FAIR GAME: birth places, polygamy communes, and presidential candidates

As the Republican Teaparty has taught us since Barack Obama won the presidency, the background of a candidate is completely fair game — particularly if that background does not involve the candidate’s ancestors being passengers aboard the Mayflower (and specifically if one’s ancestors are any race other than white). Fact: these are the people Romney panders to.

Therefore in the interest of public awareness and fair play, Dave Weigel asks: So was there a Polygamy Commune, or wasn’t there?

The write-up wraps with this: “Romney’s father, George, was born in Mexico and moved to the United States as a child. He went on to become the governor of Michigan.” Which… doesn’t tell us what’s being discussed. Let’s go back to what Schweitzer told Jacobs.

While discussing swing states, Schweitzer said Romney would have a “tall order to position Hispanics to vote for him,” and I replied that was mildly ironic since Mitt’s father was born in Mexico, giving the clan a nominal claim to being Hispanic. Schweitzer replied that it is “kinda ironic given that his family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy.” Women, he said, are “not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”

Schweitzer did not say that Romney’s “dad’s dad was a polygamist.” He said that Romney’s dad was born into a “polygamy commune in Mexico.” This is true. In the 1880s, Miles Romney — the great-grandfather of the current GOP candidate — established a commune in Mexico with the express purpose of allowing the church to continue that practice after the United States cracked down on it. Miles took another wife in 1897, while living in the colony. Gaskell Romney, his son, didn’t engage in plural marriage. So both Romney and Schweitzer, talking past each other, are right. 

Related: 

If the only thing separating evangelical Christians from the Taliban is a burka, women might want to re-think evangelical Christianity.

via: divineirony

Political correctness is deadly: right-wing extremism is our biggest domestic terror threat

Think Progress’s Ken Sofer and Molly Bernstein report on the REAL threats to the safety and security of American citizens today:

Though the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City happened nearly two decades ago, (17 years ago on April 19) right-wing extremist terrorism remains a significant domestic threat to American security. The Department of Homeland Security released a report in 2009 stating that the economic and political climate bears important similarities to the conditions of the early 1990s when right-wing extremism experienced a dramatic resurgence. These conditions, including the public debate around hot-button issues such as immigration, gun control, and abortion, along with the election of the first African-American president, present “unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment,” the report said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano eventually ordered the report withdrawn because of significant political backlash from mainstream conservatives. But the report, which was originally commissioned by the Bush administration, also found that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

A look at terrorist incidents since the Oklahoma City bombing, including both successful and disrupted ideologically-motivated attacks, backs up the conclusions of the DHS report:

Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, as compared to 30 percent by ecoterrorists and 12 percent by Islamic extremists. Right-wing extremism has been responsible for the greatest number of terrorist incidents in the U.S. in 13 of the 17 years since the Oklahoma City bombing.

After DHS withdrew the report, the department cut the number of analysts studying non-Islamic domestic terrorism. Daryl Johnson, the primary author of the report and a self-described Republican, soon left his post at DHS and said in July, 2011 that DHS has “just one person” dealing with domestic terrorism. The Department has largely been silent on domestic terrorist threats ever since.

Although current statistics show that right-wing extremism is on the rise through groups like the Sovereign Citizen and Patriot movements, domestic counterterrorism continues to receive few resources and little public attention. Though Islamic extremism remains a significant domestic security threat, current statistics and incidents such as Oklahoma City show that it is far from the only threat. In order to protect American citizens, we need to match our resources to the reality of our threats, not just the politically expedient narratives we have formed.

As long as the media and average people pretend that ‘both sides do it’ and decide that it’s okay for self-described ‘patriots’ to rabidly hate President Obama, Democrats, and the federal government — and as long as everyone continues to look the other way when right-wing attitudes manifest themselves publicly, in the form of open racism and / or violent rhetoric, we’ll be under threat as a society and a functioning country.

Ask yourself if the fictional right-wing, Fox “News” created, tea party celebrated ‘creeping Sharia law’ is more of a threat to our country than the very real and ongoing use of the Republican Party’s Southern Strategy. Recall Sarah Palin’s creative ‘sniper rifle symbols’ on Democratic U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the aftermath. Think of Breitbart-protégé James O’Keefe and his ‘pimp costume’ and ACORN and the fictional Democratic voter fraud issue (as we’ve learned, Mitt Romney, the presumed GOP presidential candidate, actually committed voter fraud).

Or look at the most recent example of our politically correct, both sides do it, national discourse:

The ‘outrage’ for the right was something said by a CNN commentator about a candidate’s wife and was, in fact, entirely true. The ‘outrage’ for the left, which should be an outrage for the entire country, was a thinly-veiled threat against the life of our sitting president, for purposes of demonstrating the speaker’s Southern Strategy bona fides in front of an NRA crowd. With our history of political assassinations and attempted assassinations, should we ever take such rhetoric lightly?

While you think about which outrage received the most national attention and why, you might also ask yourself how your silence on such matters not only contributes to the escalation of ignorance in our national discourse, but encourages some Beck- or Palin-inspired Manchurian candidate to prove his ‘Super Patriotism’ in the form of action. Sort of like this guy, who has been happily expressing his right-wing ideals in court all last week:

[Anders Behring Breivik] identified as his enemy the “cultural Marxists” who he said had destroyed Norway by using it as “a dumping ground for the surplus births of the third world”. Claiming Norwegians would be a minority in their own capital “within five years”, he blamed liberal politicians for bringing about Norway’s demise with “feminism, quotas … transforming the church, schools”.

The 69 people, many of them teenagers, who died on the island of Utøya when he opened fire on the youth camp of the ruling Labour party were “not innocent”, he claimed.

“They were not innocent, non-political children; these were young people who worked to actively uphold multicultural values. Many people had leading positions in the leading Labour party youth wing,” he said, going on to compare the Labour party’s youth wing (AUF) with the Hitler Youth.

Morning Bunker Report: Sunday 4.22.2012

————————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY

ROMNEY CAN DOG-WHISTLE WITH THE BEST OF THEM. Romney appeared on stage in front of this official campaign banner: See, there’s a very racist stereotype about black people being “lazy and shiftless,” and another one that has to do with “welfare queens” who don’t want to work. So when you create a disgusting slogan like this one, it serves as a dog-whistle, stoking white racist anger while also offending every black person in the country. Yeah, it was probably intentional. The Republican Party’s use of the Southern Strategy is well-documented and verified by actual Republican leaders. [Racist Romney Campaign Banner | Bob Cesca]

OBAMA DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: A REPUBLICAN congressional candidate in Iowa told a TEA PARTY audience yesterday that PRESIDENT OBAMA does not love his country because he supports raising taxes on millionaires. [...] After distorting how much revenue the proposed Buffett Rule, which raises taxes on millionaires, would bring in, Dan Dolan used the president’s support for the measure as evidence that he is unpatriotic. “I have a hard time thinking that he loves this country if he’s willing to turn them against themselves for his own advancement…” [...] a new CNN poll this week found that 72 percent of Americans — including 53 percent of Republicans — support the Buffett Rule. We called Dolan’s campaign to inquire whether he also believes that the three out of every four Americans, and a majority of those in his own party, don’t love their country. We will post their response if one is provided. [Iowa GOP candidate doubts that Obama 'loves this country' because of Buffett Rule] — which reminded me of this:

Bill Maher: Save our children (if you won’t save our richest one percent, who will?)

REPUBLICAN JESUS IS ALSO INFECTED WITH ODS: First up is a look at Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Roman Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois, who caused quite a stir with a homily last weekend, when he compared President Obama to Hitler. And while that proved to be the part of Jenky’s hysterical tirade that generated the most attention, there’s a little more… [...] Jenky not only likened the president to Hitler and Stalin — a line that was not appreciated by the Anti-Defamation League — he went on to compare those who support the administration’s policy on contraception access to Judas Iscariot. But don’t miss the bishop’s conclusion: “This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries — only excepting our church buildings — could easily be shut down.” Now, the notion that contraception access might lead the government to shut down Catholic institutions is obviously ridiculous — someone might want to remind Mr. Jenky that there’s a commandment about bearing false witness — but in context, when the bishop concluded his harangue about his hatred for the president by giving the congregation voting instructions, that raises a separate legal question… [This Week in God]

SAY QUESTIONABLE SHIT ABOUT THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF, PASS ON ENTERTAINING HIS TROOPS. Fort Knox’s June 23rd concert was originally scheduled to have Nugent as the headliner. On Tuesday, Nugent said that he would be “dead or in jail by this time next year” if President Barack Obama is re-elected.” Forty-eight hours later, changes to the concert lineup were in the works. “After learning of opening act Ted Nugent’s recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation,” said a post on the official Fort Knox, KY Facebook page Thursday. [...] Nugent met with the Secret Service on Thursday, calling the get-together “a good, solid, professional meeting.” The agency added that any potential issues had been resolved. Outside his Secret Service comments, Nugent’s rough week included a guilty plea in an Alaska black bear killing case. .. [Anti-Obama Comments Lead To End Of Rockstar's Appearance]

CHARLES P. PIERCE COMMENTS ON Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods and the weirdo Secret Service agent — And then, with the shrewd self-awareness that’s marked her entire career, she continues… “The president, the CEO of this operation called our federal government, has got to start cracking down on these agencies. He is the head of the administrative branch and all of these different departments in the administration that now people are seeing things that are so amiss within these departments. The buck stops with the president. And he’s really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. He has to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies where so many things, obviously, are amiss.” So sayeth the woman who found being the CEO of this operation called the state of Alaska too demanding to finish out her single term at the job. Historians are going to look back at this era of our politics and wonder why we all decided to start eating paint chips. Was there a famine or something? [Esquire]

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS—————————————————————-

DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HEAR FROM REPUBLICANS, LISTEN TO DEMOCRATS ON SOCIAL SECURITY — Get ready for the pro-Paul Ryan austerity headlines that will predict an imminent demise of Social Security. On April 23, the Social Security Trustees Report for 2012 is expected to be released – and you can expect that the shills for the one percent will be blaring that seniors may need to live on cat food if the US is going to be saved from financial ruin. But an advance analysis of the report on the financial status of the program, posted on NiemanWatchdog, argues that “last year’s report projected that at the end of 2011, Social Security would have an accumulated surplus of around $2.7 trillion, which it now has. This year’s report will show that it will be even higher at the end of 2012.” That’s right, the current $2.7 trillion surplus of Social Security funds is expected to rise by the end of this year. [Forget the Scary Headlines: Social Security Has More Than a $2.7 Trillion Surplus]

HOW MAINTAINING TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY LEADS TO AUSTERITY FOR THE REST OF US (what the Democrats are fighting): The state budget gaps of the last five years led to $290 billion in cuts to public services and $100 billion in tax and fee increases. Those actions lengthened the recession and delayed the recovery. Because spending reductions were dominant, hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost; undermining education, health care and other state priorities, which likely will cause future economic harm to states. Federal aid mitigated the harmful effects of the spending cuts in the early years of the budget crunch, but its expiration last year had a catastrophic effect, making 2012 the worst year since the downturn began for cuts in funding for services. More federal aid and a more balanced response, with an equal reliance on revenues and on service cuts, could have mitigated these effects. These are the findings of a new analysis of state budget data and trends over the last five years. While the broad outlines of this story have been well-known, this is the first attempt to quantify how states collectively balanced their budgets in the face of the worst fiscal problems in at least 70 years. Since 2008, states have enacted almost $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenues… [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

TAX REFORM: THE GOP REFUSES TO RAISE TAXES ON THE WEALTHIEST ONE PERCENT (i.e. restoring the American value of fairness): Republicans work from a baseline that includes a full extension of the Bush tax cuts. The Democrats’ baseline assumes the expiration of the tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000. The Congressional Budget Office uses yet another baseline, one that assumes that all of the Bush tax cuts will expire, because that’s what current law says will happen at the end of 2012. The difference in revenue between the Republican and the current-law scenario exceeds $4 trillion over 10 years. So before we can even discuss what a new tax code should look like, we somehow need to resolve the most polarizing question in American politics: Should taxes be higher or lower? [...] The Tax Policy Center estimates that if the Bush tax cuts expire, the average America will face a $1,749 tax increase in 2013. That’s not something you want in a fragile economy after a decade that’s been terrible for the middle class. But it may be something we need if we’re going to get real revenue-raising tax reform. The two parties would still have to settle on a final revenue number, but at least they could agree on one that would cut taxes on almost all Americans. No one would have to vote for a “tax increase.” That’s not the case in the current world of baseline confusion. It’s sad to think that the only way to save the tax code might be to let it collapse at the end of the year. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. [Ezra Klein]

image: americanprogress.org