Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

Are The Mega Wealthy Really Job Creators?

There’s been no small rush of political news popping up today. The biggest item on all the news tickers, of course, is Rick Santorum dropping out of the GOP presidential candidacy race. Sure, Newt Gingrich says he’ll stay in until the convention, and no doubt Ron Paul will as well, but the likelihood of either of them getting the nomination or preventing Mitt Romney from reaching the requisite number of delegates is insanely low. Not impossible, mind, but this is pretty much guaranteed to be a race between Romney and Barack Obama now.

I had personally hoped Santorum would stick with it and hopefully snag a couple of big wins in Pennsylvania and Texas, because I wanted to see this thing become a long, dragged out fight with almost zero focus on their Democratic rival for the presidency, but it looks like Romney will have a lot of time to prepare and face off against Obama. Sure, Santorum made writing blog posts easier, but Romney’s guaranteed to say something idiotic about how rich he is again, so I guess there’s no worries there.

But speaking of Romney’s wealth, there’s been another bit of news being tossed about. This one deals with the impending Congressional vote on the proposed “Buffett Rule,” something Obama has been stumping for lately.

For those of you unaware of the “Buffett Rule,” it takes its name from Warren Buffett, who I do believe is still the wealthiest man in America. The idea behind it caught a fervor when Buffett wrote a column in The New York Times entitled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.” As a member of the super-rich, Buffett says that the idea that his secretary pays around 15% more in taxes than he does is ridiculous. The super-rich need not be coddled. They can afford heavier taxes. Not only can they afford it, but it’s only fair and right for them to pay more than those on lesser incomes. Those that have made money on investments, like Buffett and Romney, should not be granted so much leeway on their taxes, especially while America suffers financially, both as a whole and in the middle class.

This idea, of course, was met with severe partisan reactions. Those on the left applauded the idea, particularly as it came from someone who would be hit with the raised taxes. Those on the right… called it class warfare. …something that makes no sense whatsoever.

Beyond those attempts, members of the upper 5 to 1% of the economy have tried painting themselves in different lights, like as people that aren’t actually all that rich. After all, they’re just regular Joes that spend $200,000 on food every year. For those curious, that’s $22.83 spent per person per meal for a family of six eating four meals a day.

Another, slightly less ridiculous and massively insulting way they’ve attempted to repaint their image is by claiming to be job creators. After all, if you heavily tax job creators, you’d hinder their abilities to make jobs for people, and America and the economy desperately need more jobs to be made!

This argument is generally the one they’ve tried to stick with (though Ann Romney did recently make the unfortunate claim that she doesn’t “consider herself to be wealthy” by trying to hide the definition of wealth behind a bunch of flowery sentimental junk while her husband gets elevators for his cars). Recently, it’s been brought back in full force, as seen when former President George W. Bush made a speech against raising taxes on the “so-called rich.”

According to Bush, “If you raise taxes on the so-called rich, you’re really raising taxes on the job creators. If the goal is private sector growth, you’ve got to recognize that the best way to achieve that growth is to leave capital in the treasuries of the job creators.”

Ignoring the fact that Bush was president during the economic crisis and a large amount of the blame could be laid at his economic policies’ feet, and ignoring the idea that the best economic policy is to let capital be hoarded, I have to ask: Are the super-rich really job creators?

I’ve met several job creators. Small business owners and the like. I guarantee you, they aren’t super rich. And I’m willing to bet that a large majority of huge companies, like Wal-Mart and McDonalds and the like, weren’t created by the super wealthy. Likely, they were created by people that worked, that had an idea, gathered capital and managed to start a successful business. It likely took years and years, and had its successes and pitfalls.

The middle class are job creators. I’ve seen it happen. Now, I’m sure there are many in the upper, wealthier class that are also job creators.

But how many, really? How many of the super wealthy make jobs with their wealth? How many are constantly creating jobs with their own personal gains?

Look to the actors and athletes who earn millions of dollars. Are they actively creating jobs? Or is it through the support of the middle class giving money to them that any jobs that happen to be created because of what they do actually occur?

How many of the super-rich became that way through inheritence? Or through simple good investments? How many of them sit on their wealth, or send it to the Cayman Islands?

And exactly how would job creation be hindered by them paying more money in taxes? The people, the businesses… they earn millions, billions of dollars. To create a job only takes thousands. If they can tell me exactly how many jobs they are making every month with the profits they have right now, and if they can show me exactly how paying a few extra thousand dollars every year will prevent them from being able to continue making those jobs, maybe I’ll believe them.

But right now? It’s a load of bollocks. It’s all hot air and meaningless words. The only jobs most of them create are jobs for their accountant.

Oh, and to throw in a little Biblical verse, since the right like to claim Christian morality is on their side…

“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48, NIV

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Do You Really Want Us To Look At The Things You’ve Said, Mitt?

As the GOP presidential race seems to be winding down, with most of the upper crust flocking behind Mitt Romney and the voters seeming to abandon Rick Santorum in light of the fact that Romney hasn’t said enough stupid, vote-losing stuff lately (or, at least, nothing we having come to simply expect Romney to be an idiot about). As such, Romney is once again bringing his focus around toward Barack Obama and making his campaign a more nationally focused one.

And, as such, he’s trying to get people focused on the things he says, as opposed to the brand of his jeans. In fact, he’s decided not only that people need to focus on the content of what he says, but he’s prepared to back up everything he believes in. From that article: “Unlike President Obama, you don’t need to wait until after the election to find out what I believe or what my plans are,” Romney said. “Unlike President Obama, I have the courage to stand behind my plan and the leadership experience to enact it.”

…so, um, what is Romney’s plan?

Seriously, can anyone tell me?

There has been exactly one thing Romney has said that I can say he probably believes in: “Corporations are people.”

He’s clearly against the things Obama stands for, like Obamacare, except for when he’s not, like when he was governor of Massachusetts.

That’s the most easily referenced example, of course. But, seriously, since the time he’s started in politics, his policies have changed and shifted so much, it’s pretty much impossible to nail down what he believes except that he wants to be president. And balance the budget. He never says how, but he’ll balance it. Probably using his magical businessman abilities.

I mean, maybe he’ll be able to actually say some things of substance if/when he becomes the GOP nominee… but right now, he’s pretty much the only candidate that I can’t say, “Oh, he believes in X.” Rick Santorum’s social views are well documented. Everyone knows about Newt Gingrich’s moon base. Ron Paul hasn’t changed his views, really, since his first election in 1832. Obama’s been president, so he’s mostly shown off many of his views…

And Romney’s just that rich guy that wants to be president.

So, Romney, you start saying something of substance, and maybe the media will start talking about it.

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Please Stop The Political Deceit

So, despite all the other discussions that have fairly important subtext the majority of people seem to be ignoring, there is still a GOP primary race going on. And boy, is it a party burner.

With Newt Gingrich finally admitting he can’t win before the delegation, deciding to scale back his campaign in hopes of ruining Mitt Romney’s chances of being the delegate, and Romney being wholly and completely unable to stop being an idiot about how rich he is (which makes me wonder if he could ever, y’know, do anything to help his constituency with his complete inability to learn from mistakes), things have been rather ridiculous for the GOP candidates.

But, for some reason, as people are oft wont to do, it’s never enough to hit the people of opposing ideologies where it hurts, as in the things they actually say that are ridiculous and awful, or even hit them with a simple “I disagree” when they say nothing awful. Instead, we have to make stuff up.

No, I’m not talking about the recent, ridiculously moronic wrath taken against President Barack Obama’s statement of solidarity and empathy toward the family of the deceased Trayvon Martin. Not this time, at least.

Instead, I’m talking about a certain photo that has been making the rounds on Facebook. In the last one I talked about, some college kid erroneously attributed himself as not being a member of the lower 99% of the economy simply because he’s lucky enough to soon be debt free. In this one, the target is a specific candidate, Rick Santorum.

Here’s what the photo quotes him as saying:

“While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration. I will ban all pornography. Especially gay pornography. Gay pornography is the reason people choose the gay lifestyle or what I call the deathstyle. If we got rid of that, homosexuality would be gone within a matter of months. This is one of only a few things I see eye to eye on with the Taliban.”

Now, it certainly sounds almost like something Santorum would say. He did say something along the lines of Obama seeming to favor pornographers over families. And it sounds like something he’d think. He’s quite well known for his anti-homosexuality stances. But it all kind of falls apart when you read that last line. Y’know, the one where he says he agrees with the Taliban.

Santorum would never ever say anything like that. Even if he did, you can bet that his political opponents would jump on that like a dog jumps on the only piece of meat he’s seen in weeks. Santorum would be painted as someone who agrees with terrorists and hates Americans, a radical extremist wrong for this country. You can check out Snopes and see what they say on the issue.

Look. Santorum is not a good candidate for America. He is extremist on every single social issue. I have talked about him over and over and again. His politics are terrible. He has said stupid things, made moronic stances, insulted the majority of Americans at one point or another.

Does anyone else remember Santorum and Michele Bachmann signing that “Marriage Vow” that stated enslaved black families lived better lives than black families living under the Obama administration?

THAT is a horrendous thing to do. An awful thing to sign, and by doing so, agree with. It was awful. And that’s not even in the five links I just posted earlier about Santorum’s views. Heck, those five links just happen to be the five articles I’ve written that have his name in the title. I’ve written several others.

There are a billion and a half things to take offense to when it comes to Dickish Rick. It’s easy enough to get terribly boring after a while, and to start being disappointed in humanity. Particularly the American bits.

So why make things up? To what point and purpose is there? It merely weakens the faith people have in you and your position should you be found out. It makes you and your beliefs seem faulty and deceitful. Don’t lie to hurt your opponent, or to set up your own beliefs. Be honest, and let people make decisions informed by reality. Maybe something good will come of it.

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Hoodies Don’t Kill People. People Kill People.

In the continuing saga of Trayvon Martin’s death, be it murder, manslaughter, or self-defense, there have been some strange reactions.

I’ve already reacted to it a couple of times now. I don’t really count mine among the strange reactions. Not really. Nor do I count President Barack Obama’s reaction as strange.

I would have to say Newt Gingrich’s outrage over what Obama said to be odd. Some would agree with me on that front. Others, not so much.

Also a bit ridiculous are some of the reactions that hinge directly on Florida’s now extremely controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. Like this one that suggests Martin was in the wrong for not running away from the gunman. Personally, were I in that situation, I would have likely either a) tried to knock the guy out or b) tried to take the gun. Preferably both. Or, possibly, c) frozen in fear. Guns aren’t the least scary things in the world, for sure.

As ridiculous as those may or may not be, however, I think the dumbest reaction has to be one that’s been perpetuated by multiple people. And that reaction is that the hoodie worn by Martin was as culpable as the shooter George Zimmerman in Martin’s death.

An opinion first nationally stated by Fox News regular Geraldo Rivera, and later by Sirius XM radio host Dan Graca, it’s the idea that a darker skinned person wearing a hooded sweatshirt, particularly with the hood raised around their head, is in inherent danger. That it is instinctual to be suspicious and potentially violent toward people like that.

A few problems, though. First, by all the accounts I’ve read, Martin put his hood on after he noticed he was being stalked by Zimmerman. Unless adding a hood after someone has seen you adds to your dangerous imagery, the entire argument is a load of crap. Second, exactly how, if you’re being stalked from behind, would someone notice the color of your skin if your hood is up? And why would such a thing matter? As a white man, I’ve worn hoodies tons of times. The hoods can sometimes be helpful when it’s cold or rainy. There was a time, though, when I just wore a hoodie because I liked it. And Rivera isn’t unknown to the article of clothing, either. So what exactly is the insinuation here? It seems to actually support the idea that Zimmerman was, in fact, racist.

The very idea that a specific article of clothing should make someone the target of suspicion seems ridiculous to me. That the article of clothing in question is a hoodie merely makes it more ridiculous. Hoodies are worn by many people. They’re very popular. You can generally say that someone with teardrops tattooed on their face has likely killed people. Teardrop tattoos aren’t terribly common. But a hoodie as a sign of instant suspicion and dangerousness is ridiculous.

Not only is the idea simply ridiculous, but it distracts from the tragedy. It attempts to blame the victim for something innocuous. It alleviates blame from the person that should be blamed. It takes away from the necessary discourse of racism, police procedure and gun control.

All of these subjects are ones important to our continuing growth as a nation. Our attempt to strive toward a more perfect union. To establish justice and ensure tranquility.

Determining the fashion of crime is nothing but a useless, idiotic and ultimately harmful direction for discourse. And it needs to stop.

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Bad De Niro Jokes, Possibly Racist Cops And Evil Board Games

Well, today isn’t a day I have a whole lot to say… so I’m just going to look at a few persistent things that have been staying in the realm of chatter all day.

First, I don’t know if you heard, but Robert De Niro, the actor from that one episode of “30 Rock,” made a terrible, horrible, offensive joke today.

Do you want to hear it?

Here’s the set up: De Niro was introducing First Lady Michelle Obama at a Barack Obama fundraiser. De Niro quipped the following (hide your kids):

“Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady? Too soon, right?”

…You still here, or did the vicious and reprehensible nature of De Niro’s humor sicken you to the point of leaving?

I think the point of the joke here was to pick fun at the 2008 GOP questioning if America was ready for a black president. But, because De Niro said the word white, a divisive, hateful descriptor, he got Newt Gingrich all sorts of upset.

Gingrich’s response: “What De Niro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him. It was at an Obama fundraiser, it is exactly wrong, it divides the country. If people on the left want to talk about talk show hosts, then everybody in the country should hold the president accountable when someone at his event says something that is utterly and terribly unacceptable as what Robert De Niro said.” You can read the article for other things Gingrich said.

Here’s the thing… It was barely even a racial joke… and barely even a joke at all. It wasn’t mean spirited, and it definitely didn’t say a single thing that wasn’t true. The wives of the GOP presidential candidates are, in fact, white. Tada. Cat’s out of the bag. Surprise, America.

The really awkward thing for me about all of this is that, first off, the office of the First Lady agreed that it was “inappropriate,” and second off, the rather heinous Ann Coulter agrees with me that any hullabaloo about this is ridiculous. Not necessarily for the same reasons, but we end on the same page. Which kind of makes me think the Mayans were right about this year.

De Niro has since “apologized” in a fashion, but I think he knows that trying to take offense to this joke of all possible things is rather stupid.

In other news, remember a couple of days ago when I mentioned how we need to talk about racism, and specifically about the unfortunate case of Trayvon Martin? Well, to update, the case is finally getting national attention as it should be. National attention and pressure will hopefully lead into an investigation on the police force that has only begrudgingly released evidence and still hasn’t arrested Zimmerman, an arrest for George Zimmerman, an actual trial and, perhaps equally important, a more scrutinized look at Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which appears to be central to the entire case. Basically, the law states that people aren’t required to turn and run from potentially violent situations first, but can legally stand their ground and fight back in confrontations. Or so I understand. It definitely has its holes, though, as this case has shown.

Finally, on a non-national front, I was introduced to another new board game by my roommates, one called Betrayal at House on the Hill. It kind of has Arkham similarities, as it’s a “horror” board game, but instead of you all against the board, it’s everyone against the board until someone becomes the betrayer. I, as I pretty much always do, played the old professor character. When my roommate Sally ended up becoming the betrayer, she quickly summoned an Elder God who ran rampant around the house. And by rampant around the house, I mean she came straight to me. Twice. Somehow, my old man bones survived both encounters, just before a fellow teammate managed to set fire to the book at the center of our Elder God problems and win the game for us non-traitors.

Still, a fun little game and worth a looksee. But if you’re playing in candlelight and you order Jimmy John’s, expect your delivery person to be a little confused.

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Santorum Is The Most Liberal Candidate In 2012

I desperately attempted to avoid political jibberjabber during the past two days I was at home. I did not even come close to succeeding, but I did manage to (barely) avoid picking fights, simply saying stuff that was, in general, either hilarious or agreeable even to my parents, whose politics don’t exactly mesh with mine in the same way the North Pole isn’t exactly next door neighbors with Antarctica.

But now that I’m on my blog, which can be seen by everyone including my parents, clearly this is a safe environment to start stirring up trouble. So, trouble, here I stir.

As many of you likely know, Rick Santorum is currently the GOP presidential candidate that could ruin everything for Mitt Romney. According to the math I’ve done, if Romney doesn’t win several “winner take all” states and at least 50% of the proportional delegates, he’s in a load of trouble. And with Newt Gingrich and Santorum sapping away the proportional delegates and planning to stick with the race either until August or until someone gets the necessary delegates to be the nominee, Romney might be in trouble on the proportional front. And since Santorum has been winning states, there’s a chance Romney may have to fight all the way through the Republican convention, which will give whoever the nominee actually is about a month to go toe-to-toe with incumbent Barack Obama.

Now, I suppose I can see the appeal of Santorum. He actually has some beliefs, unlike Romney. He’s severely socially conservative, unlike Ron Paul. And he actually manages to live out some of those moral standards, unlike the ever-philandering king of smug false piety Gingrich.

Santorum claims to be the conservative alternative to Romney. The alservative, if you will. But, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a bit of a hypocrisy in the conservative political stances these GOP candidates take, and Santorum is perhaps the worst offender.

You see, the rallying cry of the GOP, especially the Tea Party movement that took conservative fury and congealed it into a rather odd duck of a political movement, has generally been one of small government. Cut down the bureaucracy. Limit federal power. Let the states decide moral issues. End regulation. Et cetera. And there have been Santorum supporters that like his desire to create a small government.

Except that Santorum has no such desires.

Santorum is one of the biggest proponents for a massive government the GOP has seen in a while, if not ever. Definitely the biggest of the four remaining candidates. Besides his desire to target businesses he finds immoral such as the pornography industry and his apparent desire to require states to make English their official primary language, Santorum has been long known for his severe moral stances he wants to turn into federal law, including a Constitutional amendment to permanently ban homosexual marriages in the United States.

Now, let’s ignore how laws and amendments like that have tended to cause the exact opposite effect once they climbed their way up to the Supreme Court (see: Roe v. Wade, Loving v. Virginia) and instead focus on exactly how massively big government this is.

Santorum plans to take away a state’s rights to decide whether they want to allow gay marriage. Which is pretty anti-state’s rights. He wants to end businesses (that frankly make America a crap ton of money) based on moral standards. Which is regulation of a really weird kind.

Sure, Santorum is all about the “moral, religious” stances that the political right likes to espouse… but he’s going about it in such a hugely unabashed, non-conservative fashion. It’s, quite frankly, ridiculous. The things he proposes to do are so massively in disregard for the structure of power in our government, so massively in disregard for the rights of the people that he is in fact the most liberal candidate on the ballot. Including Obama. His suggestions are so liberal and expansive of federal, and specifically presidential, power that they don’t even really exist on the map of American politics. Not since Franklin Roosevelt has anyone suggested such a massive, heavy-handed application of power, and all FDR did with his version was, by and large, create federal infrastructures. The closest thing Obama has come to any power sweeps on the level of Santorum is the recent contraception mandate, which he later revised.

Do you really see Santorum revising his views on social issues?

So, Santorum supporters. I have to ask you this: Can you explain why you agree with this guy? Seriously. He appears to be standing for what you believe in, but at the same time, he’s spitting in its face. If all you care about is social issues, then I guess he’s your guy. But if you want the federal government to limit its power and back off of our personal lives, then how the heck can you vote for him?

Though, really, I guess I can’t blame you too much. None of the candidates are really any good. But if you like Santorum and you like limited government, take Santorum’s advice: Vote for Ron Paul. Or, take mine: Stay at home and realize that you’re not going to get what you want out of any of these guys.

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Bumper Sticker Campaign “Promises”

As the GOP nomination process drags on and on, likely to continue well into the summer at this rate, I’ve been noticing a weird trend amongst some of the candidates. They’re settling down with their messages, their styles… and their gaffes. And not only are they settling down, but they’re turning it into predictable, bite-sized little bits of meaningless nothing that can’t figure out how to say anything about what they actually believe.

Constantly, these candidates (minus Ron Paul, for the most part, since he’s pretty much back to where he was before the primaries started up: largely ignored) are having to go visit daytime television shows or cable news shows to explain their views about things they really should have been able to say the first time. And even in those segments, they’re unable to actually solidly say what they think.

Now, the three non-Paul candidates share a few sentiments.

“We will bomb Iran if they get the nuke.”

“We will repeal Obamacare.”

“We will lower gas prices.”

But those little phrases are utterly meaningless.

For Iran: Really? You think bombing a country that obtains nuclear weapons is a good idea? You think that’ll persuade them to not use them if the nukes survive? And, last I checked, isn’t Iran near some other nuclear powers that may not appreciate fighting so close to their home? Besides, does no one think diplomacy is an option for anything anymore? Personally, I think it’s a good thing when the Ayatollah says nicer things about the current American president than he has about pretty much anything remotely American.

For Obamacare: Okay. You’re going to repeal it. And that’s it? Go back to the broken way things were before? Did you know that Americans pay more than twice what people in Chile, Argentina, India, Canada, France, Germany, Spain or Switzerland pay for just a visit to the hospital? The average cost per hospital day in America is $3,949. That’s only $711 less than the people of seven countries excluding Canada pay combined. In other words, we pay a bit too much for health care sometimes. Further, do you realize that with all the unemployment and the part-time employment that’s been going around, there are likely several thousand people that would lose their health insurance if “Obamacare” were repealed? Myself included. (Though I’ve only got dental and vision right now, I’d still lose it.) Because Obamacare gives those just-outta-college-not-able-to-land-a-full-time-job-that-offers-benefits kids under 26 a chance to piggyback off their parents and, y’know… get necessary things done. Do you have an alternative that you’re willing to share?

For gas prices: Well, I’m going to let Fox News defend Barack Obama on this one. The president can’t really do all that much about gas prices, especially not immediately. S0 stop saying stuff you know is crap.

Really, this is the summary I get from the four remaining candidates:

Ron Paul – The candidate that will shrink the federal government to near non-existence, isolate America from the rest of the world (particularly militarily) and not budge on any issues. Take that as you will.

Newt Gingrich – The candidate that fights the elite media with an arrogance unseen since pretty much ever and really offers no feasible plans, instead just spouting off angry “screw you” speeches.

Rick Santorum – The crusader who will fight to bring America back to his idea of a moral state, in which anyone that has performed abortions will be arrested, college will be given no government help, gays will lose what few rights they’ve managed to eke out in the last several years and women will find themselves pretty much screwed in several ways.

Mitt Romney – The candidate that believes he believes the things he said are things worth saying, a man who can’t make up his mind about politics and can’t stop talking about what a rich man he is.

So, in short, we have a candidate who wants America to essentially be 50 isolated mini-countries, a candidate who wants to… I guess shut down the media and live on the moon?, a candidate who wants a theocracy except not really he promises, and a candidate who wants to run America like a business, because business is the only thing we’re pretty sure he definitely stands for.

Maybe you’re all just saving it for Obama. But, seriously? Can you start offering actual plans and telling people what they are instead of running on the ticket of, “At least I’m not THAT guy!”

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Fox And Breitbart Apparently Don’t Understand News Or Scandals

How many of you ever went to college? I did, and I’m certain at least a few of you reading have as well, whether you’ve finished or not.

You ever have that college professor you really admired? The one that you thought was really smart and, in general, a really great person? You respected them for their intelligence, even if you didn’t always agree on anything, and you even talked with them after class and such just to pick their brain, get to know them a little better, or to share your thoughts on the day’s discussions?

Hey, I was a Philosophy major. That sort of behavior was expected of us.

Likely, those of you that enjoyed college probably had at least one professor that fit that bill. I was fortunate enough to have several to fit that bill across several different fields of study. I still talk with many of them today. Some I even consider friends.

Well, the thing about friends, or people you respect, is that, while you may care about them, like them, or respect them… you may not always agree with everything they say. But that’s not going to stop you from supporting them in their endeavors.

Fox News and the late Andrew Breitbart were apparently unaware of that.

Today, Sean Hannity “revealed” a tape that Breitbart referred to in his speech at CPAC last month, one that seemed to insinuate these tapes would bring down Barack Obama in a massive scandal, as though Obama meticulously divided black against white and rich against poor to gather votes in 2008 and would do so again.

You may have heard about this earlier today when BuzzFeed actually released the tape first… but Breitbart colleagues claimed the film was edited.

Well, here’s the full tape. Let me break down the differences for you.

In the BuzzFeed version, Obama, then the president of the Harvard Law Review, gives a passionate, charismatic speech joining Harvard Professor Derrick Bell in the protest against Harvard’s denial of tenure to a black female professor, Regina Austin, at a time when Harvard had only three black law professors and five female ones. It’s a speech that is very standard of Obama’s smooth, light-yet-powerful tone, filled with little attempts at humor.

In the Fox News/Breitbart version… Obama hugs Bell as Bell comes to make his own speech, and we zoom out to find this video being shown at a lecture or somesuch given by Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree, who says he hid it during 2008 and doesn’t care if people see it now.

So, really, it’s probably Fox, Breitbart and Ogletree that don’t understand scandal.

See, the angle Fox is going for with this video is association, and it’s even weaker than the one the GOP and Hillary Clinton hit Obama with in 2008 when Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright were brought up. Apparently, Bell is the “Jeremiah Wright of academia.” He has held some radical beliefs that supposedly cost him his job and wrote a Science Fiction/Thriller called “Space Traders,” wherein white Americans sell off black Americans to aliens to pay off the national debt.

The great thing is how much this hug is getting played up. Seriously. A hug. And the way they talk, they make it sound like Bill Clinton hugged Monica Lewinsky and that was all. As if that’s how damning hugs are.

So, Obama spoke in support of something Bell was also in support of. Does that mean they agree with everything? That Bell’s radical views are the same as Obama’s?

Should I point out that Newt Gingrich agreed with Nancy Pelosi on climate change back in the day? I guess he’s just a dirty liberal!

Maybe I should remind people of how Rick Santorum voted on a bill he didn’t agree with because he wanted to be a team player. What a massive sellout!

Oh, anyone remember the time that Mitt Romney agreed with everyone on everything? Oh, no… apparently he agrees with no one on everything, including himself. So never mind.

This is ridiculously idiotic, in the extreme. It’s a desperation tactic, borne of an inability to match Obama head to head on matters of policy. Instead, they try to topple him through controversy… and a non-existent one at that. Heck, Obama himself could have penned “Space Traders” and I still wouldn’t care much. It’s a Sci-Fi/Thriller. Do you think Harry Turtledove really wanted the Confederate States of America to win the Civil War just because he wrote “Guns of the South?”

The GOP and their media machines, the pundits on Fox News and those that once worked for Breitbart, need to figure out what the hell it is they actually believe in AND STICK WITH IT. Otherwise, they will never go anywhere.

Oh, and fun fact: Breitbart and Hannity tried to claim this video was covered up by the media in 2008. Except crazy liberal money-pit PBS totally showed it back then.

Seriously. This entire thing is kind of sad.

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Apologizing For Quran Burning Is Not A Dumb Idea

Imagine the following scenario, if you would. America has been noted as a major originating country for a terrorist organization responsible for extremely deadly acts on Chinese soil. China sends in their military to root out the terrorist factions within the United States. While doing so, they make bases and set up camps. Now, China is not exactly known to be immensely friendly toward American politics or political aspirations, and it certainly hasn’t been terribly friendly with the major religion of the United States, Christianity. Heck, they’ve even been known to use Bibles for target practice.

Suddenly, you hear that at one of the bases in Texas, the Chinese accidentally set fire to several hundred copies of the Bible.

Now, maybe I’m crazy, but I could certainly imagine riots and violence sprouting forth from such a scenario.

See, about two weeks ago, several Qurans were accidentally sent to the fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large American base a bit north of Kabul, Afghanistan. This event caused several riots, which have killed over 30 people, including American soldiers. In an attempt to quell the violence, President Barack Obama apologized for the incident. Whether the apology actually calmed things down or not, several GOP members have been crying foul to Obama’s apology, such as Rick Santorum, Allen West and Newt Gingrich.

Now, a lot of people have been saying that, instead of apologizing for Quran burning, the Afghans should be apologizing to us for American flag burning and for the deaths of American soldiers.

People that say that are rather missing the point.

First, flag burning is legal in America. Why should they apologize for doing something we’re allowed to do? That’s like asking them to apologize for voting democratically.

Second, as we’re not actually at war with Afghanistan, just certain organizations within the country, I think it’s rather pretty well understood that the government is not approving of any loss of American life from people within their borders.

But none of that’s really the point, either. Ron Paul is one of the few (read as: only one I’ve seen) GOP leaders to get it right on this whole apology thing.

Remember that scenario I mentioned above? It’s not quite equally fair, truth be told. We’re not a third world country, and we’re on decent terms with China (at least through economy and trade). And our country doesn’t have as high a concentration of supremely devout Christians as Afghanistan has Muslims (though I did put the scenario in Texas for a reason). But violent riots are still feasibly possible with that scenario. After all, they’re invaders apparently disrespecting one of our more highly, widely valued religions.

The Santorum response to the apology especially makes me laugh. He said, “There was nothing deliberately done wrong here.” But, later, he said that Obama should have acknowledged that what happened was wrong.

Deliberate or not, it was wrong. And even if it wasn’t deliberate, we don’t have a record of respecting Islam or its practitioners. Our military has had members shoot the Quran for target practice. Our government has spied in mosques. We can talk about it not being deliberate all we want… would you believe it? I know, were I in their position, I certainly wouldn’t.

It isn’t wrong to apologize when something unfortunate happens. It isn’t “weak” to say, “We’re sorry and will attempt to ensure far better care is taken in respect to this issue.” Respecting other countries and other religions is not a bad trait. It’s a smart one. Which is something we’d really better start learning.

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Rick Santorum’s Religious Freedom Is Better Than Yours

Did you know, out of the 43 men that have been President of the United States, only one has ever been Catholic?

You’d think such a thing wouldn’t be such a terribly big deal. First black president, sure. We had that whole slavery thing in our past. But Catholic? I mean, that’s still Christian, right? That’s not even as far out of the American religious comfort zone as atheist or Muslim. And blacks and women have had to fight for rights. Catholics, being Christians, were always accepted, yeah?

Except not even a little bit at all.

Even before our country was ever founded, Catholicism wigged Americans out. One of the several acts passed by the British Parliament dubbed the Intolerable Acts by America’s Founding Fathers was the Quebec Act. A major reason colonists were upset about the act was that it gave Quebec land that some colonists had already started squatting on in true American style. But the fact that it guaranteed free practice of the Catholic faith made the Colonists all the more upset. Anti-Catholic sentiments were prevalent all throughout our nation’s history, as most misunderstood things have been. As well as things with a rather regrettable past history of violence and corruption. …except for our government and nation, of course. The Irish were largely hated on during the large immigrations of the 1800s in part due to their faith.

So when John F. Kennedy broke past all those stereotypes and misunderstandings to become our first and only Catholic President, it was actually a pretty big deal.

During the election process, he had to face scrutiny and distrust about his religion in the same fashion the 2008 Mitt Romney had to. (Romney hasn’t faced much scrutiny about it this go round because, let’s face it. He said he was Mormon in 2008. By now, he’s probably Episcopalian or something.) Therefore, on Sept. 12, 1960, during the campaign for presidency, JFK made an impassioned speech dedicating himself to his vision for America, not the Pope’s. A speech in which he stated he believed in an America “where the separation of church and state is absolute.” It was a speech that helped break the religious glass ceiling that had been holding Catholics back as serious political contenders, one that has allowed modern day Catholics like Vice President Joe Biden, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (having converted from Southern Baptist two years ago) and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum to achieve the status they hold today.

Of course, Santorum hated it to the point of wanting to throw up.

Now, one might be able to understand why Santorum hated it. It was, after all, a speech made by the severely liberal and unforgivably popular JFK, related to the also severely liberal and unforgivably popular Ted Kennedy. What a hateful house for conservatives. Of course your first instinct would be to hate anything they stood for.

Specifically, Santorum first took offense to the line I quoted earlier. He disagrees with the idea that the separation of church and state should be absolute. In his mind, the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion means that religion should be able to exercise itself politically. Or so his talking (and political views) would suggest. By his reading of JFK’s speech, JFK was attempting to say only people of “non-faith” should have any say in what happens politically.

…which, if that were true, would be stupid, since JFK admitted that he was Catholic and, in the speech, said, “But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith–nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.”

So, if JFK was saying only those of “non-faith” should have a say in politics, wouldn’t he be disavowing his faith to win the election?

Basically, either Santorum is illiterate, didn’t actually read JFK’s speech, or has no idea what he’s talking about.

Considering Santorum later regretted saying the speech made him want to throw up, I’ve a feeling it was the latter.

Santorum’s problem, and the problem of many others, is a complete misunderstanding of what the separation of church and state actually is. He sees it like a Venn diagram, where people that have beliefs and faiths are in one circle and lawmakers and governing are in another circle. And those two circles don’t intersect at all.

But that’s not at all what the separation of church and state is or should be. What it is is the protection given to the church from the government forcing what the people of the faith should believe and do within their religion, and the protection given to the government from the church forcing what the citizens of the nation should believe and do within their daily lives.

Religion should not demand of governance, nor governance demand of faith. That is the separation of church and state. Considering we’ve had many a president advocate such a thing and yet no atheists for president, I should think that would be obvious.

But maybe such an understanding requires the comic overtones of Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show.” Who knows? It makes me laugh whilst being poignant, so I’m okay with it.

It’d be great if Santorum and others would take to heart JFK’s belief in an America “where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

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