Right Wing Nuts, Fruitcakes And Just Plain Old Fashioned Nuts!
“And There You Have It: Public Discourse In 2009.”
Obama's nefarious plan for the nation's genitals? His evil designs on your children? Here are the most absurd right-wing assaults on the president -- and logic and reason.
Today President Obama gave a speech urging America's schoolchildren to do their homework and stay in school.
Naturally, conservatives have been extremely alarmed about the address, because obviously the president is looking to create a vast army of adorable little zombies that will help him destroy America faster.
All last week, conservative bloggers and pundits gleefully accused the centrist president of plotting to force radical politics on America's impressionable youth, after Florida's Republican chairman Jim Greer said Obama's address would "indoctrinate" children and spread "socialist ideology."
The week of right-wing echo chamber freak-outs led to protests by conservative parents, which put school districts throughout the country in the unenviable position of having to deal with the "controversy": Some decided not to air the president's address; others required parental permission.
So, thanks to the right-wing saviors of America's youth, a bunch of kids have been shielded from the president's dangerous message that learning things is good.
Could this be the stupidest, most irrational way conservatives have tried to tear down Obama? Is it even possible to answer that question?
We've assembled the most absurd, logic-defying right-wing attacks on the president. Some you've undoubtedly encountered before; all are incessantly blared by conservative pundits and shock jocks, while many are cynically embraced by GOP lawmakers.
Assembled together, they illustrate the absurd extremes to which right-wingers are trying to drive the public discourse in their efforts to thwart essential reforms in health care, energy policy and the economy.
The Advent of Socialism/Fascism
Most historians would agree that fascism and socialism represent vastly different ideologies and historical phenomena. But not the historians at Fox News! Since Obama took office, right-wing pundits have lobbed these smears interchangeably, not quite clarifying whether Obama is leading the proletariat to a glorious Utopian Future or trying to bring the master race to world dominion.
Obama's Nefarious Plan for the Nation's Genitals
When news leaked of a CDC report recommending that boys be circumcised as a preventative measure against HIV infection, right-winger conspiracy theorists decided to fret that the federal government would mandate circumcision. Since Patrick Henry isn’t around, it was up to Rush Limbaugh to sound the rallying cry against tyranny: "Leave our penises alone, too, Obama!" roared Limbaugh in a July 24 radio broadcast.
The next day, while discussing an unrelated dispute with Jay-Z, the talk show host said, "I would remind the rapper Jay Z; Mr. Z, it is President Obama who wants mandated circumcision. We had that yesterday. That means if we need to save our penises from anybody, it's Obama."
Needless to say, Obama had nothing to do with the CDC report, and doesn't appear to have ever publicly uttered the word "circumcision." Nor did he recommend the CDC promote circumcision.
None of this, of course, discouraged Limbaugh from running with the best metaphor for white male anxiety in the age of Obama, ever.
Remember when the president invented a time machine and traveled back in time to plant his own birth announcement in a Hawaiian newspaper and forge a certificate of birth proving he was born in the States, all to hide the fact that he's a foreigner from a country filled with scary black people?
That, of course, appears to be the only explanation for why the birther nonsense continues to gurgle up online (even thoughcertain idiots, who for mysterious reasons still have shows on CNN, have finally stopped giving this nonsense the patina of mainstream credibility).
Recently, some birthers on Free Republic argued that the only way to determine the president's birthplace for sure was by checking if he is circumcised. (It would seem that there needs to be a subcategory on this list for these patriots' obsession with the president's penis.)
In America in 2009 -- a time and place where most people have access to a high school education and can read -- a rumor emerged that the overhaul of our terrible health care system would allow the government to put old people to death. This rumor was stoked by the crazy people on Fox News and talk radio, then embraced and propagated by Republican lawmakers and others who are supposed to be sane adults.
"A lot of people are going to die. This program of government option that‘s being touted as being this panacea, the savior of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price, is going to kill people." said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga, said.
Then there was almost-a-heartbeat-away-from-the-presidency Sarah Palin, who contributed to the discussion by saying that under a reformed health system, the government would have killed her child Trig because he has Down syndrome. (Palin took back the comments after much outcry, but that didn't stop the vocal minority of town hall protesters from screaming about Obama killing old and disabled people all summer).
The End of the Internet?
Cass Sunstein, currently awaiting confirmation to head the Office of Information an Regulatory Affairs, is apparently doing Obama's dirty work on this one. Someone enterprising at crackpot site World Net Daily cherrypicked from a long-ago Sunstein statement, making it sound like he wants government regulation forcing blogs to link to opposing viewpoints.
In fact, as Julian Sanchez writes, in the statement in question Sunstein floated the theory as "food for thought." And then he noted the free-speech issues involved. And then he called the idea stupid and unconstitutional.
Obama has "czars" in his administration. The word "czar" is Russian, which of course is scary ("Too Russian!" said former Oklahoma Rep. Ernest Istook. "Why not call somebody the Big Boss?").
One of Glenn Beck's favorite things to do is list off and rail against the czars in Obama's administration. Neil Cavuto, Mike Huckabee and others on Fox and like-minded media are also pretty excited about it and have made lots of puns (czar wars!) and wild accusations about Obama's alleged czar shadow army.
Somehow, their balanced take on this threatening phenomena fails to mention that George W. Bush was pretty fond of czars himself, overseeing the creation of a "food-safety czar," a "cybersecurity czar," a "regulatory czar," an "AIDS czar," a "manufacturing czar," an "intelligence czar," a "bird-flu czar" and a "Katrina czar," according to Steve Benen in Washington Monthly.
Our Half-White President Has a Problem With White People?
One would think Obama is pretty OK with white people, since he is half white and was raised by a white mother and grandparents. Beck would disagree.
In July, Beck bizarrely accused the president of having a deep-seated hatred for white people and "white culture," an attention-grubbing overreach that has led to a successful boycott campaign that has cost Beck 57 advertisers.
Beck's offensive statement was only the most extreme iteration of a conservative strategy to sneakily accuse the president of undermining the interests of whites. One other example is the absurd claim that the president is trying to trick white Americans into paying reparations through health reform.
A few months ago, the White House made a valiant attempt to help steer the health care debate toward existing things like policy, rather than totally made up crap like death panels. They did so by setting up a Web site where people could submit questions about the wild conspiracy theories circulating about reform.
Naturally, the fringe decided that Obama was asking people to report on their neighbors. And, of course, Republican lawmakers irresponsibly and shamelessly joined the fray, with Texas Sen. John Cornyn, for example, accusing Obama of compiling an "enemies list" and demanding the site be shut down.
An Expansion of AmeriCorps. The Horror!
And finally, what does Obama plan to do with all those kids he brainwashes during his speech today?
Wait, with diabolical patience, until their teeny little arms grow strong enough to wield heavy weaponry so he can draft them into his massive domestic paramilitary force. At least that appears to be a fear held by Beck, who has said Obama's "civilian national security force" is like Hitler's SS, or something Saddam Hussein would do.
Michelle Bachmann warned of a massive effort to herd kids intore-education camps. What were they talking about? The expansion of AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.
And there you have it: Public discourse in 2009.
Willam Fisher, IPS News. September 8, 2009.
A federal appeals court has ruled that Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of Abdullah Al-Kidd.
Lucile Malandain, Agence France Presse. September 8, 2009.
Opponents of the death penalty hope the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas, will be a turning point towards abolition.
Nathan Schneider, The Immanent Frame. September 8, 2009.
A religion scholar discusses the failure of the courts to grapple with lived religion, the prison crisis and why we are all religious now.
Anneli Rufus, AlterNet. September 5, 2009.
Not satisfied with calling heinous acts just "evil," author Michael Stone ranks "justifiable homicide" as a mild category 1 and "sexually perverse serial killers" at No. 17.
Michael Winship, Bill Moyers Journal. September 5, 2009.
A nasty little piece of propaganda could unleash a new torrent of cash flooding into campaigns from big business, unions and other special interests.
Liliana Segura, AlterNet. September 4, 2009.
With apparent psychos like Garrido wreaking havoc, it's hard for society to be reasonable about the thousands of people have been wrongly swept up by excessive sex offender laws.
Christopher Hayes, The Nation. September 2, 2009.
From CIA assassinations to domestic spying, a sweeping investigation of government crimes is not only possible -- it has been done before.
Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. September 2, 2009.
You thought they were just unhinged. But here's what they're really saying to the armed and dangerous.
Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports. September 1, 2009.
Cheney is all over the airwaves, trotting out his propaganda and defense of the Bush administration's serial violations of the Geneva conventions.
Eric Ward, Imagine 2050. August 31, 2009.
You can take a bite out of bigotry in less than five minutes a day!
Jordan Flaherty, Left Turn. August 28, 2009.
With recovery still lagging in New Orleans, thousands are living in storm damaged and abandoned buildings.
Andrea Nill, Center for American Progress. August 27, 2009.
Kennedy “laid the groundwork” for the sort of humane immigration reform that he had spent much of his political career fighting for, but never achieved.
Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future. August 27, 2009.
If we want to build a fascist-proof America for the long haul, we must stand up now for everything we believe and everything we are.
Jason Leopold, TruthOut.org. August 26, 2009.
In a craven attempt to keep CIA abuses under wraps, nine senators wrote to the attorney general warning him not to appoint a special prosecutor.
John Nichols, TheNation.com. August 26, 2009.
The investigation into torture could be thwarted by a GOP counter-attack and an echo chamber determined to protect Bush and Cheney.
Greta Christina, Greta Christina's Blog. August 25, 2009.
One of the most important fights in the country over same-sex marriage is going on in Maine right now and you can help.
AlterNet. August 25, 2009.
Senate Dems and progressives are pushing for AG Eric Holder to expand the investigation that CIA director Leon Panetta has threatened to quit over.
Stephen Webster, Raw Story. August 24, 2009.
America's torture debate is nowhere near over.
Frank Rich, The New York Times. August 24, 2009.
A GOP senator's apologia for far-right fanatics bearing arms at presidential events -- that the government makes them do it! -- cannot stand.
Terrence McNally, AlterNet. August 24, 2009.
One writer spent four years inside the world of modern-day slavery; an industry that produces huge profits and countless wasted lives.
Moira Birss, AlterNet. August 22, 2009.
Obama continues to defend the expansion of U.S. military operations in Latin America, but against what threat?
Southern Poverty Law Center. August 22, 2009.
Including plots to bomb government buildings, banks, refineries, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians and more.
Dave Zirin, Sherry Wolf, The Nation. August 22, 2009.
South African runner Caster Semenya shouldn't be the one humiliated by "gender testing"-- it's the outdated views of athletic officials that are embarrassing.
Michael B. Farrell, Christian Science Monitor. August 21, 2009.
On Jan. 11, the two lawyers who argued the Bush v. Gore in 2000 will begin their case against Proposition 8.
Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet. August 21, 2009.
The most prominent voices for conservatism in African American communities continue to be those of Christian church leaders.
Liliana Segura, AlterNet. August 21, 2009.
When judges take on airs and lash out in fits of whimsical bullying, innocent people can end up paying the price with jail time -- or their lives.
Amy Goodman, AlterNet. August 20, 2009.
Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis has had three execution dates despite overwhelming proof of his innocence. Now he'll finally have his day in court.
Malalai Joya, AlterNet. August 20, 2009.
We Afghans know this election will change nothing. It is merely a show of democracy put on by and for the West, to legitimize its future puppet in Afghanistan.
Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. August 20, 2009.
Burrowing inside the radical right's gathering of astroturfers and mouthpieces, AlterNet Reporter Adele Stan discovers what makes the anti-health reform machine tick.
Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times. August 19, 2009.
If you're living on the streets, engaging in the biological necessities of life -- like sitting, sleeping, lying down or loitering -- will get you in jail.