In his latest frenzied game of connect-the-dots, Fox News' Glenn Beck compared the philosophies of Nazism and communism, finding common ground in their advocacy of "social justice" -- the crazy idea that people should have equal rights and opportunities:
BECK: Both the communists, who are on the left -- they say -- you know, these are communists. And the Nazis are on the right. That's what people say. But they both subscribed to one philosophy, and they flew one banner. One had the hammer and sickle; the other was a swastika. But on each banner read the words, here in America, of this -- "social justice." They talked about economic justice, rights of the workers, redistribution of wealth, and surprisingly -- I love this -- democracy.
But don't stop there, Glenn. You know who else supports social justice? The Catholic Church. Yes, the Catechism of the Catholic Church deals specifically with "Social Justice," noting: "Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority."
Meanwhile, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has a section of its website devoted to "Social Justice," detailing positions on topics such as "Judaism and Health Care Reform" and "Jewish Community Budget Priorities." ("We have long been involved with the annual budget process, advocating for policies and programs that assist the most vulnerable people in our nation.") And the Union for Reform Judaism's Commission on Social Action "seeks to apply the insights of Jewish tradition to such domestic and foreign issues as human rights, world peace, civil liberties, religious freedom, famine, poverty, intergroup relations, as well as other major societal concerns"; its website cites Rabbi David Saperstein's statement that "the thread of social justice is so authentically and intricately woven into the many-colored fabric we call Judaism that if you seek to pull that thread out, the entire fabric unravels."
Oh, Glenn. Questions have been raised about your sanity after you called yourself a clown, barked like a dog on national TV, and entertained the fringe right with your manifold conspiracy theories. But if you really want to go so far down the nutty trail that you inadvertently end up linking Jews to subscribing to Nazism, you will have removed all doubt.
It seems we spoke too soon.
Last week, we wrote that it appeared Newsmax had dumped Pamela Geller as a columnist, presumably in response to her repeated hateful rhetoric. But Geller has since published a new column at Newsmax, this time on the Rifqa Bary case.
This means it's clear that Newsmax has no problem with Geller's anti-Muslim hate-fest at CPAC a couple weeks ago or, apparently, with very little of the hate she spews. The column in which she smears President Obama as "jihad-enabling" and "President L-dopa," which Newsmax had deleted, remains off the website, however (it's still in Google cache).
Newsmax needs to explain why -- after dumping a columnist who advocated a military coup against Obama -- it continues to provide space to a writer whose hateful rantings it has had to remove at least once before.
Since the news broke that the Brooklyn district attorney found "no criminality" in the undercover ACORN video recorded in New York City by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, right-wing blogs have been pushing the notion that the DA, Charles Hynes, is a "member" of the Working Families Party and that given ACORN's support of that party, the investigation is a scam. Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft headlined his post on the subject "ACORN District Attorney Lets ACORN Off the Hook For Child Prostitution Tapes":
Yesterday, employees at ACORN in Brooklyn who were caught on video giving tax advice to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute were cleared of criminal wrongdoing. The Brooklyn DA is a member of the ACORN/Working Families Party. That means he signed their pledge, and worked for their endorsement... And, he found no wrongdoing. Funny how that works out, huh?
Hoft's supporting link leads to a Founding Bloggers post that says, in part:
Should anyone be surprised? The Brooklyn DA is a member of the ACORN/Working Families Party. That means he signed their pledge, and worked for their endorsement.
The post was later updated:
UPDATE: Some people want to quibble about membership in ACORN and SEIU's Working Families Party, versus endorsement. This distinction doesn't hold water. When a candidate accepts the endorsement/nomination of a political party, they become a de facto member of that party. Do skeptics want to make the argument that Republican candidates are not Republicans? Or that Democrat candidates are not Democrats? If a candidate accepts the endorsement of the Working Families Party, and the Democrat Party, they are members of both parties.
Well, then. By that standard, Hynes is a member of four parties: the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Conservative Party, and the Working Families Party. See, in New York, candidates can earn the endorsement of more than one party and appear on a ballot line for each of them. And in the 2009 election, all four of those parties endorsed Hynes, as the official results show:
More broadly, it is ridiculous to claim that in a system in which district attorneys are elected, those DAs simply cannot be trusted to conduct investigations of members of their party. A DA is tasked with prosecuting participants in government corruption, regardless of party. Some of them fail to live up to that duty -- and the system has mechanisms for their removal (i.e., elections) -- but to assume that such action is impossible doesn't make a lot of sense.
With regard to Hynes, by the way, this line of argument is especially inapt -- Hynes is best known for repeatedly successfully prosecuting former Brooklyn Democratic chair Clarence Norman Jr. on corruption charges. Those convictions cost Norman his Assembly seat, his control over the Brooklyn Democratic Party, his law license, and several years in jail. Hynes stood up to the chair of the major party to which he belonged, but refused to prosecute a backer of a minor party that supports him? Seems unlikely.
At least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his March 2 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
From the March 2 Reuters article:
The NYC real estate mogul and newspaper owner is reportedly considering entering the New York senate race and challenging Democrat, Kristen Gillibrand. And Ben Smith at Politico today seems quite anxious to position Zuckerman as a strong contender, should he decide to enter the race as a Republican-Independent:
The New York billionaire who owns one of the Democratic Party's loudest megaphones, the New York Daily News, backed Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign but has emerged as a bitter White House critic, and his entry into the race would put Republicans clearly within striking distance of retaking the Senate.
Smith never really details why he thinks the cantankerous billionaire, who's never run for public office, would instantaneously put the GOP within striking distance.
And in fact, just a few hours after Smith's piece went live, Politico posted this polling headline:
Marist: Gillibrand would trounce Zuckerman
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand would lead billionaire Mort Zuckerman by 30 points in a potential general election match-up, according to a Marist poll released Tuesday.
UPDATED: Not great timing for Politico today. Zuckerman announced he's not running.
Here's the headline for article about the Sen. Jim Bunning attempt to single-handedly block the passage of unemployment benefits:
G.O.P Splits on Senator's Move to Block Benefits
But has the GOP really split? In fact, couldn't the argument be made that the real news is that the GOP hasn't split, and that very few GOP voices are complaining about Bunning's increasingly odd behavior? Doesn't claiming that the GOP "splits" give Republicans more credit than they deserve?
Here's the Times' only evidence of the so-called split [emphasis added]:
The effort to end a Senate standoff over unemployment benefits and health coverage for the jobless escalated on Tuesday morning as Senator Susan Collins, the moderate Republican from Maine, became the latest lawmaker, and the first Republican, to try to override the objection of Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky.
Question for NYT: How can the GOP be "split" if only one Republican has publicly opposed Bunning?
It's true that Collins claimed that her effort to thwart Bunning was made "behalf of numerous members of the Republican caucus who have expressed concerns to me." But if the GOP is really 'split,' than those members of the Republican caucus would express their concerns publicly. And where is the GOP leadership on this issue?
Again, why is the Times giving the GOP credit for being divided? If the party were really split, wouldn't there be lots of Republicans opposing Bunning? Not just one single voice from Maine?
Because the day after the stupid Obama-drinks-too-much smear was debunked, UK's Mail, no doubt trolling for RW links, runs with the story:
Barack Obama should drink less alcohol and try harder to kick his smoking habit, doctors says
Barack Obama should not only try harder to kick his smoking habit, his team of doctors warned, but they also recommended 'moderation of alcohol intake'
And yes, the Mail implies Obama's drinking too much [emphasis added]:
It would seem the pressure of the U.S. presidency - and all those White House receptions - are taking their toll after the 48-year-old's first medical checkup since winning the race to the White House.
From the Fox Nation on March 2:
National Review's web site leads with a column by Heritage Foundation's Michael Franc opposing the use of reconciliation to pass changes to health care reform. Unfortunately, Franc's column is deeply disingenuous, from the one-word headline ("Unprecedented") that manages to be false despite its brevity to the closing sentence, in which Franc demonstrates that his objection to the use of the tactic is utterly unprincipled.
Franc begins by referring to reconciliation as "arcane," which is a spectacularly loaded term to describe a legislative tactic that has been used to pass some of the highest-profile legislation of the past quarter century, including welfare reform and George W. Bush's tax cuts. Franc goes on:
Senator Reid ... argues that the reconciliation process has been used many times over the last three decades - usually, he claims, at the instigation of Republicans.
"He claims"? Well, is it true? Yes! It is true: "16 of 21 reconciliation bills were Republican." But using the loaded word "claims," Franc falsely implies that Reid wasn't telling the truth. Franc later claims he cannot detect any "pattern" in the use of reconciliation. He should check in with Joshua Tucker.
The Congressional Research Service reports that 19 reconciliation measures have been enacted into law since the procedure's first use in the twilight of the Carter administration. It was attempted, but failed, a couple of times more. Reconciliation has been used for virtually all imaginable scenarios - save one: There is no precedent for using it to enact a once-in-a-generation rewrite of the relationship between Americans and their government that appeals exclusively to one side of the aisle.
Do I really need to point out that this is because "once-in-a-generation" legislation doesn't come along very often? How many times does Franc expect a legislative practice that has been around for little more than 30 years to have been used to enact "once-in-a-generation" legislation?
More broadly, Franc is setting conditions that just don't matter. Reconciliation has never* been used on the third Sunday of the fifth month of the year, either, but who cares? That isn't a legitimate reason not hold a reconciliation vote on May 16; it's just trivia. Likewise, Franc's complaint that the legislation "appeals exclusively to one side of the aisle" is meaningless. There is nothing in Senate rules or in logic that deems legislation that Senate Republicans don't support less legitimate than legislation Senate Republicans do support. Nothing.
Also worth noting: Republicans have used reconciliation to pass measures that lacked meaningful Democratic support.
Even the current Senate concurs that reconciliation ought not to be used for such mega-bills. Last April, 67 senators - including 26 Democrats and then-Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania - supported a resolution to prohibit reconciliation from being used to advance that other mega-bill lurking out there, the cap-and-trade climate-control bill.
Our custom has always been to subject such bigger-than-life bills to a rigorous vetting process that allows affected parties to scrutinize the pros and cons and examine alternatives before ultimately arriving at a broad and bipartisan consensus.
That might be interesting, if anybody was talking about passing the entire health insurance reform package through reconciliation. But nobody is. The Senate has already passed reform, and done so without using reconciliation. Reconciliation is being contemplated as a means of passing a much smaller package of changes to that legislation. So invoking the specter of "bigger than life bills" is irrelevant and misleading. And there's basically no chance Franc doesn't realize as much.
Eventually, Franc acknowledges that Republicans passed a 2003 tax cut package that was "was too much for the Democrats" via reconciliation. But that, Franc writes, was OK, because Republicans did well in the next elections:
This time, the political fallout was quite different. President Bush and his fellow Republicans actually prospered at the polls in the 2004 presidential election.
Reconciliation can yield political dividends, it seems. But only when it's used to force through controversial and consequential tax cuts.
So it seems Franc's opposition to the use of reconciliation for health care isn't actually about any principle; he doesn't really think it matters if legislation passed through reconciliation "appeals exclusively to one side of the aisle."
* As far as I know.