the domestic violence situation.
tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors reports the newest goofy news from Cliven Bundy. Seems one of his cows caused serious injury to a motorist. Bundy says it wasn't his responsibility, since the state should have done something about fencing his cows.
James Wigderson, preparing to attend a conservative black tie affair, tries to rent a tuxedo at a clothing warehouse. He finds himself harassed, then sabotaged, by a clerk who disagrees with his politics. Bad show. I don't want to name the outlet, but I can point out that it is a Men's Warehouse.
Amazing what we can learn from Fox News. For example, News Corpse has discovered from Fox & Friends the newest danger our educational system inflicts on America's children. It seems American kids are learning too much.
Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot explains "devolution," the deal that tipped the vote in Scotland. He wonders why the British government didn't adopt the policy ahead of time and avoid the entire crisis.
- Vincent at A wayfarer's notes takes on human happiness. He suggests that happiness is independent of financial status, power, and love. He suggests something more immediate.
The question was about plans that have been offered by politicians ranging from Democratic President Barack Obama to Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to expand an earned-income tax credit for the poor.
Boehner then lamented "this idea that has been born, maybe out of the economy over the last couple years, that you know, I really don't have to work. I don't really want to do this. I think I'd rather just sit around. This is a very sick idea for our country."
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From Johns Hopkins Magazine:
Johns Hopkins researchers report that a small number of longtime smokers who had failed many attempts to drop the habit did so after a carefully controlled and monitored use of psilocybin—the active hallucinogenic agent in so-called "magic mushrooms"—in the context of a cognitive behavioral therapy treatment program.
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From The Hill:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday said he has "a few knuckleheads" in his conference."
As a result, Boehner described his House majority as being a "paper majority."
“On any given day, 16 of my members decide they’re going to go this way, and all the sudden I have nothing,” he said. “You might notice I have a few knuckleheads in my conference.”
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It was a good move, and it was the right thing to do. Dick Armey took the floor of the House of Representatives and apologized to Barney Frank. During an interview, Representative Armey had earlier expressed impatience with Barney Frank.
I like peace and quiet, and I don't have to listen to Barney Fag -- Barney Frank -- haranguing in my ear because I made a few bucks off a book I worked on.
- Dick Armey (R-TX), January 27, 1995
The open secret in those days was that the mispronunciation of Barney Frank's name into an anti-gay slur was a common joke in Republican circles. It was not believable to many that Armey had simply made a slip of the tongue.
Bob Bauman (R-MD) had been a conservative Congressman before he was outed. He had resigned, accused of soliciting sex from a teenager in a gay bar. He reacted to the Armey incident with an experience of his own, during a heated debate against Maryland Democrat Parren Mitchell.
As our exchange became heated, I referred to him as "the gentleman from Africa."
Mr. Mitchell, an African American, instantly and rightfully objected. I withdrew my remarks with the lame excuse that in the passion of debate I regrettably had abbreviated my intended description of him as "the chairman of the African affairs subcommittee."
Of course the Congressional Record was doctored to excise my racial slur.
- Robert Bauman (R-MD), February 07, 1995
Barney Frank listened to a tape of the remarks and concluded that Armey had misspoken, but did not entirely let him off the hook. Dick Armey, he suggested, had heard the phrase so often in the clubby atmosphere of Republican backrooms, the phrase had come to him from the constant repetition around him. "I don't think it was on the tip of his tongue, but I do believe it was in the back of his mind." He added this: the remark was a reflection, showing "a climate of meanness and intolerance with the Republicans.
It is sometimes said that comedy comes from pain. I could be wrong in thinking that Barney Frank spoke with a weariness that came from too many slurs in too many casual encounters with those who despised him for his very existence. 17 years later, he spoke to the graduating class at Harvard University. He spoke about his support for adding sexual orientation to hate crime legislation. A few Republicans had protested that the law would curb their freedom to repeat anti-gay slurs.
I said, "Let me be clear." I was, at that time, Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. "If this bill passes tomorrow, it will still be entirely legal to call me a fag. I just wouldn't recommend it if you're in the banking business."
- Barney Frank (D-MA), May 23, 2012
I was thinking of Barney Frank as I read about Russell Pearce, the vice chairman of the Republican Party in Arizona. He resigned from that post after he proposed that any woman on welfare should be sterilized. He eventually explained that the proposal was only a misstatement. On his radio show, he has called for the return of a search-and-deport program temporarily launched 60 years ago.
In those days, immigrants were viewed with disdain, although not with the same sort of disrespect as gay people. Still, derogatory terms were fairly routine. The program that Mr. Pearce endorsed was called by a term that Pearce defends to this day, along with the program itself.
Caller: It was called Operation Wetback.
Pearce: Yes, yes it was. It wasn't derogatory and it wasn't meant to be derogatory. It was a term that was pretty commonly used back then.
- Russell Pearce Show, June 7, 2014
This is the sort of thing that surfaces about every other week from regionally prominent Republicans. It represents a large proportion of a shrinking party.
Referring to people as anything other than human, with human feelings, with human worth, is wrong. It is wrong when the target is black, or gay, or immigrant. The fact that this was not as widely recognized 60 years ago does not make it any more right.
Such ways of of talking and thinking come from those who are so used to the reinforcement of those of like mind, some political figures imagine the policies they espouse, and the terms they use to describe their own thoughts, will find the same approval from the general public.
...it will still be entirely legal to call me a fag. I just wouldn't recommend it if you're in the banking business.
It will still be entirely legal to call immigrants something less than human. It just isn't recommended if you're in the business of getting elected.