I saw this today at Mother Jones:
North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Greg Brannon has an interesting argument for eliminating food stamps: "slavery." In a videotaped interview with the North Carolina Tea Party in October, Brannon ... cited James Madison in making the case for abolishing the Department of Agriculture -- and with it, the $76 billion-a-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps....Now, perhaps you think it's insulting to compare the use government benefits to the horrors of slavery. But it's not entirely clear that Brannon thinks actual American slavery was all that horrible.
"We're taking our plunder, that's taken from us as individuals, [giving] it to the government, and the government is now keeping itself in power by giving these goodies away," Brannon said in the interview. "The answer is the Department of Agriculture should go away at the federal level. And now 80 percent of the farm bill was food stamps. That enslaves people. What you want to do, it's crazy but it's true, teach people to fish instead of giving them fish. When you're at the behest of somebody else, you are actually a slavery to them [sic]. That kind of charity does not make people freer."
Here's part of what I wrote about Brannon in a post last month:
We're told on the biography page of Brannon's campaign site that he "was a Charter Family and Board member of Cary Christian School." This page at the FreedomWorks website says that Brannon was still a board member as of 2011.
If he was a charter member of the board of the school (which was founded in 1996) and he was still a board member in 2011, then I'd like to know if he was a board member in 2004, at the time of this controversy:
Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using "Southern Slavery, As It Was," a booklet that attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think.A passage from that booklet:
Principal Larry Stephenson said the school is only exposing students to different ideas, such as how the South justified slavery. He said the booklet is used because it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery.
"You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective," he said....
Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence...Did Brannon had anything to do with that? I'd like to know.
...Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care.
A Mother Jones story from December notes that Brannon
contends bipartisan compromises in Washington "enslave" Americans. He hails the the late Sen. Jesse Helms -- who died in 2008 without ever renouncing his support for racial segregation -- as a "modern hero." ... In October, Brannon cosponsored and spoke at a rally supporting nullification -- the notion that states can invalidate federal laws at will -- that was cosponsored by the League of the South, a secessionist group seeking "a free and independent Southern republic."It's not clear whether this "free and independent Southern republic" would have slavery, but if so, I'm sure it would be the nice kind, the kind that's "based upon mutual affection and confidence."
And in case you forgot my December post, this is the guy who thought giving Burt Bacharach a Library of Congress songwriting award violated the Constitution:
[Brannon] appeared on Bill LuMaye's radio show back in May 2012, and this discussion actually took place (at 24:22 in the audio file here):
LUMAYE: Let me just -- to give an example just what the government can't do -- and I didn't know this, I just found this out. And I'm not even going to pretend that I came up with this. I got it from Dr. Brannon. Stevie Wonder was given an award the other day. Right? By the president of the United --He says it's no big deal, but he's serious about this.
BRANNON: Well, he was there, yeah, for the Burt Bacharach award. Burt Bacharach got a medal for the "king of music."
LUMAYE: Oh, it was Burt Bacharach. For the "king of music" or whatever it is.
BRANNON: And I just -- and this is a small token. I'm not saying nothing wrong with that. I love Stevie's music and all that stuff. But in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution it says there shall be no titles of nobility given.
In fact, Bacharach and his longtime lyricist, Hal David, were awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. In his remarks, President Obama called them "two kings of songwriting."
Oh, and lest you think this guy is a fringe candidate, today's MJ story notes the following:
Brannon has a real chance of winning: A December poll from Public Policy Polling found the GOP primary field split but showed him leading Hagan, 45-43.