Moving swiftly and decisively, House Republicans declared they won't waste money on fruits and vegetables for kids' school lunches, but deemed kids should be smoking more cigarettes. Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee slammed through a measure nixing new nutritional guidelines from the Agriculture Department that were part of President Barack Obama's campaign against childhood obesity. Republicans crowed eliminating guidelines that pushed healthier meals saved $7 billion over five years, money better spent on fat tax breaks for wealthy Americans. At the same time, committee Republicans stopped the Food and Drug Administration from regulating the menthol that entices new smokers to get hooked on tobacco.
"It would undo the one thing that all members of Congress agreed upon, which was to protect kids from tobacco," said Matthew Myers, President of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
One thing all Republicans could agree upon is supporting GOP money men who've run afoul of federal prosecutors. Having successfully snatched $7 billion from kids' lunch money to offer up to their wealthy patrons in the form of more tax cuts, they marched over to Ralph Reed's fabulous right-wing Faith and Freedom Coalition confab in Washington, D.C.
Reed was best known for taking sackfuls of Jack Abramoff's money and organizing his Christian Coalition pals into an anti-gambling campaign meant to scare Native American tribes into giving their lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, even more money - up to $82 million more - to secure the gaming rights being campaigned against. There were questions, prosecutors, FBI agents, and some jail time for Abramoff. Pish and tosh. Reed and his college pals Abramoff and Grover Norquist got into lots of similar fun stuff dating back to their college days, Reed getting kicked off the University of Georgia school paper for plagiarism, getting accused of rigging a college Republican group election, and heading up the Christian Coalition, which came to the attention of federal prosecutors for mailing list- and contractor billing-hanky panky.
So, all the GOP biggies trooped over to their old pal Ralph Reed's shindig, seeing how he's so one of the boys. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was there, as was Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). GOP Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and not-so-hopefuls "The" Donald Trump, and Haley Barbour were there. Gary Bauer from American Values, and David Brody from Christian Broadcasting were there. Of course, college chum Grover Norquist was on hand.
Cantor thanked Reed for "standing up for the greatness of America during these difficult times."
Everyone trumpeted how great it was to be Christians taking kids' lunch money, busting Medicare, and scheming to privatize Social Security by plundering all its money and handing it to very pious Wall Street cronies. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was on hand to push what a great advance for Christianity it would be to destroy Medicare, hand all its money to their sacred insurance industry cronies, and pawn off future seniors with worthless coupons the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office figured wouldn't cover a third of those heathens' premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and other expenses.
"Our rights are not given to us from government," Ryan said solemnly, "our rights are ours naturally, given by God." Apparently, when God grants medical care to the righteous, God wisely measuring one's righteousness by the size of one's investment portfolio.
Ryan is an Ayn Rand acolyte, who, like his guru, believes self-gratification is the only goal in life, and morality and altruism are for losers. Rand was an atheist who rejected religion-based morality
Rand seemed to have supplanted Christ among the latter-day religious enthusiasts at Faith and Freedom.
Ken Blackwell, ex-Ohio Secretary of State and Club For Growth overlord, said "Religious liberty, economic freedom, and political freedom are inextricably linked....When you begin to let moral relativism bleed into the marketplace, bleed into the public square, and become controlling, government replaces God."
In case anyone was seeking Truth and The Meaning of Life, there you have it: God is the Free Market.
In contemporary right-wing Republican Christianity, everybody gives Jesus two loaves and a fish at his IPO, and Jesus becomes a billionaire corporate tycoon who buys off Pontius Pilate, then cheats on his trophy wife with Mary Magdalene.
"We cannot fix the fiscal until we fix the family," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, not to be confused with the Tony Perkins who hacked Janet Leigh to death in the shower scene in Psycho. The actor Tony Perkins was really a very nice person who just portrayed a psycho in a movie.
Fixing the fiscal and the family consisted of bashing Barack Obama, damning Obama's health care reforms while championing Republican plots to dismantle Medicare, and generally demonizing same-sex marriage, womens' choice, and anything that might slow trans-national plutocrats running roughshod over poor- and middle-class Americans.
The weekend was a triumph for Reed, who many had figured was politically dead and buried after the Abramoff humiliation.
A few weeks back, another televangelist, Harold Camping, predicted that on May 21, the righteous would be Raptured up to God, and all the heretics and heathens would be forced to remain on Earth suffering the excoriations of the End Times until the planet finally blew up on Judgement Day. May 21 came and went, no one was Raptured up, and everyone made fun of Camping for another blown Apocalypse prediction.
In fact, if Camping had been correct, how could anyone tell? Maybe there just wasn't anybody righteous enough to be Raptured up. After all, Ralph Reed was politically as dead as a rusted doornail in an abandoned radioactive toxic Super Fund ghost town, and he's walking around quite flush. As any fan of zombie movies will tell you, when there's no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.