Republicans: Stop trying to disown Trump

“Donald Trump — as he’s prone to do — he didn’t build the building by himself, but he slapped his name on it and took credit for it.”derp-trump

That was President Obama last week, rightly pointing out that the GOP can pretend that Trump does not share their positions and that he is not really one of them, but the fact is that they built that Building of Deplorables that allowed Trump to move in and declare himself their king.

“The problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does,” Obama said. “The problem is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience.”

It’s not like the warning signs weren’t there. It’s not like there weren’t plenty of us (and even plenty in the GOP) who predicted that this would happen. They could have done more to prevent this, and now it appears they’re going to lose the Presidency as well as the Senate (and maybe even the House).

And it’s their own damn fault.

So when some Republican says that they can’t support Trump and they act all surprised that such a terrible man could have ever grabbed the support of a majority of their members, take it with a grain of salt. The warning signs were there all along, and they just continued to drive off that cliff.

How to answer Republicans concerning the sit-in

As I write this, the House Democrats are staging a sit-in to protest the GOP’s unwillingness to deal with the problem of guns in America. As usual, people are taking sides based on their party affiliation. Here is how to respond to those who are attacking the Democrats, based on the most common things I’ve read online:
sit in“This is just a publicity stunt!”  Yes, of course it is. All politics is. Sit-ins back in the 60s were publicity stunts. Marches and protests are publicity stunts. The goal of a publicity stunt is to get people talking about the issue. Since we are doing that now, it is clearly a successful publicity stunt.

“The Democrats want to curtail your civil rights because the no-fly list has no due process guarantees!” Oh, now you care about due process? The no-fly list, which was developed under Republican leadership, is one of the GOP’s proudest achievements in their war on terror. Apparently, the Democratic goal of preventing people on this list from getting guns easily has turned the GOP into civil rights advocates. Either that or they’re just a bunch of flaming hypocrites.

“When the Democrats were in charge, they also prevented bills from being voted on!” Yep, that’s politics. Maybe you guys should have staged a sit-in too. The difference here is this: The vast majority of Americans support background checks and other laws to prevent criminals, terrorists and the insane from getting guns easily. I’m talking like 90% of Americans. This is about more than just politics — this is about a group of politicians who are in the pocket of the NRA preventing the American people from getting what they want.

“The laws the Democrats want are bad because (fill in the blank).” That’s an interesting argument. Let’s debate it in a reasonable manner. Oh, right — the GOP isn’t even allowing us to discuss it. How is democracy served by that? Isn’t that their job — to debate bills and discuss important issues, especially issues that the vast majority of Americans want discussed?

Did I forget anything?

Don’t Listen to Republicans telling you the Democrats do the Same Thing

Republican Senators announced today that they would refuse to even consider anyone Obama nominates for the Supreme Court, despite the fact that the President has almost an entire year left in his term. (Apparently, in their minds, Obama only gets 3/5ths of a term).

This is completely unprecedented.w936uez3tdwl6tlcz20y (1)

But hey, don’t let facts stand in your way, Republicans. You never have before.

I’ve certainly seen a lot of it recently.

First, they claimed that Senator Chuck Schumer had given a speech where he said that the Senate should not approve of a Bush nominee in his final year. Of course, all you have to do is read the transcript of that speech to see that the comment was followed by “except in extraordinary circumstances” — and then he explained that the Senate should not approve someone so far out of the mainstream as to be unacceptable.

In other words, the Senate should do its job, have hearings, but should exercise its Constitutional duty to deny a candidate they disagree with.

This is not the same thing as refusing to consider ANY candidate, no matter how qualified.

Then they pointed out how Obama had objected to Justice Alito when he was a Senator, and had threatened a filibuster over it. Yet the Senate still had hearings about the candidate and ultimately did approve him.

This is not the same thing as refusing to consider ANY candidate, no matter how qualified.

Then they found a quote from Joe Biden which basically said that the Senate should not be a rubber-stamp and should refuse to accept any candidate they don’t think would be a good choice.

This is not the same thing as refusing to consider ANY candidate, no matter how qualified.

And it goes on. The right wing blogs post articles about how the Democrats have stood up to Supreme Court nominees in the past, and then they feebly try to fool their gullible readers into thinking this is the same thing as refusing to even hold hearings on any candidate.

It’s sad that some of my more intelligent conservative friends fall for this bullshit, but that’s what it is. There is no way to compare the Senate’s legitimate function to “advise and consent” and even to reject nominees they don’t want with the current Republican policy of sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “Lalalalala I can’t hear you” concerning any candidate.




Fact against you? Just deny them!

Carly Fiorino and the other GOP candidates have railed about for months over a faked video that claimed that Planned Parenthood was harvesting baby parts. It’s been discredited by everyone, and the guy who made it admitted it was fake, but that hasn’t stopped them from repeating the lie.


cartoon by Rob Tornoe

They even managed to get a Grand Jury to investigate this supposed terrible crime. Yesterday, the Grand Jury came back and exonerated Planned Parenthood and instead indicted the guys who made the fake video.

So all the Republicans finally admitted they were wrong.

Ha ha! Just kidding! They instead doubled down on the falsehood, insisting that, despite all evidence to the contrary, they were still right.

Is anyone at all surprised by this? This is the party that regularly denies facts that are inconvenient to their ideology. They refuse to accept climate change and evolution. They insist that trickle down economics work. They claim Obamacare has killed jobs, that gun control doesn’t reduce gun deaths, that “voter fraud” is a major problem, that Obama has raised the deficit, that a majority of Americans are against gay marriage, and that some sort of conspiracy happened in Benghazi (I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what they are talking about there).

And they are easily proven wrong every single time.

While this mindset is not limited to Republicans, one does not see it at the top levels of the Democratic party in the same way you see Republican leaders spout out untruths like that.

I can kind of understand the people at the top repeating these lies as a way to give them more power. Evil leaders have done that forever. But are there no honest people any more in the Republican party? No one who will say, “Hey, that’s not true. We shouldn’t be saying that.”

Apparently not.


Man who thrusts kids into public angry that kids pushed into public

Ted Cruz used his young daughters as political props in a campaign ad recently, as they read from a script and said exactly what he wanted them to say.

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Ann Telnaes then portrayed him as a monkey grinder, having his pets perform for his benefit.telnaes gif

“Ourageous!” the Cruz people said.  “Kids are off limits!” The Washington Post backed down and pulled the cartoon from their web page and apologized.

Telnaes did not. Good for her.

Individuals deserve their privacy, even if they are married to politicians and especially if they are children. But if you thrust yourself into the spotlight, you cannot later complain about it.

If Ted Cruz is mad about his kids being lampooned, then the only person he has to blame is himself for allowing their privacy to be violated.

Telnaes’ fellow cartoonists have been largely supportive, with the best quote coming from Clay Jones: “The cartoonist didn’t expose them. Daddy did. Daddy is a hypocrite. Daddy is upset that someone exploited his children to make fun of him exploiting his children.”

Below are Jones’ and a few other cartoonists’ takes on it, in the best way they know how:

Clay Jones:

Clay Bennett:

Rob Rogers:

Darrin Bell:

Interview with American Atheists President David Silverman

David “Mr. Atheist Pants” Silverman’s new book is provocatively called FIGHTING GOD: AN ATHEIST MANIFESTO FOR A RELIGIOUS WORLD

He is the President of American Atheists, and under his leadership, the organization has become quite prominent, with its “You Know It’s a Scam” billboards, the well-attended Reason Rally, and his interview with Bill O’Reilly that produced the “WTF” meme with his face.atheists-david-silverman

David and I have been friends for years, and we’ve been discussing this book and how it changed and progressed over those years, so it’s great to finally see it come to fruition.

It will be released next week, but he provided me with an advance copy, which I enjoyed tremendously.  We sat down in front of an attentive audience at a convention last weekend where I interviewed him.


DAVID SILVERMAN: This book has three years in the making. The book was written because after I did the Reason Rally in 2012, a small publisher came to me and said he wanted me to write a book. I said yes, and it was called ‘I, Atheist’ and it was 50% atheism and 50% autobiographical. Right at the very last moment, my agreement with him fell through. It was a completed book, but the publisher and I parted ways amicably.

So I had a book and no publisher. I sent an email to Barack Obama’s agent. And she knew who I was, and signed me right away. Then she sent out the initial treatment to her top line of people and one was a guy from MacMillan, who was a fan of mine! And he signed me right away.

So now I’ve got this great contract with a major publisher. And he says, “Oh, three things. We’re changing the cover, we’re changing the title, and we’re taking out every part about you.”

So now I’ve not half a book and six months to fill it.

And so — is Keith DeCandido here? (audience says no)

So, what I did was structure the “Atheist Art of War” after his book THE KLINGON ART OF WAR. I added a lot of data. I added a lot of research. So what used to be my opinion is now backed up with independent quantifiable data from multiple sources.

What I’ve got now is a manifesto that puts forth the idea that firebrand atheism is more effective on a macro level, more effective on a micro level, and, more importantly, it’s the nicer thing to do.fighting god

Recognizing that religion is a poison — recognizing that religion is a scam — and not saying something is a selfish act. It’s an act you’re doing to preserve yourself and not to help your fellow human. If your friend is being scammed, you would have a moral responsibility to at least mention it.

So in FIGHTING GOD, I put forward this proposal that “Live and let live” may not be the ethical choice at all.

VENTRELLA: You talk about not respecting other beliefs.  What do you mean by that?

SILVERMAN: There’s a difference between respecting a belief and respecting someone’s right to believe. If you’re talking about Constitutional rights, we as Americans all have the exact same rights. If you want to believe in a Man in the Sky, you have the right to do that.

I do not respect that.

You don’t need my respect. And I don’t need your respect to believe what I believe. What is wrong is when you go to somebody who says they believe in something you don’t respect and you lie. And you say, “Oh, I respect it.” You’re respecting a scam not worthy of respect. You are lying when you do that.

I submit that is morally wrong. That is a selfish act. That is something you are doing to make yourself feel better at the expense of somebody else.

VENTRELLA: But are we under an obligation to say something as opposed to just remaining silent?

SILVERMAN:  That’s up to you. In FIGHTING GOD, I don’t say that we should attack. We definitely should not say we respect things we don’t respect.

VENTRELLA: At the same time, you are proud to be “Mr. Atheist Pants”, and somewhat of a dick.

SILVERMAN: I am not a dick! (laughs)event_199950482

VENTRELLA: But you write that sometimes someone needs to be. You discuss the Overton Window — which is the first time I had ever heard that expression — Can you explain that to us?

SILVERMAN: The Overton Window is a business term that talks about the amount of stuff that is politically correct to say. In the 2002 election, when Mitt Romney was running for the first time, he was a Mormon and on the fringe. And then, a couple of elections later, he’s the mainstream candidate. That’s the Overton Window shifting, with Mormonism coming into the norm.

What I have been doing, and what firebrand atheism does, is shifting the window in the same way.

If you look back at when I first came into the Presidency of American Atheists, the first thing I did was put up a billboard at the New York tunnel that called religion a myth. This billboard was on the national news in nine different countries because no one had ever called religion a myth with such grandeur.

After I called it a myth, I called it a scam, I called it nonsense, I called it this, I called it that — and I moved the Overton Window and now, if I put that same billboard up, nobody would care. Calling religion a myth is now inside that window.

That’s what firebrand atheism does. Just like Mitt Romney put Mormonism into the mainstream, we’re trying to bring atheism into the mainstream and it’s succeeding. And I can quantify that with multiple data from independent sources!

VENTRELLA:  Tell us about some examples where you’ve been surprised where it’s been accepted when it wasn’t before…

SILVERMAN: When I first started in American Atheists, back in ’97, we had a convention in New Jersey. Holiday Billboard BattleWe had to look to find a hotel that would allow us to come. That hotel, that we found, would not put us up on the marquee outside. On the one inside, we were listed as “AA” (audience laughter) and if somebody called the hotel and asked if the American Atheists were there, the hotel staff would say no. That was twenty years ago.

This past year, we had our national convention in Memphis. The city of Memphis flew us out and took us on a grand tour of the city. They bought us food. Bought us booze. Showed us all the hotels. The one we stayed at was a Hilton. When we went in, they had “Welcome American Atheists” plastered on the wall.

So this is serious movement.

People get so frustrated when they look at today. They see the inequality that atheists obviously have. There are ten times as many atheists in this country as there are Jews, but we have no representation in Congress.

This is a still a lot better than it was just twenty years ago. We’re making tremendous progress. We’re not there yet but we will be there in our lifetime.

VENTRELLA: So when we see studies showing that younger people believe now, it’s major change. Most of our fights are with the old crowd. And I’m thinking of the Hobby Lobby case, which was such a step backwards. You’ve been fighting those battles. Let’s talk about the Ten Commandment monuments and what you’ve done in those regards.

SILVERMAN:  The Ten Commandment monuments are just a statement of religious privilege. It’s not about their right to do anything, it’s about them having superiority over everybody else. They put a Ten Commandments monument on the public lawn, and that’s illegal — you can’t. When we say “Take it off,” they say it’s an attack on their religious rights. When we go into a public place, there is only one choice: There must be equality.

Equality can be done in many ways: You can take the Ten Commandments off, and we have equality, or you can let other people put theirs in and we have equality.atheistmonumentcr

VENTRELLA: And that’s a winnable argument that has won in the Supreme Court.

SILVERMAN: What happened was there a place in Florida where they had a Ten Commandments monument on public land, alone. We went in there and sued, and we won, and we put up an atheist monument on public land. The outcry was that this was “an attack on Christianity.” They said we were attacking them and that they weren’t attacking us when they put theirs in!

VENTRELLA: One of the book’s themes is that every single battle you have fought has been in defense. You’ve never fought to keep someone else from practicing their religion.

SILVERMAN: Everything we do is defensive. Everything is about equality. Nothing is about privileging atheism over religion. Nothing is about pushing religion away from the churches or persons. Everything is about defending the separation of church and state, which is a synonym for “religious equality.” The more separate church and state is the more free we are.

VENTRELLA: There’s a section of your book about the “War on Christmas.” 

SILVERMAN: It’s starting! ‘Tis the season!

VENTRELLA: Happy War on Christmas, Everybody! (audience laughs) This is mostly an invention by Fox News, if I’m not mistaken. It never existed before they started bringing it up…

SILVERMAN: It’s all an invention by Fox News.

VENTRELLA: But it gets you lots of interviews and publicity…

SILVERMAN: And every year, I knowingly feed it. Yes, every year I attack Christians everywhere, reaching into their homes and weeding out their Christmas trees, grabbing their presents, and I do all of this by putting up a billboard or two. (audience laughs) And I say “Happy holidays!” Oh, how evil I am.

We’re putting up billboards this year. We have them going up in two major cities that I can’t announce yet. They’re going to be fun billboards that will speak to people.cityroom-billboard2-blog480

VENTRELLA: One of the things you criticize other atheists for is their refusal to call themselves that. They want to call themselves humanists or agnostics… Why do you think it’s important for atheists to come out of the closet?

SILVERMAN: We’ve got polls and we know that the entire political process is based on polls. And if you look at the religious markup of the polls, you see that atheists are about 3% of the population and Christians are about 70%. So they look at those polls, and they say, “Oh, look, it’s 70% Christian, 3% atheists. Those atheists don’t matter.”

What they don’t realize is that really, this country is closer to 30% atheist. It’s just that 90% of the atheists in this country don’t call themselves atheists. They call themselves agnostics, secular humanists, none, they call themselves Christians, Muslims, Jews. They call themselves anything but atheists.

Now, if you look at Christians — you look at Methodists, and Baptists, and Presbyterians and all the different denominations, they all call themselves Christian. So they unite, despite real differences, and we divide despite no differences at all. We just don’t like the words.

So the major push of my effort is not to convert believers. Why would we? If we looked at that that 70 to 30 chart and really crunched the numbers, we’d end up with about 55% Christian. Think about how that changes everything. We don’t have to convert anybody — we just have to do is get people to tell the truth about what they are.

If you don’t have an active belief in a god, you’re an atheist. If you don’t have an active belief in a god and you don’t like the word “atheist,” you’re an atheist.  This is simply a fact, it’s a matter of definition, it’s not a matter of self-identification.

The important point is that how you identify affects your neighbor. When 90% of the atheists in this country call themselves something totally different, like “secular” or something that nobody knows what it is, the politicians lose interest in us. We, as a force, diminish. We lose rights because people aren’t using the right word.36

VENTRELLA: We’ve used the metaphor of coming out of the closet to compare this with the gay rights movement to show how quickly that changed. When people started coming out and everyone said “Oh my neighbor is gay? I have no problem with that person.” Do you think that is the atheist goal, to say “Look, we’re just like you except we don’t believe”?

SILVERMAN: That’s it. We will win once we make this change. We don’t have to convert anybody or change anybody’s mind about God. All we have to do is take atheists who are already atheists and make them know that they’re atheists. They can call themselves atheists and be loud and proud about it, and when we can get a poll that shows that we’re at least  a quarter of the population, we will be able to single-handedly influence the way the political situation works.

VENTRELLA: Do you see that as the main theme or goal of this book?


VENTRELLA: So why’d you call it FIGHTING GOD?

SILVERMAN: I didn’t! (audience laughs) The publisher did. But I am fighting the concept of God by telling people that they don’t have to pretend they believe any more. This is the big fight. Our lowest hanging fruit is just to get atheists to call themselves atheists.

VENTRELLA: And that’s different from the other atheist books we’ve seen from Dawkins or even Penn Jillette. You’re trying to start a movement.

SILVERMAN: The movement exists. It was started by my predecessor, Madalyn Murray O’Hair. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by her. She led the fight to take prayer out of schools. That’s the organization I run now and I’m very proud to stand on her shoulders.

VENTRELLA: You and her are the only names anyone knows from the organization. Why do you think that is?

SILVERMAN: I think Madalyn and I had a lot in common! I take a lot from her and I dismiss a lot from her as well, because she’s a person from a different time. I think the reason we are both well known is because we are both firebrands. Maybe the interim Presidents weren’t as firebrandy as I am or she was.

I think what we have here is a specific situation where a firebrand atheist movement can beat the Republican party. I think we can fix this country. And I’m not shooting pie in the sky — I write about this in the book — this war is winnable. Everything we see from the religious right is weak. I think the base is seeing it. I think when we talk to Republicans, they see it — not the leaders, the followers.

VENTRELLA: You went to a conservative convention and got a surprising response.

SILVERMAN: Tremendous response! I went to CPAC, this huge, conservative Jesus thing for Jesus. It’s all about Jesus Jesus Jesus except it’s not. I went to CPAC to try and just drive a little wedge between Christianity and conservatism and what I found was a bunch of people on top who were all Jesus People For Jesus and a whole bunch of atheists underneath.

Not tens, not twenties — hundreds and hundreds. At CPAC! Ayn Randians, libertarians, fiscal conservatives — they are tired of the religious crap.

We got five pages of membership sign-ups — at CPAC! I went there with two one-gallon bags full of buttons that said “Conservative Atheist” and we gave them away free on the condition that you wear it. And we gave away every single button! They were all young. Everyone under thirty at CPAC was wearing a “Conservative Atheist” button. What does that do to the candidates when they see conservative atheists walking around CPAC? I’ll tell you what — Tony Perkins of the American Family Association got up on stage and acknowledged that atheists were there and part of the conservative movement. That’s an amazing thing, but I want to make it clear — I’m not all giddy that Tony Perkins likes us. (audience laughs)  I am however thrilled beyond measure that he felt the need to say that. He needed to say that because of the presence of so many atheists out and proud.

Look at us single-handedly affecting how the Republican party works. Only because we went in there and used the word “atheist” — the word that everybody understands. The word that shifts the Overton Window.

VENTRELLA: Do you have any optimism about the upcoming election?49

SILVERMAN: Yeah! (big smile) One of the things we’re doing at American Atheists right now is that we’re running the atheist voter campaign. It’s a grass-roots campaign that organizes people to go and see the candidate while wearing “atheist voter” t-shirts, and ask the candidates specific questions about atheists. The questions can be very broad. “I’m an atheist and I want to know if, in your cabinet, you’d have an atheist?” Things like that, just to bring out the bigotry, just to get them to address us. We’ve gotten statements now on atheism from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorino, Mike Huckabee, and I think Santorum as well.  We’re going to be publishing them soon. This is going to be something we’re going to be able to show the atheists of this country what they’re saying about us but at the same time, it’s going to show the candidates that we exist and we have to be addressed.

It’s no coincidence in my mind that Trump is the number one person in the Republican party. And everybody knows his religion is bullshit. He says, “Yeah, I read the Bible. I can’t remember anything about it.” (audience laughs) Everybody knows his religion is bullshit. He’s the only non-religious candidate on the Republican ticket and he’s number one by double digits. Why? Republican atheists. There are so many Republican atheists who are sick and tired of the religious right.

I don’t think we’re going to see a religious right candidate. I think what we’re seeing now is the beginning of the end of the religious right’s hold on Republicanism. We’re going into CPAC again this year and we’re going to push that wedge open.

I don’t know if you all know this, but there was a time when Republicanism was not the same as Christianity. Back in the olden days of Barry Goldwater, who was a staunch supporter of the separation of church and state — those days can come back. And we’re pushing that very hard with Republicans.478ed32622ba56a18a307d64989a1d74

VENTRELLA: On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has refused to say much about religion  …

SILVERMAN: I know! He calls himself a “non-religious Jew.” Sounds like a synonym for “atheist” to me! (audience laughs) I don’t know if you all watched the last Democratic debate, but the only person there who didn’t invoke God or prayer was Bernie Sanders. The other two snuck it in, and it was really artificial. “They have their right — I mean, their God-given right…” Bernie Sanders was the only person who didn’t do that. I think he’s an atheist. I hope he’s an atheist. And I hope he wins. If he comes out as an atheist, I will definitely vote for him, but I’m probably going to vote for him anyway. American Atheists is a 501C3 organization, we do not endorse candidates!

We see the progress. We’ve got a person on a major ticket who is an atheist. He has not professed a belief in God. When he talks about his faith, he talks about how “we’re all in this together.” This is an atheist talking and he’s a major candidate now. He’s going to be like Romney in 2002.

VENTRELLA: He’s going to move the Overton Window.


VENTRELLA: The new Prime Minister of Canada has something like four atheists in his cabinet.

SILVERMAN: And what would it be if the Prime Minister of Canada had a secular humanist, an agnostic, a “bright” and a “none” in his cabinet? Same four people. Think about the difference in the impact. Think of what that could do at the local level. This is what we could do simply by using the right words.

VENTRELLA: Let me ask one last question. Tell us about the “What the Fuck” face.

SILVERMAN: I’m a meme, too! That’s the more famous part of me. I did a “Mr. Deity” episode a while ago. I love Brian, if you haven’t looked it up, look up Mr. Diety. We were filming this little webisode in his house. And his daughter comes out and she’s maybe sixteen years old. Dave_Silverman.svgAnd he says “Honey, this is David Silverman! He’s the President of American Atheists!” And she says, “Oh, that’s nice.” And then he says, “He’s also the ‘What the Fuck’ face guy.” She says “No WAY! Let me take a picture! Do the face!” (audience laughs)

Basically what happens is that I go to O’Reilly. I’ve been on a couple times now, but this was the first time we actually had a chance to talk before the show. And he is, by the way, intelligent. He’s knowledgeable. He knows what he’s saying, knows what he’s doing. We had a really good conversation. And then the cameras go on.

If you watch the video, you’ll see — I was manoeuvering him into a corner. “You’re a skeptical person and you don’t really believe this shit.” And he went defensive, and he said, “I’ll tell you why God exists. The tide goes in, the tide goes out, there’s never a miscommunication, you can’t explain that.” And I made this face.  What? 

A lot of people think it was about the question. It was about the question after we had this whole intelligent conversation beforehand. So I have this look on my face of a complete disconnect. What the hell am I listening to?

And the young people at Reddit seized on it, and they created this meme. And now this face, which is public domain — I don’t get any money from it — is on pajamas, on stickers at the dollar store. I love it!

It’s good marketing, right? Because if people look it up, they will watch that video of Bill O’Reilly saying something really damned stupid.

VENTRELLA: Stephen Colbert called you “Mr. Atheist Pants” after that incident.

SILVERMAN: That’s now my Twitter handle.

Republicans proud of their dishonesty

It’s one thing to be a dishonest person; it’s quite another to be proud of that fact.

For many Republicans, they revel in their dishonesty, partially because they think they’re so clever for getting away with their evil schemes.dr-evil

I’m serious here. Forget about all the “death panel” lies and other crap they’ve said in the past about Obamacare — just look at a few examples from the last few months.

Take Kevin McCarthy, who admitted that the Benghazi hearings were indeed not meant to find out the truth, but were just partisan attacks on Hillary Clinton in an attempt to knock her approval ratings down. Oops! He lost his chance to be Speaker of the House not because Republicans were upset that he said this, but instead that he admitted that their stated reason for the hearings was a lie.

Then there’s all those movements to make it harder for Democrats to vote. “It’s to prevent fraud!’ they say, despite the fact that your chance of finding voter fraud is less than your chance of being hit by lightning. Every once in a while, a Republican will slip and admit the real reason. The Republicans don’t then come out and say, “Okay, you caught us, our bad, we really were lying all the time.” Nope, they double down and hope that everyone forgets the Man Behind the Curtain.

Even the Planned Parenthood attacks aren’t just about abortion — sometimes it’s just plain old Christian puritan ethics. There have been plenty of Republicans who blame the problem on “loose women” (it’s never the men’s fault in these situations; apparently the women are getting pregnant all by themselves). They lie by fabricating fake videos (and then double down and repeat the lie when the truth is exposed) and at a recent anti-abortion rally, the guest speaker admitted that they were fighting against sin: “The kind of sexual ethic that Planned Parenthood promotes is sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.”

And that’s what it’s about. At today’s Benghazi hearings — one of many that have produced absolutely nothing yet spent millions of taxpayer dollars — we’re seeing more of it.

The good news is that the public knows this. 75% of Americans know this is just a Republican witch hunt. People can see through the lies.

But the Republicans don’t care.

Nobody for Speaker!

I’m presently in Washington DC as an invited guest panelist at Capclave, a literary science fiction convention, where I am promoting my book “Bloodsuckers: A Vampire Runs for President” (among others).  Late last night, I was on a fun panel wherein the four of us were challenged to improvise a story based on random suggestions of things from the audience. It was great fun.

But since this is DC, some of the suggestions were political — which is fine with me.

cartoon by Mike Luckovich

cartoon by Mike Luckovich

I went first, and the three items I was given were “A hat with free will,” “Diet coke” and “Speaker of the House” — so I began a story about Paul Ryan using Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat to determine whether he should be Speaker and being told that he would have to seek out a hobbit named Robert Reich and go on a quest … the story went downhill from there as each panelist took their turn with three new suggestions, involving the Three Stooges, Santa Claus that only spoke in anagrams, a dragon that thought he was Liberace, and a giant robot with a small potato for a heart who was constantly saying “size doesn’t matter.”

But this was in no way as strange, bizarre, and convoluted as the real story for the Speaker of the House. For the first time in American history, nobody wants this powerful and important position, second in line for the Presidency. This is unprecedented.

The Republican party is in such disarray that no one wants to be captain of the sinking ship. The sinking ship that has a continuous mutiny. While it is sailing in the opposite direction of where it needs to go. With a dangerous cargo that… okay, enough of that metaphor. You get the point.

Oh sure, there are a few that want the position but no one is taking them seriously. None of them have enough support to make a difference, and that’s the key — the party is totally disorganized and can’t get its act together, which is why Boehner wants out in the first place.

As for me and my fellow Democrats? We’re just going sit here in the bleachers and watch the demolition derby. Pass the popcorn!

Stupidest Ben Carson Quotes

Forget the fact that Dr. Ben Carson has never held an elected position in his life and is about as qualified to become the Most Powerful Man in the World as any other random doctor you could find.  He is an idiot when it comes to politics and history.

He is, however, a wonderful source for stupid quotes. Here are some of his best (or worst, depending on how you want to look at it):Obamacare-27

“ObamaCare is the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” Because providing health care to people to make sure they don’t die is exactly like owning slaves! Why, the two are practically synonymous!

[America is] very much like Nazi Germany.” He said this because he believed liberals are like Nazis, what with their love of equality, gay rights, and freedom of religion. We know how much the Nazis loved those things.

“I think most people when they finish that course, they’d be ready to go sign up for ISIS.” This was his objection to an American history course that taught students about slavery and Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil disobedience — you know, history. Clearly, learning facts would obviously make people immediately join a terrorist group. It goes without saying. Which is why no sane person ever says it.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Association], be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are.”  It’s true, you know. Gay people getting married to the person they love is exactly like non-consentual child molesters and animal abusers.  No, wait, I remember now, they have absolutely nothing to do with each other. My bad.

“Well, do those same people argue for freedom of choice when someone says, ‘I want to buy a gun, I want to buy an Uzi?'”  This one is good. When asked if marijuana should be legal, he said no, it was a gateway drug and it “leads to hedonism.” He was then asked if it wasn’t a matter of free choice, and he responded with this quote. Mind you, he thinks guns should be easy to obtain, so with this quote he is attacking liberals for being hypocrites while simultaneously being exactly as hypocritical.

“Because 9/11 is an isolated incident.”  That was his response to a question asking him how he could say Obamacare is worse than 9/11. Because of course. 9/11 killed thousands of people;  Obamacare has saved thousands. Excellent analogy.

“A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.”  This was his scientific evidence that being gay is a choice.

“So if there were a container of contaminated urine, and somehow it managed to find its way to someplace a lot of damage could be done. Someone comes up to a lab worker. He knows he’s got the urine. ‘How would you like to have a million dollars?’ … Such things have been known to happen.”  This is a doctor talking now, about ebola, and how it could be used as a chemical weapon even though every other doctor said no, that couldn’t happen.

“Why did evolution divert in so many directions — birds, fish, elephants, apes, humans — if there is some force evolving to the maximum? Why isn’t everything a human — a superior human?”  What the hell is a doctor doing denying (and clearly not understanding) evolution?

“For most of our history, schoolchildren were taught the guiding principles of the Constitution from the earliest age, and even members of Congress with controversial civil rights histories such as the late Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia kept a copy of that great document in their jacket pocket to remind them of the responsibilities and limits of governance.” I talked about this in a previous post wherein this genius talked about things in the Constitution which aren’t there. This quote belongs on this list mostly because the two heroes of the Constitution he mentioned were both KKK members who did everything in their power to subvert the Constitution and keep people like Dr. Ben Carson from having any rights. Sometimes I wonder if maybe this is guy is just suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

But you know, this idiot is a new Republican icon because he appeals to their stupidity.  (I won’t say he is a conservative icon because there really are smart conservatives.  None of them seem to have any power any more in the new Stupid Party.)

So they love Dr. Ben Carson — a man who is absolutely opposed to government handouts! And he should know — raised in public housing, gone to public schools, fed with food stamps, supported with welfare, kept healthy with medicaid, received federal grants and loans to go to college —  he knows how terrible government is!

Oh, did I mention that besides being stupid, he’s also a flaming hypocrite?


Edit: Please note that this was written back in March of 2015. He’s said a lot more stupid stuff since then.



Republicans: “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it.”

Republicans have pledged to not fund Homeland Security because Obama is allowing immigrants with children to not be deported under very strict circumstances (the old Reagan immigration policy).

Got that?  All of us will be at risk unless we kick families out of the country to fend for themselves, Lord-of-the-Flies style.

Republican political advisers Doug and Dimsdale Piranha

Republican political advisers Doug and Dimsdale Piranha

And then they want to blame Democrats. “If there is a successful attack during a DHS shutdown, we should build a number of coffins outside each Democratic office and say, ‘You are responsible for these dead Americans,’” said Republican Senator Mark Kirk.

So they admit to their blackmail and say that if people die because of it, it’s the fault of the ones who refuse to be blackmailed.

But then something amazing happened. Some Republicans looked at the polls for once and realized their position is hugely unpopular. Over 60% of Americans favor Obama’s immigration policy.

Senator Kirk was the first one to pedal backwards, saying “I generally agree with the Democratic position here.”  No more talk about coffins.

At least for now.  Give it another week.  Something else equally as deplorable is certain to happen.