When I started writing a series of posts themed “Mad Scientists of the Laboratories of Democracy” I had no idea what a frightening, depressing task I’d started. I was interested in the process by which so many unsuitable, unqualified candidates had infiltrated our national political scene. You know what I mean—people who believe rape can’t result in pregnancy; people who admit to a tendency toward witchcraft; people who push ideas like “self-deportation.”
So I decided to take a look at the Farm Teams, out in the states, where many of our leaders get their start, just to get a feel for how they roll at that level. And it’s truly scary. So far, I feel that I’ve uncovered a lot of borderline personalities and outright sociopaths in the state legislatures.
In a spirit of fairness, I set a pretty high bar, I’m not interested in sniffing out the gaffe-prone or “hot mic” victims. We all make mistakes. I’m most interested in the demonstrably extremist, incompetent, clueless repeat offender. And, truth be told, I really didn’t expect to find that many. Boy, was I wrong.
My interest now has evolved to “Do people really vote for these misfits?” or “does their hair not ignite until after they’re in office?” Also, what are the qualifications for holding state offices? And, finally, who votes in state-level elections? a broad cross-section of a state’s residents? or a handful of hard-core, old-school political patrons with vested interests? Are state representatives elected to office by attrition and voter indifference?
My concern lies mostly in the fact that this is important because, ultimately, these people are making the actual laws that we live by. And, some of those are real doozies.
There’s so much seasonal WTF in this clip from FilmOn TV Networks (via Battlecam TV) which is going viral.
There’s a fairly graphic trailer near the beginning for their stunt at the weekend, when they plan to crucify a guy identified by a usually reliable source (Daily Mail) as Robert Garrison, “a 30-year-old sado-masochist from Florida,” so presumably as long they’ve found some card-carrying sadists to do the nailing, everybody’s cool with that.
Then there’s the increasingly tetchy mobile unit interview between Joe Fioranelli of FilmOn TV and David Phelps—which, for the by now no doubt growing increasingly nervous, I’ll excerpt below, but sounds like it’s an outtake from SNL.
As the scene begins, Phelps—who starts off the interview as grumpy as Hell, and doesn’t get any sweeter as it progresses—kicks off with the charming opener, “I’m David Phelps. And God hates fags. If you hear nothing else I say, I need that message to get out.” Then Fiorelli cites biblical reasons for some skepticism about Jesus’ heterosexuality, which doesn’t go any way toward making make him Phelps’ BFF.
Phelps: This is a mockery. It’s been a mockery from the very beginning. Is this what you plan for your mock crucifixion as well? Fioranelli: It’s not a mock crucifixion, we’re actually crucifying the guy. I mean, he is actually gay. Phelps: Do you have any idea, do you have any idea what it is to receive the payment for your sins from a wrathful, an angry God? Romans 12 says He will pile it on your head like hot coals from a fire. ... May God bring His wrath in a way that all will know it comes from Him.
Things don’t get any better from there on in for Phelps as he makes a bid to abandon the interview, and the fate that awaits him may have made him pray for a visitation from a nice cozy bushel of hot coals. Whatever, he will verily have been in no doubt that It hath come from Him, who moveth in mysterious ways.
For at this point (at 1:30 for the impatient), yea, a 500-pound stark naked ex-wrestler MC by the name of Billy the Fridge emerges from the closet (imagery!) where he’s been waiting and lurches ominously toward Phelps.
Phelps: What do you want?
Now, in the circumstances, most of us might agree that’s not the sort of leading question you want to be asking. Never mind, since Billy ignores it anyway.
Billy the Fridge: THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU! LEVIATHAN! THE LEVIATHAN! WE WILL GET YOU!
At this point Phelps makes an extremely rapid getaway through the door, with Billy in hot, hot pursuit. Over to the Mail again:
An eye-witness later claimed that he saw Phelps being pursued down the street outside the mobile studio by a naked fat man.
Rob Cutler, from Topeka, Kansas, where the church is based, said: ‘I was amazed, first I see David run out of a motor home and the next thing I know he’s been sat on by this giant naked man who is screaming “who’s your daddy now Davey?”’
The way the Phelpses have been bailing out of the hitherto lucrative family cult over the past few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Davey—his cherry now well and truly popped, possibly along with some vital organs—and Billy are an item. Happy Easter.
“I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case? As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”
Roberts seems to be unable to fathom a societal change taking place without the influence of hacks and flacks like himself. He sees the involvement of lobbyists in a movement that is driven by grassroots efforts. The groundswell of support for gay rights in general and same-sex marriage in particular is due to the fact that more and more gay people are out, and that more and more straight people have come to the realization that they have gay friends and family members.
I’ve been fascinated by some of the overwrought “revolution!” language that the usual Christian right trolls are using regarding the case against Prop 8 being considered by SCOTUS. It’s not that I’m comfortable that the pendulum has swung so far that there’s little resistance to marriage equality—it’s that I just don’t see that many people be invested enough to start a civil war over it. Regular folks just aren’t thinking about gay folks getting married all the time. It doesn’t really impact them because, well, it just doesn’t. Gay people getting married doesn’t raise anyone’s taxes or take away any right that any has previously enjoyed.
I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way – that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, aRoe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution. We shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have to worry about activist judges, you know, making up out of thin air a constitutional right that obviously none of our founders found there and no one found there until quite recently. But if we do, for us, the Federal Marriage Amendment is a way that people can stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution. And if the Court forces a solution, the way we’ll amend that is through the Federal Marriage Amendment.
“Half slave, half free.” I can kind of understand wanting to do a Lincoln quote-pull because Lincoln, you know, was kind of a big deal. It’s just funny that Brown seems to think that people living in the states where marriage equality is recognized would be morally the people living in the “slave states”. Because those poor beset-upon long-suffering religious people would lack the freedom to…
So, Claire McCaskill announced her support for marriage equality this weekend. Brave move from a Senator in a red state? Craven bandwagon-jumping?
McCaskill can be exasperatingly Blue Doggy, but I think she deserves credit for openly supporting marriage equality, even if she’s hardly the first Dem out of the gate. Consider that she would have almost surely lost in 2012 to dead-eyed loon Todd Akin if he hadn’t been stricken with that peculiar strain of Rape Commentary Tourette’s that plagued last year’s crop of GOP candidates.
Even if the announcement is less than a profile in courage, it’s still a victory. Good for McCaskill.
Andrew Stiles at NRO implies that Secretary Clinton is dancing for donations from gay puppet-masters:
Big Money Backs Clinton on Gay Marriage
Former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton announced her support for gay marriage on Monday in a video posted online by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the Democratic party’s most prolific campaign donors over the years.
The Human Rights Campaign has contributed more than $10 million to Democrats since 1990, and has spent more than $21 million on lobbying since 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which describes the group as a “heavy hitter” in federal elections.
On what planet does $10 million in campaign contributions over 23 years qualify as “big money?” Hell, Sheldon Adelson shook $20 mill out of his sofa cushions for Gingrich’s Quixotic primary run before going on to spend serious cash on the actual nominee. And he’s just one dude in one election cycle.
The consensus for marriage equality is accelerating, thanks to the Democrats, notably President Obama. Conservatives like the nitwits at NRO still can’t quite believe this is happening, so they’re casting about for alternate explanations.
Republicans who have the most well-developed sense of political self-preservation will climb off the bigot bus toot sweet, leaving sad busybodies like NOM’s Brian Brown holding a pile of white sheets and “God Hates Fags” signs.
Ever since the Republican Party’s post-2012 election pursuit of sanity, some very peculiar things have been happening on the national level.
For example, taxes were raised, “Dreamers” were embraced and, just yesterday, in a somewhat jarring demonstration of Fellow Americanism, Rep. Eric Cantor (one of the older-and-wiser Young Guns) took the Republican gospel of self-reliance to “urban” schoolchildren (already on the right track because they attend a charter school). Americans can be forgiven any cynicism regarding these measures, but, you know, at least they’re trying.
Evidently, remoter Republicans toiling away in the “laboratories of Democracy” haven’t received the memo yet because they are still displaying batshit-craziness that, if anything, appears to be somewhat amped-up. Maybe they’re afraid the grown-ups will prevail?
Today I thought it might be instructive to introduce one Todd Kincannon, Esq., one of the Republican Party’s bright young things waiting in the wings. Young Guns, I think they call themselves, as they noisily racket around trying to reinvent the GOP for the eleventy-eleventh time.
By my reckoning the GOP change-meisters have managed—by hook or by crook—to drag the party into the 20th century and appear to be hell-bent on emerging into a solidly 1950’s mindset. What next?
The annals of jurisprudence, like all other repositories of human endeavor, contain some really great stuff along with a sprinkling of silly rubbish. Think “Prohibition” or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Or, how about the biggest loser of all time: “The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)”?
Americans have been living with this legal albatross around their necks for a long time now as it slowly wended its way from bad idea, enacted September 21, 1996; to political football; to indefensible travesty of law until, finally, it has been dumped on the US Supreme Court, along with its evil twin, California Proposition 8, for [probable] disposal.
Both of these stinkers arose from the conservative belief that “the best offense was a good defense.” Since it might not play well to the whole country to declare same-sex unions anathema, they did the next best thing—define legal marriage as pertaining only to opposite sex couples, thereby excluding same sex couples from the 1,100 or so legal and financial benefits that accrue to marriage partners in our society.
Both DOMA and Prop 8 have been found wanting when challenged numerous times in lower Federal Courts. Both have long, well-documented records of legal challenges that, nearly always, result in findings of “unconstitutional.” DOMA is such a loser that President Obama ran, in 2008, on a platform that included repealing DOMA.
I don’t anymore, and this sort of ignorance is exactly why:
What the hell is “taxpayer-funded abortion pills”? Taxpayer dollars don’t fund any kind of abortions under the Hyde Amendment. Now, because he is ignorant, he might have the singularly stupid idea not unpopular with fundies that birth control pills are abortifacients—they are not. They are contraceptives in the sense that they prevent conception, which in turn means they actually prevent abortions. And yes, those are provided by government dollars under Title X and without co-pay as a part of insurance plans under the ACA. But even somewhat anti-science, also strong social conservative LA Gov. Bobby Jindal just recently published an op-ed endorsing over-the-counter birth control. Now, of course Jindal’s op-ed is for the purpose of divorcing the birth control issue from government altogether so tax dollars are not even second or third hand involved—but at least he isn’t calling them “abortion pills”.
But listen again, and this is a very short clip, but packed dense with Kulturkampf dummkopf-ery, he is talking about things we “used to call disorders”, that we “now call normal”—whatever could that be? I am pretty well-persuaded by my general knowledge about Huckabee’s bullshit that he’s talking about LGBT* people. It’s sinful that gay and trans folk are treated as regular human beings, he’s saying. That’s what I think he was getting at.
I know I’ve said this before, but really, ginormously hump a bunch of Mike Huckabee. But this time, I think I mean, there ain’t no poll numbers in 2016 gonna support no kind of Mike Huckabee. He is reinforcing his FOX Mushroom Farm cred, but really at the expense of anything in the way of political viability. And if that is the way he feels, well—
Good. Happy death of political career to you. “Godspeed” you to irrelevance. Happy trails. And don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split ya, because that is probably some kind of sodomy, and stuff. And I care about Huckabee just enough to want to preserve his ass from understanding just how sinful he really is as a gluttonous grasping hypocrite so he’ll continue providing me with glurgy blogfodder. Forever and ever. Amen.
That is about the size of it—the people who oppose gay marriage are dying out. There really is an age-related demographic trend to support of marriage equality. Call me a born romantic—I’ve been head-over-heels about posts I’ve seen this weekend like this, and have a hard time imagining how anyone would actually not want to see consenting adults happy and in love and able to make the committments they want to—legally and all that. I know NOM and them exist—I just don’t understand how they think they have any business trying to forbid it. Who do they think they are? Where does their feeling of moral superiority come from? And how can they want to stick that supposed superiority in the faces of couples who may have even been together longer than some of those bigots have even been alive?
I do note there is an interestingly similar demographical relationship—and that would be regarding the ages of your Fox Mushroom Farm viewership. Come to think of it, I’m reliably certain there’s an age bias regarding GOP membership, as well. This isn’t necessarily a post where I gloat in my cynical Generation X fashion about my enemies’ bodies floating on a river past me. Oh no. It’s just a celebration of life.
Which does march on, and only love remains—which is why I’m so puzzled when people try to fight it. We’re only human, and mortal. Why do we ever fight love? It beats the alternatives.
Our hens raided the container garden during their free-range jaunt yesterday:
I never participate in the garden threads because my husband does every bit of the gardening around here. I couldn’t even grow a Chia pet or keep an air fern alive.
Anne Laurie’s early morning open thread featured the image of commenter Hitchhiker’s lovely cat in front of a Christmas tree. But instead of going, “Awwwww,” I went, “Sweet mother of fuck! It’s almost Christmas, and I haven’t done a damn thing!”
My fake tree and all the decorations are still in the shed. I haven’t ordered the Christmas dinner prime rib yet. We haven’t even quite wrapped up our kitchen renovations (although it’s mostly done – we lack cabinet toe-kicks and the backsplash only at this point), and our dining room still sports a bare concrete slab as we haven’t gotten around to laying the tile. Oh, and I haven’t bought the first present yet.
Why? Well, the home renovations have become a convenient excuse for being slobs. Why bother dusting or sweeping when there’s 70s-era glue on the walls where we ripped out the old laminate backsplash and bare concrete underfoot? We’ve actually enjoyed the respite.
As for the lack of Christmas spirit, it just doesn’t seem Christmas-y yet, partly because it’s been so warm. I’m a native Floridian, so warm Decembers aren’t a foreign or unwelcome concept to me. But it does seem unusual to get this far towards the solstice without once having to put on a pair of socks or rifle the closet for a jacket. There have been a few flannel-shirt-over-the-tee-shirt days, but I haven’t had to bust out the woolies. Nonetheless, there is work to be done.
Romneys Spread Loser Stink
Speaking of indolent people, Mitt and Ann Romney are continuing their loser tour. Noted fans of “sport,” the Romneys took in the Pacquiao-Marquez boxing match last night:
I don’t follow boxing, but I think Pacquiao was favored to beat Marquez. That was before Romney visited Pacquiao in his dressing room, exuding a giant cloud of loser dust:
“Hello Manny. I ran for president. I lost,” Romney told the fighter, according to Pacquiao publicist Fred Sternburg.
Then this happened:
“LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao never saw it coming. He never saw the punch that snapped his head back Saturday and dropped him to the canvas and left him sprawled there momentarily, face down, while his wife sobbed uncontrollably and the packed crowd at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena rose to its feet in shock.
With that, a rivalry known for its lack of a definitive triumph suddenly had the most definitive ending of them all.”
I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hope Mitt and Ann Romney decide to pay the Notre Dame locker room a visit prior to the BCS title game.
Speaking of Losers
Remember the group One Million 51,700 [homophobic] Moms (OMM)? No? Me neither, but this spring, they failed spectacularly in a bid to get Ellen Degeneres fired as JC Penney spokesperson. After that effort flopped, OMM director Monica Cole announced that the breeder klatch was “moving on.”
But a JC Penney commercial featuring Ellen and several Christmas elves attracted their ire again last week.
It wasn’t that Ellen groped a female elf in the ad or anything. It’s just that everyone knows she’s a lesbian, and think of the chiiiiildren!
Because the commercial that occasioned the protest was so innocuous, onlookers found the OMM action confusing. (Pro tip: When you have to explain why you’re taking umbrage, you’re not successfully inciting it.) So OMM declared that the group is “moving on.” Again. Maybe someday they actually will.
I thought witnessing the Great PUMA Tantrum of Aught-Eight in real time was fun, but it turns out that was just the bagged crudité tray before the grand schadenfreude banquet that is the Colossal Wingnut Bed-Shitting of 2012. Good times!
But among all the very many reasons to be happy today, one of my favorite things is the stunning progress we’ve made on LGBT equality, symbolized by a few of last night’s election results. NOM has a sad today, and that’s a Good Thing. They used to crow about their “36-0” record, and to give the devil their due, they were remarkably successful in advancing the cause of bigotry and defacing various state constitutions with anti-gay graffiti.
That streak is broken. Marriage equality won in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota (and maybe Washington state too). Tammy Baldwin is the first openly gay senator elected in US history.
This particular moral arc of the universe has been bending toward justice for a long time, thanks to the brave and tireless efforts of millions of people over decades. And although it has bent more sharply recently, we still have a long way to go.
But is there any doubt that having a sitting president come out in favor of marriage equality made a difference? Is there any doubt that President Obama’s successful drive to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell changed things?
Thank you, President Barack Obama. Well done, sir.
This post isn’t really intended to be a troll of you fine Roasters—clearly, I wouldn’t seriously suggest a literal endorsement of Les Mittserables in the least, but I did want to expand on Betty’s “How Low Will they Go?” post and especially Big Bad Bald Bastard’s comment regarding David Frum’s actual endorsement of a person who, to the very best I can estimate, we have only about a 47% chance of guessing at any time how he will act on any given issue. That’s well within a practical margin of error of a coin flip, no? That makes him the Schroedinger’s Candidate for the purposes of this election—and if one of our economic problems is uncertainty, I don’t like the looks of Mitt for either our short-term or our long-term problems.
But let’s seriously examine what a Romney presidency really means in a situation where the US Congress is likewise GOP-controlled, supposing that people actually did knuckle under and vote for Count Mittula out of a kind of Stockholm Syndrome:
The Teabaggers already have progress tied up in the basement, and if we don’t vote for Romney, they’ll start beating it with wet ropes! Or dry ropes! Or copies of Atlas Shrugged! It could get ugly! Oh noes!
I’m not in the mood to negotiate with hostage-takers just yet (what do I look like, the Reagan Administration?) Now, if you were to ask me, this would actually be more of a stellar argument against having a GOP-controlled anything. I would vote for Obama to particularly spite those bastards, and vote against any Republican just on the general principle that you can’t do me like that. After all, there are some GOP Senate candidates that are actually advertising on the hopes of Obama having coat tails, and a divided government becoming the hot, bipartisan thing. Fuck all that. (Actually, as a Smark going back a handful of years, screw a bunch of Linda McMahon.) Even if you don’t love Obama—I’d say the best thing is for people to vote for Democrats because Republicans in charge of the House have seriously sucked. Their suckage is not about a failure of the White House. Their suckage is about thinking legislating ladyparts creates jobs because Jesus. Mitt Romney is not the guy who can fix that. Why? Because he at least half the time pretends to believe it—if he doesn’t actually believe it. It’s hard to say.
So what is left for the people who want to endorse Romney to rely on? His business acumen? Seriously? As if that creates jobs! It didn’t when he was governor of Massachusetts and it’s dubious that it did when he was CEO of Bain. His job was to make money as the Bainiac-in-Chief, and as the Head Manager in Charge of The People’s Republic of “Taxamachusetts” (where he earned the title Governor FeeFee) he didn’t exactly earn plenty of points for either bipartisanship or fiscal awesomeness. Actually, in his only elected position, his veteoes were overruled by the majority Democratic state legislature more often than not, (No wonder he spent the half of his term that he spent thinking about being a part of the 2008 GOP presidential primary instead of being MA Governor bad-mouthing Massachusetts altogether, amirite?) And then there’s his record on civil rights. Which is so bad compared to what he promised when he ran for MA Senate against liberal lion Ted Kennedy, you know?
See, despite the wishful thinking of the Log Cabin Republicans, Mitt would be a garbage disaster for LGBT* people, because he gave money to NOM, for one thing. and he didn’t realize that gay couples might want to raise families for another. If anyone thinks he would stand up against bullies against LGBT folks, well, he’s okay with acknowledging the LGBT folks, except for the B and the T . Or really being, you know, helpful towards them. (What can I personally say about that? Um, as a former teen who is bisexual and was bullied, I can from experience say more education and acknowledgement about and of bisexuality might be helpful.) And I don’t think you need to read “binders full” about women to know he doesn’t stand in your corner if you are a feminist. Or just a woman, in general.
So what it comes down to, for me, is that, even leaving aside all Obama’s accomplishments and the ways in which (understanding foreign policy, macroeconomics, not being a mouthbreathing tool amongst other nations’ leaders) he’s simply superior, Romney is manifestly not the guy for the job. A serial lying bigoted know-little can’t understand why the job is even important, let along behave is if it was something more than the penultimate Big Deal on his CV. So I am manifestly not endorsing Mitt Romney. Not to talk up Obama, which I could, forever! But to point out that whenever I see someone who supports Romney, I think so much less of that person. Uck. Him. Such a lying sack. After the Election—good riddance!
Republicans, this week, are busily deciding which “planks” to slap onto their rickety platform. They treat this process as a super-secret convention of policy leaders but, as such things go, the ship of state eventually springs a few leaks. By convention time, next week, there should be few surprises. Certainly there won’t be any in regard to marriage equality. Politico reports that the meeting on fighting “teh Gayz agenda,” which Republicans are fond of calling Protection of Traditional Marriage, was a predictably raucous one.
The question before the committee was whether or not to go with a shift in the general public’s opinion on marriage equality and relent on the GOP’s “traditional marriage” position as espoused in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The proposed concession would be to “allow” civil unions for hetero- and homosexual couples (so as not to give gays anything special; it’s hard to imagine a heterosexual rush on the Civil Unions office). A thin group of supporters, notably the anomalous endangered species known as the Log Cabin Republicans, aggressively supported that move.
But, as Politico reports:
They were overpowered and outmaneuvered by social conservative groups like the Family Research Council. FRC President Tony Perkins, for example, is Louisiana’s male representative to the platform session.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach opposed the amendment on the ground that government routinely regulates behaviors like drugs and polygamy.
“We condemn those activities even though they’re not hurting other people, at least directly,” he said.
Indiana representative Jim Bopp called civil unions “counterfeit marriage.”