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This Week In Crazy: ‘Every Sexual Deviancy You Can Imagine’

The pitfalls of feminist journalism, sage hiring wisdom of Donald Trump, and the deviant sexual practices of Hillary Clinton. 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. Bill O’Reilly

The Fox pundit and master of ceremonies in the No Spin Zone stepped down from on high to declare what sorts of people should and should not be allowed to report on Donald Trump.

If, for instance, you are a woman (or man, for that matter) who believes in equal rights for women, you should be recused and restricted from publishing any piece of journalism on The Donald.

“She is a feminist,” O’Reilly said, referring to a New York Times reporter who co-wrote the piece examining Trump’s record of uncouth remarks and behavior around women. “Trump is a beauty contestant purveyor. Do you let a feminist report on a beauty contestant person who is now turned politician?”

He continued: “If I’m an editor and I know there is a feminist woman in my newsroom, who is brilliant because I think this woman is an excellent reporter, I don’t let her report on a guy like Trump because Trump is the antithesis of that. And so I don’t want any margin of error here, there are plenty of reporters who can do the story, do you not see that?” he asked Bob Woodward, who did not see that, in fact.

Hat tip and video courtesy Media Matters

Next: Anne Graham Lotz

4. Anne Graham Lotz

The daughter of Billy Graham, that titan of American evangelism and Godfather of the Religious Right (emphasis on the God), is keeping the family name proud.

Anna Graham Lotz spoke to Iowa talk radio host to let him know on-air that perennial conservative Christian line about how 9/11 was a warning that we shouldn’t have taken prayer out of public schools… or something.

Right Wing Watch‘s Miranda Blue writes:

If Americans repent, she said, then “there will be peace on our streets” and God will begin to “reveal the plots of our enemies and terrorists before they are carried out” and “control the weather patterns and protect us from these violent storms that are taking human life.”

She added that “God allows bad things to happen” like the September 11 attacks and the mass shooting in San Bernardino “to show us that we need Him, you know, we’re desperate without him.”

At a later point in the interview, Lotz argued that opposition to anti-LGBT legislation, like the recent law in North Carolina, which the Justice Department is fighting, was an example of “evidence that God has backed away and he’s removed His hand of blessing, favor, protection, and he’s just turning us over to ourselves.”

Next: Pamela Geller

3. Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller, enthusiast of Mohammad cartoons and incendiary anti-Muslim subway ads, recently used her tack of vile Islamophobic trolling as a springboard to bash Hillary Clinton and her “lesbian” stooge Huma Abedin.

Geller was, naturally, an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s proposals to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and his suggestion that he would create a database to track them. Speaking on The Sid and Bernie Show, Geller weighed in on Trump’s likely opponent in the November election, accusing her of having a lesbian affair with her longtime confidant (who happens to be Muslim) Huma Abedin.

“The connection to Huma Abedin cannot be understated,” Geller said. “Her parents are Muslim Brotherhood … come on, we know all about that. For years and years I wrote about that relationship…”

“Are you implying she’s a lesbian?” one of the hosts interjected.

“…a long-rumored affair, for eight or nine years, way even before the Obama presidency!” she concluded.

Geller once likened herself to Rosa Parks because she wasn’t afraid to stick it to “savage” Muslims, so we can describe her affinity to reality as tenuous at best. And she isn’t even the only one this week to follow this line of unreasoning…

Next: Sandy Rios

2. Sandy Rios

American Family Association’s Sandy Rios and Geller must both be getting their talking points from the same listserv.

Right Wing Watch describes Rios’ own descent in to the mire of lesbian-Clinton tin-foil fantasias:

“Hillary Clinton embraces every sexual deviancy you can imagine,” she said, before once again suggesting that the former secretary of state is a lesbian because “there have been more than rumors swirling about her own sexual proclivities since before she became first lady.”

“She’s an advocate of gay marriage, and I mean a strong advocate,” she said. “She’s been endorsed by every radical homosexual activist group in the country, all the major ones, Human Rights Campaign and others, especially in New York. She gets that endorsement for a reason, you know, she gets it for a reason.”

Fittingly for an operative of the American Family Association, one of the most dogmatic and hateful anti-LGBT advocacy groups in the country, Rios has a persistent habit of reducing just about any political situation or national news story into an occasion for some gay-bashing. Hell, she even blamed an AmTrak derailment on the notion that the conductor might have been gay. And last year she told Christians to “prepare for martyrdom” in order to fight gay marriage. Needless to say, she did not take her own advice.

Next: Healy Baumgardner 

1. Healy Baumgardner

Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson is a rare talent: she exhibits adamantine poise even while defending and articulating her boss’ most vile, outlandish, and ignorant claims.

The Trump surrogate who showed up on CNN Wednesday, campaign senior press representative Healy Baumgardner, is no Katrina Pierson.

“Well, I think top line, Mr. Trump’s point is that he wants to keep an open dialogue and repair relationships with world leaders,” she said, by way of not explaining at all why her boss had been singing the praises of North Korea’s dictator.

“Healy, you can’t give us any more guidance on this?” asked a pained Carol Costello. “You are the senior press representative for Mr. Trump.”

“I am. Exactly,” she said, unfazed. “And what I’m telling you is that top line, you know, one of his biggest goals is to repair relationships with leaders throughout the world.”

That’s not a typo. Healy, like a malfunctioning Rubio, sputtered and repeated the same bromidic buzz phrase twice in a row. (“Top line” sells Trump Steaks maybe, but I’m not sure it applies to one of the most universally condemned dictators on the global stage right now.)

Later in the segment Costello pressed Baumgardner on Trump’s decision to meet with Henry Kissinger: “So Healy, I want to ask you about something else. Mr. Trump is expected to meet with Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state. […] Why Henry Kissinger and not another secretary of state?”

Costello waited. And waited. And waited. For one precious, sparkling moment, there was silence on CNN, as the three talking heads all blinked at each other across the void in quiet anticipation of a talking point that never arrived.

“Healy?” Costello asked.

“I’m sorry, was that question to me? Oh. Yes. Sorry about that. I had a little feedback,” she replied, having apparently borrowed the old “failed earpiece” gambit that served her boss so well when he initially refused to denounce David Duke. “Mr Trump regularly meets with experts and highly respected individuals. And, you know, he values their input and their feedback.” After somehow managing to work in some accidental wordplay on the word “feedback,” she returned to safety net of silence.

“And what do you suppose they’ll talk about?” Costello asked. “Do you know, Healy?”

Baumgardner sputtered for a moment before saying that she “can’t confirm or deny the meeting,” forgetting perhaps for a moment that the fact of the meeting occurring was never in question. “I do know that Mr. Trump values feedback from highly respected individuals and experts. And he will have those conversations as he deems fit.”

It was as if a hungover algorithm had been tasked with creating the most content-free sentences a human could possibly speak in the English language.

As mortifying as the CNN segment was, the real threshing came later on social media, as most everyone lined up to ridicule Baumgardner. (A video of the segment is viewable here.)

Trump loves to talk about how he will surround himself with the “best people.” What a rotten irony that a CNN segment about Trump’s poor judgment, namely, his avid support of Kim Jong-un, should become such a glaring demonstration of that very shortcoming, in his senior press representative.

Illustration: 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.

The 5 Most Appalling Conservative Reactions To The Charleston Shooting

It should not be controversial to say that the tragedy that took the lives of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday night was an act of racially motivated domestic terrorism.

A white supremacist planned and executed a mass murder in a public place with a single vile intention: to murder African-Americans.

And yet, somehow — despite the Facebook photos of the confessed shooter wearing the flags of white-supremacist regimes, despite the fact that he confessed his motives to the victims who pleaded with him to stop, despite the recollections of his peers that he used to say he wanted to “start a civil war” — few conservatives have had the backbone to say on record what is a plain fact.

Instead they scrambled to defend the legacy and symbolic value of Confederate flag, which has flown proudly on South Carolina’s Capitol lawn since 1962. They twisted themselves into knots trying to argue that this was an anti-Christian hate-crime — as if there were no churches in Charleston other than the historic “Mother Emanuel.”

And yet… look past the tone-deaf Republican presidential candidates and glib morning-show pundits. Dive into the lunatic fringe of right wingers weighing in on the events in Charleston — and you’ll find some truly appalling, noxious, and deranged responses to the tragedy. Here are just five of them

1. Sandy Rios

Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s director of governmental affairs inveighed against President Obama Friday morning for his remarks Thursday, accusing him of using the Charleston shooting as an “opportunity” to push his agenda.

The president asked (once again) for a reckoning of the country’s poisonous relationship to guns. According to Rios, this is yet another example of Obama using the shooting “to lay out his passion against allowing American people to carry guns,” part of a pattern, she claims, of the president rushing to co-opt tragedies for his own political gain.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/211077750″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

2. Erick Erickson

Of course it didn’t take very long for conservatives to connect Charleston to their big bête noire of the moment: Caitlyn Jenner.

On Thursday’s edition of The Erick Erickson Showthe program’s namesake and conservative blogger went on a rant about how the shooting was the inevitable byproduct of a country that has lost its moral compass, thanks to people like Jenner.

“As a nation, when these things happen, we never have the conversation about real evil,” Erickson said. The reason that conversation never takes place is because we are a society that “looks at a 65-year-old male Olympian and, with a straight face, declares him a her.”

In other words, no nation, in Erickson’s schema, that evolves its views on transgender rights can have a conversation about “mental health or evil because that society no longer distinguishes normal from crazy and evil from good.”

Continue reading

3. White Supremacists

Turns out there is such a thing as bad publicity.

White supremacists are the one group that’s really getting bad press from on all sides on this, and they want you to know: the Charleston shooting is totally not what they’re about.

According to Huffington Postwhite-power groups are “trying to distance themselves from the suspect” because they’re “worried that a white man killing nine people in a black church in South Carolina looked bad for their movement.”

Commenters on the white nationalist site Stormfront took to the forums to express their exasperation that Dylann Roof’s actions would reflect poorly on them. HuffPo quotes a commenter named WhiteIsRight as saying: “Lets [sic] not make excuses when a person of our own race does something like this,” and moreover, “The guy was clearly a bad apple.”

4. Alex Jones

Alex Jones says the media are using this tragedy to feed their endless “race war” narrative. And it will end with the fall of America.

And okay, to his credit, the perennially paranoid radio host said explicitly on his show that this is not a “false flag” operation, by which he means this wasn’t staged to steal Americans’ guns the way the massacres in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school and Aurora, Colorado movie theater were. “Let’s be clear, these things have been staged before,” Jones said — but this isn’t that.

Rather, he claims, the Charleston shooting is giving the mainstream media another occasion for ‘hyping racial division and race war,” and that the coverage has “elicited a lot of low-intensity attacks on whites.” This is part of their 24/7 campaign to inculcate Americans with fear. “They’ve been hyping ‘race war,’ pushing it as hard as they can, saying the NRA is the new KKK,” Jones said.

What’s the endgame here? “You can bet your bottom dollar,” he continued, that “America is being set up for a fall and, out of that, the new socialist nightmare.”

5. Rick Perry

GOP presidential candidates said their share of ill-considered things about the killings in Charleston. But only former Texas governor Rick Perry (R-TX) went so far as to call the shooting an “accident.”

This is part of the Obama administration’s M.O., he explained, of exploiting tragedies: “Any time there is an accident like this — the president is clear, he doesn’t like for Americans to have guns.”

Perry also pointedly refused to refer to the shooting deaths of nine people as an act of terror. “It was a crime of hate. We know that.” He then proceeded to suggest that opioid abuse might have had something to do with it.

Because, really, when a racist kills people with guns, you can blame it on anything…  except racism and guns.

 Screenshot: Right Wing Watch/YouTube

This Week In Crazy: Let Biker Gangs Fight ISIS!

ISIS is on the rise in American schools! The only ones who can stop them are Texas biker gangs! But then who will defend the Lone Star State when the feds invade? Only God can say. 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. Rick Perry

Rick PerryAh, Jade Helm 15. Depending on your point of view (and level of sanity), it’s either a military training exercise or the first shot in the federal government’s cunning plan to surreptitiously invade Texas and declare martial law. Among the people in the latter camp: radio shock jocks, gun-clutching paranoids, presidential candidates, the current Texas governor, and now the former Texas governor, Rick Perry.

Perry spoke on Glenn Beck’s radio show Tuesday, and neither man would exactly confirm or deny whether he thought the feds were invading Texas — Beck, for his part, acknowledged that the idea was more than a little nuts — but considering the current administration, they agreed that it sure was easy to understand why people feel this way. (This is more or less the same line Ted Cruz toed when he was asked about Jade Helm; it’s a tricky balancing act to appease paranoiacs afraid of the White House, while asking them to vote you into it.)

Although he has not yet announced a run for the Oval Office, Perry stated, “If I were to become President of the U.S., I think there would be a clearly changed attitude towards that office. […] I hope people always question government. They should.”

Take note, voters. When Perry is president, nobody need be afraid of him.

Via Raw Story and Right Wing Watch

Next: Pat Robertson

4. Pat Robertson

MadPatPat Robertson, noted crackpot for Christ, sees demons everywhere. Including, apparently, in eating disorders.

On Tuesday’s edition of The 700 Club, Robertson got to discussing those who have struggled with anorexia and other eating disorders (including Karen Carpenter, who Roberston said “had a marvelous sound”).

Mad Pat has a reputation for applying his unique perspective to a variety of topics: He has warned us in the past that God is planning to unfriend America and that marriage equality would force everyone into having gay sex. But as near as I can tell, nobody ever turned to him for advice about anorexia. Which is probably good, because his tack is to treat it like a case of demonic possession and dispel the insidious disorder as one would exorcise a malevolent spirit.

“This can be treated as a demonic possession thing,” Robertson said. “It is like a demon and it needs to be rebuked and cast out.”

He continued: “It’s not something you can just pat ’em on the back and say ‘well, hey hey, why don’t you eat? I’ve got you a nice steak.'”

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Matthew Hagee

3. Matthew Hagee

HageeIt must be nice to have all the answers to everything. Especially when the answer is always: “God.”

It gives you such a leg up when trying to understand senseless acts of violence — such as the recent gun battle in a Waco, Texas, parking lot, which cost nine people their lives, and apparently was the result of longstanding conflicts between rival biker gangs.

Now, you could try to unpack the tangle of issues at play here, maybe open up another conversation about violence and American culture, or discuss the underlying social factors that drive men to shoot each other over a parking space.

Or you could just… you know…say “God.” As Texas-based pastor Matthew Hagee did Tuesday on his “Hagee Hotline” program, an evangelical web series that offers “unedited commentary on the state of our nation and current geopolitical events from a Scriptural perspective.”

“I believe it’s important to consider these facts,” Hagee said after noting that the parking lot bloodbath was very likely a sign of the End Times. “The Bible tells us we are to fear God.”

He continued: “One of the things I’ve noticed in the world is that the less we fear God in heaven, the more we fear each other. […] Right now, law enforcement is fearful of what a rival gang might do […] Right now, citizens are fearful about what’s going to happen in their city next […] When a simple fear of God and a reverence for his Word could cure a lot of problems.”

Glad we solved that one.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Rachel Campos-Duffy

2. Rachel Campos-Duffy 

Fox News’ Outnumbered sunk to a new, hitherto unsunk-to low Thursday morning when co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy blamed American schools’ embrace of diversity and multiculturalism for ISIS’s success at recruitment.

How do you square that with the ethos of the decidedly un-inclusive, affirmatively unicultural Islamic State?

Campos-Duffy’s comments came on the heels of a story about FBI agents and local police warning U.S. high schoolers against joining ISIS. According to the report, ISIS recruitment videos have become increasingly sophisticated at manipulating young minds.

And how did the youth of America become so vulnerable?

It seems that by recognizing other cultures, conceding that the U.S. is not perfect, and downplaying American exceptionalism, what we have actually done is not broaden children’s perspectives, but instilled in them an “anti-American, anti-Western ideology” that has poisoned them against their own homeland and made them easy pickings for ISIS.

Campos-Duffy laid it out thus:

What’s happening in the culture that would actually make this seem attractive? […] And I’ve thought about it a lot. And I think that what’s happening is that, you know, think about, there’s not very much assimilation, and then once kids go to school, we have removed any kind of positive celebration of our culture, of our founders. And so there’s this vacuum. […] These kids from elementary to secondary to college… they’re buying into this multicultural “we’re the imperialists, we’re the bad guys,” and so we have created a system that doesn’t reinforce and make people feel like they belong to this country.

Via Media Matters

Next: Sandy Rios

1. Sandy Rios

Screenshot/Youtube

Both the police handling of the Waco shootout and the subsequent media coverage have drawn criticism for demonstrating some glaring double standards.

When rival gangs turned a public parking lot into a scene from a John Woo film, it seems that very few in the press thought to call it an “act of terror,” or the people spraying bullets at each other “thugs.”

Sandy Rios, Director of Governmental Affairs for the anti-gay outfit American Family Association (AFA), has an answer for why that is.

It turns out that the Bandidos and Cossacks — two of the rival gangs involved in the fight — are not who we need to be afraid of. Because these roaming gangs of heavily armed men who run drugs, and engage in organized crime, are not the “real” enemies.

Rios clarified her position on her radio show Monday: “Police have their hands full fighting our real enemies,” she said. “The cartels, the Islamists. And now they’re fighting motorcycle gangs?”

This senseless violence, Rios said, could be avoided if only these “motorcycle gangs” could refocus their energies more constructively. She continued: “Let’s have a little retraining… for motorcycle gangs and put them on our side, fighting our enemies.”

Rios distorts the very real threats posed by these biker gangs by likening them to unruly children that can be turned around.

(Remember last August, when she called a reporter who got arrested covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri a “punk”?)

In fact, as NBC News notes, the Bandidos are “one of the most dangerous gangs there, on par with the Bloods, Crips and the Aryan Brotherhood,” and have been responsible for a significant amount of crime in Texas.

Recall that just last week Rios criticized the media for failing to mention that the engineer on the Amtrak train that derailed outside Philadelphia, was gay, saying it was an interesting factor in the story and deserved attention.

Well Sandy, most of these biker boys are career criminals who went on a violent rampage in a public place with little regard for bystanders — I think that is an interesting factor too. You might even call them… “punks.”

Right Wing Watch has the audio:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206086938″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Via Crooks and Liars and Right Wing Watch

Photo above: Tom Small via Flickr

This Week In Crazy: Obama’s Secret Muslim State Of The Union

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. Dinesh D’Souza

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. day, which could only mean one thing: Another round of Republicans reminding the world that Dr. King was really a conservative Republican at heart.

Of course, this all overlooks King’s clear disagreement with just about everything that the modern GOP stands for (not to mention the fact that nine Republicans in Congress voted against making Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday in the first place). Still, it’s become something of a yearly tradition on the right.

This year, however, pseudo intellectual Dinesh D’Souza flipped the script: Instead of comparing King to a Tea Partier, he compared himself to King.

D’Souza neglected to mention that King was imprisoned for fighting for civil rights, while D’Souza pled guilty to a hilariously inept campaign finance scheme.

Another key difference: Republicans are much more supportive of one man than they are of the other.

4. Louie Gohmert

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

During his State of the Union address, President Obama took a moment to discuss the tension between black communities and police forces across the country.

“We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York,” the president said. “But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.”

It may not shock you to learn that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) was not pleased.

“He’s been so divisive on the issue of race,” said the congressman who worries that borrowing money from China will leave us forced to eat “moo goo dog pan.” Thankfully, Gohmert knows a different African-American whom Obama could emulate.

“But unlike my favorite coach in high school, who happened to be black, he has been more divisive — when I had a coach that brought us together as a team like never before,” Gohmert said. “I thought this president would do that. He has divided more than united, so that’s been heartbreaking.”

Yes, America would be better off if the first black president were just a bit more like Gohmert’s basketball coach (who “happened to be black”). But GOP outreach is still going great, thanks for asking.

3. Glenn Beck

American prophet Glenn Beck may be a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but that doesn’t mean that he wants a fellow Mormon to be president.

On Thursday, Beck found out that Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush are planning to meet in Salt Lake City, Utah, possibly to discuss the 2016 presidential election. He is concerned; evidently, the idea of a Mormon president is suddenly cause for alarm.

“Remember, it was the Mormons, the two Mormons Smoot-Hawley, they were two Mormons that brought us the Smoot-Hawley Act which brought us the Great Depression,” Beck warned. “Sometimes their theology can go and mix with politics and go wildly wrong.”

“When Mormons go bad, they go really bad. They go socialist,” he added. “They mix the Gospel with government.”

A Mormon mixing Gospel with government? I can hardly imagine such a thing.
2. Bobby Jindal

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, Fox News contributor Steve Emerson made a startling claim: Birmingham, England — like many other places in Europe — is a “totally Muslim city where non-Muslims don’t go in.”

As it turns out, this is flagrantly untrue. In fact, it’s so false that Fox News, which is not always known for its willingness to admit fault, apologized for the error on four separate occasions.

Unfortunately, this message didn’t filter down to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.

Over the past week, Jindal has repeatedly shared Emerson’s discredited claim.

“In the West, non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of Sharia law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home,” he warned in a speech in London. Later, on CNN, Jindal said that he heard “from folks here” that “there are neighborhoods where women don’t feel comfortable going in without veils” and “where police are less likely to go.”

Who were the folks from Birmingham who told Bobby Jindal that he is right, and everyone from Fox to UK prime minister David Cameron is wrong? You guessed it: discredited neoconservative diplomat John Bolton!

“Ambassador John Bolton’s Gatestone Institute Chronicled Dozens Of Reports Of ‘No-Go’ Zones In Europe,” reads a document on Jindal’s web page.

And if John Bolton said it, it must be true.

Why is Jindal sticking with such an obviously false narrative? Perhaps he’s trying to stand out in a crowded GOP presidential field. If so, we can count his retreat on stopping the GOP from being the “stupid party” as the first flip-flop of his campaign.

1. Sandy Rios

Screenshot/Youtube

Screenshot: YouTube

This week’s “winner,” right-wing radio host Sandy Rios, has long believed that President Obama is secretly a Marxist Muslim. But after Tuesday’s State of the Union address, she finally has proof.

On the Wednesday edition of her program, Rios spoke with a caller who (incorrectly) accused President Obama of misidentifying the location of the United States Air Force Academy. The revelation led Rios to share another telling turn of phrase that she noticed during the speech.

“The other thing he said that I caught — he has done this before — you know there are five pillars of Islam, and he used the term ‘pillars’ again in his speech last night,” Rios said.

“It is just really interesting,” she added. “Language can actually give us some insight, choices of words.”

Right Wing Watch has the audio:

If Rios thinks that Obama using the word “pillar” exactly once in his speech seemed Muslim, just wait until she finds out what he was doing with his feet pehind the podium.

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments!

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This Week In Crazy: Net Neutrality Will Kill Us All

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. Bill O’Reilly

Doesn’t it seem like War on Christmas season starts earlier every year?

Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but on Wednesday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor, cantankerous Fox News host Bill O’Reilly declared that “the first salvo this season in the ongoing War on Christmas” has been fired, “because a Muslim group did something.”

The debate centered around the Montgomery County school board’s decision to eliminate all references to religious holidays from its public school calendar. The board made the move in response to Muslim families’ request that Eid al-Adha be classified as an official holiday, just like Christmas or Rosh Hashana.

Although O’Reilly is usually an outspoken defender of religious freedom, his sympathy did not extend to these Muslims.

“Montgomery County caved in,” he complained. “You know, Christmas, and Easter, and Passover, these have a Judeo-Christian tradition in our country. So they just wiped out all of our traditions because of these people.” He went on to note that he would have put the holiday on the calendar — but refused to let people take it as an off-day.

This latest skirmish comes as something of a surprise considering that last December, O’Reilly bragged that the War on Christmas had been won. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time that Fox News prematurely declared victory in an unnecessary war against Muslims.

4. Sandy Rios

Screenshot/Youtube

Screenshot: YouTube

Unlike the Montgomery County school system, President Obama hasn’t yet had the chance to wage war on Christmas. Probably because he’s too busy waging war on Thanksgiving!

On Thursday edition of her radio show, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios slammed Obama for ruining Thanksgiving by considering executive action to reform the immigration system.

“Remember Obamacare was finally voted in on Christmas Eve? This is what they do because they have no regard for — I’m not saying Thanksgiving is sacred, but it’s sacred in the sense that people are thankful, bow before God, celebrate the holidays with their families. At least Americans used to, but the left doesn’t, that’s not so much important to them,” she said.

“What’s important to them is having their way and altering and changing this country as aggressively as they possibly can, no matter what it takes.”

Right Wing Watch has the audio:

That’s classic Obummer: Ruin Thanksgiving, but leave Eid al-Adha untouched.
3. Breitbart News

When President Obama announced that he would nominate U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general, the right-wing media pounced on the news.

“[T]he prosecutor has a long career built of some high-profile cases but there is one case Lynch was involved in that few are talking about,” Breitbart News writer Warner Todd Huston reported on Saturday. “Lynch was a part of Bill Clinton’s Whitewater probe defense team in 1992.”

One day later, Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Joe Pollak explored the political impact of Huston’s scoop, writing that “the connection to Whitewater ought to provide additional fodder for Republicans during Lynch’s confirmation hearings.”

There’s only one problem: As Media Matters pointed out, Breitbart was attacking the wrong Loretta Lynch.

Breitbart lives in a color blind world (Image via Media Matters)

Breitbart lives in a colorblind world (Image via Media Matters)

The Loretta Lynch on the left did in fact work for Clinton’s defense team in 1992, but she is not slated to lead the Justice Department. Breitbart acknowledged the error with the most unintentionally hilarious correction you’ll ever see, before removing the article altogether on Monday. But by that time, several other outlets had picked up the lie.

(Regular readers of This Week In Crazy were surely shocked by WorldNetDaily’s shoddy fact checking.)

Meanwhile, even with the Whitewater myth debunked, right-wing radio host Michael Savage is still calling for the Senate to block Lynch’s nomination. As he sees it, her name is a bad omen, because “a lynch mob is about to take over” — not to mention the fact that “she was picked by the vile Al Sharpton.”

“She had no business in the Attorney General’s office; she is an extreme left-wing ideologue,” he warned. “If he puts this one in, we’re going to have two years of Hell in this country.”

It’s probably a good thing that Republicans have given up on winning minority votes as part of their minority outreach.

2. Alex Jones & Phyllis Schlafly

On Monday, Cold War champion Phyllis Schlafly and fake-war enthusiast Alex Jones came together for a meeting of the paranoid minds on Jones’ InfoWars program.

It went about as well as you might imagine.

First, Jones and Schlafly honored veterans day by ripping the military. Jones worried that the government is “trying to twist the military into a domestic force” designed to “go after the Tea Party.” But, as usual, Schlafly was more concerned about gender politics.

“I don’t have any respect for the military who send women into combat,” she lamented.

“It’s a war on reality,” Jones concurred. “Men can’t make babies, and men are ugly, and women look good. There are differences.”

But that wasn’t all; the pair also found time to attack President Obama for doing too much to fight the Ebola virus.

“He seems to think that he’s some kind of king, who can do whatever he wants,” Schlafly complained. “He wants $6 billion so he can set up a plan to stop Ebola in West Africa. Now we didn’t elect him for that and Congress, which holds the purse strings, they shouldn’t give him the money.”

How dare Obama try to stop Ebola from spreading, just like Phyllis Schlafly demanded!

1. Glenn Beck

When President Obama spoke out in favor of net neutrality this week, it did not take long for most Republicans to go from ignoring the issue to deciding that it is an urgent threat to American freedom. But — with apologies to Senator Ted Cruz — nobody lost their mind quite like this week’s “winner,” Glenn Beck.

On Wednesday, Beck made a spirited case against net neutrality, arguing that it is “the global warming of the internet,” and claiming that it would allow internet service providers to restrict access to his content — apparently unaware that this is quite literally what the policy is intended to prevent. But things only got weirder from there.

On Thursday, Beck showed a clip of protesters blocking FCC chairman Tom Wheeler from leaving his driveway on Monday morning. According to Beck, this can only mean one thing: Open internet radicals are literally coming to kill us all.

“I am begging America to listen to me. Please listen to me. You are dealing with revolutionaries,” Beck exclaimed. “Revolutionaries will come, and they will pull you out of your car and shoot you. They will pull out of your office, your bank, they will pull you out of your plush political office, they will pull you out of your anchor chair, they will pull you out of wherever you are when they decide revolution is here and you’ve betrayed the revolution.”

“This is a harbinger,” he added. “Wake up. Wake up. They’re playing by different rules. They’re not playing by all the rules you think they are. Wake up. Please, dear God, wake up before it’s too late.”

Beck claims that he was cured of a rare neurological disorder that “has made [him] look crazy,” but if the video above is any indication, he may want to seek a second opinion.

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments!

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Border Crisis Tests Religious Faith — And Some Fail Badly

Flamboyant piety has long been fashionable on the political right, where activists, commentators, and elected officials never hesitate to hector us about their great moral and theological rectitude. Wielding the Scriptures like a weapon, these righteous ’wingers are always eager to condemn the alleged sins of others but reluctant to examine their own. They seem to spend far more time on posturing and preening than spiritual reflection. Rarely does anyone call them out on their failures to fulfill their proclaimed devotion because, in this country, that is considered rude.

But occasionally, something happens that separates the people of faith from the sanctimonious fakers. With thousands of defenseless children now gathered on America’s southern border, seeking asylum from deprivation and deadly violence, something like that is happening right now.

Nobody in the House of Representatives is more vociferous about her reverence for God’s word than Michele Bachmann (R-MN) –the Tea Party queen bee who often has said she believes that America is a “Christian nation.” When Bachmann opened her mouth on television about those hungry and fearful children, she demonized them as “invaders” and incipient criminals who could be expected to rape American women and break American laws.

Then there is Bachmann’s colleague Louie Gohmert (R-TX), whose religious zeal is so overpowering that he cannot restrain himself, even during House proceedings – like that committee hearing last month when he proclaimed his belief that anyone who doesn’t accept Jesus is destined for hell. But when the subject is the innocent kids at the border of his home state, most of whom are girls under 13 years of age, Gohmert speaks of “invasion” and urges the governor of Texas to unilaterally initiate a state of war. Like many of his fellow far-rightists, he stokes rumors that these children are harbingers of disease and gangsterism.

So does Phil Gingrey (R-GA), a medical doctor who went so far as to accuse the young migrants of bringing the Ebola virus – seen only in Africa — with them from Central America. And so does Sandy Rios, the religious-right talk-show host who speaks of the “hope” that the Lord bestowed on her, but warns that we should treat the border children like “lepers.” And so does Ann Coulter, the Church Lady who suspects that all those kids, no matter how small, probably belong to the murderous MS-13 narcotics syndicate.

Now among the theological ideas shared by many of these figures is a fondness for the Old Testament, which they routinely quote to justify cruel strictures against gays, women, and anybody else they wish to suppress. At the moment, however, these Biblical literalists ought to be studying the very plain instruction of Leviticus:

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

More recently, Pope Francis laid down a clear edict on the border crisis that springs from his own Biblical understanding, urging Americans to “welcome and protect” the children arriving on our border. (He didn’t mention anything about immediate deportations.) The Holy Father expressed deep concern for the “tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence…in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain”.

“Many people forced to emigrate suffer, and often, die tragically; many of their rights are violated, they are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes,” he said. Francis went on to say that only development and security in their own countries would ever stem the flow of migrants heading northward – and that in the meantime, the rest of us should abandon “attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization.” Attitudes like those displayed by goons waving flags and guns and “Go Home” signs, who don’t care whether these little strangers live or die.

Where are the real Christians? Where are the true people of faith? They may be found in houses of worship near the border and around the country, where people of all political persuasions realize that they are called to feed, clothe, shelter, and heal God’s children, even when they arrive on a bus without papers. If there is a kingdom of heaven, it is these generous souls who will be admitted when they reach its border.

The hypocrites will be sent somewhere else.

Photo: Republican Conference via Flickr

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