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In the last few days, a stream of prominent Republican leaders have stood up to defend C Street, including South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Virginia’s Randy Forbes. They call C Street a “safe space” in which they can be themselves without concern. But Harper’s contributing editor Jeff Sharlet returns to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show to give us a fuller sense of what goes on within the guarded walls of the C Street compound. We hear more about the background of C Street warrior Todd Tiahrt, a Kansas congressman now seeking election to the Senate, and how the Family’s “spiritual counseling sessions” have helped mold Tiahrt’s political message to make it more palatable to a broader audience. In the cloistered confines of C Street, Tiahrt explains that his preoccupation with abortion stems from his demographic concerns about Muslims who are having “too many” babies, while “Americans are killing too many of their babies.” Tiahrt has since “softened” his message. On the floor of Congress, he recently talked against a backdrop of murmurs and boos about the possibility that Barack Obama’s mother would have aborted her son if she had access to federal abortion funding. At C Street, the “totalitarianism of Christ” is advocated, and Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden, and Lenin are held out as positive examples of how a politician can achieve his goals.
Jeff also surveys the dramatis personae of the still deepening C Street scandal in a piece at Salon.com, just up. But the definitive introduction to the C Street scandal remains his March 2003 article in Harper’s, “Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover among America’s secret theocrats.”
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Pairs of moose-dung earrings sold each year at Grizzly’s Gifts in Anchorage, Alaska:
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”