Impeachment is having another moment. On Wednesday, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) became the latest conservative politician to suggest that Republicans may attempt to oust President Obama from office if they take control of the Senate next fall, citing "mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to." For conservative activists, it's no longer of issue of whether the president should be impeached, but what for. Since 2010, the Obama's haters have floated more than two dozen reasons for filing articles of impeachment. They would like to oust the president for, among other things...
Anything at all: "It needs to happen," Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), an early adopter, said in 2011.
Benghazi "jihadi-coddling": "This president was forced to see signs from people reminding them that they will not forget the seven hours of hell that the murdered Americans went through before they perished in Benghazi!," said Michelle Malkin. (Steven Seagal agrees.)
The birth certificate: "The Executive has an awful lot of power to keep from showing certain things unless the courts will stand up to him, or unless Congress in majority will stand up, up to and including impeachment," Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) admonished in 2010, before calling for a select committee of talk-radio hosts, members of Congress, and a single Supreme Court justice to examine the president's birth certificate.
The border crisis (2010):"Recent reports of contacts between Hezbollah and Mexican drug cartels make it all but certain that terrorists intent on destroying us will come across our southwestern border," said former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), blaming Obama for the continued existence of illegal immigration.
The border crisis (2014): In July, reality TV star Sarah Palin wrote an op-ed for Breitbart.com stating that the "unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, 'No mas.'"
Bowe Bergdahl:According to former Florida Rep. Allen West (of course), "Barack Hussein Obama's unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult—mandated by law—with the US Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense."
Defense of Marriage Act: Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) toldThink Progress in 2011 that he'd "absolutely" vote for impeachment "If it could gain the collective support."
Egypt: According to talk-radio host Tammy Bruce, "If it is found that Obama secretly facilitated or 'encouraged' an Islamist takeover of Egypt, an ally, he should be impeached."
EPA power-plant regulations: According to the South Dakota Republican Party, "The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are very clear on the authority of the President and the Federal Government"—and the president's environmental regulations could not be tolerated.
Fast and Furious: Gun Owners of America president Larry Pratt, most recently seen encouraging the use of force against elected officials, said last March that, "if this isn't the time when you can get him both politically and legally, I don't know when."
Fort Hood: "[T]hese days, what brain-functional person believes what officials, even those in high positions of responsibility, say about events like this?" asked one-time presidential hopeful Alan Keyes.
Health coverage for undocumented residents: "We clearly have a president who is dedicated to the well being of people who are here in our country illegally and instead of watching out for the interests of the American people," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said in March.
Hypothetical executive orders: Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) sought to preempt any actions by President Obama to reduce gun violence by threatening impeachment: "If the president is allowed to suspend constitutional rights on his own personal whims, our free republic has effectively ceased to exist," he said last January.
Hypothetical raising of the debt ceiling: "This president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us," Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said in 2011.
Hypothetically defaulting on the debt: "Obama would be impeached if he blocked debt payments," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), warned in an otherwise undecipherable tweet.
"If you like your plan, you can keep it": "He had to tell that lie in order to get Obamacare passed," Ann Coulter said in January, although she conceded that impeachment is unlikely.
IRS scandal: "Nixon only dreamed about doing what Lois Lerner has done," Rush Limbaugh told his Dittoheads.
ISIS: "If Obama allows the world's first pure terror state to emerge on his watch, my God, if that's not grounds for impeachment, I don't know what is," Ret. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters toldNewsmax in June.
Libya no-fly zone: "If we're going to be a government of laws, and not descend into empire, this is Caesar crossing the Rubicon," said Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein, explaining why he was drafting a sample order of impeachment.
Not extending the Bush tax cuts: It was a simple proposition for Grover Norquist: "Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach."
NSA data collection: "In Watergate, Richard Nixon faced impeachment for breaking into the offices of the chairman of the Democratic National Party—Obama has broken into the homes of 300 million Americans," conservative lawyer Larry Klayman explained last December.
Obama's legacy: At least Glenn Beck is honest in his reasoning: "[Obama] needs to have the stain on his record that they cannot remove."
Recess appointments: When asked about the Supreme Court's decision in July knocking down the president's power of appointment, Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) floated impeachment, before quickly backtracking.
The stimulus:WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliot argued that "Questions should already be raised about how the former employer of Obama's Commerce secretary received the Energy Department’s biggest loan guarantee."
The Veterans Affairs scandal: "I and Liberty Counsel Action are calling on the House of Representatives, the people's house, to draft Articles of Impeachment against President Barack H. Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors," Liberty University law school dean Mathew Staver announced in May.
See MoJo's full coverage of the surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America.
Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: Some of the child refugees streaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. "Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning," Gingrey wrote. "Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles."
Gingrey's analysis carried an aura of credibility among conservatives, because, as Judicial Watch noted, the congressman is "also [a] medical doctor." But his two-page letter is filled with false charges—there's no evidence that migrants carry Ebola or that they're less likely to be vaccinated—from an inconvenient messenger: The congressman has himself pushed legislation to discourage some kinds of mandatory vaccinations in the United States.
According to the World Health Organization, Ebola virus has only ever affected humans in sub-Saharan Africa. (It has been found in China and the Philippines, but has never caused an illness, let alone a fatality.) Central America is far away from sub-Saharan Africa:
Central America is on the left. Google Maps
Ebola has a 50 percent mortality rate and a remarkably short life-span, so it's safe to assume that if it had somehow made its way across the Atlantic to our own hemisphere, we would've heard it by now; some congressman probably would've sent a letter. But apparently Ebola fearmongering can travel across the Atlantic even if the disease can't: A similar allegation was leveled in Italy last spring, with activists warning that migrants from Guinea were bringing Ebola with them to the peninsula. (Although false, the claim was at least more plausible: There is an Ebola outbreak in Guinea.)
Gingrey's misdiagnoses aren't confined to Ebola. As the Texas Observer points out, when it comes to measles, children in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are more likely to be vaccinated than children in the United States. None of those countries have recorded an outbreak of measles in 24 years. Kids in Marin County are more at risk.
Texas congressional candidate Larry Smith (left) with Republican gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott
Iraq War vet Larry Smith is the Republican nominee to take on Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) in November. He's also, it turns out, an armchair psychiatrist. According to Smith, Barack Obama's handling of the child refugee crisis along the Mexican border suggests the president is suffering from Münchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare psychological condition that causes caretakers to abuse kids.
"Today, we hear of reports that children are being abused, being used by drug cartels, and even dying," Smith said in a statement on his website last Thursday. "If a high school administrator prompted such mass abuse, that person would quickly be without a job and perhaps even found behind bars. The mental stability of the school administrator would be in question. Is a President of the United States who does such horrific acts deserving of less scrutiny and accountability?…People who intentionally hurt children for attention can be accused of Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy."
Münchausen syndrome by proxy is often tabloid fodder and often deadly. In June, a New York mother believed to be suffering from the affliction was charged with second-degree depraved murder and first-degree manslaughter after feeding her son so much salt he became brain-dead. In another Münchausen case in 2011, an Arizona mother was charged with child abuse for deliberately poisoning her daughter.
Conservatives have found a new line of attack on the ongoing refugee crisis along the southern border: The children who are migrating en masse from Central America and crowding into detention centers are not children.
"I realize that in Barack Obama's America we now classify anyone under the age of 26 as a child eligible for their parent's healthcare insurance," writesRed State's Erick Erickson. "But I'm pretty sure a normal person would not classify these men as children." He links to this tweet:
Erickson's analysis is correct—the people in this photo are not children. The way immigration detention works is that children are separated from adults and then sorted by age and gender. This is noted in nearly everysinglestoryonthesubject. Just because more than 48,000 minors have been detained crossing the border in 2014 doesn't mean adults have simply stopped coming over.
Lest you think that the administration is inventing this influx of young migrants, here is a photo of migrant children crowded into a single room. I found it on Breitbart:
If you want to make it as a snitch in the fast-growing sport of muggle quidditch, there are a few simple rules to live by. Keep the two people with yellow headbands in your sight at all times. Call fouls when you see them. Don’t let your showboating get in the way of your performance. And keep your booty shaking. "You gotta do a little duck waddle—stick your butt out," advises Austin Nuckols, a lanky University of Richmond student with curly hair in a Spiderman-inspired quidditch jersey. "That's right, get a little twerk going," he says. "Work on your twerk!"
Nuckols in offering a tutorial in snitching in a back room at a convention center in downtown DC for the second day of the third annual QuidCon, the only convention focused on the nuts and bolts of starting or managing a quidditch team. Conceived eight years ago by a small group of students at Middlebury College in Vermont, the International Quidditch Association now boasts 225 official teams in at least 13 countries, in addition to wheelchair quidditch and several varieties of "kidditch." Even as the Harry Potter books and movies that first popularized it fade from view, the sport has begun to find its legs.
But like angsty, teenage Harry Potter in book five, competitive quidditch is finding that its new powers come with some growing pains—in the most literal sense. Muggle quidditch has a concussion problem.