It seems like every day brings us one or another Republican CongressCritter or Senator or politician at a lower level (is there anything lower than a Republican CongressCritter???) working hard to re-set the bar of wing-nuttery. Most of it we can sort of pass off with a chuckle - like most anything that Michelle Bachman, Louie Gohmert or Steve King says, for instance... when did any of their utterings have any serious effect on our country?
I suppose I've gotten a little bit inured to this kind of thing, but when I read this article in the Huffington Post, my blood boiled a bit.
The provision was introduced as an amendment to the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which lays out strong penalties for people who violate human rights, engage in censorship, or commit other abuses associated with the Iranian government.So, according to Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), if your grandfather or uncle in Iran does something bad, you can be sent to prison for 20 years, even if you have no knowledge of or participation in this bad deed. Oh, and let's not forget: no investigation. If you are a blood relative of an Iranian 'bad guy', you are automatically guilty.
Cotton also seeks to punish any family member of those people, "to include a spouse and any relative to the third degree," including, "parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids," Cotton said.
"There would be no investigation," Cotton said during Wednesday's markup hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "If the prime malefactor of the family is identified as on the list for sanctions, then everyone within their family would automatically come within the sanctions regime as well. It'd be very hard to demonstrate and investigate to conclusive proof."
Rep. Cotton restricts his 'guilty by blood' designation to non-US citizens, because according to him (but not the US Supreme Court) they are not protected by the Constitution.
OK, this won't become law (at least for now) because even the Republican committee chairman - Ed Royce - was bothered enough by it to convince Cotton to withdraw his amendment.
What bothers me is that this once again moves the goalposts that define the boundary of wing-nuttery.
And here I sit, waiting for the next absurd effort from the right.