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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

And we’re back. The right wing kicked the year off by freaking out in spectacular fashion to President Obama’s executive actions on gun control, indulging in some pandering to those precious Iowan evangelical ballot punchers, and kicking that dead horse called “traditional marriage” into a pulp.

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. Crying Truthers

The president betrayed some raw emotion at the presser where he announced his executive actions, allowing a brief stream of tears to fall down his face when he mentioned the Sandy Hook massacre where 20 first-graders were murdered.

Not so fast, said the Crying Truthers. Just because he let loose a little weep-juice doesn’t mean the chattering class is going to let this tyranny slide. And who’s to say the tears were real, anyway?

Rather than take aim at the (really pretty modest) gun control measures the president announced, right-wing pundits devoted themselves to the holy work of exposing an ocular fraud.

Fox News host Andrea Tatalos opined that the White House had deployed a supply of raw onion to the podium.

Breitbart‘s John Nolte suggested the president had rubbed a little Ben-Gay on his lids to induce the “fake fascist tears.”

Red Eye panelist Michael Gunzelman suspected that the culprit was red pepper: “He put pepper to his eye,” he said. “And that’s how he started to cry. This is the breaking news that you need to know. He was not really crying there.”

Look closer, America. Only a brazen fraud would pretend that dead children is a sad thing.

Next: Mike Huckabee

4. Mike Huckabee

Pity Mike Huckabee, who is polling a dismal 1.3 in the polls. It would appear the pastor’s side skirmish for evangelical hearts and minds has been lost to the likes of Cruz, Rubio, and Carson. And Huck isn’t taking the news well at all, lashing out at Christian groups for lining up behind more impure candidates.

Huck went on Todd Starnes’s radio show to take aim at evangelical leaders for operating according to “secular standards.” The former Arkansas governor reiterated his campaign pledges to criminalize abortion by fiat and suggested that so-called Christians endorsing his rival candidates were intimated by Huck’s tenacity and were perhaps a little too focussed on their bottom line. After all, many of these Christian organizations mount successful fundraising efforts based on controversial issues like abortion, and if President Huck “slays the dragon” (i.e. outlaws abortion), then what’s left to sustain these Christian coffers?

A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight? And so, for many of them, it could be a real detriment to their organization’s abilities to gin up their supporters and raise the contributions, and I know that sounds cynical but, Todd, it is what it is.

Yes, it’s breathtakingly cynical, in fact — and more than a little pathetic that Huckabee is justifying his flailing in the polls by basically accusing Christians of not being Christian enough for him. According to Right Wing Watch“Huckabee then went on to flat-out accuse the individuals and organizations that shunned his campaign of operating by ‘secular standards’ and not really believing in the power of prayer or in God’s ability to do great things, saying that they ‘will talk about prayer but [they] really don’t necessarily believe that it will change things.'”

On a related note, in a Facebook post Wednesday, Huck demanded to know why the president was so quick to save lives via gun control, but not by eliminating legal abortion. “As President,” he wrote, “I will repeal Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions AND eliminate ALL abortions in this country instead. I will never restrict our Second Amendment rights. I will vigorously oppose new gun control laws,” and so on and so forth. (You get a gun! And you get a gun!)


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Huck’s just airing out his now familiar hypocrisy: As we know, Huck believes that executive action and judicial interpretations of the Constitution are very bad and must not be tolerated, especially when they are used to legalize same-sex marriage or to enforce gun control laws already on the books. But in the same breath, he promises to stop enforcing gun laws and to declare that zygotes are human beings protected under the Constitution. So basically executive and judicial powers are evil, until and unless Huck is the one sitting in the big chair, at which point he can go to town running roughshod over civil liberties and progress on guns.

He is getting kind of desperate, isn’t he?

Next: Bryan Fischer

3. Bryan Fischer

What’s left to say about Bryan Fischer? The American Family Association spokesghoul doubtless has one of the more creative hot takes on the president’s executive action on guns: He declared on his radio program Wednesday that this is all a ploy to disarm Americans who deny climate change.

I give him points for imagination. Fischer synthesizes both the troglodytic denialism of science skeptics and the frothing, paranoid lunacy of gun nuts. Per Right Wing Watch, his logic unfurls with all the majestic free association of fridge magnet poetry: “If you are a danger to yourself or to others because of a mental health issue, then you can be denied the right to own a gun. If you and I deny that man-caused global warming is anything to worry about, then that’s going to make us a danger to others and unfit to own a gun.”

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Roy Moore 

2. Roy Moore

Judge Roy Moore — that renegade moral crusader and Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court  — is at it again.

Last year, in his quest to rid America of the scourge of the rule of law, Moore bucked a January federal court ruling that found Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, and ordered probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. When the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges in June, that should have settled the issue (really, the federal court ruling should have settled the issue, but we’ll get back to that), but Moore, the white knight for Christian piety, is returning to his old game of refusing to bow before the specter of marriage equality.

Rallying behind the flag of his faith and some perverse interpretation of the notion of states’ rights, Moore has instructed probate judges in Alabama once again to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The problem, he says in his statement issued Wednesday, is that since the Obergefell ruling contradicts an Alabama Supreme Court ruling, there exists a state of “confusion and uncertainty” with regard to the law. And so, until his court renders a new judgment, Moore writes, “the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”

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Judge Moore’s order. (Click to enlarge)

Moore’s argument rests on the highly suspect logic that since Obergefell united four direct challenges to same-sex marriage bans in states within the Sixth Circuit, marriage laws in dispute outside of the Sixth Circuit do not fall under the jurisdiction of the ruling. Moore dubiously cites an “apparent conflict between the decision of the Alabama Supreme Court […] and the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell.”

This is patent bull excreta.

Look. You don’t have to be a legal expert to appreciate that when a state supreme court disagrees with the highest court in the land, no such “conflict” exists. The Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. That means they’re unconstitutional everywhere in the nation. But, as we noted, a federal court in Alabama had already ruled that Alabama’s same-sex marriage was unconstitutional months before SCOTUS rendered its rulingSo we’ve been here before with Moore.

This has nothing to do with the rule of law, which Moore seems so eager and willing to flout, and everything to do with Moore’s personal religious beliefs. He has said in the past that marriage equality is “going to destroy the nation,” cited his duty to enforce a “higher law,” and unimaginatively likened Obergefell to both Nazism and the Dred Scott decision.

Moore does not even have the intellectual honesty to mention in his recent order the federal court ruling that struck down Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban months before Obergefell. Incidentally, the judge in that case orderedthat the Alabama Attorney General is prohibited from enforcing the Alabama laws which prohibit same-sex marriage. This injunction binds the defendant and all his officers, agents, servants and employees, and others in active concert or participation with any of them, who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit same-sex marriage.”

That includes you, Judge Moore. That’s how it works.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Marco Rubio

1. Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio dials the God gab up to 11 in a new TV ad targeted to Iowa evangelicals.

“Our goal is eternity,” Rubio begins, apparently ignorant of the two-term limit of the office he seeks.

Safety, prosperity, and the right to live and worship (or not) in peace — that is not what Americans want. Rubio informs the American electorate that what they really desire is “the ability to live alongside our Creator and for all time, to accept the free gift of salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ.” Can I get an “Amen”? Or can I at least get someone to bludgeon a disabled man to a pulp because he doesn’t believe in God?

There’s some kowtowing to the Christian persecution complex, in references to Christians’ “struggle on a daily basis.” He notes his intention to “cooperate with God’s plan” — not necessarily to, you know, cooperate with the federal, state, and local laws of a country that has enshrined separation between church and state as one of its core values. (Kim Davis for Attorney General — praise be!)

Oddly for a candidate who has made keeping Americans safe through hawkish military action abroad a cornerstone of his campaign, Rubio seems eerily chill with the notion of sending everyone to the afterlife for their eternal reward. Invoking the Gospel of Matthew, he asks voters, “Were your treasures stored up on earth or in Heaven?” In light of his notorious money management problems, the senator had better hope his treasure in Heaven is better maintained than his treasure on Earth.

It all begs the question, as Mediaite succinctly put it: Does Rubio want to run the country or a mega-church?

Hat tip Mediaite

Photo: Fibonacci Blue 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.

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.