Republicans Commence to Eat Their Own

Published on Crooks & Liars on 3/15/2017.

Trump is not known for his consistency. One day he’s claiming he’ll lock Hillary up for baseless charges, the next he could care less. Sometimes he states he is besties with Putin, other times he claims, “Putin who?” Last week he tweeted that Obama was wire tapping his phones, this week his press secretary stated that Trump really doesn’t think Obama tapped his phones. He’s consistently inconsistent.

Yet you can count on Trump for a few things: he lies, won’t take responsibility when things go wrong, will take responsibility for great things he hasn’t actually done like creating jobs, will attack anyone for criticizing him, is a con man through and through, etc. Most of all, Trump holds grudges. And like the elephant that is the mascot of his adopted party, he never forgets those wrongs that he feels others have committed against him. Never.

Just look at what he did to Mitt Romney. Trump purposefully and publicly humiliated him by making him beg for the secretary of state position. All the while, Trump was never, ever going to appoint him. He intended to get even and make Romney look like a fool to which he succeeded. He selected Ben Carson for HUD with the intent of destroying it for its audacity in suing Trump and his father back in 1973 for violating housing anti-discrimination laws. It’s even been said that the entire Trump presidency is a response to Obama teasing Trump publicly at the White House Correspondence dinner in 2011. And so on…

I would bet the house that Trump has a list of wrong doers, and at one time, Obama was probably target number one. Now that number one is assigned to Paul Ryan. Ryan earned that distinction when he uninvited Trump to his Michigan rally after the “grab them by the pussy” comment was made public. It took Ryan months to endorse Trump for the Republican nominee, and it took Trump even longer to endorse Ryan. Like two kids fighting over a toy, they begrudgingly shook hands.

This beef has not gone away; there is a giant crack in the Republican Party. In Ryan’s and his supporters’ minds, they are simply using Trump to sign their long list of laws they’ve been dreaming about for eight years. They think they are the ones holding the power, that they can get rid of Trump whenever his liabilities outweigh his benefits. On the other hand, the Trump team is using Ryan and cohorts to write the laws they want. They also believe they are more powerful and will likewise clean house when Ryan and the gang are of no use.

And so it begins. 

Ryan is pushing his healthcare bill like his life depended on it. That’s because his political life does. With constituents demanding some sort of healthcare program and elections coming in 2018, Ryan’s congressional gang has no choice but to put forth an alternative to the ACA. If they simply repeal and don’t replace, they will be voted out. Ryan has even resorted to buying ads against other Republicans that tell their constituents to demand their representatives support his bill. This is nothing less than a stab in the back.

Trump’s gang wants to see nothing short of repeal. Trump may publicly say that he wants healthcare for all, to save social security and other government benefits programs, but he doesn’t. This is just another election lie like the “lock her up” lie. Trump knew he could not win without this promise.

You have to believe not in what they say, but in what they do to know the truth.

That truth is that Trump only listens to Bannon, Breitbart, Fox News, Infowars and the like. And what those people have been doing for years is railing against the Republican Party. They believe Republicans like Ryan and his supporters are Republican In Name Only (RINO). Breitbart even sells merchandise with RINO emblazed on it. They do not support these RINOs and most certainly do not support government healthcare.

Just this week, Breitbart once again went on the attack again. Their top story exposes Ryan for the Trump hater he is. In it they released a secretly recorded phone conversation between Ryan and multiple Republican representatives. In it he clearly stated his opposition to Trump, and added that he would never support him. This can read as nothing other than a deliberate call for Trumpites to attack Ryan and his gang.

And they are answering that call. Noah Wall of FreedomWorks, Breitbart News Daily, Alex Marlow of Sirius XM, and Lou Dobbs of Fox Business News are calling for Ryan to resign. Even Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots got in on the action when she met with Trump earlier this week. Martin emphasized to Trump that he should not forget that it was Ryan that did not support him during the Access Hollywood fiasco, but that Tea Party Patriots and her PAC never waned in their support. And now FreedomWorks, Breitbart, Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Representative Jim Jordon are holding a protest called FreedomWork’s Day of Action tomorrow, March 15th at the Capital Building.

The Republican civil war has begun. Pass the popcorn please.

Henagar Drive-In Keeps the Ball Rolling on Sand Mountain, Alabama’s Bigotry

By Jennifer Lynn – Princess Garden, Festival of Fantasy Parade

Published on Crooks & Liars on 3/12/2017.

I am not excited about going to see Disney’s latest rendition of “Beauty and the Beast.” Seriously, how many times does Disney need to tell this story? I didn’t care for the animated version, and I’m sure I won’t like this one either. It offends my feminist and anti-bestiality sensibilities to watch a story about a man, turned to a beast, that holds a woman hostage until she falls in love with him.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, there’s a ridiculous boycott of Disney because some Christians detect a hint of gayness in one of the characters. Friends called me recently and said the wife and I have to go to support Disney. I’m always up for a protest, especially a gay one but they’re really starting to push my limits. I’d considered bailing until I heard about the Alabama drive-in that banned the film claiming it violated their Christian beliefs. I won’t feign surprise, but I did take it personally.

You see, I’m from Alabama, and I dearly love much about it. I grew up in Huntsville which is in the most northern part of the state. It is the home of Redstone Arsenal where my father’s father was a colonel, and to the Space and Rocket Center where my mother’s parents worked with Boeing on the Apollo series.  Huntsville is a hub for engineers and as such, people come from all over the world to work there.

Alabamians joke that you can tell a Huntsvillian because we don’t have that heavy, mumble drawl you hear when listening to Jeff Sessions. My accent might occasionally slip out and it’s getting worse the older I get, but for the most part people here in California have no idea that I was raised in the Bible Belt. Huntsvillians also tend to be more educated and welcoming of different cultures. By no means am I saying there is no racism or bigotry there. There is just like anywhere else. It’s just not as Deliverence-ish as many parts of Alabama.

So when I read that the Alabama drive-in was the Henagar Drive-In, an area that I know well, this Alabama girl lost it. The owner of the drive-in, Carol Laney stated,

“This by no means is sending a message of hatred or bigotry. However, we are Christians first and foremost and must adhere to our Bible and to our Christianity.”

That’s a lovely quote by Carol, but she’s full of shit. First of all, Jesus never said a word against homosexuality. She is taking words from the Bible that were never attributed to Jesus Christ. Secondly, announcing that your actions are not “hatred or bigotry” is basically signalling that they are indeed bigoted and full of hate. Let’s just be honest about this, Carol is using this as an means to draw attention and get business for her drive-in, and it’s working. Next thing you know, she’ll have a fundraiser set up because people are boycotting her.

What Carol and the media have failed to tell it’s readers is that Henagar is located in an area referred to as Sand Mountain. This area has a rich history of racist and bigoted crimes that anyone raised in north Alabama is well aware of. It’s not the type of history that you’ll find in any textbook though. Towns is this region are referred to as “sundown towns,” meaning blacks should not be out in public after sundown. There were even signs posted stating, “N***er don’t let the sun set on you in Sand Mountain.” This was not a joke. And even though those signs were long gone by the time I was a teenager in the 80’s, we all knew the KKK, the League of United Southerners (now known as The League of the South) and Confederate groups ruled that area.

All you need to know about Henagar was that my friends and I (black and white) referred to it as “Hang a n****er.” 

But even if you are not from that region, you should be aware of the Scottsboro Boys story. Scottsboro is twenty-five minutes west of Henagar and part of the Sand Mountain region. In 1931, nine young black men were traveling on a freight train through Scottsboro when they were accused of raping two white women. Sheriff Matt Wann stood in the doorway of the small jail and threatened to kill anyone of the KKK mob who attempted to take his prisoners. They’re intent was to lynch all nine of the men without a trial. The young men were convicted by all white juries and spent as much as nineteen years behind bars before their convictions were overturned.

Though one of the women eventually recanted her story, that didn’t stop the KKK from getting their revenge on Sheriff Wann. He was murdered in 1932. Records from that time are conveniently missing, but everyone in Alabama knows it was the Klan that pulled that trigger, or as we would say, “The Klan done it.”

Henagar itself is over 96% white according to the 2010 U.S. Census. I’m sure there are many residents that are not racist, and maybe Carol is one of them, but there’s been a rise in hate groups and crimes since the Trump administration has taken control. My wife and I recently cancelled our trip to Alabama because we fear these homophobic people who now feel emboldened by Trump. It angers me that I cannot introduce her to the many great things about Alabama. I don’t even feel comfortable visiting my alma mater, Auburn University. It is my home state whether these bigots like it or not.  I am an Auburn Tiger through and through. These people don’t have a right to take away my Alabama simply because they have “deeply held beliefs.” What about my deeply held beliefs?

Back in the day, it was acceptable to be a Klan member, to be a sundown town. Today it’s acceptable to claim your bigotry is justified because the Bible tells you so. A trade up from the region’s anti-black heritage to anti-gay I suppose. Someone should tell Carol that bigotry is still hatred whether you drape it in a Confederate flag or a Bible. They should also tell her that Jesus wasn’t about hate.

War Damn Eagle my friends!



School Choice Charter Groups Trying to Buy Influence in Los Angeles’ District Race

Published on Crooks & Liars on 3/11/2017.

Like so many other states, California began its dance charter schools in the early 1990’s. And though it has its fair share of corruption and scandals, the charter system here has not been DeVos corrupt due to maintaining some regulations. This is in no small part thanks to California maintaining a more Democrat heavy legislature.

Like other states’ programs, some are for-profit single proprietors while others are run by large management corporations from New York or Louisiana. In Los Angeles, there may be more bilingual classes than in most other states’ cities but the concept is the same…charter schools are big business and a means for religious zealots to inject their Bible classes into public schools.

This week’s primary was more evidence of the their never ending attempt to take over and corrupt California’s charter schools. Thanks to school choice advocates like DeVos, Los Angeles’ school board candidates managed to raise and spend a record $5.5 million. Since three of the races tied,  a run-off will be held requiring more funds to be spent. It’s a safe bet the school choice, pro-deregulation nut jobs will be spending “bigly.”

President of L.A. Unified School District:

This race is the most contested with Steven Zimmer attempting to maintain his seat against Nick Melvoin. Both candidates started their careers with Teach for America, a nonprofit group that takes graduates from top universities and signs them to two year contracts to teach in low income neighborhoods. That’s where their similarities end. Melvoin went on to work with TeachPlus, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, an organization that favors charters and school choice.

Zimmer isn’t necessarily against school charter programs so long as they meet standards. He is supportive of the teachers’ union and does not want to see an unregulated free-for-all when it comes to education. Thus, the majority of his donations came from parents, unions and those who believe in some accountability. Zimmer managed to raise over $192,000.

Charter proponents were practically throwing money at Melvoin though as he raised over $424,000. This included maximum donations by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation who had given $2 million to L.A. charter schools in the past in an attempt to remake the school district to their liking. Donations also came from:

Zimmer held his own:

Melvoin may have outspent Zimmer by nearly $3000,000, but Zimmer held his own pulling roughly 10,000 more votes. If L.A. wants to keep its schools from going down the drain like so many other states’ charter programs, they need to get behind Zimmer and support him in the run-off.

Perhaps California could lead the way in an anti-DeVos style of education system.