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Tag: glenn beck

Not This Grandma

My, these aging men with their bright ideas.

First, it was the president, who has been openly contradicting medical experts with his pining for an early end to social distancing. This would threaten the lives of millions of Americans during the pandemic. Oh, well.

As he said, via tweet and at the microphone, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” Every time he says that, I can’t help feeling that women like me — over 60 and eternally over him — are on his checklist of things that can go.

It’s not sitting well, I have to tell you.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, on the verge of 70, spelled it out for us in an interview on Fox.

“No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”

He added: “I just think there are a lot of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have six grandchildren — that’s what we care about. … And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed. And that’s what I see.”

I don’t know who he’s looking at, but it sure isn’t this grandma to seven grandchildren. I would throw myself in front of a 137,000-pound Montana B-Train to save the life of a grandchild, but I will not risk a single hangnail to rescue corporate America.

Next up: Glenn Beck.

“Where do you stand?” he asked.

Nowhere near you, I answer.

“I’m in the danger zone,” he said on Blaze TV. “I’m right at the edge, I’m 56… So, I’m in the danger zone. I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working.”

He added, because there’s always something else, “Even if we all get sick, I’d rather die than kill the country.”

OK, Glenn.

I’m sorry these men hate their lives. I can’t name a single grandmother of my acquaintance who wants to throw away her life to save companies like Hobby Lobby, which has insisted on remaining open during this pandemic.

The craft company also told its managers to “make every effort to continue working the employees” while denying those same employees sick leave. Billionaire owner David Green is big on touting his right-wing version of Christianity, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’m with the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wing of Christianity. She said this after Congress passed the stimulus package:

“I wish that every person in America would subscribe to the fact that science is an answer to our prayers so that we can get through this in a very positive way.”

She’s a grandmother, by the way, and what a fine example she is setting in not volunteering for the Trump-Patrick-Beck cliff leap.

Regular readers will notice that I’ve been quoting poetry a lot in the last few weeks, and wouldn’t you know it? I’ve got another poem. This excerpt is from the late poet Grace Paley’s “Here,” about an old woman watching her old man in the yard:

at last a woman

in the old style sitting

stout thighs apart under

a big skirt grandchild sliding

on off my lap a pleasant

summer perspiration

that’s my old man across the yard

he’s talking to the meter reader

he’s telling the world’s sad story

how electricity is oil or uranium

and so forth I tell my grandson

run over to your grandpa. ask him

to sit beside me for a minute.

I am suddenly exhausted by my desire

to kiss his sweet explaining lips

Mercy.

Silly old men can cling to whatever economy-themed fantasies make them feel useful in the world.

I’ve got other plans, if God’s up for it. I want my grandchildren to know that for them, Grandma lived.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two non-fiction books, including …and His Lovely Wife, which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Her novel, The Daughters of Erietown, will be published by Random House in Spring 2020. To find out more about Connie Schultz (schultz.connie@gmail.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Why Are So Many In The ‘Resistance’ Ignoring Trump’s Iran Warpath?

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

There are roughly two categories of resistance to President Donald Trump that have emerged over the past few months. There’s the grassroots, earnest resistance marked by mass protests, populated by everyone from radicals to liberals to nonprofits to immigration rights groups to antifascists to the occasional Democratic politician with the backbone to stand up to the administration. Then there’s the Resistance, a loose confederation of media careerists who nominally oppose Trump, but do so often for the most cynical and ideologically incoherent reasons. The “Resistance” consists of, among others, discredited neocon David Frum, racist huckster Glenn Beck, blowhard Keith Olbermann, and former spook and backalley abortion advocate Evan McMullin.

These men comprise the worst of the “Resistance.” Their attacks on Trump, such as they are, are marked by Cold War-mongering, gendered insults, career revamping, and a dislike of a foreign policy they view as inadequately bellicose toward Russia, Syria, and Iran.

Stop with the purity tests! is a common rejoinder to these criticisms. We must, given the stakes, welcome all who oppose Trump, some might say.

But what use is that opposition when it stops at the water’s edge; when it cares only for Trump’s excesses at home but ignores—if not welcomes—excesses abroad? Consider this not an indictment on the whole of their ideology, but an honest question from a potential anti-Trump ally: why does the “Resistance” not seem to care about Trump’s Iran war path?

Since he was sworn in just under a month ago, Trump has signaled a radical departure from the Obama White House’s already hostile (though mild in relative terms) approach to Iran. Trump has surrounded himself with anti-Iran hawks like Michael Flynn (since departed for unrelated reasons) and his Secretary of Defense General James Mattis. Flynn stated time and again that Iran was “intent on having a nuclear weapon” despite all evidence to the contrary. Gen. Mattis, who, as Politico put it, “has a 33-year grudge against Iran,” insists “the Iranian regime… is the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.”

In their short time in office, Trump has put Iran “on notice” and leveled new sanctions nominally for firing a ballistic missile in January—an act that, according to NPR, did not violate the terms of the relevant U.N. resolution.

Trump has also surrounded himself with radical pro-Israel voices whose antipathy for Iran dovetails with their staunch loyalty to Israel’s far right. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, once compared the Iran deal to the Dreyfus Affair, the infamous anti-Semitic persecution of a Jewish army captain in 1890s France, saying of the deal, “the blatant anti-Semitism emanating from our president and his sycophantic minions is palpable and very disturbing.”

“The relationship between America and Iran,” Saeid Golkar, an Iran expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, recently told Al Jazeera, “is getting very dangerous.”

One would hardly have noticed if they were only listening to high-status Resistance pundits.

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote a much-praised 8,000-word piece warning of Trump’s “authoritarianism,” but didn’t mention Trump’s hostility toward Iran, his alliance with Israel’s far right, or any of his foreign policy aggressions once. The only time foreign countries were brought up, whether it was Russia or Honduras or Venezuela, was when Frum needed to use them as examples of backwaters Trump would turn us into, not targets of Trump’s hothead foreign policy.

For Frum, the vaguely defined concept of “authoritarianism” seems to apply only stateside. This is an exceedingly self-serving definition given that Frum worked in the Bush White House and is to this day an advocate for the devastating Iraq war leveled by his former boss.

Limiting criticism of Trump to the damage he will inflict domestically isn’t just bad politics, it’s also a convenient get-out-of-jail-free card for Frum and his neoconservative friends who helped turn Iraq and the Levant into a hellscape less than a generation ago. To this extent, Frum is far more concerned with protecting the GOP brand both in the future and down-ballot than he is with “resisting” Trump. This is why Frum is silent on Trump’s Iran war path and his increasingly close relationship with Netanyahu; Trump’s vision of power in the Middle East, sans perhaps Syria, is entirely in line with Frum’s.

Evan McMullin, who has been calling for the United States to bomb the Syrian government and overthrow Assad for years, routinely discusses how Trump’s posture on Russia will help Iran rather than reading the words the president actually states on the subject. On actual policy, on actual statements threatening Iran and ratcheting up tension, McMullin has little to say. McMullin even lavished praise on Trump’s selection of Gen. Mattis as Defense Secretary, largely because, again, Trump’s policy on Iran dovetails with what McMullin actually believes.

Keith Olbermann, who isn’t nearly as vile as other members of the faux “Resistance,” rants and raves about Trump being a “Russian whore,” but can’t take five minutes out to note Trump’s gutting of Obama’s hard-fought Iran deal. Nor does Olbermann have anything to say on Trump cozying up to the worst elements of the Israeli far right. Olbermann never tweets about or discusses Iran, Israel, or Palestine on his GQ web series. Like Frum, he limits his outrage over Trump to purely domestic issues.

Racist grifter Glenn Beck has used the anti-Trump sentiment to try to rebrand himself as a moderate, principled, conservative crusader, even given validation and airtime by liberal late-night comedian Samantha Bee for a much publicized anti-Trump campaign. Beck (as well as Bee) has been entirely silent on Trump’s anti-Iran rhetoric. Beck, showing the nebulous nature of the “Resistance,” has even praised Trump’s far-right Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and gone back to blaming Black Lives Matter for entirely unrelated crimes against whites.

The Washington Post, which raised money saying it would hold Trump to account, publishes op-eds on Trump’s Iran policy ranging from praise (Jennifer Rubin) to procedural handwringing (David Ignatius), but never offers any meaningful criticism. Liberal media watchdog Media Matters and Mother Jones have not covered Trump’s ramped-up hostility with Iran once. Not only has MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid ignored Trump’s surly Iran posture, she even praised Gen. Mattis as the man preventing Trump from “dragging us into bed with Russia.” A pro-Russia stance is, as a matter of dogma, always assumed to be worse than potential war with Iran.

The reason, if history is any guide, is that if someone in the media has three topics to choose from, and two of those topics don’t upset American national security orthodoxy, those two topics will always rise to the top of the press heap. This is why foreign policy, especially as it relates to Palestine, Iran, and Muslim countries in general, always gets lowest priority. Its moral hazard is seen most explicitly during the early Obama years when issues like drone killings, extrajudicial assassination and a sprawling war on terror largely went unquestioned. This is a bipartisan consensus of executive power that, predictably, later came back to haunt liberals after Trump was elected.

Just the same, because Trump’s hostility in the Middle East largely serves the bipartisan consensus on Iran and Israel, it is of extremely low importance to most high-status liberals and centrists who are far more concerned with scoring points and winning the latest 24-hour news cycle than building an ideologically sustainable opposition to the Trump regime and the Republican Party it serves. This myopia is understandable for party flacks and media hangers-on, but it doesn’t mean thinking adults should indulge it or its longer-term implications.

It’s important that the resistance to Trump, such that it is, highlight the clampdown on domestic opposition and liberal programs. But it’s equally important for the resistance not to lose sight of those outside the U.S. who will suffer greatly from Trump’s eagerness to ramp up tensions in Iran and the Middle East as a whole.

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter Adam@AdamJohnsonNYC.

IMAGE: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves as he gives a speech on Iran’s late leader Khomeini’s death anniversary, in Tehran, Iran June 3, 2016. Leader.ir/Handout via REUTERS/Files

Trump Embraces Weird Conservative Media Habit Of Fabricating Crowd Sizes

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters for America.

When President Trump claimed that as many as 1.5 million people had attended his inauguration, and when Trump’s press secretary categorically announced that Trump’s swearing-in had been the most-watched “both in person and around the globe,” the new Republican administration set off a firestorm — not only about the crowd estimate, but about “alternative facts” and truth-telling.

That Trump and his communications team would begin his presidency with such an easily debunked falsehood about the size of the inauguration crowd stunned plenty of Beltway observers. Even days later, the topic was still gnawing at Trump, as he reportedly bragged to congressional leaders yesterday about how enormous his inauguration crowd was.

But in truth, the pattern of lying about how many people assemble en masse to support conservative causes enjoys a long history within the right-wing media; a history Trump has revived. (Note that lots of pro-Trump propaganda outlets gladly propped up the inauguration crowd lie.)

Most famously, when former Fox News host Glenn Beck sponsored an anti-Obama rally in September 2009, the conservative media was awash in wild, unfounded claims about how massive the protest crowd was. Blogger Michelle Malkin even announced two million people had assembled. (That would be a bigger crowd than Obama’s 2009 inauguration.)

According to one aerial estimate that day, Makin’s quote of two million was only off by about 1.9 million.

More recently during the presidential campaign, conservative outlets routinely propped up Trump’s phony claims about crowd size. Breitbart even got caught publishing a photo from a CNN.com news report about a massive gathering of Cleveland Cavs fans celebrating their home team’s NBA championship, and then presented the image as being from a Trump rally in Florida.

It’s one thing for dishonest bloggers to make up crowd size estimates for political purposes. It’s obviously quite another when the White House takes that tact and turns it into official government policy.

What’s so strange about the obsession over crowd size is that conservatives often make fantastic, unbelievable claims about crowds that are already respectably large.

Nothing made that point more clearly than the Beck-sponsored march in 2009, the so-called 9/12 Project rally. Riding the wave of the burgeoning Tea Party movement, conservatives wanted to send a message that American was suffering from Obama buyer’s remorse and that all the good will he had earned the previous year was gone because Americans were appalled by his agenda.

Tens of thousands of activists showed up. But all day long, conservatives online insisted (or fantasized) that the anti-Obama crowd had swelled to astonishing, historic, unimaginable proportions. In a weird game of telephone tag, a Tea Party activist first claimed ABC News had reported the 9/12 crowd was 1.5 million strong, even though ABC did no such thing. Another activist then tweeted that ABC was reporting the crowd at 2 million. (False.) Malkin then embraced the baseless 2 million figure to spread it.

From there, the phony figure ricocheted around the right-wing blogosphere.

Also that day, conservatives bloggers passed around a photo that supposedly proved the march was one-million strong. But the photograph was actually from a rally that took place 12 years earlier. Even after the 9/12 rally, Beck still claimed his rally had attracted nearly 2 million anti-Obama activists.

Two months later, Fox News’ Sean Hannity had to apologize after Comedy Central caught him using footage from the 9/12 rally to tell the story about a much less-well attended D.C. rally, the Super Bowl of Freedom. “The effect was that the latter event seemed like a much bigger deal than it was,” Mediaite noted.

Fast forward to the Trump campaign and the Republican candidate seemed to take the bogus crowd size strategy right off the shelf and put it in play, while supportive conservative media outlets pitched in. “Trump has routinely exaggerated the already large numbers” at his rallies, noted the Washington Post.

Back in July 2015, Trump tweeted out that 12-15,000 people had attended his rally in Phoenix, even though the local police put the number closer to 4,000. Nonetheless, the phony 15,000 figure was embraced by media outlets friendly to Trump. Not to be outdone, right-wing blogger Gateway Pundit upped the ante: “20,000 PATRIOTS TURNED OUT TO SEE DONALD TRUMP IN ARIZONA!!”

That’s five times what the local police estimated the actual crowd to be.

On the surface, Trump’s weird post-inauguration obsession with puffing up the numbers of his celebration might seem like a baffling, insecure tick. It is — he’s just advertising that insecurity via an established right-wing media tactic.

IMAGE: PBS

9 Off-the-Wall Republicans Who Find Donald Trump Too Crazy… Even for Them

Published with permission from Alternet

Donald Trump has said some pretty outrageous things. So outrageous that several conservative pundits have disavowed or refused to support the Republican candidate in his election campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Of course, the craziest aspect of hardline conservatives refusing to support Trump is that they themselves are guilty of engaging in some pretty off-the-wall rhetoric. Here’s a rundown of the craziest conservative voices who (somehow) find Donald Trump too insane to handle.

1. Andrea Peyser 

Andrea Peyser, the New York Post columnist who once called Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin a “gorgeous and furious Internet cuckold” and suggested President Barack Obama is a closeted homosexual (or as she put it, “a man as comfortable in the company of women as Tom Cruise”) made headlines Sunday when she tapped “out” of Team Trump.

“In my heart, I wanted the smack-talking, hair-challenged, self-absorbed New York City billionaire Republican to nail down this baby,” Peyser wrote. “But in my head? Not so much.”

That’s right, the woman who once referred to CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour as a “CNN war slut” has finally had too much of the bloviating, hate-filled rhetoric coming out of Trump’s… wherever.

“Some of us smitten with his shoot-from-the-lip style have reached our limits,” Peyser wrote in her column, later adding, “Trump won’t back down from his lunacy and bigotry.” The final straw for the Post columnist? His recent fight with a Gold Star family.

Trump’s lunacy and bigotry were evident from the onset of his campaign, but apparently all the sexist, racist, xenophobic, “ban all Muslims,” “build a wall” BS that preceded his fight with the Khan family wasn’t enough to sway Peyser. That’s the thing about final straws—you’re left to assume everything that came before was tolerable.

2. Mark Levin

Conservative radio host and avid Ted Cruz supporter Mark Levin flirted with the idea of supporting Trump in the past. He liked, for example, the nominee’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, telling fellow conservative radio figures last December that Trump is merely suggesting we limit “access to this country, immigration of Muslims into this country for what he has said is a temporary period of time till we figure out what’s going on—in other words, to ensure we have the processes in place.”

Levin, who shares Cruz’s hypocritical brand of hardline conservatism, was totally cool with Trump’s unconstitutional non-solution to immigration. It wasn’t until Trump operative Roger Stone called Levin “a worm” and a “prostitute” that the radio host threw his support behind the Never Trump movement.

“Roger Stone is a thug. He’s a sleazeball,” Levin said, later adding, “as a result of what the Trump supporters have attempted here, particularly Roger Stone, I am not voting for Donald Trump. Period.”

“And if anybody has a problem with that, Donald Trump, you can talk to Roger Stone,” Levin said. “These bully, dirty tricks, Nixonian tactics, they’re only going to backfire. They’re only going to backfire. So, count me as never Trump. There’s been too much of this, folks, way too much of this. The crap in the National Enquirer against Ted Cruz, the attacks on Michelle Fields, I mean, I can go right through the list, too much, too much, too much. At some point, you’ve got to stand up to it.”

Good to see Levin drew a line in the sand after a personal attack was launched against him, though he didn’t seem to object to the trove of racist, sexist rhetoric hurled from Trump’s mouth since the beginning of his campaign. But hey, when your preferred candidate has his own history of racist, sexist rhetoric, it’s hard to know when exactly to “stand up to it.”

3. Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson, who frequently questions President Barack Obama’s Christianity and argues the homosexual “movement” is “destroying America,” has a litany of crude and indefensible comments in his reservoir.

But oddly enough, Donald Trump is too crude and indefensible for the man who once opined the only reason college students study gender is so they can become “professional victims.” Erickson has been a huge voice in the Never Trump movement, writing an essay in February declaring he “will not vote for Donald Trump for President of the United States even if he is the Republican nominee.”

“He will not win in November,” Erickson wrote before listing why the candidate won’t win without a hint of irony or self-awareness: “He will not win because he turns off a large number of Republicans; he turns off women; he turns off Hispanic voters; he turns off black voters.”

Which is substantively true—Donald Trump does turn off all those voters. But you know what, Erickson? So do you.

4. Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is out of his mind; that much has been clear for a while. This is the man who publicly contemplated killing Michael Moore, frequently compared globalization to Nazi Germany and once discussed being “on the verge of moral collapse at any time.”

But much like Erickson, Beck is woefully unaware of just how hypocritical and disingenuous his disavowal of Trump is, considering the constant stream of insanity that flows from his mouth on a daily basis.

“I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton and I won’t vote for Donald Trump. I just won’t. And I know a lot of people that feel that way. I know people in the GOP who are like, look, well, he is better that Hillary Clinton. Maybe, I don’t know,” Beck told Fox’s Megyn Kelly late last year.

“If they put Donald Trump in, try to put him in office, if that’s what the people want, you are going to see an end to the Republican Party,” Beck later added. “It will just be over, there’ll just be nothing left.”

Turns out Beck isn’t the only right-wing institution on the verge of a moral collapse.

5. Rick Wilson

GOP strategist Rick Wilson is no stranger to vulgarity. Last year, he was forced to apologize after he asked fellow right-wing nutjob Ann Coulter if Donald Trump “pays you more for anal.”

Pretty crapulous language from a Grand Old Party operative, huh? Speaking of crapulous language, here’s Wilson’s blanket refusal to support the Republican nominee:

“I have opposed Trump from the first day of his wretched, crapulous campaign. I have opposed Trump when his clownish minions called my clients seeking to have me fired. I have opposed The Donald when his slavish of Trumpbart stooges ran story after story attacking me, and unleashed their fever-swamp yokels on my email, my phone, and my family.

I will continue to oppose Trump, implacably and unceasingly.

I will not bend. I will not cease this fight. I will never embrace this thuggish, venal, gibbering psychotic, and I will not countenance those who do. I don’t care if I’m the last Republican in America standing to resist this man, but with almighty God as my witness, I will not vote for Donald Trump.”

Looks like gibbering psychosis isn’t confined to the Trump campaign.

6. Ben Howe

Red State contributing editor Ben Howe cemented his right-wing nutjob status in 2014 when he refused to apologize after posting on Twitter, “Give me a gun. Put me in Darren Wilson’s shoes. I’d have shot Mike Brown right in his face.” But even with that trigger-happy suggestion, Howe refuses to support a candidate who once bragged he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody,” and “wouldn’t lose voters.”

“I will phone bank for Hillary if Trump is nominated,” Howe wrote in a post on the right-wing website.

“I will, should Trump win the nomination, work to make sure that the other dangerous and untrustworthy person, who has declared themselves to be a representative of progressivism, takes the job,” he added.

7. Steve Deace

Steve Deace, a former Ted Cruz surrogate, wrote an essay for the Conservative Review outlining his opposition to Trump:

“Conservativism is supposed to be about conserving the things that created American Exceptionalism—not defining them down to play a part in a cult of personality. Neither is it supposed to be about race-baiting, ethnic tribalism, authoritarianism, support for Planned Parenthood or progressivism. That’s the left, but that’s also Trump, who’s just repackaging our opponent’s views in pro-American terms.”

To get an idea about what Deace hopes to conserve, look no further than his belief that social services provided gay people with a safety net to explore their “depravity.”

“We have that today, which is why the sexual revolution came after the welfare state, because once it was obvious that people were not going to be held directly accountable for their actions, we removed the inhibitions against human nature that we already had,” Deace said on his radio program in 2015.

His guest, John Stemberger, agreed, adding:

“People who are hard-working and have to be self-sufficient and are not going to be propped up by the government don’t have the luxury of doing stupid, immoral things.”

Ah, yes the golden days of American exceptionalism, when people like Deace got away with saying outrageous things in public and still remained in positions of power. Deace, explain again why you don’t support Donald Trump?

8. Mark Salter

Mark Salter, a former John McCain speechwriter who anonymously published a 2011 novel about the 2012 presidential race titled O: A Presidential Novel and once called Arianna Huffington “a flake and a poser and an attention-seeking diva,” decided earlier this year that he no longer supported the Republican candidate. Instead, he said he would be voting for rival Hillary Clinton.

“[T]he GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it’s on the level,” Salter tweeted in May. “I’m with her.”

Salter’s declaration came after Trump floated a completely unsubstantiated story about former Republican candidate Ted Cruz’s father colluding with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Salter has since become a vocal opponent of Trump, posting frequent links to articles about defeating the candidate in November. Too bad McCain, Salter’s former boss, is still drinking the Trumpaide (at least in public).

9. Peggy Noonan

Following the Khan controversy, Peggy Noonan—a commentary writer considered by many on the right to represent a more “moderate” Republican base—questioned the candidate’s sanity, writing:

“Here is a truth of life. When you act as if you’re insane, people are liable to think you’re insane. That’s what happened this week. People started to become convinced he was nuts, a total flake.”

But Noonan, a former Reagan speechwriter who said that president had “bad luck in Iran-Contra,” stopped short of suggesting she won’t vote for Trump, instead focusing on whether the GOP can survive the fallout if Trump loses the election. And considering earlier this year she blasted the Never Trump movement, arguing, “great political movements should not be run like private clubs,” it’s anyone’s guess where she stands on supporting “a total flake.”

Way to take a stand, Peggy.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

This Week In Crazy: Hear A White Supremacist’s Advice For Trump

The Religious Right civil war, the devil’s in the “no-fly” list, and a white supremacist tells Trump exactly how to “Make America Great Again.” Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Frank Amedia

The man Trump tapped to be his Christian policy advisor doesn’t quite know if Barack Obama was born in the United States, saying that such inscrutable questions were “above my pay grade.”

In an interview with Alan Colmes Tuesday, flagged by Buzzfeed, Frank Amedia dismissed the notion that his orange godhead candidate had been the slightest bit racist when he propelled himself top of the fringe nutter trashheap back in 2011 on a contrail of birther nonsense. “I think that we’re too quick to put the race card on everything, we should be careful with that,” Amedia said.

When Colmes asked if Obama was born in this country, Amedia feinted: “That’s so far above my pay grade,” he said.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Buzzfeed

Next: Bryan Fischer 

4. Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer, perennial TWIC favorite and proverbial angry old man in residence at the American Family Association, is at it again. “It” being disgorging whatever septic cocktail of Old Testament wrath and cranky Dixiecratic paranoia he has brewed up this week.

On his radio show this week Fischer explicitly likened the effort by a bipartisan coalition of senators to pass legislation that would forbid anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a gun to the machinations of Satan himself.

“That’s exactly how Satan works,” Fischer said. “That’s how he deceives us. He never tells us, ‘Look, if you do this thing I’m dangling in front of you, it’ll destroy you.’ He never says that because he knows we wouldn’t go for it.”

In pushing for “No fly, no buy” Democrats were not literally being Satan, he clarified — he just wants us to know that “this is how Satan works.” Fischer wouldn’t want us to think he’s nuts or anything.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Right Wing Watch

Next: Rush Limbaugh 

3. Rush Limbaugh

But enough about amending our laws, which currently make it laughably easy for anyone to pick up a gun and start firing in a crowded place. The real problem is Sharia law, Limbaugh helpfully explained on his show.

“If Obama, if the president of the United States is serious about using the law to stop acts of terror, such as what happened in the gay bar in Orlando, then he had better try to change Sharia law, because that’s the only law those people listen to. They don’t care about U.S. law. And no criminal does,” Limbaugh said.

There’s a tired illogic to this idea that making it more difficult to buy a gun wouldn’t, you know, make it more difficult to buy a gun. And Limbaugh’s sly insinuation that Obama has some kind of jurisdiction over Sharia law is pretty old hat.

Rush is starting to sound like his own worst tribute band. Just a friendly reminder, Rush, that your sponsors are fleeing you in droves — and why shouldn’t they, when the median age of your listeners hovers around 70 and you can’t even be bothered to cook up fresh nonsense for them?

Next: Jared Taylor

2. Jared Taylor

Jared Taylor, fervent Trump enthusiast and the face of well-scrubbed American white supremacists, reminded us that what Americans really long for, and hope to return to under a Trump presidency, are the good old days of Jim Crow.

In an open address to Donald Trump, dredged up by the blog Hail to the Gynocracy, which tracks the white supremacist “alt-right,” Taylor encourages the GOP’s presumptive nominee to deport all illegals and “take a hard look at” Muslim Americans.

“Mr. Trump, your campaign slogan is ‘Make America Great Again.’ I have bad news: You can’t make America great with a Third World population,” he declared.

He says that while, sure, white people want their jobs, “what they really want is their country back. The country they had in 1964.” As in, before the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. When things were “Great,” like the baseball cap sez.

Taylor, whose American Renaissance webzine is a cesspit of pseudoscience proclaiming the supremacy of the white race, once expressed his enthusiasm for a President Trump in an interivew. Trump’s elevation to the Oval Office, he said, would be “extremely useful to us.”

Read more gems at HTTG and watch the video below.

Hat tip and video courtesy of Hail to the Gynocracy

Next: Religious Right Can’t Deal With Trump

1. Religious Right Civil War

One of the small pleasures of the election has been watching the great minds of the Religious Right twist themselves into knots making a tepid peace with the crass and blatantly secular Trump.

Despite his naked and incompetent pandering to the conservative Christian movement (“Two Corinthians”), more and more evangelical figureheads are exposing themselves for the craven and feckless stooges they are by turning tail and voicing their mealy-mouthed support for the thrice-divorced Orange Julius in a red cap.

So it was this week when Trump summoned evangelical leaders to New York in order to convince them that he was their guy. Tony Perkins, virulently anti-gay leader of the Family Research Council, was charmed by Mr. Trump, writing in a blog post that “one thing Trump and social conservatives do have in common is the shared experience of being the target of vicious and often vile attacks from the Left for refusing to surrender to the terms of political correctness.” It’s true that Trump as well as Perkins and his FRC ilk are often criticized from the left. Espousing retrograde beliefs that consistently demean other people will reliably attract that kind of “attack.” Perkins added that he hoped this “ongoing conversation” between Trump and evangelicals “results in a concrete plan to protect the values we hold dear.”

Not everyone on the Religious Right can stomach Trump, of course. Glenn Beck, the #NeverTrump stalwart, who once averred that God killed Antonin Scalia in order to pave the way for President Ted Cruz, posted a lament on Facebook in which he even called out Trump for his reprehensibly hypocritical tack of trying to debunk Clinton’s religion: “For leaders to endorse and tolerate the lecture of ‘no evidence that Hillary is a Christian’ is obscene,” he wrote.

Michael Farris, writing in the Christian Post, was more blunt: “This meeting [with Trump] marks the end of the Christian Right.” He added: “In 1980 I believed that Christians could dramatically influence politics. Today, we see politics fully influencing a thousand Christian leaders.”

“This is a day of mourning,” he concluded.

Pass the popcorn.

Image: DonkeyHotey

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PhotoUniversity of the Philippines students display glasses with lit candles and a placard as a tribute to those killed in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, during a protest at the school campus in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines June 14, 2016.   REUTERS/Erik De Castro

This Week In Crazy: Thank A White Man Today

The post-campaign follies of Glenn Beck, the “imams of sexual sharia,” and the sad fact that white men just get no respect. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Roger Stone

Speaking to InfoWars host Alex Jones Tuesday, Trump’s master of darkness Roger Stone sounded off on what voters can expect from Trump’s VP pick.

Whoever it was, Stone said, they would be a “nationalist, not a globalist” and someone “who shared Donald Trump’s views on a cross-section of issues.” None of that is especially surprising, but Stone’s adamantine insistence that Trump will be making the decision without respect to the input of any experts or advisers is disconcerting in a familiar way.

As combustible and irrational as he is, Trump can be counted on to always act by fiat. Stone asserted that Trump’s campaign manager and lawyers would not be making the decision. “Only one person knows what Trump is going to do, and that’s Trump,” Stone said,

Stone might be more out of the loop than he lets on, though, as he floated New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez as a potential Veep just as Trump, ever thick-skinned and secure in his power, shot down the Republican governor for “not doing her job,” simply because — many speculated — she had not yet endorsed him.

“That’s exciting, it’s also common sense,” Jones said.

Just one week ago, Stone insisted that President Trump should pull CNN off the air, a stance that I’m sure has nothing at all to do with the fact that the news network has banned Stone from appearing on it because of his history of inflammatory, racist tweets.

It’s very nice of Jones to keep letting Stone on his show to peddle his wares: Note the background image — Stone has a new book to sell. But I think Media Matters‘ Brennan Suen has it right when he writes;

Stone is not a typical political adviser, and when the press treats him as one they miss out on a key election story: the extremism of Trump’s supporters. Stone’s decades-long history of dirty tricks includes playing a role in Watergate that later caused him to be fired from a job in the Senate. He has a record of racist and misogynistic rhetoric that caused MSNBC and CNN to ban him from their networks. Stone also regularly calls for public figures to be executed.

So maybe it is a good thing Trump doesn’t listen to his advisers.

Next: Glenn Beck

4. Glenn Beck

You kinda have to feel sorry for Glenn Beck, militant supporter of loser Ted Cruz and captain of the floundering ship TheBlaze.

It seems clear now that the incident in late April when Beck mashed his face into a bowl of Cheeto crumbs to make some kind of point should have been taken as an early indicator that all was not well in Becklandia.

This week he was caught rolling back on his own insane conspiracy theories just as soon as he said them aloud. He aired a notion on his radio show Wednesday that Obama was intentionally allowing the investigations into Clinton’s emails to proceed in an attempt to derail her because Clinton is not enough of a radical to carry out Obama’s long-term Marxist agenda.

“I think it’s wrong,” he said of the thing he was saying just then on his own show. Nevertheless, he added: “I think you could make a case, a bad case, that he’s looking for an ideologue to replace him. He’s done the work of bringing this country to the brink of Marxism and he’s not going to have it flushed away by Hillary Clinton.”

Poor Glenn doesn’t even have the conviction of his own confetti-headed notions anymore. If Beck can’t at least be relied upon to believe his grand conspiracy-laden fugues, who can?

Oh and there was the whole wondering-if-any-patriots-out-there-would-be-willing-to-step-up-to-the-plate-and-“remove”-Donald-Trump thing that arose in a discussion between Beck and his guest, author Brad Bird.

“With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President?” Bird asked. “If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that? If — if — he overstates his constitutionally-granted authority I should say as president, if he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office, because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”

“I would agree with you on that,” Beck said.

But I’ll say this about Beck. While other conservatives all over the map are taking their principles out behind the woodshed and lining up behind The Donald, Beck has militantly held fast to his anti-Trump position. But he’s not going to sit silent. The man has grand ambitions to devise a “100 year plan” to redeem America through the magic of conservative and libertarian values. To which I say, Godspeed, Glenn. Never change.

Next: Gavin McInnes

3.  Gavin McInnes

Vice Media founder Gavin McInnes thinks white males deserve a long overdue “thank you” for ending slavery. He also said that white males had nothing to do with beginning slavery in the first place, but he may have misspoke.

During a segment on his show late last week, McInnes lamented that Curt Schilling had been fired from ESPN for posting transphobic memes (“creeps,” McInnes called transgender people). Although he could not remember Schilling’s name (“I’m not into sports”), he sympathized with the plight of the onetime baseballer and would-be video game magnate.

His conclusion: “It really is an upside-down world. You start looking at the data and you say: Wait a minute, I’m noticing a pattern here. Everything that is depraved and wrong and sick is good, and everything that is good we should be ashamed of.”

“White males, we built society,” McInnes exclaimed, “we separated church and state! We didn’t end slavery…I mean, sorry, we didn’t begin slavery, we ended it!

“How about a thank you?” he demanded.

Hat tip and video Hail to the Gynocracy

Next: Scottsdale, Arizona

2. Scottsdale, Arizona

The city of Scottsdale, Arizona is doing everything in its power to stifle religious freedom and religious expression. Ted Cruz would be just appalled.

Except that in this case the people seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights happen to be Satanists. So, you know, the Constitution doesn’t apply, and they can go straight to Hell.

Please note that Satanism does not refer to a worship of the literal Satan — it’s basically a doctrine for all who are opposed to arbitrary authority and celebrate individual sovereignty in the face of corrupt, illegitimate institutions (like, I don’t know, state religion). Accordingly, Satanism attracts a broad spectrum of atheists, agnostics, and basically anyone who wants to turn the tables against a conservative Christian establishment, by using the same legal machinery that the Moral Majority has abused for decades to advance its own religious agenda.

Which is pretty much exactly what happened in Scottsdale, which barred the Satanic Temple from leading a prayer at a council meeting in July, even though it had already been scheduled. The Temple is fighting back, calling the decision arbitrary and baseless. A city spokesman told reporters that only “representatives from institutions that have a substantial connection to the Scottsdale community” should be allowed to give the invocation, hence the ousting.

Friendly Atheist’s Hermant Mehta writes:

That’s not necessarily an unreasonable rule, as the [Satanic] Temple’s chapter is based in Tucson and not Scottsdale, but why did it only become an issue after the Satanists were given the green light? And doesn’t it count if some of the Temple’s members live in Scottsdale?

It sounds more like city officials feared what would happen and scrambled to find a reason to boot them from the list.

Indeed, back in March, Scottsdale’s mayor Jim Lane admitted that city officials were working to “find a clean path, one that is legal,” to bar the group from giving the invocation.

AZ Central reports:

“We’re not in the business of entertaining an invocation that makes a mockery,” Lane said. “I’m not an advocate of it, of course.”

Thousands of emails filled Scottsdale officials’ inboxes over the prayer issue this spring, and religious groups were preparing to organize in protest.

Lucien Greaves, the Satanist Temple’s national spokesperson, told Mehta in an email that the Temple was considering legal action, pending the city’s response to a number of questions. Namely, how did Scottsdale determine exactly wheat the Temple’s connection to the city was? And do they apply this level of scrutiny to anyone (a Christian, say) who wishes to give the invocation?

Or might this have been, you know, religious discrimination?

Next: Bryan Fischer 

1. Bryan Fischer

The spokesman for the American Family Association took aim at the “Gay Gestapo” in his latest blog post, published Tuesday on the AFA blog.

“The Gay Gestapo is on a mission from the Dark Lord,” Fischer writes, “to relentlessly harass, intimidate, punish, and silence every advocate of sexual normalcy. Now the deviancy cabal intends to send preachers who speak the truth about transgenderism and transvestitism to jail for two years.”

Fischer is responding in characteristically reactionary and spurious fashion to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement last week that the government was introducing legislation to “help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse people can live according to their gender identity, free from discrimination, and protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes.”

The bill (which you can read here) proposes to amend an anti-discrimination statute, the Canadian Human Rights Act, to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, a list which presently includes race, sexual orientation, sex, disability, and religion, among other grounds.

Or, in Fischer’s gloss, “Soon in Canada, it will be a crime to proclaim what the Bible and science teach about gender.” Fischer’s punting to “science” is particularly risible in light of his young earth creationist viewpoints.

I would not give Fischer points for credibility, since this is, after all, the same man who once likened erections to God’s radar alert system, or for originality, since his post is almost a paragraph-by-paragraph crib from this article in Christian Post.

But when he rhapsodizes about the “imams of sexual sharia” making sure that all good Christians like him are “appropriately chastened and punished,” well, it does make me chuckle.

Illustration: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

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More Conservatives Backing Away From Trump Nomination

As conservatives all over the country come to terms with Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party, a cohort of conservative political figures and media personalities are actively fighting against him. Here’s what they have said about the racist billionaire’s ascension to the party nomination:

Steve Deace, host of conservative talk show The Steve Deace Show, in USA Today.

“But it’s not Donald Trump’s fault any more than it’s the fault of your pet scorpion when it stings you. After all, it takes a special kind of stupid to allow an animal with a poisonous stinger close enough to do that to you in the first place. The scorpion is simply being a scorpion. You, on the other hand, are supposed to know better.”

David Limbaugh, brother of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, in Townhall:

“If Trump wants our support (and sometimes he implies he doesn’t), he should have to convince us that he will not move toward authoritarianism; that he will honor the Constitution; that he will not take steps to use the Republican Party (or any other party) to permanently undermine constitutional conservatism; and that he won’t cater to those in his movement who want to cast constitutional conservatism into the burning dumpster.”

“I am not ‘NeverTrump’ — I recognize how bad Clinton is — but I think conservatives should now use what leverage they have to hold Trump’s feet to the fire so that we don’t lose either way.”

Former Republican Dallas County party chairman Jonathan Neerman, quoted in TIME

“That would leave me with leaving the top of the ticket blank,” [he said.] “I will fill out the rest of my ballot for every other Republican candidate. I just won’t vote for Donald Trump, and I certainly won’t vote for Hillary Clinton.”

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, quoted in The Hill

“I also cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as commander in chief.”

Former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, speaking on Fox Business:

“I don’t think he offers anything and hardly do I think Hillary offers anything,” said

Conservative commentator Linda Chavez, in Newsmax:

“I have said it often enough, but it bears repeating: I will not vote for Donald Trump for president. There are millions like me. We fully understand the consequences — another four years of a Democrat in the White House — even if we do not like them.”

Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, at “a dinner in Washington,” according to The Washington Examiner

“I happen to think that the person who is leading the nation has an enormous and disproportionate impact on the course of the world, so I am dismayed at where we are now, I wish we had better choices, and I keep hoping that somehow things will get better, and I just don’t see an easy answer from where we are.”

Radio host and leading anti-Trump conservative Glenn Beck, speaking on his network, The Blaze:

“Because what’s going to happen is you are now going to have Hillary Clinton legalize as many voters as you can, the GOP is going to be completely racist – whether it’s true or not – because of Donald Trump. You will never have another Republican president ever again.”

Despite the widespread opposition to Trump, it’s uncertain whether so many conservative politicians and commentators will have any effect. Trump has picked up the endorsements of a growing number of Republican governors and congressmen who have insisted that the racist billionaire should be supported as a matter of duty to the party. Despite their exhortations, it will be hard to paper over the deep divisions that have emerged between the two sides of the Republican Party.

Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at The Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

This Week In Crazy: A Tale Of Two Zealots

There is a civil war being waged between conservative crazies. Two shock jocks will enter the Thunderdome (i.e. RNC Convention) and only one will triumph. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Ann Coulter

May your takes be ever hot, Ann.

The Trump Cheerleader-in-Chief (and would-be Secretary of Homeland Security) has fired her latest volley against the golden boy’s chief competition, Ted Cruz. In a column entitled “Ted Cruz: Tracy Flick With A D*ck,” Coulter… well, she compares the Texas senator to Reese Witherspoon’s obsequious, overachieving, careerist high school student character from the 1999 satire Election. The only difference is Cruz has a… “duck”?

But Coulter’s real argument here has nothing to do with anatomy. It is instead a rabid, screeching tirade against “THE RULES” (a phrase she keeps capitalizing for some reason), ignorance of which cost the Trump campaign delegates in Colorado and may have profound implications in a heated, contested convention. She writes that if Cruz beats Trump, we won’t get “fun stuff like building a wall,” but will instead be treated to debate-nerd and logician arcana.

Returning the “duck” business, though…

Next: Ted Cruz 

4. Ted Cruz

Filed under news nobody wanted to hear, it came to light this week Sen. Ted Cruz once applied his legalistic brilliance and agile mental acumen to the nagging question of what the Founding Fathers thought about masturbation.

While solicitor general of Texas, Cruz and his team filed a legal brief in 2007 arguing that “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationships.” And further, there was no “right to promote dildos, vibrators, and other obscene devices.”

Did it happen this week? No. Is it crazy? I’ve heard worse.

Just seems as good a time as any to remember that this bizarro puritanical clown is currently being groomed as the GOP’s last best hope.

Hat tip Mother Jones

Next: Bryan Fischer 

3. Bryan Fischer

American Family Association’s desiccated scarecrow of a spokesman Bryan Fischer posted on his blog article some inane argument about how protesting anti-gay legislation makes you racist.

As always with Fischer, the post is dense with false equivalencies and ripe with unveiled bigotry. He takes aim at Bruce Springsteen, who cancelled a concert in North Carolina after that state’s governor signed into law legislation that sweeps away anti-discrimination laws, and Bryan Adams, who did likewise in Mississippi after the state passed one of those vile “religious liberty” bills. Or as Fischer glosses it: “a new civil rights bill that protects the conscience rights of blacks in a state that once was world-renowned for racial prejudice.”

Fischer’s addition of “race” into what has been widely reported as one of the most brazen anti-LGBT bills to work its way through a state legislature, is frankly bizarre. But here we get his formulation

“Bruce Springsteen is now officially a general in the war on women,” Fischer avers, “and Bryan Adams is now the leading bigot in the South.”

The nonsense here is almost inspired: because the anti-LGBT bill in Mississippi applies equally to blacks and whites, the law “protects the rights of blacks as well as whites.” To wit: “Black pastors won’t be forced to perform same sex wedding ceremonies against their conscience just because a white man in government says they have to. Black churches won’t be forced to rent their houses of worship for same sex wedding ceremonies. Black county clerks won’t be forced to issue same sex wedding licenses that violate their conscience just because a white boss says she has to. ”

It must be said loudly and often that race has nothing to do with this bill. What it does is allow for a brazen latitude of discrimination across the board on the dubious premise of “religion” — so, yes, the law is an equalizer insofar as conservative Christians, both black and white, will both be allowed to, for instance, deny services to gay couples, and LGBT citizens, both black and white, will have their civil liberties curtailed with equal force.

Fischer’s characterization of a discriminatory bill as a beacon for racial harmony shows him at his most specious, most desperate, and most deplorable.

Next: Crazy Con Showdown

1. and 2. Alex Jones & Glenn Beck

There’s really nobody to root for here.

Radio shock jock extraordinaire Alex Jones calls Glenn “I’m-too-crazy-for-Fox-News” Beck a “religious cult leader.” It’s about as sound an argument as Jones as ever made, and insofar as it describes Beck’s messianic self-regard and zealous proselytizing on behalf of his chosen candidate, it also describes Jones.

Each man is something of a totem for the daffiest, far-right fringe conspiracy-laden ideologies — but the current GOP slugfest has driven a massive rift driven between them.

On one side, you’ve got Beck and his The Blaze media outlet, pumping out reams of copy and hours of video in the service of selling America on Ted Cruz, in whose candidacy, Beck has insisted, he sees the will of God manifesting itself.

On the other side, Jones and his InfoWars mouthpiece, pushing the notion that Trump — in some vague coalition with Putin perhaps — is the only person alive who can save America from the Pontiff/United Nations/Big Pharma pederasty ring (or whatever gets cooked up underneath Jones’ tin-foil hat).

“He is an egomaniac, super-narcissist, probably psychotic, in my view, and he’s insane and wants to be a cult leader,” Jones said. Moreover, he accuses Beck of aping his act, by emulating Jones like some kind of conservative Oprah Winfrey. Oh, there’s more. Check out the video courtesy of Right Wing Watch above.

This rivalry goes back a long way, long before Cruz and Trump fell in and out of love with each other on the campaign trail. Mediaite notes that “in 2013, Jones called Beck ‘despicable’ and Beck labeled Jones a ‘madman,'” and the following year Jones called Beck a “Judas goat.”

So regardless of who wins the GOP nomination, it’s unlikely we’ll see these too clowns cool down their conflict any time soon. It’s too good for ratings, anyway.

Image: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.