Remember Elian Gonzales? He was the little Cuban boy found clinging to an inner tube of the coast of Florida, on Thanksgiving Day in 1999. He’d been rescued by fishermen after his mother and 11 others drowned in an attempt to reach the U.S. from Cuba. His fate sparked a seven-month long national debate, and caused Peggy Noonan to have a dissociative episode on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, before he was returned to his father in Cuba.
Bak then a child trying to enter the U.S. illegally was celebrated by conservatives, rather than vilified. Perhaps young Gonzales’ was simply fleeing the “right “ country, thus giving conservatives an opportunity to burnish their patriotic, anti-communist credentials, and another way to attack President Bill Clinton, all wrapped up in one telegenic child. What could evoke more sympathy than a helpless child, far from home, and without his parents?
That was then. This year, over 52,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America have been caught trying cross the U.S. Mexico border — twice as many as last year, and more than 150,000 are expected next year. The vast majority come from four countries — El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Many risk their lives to reach the U.S.border, as they flee violence and grinding poverty that have roots in U.S. policies. They wait in cramped, unsanitary conditions, as they await official verdicts on their fates. There are reports that some minors have been mistreated in detention centers.
But this is not 1999. Now “Ugly Americans” run amok as right-wingers show off their patriotism by screaming at helpless children, and Republicans promised to block the president’s efforts to stem a border crisis that fires up the basest elements of the GOP’s wing nut base.
- Busloads of children fleeing violence in their own countries were greeting were turned back by screaming, spitting mobs in Murietta California, after Mayor Alan long told resident to let the government know the opposed moving the children to a border patrol station.
- League City, became the first town in Texas to ban undocumented immigrant children from entering the city, by a 6-2 vote of the city council. CNN host Ashleigh Banfield tore into council member Heidi Thiess over the council’s vote.
- A Murietta professor called police officers “domestic terrorists” for protected busloads of “infected immigrants.”
- Conspiracy theories abounded at a town meeting in Vassar, Michigan, in response to a rumor about housing undocumented immigrant children in the town.
- Sarah Palin and Rick Perry argued that the border crisis may be a deliberate plot by President Obama to “fundamentally transform” America.
- Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa) called for the National Guard to seal the border, before it’s overrun with undocumented immigrants.
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R, Texas) said that the border crisis is an Obama plot to take over Texas by bringing undocumented immigrants across the border to secretly vote for Democrats. Gohmert recommend sending American military troops “into Mexico.”
The president has asked congress for $3.7 billion dollars to deal with the border crisis, but Republicans aren’t likely to help solve a problem that keeps their base foaming at the mouth between now and November.
Here’s the rest of the best of the worst in Wingnuttia this week.
- In a column for BarbWire, the American Family Association’s Brian Fischer wrote, “[o]ur southern border is there by God’s design” and those who “regard it as something not worth respecting and defending” are insulting God.
- Immigration reform and border crisis notwithstanding, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R, Texas) says that the Latinos will vote Republican because they believe in God. Who should know better than a guy who just “proved” the existence of God?
- Texas Republican Congressional nominee Larry Smith said the border crisis suggests that President Obama is suffering from Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare psychological condition that causes caretakers to abuse kids.
- A Brookings Institution study says that all those right-wing anti-Obamacare ads may have backfired, actually boosting enrollment in the Affordable care Act, and helping reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 9.5 million. Even worse, 74% of newly insured Republicans like their Obamacare plans.
- Fundamentalist broadcaster Mark Hagee assured a viewer on this week’s “Hagee’s Hotline” that Obamacare is preparing Americans for “the kind of global dictatorship that is described in the End Times,” and conditioning them to receive the Mark of the Beast.
- Leave it to conspiracy-spinner Alex Jones to mistake Joan Rivers’ latest book for political non-fiction, and announce that Rivers was right to call President Obama the first gay president, and describe First Lady Michelle Obama as a “tranny.”
- Fox News host Steve Doocy got schooled by a child about gender-neutral bathrooms.
- Sarah Palin wants to join the cast of “The View.”She also wants President Obama impeached. Republicans want nothing to do with any impeachment efforts. Even Bill O’Reilly thinks it’s a dumb idea. Americans want Sarah Palin to shut-up.
- A new study confirms rich republicans are the worst climate deniers. Some will be doing their denying in searing hot, drought stricken Las Vegas for the Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change, which opened with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R, California) rant against water fluoridation, and features entertainment by climate-denying rapper Kilez More.
- Coal plant-owning Kentucky state Sen. Brandon Smith said, “[W]e all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There’s no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.” Never mind that Mars is much colder than earth. Smith should take his act to Las Vegas this weekend. It’d be a big hit there.