Michele Bachmann’s Politics Conflict With Basic Christian Values She Claims To Embrace

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From Michael Gershon’s blog at The Washington Post online

 

Michele Bachmann screamingMichele Bachmann is a candidate of whopping internal contradictions.

Earlier this month, I heard the Minnesota congresswoman give her Christian testimony at a church service in Osceola, Iowa. She told the story of her father leaving her mother, of the economic struggles her family faced, and of the encounter with God she experienced as a teenager. Her tone was direct, non-political and obviously sincere.

A few days later, at a campaign stop in Iowa, Bachmann was asked by a Latino college student what she would do to help the children of undocumented immigrants.

The presidential candidate responded: “Their parents are the ones who brought them here… They did not have the legal right to come to the United States. We do not owe people who broke our laws to come into the country. We don’t owe them anything.”

Bachmann is not just making a political point but a moral argument. She asserts that children — who have committed no crime themselves — should be denied assistance because of the legal status of their parents. Her point is made without qualification. It doesn’t matter whether the children of illegal immigrants are hungry or sick. This standard rules out everything from emergency room treatment to elementary school education to prenatal care for the unborn. Bachmann’s pro-life convictions, evidently, only apply to children covered by a green card.

It is difficult to determine what tradition of moral reasoning Bachmann is drawing upon. Her argument seems to involve a mix of extreme nationalism and utilitarian lifeboat ethics. Christian morality, in contrast, affirms that human worth is intrinsic and universal. Men and women are created in God’s image, which is equally present in every tribe, race and nationality. Governments have a responsibility to honor human dignity in the application of law, even when it comes to noncitizens. Children, along with others who are particularly vulnerable, have a particularly urgent claim to care and protection.

These beliefs do not translate easily or directly into specific immigration policies. Nations have the right to control their borders and enforce their laws. But when it comes to human beings — and especially when it comes to children — it is never permissible to say, “We don’t owe them anything.”

Bachmann’s candidacy represents a digression in the quality and seriousness of evangelical political engagement. It is difficult to imagine Mike Huckabee boasting of his indifference to the health and welfare of children, whatever their background. Even Pat Robertson, running for president in 1988, would have balked at such callousness.

Holy BibleBoth men would have been too conscious of the warnings found in Matthew 25, where Christianity’s founder defines the proper Christian attitude toward the hungry, the sick, the prisoner and the stranger. “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these,” he said, “you did not do for me.”

Bachmann holds her faith deeply and understands its political implications poorly. Her campaign is increasingly discrediting to causes — including the pro-life cause — she seeks to serve.


Read more from Michael Gershon at The Washington Post Online…


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Michele Bachmann’s Misstatements Starting to Catch Up With Her (LA Times)

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Reporting from Perry, Iowa—

Michele Bachmann was laying out a tough immigration policy recently when she veered off script to make a point that she said underscored the national security implications of a porous border.

“Fifty-nine thousand this year came across the border, as was said in the introduction, from Yemen, from Syria. These are nations that are state sponsors of terror,” the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate said, citing a report she had heard. “They’re coming into our country!”

There were two problems with Bachmann’s passionate assertion. Yemen is not a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department. And the Border Patrol report to which Bachmann referred said that although 59,000 apprehended illegal immigrants came from countries other than Mexico, only 663 had ties to countries with links to terrorism.

Voters here frequently say they are drawn to support Bachmann’s presidential campaign by the litany of statistics and facts that stud her speeches. Yet what she says is often inaccurate, misleading or wildly untrue.

All politicians occasionally shade the facts to their advantage. The danger for Bachmann is that her misstatements are so pronounced and so numerous that they erode her effort to regain footing in the presidential race. (Asked for reaction, a campaign aide provided information unrelated to the statements in question.)

Some of her misstatements have registered as eye-rolling blips, such as when she confused actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy on the day she entered the campaign in June. Others have damaged her candidacy.

She won points in a September debate when she criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting a proposed requirement that young girls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease. But then Bachmann told a post-debate television audience that the vaccine had caused mental retardation, a conclusion drawn from a brief meeting with a weeping mother. Bachmann’s hit against Perry was lost in howls of dismay from physicians who said her untrue remarks would stunt vaccinations and endanger children.

On recent campaign swings through Iowa, she continued to trip over matters large and small.

Read the full story at LATimes.com…


Bachmann campaign didn’t know of staff departures

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MSNBC.com reports:

The five New Hampshire staffers, who quit Friday had not — as of Saturday morning — been in touch with the campaign to resign in a formal fashion,the Bachmann campaign tells NBC News.

Of the campaign’s former New Hampshire Director Jeff Chidester, campaign spokewoman Alice Stewart told NBC, “He talked to the media — just not us.”

The Bachmann campaign learned of the departures Friday through media reports. This explains why Bachmann herself questioned the reports during a phone interview with Radio Iowa Friday afternoon — and why the campaign said, in a statement issued after 5:00 pm ET Friday: “We have a great team in New Hampshire, and we have not been notified that anyone is leaving the campaign.”

Chidester confirmed his own departure, and that of four others, via text to NBC last night. All five paid New Hampshire staffers to the campaign left — Jeff Chidester, Nicole Yurek, Matt LeDuc, Caroline Gigler, and Tom Lukacz.

Marcus Bachmann’s clinic invaded by ‘gay, barbarian horde’

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While British protesters may still find pies their weapons of choice, glitter is fast becoming the American protest pick.

The latest victim? The counseling center of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus. The clinic, which receives federal and state funding, has come under fire for reportedly using “pray-away-the-gay” techniques.

Marcus Bachmann has come under fire for his strong views on homosexuality, with much of the focus on an interview in which he called anyone with homosexual tendencies “barbarian.”

To show their displeasure, gay and lesbian activists donned Viking-esque attire, called themselves a “gay, barbarian horde” and descended on the clinic to shower the lobby with glitter.

 

 

Read the full story in the Washington Post…

14 Propaganda Techniques Fox “News” Uses to Brainwash Americans

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There is nothing more sacred to the maintenance of democracy than a free press. Access to comprehensive, accurate and quality information is essential to the manifestation of Socratic citizenship – the society characterized by a civically engaged, well-informed and socially invested populace. Thus, to the degree that access to quality information is willfully or unintentionally obstructed, democracy itself is degraded.

It is ironic that in the era of 24-hour cable news networks and “reality” programming, the news-to-fluff ratio and overall veracity of information has declined precipitously. Take the fact Americans now spend on average about 50 hours a week using various forms of media, while at the same time cultural literacy levels hover just above the gutter. Not only does mainstream media now tolerate gross misrepresentations of fact and history by public figures (highlighted most recently by Sarah Palin‘s ludicrous depiction of Paul Revere’s ride), but many media actually legitimize these displays. Pause for a moment and ask yourself what it means that the world’s largest, most profitable and most popular news channel passes off as fact every whim, impulse and outrageously incompetent analysis of its so-called reporters. How did we get here?

Take the enormous amount of misinformation that is taken for truth by Fox audiences:

  1. the belief that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that he was in on 9/11
  2. the belief that climate change isn’t real and/or man-made
  3. the belief that Barack Obama is Muslim and wasn’t born in the United States
  4. the insistence that all Arabs are Muslim and all Muslims are terrorists
  5. the inexplicable perceptions that immigrants are both too lazy to work and are about to steal your job.

All of these claims are demonstrably false, yet Fox News viewers will maintain their veracity with incredible zeal. Why? Is it simply that we have lost our respect for knowledge?

My curiosity about this question compelled me to sit down and document the most oft-used methods by which willful ignorance has been turned into dogma by Fox News and other propagandists disguised as media. The techniques I identify here also help to explain the simultaneously powerful identification the Fox media audience has with the network, as well as their ardent, reflexive defenses of it.

The good news is that the more conscious you are of these techniques, the less likely they are to work on you. The bad news is that those reading this article are probably the least in need in of it.

14 PROPAGANDA TECHNIQUES FOX “NEWS” USES TO BRAINWASH AMERICANS:

1. Panic Mongering. This goes one step beyond simple fear mongering. With panic mongering, there is never a break from the fear. The idea is to terrify and terrorize the audience during every waking moment.

From Muslims to swine flu to recession to homosexuals to immigrants to the rapture itself, the belief over at Fox seems to be that if your fight-or-flight reflexes aren’t activated, you aren’t alive. This of course raises the question: why terrorize your own audience? Because it is the fastest way to bypasses the rational brain. In other words, when people are afraid, they don’t think rationally. And when they can’t think rationally, they’ll believe anything.

2. Character Assassination/Ad Hominem. Fox does not like to waste time debating the idea. Instead, they prefer a quicker route to dispensing with their opponents: go after the person’s credibility, motives, intelligence, character, or, if necessary, sanity. No category of character assassination is off the table and no offense is beneath them.

Fox and like-minded media figures also use ad hominem attacks not just against individuals, but entire categories of people in an effort to discredit the ideas of every person who is seen to fall into that category, e.g. “liberals,” “hippies,” “progressives” etc. This form of argument – if it can be called that – leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.

3. Projection/Flipping. This one is frustrating for the viewer who is trying to actually follow the argument. It involves taking whatever underhanded tactic you’re using and then accusing your opponent of doing it to you first.

We see this frequently in the immigration discussion, where anti-racists are accused of racism, or in the climate change debate, where those who argue for human causes of the phenomenon are accused of not having science or facts on their side. It’s often called upon when the media host finds themselves on the ropes in the debate.

4. Rewriting History. This is another way of saying that propagandists make the facts fit their worldview. The Downing Street Memos on the Iraq war were a classic example of this on a massive scale, but it happens daily and over smaller issues as well.

A recent case in point is Palin’s mangling of the Paul Revere ride, which Fox reporters have bent over backward to validate. Why lie about the historical facts, even when they can be demonstrated to be false? Well, because dogmatic minds actually find it easier to reject reality than to update their viewpoints.

They will literally rewrite history if it serves their interests. And they’ll often speak with such authority that the casual viewer will be tempted to question what they knew as fact.

Read the full article at TruthOut…

Michele Bachmann: Obama spent ‘$200 million/day’ during visit to India

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Really? $200 million per day for President Obama to make a short diplomatic trip overseas to India?

Assuming that the White House staff hasn’t increased by 50,000 or so employees recently (or that the 12 to 45 members of the White House advance team now each receive a per diem of $65,000 while on the road), one could reasonably surmise that Mrs. Bachmann’s calculations leading to her alleged $200 million daily expense were…

  1. Disingenuous?
  2. Patently untrue?
  3. Ill-informed?
  4. Indicative of severe deficiencies in reasoning ability, stunted emotional maturity and high-probability of adult-onset chronic bed-wetting?

Did she know that $200 million is more than the United States spends each day to conduct the entire war operation in Afghanistan? Does Bachmann understand anything outside of
the goofy false retail encampments of Woodbury, MN?

Now let’s watch Michele Bachmann make a complete fool out of herself in front of various cameras before national audiences:


[youtube http://youtu.be/OATKPpEOMxo]
[youtube http://youtu.be/mlPSRFyhzec]

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Michele Bachmann says kindred spirit is… John Wayne Gacy?

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You can see the resemblance to John Wayne Gacy right around the eyes.

This morning, while in Iowa to announce her candidacy for president, Michele Bachmann made a play for local brownie points by comparing herself to one of the town’s native sons, John Wayne.
But John Wayne was from Winterset, Iowa. And the John Wayne from Waterloo is actually killer clown John Wayne Gacy.

Oops?

Speaking on the front lawn of a quaint little home, Bachmann told a Fox News reporter, “John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”

But The Duke is actually from a town about three hours away. The only famous John Wayne from Waterloo was one of the most deranged murderers in American history — the “Killer Clown” himself, John Wayne Gacy.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PsLfL9vMaUY]