"To tell the truth and to shoot well with arrows"
Right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson tackled the recent controversy over Memories Pizza, which became Indiana’s first business to publicly declare that they won’t cater to same-sex weddings in the wake of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act this week.
“Most gays, if they’re having a wedding, don’t want pizzas — they want cake,” Robertson told “700 Club” viewers, according to Right Wing Watch. “It’s the cake-makers that are having a problem.”
Still, he warned Christian business owners of all types that gay customers will eventually “make you conform to them.”
“You’re gonna say that you like anal sex, you like oral sex, you like bestiality,” he added. “Sooner or later, you’re going to have to conform your religious beliefs to the group of some abhorrent thing. It won’t stop at homosexuality.”
Noting that Christian beliefs will “come under assault” until polyamory and polygamy are acceptable, too, Robertson lamented, “It’s a weird world we’re living in.”
The comments aren’t too surprising, particularly given Robertson’s recent history of anti-gay sentiments. In Febuary, he argued that a Washington state judge’s ruling that a florist had discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to provide flowers for their wedding was also indicative of society’s eventual embrace of bestiality.
He asked, “To tell a florist that she’s got to provide flowers for a particular kind of wedding? What if somebody wanted to marry his dog? She’s got to have flowers for that?”
Via Scott Lemieux
Should it be surprising President Obama has largely maintained the support of the left of the Democratic Party? According to a number of critics—notably Matt Stoller and David Sirota of Salon—the answer is yes. Essentially, this contrarian case depends on obscuring two crucial truths:
In obfuscating this case for supporting Obama despite the undeniable flaws of his administration, third-party fantasists rely on three categories of argument: dismissing the achievements of the Obama administration, inventing a moderate of Mitt Romney, and exaggerating the benefits of third-party nihilism. None of these arguments can withstand any scrutiny.
To put this in plain terms, Obama has the third most impressive record of progressive achievement of any president of the last century. Moreover, the two presidents with better legislative records—FDR and LBJ—were working in far more favorable circumstances, with larger majorities in Congress and rapidly growing economies. (Lyndon Johnson, who had the most impressive record of all, benefited not only from his own formidable skills but from the presence of liberal Republicans who increased his bargaining leverage and the halo effect of an assassinated president.) If Obama is re-elected, the Affordable Care Act—which will make health care more accessible to tens of millions of people, succeeding where numerous presidents had failed—will be seen as a monumental achievement. And as Michael Grunwald’s terrific new book demonstrates, as much as liberals grumble about the stimulus package, it was a substantial achievement. Assumptions that Obama left lots of potential money on the table are clearly wrong. These major bills are just the beginning.
Part of the problem is that once major progressive reforms have been achieved, they can seem inevitable—it can be easy to forget they wouldn’t have happened with John McCain or Mitt Romney in the White House. Overriding the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision and ensuring that women received coverage of contraception for their health care premiums were major feminist priorities before Barack Obama took office, but these accomplishments inevitably vanish down the memory hole when leftists urge people to reject Obama. Ten years ago, an administration that secured the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and came out in favor of same-sex marriage would have seemed like too much to wish for—but, again, these remarkable advances are ignored when critics suggest we should be indifferent about whether Obama wins or loses.
This is not, of course, to say that leftists don’t have real reasons to be disappointed with Obama. His civil liberties record has generally been poor. The Bush administration’s torture regime was stopped but went unpunished. He wasn’t creative enough with using appropriated funds to alleviate the mortgage and housing crisis. But there’s no president in American history who doesn’t have demerits as bad or worse on their records. To call any of these issues “dealbreakers” is to inherently trivialize gender equity, access to health insurance, gay and lesbian rights, the enforcement of civil rights and environmental laws by the executive branch and the courts, the saving of the American auto industry, and the many other issues on which there are huge differences between the national parties. There’s nothing remotely progressive about doing so.
To read Stoller and Sirota, you would think that the Republican primaries came down to battle between Lincoln Chaffee and Zombie Nelson Rockefeller. Sirota, asserting that the election won’t really affect the Supreme Court, points out that Earl Warren was a Republican appointee, a fact that’s about as relevant to politics in 2012 as Pat Boone is to today’s teenagers. Dismissing the Affordable Care Act, Stoller asserts that ” whether you call it Romneycare in Massachusetts, or Obamacare nationally, it’s the same healthcare program.” By this farcially transparent sleight of hand, Stoller transforms a statute that received zero Republican votes in Congress and was ruled entirely unconstitutional by four of the five Republican appointees on the Supreme Court into a bipartisan consensus.
It is true Mitt Romney talked like a moderate when he was the governor or Massachusetts, and if both houses of Congress consisted of supermajorities of Massachusetts Democrats this would be relevant to how he would govern as president. In the actually existing political context, there’s no reason to believe the Romney running for election in Massachusetts is the “real Romney.” If Romney wins, we’re not going to get someone like John Paul Stevens appointed to the Supreme Court and a moderate deficit-cutting deal; we’ll get another Alito and as many of the upper-class tax cuts and savage cuts to social programs in the Ryan budget as the Republicans can pass. Senate Democrats can contain the damage, but they can’t eliminate it—especially when it comes to executive branch actions and judicial appointments.
Another way of avoiding the fact that Obama is far superior to Romney for progressives is to evade the question by comparing Obama to a candidate with no chance of becoming president. In a particularly revealing argument, Robert Prasch uses the trite language of consumer capitalism to urge progressives to throw the election to Romney: “[a]nyone who has ever gone shopping knows that their bargaining power depends ultimately upon his/her willingness to walk away.” Voters, based on this line of reasoning, should see voting not as part of a collective project to choose the best available majority coalition for the country, but as an act of self-absorbed individual expression, like choosing a favorite brand of designer jeans.
These arguments are self-refuting. In actual politics, walking away “empowers” the left about as much as being able to choose between Coke and Pepsi “empowers” a worker negotiating with Wal-Mart. Conservatives didn’t take over the Republican Party by running third-party vanity campaigns. The legislative victories of the Great Society happened because civil rights and labor groups stayed in the Democratic coalition after decades of frustration (it was the segregationists who were repeatedly threatening to take their ball and go home by running third-party candidates.) And not only does third-party voting at the national level carry no benefits, there’s a serious downside risk. Ralph Nader throwing the 2000 election to George W. Bush didn’t radicalize the Democratic Party, but it did lead to the horrors of Iraq as well as a great deal of awful domestic policy. Indulging in fantasies that the Democratic Party could win as a European-style social democratic party if only Republicans make things bad enough is both bad strategy and grossly immoral.
There is, in other words, nothing complicated about the progressive choice in the 2012 election, which is Barack Obama. There are merely attempts by people unwilling to accept that major-party candidates are unlikely to represent their beliefs in every detail to make the choice appear more complicated than it is. Progressives should be critical about the inevitable failures of a second Obama term—but they should also be clear-eyed about the fact that this would be infinitely preferable to Romney and Ryan occupying the White House.
Image from oldamericancentury.org
Republicans have been busy since they took control of the House of Representatives in 2011. Busy alienating every single group of people they can think of, except themselves. The United States is being transformed into a fascist state before our eyes and now is the time we must fight back and turn this evil tide.
Instead of focusing on jobs and the economy like they were elected to do, Republicans have used the excuse of budget crises whether real or not, to take rights away from us. In the 1920′s and 1930′s, fascists in Europe used economic crises to gain power and that is exactly what Republicans are doing now. Using the recession as an excuse to create a police state. Let’s examine how Republicans are frighteningly similar to fascists.
Fascism is the ultimate manifestation of social change and moral revolution, and glorifies nationalism. Sound familiar? It should. Republicans are all about culture wars and preach morality and how great America is. Fascists, like Republicans today, reject democracy and liberalism. Many Republicans called for violently overthrowing the government if the 2010 midterm elections didn’t go their way and have viciously attacked liberalism. Fascists also reject internationalism and pacifism and support militarism and war. Republicans have been calling for the United States to pull out of the United Nations since the 1950′s and have since 2001, been the party of war as evidenced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the calls to attack Iran, North Korea, and most recently Libya. Fascists also promote heroism, vitalism and violence. Ever notice how Republicans promote themselves by chopping wood or firing guns or some other “manly” activity? They are trying to prove how tough they are. And the examples of violence are aplenty. Just look at the shooting in Arizona and the calls to shoot liberals in the forehead and the threats of “second amendment remedies” among many others. Republicans have ALL of these traits. Now let’s examine how fascists and Republicans agree on the issues.
As we all know, Republicans claim to be the party of family values. This is the exact stance of fascists as well. Fascists, like Republicans, believe that a woman’s role is confined to the home as a mother. In Italy, the fascists banned literature on birth control and increased penalties for abortion in 1926, declaring both crimes against the state. Fascists even pushed policies designed to reduce the number of women in the workforce. Republicans are attempting to do all of these things. They have relentlessly railed against birth control, and have pushed their idea of abstinence as if they have always practiced it themselves. Hypocrites. They are attempting to ban abortion, considering laws to legalize the killing of abortion providers and laws that destroy Planned Parenthood and allow hospitals to let women die rather than give her a life saving abortion. Republicans are also assaulting unions that represent professions held by mostly women such as nurses and education and have been highly critical of single mothers who work.
Speaking of education, Republicans and fascists have that in common too.
Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and seek to regulate the production of educational and media materials. We see Republicans doing this every day. They have their own news network that uses blatant lies and misinformation to paint liberalism as evil. Fox News is directly responsible for spreading hate and fear on behalf of the Republican Party and even promotes Republican candidates with total disregard to acceptable journalism ethics. Republicans have criticized journalists for asking tough questions and have called for laws to change the mainstream media. Many Republicans are against Freedom of the Press and have even detained journalists against their will for asking questions. Then there is the GOP stance on education. Their attempts to destroy public education is nothing more than an effort to create private schools designed to do their ideological bidding. Private schools can deny an education to anyone and can discriminately hire any teacher they wish which means an army of conservative teachers that will only teach the Republican ideology and their view of history. Fascists created their systems of education to glorify their movement and sought to inform students of its historical and political importance to the nation. It attempted to purge ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement. Republicans are also doing this. Take Texas and the South for instance. In those Republican controlled areas, the Confederacy is being glorified and Joe McCarthy is being portrayed as heroic. The Civil Rights movement is being largely ignored and the Founding Fathers are being transformed into Republicans that agree with everything the Republicans are doing today. They are trying to portray the founders as Christians that wanted Christianity to rule the state. Republicans are also trying to abolish the Department of Education and are trying to slash education spending to a bare minimum. Republicans and fascists hate the well educated because they want the people to be stupid in order to manipulate them. Fascism tends to be anti-intellectual and so does the Republican Party.
Another major aspect of fascism is its relationship with corporations. In 1925 the Fascist regime in Italy created a corporatist economic system. In theory, Fascist Corporatism is supposed to give unions a voice but in practice, that’s not what it did in Italy and Germany in the 1930′s. The Fascist regime first created a Ministry of Corporations that organized the Italian economy into 22 sectoral corporations, banned workers’ strikes and lock-outs. Even Hitler banned unions. This is similar to how corporations were before America declared its independence. At that time, corporations such as the Massachusetts Bay Company, controlled entire colonies. The Founding Fathers hated this practice so much they rebelled against it and set many restrictions against the corporate world they abhorred so much. Republicans are attempting to reintroduce this idea that corporations should run states and the government. They’ve already called for privatizing policemen and the military and they already allow the Koch brothers to call the shots. It won’t be long before they introduce corporatism. Marxists accuse fascism of being a capitalist tyranny that attempts to make conservative reaction popular to the working class but in practice represses the working class. Even Lenin claimed that “Fascism is capitalism in decay.” Fascists dismantled working-class organizations, significantly reduced wages in certain areas, abolished taxes on inheritance and war profits. Republicans seek to do ALL of these things. They have called for an end to the minimum wage, are ending union rights state by state, most recently in Wisconsin where Republicans slammed through an anti-union bill illegally, and seek to destroy any and all corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthy.
Another aspect shared by fascists and Republicans is their hatred of homosexuals and people who are different. Just as fascists banned homosexuality in 1931 and hated certain groups like gypsies and Jews, Republicans seek to make homosexuality illegal and have made it clear that they intend to persecute those they feel are inferior such as Muslims, African-Americans, hispanics, and other ethnic groups. The current hearings in Congress specifically targeting Muslims is sufficient proof of that, not to mention their constant racial attacks on President Obama and the laws being passed against hispanics in Arizona.
Another major aspect of fascism that Republicans share is the fixing of elections. If the 2000 Election isn’t enough to convince you of fraudulent elections then also consider these current attempts to subvert democracy. Republicans in New Hampshire are pushing bills that would keep college students from voting. One bill would require a students parents live in the state and another would ban same day registration. Why? Because the youth come out to vote for liberals. This is the reason Republicans are out to destroy unions too, since unions support Democrats in elections most of the time. One Tea Party leader has already suggested a bill that would only allow people with property to vote. Even the voting rights of women are being threatened. These are blatant attempts to subvert Democracy and destroy political opponents. These are things that fascists do.
Here is something else that Republicans and fascists have in common: death panels. In Arizona, Republicans have already decided the fates of 98 people by taking their names off the transplant lists in an effort to save money. Never mind the fact that the federal government has sent funds to cover these people. The Republican fascists in Arizona are too busy spending that cash on private prisons so they can send suspected illegal immigrants to them. Death panels are expected to spread to other Republican controlled states such as Texas and Mississippi among others. Fascists like death panels and private prisons too. Millions of Jews died because of death panels and the deaths only stopped after American soldiers liberated the prison camps.
The last aspect that fascists and Republicans have in common is their obsession with Christianity. The Republican party is one with the Christian Right today. Their goal is to make Christianity the national religion in order to create a Christian state. Republicans would then tear up the Constitution and replace it with the Bible. Republicans hate separation of church and state and have vowed to destroy it. Republicans have even gone so far as to make up quotes and falsely attribute them to the Founding Fathers to make it seem like they wholeheartedly agree with them. They actually do not agree. This obsession with religion is very familiar, in fact its Hitleresque. Take a gander at these quotes.
“The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life.”
“It is the purpose of the Government to fill our whole culture once more with a Christian spirit, and that not only in politics. We want to burn out the harmful features in our theater and our literature.”
“The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, is creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life.”
“The struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in [the interest] of the welfare of our Christian faith. The Government of the Reich regards Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation. The rights of the churches will not be diminished.”
All of these quotes were spoken by Adolf Hitler, one of fascisms biggest stars. And Republicans agree with his words. In fact, Christianity is one reason why Republicans are doing all of the above things stated throughout this article. If you are a white Christian male that votes Republican, you are safe. But if you aren’t, you are targeted.
The time for compromise with Republicans is over. The time for tolerance of them is also over. We could sit here and allow them to control things and turn the country into a fascist state or we can take action and bring down fascism before it takes hold and strangles us. I’m not suggesting general strikes or pacifism. Republicans would only be too happy to abuse the law and use military force against us. I’m calling on freedom loving Americans everywhere to storm Republican controlled capitals across the country and drag these Republican fascists out of power kicking and screaming and then elect new people to replace them. There may be little other recourse by the time Republicans are finished serving their terms and waiting to recall them will take too much time. Voting rights are being attacked from every angle. Our personal lives are under constant assault. Our right to negotiate our wages are being terminated and war and corporate power are increasing. We can no longer risk allowing this dangerous political party to have any power whatsoever. There was once a time in this country when a party rose up and forcefully put the other one on the sidelines for a long period of time because it was a danger to the nation and its ideals. During the Civil War era, Republicans, also the liberals of the era, came to power and brought down the once conservative Democratic Party for being a threat to freedom and Democracy. Once again, we liberals must rise to the occasion and be willing to fight for ourselves, for others, and for our nations ideals no matter the cost. Only this time, it must be Republicans that pay the price. They must be restricted from holding public office for a couple decades so that Democrats have ample time to clean up their mess and reverse all of the damage done by Republicans. In these dark times, it is our duty to do whatever is necessary to keep America free and its people equal. We must stand up and march together in the millions and topple every Republican controlled capital in the nation and then press forward to Washington DC and chase Republicans out of Congress. Its the only way to save America, ourselves, and those we love. Perhaps after a couple decades in political exile, Republicans will have denounced the fascist elements of their party and come to their senses. If forcing Republicans out of office is our only option to save America and ensure the freedom, equality, survival, and prosperity of the middle class, then in the words of John Boehner, “So be it.”