Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: Some of the child refugees streaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. “Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote. “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles.”
Gingrey’s analysis carried an aura of credibility among conservatives, because, as Judicial Watch noted, the congressman is “also [a] medical doctor.” But his two-page letter is filled with false charges—there’s no evidence that migrants carry Ebola or that they’re less likely to be vaccinated—from an inconvenient messenger: The congressman has himself pushed legislation to discourage some kinds of mandatory vaccinations in the United States.
According to the World Health Organization, Ebola virus has only ever affected humans in sub-Saharan Africa. (It has been found in China and the Philippines, but has never caused an illness, let alone a fatality)…Gingrey’s misdiagnoses aren’t confined to Ebola. As the Texas Observer points out, when it comes to measles, children in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are more likely to be vaccinated than children in the United States. None of those countries have recorded an outbreak of measles in 24 years. Kids in Marin County are more at risk.
And in 2007, he wrote an amendment that would allow parents to block their children from receiving HPV vaccines, which are designed to combat cervical cancer.
Nothing new about today’s Republicans being as ethically corrupt as they are economically ignorant, socially and politically bigoted. Some – obviously including Congress-slime Gingrey – ignore conflicts between their record and their lies.
Paul the Octopus — animal oracle of the 2010 World Cup — did not survive long enough to pick the winners in Brazil this year…No such tradition for paranormal prediction has caught on for American politics, and it seems imprudent to think it will during the midterms. Why rely on a lion or tiger or bear for your election predictions when you can conscript the prophesying skills of Mitt Romney? The former presidential candidate has been busy during the primary season, picking favorites in some of the most important party infighting of the year. And, about halfway through the midterms, all of his endorsements have led to victories at the polls, as other news organizations have noticed.
Last week, he endorsed Nevada state senator Mark Hutchison in the Nevada lieutenant governor primary — a race he won. One week earlier, Joni Ernst, whom he endorsed in the Senate primary in Iowa, and Neel Kashkari, whom he endorsed in the California governor race, both won. On May 20, Monica Wehby won the Republican primary after a Romney endorsement. Romney also picked winners in the North Carolina Senate race and House races in Idaho, Pennsylvania and California.
This is an example of correlation not equaling causation. These candidates aren’t winning because of Romney’s adapted Midas touch. He is just proving a knack for knowing what’s on voters’ minds — and the minds of those who spend money trying to influence voters. (The Chamber of Commerce’s winning primary picks this year closely follow Romney’s.) It’s a knack for choosing winners he’d like to cement before the 2016 Republican primaries finally roll around, if the tea leaves scattered around his GOP summit this weekend are to be believed.
NBC News reported on Friday that Romney told reporters, “As someone who has run and has served, I would like to be able to, if you will, push our party and our nominees toward the positions that I think are the most effective for the country.”
In other words, Romney is hoping that the party remembers his clairvoyance in a year or two…
Romney’s ability to pick general election winners, however, has yet to be tested — as does the Chamber of Commerce’s. According to the Sunlight Foundation, 6.9 percent of the money the Chamber spent in 2012 went to winning candidates…
Red State’s Erick Erickson wrote after Romney lost the 2012 election, “Just please, GOP, PLEASE — in four years let’s not go with the “he’s the most electable” argument. The most electable usually aren’t.”
The Republicans may yet decide to run the ghost of George Wallace. Why listen to an opportunist moderate when you can go all out with someone truly contemptible and bigoted.
Oh, the RedState dude? Last time around he hosted the campaign kickoff for Rick Perry. ‘Nuff said.
After taking a drubbing in last year’s state elections, Virginia Republicans are debating whether their party has come to be defined by its extremists. But in a congressional district in Northern Virginia, one of the state’s main instigators of culture warfare, state Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, is running in the Republican primary to replace longtime GOP moderate Rep. Frank Wolf, who is retiring. And he’s guaranteed to ignite wedge-issue passion. Exhibit A: As a state legislator, Black opposed making spousal rape a crime, citing the impossibility of convicting a husband accused of raping his wife “when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.”
Black has referred to emergency contraception, which does not cause abortions, as “baby pesticide.” Black also fought to block a statue of Abraham Lincoln at a former Confederate site in Richmond. He wasn’t sure, he explained at the time, that statues of Lincoln belonged in Virginia. He has argued that abortion is a worse evil than slavery…
Black entered politics in the late 1990s after retiring as a military prosecutor. He spoke frequently to media outlets about sexual assault in the military, and called military rape “as predictable as human nature.” “Think of yourself at 25,” Black told a newspaper in 1996. “Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?”
One more illustration of what the term “conservative” has come to mean in today’s Republican Party. Brutality and bigotry in the War on Women accepted as an ideological standard.
It seemed a little silly over the weekend when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) felt compelled to release his birth certificate. The right-wing Texan was born in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother, which immediately made Cruz an American citizen. With the senator apparently eyeing national office, and with much of the right fascinated by birth certificates in recent years, the move was apparently intended to resolve any questions about eligibility.
But in this case, it didn’t work out the way Cruz hoped. The Dallas Morning News noted that, as a technical matter, Cruz had dual citizenship — he was an American by virtue of his American mother, but he was also Canadian the moment he was born on Canadian soil. Cruz could, in theory, obtain a Canadian passport, register to vote in Canada, and even run for Parliament.
And so, late yesterday, Cruz filled out a form, renounced any claim to Canadian citizenship, and released a written public statement…
“Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter.
“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American.”
What a strange story. Ted Cruz, the Harvard Law School grad and Supreme Court attorney, didn’t realize he had dual citizenship until two days ago? Because his Mom told him not to worry about it?
I have no doubts about Cruz’s eligibility, though I have to admit, seeing conservatives wring their hands about a “foreign-born” candidate is awfully amusing given the circumstances.
Though my friends and relatives in Canada try to maintain a tolerant attitude about American nutball politics, they will have a boatload of fun over this latest example of Tea Party xenophobia.
Birther stupidity infects the American right-wing as thoroughly as racist ideology. But, if you grew up in the United States someplace other than the Confederate state of mind – and after the McCarthyism decade – you may not be aware of the America First kind of bigotry that’s considered a requirement among uneducated bigots who still aren’t convinced the United States Constitution gives everyone the right to vote.
There will be dancing in the streets of Ottawa.
A group of Republicans are cooking up legislation that could give President Barack Obama an unintentional assist with disagreeable unemployment numbers — by eliminating the key economic statistic altogether.
The bill, introduced…by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), would bar the U.S. Census Bureau from conducting nearly all surveys except for a decennial population count. Such a step that would end the government’s ability to provide reliable estimates of the employment rate. Indeed, the government would not be able to produce any of the major economic indices that move markets every month, said multiple statistics experts, who were aghast at the proposal.
“They simply wouldn’t exist. We won’t have an unemployment rate,” said Ken Prewitt, the former director of the U.S. Census who is now a professor of public affairs at Columbia University.
“I don’t know how the market reacts if there is suddenly no unemployment rate at the start of the month,” Prewitt said. “How does the market react if we don’t have a GDP?…”
Civil rights advocates in Texas said they will file a complaint against a federal judge for telling a law school audience minorities “are predisposed to crime.”
The Texas Civil Rights Project, based in Austin, said on its website Wednesday it would join with other organizations to file the judicial-misconduct complaint against Edith Jones, a senior judge of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, over remarks she made in February during a speech at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
The complaint alleges Jones’ remarks “violated basic rules of judicial ethics, including the fundamental duty of impartiality,” and were biased against minority groups and people with mental disabilities. It says Jones told her audience certain “racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” and are more apt than others to commit “heinous” crimes and other acts of violence.
The complaint alleges Jones told the law school audience she is disgusted by capital case defendants’ claims of “mental retardation” and execution is a service to such defendants because they are “likely to make peace with God only in the moment before their imminent execution,” the TCRP said in the release…
Jones was considered as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee during the administration of former President George W. Bush, the San Antonio Express-News said.
Of course she was considered. She fits the model approved and recommended by neocons, the Tea Party and old-fashioned rightwing creeps enjoying their newfound “leadership” status within the Republican Party.
Bishop Watterson High School students protest the firing of Carla Hale
No one at the Catholic high school that fired Carla Hale in March claimed that she was anything less than a terrific physical education teacher and coach, devoted to the kids and adored by many of them.
No one accused her of bringing her personal life into the gym or onto the fields. By nature she’s private. And she loved her job too much to risk it that way.
But she lost it nonetheless, and the how is as flabbergasting as the why is infuriating.
Rather suddenly, her mother died, and an hour afterward, she and her brother numbly went through the paces of a standard obituary, listing survivors. Her brother included his wife. So Carla included her partner, Julie, whom her mother had known well and loved. Leaving Julie out would have been unthinkable, though Carla didn’t really think it through at the time. Her grief was still raw.
A parent of one of the school’s students spotted the obituary, and wrote an anonymous letter to the school and to the Diocese of Columbus, saying that they couldn’t allow a woman like Carla to educate Catholic children.
So they don’t, not anymore. In a termination notice, the principal explained that Carla’s “spousal relationship violates the moral laws of the Catholic Church.” That was the sum of the stated grievance against her, and after more than 18 years at Bishop Watterson High School, Carla, 57, was done…
So much for what the Catholic Church really thinks about the rights of working people.
To those who knew him, or thought they knew him, he was a cerebral, fun-loving gadfly who hosted boozy gatherings for Hollywood’s political conservatives. David Stein brought right-wing congressmen, celebrities, writers and entertainment industry figures together for shindigs, closed to outsiders, where they could scorn liberals and proclaim their true beliefs.
Over the past five years Stein’s organisation, Republican Party Animals, drew hundreds to regular events in and around Los Angeles, making him a darling of conservative blogs and talkshows. That he made respected documentaries on the Holocaust added intellectual cachet and Jewish support to Stein’s cocktail of politics, irreverence and rock and roll.
There was just one problem. Stein was not who he claimed. His real name can be revealed for the first time publicly – a close circle of confidants only found out the truth recently – as David Cole. And under that name he was once a reviled Holocaust revisionist who questioned the existence of Nazi gas chambers. He changed identities in January 1998.
“That was when David Cole officially expired,” he told the Guardian in an interview this week. “That was the end of Cole. Or so I thought. That was when David Stein was brought into this world.
For 15 years I have been David Stein. Now the genie is out of the bottle. I’m done. I’m finished. I’m not going to try to remain as David Stein…”
The unmasking shocked and angered the small, tight-knit community of Hollywood conservatives, setting their Facebook groups ablaze and prompting emergency meetings.
Some of Stein/Cole’s erstwhile friends are media figures with blogs, newspaper columns and syndicated radio shows. They put a lid on the story. Not a word has been published or broadcast. “When people found out it was, ‘Oh my God, get the fuck away from him.’ There was debate about whether everyone would look guilty by association,” said one entertainment industry artist, a member of Republican Party Animals, who requested anonymity. “The reason we were all so pissed at him is it plays into every horrible stereotype about the right…”
…Cole today still challenges established Holocaust scholarship, including the certainty about Nazi gas chambers. “The best guess is yes, there were gas chambers” he says. “But there is still a lot of murkiness about the camps. I haven’t changed my views…
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said Cole’s views on the Holocaust could no longer be attributed to youthful naivete. “I’m very disappointed that someone who abused his Jewishness to get his five minutes of notoriety still stands by his lies. It’s disgusting and puts him in the camp of bigotry.”
Not a lot of anything new either about opportunistic bigots disguising the disgusting truth for their own profit and position. Another reason why – sometimes – stereotypes aren’t stereotypes; but accurate.
RTFA for beaucoup details about this slimeball.
What US elected officials are doing to reproductive rights in the US is outrageous, but at least we have some recourse as voters and advocates. What US elected officials are doing to the reproductive rights of women in developing countries – through foreign policy that exports our own abortion hang-ups – is reproductive colonialism.
The Helms Amendment was enacted in 1973 and bars US aid recipients from using funds for abortion services, even in countries where it is legal. However, funding can support abortion referrals and even the procedure itself in cases of rape and incest. But it rarely or never does.
The language of the policy is vague and confusing, prohibiting “abortion as a method of family planning” and the “motivation or coercion” of anyone to perform the procedure. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) (and one presidential administration after the next) has continually neglected to provide sufficient guidance on how to implement the policy.
This has left ample room for misinterpretation by aid recipients and USAID staff, which is further fostered by the US’ long history of politicising and stigmatising abortion combined with the undue power of a wealthy donor country. The result is that Helms is being implemented as if it were a total abortion ban.
Seeds of stigma and censorship have been sewn into already-struggling health systems of poor countries, hampering meagre efforts to address unwieldy maternal mortality rates. It is poor women who suffer, unable to access the safe, legal abortion services they deserve…
Reproductive rights groups have raised the alarm, continuing to push the Obama administration to issue clarifying guidelines. Last year, 12 members of US Congress publicly called on President Obama to even reviewthe policy – the first time it would have received such close attention in decades…
Ideally, the Helms Amendment should be repealed. It is archaic and over-reaching, a relic of paternalistic aid that we should have long moved beyond. It was authored by the late Republican Senator Jess Helms, a well-known racist and homophobe, and is shameful as global reproductive health legacy.
But barring repeal, at the very least the policy should be implemented properly. This is not about personal opinion on the morality of abortion, but rather the principles of good, fair and effective foreign policy. Abortion counselling and referral as well as services in cases of rape and incest should be fully funded, and USAID should take active steps to ensure everyone – grantees, employees and government officials – knows this is so.
In his second term, President Obama can lead the United States away from racist and anti-human policies established within our foreign policy by one of the worst bigots in the history of Congress. So far, he ain’t making a peep. So far, he has done little or nothing to counter the so-called gift of Christian guidance provided to poor women around the world.
Jessica Mack reminds us that decades of hatefilled ideology and just plain stupidity are cast into iron bars defining the policies of the American government. Some of these are more than a little fragile – not needing much more than a hammer blow from someone with courage and a fist to hold that hammer. Ain’t seen it happen, yet.
A 31-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in connection with the death of a man who was pushed onto the tracks of an elevated subway station in Queens and crushed by an oncoming train.
The woman, Erika Menendez, selected her victim because she believed him to be a Muslim or a Hindu, Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said…
In a statement, Mr. Brown quoted Ms. Menendez, “in sum and substance,” as having told the police: “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.” Ms. Menendez conflated the Muslim and Hindu faiths in her comments to the police and in her target for attack, officials said.
The victim, Sunando Sen, was born in India and, according to a roommate, was raised Hindu.
Mr. Sen “was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself,” Mr. Brown said. “Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions should never be tolerated by a civilized society.”
No one ever accused Tea Party bigots of being part of a civilized society. They’re still welcomed into the Republican Party with open arms.
Four years back we all witnessed John McCain rejecting this kind of stupidity. But, don’t worry, it won’t happen, again.
Ms. Menendez is expected to be arraigned by Sunday morning. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. By charging her with murder as a hate crime, the possible minimum sentence she faced would be extended to 20 years from 15 years, according to prosecutors…
The attack occurred around 8 p.m. on Thursday at the 40th Street-Lowery Street station in Sunnyside.
Mr. Sen, 46, was looking out over the tracks when a woman approached him from behind and shoved him onto the tracks, according to the police. Mr. Sen never saw her, the police said.
Mr. Sen, after years of saving money, had opened a small copying business on the Upper West Side this year.
Ar Suman, a Muslim, and one of three roommates who shared a small first-floor apartment with Mr. Sen in Elmhurst, said he and Mr. Sen often discussed religion.
Though they were of different faiths, Mr. Suman said, he admired the respect that Mr. Sen showed for those who saw the world differently than he did. Mr. Suman said he once asked Mr. Sen why he was not more active in his faith and it resulted in a long philosophical discussion.
“He was so gentle,” Mr. Suman said. “He said in this world a lot of people are dying, killing over religious things.”