How Conspiracy Theories Poisoned the Republican Party

Wingnuts have become increasingly reliant on reality-defying paranoia. Here’s how it happened. In the 1960s, William F. Buckley tried to banish organized conspiracists from the conservative movement with his crusade against the John Birch Society, which tellingly organized itself secretively, just like the Communists that it believed were everywhere. In a 2008 article in Commentary, Buckley told the story of how he, writer Russell Kirk, AEI’s William Baroody, and Barry Goldwater met in 1962, and discussed “the need to excommunicate the John Birch Society from the conservative movement,” so that they wouldn’t derail a Goldwater presidential bid in 1964. As Buckley described Robert Welch, founder of John Birch Society: His influence was near-hypnotic, and his ideas wild. He said Dwight D. Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy,” and that the government of the United States was “under operational control of the Communist party.” It was, he […] Read More

Ted Cruz Isn’t an Idiot — He’s Delusional and That’s Far More Dangerous

For those who think like Cruz, there is virtually no amount of data, reality checks or facts that can persuade them to give up their false ideas. Since Ted Cruz first announced his candidacy, much has been made of his chances of winning, his arrogance and his extreme conservative views. But most of the controversy over his candidacy centers on his lying. It is no surprise to any of us that politicians lie. We generally assume they stretch the truth to get elected, to denigrate their political foes, and to bolster their images. But Cruz may just represent one of the biggest liars in recent history. In fact, he may be a whole new form of political liar. The Daily Beast reports that, “Cruz’s Politifact track record for publicly asserted falsehoods is the second-highest among front-runners, totaling 56 percent of all statements they’ve looked at.” And Matthew Rozsa tell us that “Googling ‘Ted Cruz lies’ pulls back an astonishing 7,890,000 results, and […] Read More

Religious Broadcaster Warns Christians to ‘Prepare for Martyrdom’ If Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage

Other anti-LGBT activists have warned the ruling could lead to the mass arrest of Christians in the US. A religious conservative broadcaster warned Christians to “prepare for martyrdom” if the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned marriage equality. Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs for the American Family Association and host of a daily radio program, did not specify what she meant by that – but her context was clear. “Homosexual marriage is going to bring about the tip of the spear of the battle we’re going to face,” Rios said Thursday to a gathering of religious right activists and pastors. Right Wing Watch reported that Rios warned participants that “your wives, your sisters, your children now are going to be forced to go into public restrooms and share them with men dressed like women.” “In Massachusetts, where homosexual marriage has been legal for 10 years, the stories would make the hair […] Read More

How an American Billionaire Stands in the Way of Mideast Peace

Sheldon Adelson is the Daddy Warbucks of Israel, and Benjamin Netanyahu is yet another of his beneficiaries. Everything you need to know about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress Tuesday was the presence in the visitor’s gallery of one man – Sheldon Adelson. The gambling tycoon is the Godfather of the Republican Right. The party’s presidential hopefuls line up to kiss his assets, scraping and bowing for his blessing, which when granted is bestowed with his signed checks. Data from both the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and the Center for Public Integrity show that in the 2012 election cycle, Adelson and his wife Miriam (whose purse achieved metaphoric glory Tuesday when it fell from the gallery and hit a Democratic congressman) contributed $150 million to the GOP and its friends, including $93 million to such plutocracy-friendly super PACs as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the Congressional Leadership Fund, […] Read More

5 Signs Scott Walker Is Using GOP’s Racist ‘Southern Strategy’ to Win in 2016

Walker demonizes unions, the poor and voters of color in order to appeal to whites. Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s drive for an anti-labor “right to work” law covering private-sector workers is deeply rooted in the racism of the Deep South’s former slaveholding states. They are yet more evidence that he is following a template known as the Republican Party’s “Southern strategy,” which plays to white voters’ racial resentment, even though his budding presidential campaign is based in snow-encrusted Wisconsin. This emerging strategy is reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s original “Southern strategy” of 1968 and Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign kickoff event. Reagan started his campaign by championing state’s rights in Neshoba County in Mississippi, a site whose only national symbolic significance was serving as the site of the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers. Many progressive commentators have asserted that major demographic shifts among Latinos and the young have […] Read More

‘Pro Life’ GOPer Says It’s Fine For Kids to Die in the Name of God

Rep. Christy Perry says it violates parents’ rights if they’re required to treat their sick children. In a deeply religious section of Idaho, a Republican state representative says that the state has no right to protect children from their parents who refuse them needed medical treatment in favor of faith healing. “Children do die,” says Rep. Christy Perry. And it’s fine with her if Idaho children die in the name of God. Perry’s district includes many followers of a religious cult, Followers of Christ, that eschews medicine. She says that the sect’s members are more comfortable confronting death when it happens to their children. “I’m not trying to sound callous, but [people calling for reform] want to act as if death is an anomaly. But it’s not. It’s a way of life,” she says. Perry says that a proposed ban on faith-healing would violate the religious rights of her constituents. […] Read More

How a GOP Rep Is Delaying Safety Improvements for “Bomb Trains”

California Rep Jeff Denham slows the review of deadly cargo to a halt. “I just want to make sure that we are all singing the same tune that we have a very safe industry and we want to work together on improving that industry.” Those were the words of Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials on February 3rd at a hearing titled “How the Changing Energy Markets Will Affect U.S. Transportation.” He was directing this advice to Greg Saxton, chief engineer for rail tank car manufacturer Greenbrier. Denham obviously had a bone to pick with Saxton because prior to the hearing the Modesto Bee, a newspaper in Denham’s home district, ran an editorial making a strong case that the existing tank cars used to transport crude oil are unsafe. The editorial, “Delays on safer rail cars are unacceptable,” didn’t mince words. It was clear […] Read More

The Right’s Inequality Ruse: What GOP’s Faux-Concern For Needy Americans Really Shows

Phony Populism Won’t Rescue Our Politics With the economic recovery finally beginning to reach the millions of Americans in the bottom 95 percent, there’s a temptation among political reporters (for whom the Great Recession was more of an abstraction than a lived experience, anyway) to move past the gloom and negativity of recent years in favor of a new narrative. True, the last six years may have been characterized by economic stagnation, political dysfunction and a growing chasm between the power and priorities of the wealthy and the rest. But that was before the dawn of “morning in Obama’s America.” Nowadays, as Politico Magazine put it, everything is “awesome.” Well, at the risk of being a wet blanket, I’ll ask you to count me among the skeptics. There’s no denying that the U.S. economy is in much better shape than it was six years ago. But contrary to the conventional wisdom, the […] Read More

Inside the Strange, Paranoid World of the Right-Wing Oath Keepers

The Oath Keepers claim to be the “guardians of the republic” — but they’re largely nuts. My official Oath Keepers membership card is in my outstretched hand. With great power comes great responsibility: my duty is to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. No compromise. I’m now a member of a controversial conservative group whose members make Ted Nugent look like a bleeding-heart Rachel Maddow. Our mission is to keep the government accountable. Just remember: Not on my watch. Let’s rewind: The scene was Ferguson, Missouri. When riots broke out over the August shooting death of Michael Brown, armed members of the Oath Keepers took to the city’s rooftops, appearing out of the smoke and shattered glass of ransacked buildings. Their supposed duty was to secure the local businesses from looting. In the first days of the protests, demonstrators had broken out windows of storefronts, set […] Read More