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Why Is No One Asking The Obvious Question: Is Allen West Fit To Be A Congressman?

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Mental illness is a serious and challenging subject not to be taken lightly. No one should be embarrassed if they suffer from a metal disorder, just as no one should be embarrassed if they suffer from cancer or diabetes. In fact, the more awareness about mental disorders and mental health, the more people would seek treatment. I’m a firm believer that mental health should be treated equally as physical health, including by our insurance companies.

Service in the U.S. Congress is also a serious and challenging subject not to be taken lightly. At some point, a person’s actions, statements, and overall behavior have to be examined if they consistently fall into what can easily be perceived as, well, possibly irrational.

If a Congressman is making decisions and voting on issues that affect the country, shouldn’t we be concerned if their comments and actions are seemingly not rational? Shouldn’t at least the question be raised, in a respectful and supportive manner, by that public servant’s loved ones and colleagues?

It’s entirely possible the mental health of Congressman Allen West (R-FL) is excellent, that he is totally sane and not suffering from any mental disorder that would make him unable to serve as a Congressman.

And there are certainly plenty of psychological disorders that do not preclude service. In fact:

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over a third of people in most countries report problems at some time in their life which meet criteria for diagnosis of one or more of the common types of mental disorder.”

The U.S. govenrment’s own National Institutes of Mental Health note:

An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

So, let’s be clear, there should be no stigma or loss of respect for anyone suffering from mental health disorders.

But it’s time to ask the question, isn’t it entirely possible, given his comments, not only yesterday, but over the past few years as a U.S. Congressman, that Rep. West is suffering from some form of mental illness? Again, I’m not a mental health professional, I’m just posing the question. Ultimately, it is up to the Congressman, his colleagues, his family, and voters to decide if he is fit to serve.

Yesterday, however, Rep. Allen West posted this statement on his Facebook page:

In his speech today to the United Nations, President Obama stated six times that the attacks across the Islamic world are attributed to a silly video. Furthermore, he refused to use the words terrorist attack in referring to what occurred in Benghazi Libya at our US Consulate on the 11th anniversary of 9-11. He continues to offer up apologies instead of defending our hard earned First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. There is no message to this silly video trailer, and it is beneath the dignity and esteem of the Office of the President of the United States to mention it at all. When tolerance becomes a one way street it leads to cultural suicide. I shall not be tolerant of the intolerant. I know about the UN Resolution 1618 which would make any statement deemed by the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) “offensive’ to Islam a crime…..NOT ON MY WATCH FELLAS!

My statement to the United Nations would have been, “The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence”

West, a Tea Party Republican, serves on the House Committee on Armed Services in the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. Surely a U.S. Congressman threatening to “wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence,” and threatening to unleash the “Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle” could be viewed by foreign nations, as an elected member of Congress, as the making of a legitimate threat?

Irresponsible, but also, frankly, embarrassingly ludicrous and, as Noah Rothman, an editor at Mediaite put it, “cartoonish, juvenile and amateurish.”

There is little credulity to [Congressman West’s] threats – not because anyone does not believe he would carry through with them. I would imagine few doubt West’s sincerity. But his pronouncements take on the tone of amateurish chest-thumping. They detract from the Congressman’s credibility and show that he is unclear on the complexities of foreign relations. They lack the sobriety and conviction that a statesman sending young men and women into war is possessed with. They reek of insecurity and rage, not confidence.

By the way, since no other news outlet has bothered to explain West’s comment, “I know about the UN Resolution 1618 which would make any statement deemed by the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) “offensive’ to Islam a crime…..NOT ON MY WATCH FELLAS!,” allow me.

West wrongly referred to “UN Resolution 1618,” which is actually a 2005 UN Security Council Resolution that “condemned terrorist attacks that had taken place in Iraq, particularly those that had taken place in recent weeks, and the kidnapping and attacks on foreign diplomats.” (Wikipedia)

What West most likely is talking about is UN Resolution 16/18, which, according to the non-partisan Human Rights First NGO, “urges states to train government officials to address religious tensions, to harmonize actions at local and national level, to raise awareness of negative stereotyping of persons, to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue, to foster religious freedom and to speak out against intolerance (among other recommendations. The only limitation on speech that is in the operative part of the resolution is incitement to ‘imminent violence’, which is in accordance with US law.”

But, perhaps yesterday was just a bad day for West?

There is a rather lengthy list of strange comments and outright lies Congressman West has made, including, infamously “China is in control of the Panama Canal,” and:

“There is a huge threat coming up out of South America through Central America, through Mexico, and into the United States. Iran is in South America. Hezbollah is in South America. I already talked about how China is in control of the Panama Canal. And even about 50 miles away from here in the Bahamas, building a port there.”

A few other examples.

On Monday, Catholic Online reported that West believes “abortion threatens the future of the black Americans.”

Two weeks ago, Congressman West blamed President Obama for the attacks in Libya. Two days before that, the Huffington Post reported “West claimed President Barack Obama’s ‘Forward’ campaign slogan was designed to push a ‘Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist theme’,” and noted:

In 2011, West called Obama a “low-level socialist agitator” well-versed in “Marxist” rhetoric.

In April, West said “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party.”

In February, West suggested the Obama Administration was lying about positive unemployment numbers.

In January, West claimed he did not tell President Obama and others to “get the hell out of the United States,” even though there’s video of him saying just that. Also in January, Rep. West told military generals they should defy their Commander-In-Chief, and, they should consider quitting the armed forces because of Obama.

This past December, Rep. Allen West told reporters, “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.”

Last August, West described himself as a “modern-day Harriet Tubman,” who will guide Democrats via an underground railroad to the promised land of the Republican Party.

Of course, we already know West thinks “sexuality is a behavior,” and that gay marriage is an “oxymoron,” and it, along with abortion and debt will destroy our society.

Last year West will hosted a screening of an anti-Islam film about 9/11 and the efforts of the anti-Muslim community to stop the building of the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Lat year in July, West, on the Tea Party blog Red State, wrote “when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”

Then there were his strange attacks on Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Also last year, Rep. West said of homosexuality and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, “Unless I’m Michael Jackson I can’t change my color. But people can change behavior.”

Finally, last year, The New Civil Rights Movement posted a litany of West’s lies, fibs, falsehoods, and utter nuttiness. Here’s an excerpt:

“West is certainly no stranger to outlandish statements. He made a name for himself over the past year with comments like endorsing the censorship of news agencies that “enabled” Wikileaks, arguing that nobody is getting laid off in Washington D.C., saying that liberal women are “neutering American men,” and calling President Obama a “low level Socialist agitator,” writes Scott Keyes at Think Progress.

“I gotta tell you something: if you support Medicare the way it is now, you can kiss the United States of America goodbye,” said West on April 27 at the same Florida town hall.

Last month, West, who recently accused President Obama of acting with ‘”third world dictator-like arrogance,” made a statement that earned him the ire of a great many groups. He began to talk about America through the lens of Ancient Sparta, the much-heralded Greek city-state that inspired the bloody movie, “300.”

“We need you to come in and lock shields, and strengthen up the men who are going to fight for you. To let these other women know on the other side — these planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient.”

That statement prompted a local Florida paper to write, “Congressman Allen West Not Getting Any Less Crazy,” asking, “Be more like Sparta, eh, Mr. West?”

“Do you know who else praised Sparta and told his people to be more like them?
“Yes, of course it was Adolf Hitler, who likened his Nazi soldiers to Spartans and the Russians as the Helots. But then, what warmonger wouldn’t look to the Spartans as a shining example of what a society should look like?
“Hitler also admired the Spartans’ ‘racial superiority’ and another practice of strong Spartan women — the systematic murder of its weak and deformed children.”

West, 50, has some other disturbing events in his past. In 2004 he retired from the military after violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including the article on assault, and was fined $5,000.

“And if ballots don’t work, bullets will,” is the statement made in 2010 by Joyce Kaufman, a controversial Florida radio host who had advocated for the hanging of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. West hired Kaufman to be his chief of staff, but she was essentially forced to resign after public outrage became too great. West reportedly blamed the Left of racism and misogyny as reasons for Kaufman’s resignation.

West, 50, despite being on the House Committee on Armed Services, last year said of gay men and lesbians in the military, “unfortunately, they are serving.” He delivered the keynote speech at this year’s CPAC.

West, who had said, “[t]he truth is not subjective,” as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, said in a candidate forum, ”I had a Top Secret/Security Compartmented Information classification, that is the highest you can have in the United States Army. You don’t get a security classification like that if you have financial issues like that. I still retain a Secret security clearance. And I tell you, if you look at the application for a security clearance, I have a clearance that even the president of the United States cannot obtain because of my background.”

Who knows the true condition of Congressman Allen West’s mind? What we do know are his comments.

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News

‘Fear-Driven Alliance’: Conservative Explains Why Far-Right CPAC ‘Opportunists’ and ‘Paranoids’ Are Meeting in Hungary

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The rise of authoritarianism and fascism growing within the Republican Party was discussed by the opening panel on MSNBC’s “The Reidout” on Friday.

Host Joy Reid noted how the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is being held in Hungary this year, which is ruled by strongman Viktor Orbán.

“They have elections, of a sort, but also hamper voters’ abilities to make informed choices and heavily control the outcome that the elections are essentially a show,” she explained. “These are the autocratic dreams of a far-right leader obsessed with solidifying a Christian monoculture and who, in 2014, declared his intention to build an illiberal new state citing China, Russia and Turkey as role models. Flash forward to today where CPAC, the once conservative gathering that is now simply a cesspool of the far-right running amok, is holding its conference in Budapest.”

For analysis, Reid interviewed conservative writer Tom Nichols.

Nichols warned “there is a nihilistic, fear-driven alliance here with a group of opportunists, and I want to get back to this issue of about Hungary, the really dangerous thing here is that some of these people believe very deeply in — in some of this stuff and yet others, and I would say people like [Tucker] Carlson and Matt Schlapp and some of the other people capering about in Budapest, don’t believe in any of this and don’t believe in anything of this other than the extension of their own personal power and wealth.

“And when you have this coalition of shallow, empty opportunists along with with a group of paranoids, basically, then you have a really dangerous movement because each side has to keep upping the ante to kind of justify why they are doing the things they are doing,” he explained.

“A lot of this is an act, but the problem is you then paint yourself into a corner… You have to start actually trying to put forward policies and carry things out that, that make you look as if you believe the things that you’re doing. And then after a while, whether it’s an act or its opportunism is no longer relevant: You have become the thing you’ve been prancing about and pretending to be,” he explained.

Watch the segment below or at this link.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Catholic Archbishop Defies Vatican by Banning Speaker Nancy Pelosi From Holy Communion – via Twitter

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Calling her stance on abortion a “most serious scandal,” and a “grave evil” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly announced Friday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose district encompasses his diocese, is now banned from taking Holy Communion.

Archbishop Cordileone, a far right activist who repeatedly has challenged Pope Francis, is now in violation of directions from the Vatican to not politicize the Sacraments. Cordileone’s very public decree – made via Twitter – comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on a case that is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone tweeted, an apparent attempt to embarrass to the greatest degree possible the Democrat who is second in line to the Presidency,

“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically [sic] repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in that letter to the Speaker.

Fox News calls it “an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians on abortion,” but in fact other extremist archbishops have taken the same stance against other notable Democrats.

Catholics believe the Pope is God’s infallible representative on earth. Last fall Pope Francis chastised far right Catholic bishops in America who were gearing up to ban President Joe Biden from receiving Holy Communion. In June the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) overwhelmingly voted to move toward chastising Biden for his abortion stance, despite the Vatican issuing a clear warning they were not to do so.

President Biden is a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion but knows as President it is his role to uphold a woman’s right to choose, something has has worked strongly to support and strongly believes in.

“What must the pastor do?” Pope Francis said, The New York Times reported last September when a reporter asked him about President Biden and abortion. “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”

“I have never refused the eucharist to anyone,” Pope Francis told reporters. The Times aded Francis said bishops should be pastors not politicians.

The Pope also told reporters, “communion is not a prize for the perfect,” and “the eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”

The San Francisco Chronicle adds that Pope Francis “welcomed Biden for a private meeting at the Vatican last fall and Biden said the Pope told him he was a ‘good Catholic.’ Biden received Communion at St. Peter’s during that trip.”

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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COMMENTARY

‘Sordid, Corrupt, Lawless’: Experts Call New Ginni Thomas Revelations ‘Breathtaking’ and Ask ‘What Did Her Husband Know?’

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The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.

Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear.”

“Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.

It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.

Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.

Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.

“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.

He adds:

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning:

“Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”

Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:

Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:

“New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”

Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”

Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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