This morning I arose to my computer and in my email, along with the usual piles of junk generated by highly knowledgeable and talented but also incredibly socially stunted and morally vile hackers and corporate shills, was a message from someone named Gallagher Sidower.
I don't know Sidower – which is not unusual, since I get lots of email from folks I don't know, asking questions, offering submissions, etc. – and I think his email was not particularly meant for me but was a kind of burst, to convey to many people whose address he had some material he had accumulated. But whatever his intent, I found Sidower's material so striking, that I thought I would forward it along, in a blog post, so perhaps many more folks might see it. I had to be a bit hasty about preparation – other things demanding time, and apologize for any "infelicities" that might have imposed.
Sidower begins, "Let’s take a look at what’s on the minds of some of the Republicans running for office this year (sources below)," and then Sidower presents, with no comments of his own, words of a few Republican candidates for office in the U.S. Below I present what he offered but I add, for each Republican comment, a reaction of my own. I couldn't help myself.
I should also like to add one other comment – at the risk of belaboring the obvious.
The lunacy that follows is striking, depressing, and even in some ways seriously scary – but while many Democrats and more sensible Republicans would not be remotely as weirdly disturbing dinner partners to talk to as the folks Sidower quotes – much less as despicable office holders – they have their own vile commitments as well.
So, here is the material Sidower assembled – with my brief comments…
"People ask me, 'What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?' Well, that's not my job as a U.S. senator."
— Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, May 14, 2010
Angle is right, of course. Her job, instead, is to act as an agent for the wealthy property holders in his Nevada constituency – and the rich are not lacking jobs or income. Of course, if possible her job is to also find some ways to help keep the rest of the Nevada population either in line or sufficiently confused to be doing things that aid the rich and not themselves, which might include his supporting some palliatives, or perhaps exerting some pressure, and certainly fomenting confusion as well. In these respects, Angle is doing the job, as would any Democrat.
''It sounds funny, but you need to be paying more for your health care.''
— Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul, on his version of health care reform.
There is some truth here, though I don't know Paul's program. Society needs to be paying more for health care, or allotting more of the productive capacity to it, at any rate, which means on average the citizenry would in some sense, get less other product. However, society also needs to spend less to obliterate souls and restrain dignity and creativity with the purpose of keeping a relative few in the saddle, and more to clean up waste, prevent disease and not just treat it, etc. With redistribution of responsibility and spending, and a sensible new budget, much less real transformation, the particular individuals that Paul is addressing, about 80% of the population, should be getting more medical care, of course, and more life enhancing other products as well, even as overall output declines.
“American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.” '
— Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell
Holy crap. Presumably O'Donnell went to American schools, at least through high school, perhaps through college, maybe beyond. I find it hard to imagine this formulation is meant to advance her political career or otherwise aggrandize some constituency she identifies with, though you never can tell, I guess. Rather, it would seem that she is probably sincere which shows that one can be an American, educated here, and with access to almost unlimited information here – and yet hold views a sensible clear thinking ten year old anywhere in the world would instantly dismiss as utterly idiotic, even if offered as a fairy tale. This is not just religious fundamentalism blanketing a brain in such a way as to short circuit its capacity for insight – though it is that, too, to be sure. It is also a product of the decline of American public education – which, in turn, was not an accident, but was rather a product of a policy self consciously aimed to avoid having a population too capable, confident, and aware to meekly accept conformity and submission.
''Do you know, where does this phrase 'separation of church and state' come from? It was not in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. … The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler's mouth, that's where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they're Nazis.''
— Glen Urquhart, Delaware GOP House candidate.
This comment, unlike the above one, I suspect is calculated. Interestingly, the Nazi were in fact among the earliest and most aggressive "greens" and vegetarians, I am told. I am not sure if that is true, but, if so, or even if not, perhaps we will soon be hearing about that, too. That Urquhart here reveals an incomprehension of the simplest matters of logic, even if his historical claim were true – is again a commentary on U.S. education – not just on America's electoral process, media, etc.
'Evolution Is A Myth. Why Aren't Monkeys Still Evolving Into Humans?'
— Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell
Holy Crap, again. Okay, so this lady is simply beyond the pale, yet, the real point is that she is going to get votes, lots and lots of votes – so that the richest country in the world generates adult citizens who can listen to the above comment, and then elevate the person to a position of vast power and influence. I am not from Delaware. Do the newspapers, on air personalities, and media personnel more generally report on O'Donnell's views, with appropriate editorial comment? I suspect not. Which tells us a few things. They agree with or at least like the lunacy. Or they see it for what it is but feel that their ability to sell audience to advertisers would be hurt by addressing the lunacy, and of course that takes precedence.
Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. There isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas."
— Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
Okay, it does stretch belief that these people say this stuff – and even more so that they aren't ridiculed into some kind of political oblivion for doing so – yet, again, it isn't just that she went through life in the U.S. and believes this, or even that the media doesn't treat it as a horrible commentary on America, but that so many will vote for her. How upset do people have to be to entertain putting this level of stupidity in the saddle?
"If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies. I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."
— Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, discussing armed insurrection in a radio interview, Jan. 2010
Is this for real? So we have illogic, coupled with ignorance, coupled with violence, driven by profit seeking. Has anyone seen anything like that in history? I bet the racism is lurking below…
“"God may choose to heal someone from cancer, yet that person still has a great deal of medical bills. The outstanding bills do not determine whether or not the patient has been healed by God." '
— Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell
At least, given her beliefs, the logic is more or less sound…
“I think we should keep this clean, keep it simple, go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant…. They’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the 10 commandments, it’s pretty simple.”
— Sarah Palin, May 2010
Palin is pretty simple alright, but if thou shalt not kill, what happens to the military not to mention Delaware Christy O'Donnell?
"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? But if you do your homework and research, you realize it’s part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty,"
— Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes saying that efforts to boost bike riding are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."
Hmmmmm… Is this belief? Is this manipulation? I can't tell, can you? And does it matter? If you do your homework and research – and does media ask him for the evidence? Not likely. If the system is falling apart – and no one is allowed or willing to address the real issues, market competition, profit seeking, corporate organization, racist infrastructure, and so on and so forth – then of course what will be said will be quite peculiar. Whose fault? Those filling the vacuum with all manner of lunatic utterance. Or those structures – and people – enforcing that there should be a vacuum – meaning, nothing real said.
"It appeared that they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby, And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists."
— Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert, in a speech on the House floor.
Finally, some racism in the mix – but remember, Louie says this before the assembled Representatives of the U.S. populace – and no one says he ought to be immediately removed from office. In fact, my guess is, no one sitting there, in the House of Representatives, said anything… So who is worse? This lunatic, or the well spoken sophisticated Dems who hear him, and who utter not a word in response?
''The Federal Department of Education should be eliminated. The Department of Education is unconstitutional and should not be involved in education, at any level.''
— Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, July 12, 2010
What these folks want – and they are not alone in this part of their agenda – is to turn back the clock on advances over the past hundred, perhaps two hundred years. We should have market competition, plus the bible (suitably interpreted by someone as wise as Angle) as our touchstones of reality and of possibility. If you wish to know what that would generate, read Dickens on England at the time of the industrial revolution, probably the moment of history when markets were most singularly in command.
''We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada. And I think now, isn't that ironic?''
—Sarah Palin, admitting that her family used to get treatment in Canada's single-payer health care system, despite having demonized such government-run programs as socialized medicine that will lead to death-panel-like rationing, March 6, 2010
Ironic? Or a moment of crystal sanity?
“Unemployment benefits are unconstitutional”
— Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller, on Face The Nation. When asked by FOX News host Chris Wallace about this assertion, also noted that without unemployment benefits, many more Americans would be in poverty. "What would you do for them?" asked Wallace. Miller wouldn’t answer. Pressed again on how he would help the 43.6 million Americans in poverty, Miller wouldn’t answer.
And Miller is right to not answer, of course – that is, he isn't supposed to care so why answer. The problem here was that he doesn't understand he is, however, supposed to make believe he cares.
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
— South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Andre Bauer, discussing food benefits for young children.
Now we are getting serious. This is simply, unadorned fascistic posturing. If this person gets more than 10% of the vote, it is really scary. If this person is seriously in the running – sadly, since there is no evidence that popular movements are at the moment large enough to combat such vile notions – one would have to hope that sane corporate elites know that this is a disaster for them, as well as everyone else. Once again, however, we have the media – being, what, silent?
''Death panels are the bureaucracies that President Obama is establishing where bureaucrats will make the decision on who gets health care and how much.'' And … ''We will talk a little bit about what has transpired in the last 18 months and would we count what has transpired into turning our country into a nation of slaves.''
— Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN speaking about the evils of the Obama administration.
People are angry, and rightly so. This type rhetoric will appeal, that it is put to the service of hurting most people more, goes unaddressed. Whose fault is that? Not Bachmann…
''I dabbled into witchcraft — One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it. I mean, there's little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.''
—Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell.
Okay, I am trying to think of something, but what can you say…
''I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change. It's not proven by any stretch of the imagination…It's far more likely that it's just sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere 'gets sucked down by trees and helps the trees grow.'''
— Ron Johnson, Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate.
We are back to the decline of American public education – a conscious outcome of clear policy choices to reduce funding for schools, gut programs, etc. This type of ignorance, whether this guy is posturing or honestly believes it, is, in its appeal, simply one more price paid for that. Elites know this kind of lunacy emerges from gutted education programs. They feel, I guess, that they can channel it, and stamp it out when need be. One almost has to hope they are right about that last belief… or one has to get serious about organizing around all manner of issues to address the pain and anger out there, in a way that actually has merit. It seems like we should opt for the latter path.
''When I said privatize, that's what I meant. That I thought we would just have to go to the private sector for a template on how this is supposed to be done. However, I've since been studying and Chile has done this.''
—Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Aug. 12, 2010, explaining why Social Security should be phased out in favor of a system resembling the one created in the 1980s by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet
What is striking here is that she "has been studying." I suspect it is true. I think she can. I think she is not congenitally brain dead, nor are the others. Neither was Himmler or Eichmann, however. There is a passage from Kurt Vonnegut that I always remember when I read stuff like this…
"I have never seen a more sublime demonstration of the totalitarian mind, a mind which might be likened unto a system of gears whose teeth have been filed at random. Such a snaggle toothed thought machine, driven by a standard or even substandard libido whirls with the jerky, gaudy, pointlessness, of a cuckoo clock in Hell.
Jones wasn’t completely crazy. The dismaying thing about the classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, though mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined.
Hence the cuckoo clock in Hell—keeping perfect time for eight minutes and thirty three seconds, jumping ahead fourteen minutes, keeping perfect time for six seconds, jumping ahead two seconds, keeping perfect time for two hours and one second, then jumping ahead a year.
The missing teeth of course are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten year olds, in most cases. The willful filing off of gear teeth, the willful doing without certain obvious pieces of information. That was how my father-in-law could contain in one mind an indifference toward slave women and a love for a blue vase. That was how Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, could alternate over the loudspeakers of Auschwitz great music and calls for corpse carriers. That was how Germany could see no important differences between civilization and hydrophobia."
''I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown''
—Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), during a congressional hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward, referring to a $20 billion fund for damages that President Obama pressured BP to set up to pay for the Gulf oil spill. Barton, the biggest recipient of oil and gas industry campaign contributions in the House of Representatives, was forced by Republican leaders to apologize for his BP apology.
Once again, give the man a break – he is just doing his utterly disgusting job, after all, albeit not very adroitly.
“Spending comes first, so we have to cut it first. And in my opinion, it'll take us about a long weekend to get that done, and then we'll be fine."
— Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) on her plan to cut social security for people who are now 55, and eliminate it entirely for those under 45.
Sadly, her and her cohorts probably would get things done really quickly, if there were more of them…a scary thought, since more are germinating even as we laugh…
''Obama is an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug.''
—Mark Williams, national spokesman for the Tea Party Express, on President Obama
The Tea Party at its base has a great many well meaning and serious people who are just really, and rightly, very angry. But, of course, instead of moving into a space of insight, social solidarity, and radical militance, this type rhetoric quite intentionally moves them into a space where they might even find Backman et. al. amusing and hopeful.
'He has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.''
—Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
I assume this is about Obama. Well, finally, true enough, though applicable so much more widely…
"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. It's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen."
—Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul, May 21, 2010
Okay, this time, there is some minuscule wisdom here. But what is being blamed, of course, is not the profit seeking market system, which would be real progress – but, instead, some people at BP, which takes a graphic instructive horror all around us, and cuts the real lessons out.
Sidower continues… and this time I think there is really no need for comment…
Well, so now we know what’s eating them. Below are some issues that are of more concern to the rest of us:
** Approximately 45 million Americans were living in poverty in 2009.
** According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.
** One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.
** Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.
** According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.
** Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12 month period ending June 30th.
** One out of every five children in the United States is now living in poverty.
** More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.