Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged South Carolina

545 notes

Homelessness is not a crime. I’ve got to have the legal right (to question or take anyone into custody). We can’t just take people to somewhere they don’t want to go. I can’t do that. I won’t do that.

Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago taking a stand on the city council’s plan to criminalize homelessness in downtown Columbia, S.C. by pushing the homeless to a shelter just barely in the city limits. 

According to The State, Santiago also said his department cannot transport homeless adults to the riverfront shelter to get services nor will police tell them they would be charged with a nuisance offense should they refuse. The law, which is likely unconstitutional, aims to bus the homeless out of the downtown area to a shelter that would have infrequent transportation services and require signing in and out. 

Filed under South Carolina Homelessness economy politics news Ruben Santiago Police law lawblr poverty discrimination injustice

324 notes

The problem with selecting a candidate to “beat Obama”

MSNBC and Fox News are both hammering home that out of all the candidates in the GOP primary in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich’s support was the highest among people who said the most important factor in their selection was a candidate who could defeat Barack Obama. Coincidentally, beating Obama was the most important factor in candidate choice to nearly 50% of voters. Fox News is also pointing out his strong performances in debates with his zingers at the media and fellow candidates and his stubborn refusal to go gently into that good night as factors in his rise in the polls, and his overall victory in South Carolina.

Um, guys?

You know that after January 20, 2013, the president-elect is now the president. That means said president has to actually do shit. Things will not be magically fixed just because you voted out Barack Obama. In fact, much of what Gingrich wants to do in office could make things worse. 

I imagine the thought process of many voters when considering Gingrich goes like this:

  1. Doughy white guy says shit I like. He sounds smart. He says he’s going to beat Obama. He sounds confident, unlike that sputtering asshat with tax problems. Plus, he’ll end Obama’s war on my religion.
  2. Fuck the lazy-ass poor people. Get jobs, douchebags. He’ll even put kids to work, too.
  3. Open marriage? Shit, at least he could beat Obama.
  4. Vote Newt Gingrich. 
  5. *POOF* Teatopia, y’all!

This is remarkably similar to liberal pals of mine who are pissed Obama didn’t unbreak everything in four years and bring about the opposite of Teatopia. If you listened to Obama and examined his voting record, you’d see he’s fairly moderate. In fact, compared to past Republicans, i.e. Richard Nixon, he’s more to the right.

But in the 2012 Electoral Race to the Bottom, sponsored by Citizens United v. FEC (2010), the facts don’t matter and Barack Obama must be defeated. Even if it means nominating a man with absolutely no character or ability to lead. Why is it so tough to wrap my brain around voters supporting Newt Gingrich?

  • Speaking of the Citizens United decision, Gingrich Productions has “produced three films on religion and one each on energy, Ronald Reagan and the threat of radical Islam.” These films are little more than GOP talking point advertisements. Gingrich’s funding partner? As The Wall Street Journal points out, these were “all done as joint projects with the conservative activist group, Citizens United. The latest project: A film on American exceptionalism, another likely campaign theme.” 

  • He’s admitted to multiple affairs, while attacking others on “family values” and holding himself up as a moral paragon. His personal life is irrelevant until he begins throwing stones in his obviously glass house.

  • He doesn’t use a racism dog-whistle so much as a racism air-raid siren. Gingrich defended his diatribe from the Jan. 16th GOP debate, which he launched into when Juan Williams asked him about the racial overtones of his comments regarding poor children lacking “work habits”, employing children as janitors in poor, urban neighborhoods, and the black community needing to demand food stamps versus paychecks. And how did he choose to defend this? 

    Newt Gingrich decided to attack Juan Williams, claiming on Friday, “I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange, distant concept.” So in order to defend himself against charges of racism, he essentially states Williams is lazy. Williams was the African-American man who had the audacity to ask him a tough question, and that does not seem to sit well with Newt several days later.

  • As a US House Representative, he kited twenty-two personal checks using the now-defunct House Bank, charges uncovered during the “Rubbergate” scandal - including a check for over $9,000 to the IRS. One of the whistleblowers on this scandal? Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn.

  • He blasted colleagues for ties to lobbyists and corruption, yet Gingrich accepted a check from Employment Policies Institute lobbyist Richard B. Berman for $25,000. This particular check, supposedly given to Gingrich as a donation for a college course he was teaching, led former Rep. Ben Jones (D-Ga.) to demand an ethics investigation by the US House because the note attached to the contribution raised questions of possible criminal wrongdoing by suggesting Gingrich used his influence on behalf of the lobbyist at a 1993 congressional hearing.
     
    The note stated in a postscript: “Newt - Thanks again for the help on today’s committee hearing.” The subsequent investigation into this charge, shady book deals, and other fundraising activity lead to over 80 ethics charges against Gingrich and a plea deal with an unprecedented $300,000 fine. Gingrich resigned as well.

A side note from Esquire on the ethics investigation: [Emphasis mine]

The House Ethics Committee started investigating GOPAC’s donations to his college class and caught him trying to hide his tracks by raising money through a charity for inner-city kids called the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation. Another charity of his called Earning by Learning actually spent half its money supporting a former Gingrich staffer who was writing his biography… The Ethics Committee found him guilty of laundering donations through charities, submitting “inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable” testimony, and making “an effort to have the material appear to be nonpartisan on its face, yet serve as a partisan, political message for the purpose of building the Republican party.”

And yes, it’s those same inner-city kids he wants to make janitors

Gingrich is running what he claims to be a revolutionary campaign of ideas. Yet those ideas are little more than attacking fellow candidates, the media, and Barack Obama for issues ranging from corruption and immorality, to favoritism and anti-Americanism. Gingrich employs a set of cliches and fiery debate invective that gets voters in the booth on primary day as evidenced by South Carolina. Can he continue this into the general election?

As multiple news outlets discussed today, Gingrich’s unfavorability rating is the highest of any candidate among moderates and independents. This is a significant voting bloc the GOP will seek to court from Obama. Gingrich is not stupid. He is effective in debates. He calls other candidates “Washington elites” (when he spent significantly more time in Washington than any other candidate running) and the crowd goes wild.

Mitt Romney, the ostensible front-runner, is a terrible candidate in debates. He is easily rattled and incapable of answering a direct question. The GOP field is in disarray and looking for unity. The former Speaker of the House is an experienced politician - though divisive - and may be the one to watch going into Super Tuesday in the next several weeks. Perhaps a theory posited by Gingrich in 1988 explains his success: “In every election in American history, both parties have their cliches. The party that has the cliches that ring true wins.”

The 2012 primary season promises to be a dog and pony show until the bitter end - or until the money runs out. This election cycle reinforces the idea that American politics is little more than contemporary bread and circuses, only less bread and more circuses. Elections are ideally about issues and governance. This year, the only stated mission of the GOP is to rid the White House of Obama, and Gingrich is the candidate best at smearing Obama as somewhere between Benedict Arnold and Benito Mussolini.

Voters are responding well in the primary to this kind of messaging, but the GOP will hopefully discover it’s difficult to run on a platform of needing to do nothing besides regain control of the presidency. To run on a platform that consists of “beat the other guy and BAM! TEATOPIA!" is simply intellectually dishonest. But if it’s intellectually (and morally) dishonest they want, the GOP has their man in Gingrich. If it’s beat Obama they want, they may get it. However, January 21, 2013 and every day after is another day Obama will no longer be available as the executive target, and another day when the new president will be expected to lead. The GOP may be content to run a cliche-machine, powered by egomaniacal bile, but American voters deserve more than just some guy nominated to beat Obama.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Newt Gingrich Barack Obama South Carolina Politics Primary 2012 Elections Government Election 2012 Obama scandal Republican GOP Democrat

123 notes

I get a kick out of folks who call for equality now, the people on the left, ‘Well, equality, we want equality.’ Where do you think this concept of equality comes from? It doesn’t come from Islam. It doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions, where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that’s where it comes from.

So don’t claim his rights, don’t claim equality as that gift from God and then go around and say, ‘Well, we don’t have to pay attention to what God wants us to do. We don’t have to pay attention to God’s moral laws.’ If your rights come from God, then you have an obligation to live responsibly in conforming with God’s laws, and our founders said so, right?

Rick Santorum, at his last town hall meeting before the South Carolina primary.

I’ve heard the argument that rights come from God before. But the equality thing, goddamn. That’s a whole new layer of fuckery.

But whatever. I’ll play.

  • "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But womena will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Or…

  • "Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words." 1 Timothy 6:1-4

Or…

  • "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." 1 Corinthians 11:3
  • "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." 1 Corinthians 11:8-9
  • "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home." 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  • "Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman." Eccles. 25:13
  • "Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die." Eccles. 25:22
  • "The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids." Eccles. 26:9
  • "Better is the churlishness of a man than a courteous woman, a woman, I say, which bringeth shame and reproach." Eccles. 42:14
  • "One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the congregation of the Lord." Deuteronomy 23:2

I’m done. In general, organized religion does not have the best track record of promoting equality. I imagine Rick Santorum has a different version of equality than the one found in the US Constitution. That’s the definition I follow.

And that’s one big reason Santorum should never hold public office again. He loves to rail about Iran’s unjust theocracy. Listening to Santorum talk, it seems he’s taken notes for his imaginary presidency.

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Rick Santorum Religion politics equality Ow my brain Inequality gender GOP Republican South Carolina

8 notes

CNN Debate in less than 10 minutes

Live-stream hereFollow me on Twitter for live-blogging: @meglanker

Also, don’t forget about GOP Bingo! Cards are here.

Since I didn’t have time to update/replace Rick Perry spaces, take any space that mentions Perry as a free space. It’s redistribution of the free spaces so everyone has more. Because I am more of a socialist than Obama. </sarcasm>

I’ll miss Perry’s performances. Someone make an emotional montage saying goodbye, please.

Submit your bingo cards here, or email them to meglanker@gmail.com.

Filed under GOP debate GOP debate politics CNN Debate South Carolina

44 notes

Juan Williams and Newt Gingrich face off

Juan Williams asked Newt Gingrich in tonight’s debate about his comments regarding Black Americans demanding paychecks and not food stamps, plus his statements about poor children working as janitors in their schools and firing unionized janitorial labor. Gingrich attempted to make his case by doubling-down on each idea. 

This whole exchange was utterly offensive on Gingrich’s part and was compounded by the audience booing Williams for asking the question. Here’s the full back-and-forth - it really must be read to be believed:

WILLIAMS: Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also said poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can’t you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?

GINGRICH: No. I don’t see that.
(APPLAUSE)
You know, my daughter, Jackie, who’s sitting back there, Jackie Cushman, reminded me that her first job was at First Baptist Church in Carrollton, Georgia, doing janitorial work at 13. And she liked earning the money. She liked learning that if you worked, you got paid. She liked being in charge of her own money, and she thought it was a good start.

I had a young man in New Hampshire who walked up to me. I’ve written two newsletters now about this topic. I’ve had over 50 people write me about the jobs they got at 11, 12, 13 years of age. Ran into a young man who started a doughnut company at 11. He’s now 16. He has several restaurants that take his doughnuts. His father is thrilled that he’s 16 because he can now deliver his own doughnuts.
(LAUGHTER)

What I tried to say — and I think it’s fascinating, because Joe Klein reminded me that this started with an article he wrote 20 years ago. New York City pays their janitors an absurd amount of money because of the union. You could take one janitor and hire 30-some kids to work in the school for the price of one janitor, and those 30 kids would be a lot less likely to drop out. They would actually have money in their pocket. They’d learn to show up for work. They could do light janitorial duty. They could work in the cafeteria. They could work in the front office. They could work in the library. They’d be getting money, which is a good thing if you’re poor. Only the elites despise earning money.
(APPLAUSE)

WILLIAMS: Well…
(APPLAUSE)
(CROSSTALK)
WILLIAMS: The suggestion that he made was about a lack of work ethic. And I’ve got to tell you, my e-mail account, my Twitter account has been inundated with people of all races who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities. You saw some of this reaction during your visit…
(BOOING)
… to a black church in South Carolina. You saw some of this during your visit to a black church in South Carolina, where a woman asked you why you refer to President Obama as “the food stamp president.” It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people.
(BOOING)

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.
(APPLAUSE)
Now, I know among the politically correct, you’re not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.
(LAUGHTER)
(APPLAUSE)

Second, you’re the one who earlier raised a key point. There’s — the area that ought to be I-73 was called by Barack Obama a corridor of shame because of unemployment. Has it improved in three years? No. They haven’t built the road. They haven’t helped the people. They haven’t done anything.
(APPLAUSE)
So…
(APPLAUSE)
BRET BAIER: Finish your thought, Mr. Speaker.

GINGRICH: One last thing.

BAIER: Yes, sir.

GINGRICH: So here’s my point. I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness. And if that makes liberals unhappy, I’m going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job and learn some day to own the job.
(APPLAUSE)

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Newt Gingrich Racism Classism Juan Williams politics South Carolina GOP debate GOP Republican Republicans offensive

54 notes

To answer a question: This is what I’m referring to when I say Rick Santorum kicked Mitt Romney’s ass.

If Santorum can rattle him like this, just wait ‘til he debates Barack Obama. And as far as state’s rights go with felons voting, it IS already up to individual states how disenfranchised people are - some states restore rights after people serve their time, and some (like Wyoming) disenfranchise people for life. 

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Rick Santorum Mitt Romney GOP Republican Republicans GOP Debate South Carolina politics