7 Vile and Ridiculous Moments From the Country's Right-Wing Fringe This Week
1. Christian radio hosts says Colorado floods caused by homosexual activity.
However much he excels at it, Pat Robertson is far from the only televangelist who blames natural and unnatural disasters on gay people; plenty of young, up-and-coming, ultra-right, impervious-to-science bible-thumpers agree. So it was that this week, Christian pastor and radio host Kevin Swanson said abortion, marijuana legalization and “decadent homosexual activity” were the causes of the catastrophic flooding in Colorado.
Especially that last one. It just so happens that the Denver Post featured Colorado state House Speaker Mark Ferrandino kissing his gay partner not too long ago, and Swanson sees a connection.
“Is it a coincidence that this was the worst year politically in the history of Colorado, at least if you use God’s law as a means of determining human ethics?” he asked the listeners of his "Generations With Vision" show. “So here we have the very worst year in Colorado’s year in terms of let’s kill as many babies as possible, let’s make sure we encourage as much decadent homosexual activity as possible, let’s break God’s law with impudence at every single level. Let’s make sure that we offend whoever wrote the Bible, so we have the worst year possible politically in the state of Colorado and it happens to be the worst year ever in terms of flood and fire damage in Colorado’s history.”
Co-host Dave Buehner chimed in, paraphrasing a Bible verse, saying, "this last year we walked in lewdness, lust, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties.”
“Marijuana,” Swanson added, though the Bible fails to mention it.
Before there were floods, there was fire. Earlier this year, Swanson said Ferrandino’s gay kiss and women wearing pants were the causes of forest fires in Colorado.
2. Louie Gohmert: Guns...spoons...same thing.
The depressingly familiar spectacle of gun nuts spewing illogical nonsense was in evidence again this week after the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Monday. The part of the script that never changes is that gun violence can only be solved by more guns. But Tea Partying Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert got a little creative with his metaphors when he said that blaming guns for gun violence was on a par with blaming obesity on “too many spoons.” The difference, of course, is that the spoon industry does not call for more spoons every time someone breaks the Guinness Book of World Records weight record.
Interestingly, though, Gohmert was willing to throw the video game industry under the bus, noting that shooters like Aaron Alexis often play them, probably because the video game lobby is not as well organized, or well-funded as the gun lobby. And speaking of the NRA, you might think that the Washington shootings would knock the teeth out of the argument that the shooting of innocents would happen less often with armed guards around, since Navy Yards have those, but no, the NRA is standing its ground, so to speak, because, as spokesman Wayne La Pierre headscratchingly said, “The Navy Yard shooting happened because of gun control.”
3. Koch brothers: Cervical cancer is a small price to pay to defeat Obamacare.
In their abject desperation to forestall the implementation of Obamacare, right-wing zealots released some ads this week that are bound to go down in history as some of the most absurd pieces of political video ever created.
The ad campaign created by Generation Opportunity, which is funded by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, specifically targets young people with the rather irresponsible message that they really don’t need health insurance. Better to “opt out,” pay the fine, it’s cheaper. Also, for young women, it avoids those uncomfortable gynecological exams, the ones that might save you from cervical cancer. The somewhat deranged looking advertisement features the legs of a woman in stirrups, presumably ready for her potentially life-saving pap smear, when all of sudden a wooden marionette Uncle Sam pops up between her legs. Uncle Sam apparently wants her. In the final scene, Uncle Sam is shown holding a speculum.
Young men can also get in on the invasive healthcare action with Obamacare. Another ad features a young man about to receive a prostate exam. He is told to take off his pants, and Uncle Sam appears behind him.
We knew right-wing Republicans had an unhealthy obsession with our orifices, from advocating mandatory vaginal probes for abortion seekers to seeking reinstatement of anti-sodomy laws, but these ads are truly hitting a new low. The good news is that the young people seeing them are not so easily fooled.
Caution: If you see the ads you might make the mistake of thinking you are watching "Saturday Night Live" parodies, even if it is the middle of the day on Tuesday.
4. Fox News’ Todd Starnes has a racist reaction to the new Miss America.
Usually a ridiculous, outdated exercise in mere sexism, this year’s Miss America pageant managed to spark a conversation about ethnicity and nationality when it bestowed the coveted tiara on Nina Davuluri, a native of Syracuse, New York who is of Indian descent. This apparent triumph for diversity quickly degenerated into a carnival of hate speech in the twitterverse, where idiots naturally assumed Davuluri was an Arab or a Muslim, and therefore a terrorist.
Not to be outdone in ill-informed racism, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes said the American-born Davuluri doesn’t “represent American values.” The American values purveyor in the contest was Theresa Vail, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Kansan, who spent five year in the Kansas National Guard. Starnes' theory: Vail lost because, “the liberal Miss America judges were not interested in a gun-toting, deer-hunting, military veteran.”
5. He’s back. Steve “cantaloupe calves” King opines some more on undocumented immigrants.
Saying irresponsible, racist things about immigrants is Iowa Tea Party Rep. Steve King’s brand, and he continues to hone and promote it. At a recent anti-immigration rally in Omaha, he out and out called “illegal immigrants” a murderous mob. King recounted to the already-converted-to-hate audience a conversation he had recently with INS agent Mike Cutler at a congressional hearing. “How many Americans have died at the hands of illegal immigrants? What’s the price Americans are paying for an open door policy?” King asked Cutler.
To which, King claims Cutler helpfully replied: “‘I don’t know the answer to that, but I can tell you it will be in multiples of the victims of September 11th."
Good at math King, randomly multiplied 9/11’s death toll of about 3,000 by four and told the hate rally that 12,000 murders were likely committed by these out-of-control immigrants, who would be crashing planes into our buildings if they could, but sometimes just have to settle for raping and murdering us.
6. Ken Cuccinelli supporter at a rally: Did you hear the one about the rabbi?
Normally, Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial hopeful can handle making his own offensive comments — like the time he compared immigrants to vermin in need of extermination. But at a recent rally for Cuccinelli, it was Virginia Republican leader John Whitbeck who trotted out the off-color joke.
Whitbeck is the Republican leader in Virginia's 10th congressional District, and he is also a Catholic, he wanted the crowd to know. His hilarious joke concerned an incident in which the “head of the Jewish faith” (FYI, there is no head of the Jewish faith) hands a "ceremonial piece of paper" to the pope. And the pope says, “that was a bill for the Last Supper.”
Okay, we don’t exactly get it either.
Alienating Jewish voters is poor campaign strategy. Cuccinelli has already alienated women with his anti-choice rhetoric, and alienated modern people by advocating reinstatement of anti-sodomy laws. So the Cuccinelli team quickly tried to distance their candidate from the anti-Semitic joke. One campaign strategist even told the Washington Post he did not even know who Whitbeck was.
When in doubt, deny, deny, deny.
7. Idaho Republican proposes license to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Not content to simply deny food stamps to poor people this week, busy House Republicans also continued their fight to deny equal rights to married same-sex couples. A group led by Rep. RaÃºl Labrador of Idaho proposed a new bill that would provide a nationwide “license to discriminate” against them, although of course Labrador claims the bill is about protecting “religious liberty.” The logic with these attempts is always this: It discriminates against Christians (or other religious people, but really Christians) not to be able to discriminate against gays. The draft of the bill says there would be no consequences for any organization, business or individual who refuses to recognize same-sex marriage. Exact words:
“The Federal Government shall not take an adverse action against a person, on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
Such prudish legislation could have far-reaching consequences: Businesses could refuse benefits to same-sex partners, hospitals could refuse visitation rights, anyone at all could refuse services to LGBT people—pretty much all of the civil rights that legalizing same-sex marriage were meant to protect would vaporize.
Unsurprisingly, in the up-is-down world of rabid conservative thinking, the Heritage Foundation and National Organization of Marriage heartily endorsed the proposed legislation for “encouraging tolerance.”