The horror. The madness. I subject myself to an unrelenting bombardment of this stuff, so that you don't have to. So, let's see what our Republican Congress was up to last week...
The Holocaust of debt: Rep. Michelle Bachmann once again demonstrated her talent for crazed and despicable political rhetoric by analogizing America's national debt crisis to the the Holocaust, while trying to simultaneously deny that she was doing so.
Bachmann, careful to note that there was no direct analogy in today's times to the Holocaust, still tied the loss of "economic liberty" that Americans face today to the systematic killing of six million European Jews.
"We are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away," Bachmann said. "It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to."
To be honest, her garbled statement verges on the incomprehensible. What exactly does "We are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away" mean? But no matter what here intent, the lunatic absurdity of comparing a (largely Republican-created) national debt to genocidal mass murder is hard to express.
Liars for Jesus: Rep. Randy Forbes has taken up the challenge of promoting a debunked right-wing evangelical distortion of American history, used discredited historical myths and outright fabrications to claim that America was specifically founded as a "Christian nation." Forbes is author of a resolution to proclaim "Religious Heritage Week", which sounds like yet another innocuous waste of time by Representatives eager to look good to voters back home without actually doing anything. Innocuous, that is, until you read this document showing how full of distortion, misrepresentation, and falsehood Forbe's resolution actually is.
It is hard to attribute this sort of rhetoric to mere historical ignorance, as individuals like Forbes have surely been repeatedly exposed to information debunking the revisionist "Christian nation" pseudo-history that tries to spin the thoroughly secular Constitution and government of the United States into something intended to actively promote evangelical Christianity. But the zealotry of "True Believers" in anything can lead them to ignore or discount facts and sources that contradict their emotionally-charged ideological beliefs, so it is possible that Forbes is merely deceiving himself into believing the claims he puts forth.
Remember "opposite day" from when we were kids? The smart-alec kid who would announce, in an effort to tease you or make you say something dumb, that it was really "opposite day" and you really meant the reverse of whatever you had said?
Well, it must have been "Opposite Day" in Congress when GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler proclaimed that the Administration was too soft on illegal immigration, and we should pine away for the good old days when George Bush knew what to do with those scary brown people sneaking over the border so they could labor away picking our vegetables and doing our landscaping. How else to explain that the truth is the exact opposite of what she claimed, and that deportations of illegal immigrants have reached record levels under Obama? Well, I suppose it could be explained by sheer ignorance, pathological lying, or plain old self-deception, afflictions which seem to affect many of the GOP in Congress these days(see "Liars for Jesus", above).
No big government (except for stopping abortion): In continuation of its increasingly psychotic war on women's ability to control their own reproduction, the House passed HR 3. This particular gem of anti-woman legislation would seem to effectively raise taxes on anyone purchasing an insurance plan that includes abortion coverage, require that the IRS expand its control over taxpayers (including its ability to intrusively demand yet more documentation from taxpayers), coercively dictate allowable coverage to insurance companies, and in general to specifically punish women not just for having an abortion but for even considering that they might need one in the future.
We've already clearly seen that the current GOP Congress is committed to an all-out attack on women's access to abortion. Yet the bill passed is such an apparent contradiction of the GOP's claimed principles (essentially raising taxes and expanding the reach of government dictates and control), that it makes it clear the GOP will throw ANY of its own principles out the window when it comes to restricting abortion. Which means that the most important principle, for them, is making sure that any female that gets pregnant MUST be forced to carry that pregnancy to term and give birth. If that isn't intrusive big government dictating the most personal aspects of our lives, then nothing is.
Drill Baby Drill: The GOP also spent the week literally outdoing its previous efforts to prove itself totally subordinate to the major oil companies.
Rep. Barletta of Pennsylvania literally laughed at constituents who questioned him about the necessity and wisdom of taxbreaks and subsidies for immensely profitable oil companies. But Rep. Barton of Utah went even further and literally denied the EXISTENCE of any such tax breaks. It will come as no surprise that Barton is either a liar or ignoramus: see this compilation of the tax code provisions specifically benefitting oil companies. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress proposed ending the various tax breaks (that don't really exist), while the GOP voted in perfect lock-step to protect and preserve those same (non-existent) tax windfalls.
Finally, not satisfied with these efforts, GOP representatives organized a new pro-fossil-fuel caucus - appropriately called HEAT - to promote more oil drilling. Considering the accelerating effects of global warming, HEAT is certainly the best acronym they could have chosen. Of course, part of the litmus test for real Republicans these days is to deny the very existence of global warming (see "self-deception", above; I personally believe that many of them are genuinely deluding themselves, rather than knowingly lying on a constant basis about climate science. But maybe I'm just being too charitable).
Coming up: the vote on the national debt ceiling, which will doubtless provide enough political theater to entertain all of us for weeks.