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Former Rep. Allen West (R) Slams ‘Cowardice’ Of U.S. Sailors: They Should’ve Started A War With Iran!

Give some credit to Allen West, the former one-term congressman and ultra-hawk, for at least being consistent on the recent situation involving the U.S. Sailors taken into custody (and quickly released) by Iran. While most conservatives have lambasted the Obama administration for allegedly showing weakness, West knows who’s also to blame: The troops!

West is an Iraq War veteran whose military career ended when he tortured an Iraqi policeman to obtain a false confession — after which, he emerged as a star of conservative politics. In a blog post published yesterday, he railed against the U.S. personnel who didn’t further escalate the situation when they were in Iranian territorial waters.

West seemed to cast doubt on the official story that the boats had accidentally ended up in Iranian waters. “First of all, I find it odd that these Riverine craft were operating on an excursion from Kuwait to Bahrain. Why were they not hugging close to the coast line?” And if engines really malfunctioned, then a call for help should have been put in immediately.

But from there, West went on, all efforts should’ve been made to secure the boat and fight against any Iranians attempting to intercept them:

I find it rather disturbing that any Iranian watercraft were able to approach these two heavily armored assault boats. My question would be, was the on-board radar equipment operable? If so, then the approaching enemy craft would have been detected. That being the case, the officer in charge should have reported contact, verified that they were not friendly, and taken action to defend his position, his boats. That means warning shots should have been fired, if not heeded, and then the full power of these assault boats levied against the enemy watercraft — with situation reports being sent to higher command. We need to know why exactly those actions were not taken — and if the young officer in charge was told to not take any action. And if so, by whom.

The result of two U.S. Navy vessels being boarded and seized by an enemy — which is what the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Navy is — is disturbing. The images and video they took depicting our sailors on their knees in the position of surrender is damning. This, folks, is an act of war, and our sailors were captured. Let’s not try and use “nuanced” language.

Now, I’m sure there are those progressive socialist detractors who would say, Col. West, you would have started a war. And that is the exact example of cowardice from which the Iranians are now benefitting.

West also listed out the clauses of the U.S. military Code of Conduct, which include pledges to never surrender under one’s own free will, nor to cooperate with captors. (The troops participated in a televised message in Iran, saying that they had been treated humanely, and apologizing for their intrusion. It is not yet known whether they were under any duress.) West continued:

I did not make this up, and this is the code by which I lived for my 22 years in service — and would still do today. This whole episode is not in keeping with the Code of Conduct. But before we go and demonize a young naval officer, we need ask, did he take orders from someone else? There can be no doubt, after watching the video and the words spoken, there were countless violations of this code. Our honor calls upon us to fight, to resist, not surrender. The ramifications of not doing so means (sic) our honor is now being mocked and we’re seen as nothing more than cowards on our knees. Say what you wish, but that’s the perception in the Middle East, especially to our enemies.

He concluded by decrying the U.S. negotiations that secured the service members’ release, which was done so quickly and peacefully — part of a further pattern of weakness, West said, and he also somehow connected to the new policy changes to allow women in combat positions:

This is not as John Kerry, a former naval officer, stated. We showed no strength in our ability to negotiate. Our strength should have been in reporting that Iranian naval vessels attempted to seize two U.S. naval vessels, were engaged and then sunk. Our sailors recovered several Iranians from the sea who are being held. That is the message that should have been sent.

Instead the message is that the Americans surrendered and we also got $150B from them — ain’t that a daisy!

I pray this is not the result of the neutered Navy under the auspices of SecNav Ray Mabus, who’s more concerned about gender neutral duty positions. One thing for certain, there is one word to describe all of this.

FUBAR!

The phrase “FUBAR” is a military slang acronym, meaning “F*cked Up Beyond All Repair.”

(Hat tip The Hill.)

Photo: Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), via Facebook.

This Week In Crazy: Satan Is In Your Marijuana

Weed is the Devil’s leaf! Sharia law has invaded Walmart! The federal plot against Texas thickens! Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Stewart Rhodes

StevenRhodesThe Oath Keepers is a self-proclaimed “patriot” organization, comprising mostly veterans and retired police officers, that was founded six years ago in order to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is the domestic variety that came under fire last week.

At a summit in Tempe, Arizona, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes denounced the “GOP good old boy network” that he claimed had sabotaged Ron Paul’s unsuccessful runs in 2008 and 2012.

To wit: He put the crosshairs on Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, the Establishment’s “pre-ordained, anointed candidate who would go along with the program of the destruction of this country.”

“John Cain [sic] is a traitor to the Constitution. He should be tried for treason before a jury of his peers,” Rhodes said, to wide applause.

He concluded his rant: “After we convict him, he should be hung by the neck until dead,” which was met with somewhat less enthusiastic, scattered clapping.

Video courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

In a Skype interview with KPNX Tuesday, Rhodes doubled down, claiming “John McCain is every bit as nuts as Adolf Hitler was.”

Via Talking Points Memo and Right Wing Watch

4. Ted Nugent

Ted NugentChildren get shot with guns in this country at a rate far exceeding that of other first-world nations. “On average, 20 U.S. children and adolescents were hospitalized each day in 2009 due to firearm injuries,” according to findings published in Pediatrics.

But don’t let any of this fool you. In a column published Wednesday in WND Commentary,Ted Nugent, the musician and vocal gun enthusiast, claims that all this anti-gun hysteria is predicated on a “Big Lie.” More children die from drowning than guns, he says. Why not outlaw swimming pools?

“The Big Lie about guns,” he writes, “is that innocent kids are being gunned down or are accidentally shooting each other. Compared to drowning, gun-related deaths don’t even register.” And furthermore, the “vast majority of teenagers who die as a result of guns are involved in gangs. They are punks, thugs and street rats who have dropped out of school and let out of their cages over and over again by a so-called ‘justice system’ gone bad.”

Timothy Johnson at Media Matters offers a lucid takedown of Nugent’s column, focusing on his highly problematic use of the phrase “Big Lie” (with caps) to describe and diminish gun deaths involving children. Johnson’s piece is a comprehensive and sobering rebuke to Nugent’s glib righteousness, and is worth reading in full.

Nugent especially might get something from it, since he claims that, “Facts still matter to those of us addicted to truth, logic and common sense,” and goes on to conclude that “Guns don’t kill kids, and neither does water.”

It’s a rhetorical flourish, sure, but it betrays a bloodlessmyopicand destructive way of looking at the problem.

Via Media Matters

3. Alex Jones

AlexJonesWithFansRadio shock jock Alex Jones doubled — nay, quadrupled down — on his claims that the U.S. military training exercise “Jade Helm 15” is the opening salvo in a federal government plot to invade Texas and declare martial law.

This makes the third week in a row that Jade Helm 15 has appeared on this page. Perhaps a refresher course is in order.

This curious outbreak of mass delusion began when a Texas community voiced apprehension about the wargames a-comin’ to town. Then in a risible public hearing, an exasperated military officer unsuccessfully argued that the federal government has no interest in conquering Texas. (After all, they do kinda already have it.)

Things truly took off into the stratosphere of folly when Texas governor Greg Abbott summoned the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on the exercise in order to “ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure, and informed.”

Reporters and pundits began springing the issue on GOP presidential candidates to see how they would respond. Ted Cruz took the bait, and said he could “understand the concern” because the federal government is so untrustworthy.

When presidential hopefuls are echoing the conspiracy theories of talk-radio hosts, we should be concerned. Which brings us back to Alex Jones. Since this mess began, he has been espousing some of the most baroque paranoid fantasias on his InfoWars program: There are secret military encampments hidden in abandoned Walmarts and soldiers are infiltrating the populace. Soon they will be silencing dissidents and seizing guns.

This hydra-headed blob of nonsense is filled with imagined enemies and secret collaborators, to which we can now apparently add ABC News. Jones is claiming the network used “dirty tricks” to prevent him from making a scheduled appearance on Sunday’s edition of This Week, by intentionally delaying his car ride to the studio.

But Jones won’t be silenced. He never is.

Via Talking Points Memo 

2. Allen West

Allen West 427x321Sharia law — that old conservative bugaboo — has infiltrated the most sacred of American institutions: the local Walmart! Yes, Walmart again. Not only does the discount chain provide a cover for sinister Jade Helm operations, but it is also the latest front in War on Christians!

Allen West, a former Florida congressman, claimed on his blog Monday that he was a victim of “Sharia law” when he noticed a Walmart employee place in front of one particular checkout aisle a sign that stated simply: “No alcohol products in this lane.”

Curious…

“So being the inqusitive fella that I am,” West writes, “I used my additional set of eyes — glasses — to see the young checkout man’s name. Let me just say it was NOT ‘Steve.’ I pointed the sign out to [West’s daughter] Aubrey and her response was a simple question, how is it that this Muslim employee could refuse service to customers based on his religious beliefs, but Christians are being forced to participate in specific events contrary to their religious beliefs?”

How, indeed?

Now, if West had applied his inquisitive nature just a teensy bit more, and asked someone in charge what the deal was, he would have learned that NOT-Steve, the cashier, was under 21 years of age, and so was prohibited from selling any alcoholic products.

So informed, West eventually amended the title of his blog post from “Sharia Law Comes to Walmart” to “More ominous signs of Christian persecution,” but suggested that Walmart was still guilty of selectively caving to Muslim demands.

Although, as Mediaite correctly points out, the prohibitions regarding age and alcohol that are on the books in this country owe much more to the Christianity-driven temperance movement than to some insidious Islamic influence. So there’s that. Some theocracies get all the luck.

Via Media Matters and Mediaite

1. Gordon Klingenschmitt

Screenshot: Gordon James Klingenschmitt/YouTube

Colorado state senator, former military chaplain, and all-around crackpot Gordon Klingenschmitt makes an unwelcome return to This Week In Crazy.

Klingenschmitt, you might recall, hosts a program called Pray In Jesus Name, which provides him with a pulpit from which to spout his occasionally reprehensible, often hilariously uninformed nonsense. His tack is typically to trot out cherry-picked Bible verses as a pretext to comparing gay marriage to slaverypromising us that Jesus would personally send gay men to hell, and blaming legal abortion for a horrific attack on a pregnant woman.

That last one actually got him removed from a state senate committee — a symbolic gesture since he was reinstated a few weeks later.

At the time, Klingenschmitt claimed that he was being punished for “quoting unpopular Bible verses.” But he conceded that the fallout from his “wrath of God” comments suggested that it may not be a good idea to perform his roles as politician and YouTube preacher simultaneously.

Klingenschmitt appears to have forgotten his resolution, returning to his peculiar video stream to decry the horrors of marijuana — which is legal as a recreational drug in Colorado and also is apparently evil and demonic.

“I’m not saying the plant is demonic,” he clarified. “It’s just a plant.”

Oh, good. Glad we’re on the same page about that.

But beware the Satanic cannabinoids, Klingenschmitt warns, for when you imbibe the fiendish herb, “you begin hallucinating, I’m told, and you begin seeing these images.”

Oh, abjure the wicked bud, children!

He goes on: “You’re having apparitions and you are seeing and interacting with and welcoming to rule your heart a demonic spirit of drunkenness. That’s not recreational. It’s evil.”

“Do you really want to be devoured by the Devil?” he asks.

However, the Bible never actually calls out marijuana by name, so I’m wondering if Klingenschmitt has been getting his information somewhere else… Hmm…

Via Right Wing Watch

Photo above: Darwin Bell via Flickr

This Week In Crazy: If You Drink Spoiled Milk, There Will Be Death Panels

Death Panels await those who don’t throw out their food on time! The “suffragents” are losing the war against women! Rejoice — for the Apocalypse is nigh! Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. 

5. Peter Lloyd

PeterLloydFox News’ hand-wringing over the erosion of marriage continues. If it isn’t “The Gays” destroying the institution, apparently it’s the feminists, who have contorted it into a demoniacal scheme to filch funds from emasculated grooms. 

Fox & Friends ran a segment Tuesday to discuss why people are getting married less. Enter Peter Lloyd, self-proclaimed “suffragent” and author of Stand By Your Manhood: A Gamechanger for Modern Men, a how-to for embattled males to negotiate this world of predatory women. “I feel pretty safe,” Lloyd says, referring to the Atlantic Ocean buffering him from any stateside hostilities, and perhaps also to the fact that he was speaking on a news network that generally welcomes such views.

Marriage is the “Fraud of the Rings,” according to Lloyd. “It’s a legally binding contract,” he says, “and it serves men not at all. … Men need to be wise to it and avoid it at costs.”

Feminism? “It’s done some wonderful things.” but it has also “prioritized the safety of women over men even though we are all supposed to be equal.”

Fox has the video:

Via Salon

Image above: Jason Howell via Flickr

4. Michele Bachmann

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

The End is Nigh! “This is coming faster than anyone can see,” said former Rep. Michele Bachmann last Saturday on a podcast for Minnesota-based Olive Tree Ministries. Bachmann confessed that her experiences on the House Intelligence Committee gave her some insight into just how near we are to Armageddon. “We are literally watching month by month” the progress of our world’s little ramble into oblivion.

It seems the Last Days are imminent because the country has abandoned the Biblical principles upon which it was founded, and adopted a “pagan view.” The Founding Fathers, Bachmann says, “wanted the U.S. to be honoring to God” and that the nation was “built on Biblical principles — not perfect by any stretch — we can’t be in a fallen world.” (Slavery, which Bachmann neglects to mention, probably didn’t help.)

But on the other hand, we should “not despair, but rejoice that we get to be living in the most exciting time in history! Jesus Christ is coming back. We, in our lifetimes, potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to Earth. […] Our redemption draw-eth nigh.” And so on and so forth, flecks of rapturous spittle grazing the mic.

So on behalf of all Godless Americans accelerating you to your rendezvous with Christ, congresswoman, I say: You’re welcome.

Right Wing Watch has the audio:


3. Tony Perkins and “Ricky”

tony-perkins-family-research-council-presWashington Watch, the daily radio program produced by noted hate group Family Research Council, is a particular favorite of ours. It’s a magical place where deranged bigots actually get some competition, as a cavalcade of call-in cranks compete to out-crazy the host. The show’s host and also the president of the FRC, Tony Perkins, fielded just such a call on his Wednesday show.

“Ricky” explained that the second greatest thing a Christian can do is save someone else’s soul. (The best thing is, naturally, to take care of thyself first — like an oxygen mask on an airplane, I guess.) What this means in practice is, if a Christian is invited to a same-sex wedding, it is incumbent upon him to tell the couple, loudly and publicly: “According to the Bible — sodomy — you will burn in hell for this!” He clarified that “Jesus is love,” but “to attend a sodomite wedding and not say nuthin’, you givin’ them approval!”

Perkins doubted that Christians will get any invitations. All the same, he told Ricky: “You bring up a good point.”

Right Wing Watch has the audio:

This post has been updated.

2. Allen West

AllanWest

While giving a speech to the conservative group East Texans For Liberty last week, former Florida congressman Allen West reached high-density Americana when he welded Big Gubmint, God, and America’s favorite pastime that doesn’t involve eating something or shooting someone. West told the assembled crowd that we can thank the lack of prayer for the increased incidence of injuries in college and high school football.

West is the current head of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-wing think tank that gets its kicks (and funding) by attempting to debunk climate change and whatever else the Kochs tell them to do. So cheerleading for more prayer in school locker rooms is a relatively small issue, granted. Still the selection bias on display here ought to give one pause should the man choose speak on any subject.

“I don’t remember catastrophic injuries,” he said, recalling a earlier, halcyon era when football coaches were allowed to pray without intervention from the Freedom From Religion foundation, enforcing that whole pesky churchy-statey-thingy. “I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed. See, there’s something about the power of prayer. There’s something about that freedom of religion, there’s something about the Founding Fathers who prayed over this nation…” West presumably went on to thank Coca-Cola, guns, and apple pie for the vital role they play in keeping our boys on the field safe.

Video courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

1. Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh 427x321

“You want to know how bad it is economically?” Limbaugh hisses. It’s so bad the USDA is asking Americans to eat garbage.

Well, okay, the Department of Agriculture did recently announce that 21 percent of available food in this country is thrown out unnecessarily. Expiration dates apparently don’t give a good sense of a food’s shelf life — in fact, it may be healthy for up to 18 months past its date. So the Department is rolling out a new app to help consumers make informed decisions about the safety and quality of their older food — part of their larger campaign to fight food waste.

“Wait folks. What’s next? There’s always a ‘What’s next'” And with Rush, there always is. Here unfolds one of Rush’s extended arias raging against the slippery slope that takes us from Michelle Obama’s healthy lunches all the way to a totalitarian state, as the Regime slips its fascist tentacles into every aspect of our lives, telling us what to eat, what to drink, how to shower, how to breathe!

“Eating old and tasteless food will become a sign of loyalty to the Regime! A sign of maybe even patriotism! They’re gonna ration health care and they’re gonna ration medicine! They’re gonna use the expiration date! And there are gonna be death panels.”

Don’t worry, Rush. No matter how hard the Regime tries, the amount of garbage that goes into your mouth will never top what comes out of it.

Audio via Media Matters:

The 5 Fakest 2016 Presidential Contenders

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Floating your name as a potential presidential candidate has always been a good way to get attention in Washington, DC. But recently, politicians like Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain have turned seeking the White House as a vehicle to make a quick buck into an art form.

Plenty of implausible candidates have already suggested that they may run in 2016. Most are just looking for attention, or a quick fundraising boost. Some will pursue their longshot bids all the way to the (hopefully musical) end. But none have a prayer of actually reaching the Oval Office.

Here are the five fakest 2016 presidential candidates, so far:
George Pataki

Photo: Jim Harper via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Jim Harper via Wikimedia Commons

Remember former New York governor George Pataki? Apparently, David Koch does.

As the New York Post reported on Tuesday, Pataki “is privately gearing up for a 2016 presidential run,” and huddled with Koch this week at the Four Seasons, presumably to discuss a potential campaign.

If this sounds familiar, it may be because Pataki publicly flirted with entering both the 2008 and 2012 races.

Of course, a 69-year-old, pro-choice, pro-gun-control moderate who hasn’t held office in eight years seems unlikely to capture the Republican presidential nomination. But pretending to run couldn’t hurt the fundraising efforts of his SuperPAC, which currently has only $5,946 in cash on hand.

Allen West

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Former Florida congressman Allen West, who sees himself as a modern-day Abraham Lincoln, floated a presidential run back in May.

“I will always be a servant to this great nation, and any way that God believes I can serve America, I will,” West told a crowd in Georgia. “We will see what he has in store for me, because I think he maybe is getting me ready for something else.”

Unfortunately for West, candidates who cite God as their campaign chairman have a pretty poor track record in presidential races. And West, who subscribes to all manner of crazy conspiracies, would probably be a tough sell to the American public.

But if West wants to aim a bit lower, maybe there could be a spot for him in the current administration.

Carly Fiorina

Photo: Antônio Milena via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Antônio Milena via Wikimedia Commons

Since her 2010 Senate bid ended in failure, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has kept busy stumping for Republican candidates and trying to end accusations that Republicans are waging a “war on women” (it’s not going well).

But as the National Journal reported last week, she may have bigger plans:

She’s been to New Hampshire three times and South Carolina once. She’s heading to Iowa this weekend, and then North Carolina and Michigan after that. Clearly, Carly Fiorina is thinking about 2016.

But is anybody thinking about Carly Fiorina?

The answer to that question is almost certainly no; her name recognition across the country is nearly nonexistent, and her losing 2010 campaign was basically the Mitt Romney “hire a businessman” pitch, but with weirder ads:

Then again, it worked for Cain.

Donald Trump

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Despite the overwhelming evidence that he will never actually run a campaign, Donald Trump is still pretending that 2016 will be the year that he finally steps up to save America.

“I’m looking, I’m gonna see,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity when asked about a 2016 bid. Previously, he had suggested that he’d spend “whatever it took” to reach the White House.

Hillary Clinton surely has her fingers crossed.

Sarah Palin

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Yes, former Alaska half-term governor turned vice-presidential candidate turned reality TV star turned drunken brawler Sarah Palin still wants you to think she might run for president.

“It sounds cliché, but you never say never,” Palin told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren in March. “Now, I — at this point in time, I don’t have a team of people, you know, getting out there doing these poll-tested whatever they do to let you know if you should run or not. I don’t have any of that kind of organization going. I’ll never say never.”

Even by the standards of this list, however, a Palin run seems particularly unlikely. After all, since dipping her toes in the 2016 water, she’s come up with a much lazier way to scam her more gullible supporters.

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