Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Crazy Scary Has the Right Become

Forget the tea partiers for a second. Instead, let’s take a brief look at just how crazy – not to mention scary – the elected right has really become. I’ve selected three very recent examples.

I’ll start with Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California). Now, before I get into Rep. Hunter’s crazy scary lunacy, let me remind you of two things. First, some may recall the basic framework upon which our country operates: the United States Constitution. Here is Section 1 of the 14th Amendment (emphasis added):

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

And here is the oath taken by members of Congress:

I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

(Interesting to note that the reference to God is in the statute. That might be worth some thoughts another day.) So anyway, back to Rep. Hunter. Here is a transcript of Rep. Hunter responding to a question at a tea party rally in San Diego late last month (video follows; the portion excerpted in the transcript begins at 2:03):

Question: Would you support deportation of natural born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens?”

Rep. Hunter: Would I support the deportation of natural born American citizens that are the kids of illegal aliens?

Question: Yes.

Rep. Hunter: I would have to, yes.


Just to be absolutely clear: A member of the United States Congress, after repeating the question (so we know that he heard it correctly) affirmatively stated that he would support deporting natural born American citizens if their parents were illegal aliens. Just think about that for a minute. If it doesn’t chill you to the bone, I don’t know what will.

Well maybe Rep. Hunter misspoke and didn’t really understand the question. Uh, no:

In an interview, [Hunter] clarified, amplified and strongly defended the claim — and said he stuck by it even though the 14th Amendment stipulates that people born here are American citizens.

Hunter clarified his original claim by saying he only supported deporting kids if their illegal parents were deported. “The policy should be, the kids follow the parents,” Hunter said. “You’re not gonna break up the family. If you have illegal parents, who are deported, what do you do with the kids?”

Wow. Can you imagine living in Rep. Hunter’s version of America? “Gee, sorry. We know that you’re an American citizen with the same rights and privileges as Duncan Hunter and every other American citizen, but because you’re parents came here illegally, we’re gonna throw you out too. So sorry.” Is that the America that you want to live in? Hey, while we’re at it, maybe we should imprison people for crimes committed by their parents, too.

Moving on, we come to America’s favorite maverick who isn’t a maverick, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) who this week, in response to the arrest of an American citizen in the attempting car bombing in Times Square, claimed that it would be a mistake give the suspect his constitutionally mandated Miranda rights:

It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday.

McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime leading Republican on national security issues, said he expected the suspect in the case could face charges that might warrant a death sentence if convicted.

"Obviously that would be a serious mistake … at least until we find out as much information we have," McCain said during an appearance on "Imus in the Morning" when asked whether the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan.

"Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about," McCain added.

Funny, I don’t recall hearing Sen. McCain say that we shouldn’t give Miranda warnings to Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph (the Olympic and abortion clinic bomber), or any of the other right-wing domestic terrorists. No, that appears to be limited to Muslim terrorists. Look, I’m not a big fan of Muslim terrorists either and I’m not particularly interested in the rights of someone captured on a battlefield in Afghanistan (short of torture, that is…). But Shahzad is an American citizen arrested within the United States. He is entitled to the same rights that Sen. McCain would be entitled to. Can you imagine the outcry if the Hutaree militia was denied Miranda rights (or access to counsel, or civilian trial…)?

You see, the thing that Sen. McCain and seemingly many other Republicans tend to forget is that it is possible, perhaps unlikely, but still possible, that the police arrested the wrong guy. That’s part of why we give our criminal defendants certain rights. We want to be sure that we get the right person and we want to be sure that we don’t imprison someone for the wrong reasons or without proper evidence. Miranda rights don’t exist to protect criminals; those rights exist to protect our system and the rights of innocent people wrongly accused. But Sen. McCain is too busy trying to score points with the ultra-right wing of the Republican party to remember any of that. Nope, the Islamic terrorist boogeyman has scared Sen. McCain to the point that he’s willing to suspend the constitutional rights of American citizens. If we go down that road, haven’t the terrorists already won?

Finally, and on a completely different subject than our first two right-wing crazy scary idiots, I’d like to introduce you to the legislature of the State of Oklahoma which just passed – and then overrode the Governor’s veto – legislation that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound, without an exemption for rape or incest, and require the doctor to show (on a monitor) and describe the fetus to the woman, in detail. Follow that one through for a moment in the worst case scenario. A young woman has just been raped by her father. In order to get an abortion, she must allow a doctor to shove an ultrasound probe up her vagina and watch a video and listen to the doctor describe the fetus. I mean, it’s not like being raped or even the decision to have an abortion are difficult enough; nope, in Oklahoma, we’re going to force an invasive medical procedure. By the way, I’m curious to know whether Oklahoma would be in favor of other invasive medical procedures, like for example forcibly castrating men who don’t pay child support or removing the tongues of politicians caught lying? But we know that Oklahoma is really in favor of government involvement in health care decisions, right. After all, that’s why Oklahoma supports the recently passed … oops, my bad. Oklahoma is one of the states suing the Federal Government over the new health care law. You know … too much government involvement in health care.

Thankfully, a court has, at least temporarily, blocked enforcement of this law.

But just in case you think that part of Oklahoma’s abortion law isn’t draconian enough, they’ve gone a step further! In Oklahoma, a doctor is now protected from suits brought against the doctor for failing to inform his pregnant patient that the fetus has birth defects. I like the way Nicole Belle of Talking Points Memo puts its:

Just take a minute to digest that. In Oklahoma, it's now legal to keep health information from patients in order to make their reproductive decisions for them. Of course, the doctors who perform prenatal tests won't be raising the children born to the prospective parents they treat. And yet those doctors can have a say — through subterfuge — in whether those parents choose to give birth or not. Now that this has passed, it's tempting to wonder what information Oklahoma doctors will get to lie about next. Perhaps they could tell teen girls that condoms spread AIDS. Or maybe just convince women that they're not actually pregnant until it's too late for an abortion. The possibilities are endless!

In other words, if while giving the woman the unwanted invasive vaginal ultrasound the doctor should happen to notice that the fetus has birth defects, the doctor can nevertheless simply describe what a lovely beautiful baby that fetus will develop into and escape any responsibility. I think that it’s safe to say that the State of Oklahoma has declared war on a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. Moreover, given that the protection afforded doctors applies in the non-abortion realm as well, it is safe to say that Oklahoma has declared war on a family’s right to make reproductive choices. Now, the choice of whether to allow a pregnancy to proceed to term may have been effectively removed from prospective parents.

So that concludes today’s brief look at the scary crazy right: deport US citizens, no Miranda rights for US citizens, forced invasive medical procedures, and permit doctors to lie to patients. Again, is that your America?

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