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This Week In Crazy: Put The Devil Back Into Hell

666 is not only the number of the Beast — it is also, it seems, the number of weeks this election cycle has been going on. 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. Monica Cole

Well, I’m glad we have our priorities in order. Monica Cole, director of the American Family Association’s One Million Moms initiative, has her sights set on getting FOX’s new show Lucifer kicked off the air by organizing a boycott of companies that advertise on the network.

The new show, she writes, is “spiritually dangerous” because it “glorifies Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh.” Cole complains that the show poses questions “meant to make people rethink assumptions about good and evil, including about God and Satan.”

Permit a digression into comic book geekdom for a moment. This TV series is based on the DC Comics’ title Lucifer, written by Mike Carey, but this interpretation of the character originally appeared in The Sandman, the groundbreaking comic penned by prolific scribe Neil Gaiman. Gaiman said he took cues for his Lucifer from John Milton’s Paradise Lost when he fashioned the character. So let’s all stop pretending that literary works using the Satan archetype to examine weighty issues of predestination, free will, and moral character is, like, Barack Obama’s fault, or something remotely new.

Gaiman issued a succinct rebuttal to the OMMs on his Tumblr, when the they got this boycott thing kicking eight months ago:

Ah. It seems like only yesterday (but it was 1991) that the “Concerned Mothers of America” announced that they were boycotting SANDMAN because it contained Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans characters. It was Wanda that upset them most: the idea of a Trans Woman in a comic book… They told us they were organizing a boycott of SANDMAN, which they would only stop if we wrote to the American Family Association and promised to reform.

I wonder if they noticed it didn’t work last time, either…

I should note here that organizing a boycott is totally cool — and hopefully trying to tell Olive Garden where to spend their marketing dollars will keep the OMMs distracted and occupied enough that they won’t do anything that might have an actual impact.

Next: Gordon Klingenschmitt and Lance Wallnau

4. Gordon Klingenschmitt and Lance Wallnau

It’s been a while since we’ve had Dr. Chaps on this page. Gordon Klingenschmitt, readers will recall, is the ringmaster behind the “Pray In Jesus’ Name” program, a pastor, and the Colorado lawmaker who said that a woman getting her child ripped out of her womb in an assault was God’s just punishment.

In an interview originally flagged by People for the American Way’s Right Wing WatchDr. Chaps hosted on his program Lance Wallnau, a proponent of Dominionist ideology which holds that Biblical literalists can and should control government and other social institutions.

Wallnau shared with Chaps a juicy tidbit he had received from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (who last summer claimed to possess knowledge of a “secret memo” that the Justice Department was planning to legalize “12 new perversions,” so grain of salt and all that).

Per RWW:

DeLay apparently revealed to Wallnau that leading left-wing political strategists had convened a secret meeting at which 100 very wealthy donors agreed to give a million dollars apiece to found and fund a series of progressive groups that would carry out their agenda while maintaining the appearance of independence.

Wallnau asserted that this secret effort, called “Thunder Road,” set out to identify the weaknesses in the conservative movement “and then created nine or 10 siege works, or engines, single-issue organizations that would be tasked to break down the wall and exploit the weakness.”

Here he listed the names of some of the groups tasked with bringing about this nefarious plot, including Media Matters, MoveOn, and Right Wing Watch.

Hat tip and video courtesy of the “Thunder Road” conspirators at Right Wing Watch

Next: Bill O’Reilly and Friends

3. Bill O’Reilly, Lis Wiehl, and Kimberly Guilfoyle

As you may recall, anti-abortion activists from the disingenuously named Center for Medical Progress (CMP) created a phony biomedical tissue procurement company, falsified their identities to set up surreptitiously filmed meetings, and then deceptively edited the footage they shot to make Planned Parenthood appear to be running a racket, harvesting and selling baby parts for profit.

The videos inspired a congressional probe and several state investigations (not to mention likely spurring a mentally disturbed man into killing three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic, citing “no more baby parts” as his motive). So far, the only malfeasance that’s been uncovered is that of the “journalists” themselves. A Harris County, Texas, grand jury handed down indictments of CMP founder Daniel Daleidan and an accomplice, one of which was for the felony of tampering with a governmental record.

Count on Bill O’Reilly to downplay the alleged wrongdoings and nakedly anti-women’s-rights agenda of the CMP, and praise them instead for their spunky ingenuity. Or as the no-spinster put it: The group “put together undercover stings designed to show that Planned Parenthood executives were marketing the body parts of dead fetuses.” (They were, indeed, “designed to show” it — in blatant contradiction of the facts — but O’Reilly neglects to mention that.)

Chatting with Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl and The Five co-host Kimbery Guilfoyle on the Factor Tuesday night, O’Reilly led a nice self-enclosed roundtable discussion, reinforcing the notion that the alleged crimes alleged (forging California drivers licenses) were entirely justified by the higher calling of “investigative journalism” to “uncover the practice that was happening,” as Guilfoyle put it. She also praised the group for its “fine work” and said the indictments represented a “witch hunt.”

According to Wiehl’s legal analysis, the charges were bogus since the fraudulent documents were not intended to commit fraud, but rather to “uncover illegal activity.” (That they didn’t actually uncover any seems not to matter terribly to her.)

The segment carelessly bandies the same falsehoods about Planned Parenthood, and the videos, that have been circulating since CMP released the tapes last summer. O’Reilly and his guests rally behind the anti-abortion crew on the dubious premise that they are “journalists.” In fairness, one could argue that what the group did was journalism — by Fox News standards.

Of course, they weren’t the only pundits on Fox News to praise the anti-abortion group…

Next: Fox & Friends

2. Steve Doocy and Andrew Napolitano

On Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy and Andrew Napolitano gabbed a bit about how the indicted activists are no different from any other good gumshoe reporter. Regarding the crimes they are alleged to have committed, Doocy said: “Journalists use these techniques everyday.”

Once again —let’s be clear here — these are people who deliberately and deceptively edited their footage to convey untruths that would smear an organization that provides healthcare services for 2.7 million men and women in the U.S. every year.

Per Napolitano:

This is really a head-scratcher. And I’m beginning to think that it is a political hit job on the people who did the investigating. So you have bonafide journalists assuming identities, pretending to be medical ethicists or people in the business of dealing with body parts going to Planned Parenthood saying, all these abortions, are you really selling the body parts? Well, yeah, we are. [emphasis, lots of it, mine]

No. No they’re not.

Hat tip and video courtesy of Media Matters — you can view the full transcript of their chat here.

Next: Ann Coulter

1. Ann Coulter

In her syndicated column posted Wednesday, the #1 Donald Trump fangirl ticked off her reasons for remaining steadfast in her rabid devotion to The Donald. With typically breathless prose, and casual disregard for the facts of history as well as any modicum of decency, she sings an aria of ecstatic praise for the GOP frontrunner.

Here’s just one choice tidbit. Regarding Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims, Coulter writes:

After San Bernardino, Trump proposed a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, and the media reacted as if he’d flown two planes into the World Trade Center. He didn’t budge. It turned out that no one who is not a sanctimonious douche was offended.

In fact, quite a few people — prominent conservatives and Republicans included — who are not sanctimonious douches were offended. But this snippet is representative of Coulter’s conviction that Republican voters need to stop caring whether Trump actually stands for all the tenets of conservatism (“This is not an election about who can check off the most boxes on a conservative policy list,” she writes). She rips into other Republican candidates for being weak on immigration, at one point accusing Marco Rubio of having “nearly destroyed the nation with his amnesty bill.”

The pull quote above also exemplifies her logic throughout the piece, namely that if Trump gets away with something, that makes it perfectly okay and consistent with real American values. Since Trump is still in the race, and is the unquestioned frontrunner, playing everyone in the media like a fiddle, it stands to Coulter’s reasoning that he has been entirely justified in everything he has said and done.

She praises him for, among other things, bringing the offensive term “anchor baby” into the mainstream.

She praises the rambling, risible speech with which he kicked off his campaign last June as “the biggest one-address bombshell since Sen. Joe McCarthy waved the list of 57 (not 206) Communists.” McCarthy, she notes, “bought this country another half-century of survival, and that’s exactly what Trump is doing right now.” She means the speech in which Trump called Mexicans rapists, as Coulter recalls with delirious enthusiasm.

Since Trump has brought her brand of seething, senseless xenophobia to the fore, Coulter says “I’ve felt like I’m dreaming.”

“Everything we’ve been begging politicians to talk about for the past decade,” Coulter writes — presumably referring to herself and the White Supremacists getting a boost from Trump’s popularity— “Donald Trump has brought up with a roar.”

Coulter roars along too.

Image: Darwin Bell 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.

This Week In Crazy: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

If you’re still looking for a scary Halloween costume, consider dressing up as a climate change doubter, an anti-vaccine advocate, or an elected official who hunts demons on the side. 

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. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz’s strain of climate science rejection is a particularly potent one. “Climate change is not science,” he said recently. “It’s a religion.”

The GOP presidential candidate joined a fawning Glenn Beck on his TV show this week and retold the glory of his grilling of Sierra Club president Aaron Mair at a Senate committee hearing a few weeks ago. Cruz bragged that he couldn’t get a single piece of evidence out of Mair because he “did not know the facts” (Mair did issue a response later), and accused the 97 percent of the scientific community that recognizes the reality of man-made climate change of clinging to a “religion.”

From Right Wing Watch:

“Look at the language where they call you a ‘denier,'” [Cruz] said. “Denier is not the language of science. Look, I’m the child of two scientists … The essence of the scientific method is to start with a hypothesis, then look to the evidence to disprove the hypothesis; you’re not trying to prove it, you’re trying to disprove it. Any good scientist is a skeptic; if he’s not, he or she should not be a scientist. But yet the language of the global warming alarmists, ‘denier’ is the language of religion, it’s heretic, you are a blasphemer. The response from the Sierra Club, ‘We have decreed this is the answer, you must accept it.’ And so he didn’t know his facts because he just knew his religion.”

In case you missed the ugly scene Cruz is recalling (you can view it here), the senator spent nearly 10 minutes peddling debunked science, and dismissing the “preponderance of evidence” that Mair cited as being (merely) the beliefs of a majority of climate scientists. Cruz also somehow pinned the entire case for anthropogenic climate change on “one bogus study.”

In addition, Cruz attempted to bully Mair into admitting that the Sierra Club would refuse to issue a retraction if it turned out to be wrong, and with a broad smirk assailed Mair’s unfortunate use of the phrase “cooking up” to describe rising global temperatures.

The temerity on display is something to behold as Cruz trumpets discredited analysis, clinging hard to an denialist creed, and then smugly accuses those who actually read and consider the vast majority of scientific findings on the matter of being “absolutists” and ideologues.

Of course, Cruz knows a little something about unwavering fundamentalist dogma, having made the rejection of marriage equality a touchstone of his campaign (under the guise of resisting a supposed “war on Christians”).

No, Cruz is “not a scientist.” He’s a hypocrite and an obstinate fool.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Tamara Scott

4. Tamara Scott

It was not a good week for science. (When is it ever?)

Tamara Scott, an Iowa RNC member and anti-vaxxer, got in front of a camera this week and said that socialism in schools was to blame for the rise of preventable disease outbreaks. Not — as you and the CDC might believe — the anti-vaccination movement.

Scott argued that schools have become hot zones of poisonous socialistic ideologies and therefore hot zones of actual pathogens — since children are forced to share pencils and “face each other.” She continued:

They’ve gone to this socialistic teaching where you no longer have your own pencils you’re responsible for so you can learn how to take care of things and be a good steward; it’s all socialistic in the middle of the table, you’re all facing each other, handling each other’s things. And the schools, yet, when my kids were in school, kept wondering why they kept having all the issues with strep throat and all the issues with all these childhood illnesses continually happening. Because it’s the new way they’re doing school in the classroom. So, if you want to keep your kid healthy, take them out of public school. It will help them mentally, emotionally, academically and now, physically, it would help them as well.

I disagree with Scott on just about everything here, but one point I’d like to call special attention to: She says that having publicly voiced this theory of hers, she will now be unable to run for public office because her screed “will follow me with some of the liberal news organizations.” (Guilty as charged.)

On the contrary, this nonsensical rant puts her in good company with the Republican party.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Allen B. West

3. Allen B. West

When you just want to mainline pure raging uncut right-wing reactionary stupidity, you can scarcely do better than the blog of former Florida congressman Allen B. West, whose penchant for knee-jerk idiocy is virtually unmatched.

This the same “inquisitive fella” (as he self-described) who, without actually asking any questions, declared that Walmart had come under Sharia law after noticing that an employee (who, he assumed, was Muslim) was not selling alcohol in his aisle. West determined that this was an apparent attempt to force Islamic doctrine down the throats of bargain-hunting American shoppers. But far from leading a cashier caliphate, the young man was actually underage and therefore, by law, could not sell alcohol. (Laws governing the sale of alcohol are mostly on the books thanks to the Christian temperance movement — some religions get all the luck.)

Anyway, West is back in fine form this week, declaring in a blog post published Tuesday that the recent WHO announcement that processed meats can cause cancer is part of a liberal conspiracy to ruin Texas BBQ, saying that “thanks to the World Health Organization, [West’s] friends could sue” him if he tried to serve them some freshly grilled sausages.

West describes the WHO’s study as an example of scientific elites “dictating… via fear mongering and intimidation” that Americans have to put down their patriotic honey-baked hams and load their plates up with politically correct tofu and veggie kabobs.

He writes:

Sure seems this study is all about some liberal progressive agenda. What happens if all of a sudden government takes this study as justification to regulate what we eat — man, can you imagine First Lady Michelle Obama coming up with the football tailgate menu? Our kids hate the new school lunch menu — so what’s next?

Or will grocery stores be “fined” for selling meats deemed to be carcinogenic? Will the FDA all of a sudden demand all specified meats on the WHO list have certain labeling like cigarettes? Oh, here comes the big one, will there be increased taxes on these meats in order to deter their purchase? After all, big government would be doing it to save and protect us from ourselves. Laugh as you may, but think about the sugary drinks tax idea of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

There’s a nugget of sensible advice buried in West’s tirade, in which he recommends that readers enjoy “everything in moderation. Take care of yourselves and get your exercise done and have a balanced diet.”

Reasonable enough. And then there’s this:

“If I like bacon with an egg on a flakey croissant that’s my choice. Then again, I suppose the only choice the progressive left likes is killing a baby.”

Of course! I must have forgotten about the several state probes, congressional committees, and police raids that have been organized as part of the progressive agenda to criminalize the consumption of brisket. Your day is coming, West, when we shall cast all American meat-eaters into the shadows and you can practice your back alley barbecues in fear and shame.

Here West evokes one of Shakespeare’s most memorably addled twits, Sir Andrew Aguecheek from Twelfth Night, who once said, “I am a great eater of beef and I believe it does harm to my wit.”

No question.

Next: Gordon Klingenschmitt

2. Gordon Klingenschmitt

Remember Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt? He’s the Colorado state rep who has likened gay marriage to slavery, warned us there were demons in marijuana, promised that Jesus would personally nullify same-sex marriage by sending gay men to hell, and also said that a horrific assault on a pregnant woman was God’s just punishment for legal abortion.

Well, he’s getting into the Halloween spirit by accusing Cecile Richards and her cronies of being literally ghouls.

From Right Wing Watch:

Absurdly claiming that a recent Planned Parenthood decision to stop accepting legal reimbursements for fetal tissue donation at the two clinics that currently accept such reimbursements was an “admission that they were selling aborted baby parts,” Klingenschmitt declared that the women’s health organization’s executives should be “in jail for multiple felonies, not only for killing children — some justices think that’s legal, in God’s eyes it’s never legal — but profiting for it.”

“I don’t believe these people for a moment, do you?” he asked. “In fact, we can discern upon them the spirit of lying, the spirit of death, the spirit of murder, the spirit of greed. I mean, whenever I look at a picture of those executives, if you look in the spirit, at the demons inside of them, you can see the blood dripping from their fangs. These people are just evil.”

Paging Dr. Chaps — perhaps another demon-hunting excursion is in order.

Next: Bryan Fischer

1. Bryan Fischer

I owe Bryan Fischer an apology. The mouthpiece for the American Family Association is apparently a loyal TWIC reader, and a peeved one at that, since he failed to snag the #1 spot last time he was on the list.


In a possible bid for that esteemed title, last week he cooked up a juicy screed defending the constitutionality of shutting down mosques — and I completely missed it. Sorry, Bryan. But better late than never, I suppose.

Writing in the AFA’s blog last Thursday, Fischer doubles down on Donald Trump’s controversial remarks that he would “certainly look at” the legality of shutting down a mosque.

In a post subtly titled “Yes, mosques can be closed,” Fischer valiantly steps in to go one better than Trump: Not only can we shut down mosques, we must — and, in fact, the U.S. Constitution authorizes it.

Fischer writes:

If we understand the term “religion” in the First Amendment to refer to any system of supernatural belief, as activist judges have done, then we have no way to close mosques or even to stop the erecting of giant statues of Satan right next to Ten Commandments monuments on government property.

But if we understand “religion” as the Founders did, to refer specifically to Christianity, then there is a perfectly constitutional way to shut down mosques starting today.

In Fischer’s gloss, this means the “Founders were not accepting, supporting, approving or extending toleration to Islam in the First Amendment,” and so “while Congress is flatly prohibited by the First Amendment from interfering with the free exercise of the Christian religion, the Constitution is silent regarding Islam.”

Fischer’s argument rests on two notions: 1.) that when the Founders wrote the First Amendment “religion” was understood to only apply to Christians, and 2.) even if the First Amendment precludes the national government from enforcing laws against Islam, the 10th Amendment, Fischer writes, “gave to the States unilateral authority to regulate religious expression as they saw fit.”

We’ll start with #1.

Fischer summons the authority of Joseph Story, who served on the Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845. He quotes a passage from Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, which argues that the purpose of the First Amendment was “to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects,” and “not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism [Islam], or Judaism, or infidelity.”

Unfortunately for Fischer, Story’s commentary, written in 1833, has no intrinsic legal value, having never been included in an official ruling, and Story is emphatically not a Founding Father — since he was, after all, 12 years old when the First Amendment was adopted. But that’s just scratching the surface of Fischer’s duplicitous manure heap.

Luckily, recent ignorant GOP candidates have thrust back into the spotlight the issue of the Framers’ original intent as it pertains to the definition of “religion.” The renewed attention has made it pretty clear that this is an asked and answered matter: The Founding Fathers understood the word “religion” to extend beyond the narrow scope of Christian sects.

A useful point of reference is the debate over the No Religious Test Clause in Article VI of the Constitution, which is pretty unequivocal on this point, saying that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

From the Heritage Foundation, a notoriously liberal resource, we have a Notre Dame law professor explaining that the arguments over the No Religious Tests Clause hinged on this expansion of the definition beyond Christianity. Those who objected to the clause did so for a very simple reason: It meant that “‘Jews,’ ‘Turks,’ ‘infidels,’ ‘heathens,’ and even ‘Roman Catholics’ might hold national office under the proposed Constitution.” James Madison understood as much when he wrote the clause “opened a door” for these decidedly un-Christian elements.

If Fischer had continued reading the passage from Story’s Commentaries on which he rests his argument, he might have seen that while Story concedes that the main object of the First Amendment was to quell rivalry among Christian denominations — he argues that the undisputed result was to “cut off the means of religious persecution” (which he described as “the vice and pest of former ages”) of any religion.

Fischer does not dive into the rest of Story’s commentary, in which he goes on to describe how theocratic states had “afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions” on the matter of religious intolerance, lamenting that “Apostasy, heresy, and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.”

Story concludes that the outcome of the clause was that “the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.”

Now, about that “national councils” business. Fischer’s #2 big leap of course ignores the incorporation doctrine, whereby the 14th Amendment extends Bill of Rights protections to apply to the states — and, yes, that includes free exercise of religion. In other words: No, Bryan, the 10th Amendment does not empower states to bulldoze mosques on their own authority and erect Chick-fil-A’s on the ground where they once stood.

Fischer has the audacity to invoke Thomas Jefferson in an article advocating the wholesale persecution of a religion, cherry-picking a line from one of Jefferson’s letters, written in 1808, in which he concedes that if government had any role in administrating religion, it would reside with the states. But Fischer neglects to also include Jefferson’s conclusion in that same letter: “I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them.”

And I can quote Jefferson too. I’m especially fond of his first inaugural address, in which he proclaimed that the young nation had “banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered.”

Perhaps he spoke too soon.

Anyway — congratulations, Bryan! You’re back on top!

Photo: John 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.

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

Everybody Hates Gordon Klingenschmitt

It’s one thing to be a religious nut with a TV show. It’s quite another to be a religious nut with a TV show, who is also an elected representative of the people. Colorado state representative Gordon Klingenschmitt has received a hard lesson in this simple fact.

After years of using his Pray In Jesus Name show as a pulpit for his vile, theocratic nonsense, Klingenschmitt finally pushed it too far last Wednesday, when he blamed the American sin of legal abortion for an appalling attack on a pregnant woman.

“This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb,” Klingenschmitt raged. “And part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open.”

Klingenschmitt is a frequent target of liberals, but these remarks struck a chord of outrage with Colorado Republicans as well, including Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso, who removed Klingenschmitt from the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee, saying “there had to be some kind of disciplinary action.”

In a statement, Klingenschmitt said he was “literally being punished for quoting unpopular Bible verses.” However, he conceded that the situation had clarified for him that he can no longer balance his day job as a politician with his calling as a preacher, putting his ministry on sabbatical until the House adjourns in May.

Does it mean we won’t have Gordon Klingenschmitt to kick around anymore? Don’t get your hopes up.

Via Denver Post