Last night it was reported that the American Family Association had finally fired the Religious Right’s most notorious bigot, Bryan Fischer. While that would be welcome news, if true, the AFA has a long history of trying to salvage its own reputation by attempting to cleanse itself of Fischer’s unrelenting bigotry and this latest effort appears to be simply yet another attempt to whitewash the AFA’s façade without making any genuine changes.
Back in 2009, Bryan Fischer was an obscure state-level Religious Right activist running the Idaho Values Alliance with a history of getting fired for his radical views. From his position with the IVA, Fischer was mostly known for launching boycotts against Hallmark stores for offering cards for gay weddings and celebrating a fatal plane crash as God’s payback for abortion.
Fischer’s radicalism and bigotry were obvious even back then, but that didn’t stop the American Family Association from wooing Fischer away from Idaho with an offer to serve as the organization’s “director of issues analysis” and host a daily radio program down in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Within months of his arrival at AFA, Fischer was already using his national platform to spread his unmitigated bigotry, starting with his demand that all Muslims be banned from serving in the U.S. military, a position that he continues to steadfastly promote to this day.
Within a year, Fischer was using his position at AFA to declare that homosexuality should be illegal and that gays should be treated like criminals and banned from serving in public office. While Fischer was advocating for the deportation of all Muslims and an end to the building of mosques in America, the AFA continued to provide him a platform, just as it did when he began calling for whales and bears to be put to death for biblical infractions and blaming the Holocaust on gays.
Finally, in 2010, the AFA made a half-hearted attempt to wash its hands of Fischer’s unrelenting torrent of bigotry … not by firing him, mind you, but simply by adding a disclaimer at the end of Fischer’s blog posts and radio program insisting that the things Fischer was saying on the AFA’s website and radio network should not be taken to reflect the views of the organization:

Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.

Obviously, this was nothing but a pathetic cop-out, as we have pointed out several times before. The AFA plucked Fischer from obscurity, gave him a salary and a national platform from which to regularly proclaim that gays are Satanic perverts but then tried to pretend that it was not in any way responsible for Fischer or his views, such as:

Not surprisingly, Fischer’s outrageous views and statements have caused problems for the AFA and those with whom the AFA has partnered at events, most recently Gov. Bobby Jindal, who teamed up with the AFA for his “The Response" prayer rally last week. But through it all, the AFA has steadfastly insisted that Fischer does not speak for the organization while simultaneously standing by him and continuing to provide the platform from which he spreads his bigotry.
This weekend, some 60 members of the Republican National Committee are scheduled to go to Israel on a trip organized by Christian nationalist David Lane and funded by the American Family Association and it seems as if Fischer’s radical views have suddenly become too much for the RNC and AFA to ignore, as last night Rachel Maddow reported that the AFA had fired Fischer:

From what we have been able to gather, Fischer has not actually been dismissed by AFA but has rather merely been stripped of his title as director of issues analysis and his role as spokesman for the organization. Fischer will reportedly continue to produce his daily radio program for the AFA’s radio arm, American Family Radio.

If this is indeed the case, then the AFA has literally accomplished nothing with this stunt and has completely failed to distance itself from Fischer’s utterly despicable views. The primary venues though which Fischer has managed to spread his bigotry for the last six years have always been owned, operated, and funded by the American Family Association and that relationship appears to remain intact.
Stripping Fischer of his title as AFA spokesman in no way alleviates the AFA of its responsibility for Fischer’s toxic views given that the only reason Fischer even has a platform from which to spread those views is because AFA is providing it to him and paying him to spread them!

From the very start of Fischer’s time at AFA, the organization has pathetically attempted to have it both ways: providing the very microphone from which Fischer speaks while simultaneously claiming that it bears no responsibility for the message that he sends.
The AFA latest effort to rid itself of Fischer’s rancid reputation is little more than a rhetorical accounting trick aimed at creating the false impression that the organization has wiped Fischer’s bigotry off of its books.

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

The Words They Used At The National Convention

I’ve pointed out “women” because one of the bigger impressions I got from the DNC was that the Democrats clearly think they can use the divide on women’s rights (see: Akin, Todd) to their advantage. One of Obama’s biggest rhetorical flourishes last night involved a girl growing up to be president. Almost every speaker spoke to the issue of gender equality as it related to choice and occasionally as it related to equal compensation. I was surprised at how much they seem to feel they have the advantage pressing the attack there. The only thing that surprised me more (at least as far as speech content was concerned) was the repeated, frank mention of voter suppression — maybe a bit cynical on my part, but I assumed that was an issue the media would complain about but would not be spoken about on a national political stage. 

- Jason

2012 GOP: "Empty chair lynchings."

At least two recent incidents in which empty chairs were hung from trees by rope have critics decrying what they say are racially offensive displays meant to symbolize the “lynching” of President Barack Obama.

In Austin, Texas, a homeowner hung an empty folding chair from a tree branch in front of his house and later attached an American flag to it. He reportedly told a Democratic political blogger who inquired about it: “You can take [your concerns] and go straight to hell and take Obama with you.”

They can't understand our accents: Why the media and political conventions misspell Latino names

As Lucé Vela Fortuño appeared on stage at the RNC, the name her parents gave her did not.


When Lucé Vela Fortuño, the first lady of Puerto Rico, took the stage at the Republican National Convention to introduce Ann Romney last week, her name — or something like it — appeared above her in three-foot block letters.

Keep reading

The GOP's Principles for American Renewal

So, yesterday the RNC announced their “11 Principles for American Renewal.”  They are as follows:

  1. Constitution - Our Constitution should be persevered, valued and honored.
  2. Economy - We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that hard-working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.
  3. Budget - We need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.
  4. Healthcare - We need to start over with real healthare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.
  5. Veterans - Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.
  6. Security - Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.
  7. Education - Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.
  8. Poverty - The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.
  9. Values - Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.
  10. Energy - We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.
  11. Immigration - We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.

These are all fine and good, but they’re also slightly vague.  I’d rather see goals, instead of blanket statements.  I happened to bring my own list of goals I’d like to see the GOP announce.

  • We need to eliminate the Progressive Income Tax and replace it with an alternative method of revenue preferably not via an income tax.
  • If there is a tax, everyone, regardless of income, should participate equally.
  • We should end all foreign nation-building and democracy projects.
  • All foreign aid should end until the federal debt is zero.
  • We should repeal the 16th Amendment.
  • We should abolish the Federal Reserve and move to a fixed market currency
  • We want to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service too.
  • We need to abolish the death tax.
  • We should implement the Penny Plan to cut spending.
  • We need a permanent balanced budget amendment that caps federal spending.
  • We should do away with affirmative action because it is insulting to minorities.
  • We need to reform, grandfather current enrollees, and end Social Security.
  • We need to reform, grandfather current enrollees, and end Medicare.
  • We need to reform, grandfather current enrollees, and end Medicaid.
  • We should repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with nothing.
  • We should allow all citizens to invest tax-free dollars into private savings accounts from birth, as well as let anyone deposit tax-free contributions into them.
  • We should allow all citizens to deposit tax-free dollars into healthcare spending accounts from birth, as well as let anyone deposit tax-free contributions into them.
  • We need to apply serious tort reform.
  • We need to eliminate commerce restrictions on the selling of any goods or services across state lines.
  • We need to review, loosen, or eliminate all business regulations across the board and instead embrace common and civil law.
  • We should eliminate the food stamp program.
  • We should eliminate all welfare programs and allow charities and religious organizations offer help instead.
  • We should create an amendment prohibiting all elective abortions that are not medically necessary.
  • We need to abolish the corporate income tax which is a form of double taxation.
  • We should eliminate the Federal minimum wage and encourage states to do the same.
  • We should open up all federal land, outside parks and protected land, to drilling.
  • We should approve the Keystone Pipeline.
  • We need to review and repeal any gun regulations in any state that obstruct a citizen’s Second Amendment right.
  • We need to eliminate the majority of Federal departments, bureaucracies, and institutions.  I have some suggestions where to start.
  • We need to pass an amendment to the Constitution that applies term limits to every political position, appointment and job both big and small.
  • We should eliminate any and all public sector pension plans.
  • We should eliminate all public sector unions across the board.
  • All forms of federal lending and loans should end.
  • We should have an open forum online or otherwise that shows a proposed bill in simple language for the public to read before it is passed…just like Obama said he was going to do, but didn’t.
  • We should allow Congress and the state legislatures to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a three-fifths vote.
  • We should write an amendment to limit the seizure of private property by any form of government.
  • We should write an amendment that allows the states to overrides Congressional decision by a majority vote in two-thirds of state legislatures.
  • We should write an amendment that allows the states to amend the Constitution with a two-third majority of the states.
  • We should build a physical border and strictly enforce our immigration policies. 
  • We should reform our immigration policies to make it easier, cheaper and straightforward to become a US citizen.
  • Voter Identification should be mandatory across all states.
  • After abolishing the Department of Education, we should turn over all education decisions to the state governments, which in turn should turn everything over to the districts, which in turn should turn everything over to the individual schools, which in turn should turn everything over to each individual teacher. 
  • Anyone should be able to attend the school of their choice regardless of residence.
  • We should allow citizens opt-out of paying property taxes if they choose to enroll their children in private school.
  • The FCC should be abolished.
  • We should decriminalize drug use and drug ownership.
  • We should end the war on drugs.
  • We should remove any affiliation between marriage and the government in any aspect or regard.
  • We should allow all freedom of religious expression in any form of public property or event regardless if it offends someone.  If it does offend…too bad.

Now for a couple of my own personal ideas…

  • Fist fighting should be a fair way to settle differences.
  • Liquor stores should be open as early or late as they want.
  • There should be no more building codes or standards for anything.  I should be able to use the light bulbs of my choice; build my house anyway I so choose; and be able to sell my property to someone regardless of any requirements or standards it does or doesn’t meet.
  • You shouldn’t have to register your vehicle unless you want to have proof that you own it, just like any other form of property.
  • You should be allowed to own any type of firearm you so desire without obtaining a special stamp or obtaining any special permission.

Well, I could probably go all day…


The RNC has released a new ad featuring President Obama consoling Nicole Hockley, a mother who lost her son in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, after Senate Republicans successfully filibustered bipartisan gun reforms that would have extended background checks.

h/t The Maddow Blog


The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary don’t give a damn about your sexual orientation or gender identity. I’ll say it again, my city is amazing.

I’m also pretty sure there’s an instrumental version of Born This Way playing in the background. So there’s that.