The NRA owns the Republican Party

The National Rifle Association had its convention in Houston last week. I originally didn’t bother to find out anything about it because I already know what the message is. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution matters other than my right to have any kind of killing machine with a firing pin that I want.

But, I thought I’d take a look at the speakers lineup:

Glenn Beck
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska)
Former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas)
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (R)
Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas)
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)
Gov. Bobby Jindl (R-Louisiana)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin)
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin)

So, the NRA meeting was really the Republican National Convention. And let’s stop pretending that the NRA is a bipartisan group. It’s the militia arm of the GOP.

And while we’re at it, this is not amusing (from Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post):

I read with interest about Adam Kokesh’s outrageous plan for July 4.

The 31-year-old former Marine and radio talk show host wants to lead armed demonstrators on a march across Memorial Bridge from Arlington National Cemetery around the Capitol, Supreme Court and the White House. Kokesh is calling on the thousands he hopes will join him (as of this writing, the count stands at 2,673) to march “with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny.” …

While Kokesh insists that violence isn’t the protest’s aim, the threat of it lurks on his blog.

“This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.”

We already know these domestic terrorists have a death fetish. They see nothing wrong with shooting up theaters and churches and schools, because the right of a psychopath to have a gun outweighs my right not to be shot by a psychopath with a gun.

I just plan to be somewhere else when this circus comes to town.

 

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Rick Santorum wants to eat Big Bird

It’s not safe for our friends on Sesame Street:

CNN host Piers Morgan asked Santorum on Thursday if he would also “kill Big Bird.”

“Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve voted to kill Big Bird,” Santorum replied proudly. “That doesn’t mean I don’t like Big Bird. You can kill things and still like them. I mean, maybe to eat them.”

“That’s probably not — can we go back on that one,” the former Pennsylvania senator added, waiving his hands at the camera.

“That was beautifully, badly phrased,” Morgan agreed.

OK, the response from the right on things like this is that they were taken out of context. Here’s the context:

Big Bird better be careful. If Mitt Romney has his way, the bird won’t have a job. And if the bird doesn’t have a job, Rick Santorum is sharpening the knives. Don’t forget: Thanksgiving is coming up soon.

“1984” from a woman’s perspective

Illustration for The Handmaid's Tale, a novel ...

Illustration for The Handmaid's Tale, a novel by Margaret Atwood

Since we’re in the middle of the war against women, I’ve been reading Margaret Atwood‘s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a 1986 alternate reality/science fiction novel about a coup in America by the religious right, in which nonbelievers and non-Christians are executed along with subversives and gays.

Women are put in a caste system where there are Handmaids, Marthas, Aunts, Wives, Econowives and “unwomen” (those who cannot breed or work and are sent of to slave labor camps). A breeder who doesn’t breed is declared an unwoman, and by religious decree, the woman is to blame for not breeding even when the man is sterile, because male infertility is not recognized.

It is the terror of Orwell’s “1984” set on what was once America.

The novel is told in the first person by a Handmaid named Offred (the breeders are possessions, so they take on the names of their owners, or Commanders — Offred, Ofwarren, Ofglen), who lived through the coup and saw all of her rights and her family taken away by the religious police.

There is no escape, not even suicide. Rooms are designed to prevent women from hanging themselves and the Handmaids aren’t allowed any possessions. There are elaborate breeding and birthing rituals and regular Prayervaganzas.

A lot of this resonates today, with the political importance of the religious right, the fight over reproduction and the rise of Rick Santorum. But this is how it looked in 1986, when the book came out:

Still, even when I try, in the light of these palely lurid pages, to take the Moral Majority seriously, no shiver of recognition ensues. I just can’t see the intolerance of the far right, presently directed not only at abortion clinics and homosexuals but also at high school libraries and small-town schoolteachers, as leading to a super-biblical puritanism by which procreation will be insisted on and reading of any kind banned. Nor, on the other hand, do I fear our ”excesses” of tolerance as pointing in the same direction. Liberality toward pornography in the courts, the media, on the newstands may make an anxious parent feel disgusted with liberalism, but can it really move a nation to install a theocracy strictly based on the Book of Genesis? Where are the signs of it? A backlash is only a backlash, that is, a reaction. Fear of a backlash, in politics, ought not to deter anybody from adhering to principle; that would be only another form of cowardice.

That’s from the review by Caryn James of The New York Times. She essentially saying there’s no way you can take this story seriously.

In retrospect, the book was before its time. It would be interesting to see what an updated review would look like.

Meantime, here’s something odd. This past January, the Guardian put it under it’s children’s books category. I really have no idea what they’re thinking.

Santorum babbles something against sex again

Is this really the most pressing issue of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Rick Santorum has garnered quite a bit of attention recently for his animated remarks against pornography, and on two separate Sunday shows the Republican presidential candidate refused to cede an inch, doubling down on his crusade against “hard-core pornography.”

A recently added section on the candidate’s website declares that America is “suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography,” and laments that the “Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws.” The site goes on to say that the Justice Department “seems to favor pornographers over children and families.”

In case you haven’t noticed, Rick Santorum has an extremely odd fixation on sex. He obsesses on homosexuals, the “gift” of rape, the evils of contraception and men on dogs.

The guy is putting as much (actually more) emphasis on pornography as on Iran?

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on Sunday defended his escalating attacks against President Barack Obama, who he said was going easy on pornographers and the government of Iran.

Ask yourself, since Obama has taken office, has pornography been the most pressing issue of our time? Was it even referred to during the 2008 campaign?

When Obama entered office the economy was collapsing, the auto industry was failing, Wall Street was melting down, unemployment was surging, wars in the Middle East and North Africa were raging, Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, there was a battle over health care, the GOP was threatening to shut down the government.

Yeah, I can see Obama putting all that aside to address the evils of Jenna Jameson, Sasha Grey, Zack and Miri and “New Wave Hookers vol. 17.”

Is this really where you want your president to focus all of his attention?

Heads up, Kentucky! The GOP race is about to get surreal

Some quick GOP delegate math. Here’s where the Republican candidates for president stand in the delegate count:

. Delegates Needed to win % of remaining
. Mitt Romney 415 729 47.31%
. Rick Santorum 176 968 62.82%
. Newt Gingrich 105 1,039 67.42%
. Ron Paul 47 1,097 71.19%
. Remaining 1,541

So, obviously, this shows that Mitt Romney is in the best position to get enough delegates to avoid a brokered convention where some dark horse … (wait, this is the GOP) … some white knight who hasn’t been in the race will come in at the last minute and be the compromise candidate.

But it appears there aren’t enough “winner take all” primaries to ensure that Romney will have enough. That means he has to make a deal. It’s simple math. If he needs a few votes, he’ll have to get Gingrich or Santorum or Paul to turn their delegates over to him.

Daily Kos lays out the possibilities:

Santorum could offer his delegates up in exchange for being the veep nominee himself. Gingrich could … nevermind. He’ll hoard his pittance of delegates and declare himself emperor in his own mind.

I suspect Romney would never make a deal that would put Man on Dog or the Serial Adulterer in the number two spot on the ticket. Their negatives are outrageously high, and in a general election, they would only bring down the ticket, which already will be down because of Romney at the top.

But Kos gives us this gem:

If Ron Paul has enough delegates to push Romney over the line, he could trade them for VP nominee Rand Paul.

All I can say is, “Oh,no!”

Because this is a deal Romney would be willing to make. Rand Paul got into the Senate on the last election cycle. The voters of Kentucky were super pissed off that Obama was president, so they rejected the obviously better Democratic candidate (who I might add ran a terrible campaign) for the guy with the crazy pseudo-libertarian ideas. I still don’t get what Rand Paul is about. (Full disclosure: I did volunteer work for Jack Conway in that election and as a Kentucky resident voted against Rand Paul.)

And now, the realization has struck that Rand Paul is a legitimate contender to run for vice president of the United States. Because in this meritocracy we call the 21st century GOP, a person, no matter how dim or feckless, can succeed based on the generosity of his rich parents. (George Bush the Dumber; Mitt Romney the son of an auto executive/governor.) Need I say more?

The GOP presidential race: The end is not near

Looking back at Super Tuesday, here’s what we saw.

As of 11 p.m. last night, Gingrich won Georgia. No big deal, that’s his home state. The down side is he stays in the race. A loss there would have ended his candidacy.

Romney won Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts and Massachusetts. Vermont and Virginia were no surprise. That’s his territory. Virginia was a surprise in that in a two-man race between him and Ron Paul (the Serial Adulterer and former senator Man on Dog didn’t qualify for the ballot), Paul pulled in 41%. That tells you that outside of New England, at least 41% of Republicans are going to vote against Romney no matter what.

Rick Santorum won Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Pretty handily in all three cases.

The big state is Ohio, and with 88% of precincts reporting, Romney is slightly ahead of Santorum 38% to 37%. It’s too close to call.

That Santorum is still in the race is unbelievable. You would think that Republicans would realize that Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly voted Santorum out of office when he ran for reelection to the Senate. There’s a reason for that, folks. Find out why.

But the fact that he can win Ohio has to be devastating to the Romney campaign. Not to mention a complete descent into madness in that state. But, they did elect a governor who rejected federal disaster aid after last week’s series of devastating tornadoes, so why even bother to guess what Ohioans want. As an Ohio native, I am dumbfounded.

So I again have to reassess my view of where the Republicans are headed. I once asked if the worst case scenario was “Will they charge ahead full speed and drive that bus off the cliff and into a river of hungry crocodiles.”

Then I modified that to: “Will they charge ahead full speed and drive that bus off the cliff and into a river of hungry crocodiles next to a nuclear plant during an earthquake just as the tsunami wave reaches 50 meters.”

Now it’s: “Will they charge ahead full speed and drive that bus off the cliff and into a river of hungry crocodiles next to a nuclear plant during an earthquake just as the tsunami wave reaches 50 meters carrying a school of piranhas being chased by great white sharks.”

Sad to say, but it looks like there’s no end in sight.

Presidents’ Day highlights

Happy Presidents’ Day.

And judging from the way things are going in the political world, this time next year, this guy is going to be president of the U.S.

Even with his “radical Islamic policies” as Rick Santorum‘s spokeswoman said today:

Over at Talking Points Memo, they described Alice Stewart’s “comment” as a Freudian Crypto-Islamic Slip.

She later called MSNBC to say that she meant to say “radical environmental policies.” An honest mistake, no doubt. I, too, tend to confuse the environment with Islam. Doesn’t everybody?

It does show what the rabid right truly believes. They are in a holy war … a jihad, if you will. Santorum has said that Protestants and professors are under the sway of Satan, and his spokeswoman says Obama is a Muslim. There are still a bunch of religions left to insult. Let’s see how many they go for in the next eight months.

One other interesting bit of polling data. According to Public Policy Polling, 10 percent of Michigan Republicans think Santorum is too liberal. Here’s the PDF. Check out page 8. I didn’t think people could be more delusional. I was wrong.