The week that began with talk of the socialist pope, ended with right-wing absurdities about Nelson Mandela. Is nothing sacred?
1. Rush Limbaugh: The pope rips America, causing Obama to orgasm! And then Mandela really showed those American blacks how to do civil rights!
The man who has continually raised the ante on outrageousness brought his A-game this week, starting with comments about Pope Francis and President Obama. “The pope is ripping capitalism, ripping trickledown economics, ripping America. And Obama is having an orgasm,” Limbaugh spewed. “The pope has co-opted Obama.” Because what really gets this president’s motor going is “ripping this country apart.” (Are you listening, Michelle?) Obama demonstrated his ejaculatory pleasure in criticizing America a few days later when he had the audacity to say that “increasing inequality is most pronounced in this country.” The nerve!
Nelson Mandela’s death provided fodder for the right-wing radio ranter to reach new paroxysms of offensiveness and denounce the civil rights movement in America, which of course helped bring about Obama’s presidency. Here’s his case:
“Nelson Mandela actually lived through the indignities, the punishment, the discrimination, the horrors of the South African apartheid system. Came out of it — you realize when he was inaugurated president, he invited as his special guests the white jailers from his Robben Island prison? He literally did forgive everybody.
“Nelson Mandela would not qualify as a civil rights leader in this country with that philosophy. They can’t let it go. It’s become too big a business. They will not let it go. Mandela let it go. It's just — amazing.”
Of course, Mandela went on to decry the ongoing “cancer of racism” in America and elsewhere. He did not think racism had ended (unlike the RNC, it seems: see item #3 below).
2. Sarah Palin: Thomas Jefferson and I agree. Those meanie atheists are trying to abort Christ from Christmas.
Sarah Palin managed to combine those dreaded atheists with abortion, Christ-killing and the dastardly war on Christmas all in one fell swoop in a speech at Liberty University. She was, of course, promoting her new book Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, and the former not full-term Alaska governor is nothing if not good at self-promotion.
She also revealed a new talent for channeling the founding fathers. She knows exactly what Thomas Jefferson would do if he were alive today: He’d go on Fox News to complain about the war on Christmas. In other words, he’d be Sarah Palin.
That’s because—and this might come as a surprise to those who have read the part of the constitution about separation of church and state—Jefferson and his buds wrote the constitution specifically for religious people. Nonreligious people, in other words, amoral people, are not capable of understanding the constitution, and they are therefore not able to follow its precepts.
Here’s an excerpt from this marvelous bit of oratory:
“If you lose that foundation, John Adams was implicitly warning us, then we will not follow our constitution, there will be no reason to follow our constitution because it is a moral and religious people who understand that there is something greater than self, we are to live selflessly, and we are to be held accountable by our creator, so that is what our constitution is based on.”
There’s some more rambling after that, but you get the idea.
From there, she jumped back to her favorite topic and the one that promotes her book, saying Jefferson would agree with her that “angry atheists armed with an attorney” had set their sights on destroying the religious themes in Christmas celebrations.
“Why is it they get to claim some offense taken when they see a plastic Jewish family on somebody’s lawn—a nativity scene, that’s basically what it is, right?”
A plastic Jewish family. Is that in the scripture?
3. Tin-eared RNC: Racism and sexism have ended.
The national Republicans deftly demonstrated how they can appeal to both women and blacks this week. They started offering lessons to candidates on how not to say offensive things about women, especially when you are running against one, as Todd “legitimate rape” Akin did. Clearly, a steep learning curve there. Emergency reinforcements may be needed.
Over the weekend, the RNC declared that racism has ended in a tweet marking the anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and celebrating Rosa Parks’ famous act of civil disobedience. “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism,” they said. Hilarious tweets ensued under hashtag #racismendedwhen, with answers like “when Mr. Drummond adopted Arnold and Willis,” “when Bill Clinton played the sax on Arsenio Hall” and “when the Fresh Prince moved to Bel-Air.”
Realizing their mistake after, well, millions of people ridiculed them, the RNC amended the tweet, “clarified it,” by saying Parks fought to end racism. But, let’s face it, they really think racism has ended. We’ve got a black president and the Supreme Court itself ruled there is no need for a Voting Rights Act anymore. That ought to settle it.
Does anyone still wonder why more than 90 percent of black America votes for anyone but the GOP?
4. Rick Santorum: Obamacare is like apartheid. And I am like Mandela. O’Reilly: Oh, you mean that commie?
Wow. Flabbergasting things happen when you combine two idiots on Fox with the death of a great man.
Here’s Santorum on Mandela:
“He was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives—and Obamacare is front and center in that.”
Apartheid and affordable healthcare. Yes, very similar. And that would, of course, make you Mandela-like in fighting this injustice. Amirite? We’ve seen some questionable analogies before, i.e. Obamacare and Katrina, Obamacare and the Fugitive Slave Act, Obamacare and the Nuremberg Laws, but this one might be the biggest doozy of them all. Points for creativity, Rick!
O’Reilly couldn’t top that, so he just kept repeating the one thing he did have to say about Mandela.
“He was a communist, this man. He was a communist, all right? But he was a great man! What he did for his people was stunning!...He was a great man! But he was a communist!”
So, uh, wait? Does that make Santorum a communist?
5. Fox News: Sharia law is here and the proof is that Muslim girls are taking swim classes at the Y.
Head for the hills. Sharia is here and it’s coming after your women. Fox continued its quest to stoke the fires of Islamaphobia when it targeted a seemingly harmless YMCA swim class in St. Paul Minnesota that offers hour-long swim practice once a week for Muslim Somali-American girls between the ages of 5 and 17. The YMCA (that’s “C” for Christian, hello) even makes considerations for the girls’ modesty and religious beliefs. On Fox & Friends, an outraged Heather Nauert said this is just one more piece of evidence that "Sharia law is now changing everything."
Modesty considerations have long kept observant Somali-American Muslim girls from learning even basic swimming skills, which, of course, is the problem that the program is designed to overcome. This pernicious tolerance trend is spreading all over the Midwest, Fox reports. Thankfully, Nauert promised viewers that Fox will keep an eye on it.
We are sure they will.
6. S.C. Sheriff refuses to fly flag at half staff for Mandela.
Another great American with a modicum of power and a desire to use it, Rick Clark, the sheriff of Pickens County, S.C., is taking a bold stand against... ummm... Obama’s tyranny? Sheriff Clark is refusing to lower the flag to half staff in honor of Mandela on December 9, 2013, as the president ordered.
Now, we know what you are thinking, but this has nothing to do with race, Clark swears. It has to do with Amurrica. "Nelson Mandela did great things for his country and was a brave man but he was not an AMERICAN!!!” Clark wrote on his Facebook page. “The flag should be lowered at our Embassy in S. Africa, but not here."
Clark knows full well when it is appropriate to lower that flag. He did it last Friday in honor of a deceased deputy, and on Saturday in honor of Pearl Harbor Day. But then it’s straight back up for Ole Glory. Unless another Amurrican dies.
7. Texas Republican Rep.: Minimum wage, schminimum wage.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. So, in a week when low-wage workers went on strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage, and President Obama finally acknowledged that inequality is the defining challenge of our time, Rep. Joe Barton decided to be deeply offensive.
Abolish minimum wage, he told the National Journal. “I think it’s outlived its usefulness,” he said. His view is that it was only useful during the Great Depression.
Raising the minimum wage is bound to be on the list of things not to do in the Republican obstructionist playbook, now that Obama has announced making structural inequality the focus of the rest of his presidency.
Think Progress reports:
“At least 67 Republicans who are still serving in Congress today supported an increase under President George W. Bush, including Alexander and Ryan. Yet House Republicans unanimously voted down an increase in March.”
But while many of them won’t raise it, Barton’s going one better.
Let them eat cake!
8. House Chair of Science Committee Lamar Smith: Climate change, no way; aliens, sure.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who chairs the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, has no use for climate change science, and less use for the efforts to regulate carbon emissions. Setting standards for polluting power plants is partisan politics, he recently argued, blasting the EPA for trying to do so, not science. And the petroleum industry favorite knows from science. He’s using one of the seven days left on the legislative calendar to talk about extraterrestrials in a hearing called, “Astrobiology: Search for Biosignatures in our Solar System and Beyond.”
Well, if there are aliens out there living on some other planet, that could help give people a hint about where to go when the Earth becomes uninhabitable due to global warming, which isn’t happening, of course, no matter what 97 percent of scientists say.
9. California GOP-er: It’s part of Middle Eastern culture to lie.
Rep. Duncan Hunter must have been a cultural anthropology major. He displayed his deep knowledge of Middle Eastern culture in an interview with CSPAN this week when he expressed his opposition to the recent treaty with Iran. They lie, he said, in essence. Not only do they lie, they revere lying. Here’s how he knows. He’s heard about how bargaining goes on over there. "In the Middle Eastern culture it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes, and that includes lying," Hunter said.
His interlocutor gave him the chance to add some nuance to this keen geopolitical observation, and asked if he meant "all Middle Eastern countries are this way."
Yep, he said: "They like to barter there."
In damage control mode later, his communications director clarified that Hunter was talking about Middle Eastern political leaders, not all the people, especially Iranians.
Furthermore, Hunter, who also thinks U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants should be deported and opposes gays in the military, recommends using a nuclear bomb on Iran if necessary.
"I don’t think it’s inevitable but I think if you have to hit Iran, you don’t put boots on the ground, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and you set them back a decade or two or three."
Then you can go back to the bargaining table.
10. GOP Rep: "I wake up every day not thinking about social issues."
Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell is up for re-election next year, and he just wants to clarify what does and what does not keep him up at night. He apparently told Politico: “I wake up every day not thinking about social issues.”
You have to admire his succinctness!