How can a man who has never been elected to public office gain enough political support to be elected President of the United States? Apparently, Ben Carson has decided that his rise to the Oval Office will be achieved using the power of outrageous statements to audiences filled with people who are ready to hate.
When asked about the attempts of GLBT Americans to gain equal marriage rights, Carson warned that it wouldn’t be wise for them to try to buy wedding cakes, because Christian bakers would be likely to add poison to the recipe in order to murder the loving couples.
Carson warned that demanding equality would be likely to result in violence: “They can go right down the street and buy a cake, but no, let’s bring a suit against this person because I want them to make my cake even though they don’t believe in it. Which is really not all that smart because they might put poison in that cake,” he said.
In response, Ben Carson’s employees, standing off stage, laughed. They thought the idea of poisoning gay and lesbian couples was funny.
Rick Santorum is running for President again, using old talking points from the last century. Santorum is claiming that climate change is a “hoax”, though he has never been able to point to any specific evidence of the supposed hoax.
Now, Santorum is saying that, even if climate change is real, there’s no point of doing anything about it, “given the world”. Given the world? These are Santorum’s own words, so let’s put them in the context of his larger statement, so that you can try to figure out what he means. “Even the folks who accept all of the science by the alarmists on the other side recognize that everything that’s being considered by the United States will have will have zero impact on it given the world,” Santorum told Michael Smerconish on CNN. “Why would you do something with people admitting that even if you do something, it won’t make a difference?”
The phrase “given the world” is just too vague to make sense of, but we can address Rick Santorum’s larger point, which is that even scientists say that climate change is on too much of a runaway course to do anything about any more.
(As an aside, I have to wonder: If Rick Santorum really believes that climate change is now so powerful that it can no longer be controlled, why would he call scientists who are urging action "alarmists"?)
The thing is, even though climate change has accelerated dramatically because of the delays demanded by right wing politicians like Rick Santorum, the large body of scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change do not say what Rick Santorum says they say. The IPCC’s 2014 summary of climate change science for policymakers clearly states that it’s not at all too late to reduce the impact of climate change. The report summary states, “Substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades can reduce climate risks in the 21st century and beyond, increase prospects for effective adaptation, reduce the costs and challenges of mitigation in the longer term, and contribute to climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development,” and that “There are multiple mitigation pathways that are likely to limit warming to below 2°C relative to pre- industrial levels.”
The report concludes, however, that delays in mitigation efforts, such as those that Rick Santorum insists upon, will make adaptation and mitigation efforts in the future both less successful and more expensive.
Rick Santorum is not only lying about what climate science has to say about the opportunities for action to diminish the impact on climate change. Santorum is also, through his deception, increasing the burden that must be carried by generations into the future.
Why would anyone want to support the presidential campaign of such an irresponsible politician? Rick Santorum is betting that his anti-science crusade will win him the support of a substantial bloc of Americans who resent education. Whether he can win the presidency with such a strategy has yet to be seen, but what’s certain is that if Rick Santorum keeps spreading falsehoods about climate change, we’re all going to lose.
The nascent political party 1787 for America introduced itself in 2013 by promising it would provide an arena for populist, bottom-up participation in the choosing of the next President of the United States. Choose whomever you like — let the people decide, declared 1787 for America. But as with the billionaire-funded group Americans Elect, these promises were quickly followed with bylaws stipulating that an elite governing board would call most of the shots and could influence party procedure. Meanwhile, the idea of letting the people decide was quickly supplanted by a hyper-detailed platform that declared specific stances on abortion, social security, marijuana, gun laws and more. Although the bylaws stipulate that all votes by the 1787 for America board of directors must be made openly and its Chairman has indicated that the board has met many times, no record of board meetings or decisions has been made available on the party’s website.
This approach has not led to a groundswell of popular support. Although 1787 for America solicits financial contributions, it has generated decreasing monetary support, as FEC data show:
1787 for America is financially quiet. How has it done on other accounts?
Although 1787 for America had an apparently vigorous Twitter presence, with 6269 counted as followers, the service Twitter Audit estimates that about half of these accounts are “fake” accounts — non-active spam accounts used to create the appearance of popularity. The 1787 for America Twitter account has not posted since October 17, 2014.
The leadership of 1787 for America show little enthusiasm for the project. In April of 2014, the Federal Election Commission informed Chairman Emily Matthews that leaders “have failed to file the above refernced report of receipts and disbursemnts or failed to file a report covering the entire reporting period as required by the Federal Election Campaign Act.” Matthews has failed to respond.
This alternative party continues to feature a red, white and blue website with spiffy videos. It is otherwise spiraling toward oblivion.
Mike Huckabee is clearly either running for President or desperately seeking attention for himself so that he can negotiate for a higher rate of pay when he returns to work as a TV personality on Fox News. He’s taking jet planes flying on private jets< across America to meet with rich families and corporate executives begging for money to upgrade his political profile.
As part of this vanity campaign, Huckabee is pitching a storyline about America that divides the country into two separate camps: Bubbleville, in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and New York City, and Bubbaville, which he says is everywhere else. If you live in Bubbleville, says Huckabee, you’re an elite who’s out of touch with the real America. If you live anywhere else, in flyover country, you’re a Bubba, one of the authentic Americans who speaks with a drawl, eats fried food, and wears cowboy boots and a lot of plaid.
I’m one of those people who lives in flyover country. I have lived in small towns for most of my life – and when I say small towns, I don’t mean mid-sized cities like Little Rock, Arkansas, where Huckabee made a career out of rubbing shoulders with political and financial elites. I mean villages with populations of under 2,000 – if I was in an incorporated settlement at all.
I can tell you from first hand experience that Mike Huckabee’s characterization of rural America is a load of bullshit.
Presuming to speak for everyone who lives in small town America, Huckabee supposes that we hate the big cities, and live like characters from Hee Haw. “A lot of people who live in the ‘flyover’ land will sometimes say, ‘My gosh, that’s very different than the general prevailing attitude of the land of God, guns, grits and gravy’,” he says.
That last phrase is from the title of his latest book of self-promotion: “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy”.
I live in a small town. I don’t own a gun. I don’t believe in any gods. I know a lot of other small town Americans, and I don’t know any who eat gravy and grits.
I’m not denying that there are some people of the sort that Mike Huckabee describes in his book, but they’re a minority in rural America. We aren’t all white Southerners out here in flyover country.
The fact that Mike Huckabee doesn’t understand that, and is willing to reduce our lives into a cartoon like a L’il Abner comic strip for the sake of his own political career, tells me that Huckabee doesn’t really give a damn about the people who live in flyover country. He’s just trying to use us.
Let’s not forget that Fox News, Mike Huckabee’s boss for the last several years, doesn’t broadcast out of Kansas or Oklahoma. Fox News studios are in Rockefeller Center – in New York City.
The Christian organization One Million Moms is outraged, because, well, that’s what they do. The group has begun a nationwide campaign against Kellogg’s, demanding that it stop distributing the following advertisement for its new peanut butter and jelly Pop-Tart:
One Million Moms offers the following description of the advertisement: “The animated commercial has a mom pop tart and a dad pop tart admiring their newborn baby pop tart at the hospital nursery when a nurse walks in. The dialogue includes: ‘He so has your peanut butter. Well, he’s got your jelly.’ Then the nurse, while rubbing her hands together ready to devour the baby pop tart, says, ‘Time for a feeding.’ “
So, what’s the problem? It’s not what you might suspect. One Million Moms finds nothing disturbing about the depiction of a nurse preparing to eat a baby alive.
Neither does One Million Moms object to the marketing of a snack that is so packed full of sugars that its repeated consumption could lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is okay for Christian moms, it seems.
Instead, the urgent crisis that has provoked a nationwide campaign by One Million Moms is the utterance of the word “jam” at the very end of the ad. One Million Moms writes in shock, “The parents say, ‘No! Ah, Jam It!’ The advertisement could have ended with ‘No!’ but Kellogg’s chose to include a phrase that sounded just like a curse word.”… Kellogg’s executives apparently don’t care about what children hear as long as it puts money in their pockets. Everyone knows kids repeat what they hear.”
Yes, they’re upset about jam. The word “jam” sounds like “damn”, you see, and everyone knows that children repeat what they hear. Therefore, if Christian moms sit their children down in front of the television for hours on end, watching the same advertisement over and over and over and over again, then their children could start repeating the phrase “jam it”. That’s a problem because, apparently, saying “jam it” could cause children to burn for eternity.
Christian families need to be able to abandon their children to lie on the couch and stare vacantly at the television all day long while eating sugary treats without hearing any words that end in the sound “am”. If that’s not an activist cause you can believe in, what is?
For the 2016 presidential race, we have already described the pros and cons of the campaigns of Rick Santorum and Jim Webb. Now it seems time to add another. Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio made it clear this week that he intends to run for President in 2016.
Rubio is currently the junior U.S. Senator from Florida. He was elected in 2011 after the resignation of Mel Martinez. The following table lists the up side and the down side of Senator Rubio’s political career so far:
– Marco Rubio stood for reasonable reform of the nation’s immigration laws.
– Marco Rubio voted to extend the Child Care and Development Block Grant program last year.
– In 2013, Marco Rubio voted against a bill by Rand Paul that would have eliminated the Department of Education
– In 2012, Marco Rubio voted against another bill by Rand Paul, this one seeking to prohibit the FDA from regulating the health claims made by manufacturers of dietary supplements.
– In 2012, Marco Rubio voted against a legislative amendment seeking to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and approving the Keystone XL Pipeline
– In 2013, Marco Rubio voted against legislation that would have funded the construction of a wall for hundreds of miles along America’s southern border.
– Marco Rubio voted in favor of a legislative amendment to restore soil and water conservation provisions to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012
– Marco Rubio changed his mind after hearing from the Tea Party, and decided to oppose reasonable reform of the nation’s immigration laws.
– Marco Rubio has voted more than once to extend the laws that enable the NSA to conduct massive electronic surveillance against ordinary, law-abiding Americans.
– Marco Rubio has declared that torturers deserve our thanks, and has voted to cover up a report of savage torture of prisoners by agents of the CIA.
– Marco Rubio has not only opposed increases to the minimum wage, but has even sponsored a bill to reduce pay for workers in the United States.
– Marco Rubio voted to double the interest rate on student loans.
– Marco Rubio supported legislation to create a special tax loophole just for the sons and daughters of America’s wealthiest families.
– Marco Rubio sponsored legislation to provide a tax cut only for families with an annual income over a quarter of a million dollars, with no benefits at all for anyone else.
– Marco Rubio voted to give the President the power of indefinite detention of American citizens on mere accusation, without criminal charge.
– Marco Rubio voted for legislation that would prohibit certain groups of prisoners from receiving fair trial as the Constitution requires.
– Marco Rubio has consistently voted against taking action to bring anthropogenic climate change under control, and has said that he doesn’t believe the scientific studies that conclude climate change is caused by human activity.
– Marco Rubio voted against the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which would have ended special subsidies and tax exemptions to oil and gas corporations.
– After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Marco Rubio supported legislation that would make it even more difficult to hold oil companies accountable for offshore drilling disasters.
– Marco Rubio voted against creating a job corps for veterans.
Alright, so that’s a bit of a quote out of context. What Rep. Steve King of Iowa really wrote this month was in response to citizenship as a birthright in the United States. If you’re born in the United States, you’re a citizen, and it’s as simple as that. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees it — and Steve King is upset about it. Rep. King is so upset that babies born in the United States are granted citizenship that he has introduced H.R. 140, a bill to revoke the citizenship of American babies given to them as a birthright. In trying to justify his behavior in introducing this baby-outlawing bill, he wrote that “I know of no other country in the world that does that.”
The extent of what Steve King doesn’t know is really quite astonishing. A full 30 countries grant citizenship to all babies born there. They are:
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
(Source: Emirates News)
Quick, someone tell Rep. Steve King about this… before he introduces a bill again.
This week, Senator Bernard Sanders offered an amendment to S.1, Republican legislation to approve the construction Keystone XL tar sands pipeline across the American Midwest. The amendment didn’t require any action. It simply consisted of the reality and urgency of climate change, affirming the following points:
“(1) climate change is real;
(2) climate change is caused by human activities;
(3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world;
(4) a brief window of opportunity exists before the United States and the entire planet suffer irreparable harm; and
(5) it is imperative that the United States transform its energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy as rapidly as possible.”
Not one single Republican U.S. senator was willing to agree with these statements affirming the reality of the climate problem. Not one Republican senator voted for the Sanders amendment.
Sanders reported this vote under the headline on his Senate web site: “Republicans Ignore Climate Science”.
This headline covers up an inconvenient truth about the vote on the Sanders climate amendment: It wasn’t just Republicans who ignored climate science.
Three Democrats in the United States Senate joined the Senate Republicans in their denial of the basic reality of climate change. They voted with the GOP to kill the Sanders amendment.
The Democratic Cold Earthers were:
– Claire McCaskill
– Heidi Heitkamp
– Mark Warner
Over the next couple of years, you’ll hear the Democratic Party try to rally environmentalists, blaming Republicans for anti-environmentalist votes, and making fun of Republican politicians for their denial of climate change. However, the Democratic Party leadership has helped to put Democratic politicians into the U.S. Senate who are unwilling to accept the reality of the climate crisis.
It’s not enough to vote Democratic. Sometimes, Democratic politicians are as much of a problem as Republicans. If we want to see action on climate change from the U.S. Congress, we need to work as hard to replace Democrats like McCaskill, Heitkamp, and Warner as to work against the Republicans in office.
The next time you get a phone call from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asking for money, ask the committee what they’re doing about the problem of climate change denial from McCaskill, Heitkamp, and Warner. If they can’t give you an answer, they don’t deserve your money.
This month, Iowa Republican Steve King in the House of Representatives and Louisiana Republican David Vitter in the U.S. Senate introduced twin bills to the new 114th Congress, together called the Birthright Citizenship Act. If their legislation passes both houses a U.S. Representative from Iowa, introduced a bill called the Birthright Citizenship Act – H.R. 140. This legislation would take American citizenship away from little babies who have lived their entire lives in the United States — who, indeed, were born in the USA. What offense would justify the removal of these American babies’ citizenship?
Have these babies embraced terrorism? No.
Have these babies joined Satanic cults? No.
Have these babies endorsed Obamacare? Of course not; they’re too young to speak.
These babies haven’t done a single thing wrong, and yet Rep. Steve King, Sen. David Vitter and the following list of Congressmen — all men, all Republican — are trying to take these babies’ citizenship away:
Why are Republicans so determined to pick on innocent babies and take their rights away? What is their grievous sin?
The babies are descended from foreigners.
Of course, if you go back long enough in history, all Americans are descended from foreigners; the species originated on another continent entirely. So, what’s the big deal?
Congressman King has said that these babies are a border security issue, but then, King’s district isn’t anywhere near the border with Mexico. In fact, only two out of the ten supporters of the Birthright Citizenship Act represent border states, and absolutely none of the ten supporters’ districts lies on the border with Mexico.
As it now stands in the United States of America, if you are born in this country, you’re a citizen. Being born in this country, not being of “pure blood descent” (a Nazi idea), is what brings you into the fold of citizenship. This idea about citizenship is so fundamental that it is formally enshrined in the United States Constitution:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
These babies are born in the United States. They are subject to the jurisdication of the United States, and have been for their whole lives. They are citizens of the United States. Let’s keep them that way: let’s reject Steve King’s citizenship act.
H.R. 161, approved yesterday by the U.S House of Representatives, provides a special fast track for new fossil fuels pipelines planned to bring huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas, to market from fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale.
If it receives final passage into law, the bill will radically shorten the time voters have to challenge pipeline properties that will cut through their communities. The environmental review process will be cut short as well, imposing artificial, arbitrary deadlines that fail to take conditions on the ground into account.
H.R. 161 creates a special shortcut for the marketers of fossil fuels pipelines, through which their corporations can receive automatic approval for pipelines, even when they are environmentally dangerous and opposed by the public. Under H.R. 161, all that corporate lawyers have to do is stall the review process through legal maneuvering until the the short deadlines pass. Then, their pipelines will receive automatic approval, despite their lack of merit.
It’s no surprise that the House Republicans voted for this bill. People who voted for 14 Democrats will be surprised this morning to learn that their representatives voted for the anti-reform legislation. The names of the 14 Democrats who voted for H.R. 161 are:
These congressional Democrats deserve primary challenges from environmentalists and community activists in 2016.
It was not too long ago that the United States Congress was saturated with bills proclaiming the United States to be a Christian nation or trying to force Christian prayer into public schools. Members of Congress like Texas Republican Louie Gohmert put forward their bills like the CHURCH Act (Congressional Hope for Uniform Recognition of Christian Heritage Act, get it?) over and over again.
I’m not saying it won’t happen again. There’s a lot of time left in the 114th Congress for such bills to pop up. But at this moment, do you know how many bills there are before the Congress that use the word “God?” Do you know how many bills before the Congress are trying to force Christian religious standards upon the rest of the nation? That’s right, none.
There is a bill with the word “Christian” in it, however. It is House Resolution 32, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York. H.Res. 32 isn’t trying to push Christian religiosity upon anyone, however. Instead, it is a resolution celebrating the Indian celebration of Diwali, an even that marks the triumph of light over darkness. While a number of religious traditions (including Christianity) involve some celebration of Diwali in the Indian subcontinent, and many of those religious traditions reinterpret Diwali to add supernatural or mythic aspects, Diwali is not an inherently religious holiday. It is a secular celebration bound up with the recognition of the cycle of light and dark, growth and decline, regression and progression.
This is a fitting shift for a time in which so many are letting go of literal religious tradition. May light shine brighter.