Does the Right Even Know What Intolerance Is?
Let me run something by you and see how you feel about it.
Frank Turek is a man whose contract was terminated by a major corporation when human resources found out he had written a book opposing mixed-race marriage. He is on the front lines of an emerging trend we are hearing about: people losing jobs or other economic opportunities because they have written, spoken, donated, or otherwise peacefully exercised their core civil rights on behalf of marriage as a union between two people of the same race.
Frank’s day job is leadership seminars for Fortune 500 companies. He also runs a ministry and has written a book against miscegenation titled Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Mixed-Race Marriage Hurts Everyone.
For many years Frank Turek has done seminars for Cisco, among many other companies. A student who attended his class Googled his name, found out he opposed mixed-race marriage and said “I’m going to get Frank fired because he doesn’t represent Cisco values.” And this student succeeded.
A few weeks later Frank Turek was told by a Bank of America executive that his book opposing mixed-race marriage meant he would not be asked to do a seminar again at Bank of America.
Of course, Frank Turek is not — to my knowledge anyway — a racist. What I’ve posted above is a quote from a National Review interview with Maggie Gallagher. I’ve changed a few key words to make a point. Turek and Gallagher oppose same-sex marriage.
But let’s continue to put it in terms of mixed-race marriage. Gallagher, the former President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), sat down with NR’s Kathryn Jean Lopez to discuss her new project, the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance. Continuing our parallel, it seems that people who are activists against mixed-race marriage have trouble keeping their jobs once their bosses find out.
It’s hard to see that as a big problem, isn’t it? Or, at least, a problem that isn’t the activists’ own damned fault. Calling a bigot a bigot isn’t defamation, it’s fact.
But of course, it’s not race-based marriage equality we’re talking about here, it’s gender-based. What I’d hoped to demonstrate with my little thought experiment is how the intolerant just don’t get the concept of intolerance. I mean, what’s the argument here; that we need to be more tolerant of the bigoted? It’s absurd. To flirt with Godwin, when a Nazi complains that no one likes him, not many people wonder why.
Yet it’s an argument bigots hide behind all the time, second only to “Oh, don’t be so PC.” Someone says something hateful, you call them out for it, and they complain about the hypocrisy of “liberal tolerance.” If you were really as “tolerant” as you say you are, you’d shut up and let them attack whoever they wanted to attack.
And think about the word “tolerance.” It basically means “put up with.” We’re not asking a lot of the bigots here; they don’t have to like it, they just have to put up with it. It’s not like anyone’s making them gay-marry anyone.
Now think about what they’re asking us to tolerate; we’re supposed to stand aside and shut up while they attack our friends, families, and co-workers. When we join in the fight on their behalf, Gallagher and other bigots lay down another familiar conservative defense — the victim card.
"What keeps me going is that it’s just too the silly to take seriously the world being created for us, where we should be afraid to say these basic truths about human beings, sex, and the family, for fear of being labeled hateful or bigoted," Gallagher says in what I imagine are heroic tones. "Without our consent they cannot win."
I’m going to go ahead and call BS on that one. We didn’t get the consent of mixed-race marriage opponents and, as I seem to recall, they didn’t win.
What a terrible blow to tolerance that was, huh?
Stories to Watch: 9/23/11
Short one today, got something I need to finish up quick. Now here’s the news…
File this one in the “Still hope for humanity” file: the extra-crispy rightwing Weekly Standard is freaked out by how insane GOP candidates sound at debates. They quote an email from “a bright young conservative” they received while the latest horsecrap party was going on last night: “I’m watching my first GOP debate… and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”
Not even Shelly Malkin can bring herself to make excuses for just how poorly Rick Perry did at that crazy people debate. Seriously, it was bad.
Rick Santorum is very disappointed in the people who booed a gay soldier last night. Not even Rick is proud of Rick’s positions anymore. Even National Review’s Jim Geraghty was
shocked mildly annoyed at the level of disrespect.
Who’d’a thunk it? Turns out that Senate Republicans aren’t nearly as insane and politically suicidal as their House counterparts.
Finally, Morgan Freeman states the obvious.
Is Prosser’s Magic Lead the Result of Fraud or Just Incompetence?
Let’s just say that there’s cause for some skepticism here. On Tuesday, an extremely close state Supreme Court race between JoAnne Kloppenburg and incumbent David Prosser stretched into the night — and then into the next day. By Wednesday, it was reported that JoAnne Kloppenburg had — unofficially — scored the slimmest of victories. With 100% of precincts reporting, 204 votes separated the two candidates, according to the count by the Associated Press. A narrow win, to be sure, but more votes are more votes — the lead you officially need is one. Kloppenburg declared victory and the canvass of the votes began.
Then a funny thing happened. A whole bunch of Prosser votes suddenly appeared…
Wisconsin State Journal:
Incumbent Justice David Prosser gained a 7,500-vote lead in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race Thursday after the clerk in conservative-leaning Waukesha County announced she undercounted the votes because of an inputting error.
If the new results stand, they would swing the election to Prosser after unofficial results Wednesday showed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg was the winner with a 204-vote lead out of nearly 1.5 million votes cast.
But this story wasn’t broken by local news media. The first major publications reporting it were the National Review and the Weekly Standard — both journals of opinion and not known for investigative journalism. In other words, the story had been leaked to the conservative press, where the news would be greeted with a lot less skepticism than the story would call for. For their part, the AP still hasn’t changed their count. As far as they’re concerned, it seems, Kloppenburg’s win still — albeit unofficially — stands. And local press remain unconvinced of the new numbers.
The Capital Times editorial board:
Wisconsinites should respond with… skepticism to the news that Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a former Republican legislative staffer who worked for Prosser when he served as Assembly speaker and with Gov. Scott Walker when he was a GOP rising star, has found all the votes that justice needs to secure his re-election and that the governor needs to claim a “win” for his agenda.
There is no need for a conspiracy theory. The facts raise the questions that election observers are now asking.
"Nickolaus claims that it was ‘human error’ that caused her to ‘lose’ the Brookfield results on her personal computer where she had secreted away the data," CapTimes reports. “Yet, she apparently knew of the ‘mistake’ for 29 hours before reporting it and then handed the information off to conservative bloggers and talk-radio personalities.”
Nickolaus has a bad history when it comes to running elections. In 2006, she was involved in a minor scandal in which the winner of a Republican primary was reported incorrectly [pdf]. In the end, the real numbers showed a different candidate had won by a “significant margin.”
Nickolaus was also under scrutiny last year from county officials for her handling of voting data, because “she decided to take the election data collection and storage system off the county’s computer network — and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office — for security reasons.” Nickolaus’ “security” was later found to be poor, since several staffers shared a password because “it would take too much time for one employee to log off before another one logged on with a different user ID.”
Further, in 2002, Nickolaus worked for the state Assembly Republican Caucus, which “has since been eliminated by the state Legislature for alleged violations of several state election rules.” Prosser, as Assembly Speaker at the time, would’ve been her boss. According to WSJ, Nickolaus”worked for seven years as a data analyst and computer specialist for the Assembly Republican caucus” and “headed up an effort to develop a computer program that averaged the performance of Republicans in statewide races by ward.” In other words, she was electioneering on the state’s dime. Nickolaus was given immunity to testify in the case. The good people of Waukesha County, being forgiving sorts, put a woman involved with illegal electioneering in charge of the county’s elections.
Finally, 7,500 votes is an awfully convenient number. In Wisconsin, the state pays for a recount if the difference in the totals is less than 0.5% — Prosser is just outside that now, making a challenge by Kloppenburg expensive (you can help out on that front here).
In Nickolaus’s defense, a Democrat on the county board vouched for her story, saying, “Everything that we went over yesterday afternoon and today, it jived up, and we’re satisfied that it’s correct. And I’m with the Democratic Party, vice-chair of Waukesha County, so I’m not gonna stand here and tell you something that’s incorrect.” However, Nickolaus is a computer expert — albeit an incompetent one, if her story is to be believed — and the dem, Ramona Kitzinger, is not. At least, not as far as I can tell.
I have no problem believing that Kathy Nickolaus is simply as incompetent as she claims. Republicans believe that government can’t do anything right for a reason; that reason being the evidence they find in their own careers. If it weren’t for her involvement in the caucus scandal, I’d be a lot more inclined to believe she simply screwed everything up. After all, she has a history of it.
But there are enough questions here to justify calling any suspicions of wrongdoing healthy. Citizen Action of Wisconsin is calling for a federal investigation into these magically appearing votes. It should happen. With the state fully red at the moment, an investigation into Nickolaus’s office would simply be the Republican Party investigating claims that the Republican Party cheated.
We’ll be needing a little more assurance of our elections than that. And the people of Waukesha County need to know whether their Clerk is a crook — or just hopelessly incompetent.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Race is All About Scott Walker
Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP have lost. I don’t mean that they’ve lost the fight to push their union-busting bill through — although, to be sure, they’re not having a lot of luck on that front. No, they’ve lost the argument. April 5 is a off-off-year election day in Wisconsin, the first since the anti-worker moves began, and I have yet to see a candidate who embraces Walker wholeheartedly. Instead, I see only quotes and ads from conservatives pretending Walker doesn’t exist or from liberals who promise to “stand up to Scott Walker.”
The highest profile race in this election cycle is for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where incumbent conservative David Prosser faces liberal JoAnne Kloppenburg. Prosser won his primary with 55% of the vote. Kloppenburg took a mere 25%. Being a nonpartisan office, the post-primary election is basically a runoff. Those numbers suggested that Prosser would win in a walk. Prosser voters would stick with Prosser, everyone else would go with Kloppenburg — at least, those who didn’t go with Prosser. The incumbent would get his 55% and then some, coasting to an easy reelection.
But since that primary, things have changed. Prosser made the mistake of believing that the new governor’s star was rising and his campaign told voters he’d be a “complement" to Scott Walker’s governorship as a justice. He’s been trying to take that back ever since and enjoying about as much luck as the GOP has been having with their union busting.
And here’s how thing look now…
Two sources with knowledge of internal GOP polling tell us that Prosser and Kloppenburg are near even, a bad sign for the incumbent. “She has driven his negatives up,” one source says. “It will be hard to drive hers up. Her lack of judicial experience should hurt her, but it also makes her harder to pin down. The question now is: Does the Right have enough resources to counter the Greater Wisconsin Committee’s millions? And even if they do, is it too late? It is going to be touch-and-go for these last few days.”
Greater Wisconsin Committee is a liberal outfit running a tough anti-Prosser campaign.
But let’s keep something in mind here; National Review is about as trustworthy as Fox News. It’s what happens to the home of conservative intellectualism when there are no more conservative intellectuals. Once a magazine of serious thought on the right, it’s now a clearinghouse for nutjob propaganda. Any publication that goes from William F. Buckley to Jonah Goldberg is definitely heading in the wrong direction, IQ-wise. Granted, I didn’t have a lot of use for Buckley, but I have even less for Goldberg. Buckley was as sharp as a tack, Goldberg is as sharp as a moist sponge.
So, if NR’s reports that Prosser is running about even, we can be excused for believing he’s running behind. “The stakes couldn’t be higher!” gets people to the polls, “the cause is lost!” does not.
But even if NR is correct and it’s a dead heat, then it’s a case of who wants it more. And the momentum is definitely behind the anti-Walker voters right now. As I pointed out toward the beginning of this post, Walker defenders are close to nonexistent right now, while Walker critics shout their criticism through megaphones to cheering crowds. At this point, it’s not really a question of whether anti-Walker candidates can win, but whether any given candidate is anti-Walker enough to win.
And the candidate who once promised to be a “complement” to Scott Walker on the bench? I think we can put him in the “not anti-Walker enough” column.
A “state Supreme Court election would not normally be major news,” writes Eric Kleefeld for Talking Points Memo. “But in the wake of Walker’s legislation, and the political protests that gripped the state and attracted national attention, the court race has quickly turned into a proxy political battle.”
In other words, we’re seeing how quickly the boil can cool off in the Tea Party kettle. If Kloppenburg wins, then — in Wisconsin at least — that heat has already dissipated.
Stories to Watch: 3/23/11
More crap weather. I don’t even want to talk about. Now here’s the news…
RIP Elizabeth Taylor. Weird fact: she outlived the guy who wrote the obit at that link by six years. Sick fact: the Westboro hate cult announced plans to picket her funeral, because of her work raising awareness about AIDS. On the optimistic side, they often make these announcements and then wind up being no-shows, so it may never happen.
Madison’s The Capital Times has a good article on the upcoming Prosser-Kloppenburg race for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court. Gov. Walker’s union-busting has shaken up the political landscape here and this will be the first election held after it. We’ll see whether the shaking up affects conservative gains in the state the same way an earthquake affects an Etch-A-Sketch drawing, but the article makes a couple points clear; Kloppenburg supporters are fired up and Prosser — once considered a shoe-in — is awfully nervous. Go JoAnne!
A new Pew poll finds that President Obama would easily beat off a generic Republican. In response, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg hints that the time has come to call out the GOP circular firing squad.
One of my senators, Ron Johnson, is a real jackass.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage wants to remove a mural depicting labor history — from the lobby of the state’s Department of Labor.
Apparently stung by being so completely wrong on such a consistent basis, Bill Kristol decides to stick to making the easiest, most obvious calls in the world.
Finally, according to a senior British commander, Ghaddaffi’s air force is now non-existent. Which, of course, means we’re done enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya. Right? Right?
I guess we’ll see.
News Roundup for 3/22/11
Return of the Oil Monster
-Headline of the day-
"Oil Spill Washes Up On Louisiana Coast As New Drilling Authorized."
According to the report, “emulsified oil, oil mousse and tar balls from an unknown source were washing up on beaches from Grand Isle to West Timbalier Island along the Gulf of Mexico, a stretch of about 30 miles.” Wait, “oil mousse” is a thing?
This follows an earlier report that what appeared to be an oil plume — coincidentally 30 miles long — was spotted in the Gulf of Mexico. But don’t worry, said the Coast Guard, it was just “goop” kicked up by dredging and that no one should worry about it. They say they tested the plume and found “only trace amounts of petroleum that were well below the state of Louisiana’s standard for clean water.”
"Goop" is apparently also a thing.
So, is it oil or isn’t it? If it isn’t, then where did all this oil mousse come from?
Whatever… Spill baby, spill! (ThinkProgress)
-Like we don’t have enough to worry about-
Super-ultra-mega-church pastor and general all-around rightwing nutjob Rick Joyner has a warning for America — the earthquake in Japan will “unleash demonic Nazism” on us.
See, it works like this: “the demonic principalities responsible for Nazism in Germany were going to attempt to take over the United States and, according to the prophetic visions of Joyner and others, it would happen amid a massive economic collapse that would start with an earthquake in Japan. As such, given the devastation caused by this earthquake, Japan will need to call in the American debt to rebuild their nation, unleashing an economic catastrophe in the US and thereby opening the door for this demonic Nazi force to take root.”
Yeah, absolutely none of that made any damned sense to me, either. But don’t worry, when none of this stuff actually happens, his flock won’t notice. Followers of con men never do. (Right Wing Watch, with video)
"Sexism Is Alive And Well At National Review.”
And that’s the least surprising item of the day… (Media Matters)