Showing posts with label Paul Ryan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Ryan. Show all posts

Nov 6, 2014

No Mandate for Scott Walker

When President Obama won 52 percent (to 45 percent for Romney) of Wisconsin voters in 2012 with a 73 percent turnout (Washington Post), Republicans complained about the surprising "urban" vote.

Urban means black in Republican lexicon, hence Obama garnered no mandate.

In 2014, Scott Walker has discerned a mandate from the fact that he won 52 percent of the 57 percent turnout of voters, or roughly 28.5 of the Wisconsin electorate (compared to Obama's 36 percent).

Moreover, that Wisconsin Republicans kept their majorities in the gerrymandered legislative districts demands Scott Walker be "even more aggressive" (Spicuzza, Wisconsin State Journal) in pursuing an agenda that 72 percent of the Wisconsin electorate rejected.

This is more than spin from Walker. This is a continuation of the con game that Walker is running on Wisconsin, backed by a corrupt U.S. District judge (Rudolph Randa) who never learned (or doesn't care) what abuse of discretion means.

It is also more confirmation that most people think government is run in the interests of a few, anti-social special interests who want to rig democracy.

Scott Walker doesn't believe he has a mandate any more than he thinks he could mount a credible run for president.

What he can do is run Wisconsin into the ground in the service of special interests, and leave behind a polluted environment and a diminished public education system, among other targets of the GOP's sociopathic wrecking ball.

Oct 17, 2013

Wisconsin's Suicide Caucus—Ron Johnson, Four Wisc GOP Reps Vote for Gov Default

Paul Ryan leads Wisconsin Suicide Caucus; Now Looking to Slash
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as Their Next Crusade

Update - China's credit rating agency Dagong has downgraded the U.S. rating from A to A-, reports the Business Insider.

Five out of six members of the Wisconsin Republican congressional delegation voted not to open government, and avert an unprecedented financial default in a vote late last night.

This manner of Tea Party campaign is incredibly reckless action that has world economists wondering if Republican Party extremism will destroy the United States Dollar as the world's reserve currency.

Wisconsin Republicans did their worst.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of only 18 senators to oppose the Senate bill opening government, and avoiding a government default that economists say would have thrown the United States back into a recession.

Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Ashland), Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac), Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), James Sensenbrenner (R-Wauwatosa) all voted "No" in joining Sen. Johnson.

Rep. Reid Ribble (R- Green Bay) is the only Wisconsin Republican in Congress to vote Yes to opening the government and avoiding default.

The Republican-engineered shutdown is estimated to have cost the U.S. domestic economy and American families $Billions is lost income and economic production.

The House voted 285-144, with all 144 No votes coming from Republican members of Congress.

The Senate voted 81 to 18, with all 18 No votes coming from Republican members of Congress.

The shutdown, perilous to the American economy, is also seen as a political body blow to the Tea Party or suicide caucus to which most Wisconsin Republicans have attached themselves.

Around the world, there is relief as well as disbelief that Republicans would perpetrate the 16-day shutdown bringing the United States of America close to default and financial catastrophe.

James Meikle, Paul Lewis and Dan Roberts report in The Guardian:
Stock markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea initially reflected relief after the Republicans finally capitulated in their failed attempt to undermine Obama's healthcare reforms. But in Asia and Europe stock markets overall displayed a muted reaction with traders apparently expecting another battle in Washington early in 2014.

The shutdown is estimated to have cost the US $24bn – £1.5bn a day – according to ratings agency Standard and Poor. China's official Xinhua news agency had accused Washington of jeopardising other countries' dollar assets. China is the US government's largest creditor.

Obama signed the necessary legislation to fend off a default shortly after midnight on Thursday after a Republican split in the House of Representatives. The bill had passed easily with broad bipartisan support in the Senate, where Democratic and Republican leaders forged the agreement. It offers a temporary fix, funding the government until 15 January and raising the debt ceiling until 7 February.

Apr 1, 2013

Stopping that 'Urban' Vote

Update: Here we are, March 2014. The Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act a year ago; Republican attacks on early voting in cities continue; Republicans enact obstructive voter ID laws in state where they have power; and Paul Ryan keeps sounding the racist dog whistles about the "inner cities." In Wisconsin, Right Wisconsin, a new Tea Bagger website, is known among political writers as White Wisconsin. Thousands of Scott Walker and his aides' emails are ordered released, and racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic jokes are found to circulate freely in Scott Walker land.

Racism and misogyny are the theme songs for a political party that has become detestable.
"Well, I could call my good friend, Lenny Kravitz. He's only half-urban," said (in disgust) the fictional talk show producer, Artie, in the hilarious Larry Sanders Show (HBO. 1992-1998).

Artie refers to the fictional network's concern that the guest rap group, Wu-Tang Clan, is too black and scary for small-town white America.

The relevancy to today's politics is that the Republican Party and the Tea Party will not halt their voter obstruction program aimed at 'urban' voters, and use the same euphemism, urban for black.

The difference between elections and comedy is depriving Americans of the right to vote is not a funny matter, outside of Tea Party and GOP circles where a sitting GOP member of Congress feels free to make "wet back" jokes on the radio.

Without racism, the GOP and Tea Party (the white parties) are dead.

In Wisconsin, urban means Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine counties. Along with Dane County, these four counties comprise some one-third of Wisconsin's 2012 presidential election voting total.

The GOP stops enough 'urban' people voting, and they win.

The current national GOP chair is Wisconsin GOP's voter obstruction operative, Reince Priebus, so look for this contemptible voter obstruction program to continue regardless of wins the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

As Paul Ryan said after the 2012 presidential election, "The surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race." (Shear, Steinhauer. NYT. Nov. 13, 2012)

Those "urban" voters—almost a half century after the civil rights movement's legislative accomplishments like the Voting Rights Act, they still don't know their place.

Maybe the five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court (and the four Republicans on the Wisconsin Supreme Court) can take care of this "urban" problem.

Mar 16, 2013

Paul Ryan and the Tea Party's Unreality

In 2016, don't be surprised if a Ryan-Walker GOP ticket is seriously discussed.

If after reading Paul Ryan latest flight from reality, you wonder if there is something wrong with the U.S. House Budget Committee Chair, you are correct to wonder.

Ryan is a con man.

His budgets are cons, and the budgets [if they were to be enacted] would assault working families.

On the state level, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, an ally of Ryan's, is another con man with similar aspirations to Ryan's.

Both politicians spent their adult lives lapping up money from American taxpayers (a practice other GOP officeholders are following now), while attacking American taxpayers.

And of course both politicians have raked in $millions from the billionaires and extremists for whom they work.

In 2016, don't be surprised if a Ryan-Walker GOP ticket is seriously discussed for president.

I wonders if in history during the rise of say Nixon or Joe McCarthy, there could be found commentary warning of what is to come.

Nov 29, 2012

Krugman on Paul Ryan: Con Goes On

Paul Krugman this morning:
I wondered recently whether Paul Ryan, who is a con man pure and simple, would be able to step right back into his role as Washington’s favorite Honest, Serious Conservative.

Well, Alec MacGillis appears to have the answer: Foreign Policy Magazine has named Ryan one of its top 10 global thinkers.

And people wonder why I’m so caustic about the Very Serious People.

Oct 16, 2012

Press Barred from Paul Ryan Event with Wingnut Birther Donald Trump

Donald Trump
Donald Trump is doing a Mitt Romney campaign event tonight in New York, at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, with Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan. And it is completely closed to the press.

The fact that it is closed to the press seems to indicate that the Romney campaign doesn’t want to draw attention to the fact that a beloved and renowned businessman like Donald Trump is endorsing their campaign, for some strange reason.

- By Alex Pareene

Oct 9, 2012

Paul Ryan: An American Taker

Update: Ryan family business benefits from government spending. BusinessWeek illuminates lucrative government contracts that Ryan doesn't support (at least in theory)
The 14 scariest words in American politics: 'We're from the Republican Party, and we're here to save Social Security and Medicare.'

Paul Ryan, still dedicated to the 1950s whack Ayn Rand, likes to split Americans into the makers and the takers—takers being veterans, seniors, and the working class who pay state, local, sales, and payroll taxes but owe no federal income taxes every January 31.

But Ryan knows a lot about the benefits of federal taxes. Ryan since the early 1990s and continuing today has received his salary, accrued pension and health care benefits courtesy of the American tax payer.

In return, Ryan presents an extremist plan that promises to dismantle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while blowing up the deficit even more than Bush and Cheney did.

The question now is will President Obama vow to defend Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from Romney, Ryan and Republicans in Congress.

One hopes the president sees the folly in rationally engaging the brand of extremists who now dominate the the Republican Party: Takers from the American people with Romney along for the ride.

Sep 26, 2012

Retracted—Ryan Calls Mitt Romney "The Stench"

Update: Not sure what Simon was thinking amid the GOP free fall and serious speculation aimed at some combination of the party, Romney and Ryan. "Editor’s note: Some readers were confused that this Roger Simon column was satire," reads the Simon update. Simon's explanation at the end of his piece is lame. I'll be sure not to take Simon seriously again as a political journalist.
Roger Simon's report in the Politico leads with "Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook."

Simon writes:

  • Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench [Romney]calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”
  • Dan Senor, one of Romney’s closest advisers, has kept a tight grip on Ryan, traveling with him everywhere and making sure he hews to the directions of the Romney “brain trust” in Boston. (A brain trust, rumor has it, that refers to Ryan as “Gilligan.”)
Simon doesn't explore the reasons behind Ryan's dissatisfaction with Romney.

Drawing from reports, it appears Ryan and his desires to privatize Social Security and destroy Medicare are threatened by the less-than-artful Romney—Ryan as destroyer of social insurance may soon seem like far-away dreams in the land of Ayn Rand.

Sep 21, 2012

In Washington Paul Ryan Is Considered a Serious Thinker

The Philosophy Prince: How Paul Ryan
convinced Washington of his genius

- by Alec MacGillis
"Let me not be alone in the back of the crowd," wrote Richard W. Rahn, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's chief economist, on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, "as I tip my hat to my longtime colleagues on the economic barricades: Thank you, Mr. Gilder, Mr. Kemp, Me Laffer, Mr, Mundell, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Ture, Mr. Wanniski and all the others who helped invent this economic miracle."

One week later the country in the great crash of 1987 "'came within an hour' of the disintegration of the stock market," as noted by Felix Rohatyn, a partner of Lazard Freres and Company. (Johnson. Sleepwalking Through History, America in the Reagan Years; W.W. Norton Company, 1991. p. 381)

The massive deregulation advocated by the likes of Jude Wanniski and George Gilder led directly to the crash of 1987.

Another round of deregulation begun a decade later and accelerated by George W. Bush led to the crash of 2008 and the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Today, Congressman Paul Ryan (who has spent his entire adult career insulated in Washington) and Mitt Romney (a leverage buy-out artist) advocate still more deregulation.

They appear not to have learned anything from recent history and the last 90 years of macroeconomics, or at least nothing can pierce their extremist ideology.

Early in his career as a congressional aide, "[Paul Ryan] nagged Cesar Conda, now Marco Rubio’s chief of staff and a Ryan admirer, so often with questions about supply-side economics that Conda lent him two books to keep him busy—Jude Wanniski’s The Way the World Works and George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty, both foundational tracts for trickle-down Reaganomics," reports Alec MacGillis in the current issue of The New Republic.

Ryan of course is the same creature of Washington who called for ending Social Security in a speech to fans of Ayn Rand, another rightwing whack the coddled Ryan champions and whom Ryan has said is "the reason I got involved in public service."

Ryan and Romney are "preaching the same empty conservative sermon" that has brought us disaster before and will again if we elect these two phonies, as noted by David A. Stockman, who was the director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985.   End Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, increase defense spending, attack Iran, lower taxes on the one percent and in the words of Richard W. Rahn, we can expect another "economic miracle."

This career Washington ideologue and leverage buy-out artist are the perfect front-men for today's GOP and Tea Party—deluded, dangerous and ahistorical.

The fact the Romney was caught on tape saying he doesn't care about working people is a lucky break.

As for Congressman Ryan, his insular background and hostility to social insurance will out to a wide audience as the campaign nears a 45-day sprint to election day as Congress maintains its 11 percent approval rating and the GOP ticket appears in free fall.

Even Scott Walker is running from it.

Sep 18, 2012

GOP Candidates Faced with Decision to Stand with Conniving Romney Exposed; What Will Paul Ryan Do?

Jump in, the water's fine, say Lyin Paul Ryan and Mitt
Update II: Keeping Romney at arm's length, Part III (TRMS)

Update: Republican Candidates Across Country Signal Concern on Mitt Romney Video Comments -
Republican and Tea Baggers the nation-over now face a political terrain on which the Romney-Ryan ticket is on record ridiculing Americans receiving veterans' benefits, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as less-than individuals who "should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

How about Paul Ryan? Does Romney include him? He has been subsidized by American tax payers since he was a young legislative aide right up to now?

Ought Ryan, in Romney's universe, reject public assistance?

Ryan's bio reveals a career as an aide to Senators Robert Kasten, Sam Brownback and Rep. Jack Kemp, and a political career financed by special interests.

So, how about it Ryan, will you give up your entitlements? How about just your health care?

One thing is certain. Mike Lofgren, who retired in 2011 after 28 years as a Republican Congressional staffer, sure got it right when he said Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues like the presidential nominee are after your Social Security and Medicare.

On a related matter, Zach at Blogging Blue reports:
There’s been no word (at least not that I’ve seen) from Mitt Romney’s campaign as to whether or not Mitt Romney considers the 7,000 millionaires who paid no income taxes in 2011 to be among the 47 percent of Americans that he feels he could never convince to take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

Sep 17, 2012

Romney Goes Ron Paulie-Bananas on Bernanke and the Fed

I am severely crazy, and I approve this message.
Look up Mitt Romney and desperate in Google and you won't require Nate Silver to discern the probability of the winner of the 2012 presidential election in November.

Romney's desperation is clear by his abandonment of Etch-a-Sketching toward the right-center, in favor of:
Notes Paul Krugman:
Last week Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, announced a change in his institution’s recession-fighting strategies. In so doing he seemed to be responding to the arguments of critics who have said the Fed can and should be doing more. And Republicans went wild. ...

So last week we learned that Ben Bernanke is willing to listen to sensible critics and change course. But we also learned that on economic policy, as on foreign policy, Mitt Romney has abandoned any pose of moderation and taken up residence in the right’s intellectual fever swamps.
Ed Kilgore terms Romney's serpentine "econo-manic campaign" (nearly identical to the campaigns of W. Bush, McCain and the other great deregulaters) as demonstrating a movement "so locked down on tactical day-to-day maneuvering that it’s lost sight of any coherent strategy or rationale-for-candidacy."

So now, Romney wants (and openly advocates) the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 declared as creating a mere inflation-fighting tool, no matter the legislative and administrative history of the law and the function of the Federal Reserve System.

Honest money

Who needs monetary policy? We need "honest money," as Paul Ryan phrases it, whatever that would be in GOP land.

As Brad DeLong puts it in his Paul Ryan calls for fewer jobs and higher unemployment in America: "'Honest money' is a Ron Paul dog whistle: the good productive workers, the bad exploitative usurers, the necessity of a hard-money depression to cleanse the monetary colon--you know the drill."

Continues Kilgore: "Long-time if somewhat muted (at least outside the Ron Paul campaign) Republican muttering about stimulative monetary policies broke out into the open in the Romney campaign’s reaction to the Fed’s QE3 announcement [last week]."

This is the same Fed that saved the country in the great crash of 1987 when we "'came within an hour' of the disintegration of the stock market," as noted by Felix Rohatyn, a partner of Lazard Freres and Company. (Johnson. Sleepwalking Through History, America in the Reagan Years; W.W. Norton Company, 1991. p. 381) [A reviewer of Haynes Johnson's book writes, "A readable critique of the fatuous illusions foisted on a willing society by American leadership in the 1980s." (Hyland. Foreign Affairs; Summer 1991)

Fatuous illusions indeed.

Haynes Johnson also notes, "In that moment of maximum peril (in 1987) the Federal Reserve Board in Washington stepped in forcefully and dramatically, [announcing its 'readiness to serve as a source of liquidity to support the economic and financial system.'"]

Damn stimulative forces! I say, let 'em crash.

Not the first time the Fed has saved the system, though 2008 has evidently fallen into the black hole where facts and history no longer exist.

And 1929? Pay no nevermind.

Those 18th, 19th and 20th century recessions. God and the Magical Market made sure nothing bad happened to good, Christian Americans; though 1987 was a bit scary—Satan, no doubt.

Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman; they're just part of those liberal elitists calling for our country not to commit economic suicide: Trying to control our lives, just like them liberals!

Probably went to college too. (See Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson. The New York Review of Books)

What a couple of snobs, Rick Santorum might say.

Political journalists seriously ought to ask of Romney: Are you totally deranged?

To which Romney might reply, 'Look, I need my base, folks. It's my only shot at this thing.'

Aug 17, 2012

Reagan Budget Director: Romney-Ryan Plan Is "Fairy Tale"

Today's Republican party doesn't look much like it did in Ronald Reagan's day

One thing about the Tea Party-Republican extremists holding elected office now-a-days is their compulsion to follow partisan marching orders, no matter how dangerous and extreme.

This dynamic is worrying to some past Republicans such as Reagan budget director, David Stockman (1981–1985), who blasted the current GOP ticket's fiscal plan, such as it is, in a New York Times op-ed.

The Times column—likely not widely read among the rural, white working class sought by Romney and Ryan—ought to at least stimulate some thought before voters consider casting their votes for this most radical and least rational-minded presidential ticket in modern American history.

Writes Henry Blodget at Tech Ticker:

Stockman calls the budget an "empty conservative sermon" and "fairy tale" and says it will "do nothing to reverse the nation's economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse."

Stockman's main complaint about the Ryan budget, which reflects his broader frustration with today's Republican party, is that it preserves massive and, in his view, unnecessary spending on Defense and other programs while screwing people who actually need help by cutting food stamps, Medicaid, and other efforts that lessen the pain of poverty.

Stockman also rails against the new "Wall Street-coddling" bailout Republicans like Ryan, who stand by and let the Federal Reserve fix interest rates, encourage speculators, crush savors, encourage overconsumption, and punish thrift.

Specifically, Stockman observes, Ryan's "phony" budget plan:
  • Maintains Defense spending that is nearly twice the $400 billion (adjusted for today's dollars) that General Eisenhower spent in the 1960s
  •  Shreds the safety net provided by $100 billion in food stamps and $300 billion in Medicaid
  • Does not cut one dime from Medicare or Social Security for another decade
  • Includes no serious plan to create jobs
  • Radically cuts taxes on the richest Americans while eliminating tax breaks that mostly help the middle class
  • Fails to even consider a "value-added sales tax," which is the only way the country can begin to climb out of its budget hole
In short, Stockman says, Ryan's plan is "devoid of credible math or hard policy choices." Harsh words coming from a fellow Republican. But, then, today's Republican party doesn't look much like it did in Stockman and Reagan's day.

Aug 15, 2012

Paul Ryan's Insider Trader Scandal May Blow Back onto Romney

Paul Ryan cashes in for $1,000s

This story is not just about Paul Ryan, Washington creature and pampered scion, caught downing two $350 bottles of wine with a hedge fund manager at a D.C restaurant.

This is a venal insider trading story that has the legs and potential to dominate the all-important news cycle for weeks moving past Labor Day.

"Over the weekend, the Richmonder blog broke what looked like a whopper of a story: that Republican vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan had lined his pockets from information he had obtained from a now-legendary meeting that took place on September 18, 2008," writes Lynn Parramore.

Parramore notes media avoidance of Ryan's many political problems thus far, as Paul Krugman notes this morning, likely won't persist.

Certainly this insider trading story is moving forward, no matter that some are buying the Romney campaign's knock down that Ryan's trades "were part of a Russell 1000 index fund that automatically traded stocks as part of a pre-set formula," as Benjy Sarlin asserts.

Brad DeLong, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, scoffs at Sarlin's explanation.

Writes DeLong:

There is no way in hell--if you are rebalancing to try to track the Russell 1000 index--you make only 58 trades in a year, that you make 27 of those 58 in large money-center banks, and that 10 of those trades involve shifting your money from Citi to Goldman and back five times.

No way in hell.

I don't know what was going on. But it appears that Ryan's flacks are--for some reason--simply making s@#& up.

Romney and Ryan lying? No.
By Lynn Parramore

On [September 18, 2008], Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson broke the news to congressional leaders that they would have to approve a bailout to avert a complete meltdown of the financial system.

America was lurching toward catastrophe. But some folks were apparently thinking about their stock portfolios. Checking through Ryan’s financial disclosure reports, the Richmonder discovered that Ryan had sold the stocks of several major banks that day, while purchasing – surprise! – stock in Paulson’s old firm Goldman.
Check out the rest of Parramore's piece, because no way this story gets buried.

Apr 2, 2012

GOP Politics Bombards Younger Generations

A piece today spells out some of the reasons younger voters are fleeing the Republican Party.

Don't agree with some of the analysis but worth a read; Stephen Marche in Esquire. The War Against Youth.

Having obliterated the economic futures of younger Americans, Mike Lofgren, long-time Republican Congressional staffer, reminds us last year that Social Security and Medicare are next on the chopping block for when younger generations get older.

And Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney promise to lead the way.

Is there any question why the GOP tries to stop these young Americans from voting?

With "Obama Trouncing GOP Candidates Among Female Voters," there is a distinct possibility we may just see a wave election after all, if the GOP fails in its voter obstruction project.


Across the country, state branches of the Republican party are making a thinly veiled attempt to disenfranchise the young through "voting reform." The trick is simple: Require government-issue photo ID before allowing somebody to vote. Eighteen percent of young voters don't have current photo IDs. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has signed this "reform" into law. So has Rick Perry in Texas. Similar new rules are going forward in roughly thirty other states. Restricting out-of-state IDs is a natural next step, already under way: That way, thousands of college students won't be able to vote. The Advancement Project, a civil-rights advocacy group, calls the move "the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century."

Sep 9, 2011

Paul Ryan Has Senior Arrested and Jokes about Blood Pressure Meds; Video - Updated

Paul Ryan mocks seniors,
seeks to take away Social Security and Medicare
If it's me and senior speaks at a public forum, I shut up and listen. It's about respect and maybe learning something.

Updated II: Paul Ryan flees constituents as his palace guard smiles. I have had numerous talks with 100s of politicians, aides, operatives, strategists, flacks of all parties; but never have I witnessed the contempt that Paul Ryan, Scott Walker and today's brand of Republicans have for the people they are supposed to serve.

Interview with 71-year-old who had the temerity ask Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) a question by Noise of Rain at Kos:

UPDATE: Phone Interview with Tom Nielsen:
9:35 pm CST, September 9

I just conducted a phone interview with Tom Nielsen, the [arrested] man mentioned [below].

Describe what happened to you?
I had a ticket for the event, so it is not trespassing. I no more than voiced my opinion. I'm 6'4, 235 pounds but recently had a car accident and a broken clavicle. I told the policemen that. They were not too impressed. One policeman had my head down on the ground, and was six inches from my face, growling and snarling at me. I was worried about my shoulder, and said please don't hurt me. I said it five times. It fell to deaf ears. I was not a danger to anybody. Why throw me on the ground and cuff me with plastic handcuffs and cut my circulation? I have big hands, you don't have to put them on that tight. Shanon, one of the other people arrested, had bruises on her arms and wrists. They were obviously hired for crowd control. I don't think Rotary did that, I think that there was anticipation on Paul Ryan's part. There were two paddy wagons on deck … this shows that they anticipated something. We were not trying to do this, and they manipulated it to become about arrests.
How do you respond to people who were frustrated with the noisy protestors?
I'd say, "You are mad at me because you came to listen to him present all these falsehoods and sit there like you accept them and believe in them? Are you American, or what are you? You can't believe that these so called "entitlements" are ruining the economy!" I paid into Social Security for 52 tears and am now collecting some of what I paid. My wife passed away recently. She'll never collect what she paid into. Can you imagine your retirement money if it is all up to the stock market? I think Paul Ryan has been mislead by the Koch Bros. He ain't got enough guts to stand up to them. He used to be an Oscar Meyer Wiener salesman. Now he is a big shot in charge of all this whole government finances. How can he get such authority in only ten years? He spews this and tells us he gets all this encouragement from supporters so that he knows he is moving this country in the right direction. Of course he has to say something, but it is a fiasco.
Are you thinking of legal action?
You don't have to plea until the last minute. We are here for jobs. He is ignoring us totally. Listen to us! What he is saying and what we need done are two things traveling in different directions!
Why did you go to the event in the first place?
I wanted to hear what my Representative had to say. When I got there, I didn't want to get into any discussion with the Tea Baggers protesting outside. I didn't want to resist any police. I went inside to listen to what he had to say. He came in and was talking and making big jokes. I'm just a citizen, and heard the stuff about social security and health insurance, and when he called it "entitlement" I wanted to correct him. That was it for me. We were willing to leave when we were asked to. I was probably talking so loud that I didn't hear anyone ask me to leave. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor!
What was your response to Ryan's joke about you?
I am in perfect health.. everything. Back, heart, prostate, lungs: everything! Maybe he should check his own blood pressure rather than worrying about mine. I take care of my own self. If anyone has a stressful job, he certainly has, trying to do what the big machine wants him to do. His health must be suffering. How can it not suffer when he is causing so much suffering to so many people?

Will any Republican challenge this despicable show of disrespect for this man? Will any Republican stand up for democracy. Seems unlikley as Republicans are locking down Town public events to stifle critics, the people.

By Marie Diamond
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the author of the House GOP plan to phase out Medicare, does not like it when constituents publicly challenge him. In fact, people who disagree with Ryan have a habit of getting arrested for it. A few weeks ago, several of Ryan’s unemployed constituents staged a peaceful sit-in at his Kenosha, Wisconsin office to protest his unpopular decision not to hold any free public town halls during the August recess.

These constituents didn’t think they should have to pay to ask their elected representative a question. Instead of meeting with them, Ryan’s staff called the police.

So it should come as no surprise that this week, three people who paid to see Ryan speak were arrested and charged with trespassing for protesting the event. One constituent, a 71-year-old retired plumber from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was handcuffed and pushed to the ground by security:
Video footage taken by an attendee at the event shows that one of them, Tom Nielsen, received particularly harsh treatment — he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. Nielsen received an additional charge of resisting arrest.

Ryan was speaking Tuesday afternoon at the Whitnall Park Rotary Club. Protesters gathered both outside his event and inside, standing up and disrupting the congressman’s remarks.

According to Oak Creek Patch, as many as a dozen protesters were escorted out of the event. Another dozen or so left willingly.
Ryan seemed supremely undisturbed that a senior citizen worried about receiving the Medicare he’s paid into his whole life was treated so brutally. Indeed, Ryan made light of the arrest and quipped to the audience, “I hope he’s taking his blood pressure medication.”

Watch it, courtesy of Wisconsin Jobs Now:

Another woman was shown the door when she challenged Ryan’s claim that the jobs crisis is directly related to the debt crisis. “Our debt is out of control because of the tax cuts you’re giving,” she said. “Our unemployment in 2003 was 6.2% before the tax cuts went through. Now our unemployment rate is 9.1%. What are you doing to create jobs, Congressman?”

Another woman was escorted out when she stood up while Ryan was speaking and said, “You won’t talk to us. How can we give our opinions when you refuse to talk to us?” Ryan has consistently faced angry constituents at his events since his Medicare-killing budget became a top GOP priority. Tired of being publicly embarrassed by constituents who voice their disagreement and say his policies are hurting them, Ryan has resorted to increasingly harsh responses to deal with people who have the audacity to speak up at his events.

Aug 27, 2011

Ayn Rand, Mike Wallace and Wisconsin

Rand is the reason Paul Ryan went into politics
'Very few of us are worthy of love.'

No, the line is not from a tape of David Prosser talking to his brethren.

It's from Ayn Rand, the macabre muse of the moment for Paul Ryan [Ryan requires staffers to read Rand and calls Rand "the reason I got involved in public service"], Rick Perry and the GOPartiers who assure us that getting rid of Social Security and Medicare/caid is necessary to save America and advance "rational" morality.

Paul Ryan, Rick Perry and Scott Walker are so out-of-touch that it's hard to believe these guys are actually carrying the ball for the hedge fundies who bring up Ayn Rand with approval and no sense of irony.

Ayn Rand was interviewed in 1959 [video below] by a skeptical Mike Wallace who successfully got Ayn Rand on the record emitting her philosophy that Rand's project is to engage in reason, as opposed to the rest of the world which denies Rand's revolutionary creed that can proved by means of "logic."

Caught this at Naked Capitalism [where more of the interviews can be seen], posted by Yves Smith. Smith notes, "[T]he questions that Wallace raises with Rand illustrate how much social values have changed in 50 years."

Smith is referring to the Randian Scott Walker-Paul Ryan insistence (Chait. TNR) that working class families are inherently less-than in Rand's grand philosophy.

And Smith is noting the seeming natural inclination of the the 1950s press to comfort the afflicted whom Rand and Walker-Ryan (today) oppose; and to treat claims such as Rand's as nonsense.

Hanging out in D.C. with hedge fund managers and rightwingers is moral behavior that the world [and apparently Ryan's constituents] need to understand for its own good. This seems an absurd proposition to Mike Wallace in 1959.

In 2011, Randism is just as absurd.

Sit through the interview, preferably with a $350 bottle of red wine.

Aug 26, 2011

GOP Leads the Way in Criminalizing Opposition to Its Rightwing Schemes

After Scott Walker "dropped the bomb" on Wisconsin citizens, a stark image from February is of a Wisconsin legislator [Nick Milroy (D-South Grange)] being tackled to the ground for trying to get to his office as Walker closed down the capitol.

Republicans are so hostile to the idea of a democratic republic that a judge had to order the Wisconsin capitol open to the public in early March.

Other examples of GOP hostility to democracy abound today.

We expect the GOP to run away from angry constituents.

We expect the GOP to block the civil rights of our fellow citizens. But to target and actually criminalize opposition to the GOP agenda is dangerous and repulsive, though the silence is deafening.

Aug 25, 2011

VP Wanna-be, US Sen Marco Rubio: Social Security, Social Insurance Make Americans Lazy

Social Security and other successful Social Insurance programs make Americans lazy, say almost all elected Republicans today as the GOP becomes a rest stop for the Randian idiocy of Paul Ryan

By karoli

Yes, you heard it here first. Programs that have lifted the poverty rate, empowered people to live independently - saving lives have made us "weaker" according to VP wannabe, U.S. Sen Marco Rubio (R-Florida).

Speaking at the Reagan Library Tuesday night, Rubio said this:
These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job.
Such a big lie Rubio tells. Before Social Security, one in four senior citizens lived in poverty. Now that number is 14 percent.

The Social Security Act also precipitated adoption of far more employer-sponsored pension plans, and the union movement pushed those plans to be competitive and provide retirement security for employees. These are things that didn't happen before Social Security and Medicare. The same is true of health insurance. Health insurance did not have wide traction as an employee benefit until Medicare was in effect and unions negotiated health benefits for their members. Neither of these things weakened this nation. They strengthened it by keeping senior citizens out of poverty and giving families some breathing room. And of course, those dollars, such as they are, increase the number of consumer dollars available to stimulate the economy.

But perhaps the biggest lie of all is Rubio's lie about how the churches and synagogues cared for the poor. Here's an excerpt from testimony before Congress back in 1959 from one senior citizen ([See Our seniors testifying in 1959]):
I am one of your old retired teachers that has been forgotten. I am 80 years old and for 10 years I have been living on a bare nothing, two meals a day, one egg, a soup, because I want to be independent. I am of Scotch ancestry, my father fought in the Civil War to the end of the war, therefore,I have it in my blood to be independent and my dignity would not let me go down and be on welfare. And I worked so hard that I have pernicious anemia, $9.95 for a little bottle of liquid for shots, wholesale, I couldn’t pay for it.
Where were her churches - her synagogues? And note her own pride, not wanting to accept charity but willing to *work* for the right to access the medicine she needed for the anemia she contracted out of her hard work and poverty. What our social safety net did more than anything else was create something people had ownership in, that they'd paid for. I've heard all the stories about how they take more out than they put in, but that isn't their fault. That's the fault of a flawed attitude on the part of lawmakers, who demonize and butcher the intent of these programs in order to claim they harm "free markets" and "weaken us as a nation."

Jul 25, 2011

Christian Jihad—Terror Attacks Like Norway’s Are in the U.S. Now, and They’ll Get Worse

Update: Southern Poverty Law Center warns of domestic threat. "The problem is just as grave in our country. For the first time, hate groups here have topped 1,000, and the potential for widespread damage is mounting. Just this year, a neo-Nazi was arrested for planting a bomb that could have killed hundreds along an MLK Day parade route in Spokane."
- Morris Dees
Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center

Gov. Scott Walker says he has an inside track on God, guiding him to slash funding for public schools, obstruct citizens from voting, take away community control of government and have himself a jolly "last hurrah before [h]e dropped the bomb" on Wisconsin workers, making common cause with the religious right which envisions a quasi-feudal society as the will of God.

Crazy? Sure, it's Scott Walker.

And of course Walker's axis' powers like the Koch brothers and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) whose political front is dismantling the social insurance of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

In Ryan's case, his guiding lights are an obscure author, Ayn Rand ['Social Security and Medicare for me, but not for thee'], and the not-so-obscure insurance industry.
Wisconsin citizens fight back
 Political assassinations, mass murder, terrorism, massive misogyny, demonization of an entire religion are the norm in America NOW as "tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment," noted Chris Hedges.

I recommend C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (Jeff Sharlet. Little, Brown and Company; 2010), and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America (Chris Hedges. Free Press, 2007) as critical works chronicling this grave and gathering threat.

By Frank Schaeffer in AlterNet

The reality is that the debt ceiling confrontation is by, for and the result of America's evangelical Christian control of the Republican Party. There is a growing movement in America that equates godliness with hatred of our government -- in fact, hatred of our country.

The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a 32-year-old man, whom they identified as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections, over the bombing of a government center and a shooting attack on a nearby island that together left at least 91 people dead.

In my new book "Sex, Mom and God" I predicted just such an action. I predicted that right wing Christians will unleash terror here in America too. I predict that they will copy Islamic extremists, and may eventually even make common cause with them.
There is a growing movement in America that equates godliness with hatred of our government in fact hatred of our country as fallen and evil because we allow women choice, gays to marry, have a social safety net, and allow immigration from other cultures and non-white races.

[Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin publicly accused military civil rights activist, Mikey Weinstein, of engaging in a "demonic” agenda against the forces of Jesus Christ at an event held at Fort Bragg in August 2008. Whether or not Mikey Weinstein is working with Satan, he is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)and is fighting Christian ministers and their military allies who are working to transform the American military into a force for Jesus Christ, even as its allies rave against government, gays and non-whites. Consistency has never been the trademark of the irrational mind.]

According to the Guardian newspaper, the killer wrote:
"Today's Protestant church is a joke," he wrote in an online post in 2009. "Priests in jeans who march for Palestine and churches that look like minimalist shopping centres. I am a supporter of an indirect collective conversion of the Protestant church back to the Catholic."
It seems Anders Behring Breivik longed for a "pure" and ultra conservative religion. He was a man of religious conviction, no liberals with their jeans need apply! Liberals beware.

Norway is just a first taste of what will happen here on a larger scale.


There is a history to the far right, religious right extremism on the rise today, extremism so extreme that in its congressional manifestation it is risking the good faith and credit of the US in the debt calling fiasco. The Tea Party activists also want purity of doctrine.

My family was part of the far right/violent right's rise in the 1970s and 80s when we helped create the "pro-life" movement come into existence that in the end spawned the killers of abortion providers. These killers were literally doing what we'd called for.

The terror unleashed on Norway - and the terror now unleashed by the Tea Party through Congress as it holds our economy hostage to extremist "economic" theories that want to destroy our ability to function -- is the sort of white, Christian; far right terror America can expect more of.


Call this the ultimate "Tea Party" type "answer" to secularism, modernity, and above all our hated government. Call this the Christian Brotherhood. From far right congress people, to far right gun-toting terror in Norway and here at home, our own Western version of the Taliban is on the rise.

Foreigners, visitors from another planet and Americans living in a bubble of reasonable or educated people might not know this but the reality is that the debt ceiling confrontation is by, for and the result of America's evangelical Christian control of the Republican Party.

It is the ultimate expression of an alternate reality, one that has the mistrust of the US government as its bedrock "faith," second only to faith in Jesus.

To understand why an irrational self-defeating action like destroying the credit of the USA might seem like the right thing to do you have to understand two things: that the Republican Party is now the party of religious fanatics and that these fanatics -- people like Michele Bachmann -- don't want to work within our system, they want to bring it down along the lines of so-called Christian "Reconstruction." (See my book for a full account of what this is.)

In the scorched-earth era of the "health care reform debates" of 2009 and beyond, Evangelicals seemed to believe that Jesus commanded that all hospitals (and everything else) should be run by corporations for profit, just because corporations weren't the evil government. The right even decided that it was "normal" for the state to hand over its age-old public and patriotic duties to private companies -- even for military operations ("contractors"), prisons, health care, public transport, and all the rest.


The Religious Right/Far Right et al. favored private "facts," too.

They claimed that global warming wasn't real. They asserted this because scientists (those same agents of Satan who insisted that evolution was real) were the ones who said human actions were changing the climate. Worse, the government said so, too!

"Global warming is a left-wing plot to take away our freedom!"

"Amtrak must make a profit!"

There is an indirect but deadly connection between the "intellectual" fig-leaf providers/leaders like my late father and periodic upheavals like the loony American Right's sometimes-violent reaction to the election of Barack Obama, killings in Norway and what the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party is about to do to us in forcing a default on our loans, and thus destroying the US economy in a way bin Laden could only have dreamed of doing.

No, your average member of some moronic gun toting Michigan militia is not reading books by my late father Francis Schaeffer where he called for the overthrow of the government because of Roe v Wade and the legalization of abortion. Nor have they heard of people like Robert George. And the killer in Norway may or may not have read my father's books.

But Michele Bachmann is reading my father's books. And she was trained in far right Reconstructionist theory at the Oral Roberts law school by one of Dad's followers.

Bachmann says she got into politics because of reading my father's work. And she is one of his extremist followers.

Non-Evangelicals with far right agendas like Robert George (I'll introduce him to you in a moment) have cashed in on the Evangelicals' like Bachmann's willingness to lend their numbers and influence to one "moral" anti-American crusade after another, or rather I should say, to one political crusade after another masquerading as moral crusades.


For instance, conservative Roman Catholic Princeton University Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George is an antiabortion, anti-Obama, anti-gay-rights, and anti-stem-cell-research "profamily" activist, and he has found ways to effectively carry on the far right Reconstructionist agenda while denying any formal connection to it and taking the intellectual high road.

Take George's brainchild: the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience."

This was published in 2009 as an anti-Obama manifesto, and many far right Evangelical leaders signed on.

The "Manhattan Declaration" reads:
"We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act . . . nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's."
In case you've never heard of George, he's been a one-man "brain trust" for the Religious Right, Glenn Beck, and the Far Right of the Republican Party as well as for the ultraconservative wing of the Roman Catholic Church. Here's how the New York Times introduced him to its readers:
"[Robert George] has parlayed a 13th-century Catholic philosophy [the natural law theory] into real political influence. Glenn Beck, the Fox News talker and a big George fan, likes to introduce him as "one of the biggest brains in America," or, on one broadcast, "Superman of the Earth." Karl Rove told me he considers George a rising star on the right and a leading voice in persuading President George W. Bush to restrict embryonic stem-cell research. . . . Newt Gingrich called him "an important and growing influence" on the conservative movement, especially on matters like abortion and marriage. "If there really is a vast right-wing conspiracy," the conservative Catholic journal Crisis concluded a few years ago, "its leaders probably meet in George's kitchen.""

It's a question of legitimacy and illegitimacy.

What the Religious Right, including the Religious Right's Roman Catholic and Protestant enablers, did was contribute to a climate in which the very legitimacy of our government--is questioned as part of religious faith itself.

The "Manhattan Declaration" called laws with which its signers disagreed "edicts," thereby conjuring up images of dictators handing down oppressive rules, rather than legitimately elected democratic bodies passing legislation. In other words, when the Right lost in the democratic process, "other means" to undermine the law were encouraged. This is the language of revolution, not democracy.

The Far Right intellectual enablers began by questioning abortion rights, gay rights, school prayer rulings, and so forth. What they ended up doing was to help foster a climate in which--in the eyes of a dangerous and growing (mostly white lower class undereducated gun-toting) minority--the very legitimacy of the U.S. government was called into question, sometimes in paranoid generalities, but often with ridiculous specificity: for instance, in the persistent lie that President Obama was not a citizen or was a Muslim or that the Federal Reserve and/or United Nations were somehow involved in a plot to "take away our freedoms" or that sensible gun control equaled "tyranny."


It was in the context of delegitimizing our government that actions by domestic terrorists like Timothy McVeigh became thinkable. In 1993 McVeigh told a reporter, "The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control."

Change a word or two and his words could have been lifted from my father's 1981 book A Christian Manifesto, or for that matter a few decades later, from statements by the so-called Tea Party or those by Michele Bachmann, or Robert George or his follower Glenn Beck.

In my father's book he called for the overthrow of the US government unless non-violent ways were found to overturn Roe v Wade. He compared America to Nazi Germany.

Note the ominous rhetorical shadow Dad's book cast over a benighted and divided American future, a future that produced the climate of hate that eventually spawned the murder of abortion providers such as Dr. George Tiller in Wichita in 2009 and the threat of destroying America's credit in an effort to literally defund the USA.

Here's a bit from Manifesto on how the government was "taking away" our country and turning it over to Liberals, codenamed by Dad as "this total humanistic way of thinking":
Man carrying a rifle at protest against Pres Obama in Phoenix, Arizona in August 2009, some six months before the massacre in Tucson and the attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
  "The law, and especially the courts, is the vehicle to force this total humanistic way of thinking upon the entire population ... ."

And this:

"Simply put, the Declaration of Independence states that the people, if they find that their basic rights are being systematically attacked by the state, have a duty to try and change that government, and if they cannot do so, to abolish it."

Then this:

"There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appropriate. . . . A true Christian in Hitler's Germany and in the occupied countries should have defied the false and counterfeit state. This brings us to a current issue that is crucial for the future of the church in the United States, the issue of abortion. . . . It is time we consciously realize that when any office commands what is contrary to God's law it abrogates its authority. And our loyalty to the God who gave this law then requires that we make the appropriate response in that situation."

In other words, Dad's followers were told that (1) force is a legitimate weapon to use against an evil government; (2) America was like Hitler's Germany--because of legal abortion and of the forcing of "Humanism" on the population--and thus intrinsically evil; and (3) whatever would have been the "appropriate response" to stop Hitler was now appropriate to do here in America to stop our government, which Dad had just branded a "counterfeit state."


To understand the extremism coming from the right, the fact that there are members of Congress who seem to be genuinely mentally unhinged leading the charge on the debt ceiling, you need to understand that this hatred of all things government has theological roots that have nothing to do with facts.

Theology is -- by nature -- not about reason but about faith. If God's will is to be served then so be it if America is plunged into chaos! This debt ceiling fiasco is just another chapter in the "culture" wars.

The extreme language of Evangelical/"pro-life" rebellion has now been repackaged in the debt ceiling showdown. It is the language of religion pitted against facts.

And the anti-government charge is being led by people who are either true believers, thus unable to reason, or people catering to the true believers so that they can remain in the good books of the Tea Party, which is nothing more than the Evangelical far right repackaged and renamed.

Some people took the next step. The night of December 14, 2008, Bruce Turnidge was in handcuffs and sitting next to an FBI agent in Turnidge's farmhouse in Oregon. He was ranting about the "need" for militias and cursing the election of an African American president. Hours earlier, his son, Joshua, had been arrested for allegedly causing a fatal bomb explosion.

"Bruce started talking about the Second Amendment and citizens' rights to carry firearms," said George Chamberlin, the FBI agent. "Bruce talked at length that the government should fear the people and that the people should not fear the government."

In February 2010, a little more than a year after Obama's inauguration, Joseph Stack, a fifty-three-year-old software engineer, piloted a plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, and killed one man and injured several others.

Before killing himself, Stack posted an online suicide note railing against the federal government and expressing grievances similar to those Dad had enumerated.

A Facebook group celebrating Stack had thousands of members sign on almost instantly after he was "martyred for our freedoms," as one contributor called it. The site featured the Gadsden flag (the flag with the logo "Don't Tread On Me") and these words: "Finally an American man took a stand against our tyrannical government that no longer follows the constitution and turned its back on its founding fathers and the beliefs this country was founded on."

In March 2010 the so-called Hutaree Militia, a right-wing, biblically inspired fundamentalist group, was alleged to have hatched a plot to kill police officers. Members of this outfit had planned attacks on police officers as a way of acting out their hatred for the government as well as a way to launch the civil chaos "predicted" in so-called End Times biblical prophecies. The day the plotters were arrested, I checked their online homepage. Here's what I found as their mission statement (misspellings in the original post, which has since been taken down, as has the site):

"As Christians we all are a part of the Souls of the Body of Christ, the one true church of Christ. . . . This is the belief of the Hutaree soldier, as should the belief of all followers in Christ be."


Following the election of our first black president, the "politics" of the Evangelical, Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Mormon Far Right was not the politics of a loyal opposition, but rather the instigation of revolution, which was first and best expressed by Rush Limbaugh when even before President Obama took office he said, "I hope Obama fails."

To the old-fashioned conservative mantra "Big government doesn't work," the newly radicalized Evangelicals (and their Roman Catholic and Mormon cobelligerents) added "The U.S. government is evil!"

And the very same community--Protestant American Evangelicals--who had once been the bedrock supporters of public education, and voted for such moderate and reasonable men as President Dwight Eisenhower, became the enemies of not only the public schools but also of anything in the (nonmilitary) public sphere "run by the government."

As they opened new institutions (proudly outside the mainstream), the Jesus Victims doing this "reclaiming" cast themselves in the role of persecuted exiles.

What they never admitted was that they were self-banished from mainstream institutions, not only because the Evangelicals' political views on social issues conflicted with most people's views, but also because Evangelicals (and other conservative religionists) found themselves holding the short end of the intellectual stick.

And yet having "dropped out" (to use a 1960s phrase), the Evangelicals nevertheless kept on demanding that regarding "moral" and "family" matters the society they'd renounced nonetheless had to conform to their beliefs.


Another Far Right Roman Catholic ideologue (and also an academic) even wrote a book calling on Christians, Jews, and Muslims to join together in a jihad against the secular West. In Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture War a former friend of mine, Peter Kreeft (a professor of philosophy at Boston College), called for "ecumenical jihad."

I met with Kreeft several times in my home in the 1980s and early 1990s while he was developing his "jihadist" ideas.

Kreeft's was not a plea for blowing people up, and his book was published pre-9/11.

His book was based on the fact that many believers in Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Protestantism, and Islam (at least in their fundamentalist forms) rejected the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Homosexuality is out, sex education is evil, and so on. Kreeft called on all believers to unite to overthrow "secularism" in the same anti-secular spirit that Robert George channeled a few years later when trying to undermine the Obama administration through his brainchild, the "Manhattan Declaration."

Kreeft called for an "alliance" of fundamentalist Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims to prosecute a culture war against what he viewed as the Western cultural elite. Ecumenical Jihad was dedicated to Richard John Neuhaus, the late Roman Catholic convert priest, and to Charles Colson (who later teamed up with George to author the "Manhattan Declaration").

The groups Kreeft, Colson, and Neuhaus had in mind to "bring together" in an ecumenical jihad were alienated Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, and conservative Roman Catholics, to which Kreeft added Muslims (not that any actually signed on to his program as far as I know). These groups did not share each other's theology, but they had a deeper link: anger at the "victimhood" imposed on them by modernity.

Kreeft and Neuhaus were calling abortion murder. Thus, the logic of their argument was that of my father's, too: The U.S. government was enabling murder and was thus disparaged as a "regime," even a "counterfeit state," that needed to be overthrown.


George and Colson and the others who wrote and then signed the "Manhattan Declaration" (like Kreeft before them) also called for fundamentalists to unite if need be for civil disobedience to stop the U.S. government from passing laws that did not comply with their religious "values" and/or to undermine those laws if they were enacted.

So if the U.S. government legalized gay marriage and thus "compelled" all Americans (including church groups) to recognize gay men and women's civil rights, the government need no longer be obeyed when those laws affected religious people who disagreed with them. The "Manhattan Declaration" called believers to "not comply." And just as Neuhaus dismissed the U.S. government as a "regime"--and my father did the same when saying the government was a "counterfeit state"--George and his co - signers also used dismissive and demeaning language about the U.S. government.

In a country awash in weapons and wallowing in the rhetoric of rebellion against an "evil" government, sporadic outbursts of murder tinged with political overtones seem as inevitable as they seem horribly "normal."

It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to foresee a day when a "secessionist" group and/or members of some "militia"--let alone one lone individual--will use their U.S. passports, white skins, and solid- citizen standing as a cover for importing a weapon of mass destruction to "liberate" the rest of us from our federal government's "tyranny" and/or to "punish" some city like New York, known as the U.S. "abortion capital" or San Francisco as the place that "those gays have taken over." And the possibility of an assassination in the same vein is a never-ending threat.

What we fear most from Islamist terrorists will be unleashed here as it was in Norway.

Terror is on the way on the way from our very own Christian and/or Libertarian "Tea Party" type activists inspired by right wing "Christian" intellectuals and political leaders like Bachmann who - after the killing starts -- will then disown them and express horror at their actions, actions that are in fact the logical extension of the anti-government rhetoric spewing from Congress and the religious right.

- Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His new book is Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway.