GOP Hate-Mongering · The Great American Divide

Welcome to the new Civil War

Welcome to the new Civil War

In a recent discussion with a friend, I mentioned how news pundits constantly use the phrase: “Our country has not been so ideologically divided since the Civil War.”

My friend’s question was “why the Civil War analogy…?  The following piece tends to address this question.


Lincoln’s unfinished war rages on, as the neo-Confederacy tries to turn back the clock on women, gays, God and guns

On a repeat viewing of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” over the New Year’s holiday, a scene I had barely noticed the first time jumped out at me. Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens (played with reptilian gentility by Jackie Earle Haley), in a secret meeting aboard a steamboat with Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward, faces up to the reality that the era of slavery has come to an end. Ratification of the 13th Amendment, Stephens muses, will destroy the basis of the Southern economy and the South’s traditional way of life. “We won’t know ourselves anymore,” he says.

If only it had been so. What an affluent slave owner like Stephens feared most, no doubt, was the utopian vision of “radical Reconstruction” imagined by legendary abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones in the movie), in an earlier conversation with Lincoln in the White House kitchen. Stevens envisioned a future in which all the land and property of the Southern aristocracy would be dispossessed and divided among the emancipated slaves, building a new society of free soil and free labor amid the ruins of tyranny. To put it in contemporary social-studies terms, Stevens hoped that by uprooting and destroying the South’s slave economy, one could also replace its culture.

It didn’t quite work out that way. You can’t boil one of the most tumultuous periods of American history down to one paragraph, but here goes: Lincoln was assassinated by a domestic terrorist and replaced by Andrew Johnson, who was an incompetent hothead and an unapologetic racist. Within a few years the ambitious project of Reconstruction  fell victim to a sustained insurgency led by the Ku Klux Klan and similar white militia groups. By the late 1870s white supremacist “Redeemers” controlled most local and state governments in the South, and by the 1890s Southern blacks had been disenfranchised and thrust into subservience positions by Jim Crow laws that were only slightly preferable to slavery.

So even though it’s a truism of American public discourse that the Civil War never ended, it’s also literally true. We’re still reaping the whirlwind from that long-ago conflict, and now we face a new Civil War, one focused on divisive political issues of the 21st century – most notably the rights and liberties of women and LGBT people – but rooted in toxic rhetoric and ideas inherited from the 19th century.

Edit Note:  Emphasis are mine

Continue reading here…

Gov. Rick Perry · President Barack Obama

Perry Reveals Plan For Total U.S. Anarchy: ‘Put A Moratorium On All Regulations’

The proposal by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now officially a GOP presidential candidate, for President Obama to “put a moratorium on all regulations” seems like pure, unadulterated insanity.

That would mean no food inspections; no clean air; Wall Street repeating the same horrible things that nearly brought us to the brink of an economic disaster which was averted by a bail out.  Perry wants to try no regulations at all…for a while!

This kind of talk is insanity!

Think Progress

Today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) issued the first policy position of his presidential campaign by asking the White House to issue a “moratorium on regulations across this country”:

 We’re calling today on the president of the United States to put a moratorium on regulations across this country, because his regulations, his EPA regulations are killing jobs all across America.

Watch it:

“We’re sending out a request today asking President Obama to put a moratorium on all regulations,” Perry said on WHO radio in Iowa, recorded live by ThinkProgress.

Under such a moratorium, the Food and Drug Administration would stop approving new drugsand preventing human experimentation; the USDA would stop checking for food safety; the EPA would stop monitoring for poisons in drinking water; the Library of Congress would stoploaning materials to blind people; the NTSB would stop investigating airplane accidents; HHS would end Medicare payments; no more patents, copyrights, or trademarks would be issued; DHS would stop protecting chemical facilities from terrorist attacks; the Treasury would stopprinting currency; financial sanctions on hostile nations like North Korea and Iran would end; and the Federal Reserve System would shut down.

Perry’s “moratorium on regulations” would mean a literal end to the rules of law in the United States. At least it would also mean that all of President George W. Bush’s midnight regulationsfavoring polluters and industry abuses would also be lifted.

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Planned Parenthood · Sen. Jon Kyl

Should Jon Kyl get to erase his ‘Planned Parenthood lies’?

Unfortunately, members of Congress and the Senate are allowed to correct anything sumbitted for the Congressional Record.

The Week

The Arizona Republican wildly exaggerated the family planning group’s abortion record. Now he’s striking his statement from the congressional record.

Best Opinion:  Village Voice, TIME,

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) faced anger and ridicule after claiming earlier this month that abortions account for 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s business — the actual figure is 3 percent. First, his office tried to calm the furor by saying that Kyl’s assertion, made on the Senate floor during debate over the group’s federal funding, was “not intended to be a factual statement.” Now Kyl has stricken what some called his “Planned Parenthood lies” from the congressional record. Is that fair?

Kyl should not get to cover up his lie:
The Senate’s No. 2 Republican wants his “egregiously, ludicrously wrong not-intended-to-be-a-factual-statement” to magically disappear, says Rosie Gray at The Village Voice. But you can’t erase one lie by telling another. Kyl made up a statistic to get publicity for his attack on Planned Parenthood, but he’ll get more publicity — of the bad variety — for trying to whitewash what he said.
“It’s as if Jon Kyl never even opened his mouth”

He’s merely setting the record straight: Kyl misspoke, and he’s embarrassed, Nick Carbone says at TIME. His critics might not like it, but the Library of Congress gives all senators the right to edit their remarks before they are printed in the permanent record. Now the record will reflect that Planned Parenthood does indeed perform abortions, but without any quantitative exaggeration. “Thank you for the factual statement, Sen. Kyl.”
“From not factual to non-existent: Jon Kyl’s remark stricken from Congressional Record”

The damage is already done: It’s easy to understand why Kyl would want his wildly inaccurate statement to go away, says Ryan Witt at, but simply expunging it won’t achieve that. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert has ridiculed Kyl mercilessly over this — and no matter how the official congressional record reads, Kyl’s “original non-factual statement will likely forever remain part of congressional lore.”
“Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) tries to erase ‘not intended to be a factual statement'”

Newt Gingrich · Twitter

Newt Gingrich’s Disappearing Tweets

Gingrich In 2004: ‘You Can’t Flip-Flop And Be Commander-In-Chief’

Huffington Post

Now that Newt Gingrich understands that his past statements are going to extensively mined for evidence of flipping and flopping, it makes sense that suddenly, a whole bunch of his old tweets have been sent down the memory hole. Here’s Juli Weiner:

Long before launching his exploratory committee, he frequently chronicled his life’s joys on his Twitter feed. Our favorite of Gingrich’s tweets was a series he wrote around Easter of last year, shown above. His recollection of snacks of yore, and their relationship to tender memories, was positively Proustian in its subject matter, if not its duration.Now, it seems as if his childhood wonder has been expunged from the Internet.

These tweets and all others composed before July 22, 2010 are unable to be found. According to Twitter, Gingrich has written more than 2,300 tweets, but just a small portion of the sum total are currently available on his feed. Additionally, permalinks to many earlier tweets are broken.

As Weiner points out, the good news is that Wonkette has preserved Gingrich’s many tweets about chocolate bunnies for posterity. (Also, isn’t the Library of Congress keeping a record of Twitter, for some reason?)


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West Wing Week

West Wing Week: “Green Eggs and Governors”

The White House

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a busy week on the 18 acres, with President Obama welcoming the nation’s governors, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón to the White House. The First Lady and Education Secretary Arne Duncan also helped kick off Education Month at the Library of Congress.