Unsustainable Lunacy

Just when you think Republican candidates can't say anything more buffoonish along comes Dan Maes, a Tea Party candidate running in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Colorado, who told a crowd of 50 Tea Party loons at a July 26th rally in Centennial, Colorado that a bike-sharing program advocated by John Hickenlooper, the current Mayor of Denver and the Democratic candidate for Governor, would lead to United Nations control of Denver and that such a program threatens the freedom of Americans. 

“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told the lunatic fringe. “This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms."

"These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor," Maes added as his audience foamed at the mouth. "These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."

The UN program to which Maes is referring is the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an association with more than 1,200 cities as members, half of which are in the United States. Denver became a member in 1992. The ICLEI helps communities design and implement sustainable living practices such as Denver's bike sharing program.

The B-Cycle biking sharing program places a network of about 400 red bikes for rent at stations around the city. It is funded by private donors, such as the HMO Kaiser Permanente, and from grants.  Additional revenue comes from memberships and transaction fees. The program was launched in April and it is the nation’s first large-scale citywide bicycle sharing program.

World-wide more than 50 cities have biking sharing programs. In North America, both Montreal and Mexico City have had successful biking-sharing programs up and running for over a year. And just last week Chicago started up its program which is modeled after the Paris program. Each bike comes with a lock, lights and brakes. The first hour is free and each additional half-hour is $2.50 for members, $10 for nonmembers. So far, there are 100 bikes and six locations. Minneapolis and Philadelphia are other cities with bike-sharing programs.

The Denver Post followed up with more extended interview in which Dan Maes, now the front-running candidate in the GOP primary, doubled down on his John Birch Society views.

"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?' But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty," Maes said.

He said he's worried for Denver because "Mayor Hickenlooper is one of the greatest fans of this program."

"Some would argue this document that mayors have signed is contradictory to our own Constitution," Maes said.

I'd like to think that lunacy that now reigns supreme in the GOP is unsustainable but I suspect before long another of these paranoid, conspiratorial-minded Tea Party loons will open his or her mouth and offer something even more outlandish and buffoonish.

Phyllis Schlafly's Remarks over "Unmarried Women" Draw Fire

At age 85, Phyllis Schafly is still kicking and now drawing fire for remarks made at a fundraiser for Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski, a conservative vying in a four-way GOP primary in Michigan's Ninth Congressional District.

"Unmarried women, 70% of unmarried women, voted for Obama, and this is because when you kick your husband out, you've got to have big brother government to be your provider," said Schlafly, president of the ultra right wing Eagle Forum and doyenne of the American conservative movement. She went to accuse the Obama administration of trying to win support by providing government relief to various groups, such as unmarried women.

On Thursday, in an interview with Talking Points Memo, Schlafly repeated her link of single women, Obama and welfare, and added "Yes, I said that. It's true too. All welfare goes to unmarried moms. They are trying to line up their constituency for Obama and Democrats against Republican candidates."

Schlafly went on to tell TPM's Christina Bellantoni that she doesn't care if Republicans are targeted over her comments since she thinks they are truthful.

Well, Schlafly is correct that 70 percent of single women did vote for the Democratic ticket but that demographic has been trending Democratic for some time now. In 2004, 62 percent of single women supported Democrat John Kerry, while 37 percent voted to re-elect President Bush. Clinton, in contrast, only received 53 percent of the single women vote in 1992.

According to the most recent Census data, 22 percent of the voting-age public are never-married women and as voting bloc, never-married women have been gaining in clout. Once deemed to be a politically inconsequential voting block—marriage has always been a top social factor that controls voting—single women are slowly starting to become an important voting block. In the 2000 general election, the number of unmarried women voting was 19 percent with that number jumping to 22.4 percent in 2004. In 2008, single women represented 24 percent of the electorate and according to Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner 70 percent of unmarried women with and without children did support Obama.

The share of unmarried voters, male and female, in 2008 was 34 percent down from 37 percent in 2004. In 2008, married voters went for McCain by 5 and unmarried voters for Obama by 32 - a difference of 37 points but this is largely a factor that Obama carried 66 percent of the 29 and under age demographic.

And while three in four families on welfare are headed by unmarried women, the number of families on welfare had been falling steadily since peaking in 1995. Nine months into the Great Recession, the number of American families receiving cash assistance stood at just 1.6 million in September 2008, the most recent date for which national tallies are available. Furthermore the New York Times reported that amidst soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls in 2008, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years. While welfare rolls rose in 2009 for the first time in 15 years, the 5 percent increase was dwarfed by spikes in the number of people receiving food stamps and unemployment insurance.

The cash-assistance program that once helped more than 14 million people served an average of 4 million in the 2009 fiscal year, up from 3.8 million in fiscal 2008. By comparison, there were more than 37 million people receiving food stamps in September, an increase of 18 percent from the year before. The number receiving unemployment benefits more than doubled, to about 9.1 million. To suggest that unmarried women voted for Obama because they were looking to go on welfare is beyond the pale and speaks to the vile callousness of Phyllis Schlafly.

Meanwhile the Democrats are jumping on Schlafly's remarks targeting GOP candidates endorsed by her Eagle Forum. From TPM:

Democrats plan to jump on the 75 Republican candidates for federal office that Schlafly's Eagle Forum has endorsed and donated to -- a list that includes Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas Republican primary for Senate, Ken Buck in the Colorado Republican primary for Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his Senate Conservatives Fund and Sen. David Vitter. Already, reporters in Vitter's home state of Louisiana are getting releases from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pressing them to ask Vitter if he agrees with Schlafly. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is doing the same thing to Eagle Forum-endorsed House candidates, painting Republicans on dozens of ballots -- including Rep. Michele Bachmann and Scott Rigell in the competitive VA-02 race -- as "extreme" and saying the candidate should refuse Schlafly's endorsement.

The Closing of the Conservative Mind

Over at The Week, former Bush speechwriter David Frum writes:

On the phone on the evening of July 20, a friend asked me: "Can Breitbart possibly survive?" I could only laugh incredulously. I answered: "Of course he'll survive, and undamaged. The incident won't matter at all."

There will be no apology or statement of regret for distributing a doctored tape to defame and destroy someone. There will be not even a flutter of interest among conservatives in discussing Breitbart’s role. By the morning of July 21, the Fox & Friends morning show could devote a segment to the Sherrod case without so much as a mention of Breitbart’s role. The central fact of the Sherrod story has been edited out of the conservative narrative, just as it was edited out of the tape itself.

When people talk of the "closing of the conservative mind" this is what they mean: not that conservatives are more narrow-minded than other people — everybody can be narrow minded — but that conservatives have a unique capacity to ignore unwelcome fact.

Indeed, Andrew Breitbart has doubled down on dumb, tripled up on hate.

Digby, over at Hullabaloo adds that the conservative "rank and file are misinformed because they are being purposefully led astray by the same conservative intelligentsia which owns and operates the right wing media" and that this episode is not the result of 'epistemic closure'" but rather the "result of professional propagandists successfully applying their trade. " As Digby notes, this was no accident, it was by design.

Perhaps this episode in my search for an ex malo bonum exit will finally bring full discredit to a vile, perversely vitriolic, sycophantic race baiter. If a lunatic rants in a padded room, does he make a sound?

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The Christian Right Meets Punk

Jason "Molotov" Mitchell, a former wedding videographer now 30, is the founder and president of the independent motion picture company Illuminati Pictures that is based in North Carolina. Founded in 2003, his production company has made over a hundred commercial projects, documentaries, music videos, and short films. He's also an evangelical Christian who has had the word "zealot" tattooed in Old English on his forearm and oh he advocates the death penalty for gays. The zealot is a reference to the Christian Zealot Movement that advocates an in your face, no holds barred radical if warped form of Christianity.

Anyone holding to the original tenets of Christianity has been labeled extremists, radicals, zealots.

And so it began, the birth of the Zealot Movement, an underground cause dedicated to the power and love of the Gospel, protected against misuse by the core tenets of the Four Pillars. No one can claim to be a zealot and a drug user at the same time, nor would he want to, considering the intensity of our opposition to that lifestyle. The same goes for the lukewarm believer and his fornication. The line has been drawn for the committed and noncommittal alike. There is forgiveness, but God’s grace is not a place to wipe your feet.

Our weapon of choice is music. Music, a force dating before the birth of man, is a sword with which we battle the powers of this world, and great for the breaking of chains and curses. We wage war in the underground through music and we will shatter the walls of this world’s empire, dead to ourselves and alive in Christ.

…We are children of the Sword, the face of Truth on a dying planet. We are the worldwide tribe and at the feet of our King the nations will bow. We are the pure and royal priesthood. All that we put our hands to must prosper. We are servants to man, relentless in our toil, driven by love of the Greatest Servant. We are the Brotherhood of Christ. Our family does not break like those of the fallen world. We are the enemies of injustice and defenders of those without defense. Our eyes are the coals of righteousness and our hearts burn with hatred for all that is evil. We are the warriors. We are the fearless. We are the Zealots.

Together with his wife Patricia who performs as DJ Dolce, they make videos for World Net Daily, the Internet site founded by Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, that is home to the most vile and offensive right wing hate found on the web today. If there is a conspiracy theory to expound, odds are that it first found wings on World Net Daily (WND).

Molotov Mitchell first gained notoriety in 2008 for producing 13-minute attack video called A Video Portrait of Barack Hussein Obama that pretty was a foretaste of all the right wing slurs that have been leveled at the President - that Obama is a Muslim who hates Christians, that he is foreign born, that he is a socialist, that he is a racist that hates white people. 

Prior to his assault on then candidate Obama, Mitchell produced and hosted a Christian, political, comedy talk show called "Flamethrower" which began airing nationally in October 2007 on a Christian television network called Faith TV. He came to the attention of WND over a episode that Faith TV refused to air called "All Things Islam" that show a likeness of the face of the Prophet Mohammed on a cookie. 

A regular weekly feature on WND is a "comedy" review of the week's news called "News, News" anchored by Molotov's wife DJ Dolce that so unfunny that it has to be backed by a laugh track. In an recent episode, DJ Dolce notes that it is unacceptable to use the n-word but perfectly fine to call Barney Frank a "faggot."

Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Timothy Kincaid notes the obvious: World Net Daily is a hate site.

World Net Daily makes no bones about being virulently anti-gay. However, most anti-gays make at least a shallow attempt not to say, “we don’t hate” and try to keep their language – in public – from including the worst slurs.

But it looks like WND has given up all pretenses.

WND has a recurring “comedy” feature called News! News! with D.J. Dolce, WorldNetDaily Exclusive Commentary. Dolce, the wife of Molotov Mitchell, shares her husband’s contempt for gay people. But while he masks his animus in religion (he endorses the death penalty for gay people using Scripture), Dolce just engages in slurs and endorses bigotry.

…It’s been a while since I’ve seen hatred expressed to blatantly in public.

Frankly, it was pretty obvious after this beauty:

The Racist Roots of the Nullification Movement

In his recently published book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, historian Tom Woods, a senior fellow at the right wing economic think tank Ludwig van Mises Institute located in Alabama, maintains that the states have the power to nullify laws that in their estimation exceed the powers of Congress granted by the Constitution to enact.

In a segment that also included Monica Crowley, a nationally syndicated radio host and television commentator, as well as Professor Randy Barnett, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, last week on Fox's Freedom Watch programme with Judge Andrew Napolitano, the question was asked (at the 2:05 mark) by Judge Napolitano as to why today when people make the argument for nullification the specter of racism is inevitably raised by "liberals and big government types."

I'm not sure I follow Dr. Woods' rambling response that attempted to tie those of us opposed to the view that states have a right to trump Federal law to Adolf Hitler but since he chose not answer Judge Napolitano's question, I will.

The reason we "liberals and big government types" raise the specter of racism is because the last time the nullification argument was raised came in response to the 1954 Supreme Court landmark decision Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that ruled that separate-but-equal public school facilities were unconstitutional. The response in Southern states, where segregation was a God-ordained way of life, was an attempt to nullify the decision and prevent the Federal government from enacting any laws that might impede on white Southerners self-proclaimed right to discriminate against American citizens.

Even before the Supreme Court handed down its decision on May 17, 1954, a day that Southern segregationists still refer to as Black Monday, several Southern legislators had begun legal maneuvers to forestall school integration. And then after the decision was rendered, four Southern States - Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama - went as far as to abolish or defund all or part of their public school systems. In Georgia, the state legislature passed a bill that made it a felony for any state or local school board official to spend any money on an integrated school. In Louisiana, the state legislature attempted to circumvent the decision by passing a law that allowed school officials to sort students by "achievement levels." And in both North Carolina and Florida, laws were enacted to prohibit employment of teachers who advocated for integration.

Meanwhile white Southerners responded by organizing into a new movement called Citizens' Councils -- a forerunner of today's Tea Party movement. The inspirational leader of this movement was a circuit court judge from Mississippi named Tom P. Brady. In the aftermath of the decision, Judge Brady wrote a pamphlet entitled Black Monday. Here's his view on blacks:

Why was it that the negro was unable and failed to evolve and develop? Water does not rise above its source, and the negro could not by his inherent qualities rise above his environment as had other races. His inheritance is wanting. The potential did not exist. This is neither right or wrong; it is simply a stubborn biological fact.

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