SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
The apocalypse is nigh and though you might not be able to save yourself, you can get to heaven by giving, generously, to Congressman Thaddeus G. McCotter’s newly established Champions of American Freedom PAC (Political Action Committee). McCotter, a Michigan Republican, is chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, and the PAC’s name comes from a recent article in Flashpoints, a Committee publication, entitled “The Architects of Chaos, Decline and Defeat vs. The Champions of American Freedom.”
McCotter is credited as a contributor. The opening section–and keep in mind as we proceed that McCotter sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee–lays out the challenges confronting America:
The Heralds of Disorder are the four simultaneous generational confrontations Americans must conquer:
The social and economic upheavals of globalization;
A third world war against terrorism’s abject evil; The rise of communist China as a strategic threat and rival model of governance; and
Moral relativism’s cancerous erosion of our nation’s self-evident truths.
From there it gets truly ridiculous. The article says that “Republicans successfully promoted economic prosperity and protected homeland security” following the 9/11 attacks, but these accomplishments were “eclipsed in Americans’ minds by a dark foreboding of chaos” resulting from events that the GOP seemingly had no control over or hand in: violence in Iraq, “the doddering incompetence of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina,” the expanding federal deficit, and the higher costs of healthcare, and “unfolding Congressional scandals.” (Wisely, the article does not mention any names here–Duke Cunningham, Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff, and Tom DeLay come to mind.)
The voters were “vexed,” and a “misled electorate counterintuitively chose a liberal Congress to stem the Heralds of Disorder.” The result has been the disastrous reign of Congresswoman Mao-Tse Pelosi and Senator Che Reid. “If the federal government is further engorged upon higher taxes and untethered to wallow about with its designer sweats stretched to the spandex limits of the Left’s confiscatory phantasms, the American public will suffer,” Flashpoints warns.
Fortunately, the Republicans (the “Champions of American Freedom”) are mounting their steeds, swords in hands, to confront the Democrats (the “Architects of Chaos, Decline and Defeat”). “In this chosen moment, where the fate of our free republic weighs in the balance, the Heralds of Disorder and their Democratic minions again beckon the disciples of Lincoln and Reagan to the parapets of history,” says Flashpoints. “They will rue the day.”
Republican Policy Committee members contributing to the Flashpoints article included Mike Burgess of Texas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Kenny Hulshof of Missouri. Their “portraits” can be found on the last two pages of the file. McCotter’s portait is Francisco Goya’s famous painting, El sueno de la razon produce monstrous (“The sleep of reason produces monsters”).
“The meaning of the title…has been debated,” notes one writer. “Known as a pintor filósofo, Goya may have intended to affirm the Enlightenment by saying that when reason sleeps, the imagination produces monsters resulting in madness. Or, he may have implied that reason alone without imagination leads to madness.” In the case of Congressman McCotter, either interpretation seems apt.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.
Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
Science’s crisis of faith