John Fugelsang on equal rights versus “special rights”

Chase Madar, author of “The Passion of Bradley Manning,” and Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice, sat down with Current TV’s John Fugelsang to weigh in on the Bradley Manning trial.

I’m John Fuglesang and I’d like to appeal to all you kind Americans out there, and ask you to open your hearts and lend a hand to one of the most persecuted, oppressed and voiceless groups in all of America. Of course I’m talking about the tea party.

Recently, we learned that during its time when it was headed by Douglas Shulman, certain mid-level bureaucrats at the IRS office in Cincinnati targeted tea party groups unfairly. Now, I know this is shocking — the idea that something interesting could ever happen in Cincinnati. But tea partyers had to face the worst thing any decent American ever faced, my friends: increased, inconvenient amounts of paperwork to prove that groups holding signs saying “Impeach Obama” shouldn’t pay taxes because they’re obviously not political.

Now, this kerfuffle caused the tea party to experience the worst human-rights abuses since the Stark family went to that wedding on “Game of Thrones.”

Becky Gerritson, my friends, president of the Wetumpka, Alaska, tea party, said, “This is not an accident. This is a willful act of intimidation intended to discourage a point of view.”

Yes, the tea party was intimidated into complete silence to such an extent that the only place she was allowed to say this was before a committee of congressmen in front of millions of viewers on CSPAN, CNN and Fox News.

Now let me ask: How would you like it if the IRS wanted to know if you’d been cheating on your taxes, when all you did was carry around a big sign that said, “Taxes are a crime against humanity”?

It’s not right, and the tea party needs your help. They need 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status so they can hide the identities of their completely non-political donors; they need ink so they can keep on non-politically drawing Hitler mustaches on posters of Obama; and they need funds to buy vintage military outfits that best express the America they believe in — and they need a lot of money for that, because authentic Confederate soldier uniforms can get a little pricey.

So won’t you please help? These tea party members have been silenced and they now have no voice in society, as they’ve said thousands of times on the thousands of radio and cable TV shows they’ve appeared on relentlessly. These loyal patriots who only want to bring down our government and turn the country over to Wall Street oligarchs have been trying to scrimp and scrape by with only a few million-dollar contributions from billionaire, anonymous supporters like the Koch brothers.

Without your help, they might suffer the fate of Emerge America, a liberal group targeted by the IRS for being political, that was actually, really forced to disclose its donors and lose tax-exempt status, which still hasn’t happened to a single one of these tea party groups that shouldn’t pay taxes because they’re so not political.

Are you going to let the IRS get away, my friends, with breaking zero laws and ensuring people pay their taxes?

All of your contributions are tax-deductible. And remember: If you care about the tea party, do everything you can to impeach the president who appointed Douglas Shulman to run the IRS.

John Fugelsang: 'Redskins' not offensive, say paleskins

In our recurring segment “Ask A Tea Partier,” Viewpoint host John Fugelsang quizzes the news director of the Tea Party News Network about what the GOP could do to fix immigration reform and curry favor with new Americans.

Nell Hughes says:

"Secure America now. Secure our border now. That’s something I think that both sides should be able to agree on, not only from an economic standpoint but a security standpoint. Then the question is, ‘What do we do with the 11 million people here?’ You know what, Republicans? We are never going to get the majority of them. They are already going to go to the Democrats. There’s nothing that we can do that will encourage them to come and be Republicans."

Well, she’s leaving me. I keep thinking there’s something I could’ve said or done to make her stay. Of course I’m talking about Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. She’s decided to leave Congress to spend more time with her husband, Marcus, and his new chauffeur Scott Thorson.

It’s a sad day for America’s political comedians. A lot of us are walking around in a melancholy daze, wearing black armbands and saying, “Why did this happen?”

Last year, life was so sunny for political comics. She was running for president and even in the snake pit inside the cracker barrel within Arkham Asylum that was the GOP presidential field—Michele Bachmann shone on like a crazy diamond in a Tiffany’s case of almost-but-not-quite-as-crazy diamonds. She was like Brian Wilson at the height of his acid-casualty-who-refuses-to leave-the-sand-box-inside-his-bedroom phase, just without any of the clarity or knack for melody.

And I’m not gonna lie—I supported her campaign for president. I thought America was finally ready for another leader who believed Rwanda was JJ’s sister on “Good Times.” Michele Bachmann was a hero to people who think government is evil and wasteful, but also like insurance companies. She supported tax cuts to companies that sent us jobs overseas, then said high taxes drive U.S. jobs overseas. She called being gay personal bondage & enslavement—which to me means she’s just going to the wrong leather bars.

She lied about Obamacare being designed to kill people, lied about the president’s travel expenses, lied about the HPV vaccine causing mental retardation. If this woman was any more unbalanced she’d be Cubist art. Yet, when Michele Bachman is in the news, all a comic has to do is wake up, look at Fox News and say to him or herself, “Ah, my work for the day is done. She’s talking.” But now, that’s all about to go away—just like it did with Sarah Palin.

That’s why I want to make a personal appeal to Congresswoman Bachmann. Michele—if I may call you that—don’t leave me this way. No one loves you more than me. No one needs you more than me. Except for professional fact checkers who have to pay a mortgage and feed their kids.

I know you wanna leave, but you can’t just get a political comic hooked on the crack that is your political persona and then suddenly take the crack away before I can let go of the pipe. I will have you know madam—I spent election night 2012 sitting next to Al Gore rooting for your re-election and Mr. Gore was telling me a lot of great things about Current in 2013—watching the results come in. And when you squeaked out a win, I celebrated to Al’s shock, cause I knew you were comedy gold.

I’m begging you, don’t let a little thing like your own personal ethics scandals stop you from ranting on the House floor about other people’s ethics scandals. It’s not too late, Congresswoman Bachmann. Yes, you’ve said you’re leaving office, but you’re just a politician—so just because you say something, it doesn’t mean you have to mean it or do it.

Let me remind you that another beloved of comics, Anthony Weiner, is making a comeback right now—and that’ll mean a more prominent role for his wife Huma Abedin, who you falsely accused of being part of a Muslim brotherhood because—come on, she looks Muslim.

If you leave the national scene Michelle, who will be left to launch Joe McCarthy-like attacks on loyal Americans just because they don’t look American enough? Well, I mean there is Peter King. And Louis Goumert. And Steve King. And the entire Tea Party caucus, and Ted Cruz; but other than that, come on Congresswoman. Your country needs you.

Michele, you have been good for me. We’ve had a long run, so I guess I should just be happy with what we’ve had and let you go on your way. But I can’t help it—I want more and more of you. So, congresswoman, are you just going to walk away from a great achievement like making me as greedy as the people you work for?
You once said you ran for president because god wanted you to run—proving that God loves us, and wants us to be happy and laugh. So reconsider, Michele. Because all jokes and kidding aside, I still think you would make a great president. Once you finally get rid of those Dalmatians!

"If there’s a way for me to remain a priest and minister to the LGBT community and to say what I believe to be the truth about homosexuality, then I’m in." - €”Father Gary Meier

Tonight we are thrilled to announce a new segment on the show: ‘Viewpoint’s Revoltingly Fake Christian of the Week.’

Congressman Stephen Fincher, a Republican from Tennessee, just took the Bible so far out of context he had to apply for a visa.

Fincher is a fierce opponent of food aid for poor Americans. You know, like Jesus. He recently fought to cut $4.1 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If you only watch Fox, that means ‘food stamps.’ And thanks to the fine work of Fincher and his colleagues, 2 million working American families, children and seniors have already been cut off from food assistance.

So during a recent House agricultural committee debate, he decided to show how Christian it is to turn your back on unemployed suffering Americans by quoting one of the favorite Bible passages of revoltingly fake right-wing Christians — 2 Thessalonians 3:10 — “anyone unwilling to work should not eat.”

But here’s the thing. Ya see,Thessalonians isn’t God or Jesus talking. It’s believed to have been written by Saint Paul. And in Paul’s day, many apocalyptic Christians believed Jesus was coming back really soon and the world was going to end anyway, so why work? These early rapture-heads were hurting the local economy and threatening the functioning society of Thessalonica — and I do hope I pronounced that right. And Paul makes a good point — the “Left Behind” books may be junk theology, but Kirk Cameron still shows up at his job.

So in that context, the quote makes sense. In Congressman Fincher’s context, it’s pretty much the opposite of everything Jesus Christ ever stood for.

Now, Congressman Fincher went on to say, quoting from the book of selfish toolery, “The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” Really, Congressman? Washington steals and gives to others?

Because here’s the other thing — while Fincher was passing bills to take food out of the mouths of the poor, he was supporting a proposal to expand crop insurance by $9 billion, and I’m sure the fact that he is the second most heavily subsidized farmer in Congress and one of the largest subsidy recipients in the history of Tennessee had nothing to do with this.

Between 1999 and 2012, Fincher, opponent of poor, lazy people, put out his tin cup and collected $3.5 million in government money. This guy isn’t just a welfare queen, he’s a welfare kingdom with a moat, a castle and a catapult that shoots government money over the wall into his boiling cauldron of hypocrisy.

The average Tennessee farmer gets a subsidy of $1,500. In 2012 alone, Fincher was cut a government subsidy check for $75,000, which is nearly double the median household income in all of Tennessee.

So he votes to cut food stamps and expand crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion. This guy is swimming in so much dirty pork, he could single-handedly unite the Muslims and the Jews.

The biggest right-wing fake Christian argument is “Yeah, Jesus said help the poor, but he didn’t say the government should steal from me to do it! Benghazi!”

But here’s the thing, Jesus lived under European imperial occupation. He didn’t have democracy. We do. So if you want to follow the teachings of Christ — who constantly talked about caring for the poor — then in a democracy, Christians get a chance to vote for the candidate who will most follow the teachings of Christ and care for the least among us, as he commanded in Matthew 25 — that filthy hippie. ­­

But Fincher and the GOP don’t do that. They cut services for the poor and taxes for the rich. And it’s a free country. They’re allowed. But if you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values. Because you don’t. And that’s why representative Fincher is our ‘revoltingly fake Christian of the week’!

Author Dan Savage will be a guest of Current TV’s “Viewpoint” on Thursday, June 6. Katy Ramirez Karp, senior producer of booking for “Viewpoint,” offers a dispatch from Savage’s May 28, 2013 “LIVE from the NYPL” conversation with author and blogger Andrew Sullivan.

At author and columnist Dan Savage’s sold-out appearance at the New York Public Library — to promote his new book “American Savage” — graphic, frank sexual humor mixed effortlessly with touching, confessional tales of growing up amid relatable family dysfunction.

Columnist Andrew Sullivan led the discussion with wit and friendly affection: the two men have known each other for years and Sullivan is clearly a fan, describing Savage as “incapable of anything but candor” and someone who “can’t write a bad sentence.” Sullivan also cited their shared past of being “hated by the gays” years ago.

Both men explained that this dislike stemmed from how Savage and Sullivan were early advocates for gay marriage, long before the majority of the LGBT community was onboard. Sullivan explained his early yearning for marriage equality this way: “You are a 7-year-old kid … And you know Mom and Dad … And you know marriage. And you know you can’t DO that. That somehow, you’re beneath it.”

Savage, of course, was quick to point out that a marriage does not necessarily equal the banal. Quipping, “I will give permission slips that others won’t give,” Savage proclaimed monogamy a “disaster” for marriage.

One famously troubled New York marriage that went under the microscope Tuesday night was the union of Huma Abedin and former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner. “I believe that Anthony Weiner is in a FemDom marriage,” Savage proclaimed. (Look it up if you must.)

When asked what makes cheating moral, Savage said “CONSENT makes it moral … and do unto others.”

The conversation then flowed from marriage and monogamy to sexuality and arousal. Savage explained arousal in men in this way: “A boner is like Tinker Bell — you gotta believe,” explaining that men are aroused by “unfamiliar” partners, while women respond to what is familiar and safe.

Diagnostics aside, some of the most memorable moments of the evening were the hilarious one-liners and personal revelations.

“A whorehouse is a bathhouse staffed by volunteers,” Savage observed.

“I actually drew my own porn,” Sullivan confessed later in the evening.

Tune in to “Viewpoint” on Thursday, June 6 for more insight from Dan Savage when he sits down with Current TV’s John Fugelsang for an extended interview. For more from Katy Ramirez Karp, follow her on Twitter: @krkarp.

It really does take religion to make good people do bad things.

A.C. Grayling

Grayling, philosopher and author of “The God Argument,” shared his views on the harmful effects of religion with “Viewpoint” host John Fugelsang. Grayling says he feels religion has ultimately caused more harm than good throughout history. He says, “Look at the situation of gays and women in most societies that have been governed by religious outlooks.” And he points out that good people - whether they’re religious or not - do good things.