Tea Party

10 things you need to know today: June 25, 2014

The once-and-future senator of Mississippi. 

The once-and-future senator of Mississippi. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Week

Sen. Cochran fights off a Tea Party challenge, Putin urges an extension of Ukraine’s cease-fire, and more

1. Cochran holds off a Tea Party challenge in Mississippi
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) narrowly defeated a Tea Party-backed challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel in a GOP primary runoff on Tuesday. The race was a critical win for mainstream Republicans and a blow to the Tea Party. McDaniel edged ahead in the first round, but Cochran bounced back by getting African-American Democrats to turn out and help him beat his more hard-line challenger. McDaniel, angry over Cochran’s appeal to Democrats, refused to concede. [The Washington Post]

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2. Putin backs extending Ukraine’s cease-fire
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government to extend a temporary cease-fire on Tuesday, and called on Russian lawmakers to rescind their authorization of the use of force to intervene in Ukraine. Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, warned he might scrap the fragile truce after separatists shot down a military helicopter late Tuesday, killing nine servicemen. [The New York TimesThe Associated Press]

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3. Insider says Phoenix VA facility altered files of dead patients
Officials at a VA hospital in Phoenix altered records of dead veterans to hide the number of patients who died waiting for care, a whistleblower told CNN. “Deceased” notes were removed from files to improve the facility’s statistics, the source — scheduling clerk Pauline Dewenter — said. The interview marked the first time she had spoken publicly about the scandal. [CNN]

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4. Methodist appeals court overturns defrocking of pastor over gay marriage
United Methodist Bishop Peggy Johnson of Pennsylvania said Tuesday that she would abide by a church appeals court order to restore the credentials of the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was suspended last year for officiating at his son’s 2007 same-sex wedding. A jury of pastors defrocked Schaefer because he wouldn’t promise not to perform any more gay weddings. The appeals panel overturned the decision Tuesday. [The Associated Press]

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5. A woman is killed as attackers shoot at landing Pakistani plane
Gunmen fired on a Pakistan International Airlines plane landing at Peshawar’s airport Tuesday night, killing a female passenger and wounding three crew members. It was the third violent attack at a Pakistani airport this month. The plane, carrying 178 passengers, was hit by six bullets as it arrived on a flight from Saudi Arabia. One bullet narrowly missed the captain. Another hit the engine. The dead woman’s 9-year-old daughter was seated next to her. [Reuters]

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6. Judge finds no-fly list unconstitutional
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the federal government’s no-fly list is unconstitutional because blacklisted people have no way to challenge the decision. The challenge came from 13 Muslims in Oregon who were prevented from boarding a 2010 flight. District Court Judge Anna Brown said the freedom to travel was not a luxury but “a necessary aspect of liberties sacred to members of a free society.” Brown ordered the government to devise a way for people to get removed from the list. [Reuters]

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7. Brooks acquitted, Coulson found guilty in U.K. phone-hacking case
Rebekah Brooks, former head of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, was acquitted in London on Tuesday of conspiring to hack the phones of royalty, celebrities, and crime victims in search of scoops, a scandal that has rocked Murdoch’s media empire. A jury found former editor Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-communications chief, guilty, however. The jury returns Wednesday to continue considering whether Coulson approved bribes for exclusives. [CNN]

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8. Official testifies that IRS failed to follow the law and report lost emails
U.S. Archivist David Ferriero told members of Congress on Tuesday that the Internal Revenue Service “did not follow the law” when it failed to report that two years’ worth of then Exempt Organizations unit director Lois Lerner’s emails had been lost in a computer outage. The testimony came in the third hearing in the two weeks since the IRS revealed the glitch. Lerner was a key figure in the division’s targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny. [Politico]

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9. Dylan lyrics sell for a record $2 million
A handwritten manuscript of Bob Dylan’s hit song “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for $2 million Tuesday in a Sotheby’s auction in New York. The purchase set a record for an original set of lyrics, beating the $1.2 million paid for John Lennon’s “A Day in the Life” from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Dylan wrote the words for his classic on stationery from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington. [Los Angeles Times]

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10. Uruguay’s World Cup win marred when player appears to bite opponent
Uruguay’s 1-0 World Cup victory over Italy was overshadowed by an incident shortly before the game-winning goal when Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez appeared to bite Italian Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder. The match’s outcome sent Uruguay to the next round, and eliminated Italy. The controversy was intensified by the fact that Suarez served a seven-game suspension in 2010 for biting a player in Holland and a 10-game one for a bite in England last year. [ABC News]

Oklahoma Tea Party Candidate Supports Stoning Gay People to Death

scottpic

Would Scott Esk stone with a smile on his face? |

You can’t make this crap up.  The Tea Party faction of American politics is primarily batshit crazy.  They are often called the “American Taliban“.  The term seems quite appropos…

Slate

Given how savagely anti-gay the mainstream Oklahoma Republican party is, it’s no surprise that the state’s Tea Partiers are so rabidly hateful that they come across more as dark satire than as serious bigots. To wit: This week, an Oklahoma magazinediscovered that last summer, Tea Party state house candidate Scott Esk endorsed stoning gay people to death: “I think we would be totally in the right to do it,” he said in a Facebook post. Esk went on to add nuance to his position:

That [stoning gay people to death] goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.

When a Facebook user messaged Esk to clarify further, he responded:

I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.

Understandably unnerved, the magazine called up Esk for clarification. Although Esk claimed he didn’t remember the comments, he fleshed out his views:

That was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God and in that time there it was totally just. It came directly from God. I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.

Pressed one final time about his position on stoning gay human beings to death, Esk dug in his heels:

I know what was done in the Old Testament and what was done back then was what’s just. … And I do stand for Biblical morality.

I am impressed that Esk has some understanding of the concept of morality. But I am not quite certain that his views square with modern notions of the concept. I do suspect, however, that Esk’s beliefs aren’t all that far from the other state-level Republicans in the region, who recently attempted to push through the most extreme piece of anti-gay legislation America has ever witnessed. Perhaps our criticism of Esk, then, is really misguided: Rather than chastising him for his seemingly extremist views, we should be thanking him for saying what so many of his political associates are likely thinking.

Eric Cantor succumbs to tea party challenger Tuesday

Mark Wilson/Getty Images – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) participates in a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

The Washington Post

In a stunning upset propelled by tea party activists, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was defeated in Tuesday’s congressional primary, with insurgent David Brat delivering an unpredicted and devastating loss to the second most powerful Republican in the House who has widely been touted as a future speaker.

The race called shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern by the Associated Press.

Brat’s victory gives the GOP a volatile outlook for the rest of the campaign season, with the party establishment struggling late Tuesday to grapple with the news and tea party conservatives relishing a surprising win.

“This is an earthquake,” said former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, a friend of Cantor’s. “No one thought he’d lose.” But Brat, tapping into conservative anger over Cantor’s role in supporting efforts to reform federal immigration laws, found a way to combat Cantor’s significant financial edge.

Brat, an economics professor, simply failed to show up to D.C. meetings with powerful conservative agitators last month, citing upcoming finals. He only had $40,000 in the bank at the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Cantor had $2 million.

Despite those shortcomings, Brat has exposed discontent with Cantor in the solidly Republican, suburban Richmond 7th Congressional District by attacking the lawmaker on his votes to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, as well as his support for some immigration reforms. At a May meeting of Republican activists in the district,Cantor was booed, and an ally he campaigned for was ousted as the local party chairman in favor of a tea party favorite.

A similar revolt in the state Republican committee last year determined that the party would hold a two-day convention rather than an open primary to elect candidates in 2013. That decision helped gubernatorial contender Ken Cuccinelli II, a conservative hero who lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Many establishment Republicans in the state believe Cuccinelli’s nomination cost them the governorship. The 7th District fight is a sign that the factions in the party have yet to unite.

Since his days in the Virginia legislature, Cantor has been on the side of the pro-business, establishment. But he began to forge ties with the tea party in 2010, positioning himself as a conservative counterweight to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) after the movement helped sweep Republicans into power. Yet tea party activists in his own district have never embraced him.

Cantor has taken the primary threat seriously, attacking Brat in television ads and boasting in mailers that he blocked “amnesty” for illegal immigrants on Capitol Hill.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democratic Party nominee Jack Trammell — a professor at Randolph-Macon College, the same school where Brat works — in the general election this fall.

THAT’S IT. I AM COMING HOME.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images News | Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers embrace near a Wal-Mart in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two colleagues were shot and killed by two assailants at a pizza restaurant nearby

Esquire

By Lt. Col. Robert Bateman 

The NRA has made mass killings normal in this country. I’m coming home from years of serving my country overseas to help stop it.

This is too much. We have Tea Party political activists shooting cops from behind, in the head, then covering their dead bodies with the Tea Party “Gadsden” flag and shouting, “The Revolution begins now!”

No. I am coming home. I need to be there and be part of the solution.Moms Demand Action is getting some traction, but they can use the lean-in of a few U.S. Army Airborne Infantry Rangers. I am only sorry that I did not stand up to this threat to our nation before. I am sorry. I was busy.

I have been overseas in Afghanistan and in NATO nations for half a decade while the insanity of the National Rifle Association expanded and exploded, and the NRA became, essentially, the tool of death in the United States. They made mass killings normal.

Well done, NRA. But this shit is too much.

Constant cop-killing, by people who echo the NRA talking points and the conspiracy theories of the Internet wackos.

So I will come home, and perhaps some of those 3,000 nutjobs who sent me hatemail might want to meet up, because I am more than fricking willing, you whining, little boy-toys who need guns. So many of you have threatened me that I am literally booked, but any of you who feel you have been left out, go ahead. Book a date. You bring your gun to try and convince me that you are not a complete and total idiot, and if you bring a gun, let us see which tool works best.

Wimps need guns. Come and get me.

Oh, and if you try to go lethal, to convince me that your rhetoric is more intellectually compelling than my own written words, I am going to be giggling at the Las Vegas odds on you, with your guns, and me.

So there is that. Bring it on, little boys.

Bateman, pictured, is an infantryman and a Military Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The opinions here are only those of somebody that thinks a “Patriot Movement”—one which executes police officers—is not working in the service of the nation. They are only the opinions of someone who believes that “Tea Party members” who shoot policemen in the head— executing them at point blank range and then declaring that the “revolution” is starting before placing a Don’t Tread on Me flag atop the dead bodies of the police officers you just killed in cold blood—are not good.

You may believe otherwise. If you do, screw you.

10 things you need to know today: May 21, 2014

The Senate minority leader easily bested his Tea Party opponent on Tuesday.

The Senate minority leader easily bested his Tea Party opponent on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

The Week

Mitch McConnell defeats a Tea Party-backed challenger, a judge overturns Pennsylvania’s gay-marriage ban, and more

1. Mitch McConnell brushes off Tea-Party-favored primary challenger
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) easily defeated a Tea-Party-backed challenger, Matt Bevin, in Tuesday’s primary. Establishment Republicans also beat more conservative candidates in Oregon, Georgia, and Idaho. “My party is knitting itself back together,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R- Okla.). Democrats said mainstream Republicans were only winning because they were shifting to the right and running like Tea Partiers. [CNNThe Wall Street Journal]

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2. Judge rules Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional
A federal judge on Tuesday threw out Pennsylvania’s gay-marriage ban and declined to put the ruling on hold pending a possible appeal by the state, giving same-sex couples time to rush to apply for marriage licenses. Gay marriage is now legal throughout the Northeast. “We are a better people than what these laws represent,” U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III wrote, “and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.” [The Associated Press]

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3. Russia clinches crucial gas deal with China
China on Wednesday signed a deal to buy natural gas from Russia. The long-awaited deal gives China, the world’s biggest energy user, a source of clean-burning fuel. It also gives Russia a place to sell its gas at a moment when Europeans, angered by Moscow’s ties to separatists in Ukraine, are trying to find other sources of gas. The 30-year deal is estimated to be worth more than $400 billion, and is said to reflect the two countries growing ties. [Reuters]

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4. U.S. to disclose memo justifying killing American terror suspects abroad
The Obama administration said Tuesday it would release a classified memo justifying the use of drones in the targeted killing of American terrorism suspects overseas. The document was written by appeals court nominee David Barron, whose nomination faces a vote Wednesday. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. decided to disclose the memo rather than appeal a court order to release it under the Freedom of Information Act. [The New York Times]

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5. Twin blasts kill dozens in Nigeria
Two explosions killed at least 118 people at a market in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Tuesday afternoon. Nobody claimed responsibility, but suspicion immediately fell on the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which has been blamed for the abduction of more than 270 high-school girls last month. “It’s a wake-up call,” said activist Shamaki Gad Peter. “They are trying to make the country ungovernable.” [The New York TimesVoice of America]

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6. Court halts Missouri execution over condemned man’s medical condition
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito late Tuesday halted a Missouri execution to allow doctors to determine whether the condemned inmate, Russell Bucklew, would suffer extreme pain during his lethal injection due to a birth defect that affects his veins. He would have been the first person put to death in the U.S. since a botched execution in Oklahoma in April. [USA Today]

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7. GM recalls another 2.4 million vehicles
General Motors announced the recall of another 2.4 million vehicles on Tuesday, bringing to 13 million the total number of cars and trucks it has recalled since January. The latest recalls covered some Chevrolet Malibus, Cadillac Escalades, and other models. Just last week, GM recalled another 2.9 million vehicles. GM on Friday agreed to pay $35 million over delayed recalls on 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches. [CBS News]

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8. D’Souza pleads guilty to illegal campaign contributions
Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty on Tuesday to making illegal campaign contributions. D’Souza, author of 2010′s The Roots of Obama’s Rage and co-director of the 2012 documentary 2016: Obama’s America, had claimed he was being persecuted for criticizing Obama. Under a plea deal, he admitted making illegal contributions, but a charge of making false statements was dropped. “I deeply regret my conduct,” he said. [New York Daily News]

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9. Ex-players sue the NFL over painkillers
Eight retired National Football League players filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing the league of illegally giving them painkillers — without prescriptions, and without warning them of potential side-effects — so they could return to the field despite injuries. Attorney Steven Silverman said the league put profits ahead of the players’ health. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he couldn’t comment because he had not seen the suit. [The Washington Post]

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10. Golfer Lucy Li becomes youngest Women’s Open qualifier at age 11
Lucy Li, 11, became the youngest golfer ever to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open this week. The previous record holder, Lexi Thompson, was 12 when she qualified in 2007. Li shot rounds of 74 and 68 on a par-72 course, beating her nearest rival by seven strokes in a sectional qualifier. The tournament begins June 19. One player, Beverly Kass, competed at age 10 in 1967, but that was before the qualification process began. [ESPN]

The Weakness of the Tea-Party Movement

A woman at a May 2013 tea-party rally in Cherry Hill, N.J. Associated Press

This conservative author makes some valid points…

The Wall Street Journal - Think Tank

There’s been a fair amount of commentary, including on this site, about the tea party and its effect on the GOP. As someone who has written both sympathetically and critically of the tea party, I’d like to note a weakness of the movement.

The issue is not that the tea party embraces conservative policies. (I do as well.) It’s that some elements within the tea party seem almost completely uninterested in the details of policy. Calling for the dismantling of the modern state is easier than offering a serious governing agenda.

More fundamentally, some tea-party advocates misunderstand the Constitution. They can come across more like the anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution than the Federalists who created it. (See this essay I co-authored with Michael Gerson for more.)

In addition, much of their criticism of the “establishment” isn’t because of where Republicans such as Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) stand on the issues or their voting records, which are indisputably conservative. It’s that members of the GOP “ruling class” aren’t angry and apocalyptic enough. They don’t frame every debate as an existential choice between liberty and tyranny. They aren’t eager to lead any more charges into fixed bayonets.

The differences between many tea-party groups and the GOP establishment, then, is more stylistic than substantive, more temperamental than policy-specific. The former tend to see politics through the prism of theater rather than through the prism of governing.  Which explains why the tea party is a diminishing force in American politics.

Peter Wehner

Progressive MSNBC Guest: We ‘Made the Mistake of Laughing’ at the Tea Party

Guilty…

Mediaite

With five years having passed since the first tea party rally in 2009, MSNBC host Ronan Farrowinvited two liberal guests on his program to discuss the impact the tea party has had on American politics and its potential to continue to shape events. Tara Dowdell, a political strategist and self-described progressive, warned her fellow liberals that it would be a mistake to write off the tea party because they are likely to have an outsize impact on the coming midterm elections.

Farrow began by briefly recapping the history of the tea party. Afterword, he asked University of Lehigh professor James Peterson what power the tea party has retained to shape American politics. Peterson said that the tea party’s “legislative impact may be waning or may have peaked.”

“The shutdown seemed to be a real moment where they stumbled out of the gate, shot themselves in the foot, pushed the country to the brink, and people started to say, ‘What’s happening here?’” Farrow agreed.

“I think that the tea party should not be underestimated,” Dowdell insisted. “I think that progressives, like myself, have made the mistake of laughing at them and being very dismissive of them.”

“That’s very dangerous,” she added.

Dowdell insisted that, while the tea party has been a “double-edged sword” for the GOP, the upcoming midterm elections provide the tea party with a good environment to drive up turnout and have a major impact on electoral outcomes.

Watch the clip  via Mediaite

Coulter Battles Hannity over Tea Party: It’s Being Taken Over by ‘Shysters and Con Men!’

Mediaite

Ann Coulter sat down with Sean HannityWednesday night to talk about the birth of the tea party movement five years ago this week (borne from and whether it still has the same kind of power and influence it did years ago, most prominently when a tea party wave helped bring in a Republican House in 2010.

And while the two agreed the tea party is still a big force, Coulter immediately went after people she believes are manipulating tea partiers for their own benefit, “tricking Americans to send them money.” She said these tea partiers keep railing against the establishment GOP with the risk of tanking their chances of taking back the Senate.

Hannity shot back that they’re just sticking to principle, but Coulter insisted you can’t repeal Obamacare if you don’t first take control of Congress. She shouted, “Fight to give them a majority, then we will repeal Obama and have Keystone!”

She concluded that there are “shysters and con men” ruining the tea party, and no one should donate a penny to them if they have any interest in helping the cause of the Republican party.

Watch the video below, via Fox News:

Wolf Blitzer: Ted Nugent used Nazi terminology, ‘subhuman mongrel,’ to describe President Barack Obama

CNN host Wolf Blitzer discusses Ted Nugent’s comments about President Barack Obama.

Some might ask why should we even care what Nugent says?  At the risk of sounding too conspiratorial: when you connect the tea party with the corporate interests pulling their strings, it may be time to take a closer look at the motive and intent of said corporate interests.  Just saying…

Politifact

Ted Nugent may have made his name as a rock musician, but today he increasingly is known for his controversial comments about President Barack Obama. At a January gun expo in Las Vegas, Nugent described Obama as “a communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured, subhuman mongrel.”

Nugent now is campaigning with Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. This led CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to question whether the Abbott campaign understands the history of such language. (Abbott has not distanced himself from Nugent.)

“That’s what the Nazis called Jews to justify the genocide of the Jewish community,” Blitzer said in a Feb. 18, 2014, interview. “They called them untermenschen, subhuman mongrels. If you read some of the literature that the Nazis put out there, there is a long history of that specific phrase he used involving the president of the United States.”

Blitzer’s interview made waves through the political world, so we wanted to check his assertion about the words “subhuman mongrel.”

In his CNN interview, Blitzer cited the work of Nazi party official Julius Streicher. But our research shows Blitzer is correct well beyond an individual Nazi party official. The words subhuman and mongrel were used interchangably but generally had the same derogatory meaning.

David Myers, a historian at the University of California at Los Angeles, said Adolph Hitler used the word “untermensch” or subhuman in his book Mein Kampf in 1925.

“From that point forward, it was part of the Nazi lexicon,” Myers said. “That and ‘mischling’ or mongrel, were intoned with daily regularity by the Nazi propaganda machine.”

The man Blitzer mentioned, Streicher, was an early Nazi party leader in Nuremberg and Franconia and a fierce anti-Semite. In the mid 1920s, he began publishing a tabloid aimed at the working class called Der Sturmer, “The Attacker.” The front of each edition carried the slogan, “The Jews are our misfortune.”

In 1935, Der Sturmer carried a student essay that parrotted the teaching materials in the classroom. Here is the English translation:

“Regrettably, there are still many people today who say: Even the Jews are creatures of God. Therefore you must respect them. But we say: Vermin are animals too, but we exterminate them just the same. The Jew is a mongrel. He has hereditary tendencies from Aryans, Asiatics, Negroes, and from the Mongolians. Evil always preponderates in the case of a mongrel.”

In 1899, the English anti-Semite Houston Stewart Chamberlain wrote extensively about physical characteristics and race. He claimed “the Semites belong to the mulatto class, a transition stage between black and white” and were “a mongrel race which always retains this mongrel character.”

In 1942, the Nazis printed an infamous pamphlet, Der Untermensch, which translates to “subhuman.” The Holocaust Research Project translation provides this front panel quote from the head of the German SS, Heinrich Himmler:

“As long as there have been men on the Earth, the struggle between man and the subhuman will be the historic rule; the Jewish-led struggle against the mankind, as far back as we can look, is part of the natural course of life on our planet. One can be convinced with full certainty that this struggle for life and death is just as much a law of nature as is the struggle of an infection to corrupt a healthy body.”

Mark Roseman, director of the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University, said the German word for subhuman, untermensch, did not tend to be used by the Nazis in the adjectival form. So the words weren’t often used in combination.

“But the underlying claim, namely, that Nazi policies were preceded, facilitated, and accompanied by language that compared Jews to animals, and declared them to be subhuman, is of course absolutely correct,” Roseman said.

True

Everyone in America Supports a Minimum-Wage Hike—Except the Tea Party

The following information should surprise no one…

New Republic

Fast-food workers across the U.S. are striking Thursday  (today) to demand higher wages, and it turns out they’re not alone in believing the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is much too low. A majority of Americans—71 percent—support hiking the minimum to $10, according to the 2013 American Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. Democrats overwhelmingly support an increase, and even a majority of Republicans do. The minimum wage “is that rare issue where there is bipartisan and cross-religious support,” says Dan Cox, PRRI’s research director.

Except for the Tea Party, that is.

Public Religion Research Institute, American Values Survey, October 2013