8 worst right-wing moments of the week -- pope-schooling edition

Paul Ryan lectures his hero on capitalism, while ignorance reigns with Geraldo Rivera and Sarah Palin

Published January 3, 2014 1:00PM (EST)

Paul Ryan                                      (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
Paul Ryan (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNet 1. Joseph Epstein in Wall Street Journal: The problem with America is the collapse of white rule.

There just are not enough rich, white men in power in America anymore. It is a terrible problem. Instead, what we have is some sort of self-styled meritocracy, where instead of the good old-fashioned ruling elite, people who have overcome adversity and achieved success by dint of hard work and effort, rather than their lineage, are in charge. Ugh! This must be why society is going to hell in a handbasket.

So goes the argument of writer Joseph Epstein, who penned an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal last weekend bemoaning the collapse of white rule. Not just white rule. WASP rule.

The column, which resembles satire, but apparently is not, argues that modern-day “corruption, scandal and incompetence” are hallmarks exclusive to this new era of non-white rule. Because that shit never happened when whites were in charge. If only, he laments, colleges still admitted more legacies and didn’t encourage applications of non-white students. Then maybe, instead of a Senate that is 95 percent white, we could go back to the 100 percent.

And don’t even get him started about the president.

2. Paul Ryan lectures his hero, the pope, on capitalism.

It seems that another conservative Christian politician thinks he knows better than the pope. Rep. Paul Ryan, the sham “compassionate conservative,” who happily held the line against extending unemployment benefits for 1.3 million struggling Americans, has lately insisted that he really cares about the poor. So much so, that he now considers Pope Francis more of a role model than his previous role model, Ayn Rand — quite a shift. The deeply caring congressman recently told the Milwaukee Sentinel how glad he is that Pope Francis is talking about the poor, and how we should all be helping each other out more, “soul to soul.”

But still, despite his avowed love for the pope, Ryan points out that the pontiff is kind of dumb about capitalism. Not his fault, though. He’s from a non-capitalist country. “The guy, " Ryan said — wait, "the guy"? Isn't that kind of disrespectful? — “is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina. They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free-enterprise system."

Ryan has said that he, like "the guy" from Argentina, wants to figure out how to solve poverty. If the past is any indication, the solution will involve plenty of discipline, deprivation of needed government help, and possibly neckties — or as Ryan prefers to call it “tough love.”

Holy holy holy.

3. Geraldo Rivera: Alec Baldwin’s comments not homophobic because everyone used to be homophobic.

Geraldo Rivera often says things that are surprising, even startling, but he is reliably wrongheaded. He recently made the leap of comparing the dust-up over “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s evident homophobia and racism, stated clearly in a GQ interview, to Alec Baldwin’s troubles. The common thread, as Rivera sees it, is that this shadowy group of “gay fundamentalists” — no, we don’t know exactly who that is or why those two words have been put together — is behind the loss of both men’s TV shows.

You’ll remember that Baldwin, a liberal darling with either an impulse control problem or deeply held homophobic feelings (or both), was said to have called a photographer a “cocksucking faggot” while Robertson merely speculated in his widely circulated interview that homosexuality and bestiality were on the same continuum (and blacks were happy under Jim Crow laws).

Rivera defended Baldwin’s right to make homophobic slurs on the grounds that they were commonplace when he was growing up.

Interesting defense. Many people, unfortunately some even today, are growing up in that kind of ethos, so are they covered as well? And how far does such a defense go? Does it defend, say, racism? Any manner of hatred? Murder? Ethnic cleansing?

Previous Rivera idiocies include saying women on George Zimmerman's trial jury would have started shooting at Trayvon Martin before George Zimmerman did, and of course, that hoodies, such as the one Martin was wearing the night he was killed, are thug-wear.

But again, can someone please tell us what the hell “gay fundamentalism” is?

4. Alabama lawmaker calls "Duck Dynasty" star a hero.

Sure enough, the “Duck Dynasty” controversy raged on as conservatives and so-called Christians rushed to defend Phil Robertson’s right to say things that may lead to violence against gays, and blacks, or at least reinforce those lingering feelings that black people preferred their second-class status under Jim Crow. Just to recap, Robertson, the bearded, ignorant, born-again Christian star of a reality TV show, has been compared to everyone from Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King Jr. (no, we cannot provide the logic of those nonsensical statements).

A highly enlightened Alabama state senator by the name of Jerry Fielding added his voice to the chorus of hosannas for Phil this week when he called Robertson a "hero." Not content to just call him a hero, he introduced a resolution lauding him as a hero, according to the Daily Home.

Here, in all its glory, is that proposed legislation:

Whereas, renown[ed] entrepreneur, Louisiana outdoorsman, and reality television star Phil Robertson has positively impacted countless lives through the powerful testimony of his steadfast faith in Jesus Christ and how it has transformed his life; and Whereas Phil Robertson, along with his family ... have served as ambassadors of the love and grace of the Heavenly Father ... Whereas recently, Phil has received backlash for expressing his personal views on homosexuality that were based on scripture in the Bible in an interview with GQ Magazine; ultimately, the Arts and Entertainment Network (A&E) punished him for his beliefs and suspended him indefinitely from the reality television show, Duck Dynasty ... Whereas a portion of the politically correct populous [sic], which strongly encourages tolerance and open-mindedness, is now contradicting themselves with extreme intolerance and close-mindedness towards Phil and his personal beliefs, which stem from his rock-solid Christian faith ... Phil should not be penalized in any way for practicing freedom of speech, but should be celebrated as a hero for courageously revealing his self-truth and Christian ideals in a world that can be unkind towards those with a conservative mind-set ... now therefore, Be it resolved by the Legislature of Alabama, both houses thereof concurring, that this chamber of persons stand united in support of Phil Robertson and his family, and in opposition to the A&E Network's deplorable action of suspending Phil indefinitely from Duck Dynasty for relaying his Christian beliefs.”

Don’t you just love democracy!

5. Brilliant and incisive, Bristol Palin ranks haters. LGBT community is the worst!

On Friday, Bristol Palin expressed her solidarity with the "Duck Dynasty" star by taking to her Patheos blog to attack the LGBT community and condemn A&E, the network that initially kicked Phil Robertson off his reality show and then caved under pressure and reinstated him.

"Everyone needs to leave Phil Robertson alone for expressing his beliefs," Bristol wrote, obviously with great passion. "I hate how the LGBT community says it's all about 'love' and 'equality.' However, if you don't agree with their lifestyle, they spread the most hate. It is so hypocritical it makes my stomach turn."

Someone, please get poor Bristol an antacid.

6. Sarah Palin defends "Duck Dynasty" star without actually reading what he said.

You know the old saying about the apple, and the distance from which it falls from the tree. Bristol's mom, Sarah, was also outraged at how mean people were being to Phil Robertson. No, she never actually read what he said that made people upset. That’s hard. Lots of words. Small type. She’s just a staunch defender of people’s right to say racist and homophobic things and that’s what she heard he was doing.

She has some rock-solid reasoning behind not bothering to inform herself about the actual content of his statements. She knew — or heard through the grapevine, whatever — that he was invoking the Bible. That about covers it. Anyone who questions that is questioning Scripture, and those are bad, bad people. “He was quoting the Gospel,” she told gal pal Greta Van Susteren. So people criticizing him need to take it up with the Gospel.

Which she hasn’t actually read, probably, either. But she’s heard about it.

7. John Hagee spreads Christmas cheer by suggesting that people who don’t like hearing "Merry Christmas" get on a plane and leave the country.

Suggesting atheists and their horrible humanist friends should leave the country is one of right-wing pastor John Hagee’s favorite pieces of advice, and he got into the Christmas spirit by suggesting atheists scram again during a sermon to his congregation. It's almost like he talks to atheists more than he talks to his actual congregation.

He told those atheists that “if you pass a manger scene and someone is singing ‘Joy to the World,' you can take your Walkman [yeah, Walkman in 2013] and stuff it into your ears, or you can call your lawyer, or you can just exercise your right to leave the country; planes are leaving every hour on the hour, get on one.”

Planeloads of atheists leaving the country as we speak.

8. Mat Staver: If gay marriage is legal then everyone will do it and society will cease to exist?

Obviously, the only thing preventing everyone from being gay and getting gayly married is the law against it. With gay marriage legal in New Mexico and Utah now and just generally having had a watershed year, right-wing homophobes are in full panic mode.

Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver sounded the warning this week that with full marriage equality, everyone is just going to decide to marry someone of the same sex, and that of course means that society will “cease to exist” altogether. The whole country will become a childless, disease-ridden dystopia, he told Vic Eliason of VCY America. With more and more states embracing marriage equality, we guess you can expect more of the same such pathetic fear-mongering.


By Janet Allon

MORE FROM Janet Allon

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Alternet Duck Dynasty Geraldo Rivera Pope Pope Francis