Wednesday, November 18, 2015

GOP Goes Off the Rails After Paris Attack

Since the beginning of the Republican presidential contest we have seen the would be presidential nominees - and many others in the GOP - seeking to play and pander to every prejudice and fear and the religious extremism of the party base.  Much of this effort has involved dog whistle calls supporting white supremacy and the Christofascists' demands for special rights and false claims of persecution and their abject fear of modernity itself and what they perceive to be lost white privilege.  The attacks in Paris last week have sent the party base and the pandering political whores into overdrive.  A piece in Salon looks at the phenomenon as well as the hypocrisy of the supposed "godly folk."  Here are some highlights:

Last week, the biggest story in conservative circles had to do with Starbucks’ decision to issue coffee cups in plain red and green holiday colors rather than festooning them with Christmas-based imagery. This week, conservatives are howling over the potential for Syrian refugees to be granted entry into the United States.

There’s an idea floating around social media that perfectly illustrates how these two stories correlate: Odd how the GOP was so enraged by Starbucks cups that excluded the religious significance of Christmas — a holiday founded on the story of refugees looking for shelter — and yet they don’t mind denying a “room at the inn” for countless other Middle East families. So much for the religious significance of Christmas when there’s inchoate fear to indulge!

[I]n the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Republicans are further entrenching against admitting refugees into the U.S. because there might — might! — be an ISIS terrorist disguising himself as a Syrian escaping his nation’s civil war.

It’s yet another example of how the GOP almost always drops the ball when it comes to serious solutions to complicated problems. Let’s review:

• Spectacular al-Qaida attacks using airplanes crashing into buildings? Invade and occupy Iraq, even though al-Qaida didn’t operate there — although they sure have done so since the invasion — postwar — and even though Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11.

• A terrorist attack against our consulate in Benghazi resulting in four American deaths? Investigate it with more vigor and outrage than a terrorist attack that resulted in 3,000 American deaths.

• A voter fraud rate of about 0.0002 percent? Disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Americans (mostly Democrats) with Jim Crow-style Voter ID laws.

The list goes on and on.

In this case, Republicans ranging from Fox News demagogues to the governors of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, . . . . New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have pledged to disallow Syrian refugees from having a proverbial “room at the inn.”

Of course we learned that governors don’t have the authority to ban refugees from their states. In other words, states have no authority over the federal government when it comes to immigration policy. The Supreme Court ruled in Hines v. Davidowitz: “The supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.”

Then again, the GOP is increasingly ruled by states’ rights zealots who routinely posture about ignoring Supreme Court rulings such as the one legalizing same-sex marriage, so it’ll come as no surprise to see Bobby Jindal and Greg Abbott inveighing against admitting refugees, given the opportunity.

The GOP is obviously pandering to the racist tendencies of its base. Like always. And those tendencies demand validation. If the yokels believe the Syrian refugees are harboring ISIS sleeper cells, then they clearly are. Facts be damned.

And while Republicans from Donald Trump to AM radio screechers market in the specious connection between incidents of gun violence or terrorism and locations with strict gun laws, it’s worth noting that between 2004 and 2014, 2,000 terrorists from the FBI’s watch list were able to successfully purchase firearms in the United States, thanks to the GOP and its salacious love affair with the National Rifle Association. . . . . Rep. Tony Dale (R) strongly opposes allowing refugees into his state. Why? Because it’s too easy to buy guns there.

But what about any other would-be terrorists? Texas welcomes you. Thanks, Rep. Dale, for telegraphing Texas’ easy availability of firearms to any terrorist who wants them. Smart. By the way, according to a study by the New America Foundation, most terrorists inside the U.S. are white Americans.
Almost twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than have died in attacks by Muslim extremists. Of the 26 attacks since 9/11 that the group defined as terror, 19 were carried out by non-Muslims.
None of this is to suggest the threat from ISIS should be taken lightly. . . . . there’s a smart way to pursue this goal, and there’s a really dumb, scattershot way of doing it. The GOP is busily showing us the latter by randomly demonizing innocent Syrian refugees, even though 51 percent are children under 17. Someone should find out how many unborn Syrians are among the refugees. Surely if most of the refugees were fetuses under the age of 17 weeks, the GOP would stumble over its own feet to rescue them. The birthed ones are, sadly, on their own.

If the circumstances surrounding Paris weren’t so utterly tragic, the GOP’s flailing, nonsensical reaction to the attack and to the ongoing refugee crisis would be almost as hilarious as its reaction to the stupid Starbucks cup design.

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