Ted Nugent Falls off His Rocker

The Republican nominee in the Texas gubernatorial race should know better than to embrace someone spouting racist and sexist views.

— by 

Jim Hightower

Ted Nugent, the old rocker from the Seventies, is now just plain old. And off his rocker.

A political novelty act for the far right and a front man for the National Rifle Association, Nugent regularly spews venomous, vulgar, race-laced, abusive hate speech about liberals, Democrats, gun laws, and creeping communism.

In January, for example, he tongue-lashed President Barack Obama. Nugent called our commander in chief a “communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.”

ted nugent backs governor candidate abbott

Naturally, Greg Abbott — the Republican candidate for governor of Texas — promptly invited this scurrilous lout to come for a visit.

Abbott is currently the state attorney general. As a dyed-in-the-wool tea party extremist, he apparently thought it would juice up his far-out GOP flock to have the rabidly nutty Nugent come campaign with him.

Ted came. He embraced the gubernatorial wannabe as his “blood brother.” But the brotherhood gambit backfired.

Even Republican leaders wondered aloud why Abbott would, as one put it, “keep company with a noted misogynist and bigot.” In addition to Nugent’s disgusting “subhuman mongrel” slur, the old rocker has also admitted to being “addicted” to underage girls. But if that’s not out there enough, it’s well known to Vietnam Veterans across this country that Mr. Nugent managed to dodge the draft by physically and publicly crapping in his pants.

The issue, however, isn’t Nugent’s sordid character, but Abbott’s.

Hugging an infamous predator and hate-monger for political gain is both morally repugnant and politically stupid. Yet, Abbott continues to cling to Nugent’s embrace, tersely (and cluelessly) saying: “It’s time to move beyond this.”

A campaign aide even tried to paint Nugent’s endorsement as a positive: “We appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our constitution.”

Everyone, including sexual predators and overt racists? How about mass murderers?

Shouldn’t a candidate for governor — even in Texas — draw a sharper moral line?


OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org.  Photo Credit (Ted Nugent):  chascar/Flickr

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Up Next in the Supreme Court

— by Annie-Rose Strasser,  Deputy Managing Editor, ThinkProgress

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether same-sex couples should get the same federal protections and rights that straight couples enjoy. The moment could mark an important tipping point in the history of the LGBT community.

Here’s a little background on the case:

In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) codified discrimination into law by defining the federal government’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

What does that mean? It means that immigration laws can senselessly break up families; that military spouses can’t get financial assistance to buy a home if their partner is the same gender; and that the wife of a woman killed in combat, or stricken down by cancer, won’t get survivors’ benefits.

Luckily, President Obama’s administration decided to stop enforcing DOMA, and, when the case was accepted by the Supreme Court, his administration filed a brief urging them to overturn it. But House Republicans who support the law have allocated $3 million to continue defending it — money that, surely, would be better used elsewhere.

Still, it’s not all bad news when it comes to DOMA. Major players in the political debate have come to their senses and denounced discrimination. A prominent Republican Senator just flipped his stance on marriage equality, saying that he wanted his son to have the same rights as his other children; twenty-one senators who voted for DOMA changed their minds and now oppose it; nearly 300 companies and municipalities filed briefs urging the Supreme Court to strike down the law; and sociologists and major medical organizations have told the justices that they need to put an end to the discrimination.

Even former President Bill Clinton — the man who signed DOMA into law in the first place — wrote in a recent op-ed, “I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.”

We, the people, know what’s right. We overwhelmingly support marriage equality, because we know that it’s what our Constitution provides us: Equal protection under the law.

Now it’s time to see whether the Supreme Court thinks so, too.

Have You Read SB192? You Should!

SB192, the  Nevada Preservation of Religious Freedom Act (NPRFA), is currently being considered by the Judiciary committee. NPRFA is a “statified” version of the federal RFRA (Religion Freedom Restoration Act), which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1997 because it overstepped Congress’ power to enforce the 14th Amendment (City of Boerne v Flores).  If enacted, it would “prohibit governmental entities from substantially burdening the exercise of religion.”

It sounds like a good thing … right?  It claims to compliment religious liberties in the U.S. Constitution.  It even has bi-partisan support.  But, the bill is ill-defined and is a back-door means of promoting religious rights above all others and allowing religious zealots to use that elevated religious right to discriminate against others at will — and if they’re not permitted to do so, it gives them the right to sue the state for damages.  HELLO?  What are we seeking to create, the Nevadaban?

Religious freedom is being used insidiously by conservatives across the country as an excuse for Christians to be bigots against the LGBT community.  It’s also being used against women primarily in the form of denial to dispense birth control pills or “the morning after pill.”  A case in point is a bill (SB 514) just recently introduced in Tennessee which would “bar schools from disciplining students if they decline to treat clients with “goals, outcomes or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student.”  It would allow graduate student counselors to reject helping suicidal LGBT students, students who are sexually active outside of marriage, and students who have been divorced.  Where did they get such a magnificent idea?  Michigan!  The egregious Tennessee bill would not only prevent counselors from being expelled or fired, it permits them to freely discriminate under the shield of religious freedom.

That’s exactly what Nevada’s SB192 would do … permit religious zealots to freely discriminate and deny good/services, all under the shield of religious freedom.  Today, the State has the ability to weigh compelling interests and arrive at accommodations.  If SB192 passes, that may no longer be the case as religious zealots begin their campaign of bullying to get their way, and if the bullying fails … expensive litigation (the ultimate form of bullying) to get their way will ensue.

Notwithstanding any provision of NRS 41.0305 to 41.039, 25 inclusive, but subject to the limitation on damages set forth in 26 NRS 41.035 when applicable, a person whose religious exercise has been substantially burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against the governmental entity.  The court shall award costs and attorney’s fees to a person who prevails in an action brought against a governmental entity pursuant to this section.

Freedom of and practice of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.  That concept is also generally recognized to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion. The freedom to leave or discontinue membership in a religion or religious group —in religious terms called “apostasy” — and IS a fundamental part of religious freedom.  Belief and non-belief are opposite sides of the same coin — and one’s belief should never trump another’s dis-belief.  I believe the first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says it all and it should be the final word on this subject, no SB192:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

and given that all 50 States have agreed to the full content of the U.S. Constitution and its amendments, that should should be enough.

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So Much for All Those Claims of Divisiveness

What the chart makes clear is that in terms of partisanship, the 2012 election wasn’t an outlier but a continuation of a trend.  Since the early 1990s, partisan presidential voting has been on the increase — with roughly nine in ten Democrats voting for their party’s nominee in each of the last three contests.

Read the full article at THE FIX on the Washington Post

Health Insurance Companies Are Charging Women an Extra Billion Dollars Annually

By Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Program | Report

In today’s On the News segment: Health insurance companies are charging women in America an extra billion dollars annually, the backlash against Paul Ryan’s radical budget plan continues, the DOJ says Florida is discriminating against minority voters, and more.

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Mitt Romney – the richest man to ever run for President on a major party ticket – cleaned up last night in the Illinois Primary – beating Rick Santorum 47% to 35%. And, as could be expected, Romney’s huge cash advantage helped him win Illinois. He outspent Santorum 7-1 in the state, to pick up at least 41 new delegates to add to his growing lead. Still – if Romney hopes to reach the magic number of 1,144 delegates to secure the nomination before the Republican Convention – he’ll have to collect just less than half of all the remaining delegates. That’s a feat that could be difficult if Newt Gingrich – who placed an abysmal fourth in the Illinois Primary – drops out and hands his supporters off to Santorum. Then again – if multi-millionaire Karl Rove’s SuperPAC “American Crossroads” – which currently has $23.5 million in cash on hand – decides to pick Romney as its guy – then Mitt’s campaign might easily buy the Republican nomination without even getting out of breath.

American Women are screwed. Putting aside the Republican’s war on women for a moment – a new report from the National Women’s Law Center reveals that health insurance companies are charging women in America an extra billion dollars annually, and it’s just good old fashioned gender discrimination. The report finds that the practice of for-profit health insurers charging women more than men for identical coverage is widespread – and states are doing little to stop the rip-off. In the states that don’t ban health insurance gender discrimination, 92% of the best-selling plans charge women more than men. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act would ban this practice nationally – saving women a billion dollars a year. Unfortunately for women – Republicans are working as hard as they can to repeal Obamacare.

In the best of the rest of the news…

The backlash against Paul Ryan’s radical budget plan continues. A number of faith leaders have come forward to blast Ryan’s extremist vision for America, which takes health insurance away from 48 million Americans to pay for a $3 trillion tax cut for the richest 1%. Bishop Gene Robinson said about the budget plan, “The Ryan budget robs the poor, the marginalized, and the vulnerable of the safety net so integral to their survival. By any measure of civility and regard for one’s neighbor, it’s an immoral disaster.” Ryan’s plan also hands Medicare to for-profit health insurance CEOs, and makes massive cuts to Social Security, setting the stage to hand Social Security’s $2.6 trillion trust fund over to Wall Street. No wonder Wall Street billionaires have reportedly been seen wearing “Paul Ryan for VP” pins.

The Department of Justice says Florida is discriminating against minority voters. Last year, Florida passed a new that clamps down on people helping others to register to vote, and also cuts back on early voting. But the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department is now filing a challenge to the new law in court, claiming that Florida failed to prove that these election law changes will not, “deny or abridge the right to vote on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.” States with a history of rical discrimination – like Florida – must have any changes to their election laws approved by the Justice Department. Time – and the courts – will tell if Governor Rick Scott’s plan to keep minority voters away from the polls this year works.

Who’s going to foot the bill for climate change? According to a new study out of the Stockholm Environment Institute – increasing greenhouse gases will cost over $2 trillion a year in damage to our planet’s oceans by the end of the century. With warmer oceans comes greater acidification – which wipes out fisheries and coral reefs. Plus, rising sea levels and stronger storms do costly damage to coastlines. Nonetheless – we’re giving tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to transnational oil corporations to accelerate climate change – rather than making them pay for the damage they’re causing. This is not only irresponsible – it’s outright dangerous – and means that future generations of Americans will have to cope with a much harsher planet.

Speaking of climate change – the war on science heads to Tennessee. This week – the Tennessee state legislature passed a bill requiring public schools to teach that there’s a “controversy” over evolution and global warming. As the law states, “The teaching of biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy,” thus school systems must, “present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.” Critics are blasting the legislation – calling it a “monkey bill” that will lead to creationism being taught in classrooms. Something tells me the big oil lobby is behind this too – hoping that a new generation of Americans denying global warming will keep their fossil fuel profits flowing for another generation.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, while leaders in Israel and Iran beat the drum to war – the people living in those nations are calling for peace. Recognizing that they’re the ones who will suffer the most from a war, individual citizens in Iran and Israel are taking to Facebook to reach out to each other, in hopes of finding solidarity and mutual respect. The campaign started when an Israeli couple created the Facebook group “Israelis Heart Iran.” Then, a group of Iranians responded with their own “Iranians Love Israel.” The two groups have garnered thousands of followers and responses since going online.

And finally, Ron Paul – the only candidate in the Republican race for President who has not won a state – is coming out against Secret Service protection. All major candidates for President are entitled to Secret Service protection within 120 days of a general election – but Paul is calling that a “form of welfare.” That’s no big surprise since Ron Paul also thinks federal aid to college students, health insurance assistance to poor people, free public roads, and cops and firefighters are welfare too. But Ron Paul shouldn’t worry too much. Considering he’s only running for President to get his son, Rand, a job in Romney’s cabinet – Paul likely won’t be considered a “major candidate” anyway.

And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, March 21st, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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