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Gingrich Rising. Awesome.



The GOP’s electoral strategy requires Ron Popeil, not Abraham Lincoln. Now that I think about it, the GOP may have found exactly the man they are looking for.


From the very earliest stages of the race, Herman Cain showed no partiuclar aptitude for campaigning, nor any real mastery of the issues. In fact, in true “we don’t need no fancy book-learnin” GOP style, his breezy and arrogant incompetance was part of his appeal as a candidate. You see, only left-wing liberal elites know things. Real leadership is from the gut. Or something.

It wasn’t Herman Cain’s total lack of policy understanding that lead to the implosion of his candidacy. The blame for the Great Cain Collapse belongs to a torrent of embarrassing scandals involving a handful of borderline criminal sexual assualts and a 13-year extramarital affair.

Remember, this was at its core a vanity candidacy. An elaborite publicity stunt. It was never supposed to go this well. I don’t believe that Herman Cain ever really thought he’d be the nominee. Remember, Hermain Cain knew he had these skeletons in his closet. They weren’t even very well hidden skeletons. He just never thought he’d be successful enough for anyone to bother with trying to find them.

Cain simply underestimated the hatred many in the Republican Party have for Mitt Romney. With Rick Perry’s political acumen being awful to the point of self satire, someone had to fill the role of the Anti-Romney. Really, it was a timing thing. Hermain Cain had put in a few better than expected performances at the debates, and his absurd 999 thing was just catchy enough to make him seem plausable. After that things sort of spiraled out of control.

But that’s all over now.

Those too conservative to support Romney have abandoned Cain, and have instead placed their hopes in a new hero. This is the age of Newt, who has enthusiastically claimed the mantle of the Anti-Romney.

Gingrich Rising. Awesome.

This is where my head starts to hurt. I mean, I understand that intellectual consistency isn’t exactly highly valued within the GOP, but throwing your support behind Newt Gingrich because Herman Cain has a problem with fidelity is especially perplexing.


Far from protecting marriage, Newt Gingrich is a serial offender. Marriage should get a restraining order against Newt Gingrich. That Newt has spent even ten seconds at the top of the national polls demonstrates that the GOP has no interest in actually protecting marriage. They just want someone who can talk a good game.


Despite the fact that Newt Gingrich claims the well worn story about him serving his wife with divorce papers after her cancer surgery is largely untrue, Newt Gingrich is still a world class philanderer. He admits this himself.

There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

Newt Gingrich was only making sweet, sweet love to America.

I might be ill. Let’s move on.

Newt said this back in March. This isn’t recent news. Newt Gingrich sexing up the American Flag is a long established fact. Republican voters are fully aware of this, and obviously do not care. Why then is it OK for Newt Gingrich to cheat on countless wives with scores of nubile young Reaganites, while at the same time rejecting Herman Cain for exactly the same sort of behavior? And how can either of these men be taken seriously as advocates for the sort of strict moral absolutism used to deny LGBT people their civil rights?

Because it doesn’t matter. None of this bogus “Family Values” crusading has any substance, and the fickle candidate shopping going on in the Republican primary battle proves it. Republican voters only seem interested in strict adherence to the Christian ethic when it can be used as a bludgeon with which to attack their enemies. When it comes to evaluating their own candidates, rampant infidelity and sexual indiscretion fit snugly into a blind spot just large enough to shield themselves from judgement. The only time they appear to care about these issues is when you happen to be gay, or are a Democrat, or are a Republican currently involved in some embarrassing scandal too big to spin.

I have always believed that the true measure of a person, or a movement, is to observe their actions rather than their words. Republicans can say whatever they want, but their views regarding the “sanctity of marriage” are only as relevant as the degree to which they apply those standards to themselves.

Republicans are fully aware of Newt Gingrich and his propensity for screwing his staffers. If any of them cared to open the Bibles that they are so fond of using to beat down LBGT people, then they would know where the source of their moral superiority stands on the issue of adultery. There is an entire commandment explicitly addressing it. (Hint: God appears to be decidedly opposed.) Far from protecting marriage, Newt Gingrich is a serial offender. Marriage should get a restraining order against Newt Gingrich. That Newt has spent even ten seconds at the top of the national polls demonstrates that the GOP has no interest in actually protecting marriage. They just want someone who can talk a good game. All they require is an vaguely appealing spokesperson who can competently recite the established Conservative talking points without choking on their own bile, or setting their podiums on fire in the process. What they want is someone who can fit in well with their brand marketing. No substance required.

The Republicans have crafted a platform designed to target specific segments of easy to manipulate voters. Moral Crusaders. Anti-Abortion activists. Foreign Policy Absolutists. The Bigoted. The Xenophobes. The Tax Zealots. The Paranoid.

Say the right things to these people, and they will vote for you. No questions asked. It’s not even very hard to do. Want to capture the Xenophobe vote? Talk about immigration. Need the Moral Crusaders on your side? Hate on the gays for awhile. Do this in the right combinations, and you can get enough votes to win an election. Simple. This is what the world is made of in the Fox News era. Play the right song, and all the snakes will follow you right out of town.

That sort of electoral strategy requires Ron Popeil, not Abraham Lincoln. They need not a leader, but a salesmen. With that sort of job description you really can’t do better than Newt Gingrich. Now that I think about it, the GOP may have found exactly the man they are looking for.

(Image, top, by  boris.rasin)

Benjamin Phillips is a Humor Writer, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.

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On World AIDS Day, DOJ Says Tennessee Law Discriminates Against Those With HIV



World AIDS Day

The Department of Justice celebrated World AIDS Day by calling out a Tennessee law that discriminates against people with HIV.

The DOJ released a report Friday that the state’s aggravated prostitution law violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. A person arrested under the aggravated prostitution law is normally changed with a misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. However, if the person arrested has HIV, the crime becomes a felony, and if they’re convicted, they would face between three and 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination.”

READ MORE: Activists Arrested After AIDS Funding Protest in Kevin McCarthy’s Office

The law was originally passed in 1991. It classifies HIV-positive sex workers as violent sex offenders, according to WKRN-TV. This means that in addition to the sentence, those convicted are put on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, usually for the rest of their lives.

The DOJ advised the state—and particularly, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which enforces the statute most frequently, the department says—to stop enforcing the law. It also calls on the state to repeal the law and remove anyone from the registry when aggravated prostitution is the only offense. If this doesn’t happen, Tennessee could face a lawsuit.

Tennessee isn’t the only state to have laws applying to only those living with HIV. In 1988, Michigan passed a law requiring those with HIV to disclose their status before sex, according to WLNS-TV. The law is still on the books, but was updated in 2019 to lift the requirement if the HIV-positive person has an undetectable viral load. The law now also requires proof that the person set out to transmit HIV.

Laws like these can work against public health efforts, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH says these types of laws can make people less likely to be tested for HIV, as people cannot be punished if they didn’t know their status. In addition, critics say, the laws can be used to further discriminate. A Canadian study found a disproportionate number of Black men had been charged under HIV exposure laws.

World AIDS Day was first launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to highlight awareness of the then-relatively new disease. The theme of the 2023 World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead,” calling on community leaders to end the AIDS epidemic.

Featured image by UNIS Vienna/Flickr via Creative Commons License.

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John Fetterman Says Bob Menendez ‘Senator for Egypt,’ Should Be Expelled Next



Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) called Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) a “senator for Egypt,” and said he needed to be expelled from Congress, much like the now-former Representative George Santos.

Fetterman appeared on The View on Friday. The live broadcast aired as Santos had been kicked out of the House. When host Joy Behar asked what he thought of the vote, Fetterman immediately replied, “I’m not surprised.”

“If you are going to expel Santos, how can you allow somebody like Menendez to remain in the Senate? And, you know, Santos’ kind of lies were almost, you know, funny,” Fetterman said. “Menendez, I think is really a senator for Egypt, you know, not New Jersey. So I really think he needs to go.”

READ MORE: ‘See How Easy That Is to Say?’: GOP Mocked for ‘Weaponization’ of DOJ Claims as Democratic Senator Gets Indicted

Host Sunny Hostin then asked if Fetterman was uncomfortable with expelling Menendez, as, like with Santos, he had only been indicted, not convicted.

“He has the right for his day in court and all of it, but he doesn’t have the right to to have those kinds of votes and things. That’s not a right,” he said. “I think we need to make that kind of decision to send him out.”

This September, Menendez was indicted on corruption charges. He is accused of accepting bribes of cash, gold and a car, as well as giving “highly sensitive” information about U.S. Embassy staffers in Cairo to the Egyptian government, according to USA Today. Menendez was forced to step down as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was replaced by Ben Cardin, Maryland’s Democratic senator.

Menendez denied wrongdoing, and has refused to resign, despite many calls to do so from both Democrats and Republicans.

“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a statement following his indictment. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”

This is not Menendez’s first brush with the law. Menendez was indicted in 2015 on federal corruption charges. He was accused of helping Salomon Melgen, one of Menendez’s campaign contributors, by intervening in a dispute with federal regulators and helping Melgen get a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.

In 2017, Menendez’s trial ended with a hung jury, and the Department of Justice declined to retry the case, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Menendez denied all wrongdoing.

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House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114



Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two House members voted “present.”

The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is Santos’ third vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against, according to The Hill.

While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).

“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”

READ MORE: ‘If I Leave They Win’: Santos Claims ‘Bullying’ at Off the Rails Press Conference

Santos himself had harsh words for the House following the vote. Leaving the capitol building, he briefly spoke with reporters.

“The House spoke that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he told CNN. “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”

He then cut his time short, telling reporters, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”

Santos also faces 23 federal charges, which include fraud, money laundering and misuse of campaign funds, according to CNN. He has pleaded not guilty. An Ethics Committee report found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for Botox and even an OnlyFans account.

On Thursday, Santos said he refused to resign because otherwise, “they win.”

“If I leave the bullies take place. This is bullying,” Santos said. “The reality of it is it’s all theater, theater for the cameras and theater for the microphones. Theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work’s getting done.”

Santos also threatened to file a resolution to expel Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Bowman pulled a fire alarm in September. Bowman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and said it was an accident. He said he thought the fire alarm would open a locked door as he rushed to a vote. Bowman paid a $1,000 fine.

There have only been six total expulsions from the House, including Santos. Santos is the only Republican to ever be expelled from the House.

The previous expulsion was in 2002, when Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after a 420-1 vote. Traficant had been convicted on 10 counts of corruption-related crimes.

Before Traficant, Representative Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was the first representative of the modern era to be expelled. Myers got the boot following his conviction for accepting bribes. Myers couldn’t keep out of trouble; in 2022, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of election fraud.

Prior to Myers, the only expulsions from the House were in 1861, at the start of the Civil War. Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY), John William Reid (D-MO) and John Bullock Clark (Whig-MO) were all expelled for joining the Confederacy.

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