Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hate group leader asks $25 for a book selling for $1.49

God, Guns, Grits and Gravy - $1.49
Mat Staver, leader of Liberty Counsel is hawking Mike Huckabees mind-numbing tome, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy. It can be yours for a donation of $25.00. Ironically, this “opportunity” is part of an email grope titled: “The 'Grinch' Is Trying to Steal Easter Eggs.” Staver is bitching that “Many of the top candy makers have scrubbed the word "Easter" from their advertising and packaging.” Personally, I fail to appreciate the significance. It's just goddamned candy.

I realize that I am being a bit pedantic. People are willing to contribute $25 to the hate group that is Liberty Counsel regardless of whether or not they get a book in return. However, there is a more important point. I cannot be sure that Staver wrote the following paragraph in the email, but it is telling regardless of its authorship:
In God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Mike Huckabee asks, “Have I been taken to a different planet than the one on which I grew up?” The New York Times bestselling author explores today's fractious American culture, where divisions of class, race, politics, religion, gender, age, and other fault lines make polite conversation dicey, if not downright dangerous.
When Huck was growing up in Hope, Arkansas women knew their place and gays, well, there were no gays in Arkansas — at least none out in the open. But let me be more specific. Huckabee was born in 1955. In 1958, Arkansas was trying to persuade the Supreme Court that the state should be permitted to continue to segregate its schools four years after the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. After all, by an overwhelming majority, the state's legislature passed a measure to do just that. “Will of the people” and all that good stuff. Around the time that Huckabee was growing up, blacks in the South still knew their place and de facto segregation prevailed long after the Civil Rights Act passed when Huckabee was nine years old.

Around the same time the United States was propping up a dictator in South Vietnam named Ngo Dinh Diem. A few years later, Diem would be overthrown and murdered by a military coup — organized and paid for by the CIA. The United States wanted a government that would be more hostile to the Viet Cong. During this same era the United States and what was then the Soviet Union were perilously close to blowing up the world with nuclear weapons. I'm sure that Huck practiced the “duck and cover” air raid drills in preparation for a nuclear attack. Apparently one's school desk was sufficient protection from a large nuclear explosion and the resulting fallout.

Indeed, in October, 1962 we were nearly resigned to the certainty of nuclear war when US warships  confronted Soviet ships attempting to thwart the Cuban Blockade.  In 1962 the Soviet Union set off 77 nuclear blasts for a total of 140 megatons. Our defense consisted of mutually assured destruction which must have been very comforting to Huckabee as a child.

In 1964, when Huckabee was about nine, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident occurred off the shores of North Vietnam. This would be the pretext for a protracted war that killed 58,220 US personnel and wounded another 300,000. Although the draft ended around the time that Huckabee turned 18, his idyllic childhood was interrupted, ever so briefly, by having to register for the draft.  Perhaps that is why, a year earlier, at the age of just 17, Huckabee entered the ministry at Garrett Memorial Baptist Church in Hope. Did he do so for a Selective Service exemption?

Also in the year that Huckabee turned 18 the CIA partnered with a private company, ITT, to overthrow the lawfully elected socialist leader of Chile, Salvatore Allende. Even the painfully naive young Mr. Huckabee would ultimately realize that this led to the rule of the dictator, Augusto Pinochet, and his staggering human rights abuses. ITT flourished. The citizens of Chile, not so much.

I could continue but just one more example of the wonderful world of Mike Huckabee's youth would be the scandal known as Watergate which happened around the time that Huck was 17 years old and ultimately led to the impeachment and resignation of Richard M. Nixon.

I wonder if any of this history is mention in Huckabee's book. The point is that conservatives seem to have nostalgia for a time in which we were much less secure and far more unequal (although nothing has ever come close to today's economic inequality engineered by those same conservatives). Even with the misadventure of George W. Bush in Iraq and now the utter incompetence of an erratic Donald Trump. we are infinitely safer than we were in the days of mutually assured destruction. Our consciousness about the peril is, and was, relatively consistent with the magnitude of the threat.

It also has nothing to do with taxes. When Huckabee was 18 years of age:
  • Top rate on ordinary income: 70%
  • Top rate on capital gains: 36.5%
  • Top rate on corporate tax: 48%
Back then, unions were also much more powerful. Nearly 25% of the private workforce was unionized. Today, that number is just over 6%.
I used to think that it was selective memory. Probably not. Those GOPers would be willing to go back to those turbulent, insecure times — from the Cuban Missile Crisis through the Vietnam war and the power of men like James Riddle Hoffa — just to savor the supremacy of heterosexual-white-Christian men. That is what people like Staver and Huckabee miss the most.

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