When in doubt, lie

It’s amazing what conservatives think they can get away with by just lying loudly, and what’s worse, they do get away with it. Here’s a college-educated woman, the president of Americans United for Life, testifying before congress that cities power their street lights by burning aborted fetuses as fuel.

But wait…fetuses are small, wet, and squishy. It’s going to constitute a net loss of energy to incinerate them — they’re not like little candles that you can touch a match to them and they then burn. This is a patently ridiculous claim that makes no sense at all.

Amanda Marcotte writes about the cavalcade of lies that came pouring out of that session.

It was only one half-hour into Wednesday’s congressional hearing on abortion access when it became clear that the Republican contributions to the day would be loonier than a QAnon message board.

“In places like Washington D.C.,” fetuses are “burned to power the light’s of the city’s homes and streets,” claimed Catherine Glenn Foster, who had, just minutes before, sworn not to lie under oath. The GOP-summoned witness let loose the wild and utterly false accusation that municipal electrical companies are powered by incinerated fetuses.

“The next time you turn on the light, think of the incinerators,” she said, apparently repeating a misleading talking point from the same anti-choice activists caught stashing fetuses at home. Everything on the right is psychological projection.

But then, abortion is a topic on which they’ve been building lies for decades. Conservatives can pound their fists on tables while spitting out lies for hours.

Republicans pretended progressives don’t know what a “woman” is. They insisted that the mere existence of abortion shows that birth control efforts are useless. (On the contrary, the abortion rate has gone down as birth control access has improved.) They pretended, over and over, that the issue at hand was only late-term abortions. In reality, the abortion bans being passed start at two weeks after a missed period, if not sooner. And then there was the repulsive contributions of Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, who pretended that women wait until they go into labor and then abort the pregnancy right before the baby is born. Having made this lie up, he then berated Alabama-based OB-GYN Dr. Yashica Robinson for the existence of a procedure that, quite literally, only happens in his bizarre fantasies.

It’s not just abortion! They can lie about everything.

As their actual political views become harder to defend on the merits, Republicans increasingly embrace conspiracy theories and urban legends to justify the unjustifiable. Want to ban schoolchildren from reading about Martin Luther King Jr.? Just falsely claim that something called “critical race theory” is being taught to school kids and use that as cover. Want to deny trans kids the right to be treated with dignity in public schools? Roll out some wild story about how kids are now “identifying” as cats and using litter boxes in school. Want to rile up the GOP going into the midterms? Screw making any substantive arguments! Just claim that Democrats are conspiring to “replace” white Christians with people of different races and ethnicities, a conspiracy theory lifted directly from neo-Nazis, with the details barely tweaked before being repeated hundreds of times on Fox News.

CRT was a big fat lie from the very beginning: it’s not taught in the public schools, but if you don’t understand what it is, you can pretend any mention of our country’s racist history is CRT. So here’s a woman, a single mother raising a son fathered by a black man, suing a school because, she says, they made her son aware of his race. He never talked about his race or racial issues until the school forced it on him.

(Apologies for exposing you to the smarmiest man on television, Jesse Watters.)

I think Melissa Riley is the one projecting racial biases here. She says that once the school told him that he was biracial, that he he has seen himself just as a black man and when he gets a bad grade at school or a girl rejects him, or when his mother asks him to clean the house, that’s racism. Her lawyer claims that the school is brainwashing him and teaching that his behavior is determinined by his race. That’s probably a lie (there are people who argue that), but if the claim is true, that’s not Critical Race Theory at all — CRT is about social structures that affect everyone. She has her own weird ideas about race, as she has said:

“He looks Hawaiian,” she said of her son. “He’s beautiful.”

Eh, African-American, Hawaiian, they’re all the same thing, right?

It’s all projection with these bozos.


  1. says

    Her son is a teenager and he’s just now discovering that he’s a boy with a Black father in America? I want to say she’s full of it, but she’s a white American, so there’s a very good chance that she honestly thought that if she didn’t say anything he would never have noticed because everyone is “colour blind” until a person of colour or a liberal brings it up and makes it all about race.

  2. robro says

    Catherine Glenn Foster, the woman in the first video, is a lawyer, so she knows everything about stuff…I’m sure. She’s on her way to be the Phillis Schlafly of the current Pro-Birth movement, apparently right down to having had an abortion herself. If Republicans take control of Congress this year, and the White House in 2024 you’ll probably see more of her and others of her ilk as they push to enact Federal legislation to ban abortion as McConnell has promised. Ironic if Roe v Wade is overturned on “states rights” grounds, and then states that allow abortion can’t because of Federal legislation.

  3. robro says

    I’m not going to watch the Fox video about Melissa Riley, but I did look her up. The lawsuit is being filed by an organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Wikipedia describes it as a “conservative Christian legal advocacy group”. ADF was founded by a bunch of well heeled evangelical preachers to target the ACLU. The Riley case is something of a pivot for them as the Southern Poverty Law Center designates ADF as an “anti-LGBT hate group based on its active opposition to legal rights and protections of LGBTQ people in the United States and around the world.”

  4. raven says

    It’s not just abortion! They can lie about everything.

    Including their own abortions.
    The abortion rate for fundie xians is at least the same as the general population.
    The abortion rate for some subgroups of the fundie xians is higher than that of normal people.

    They are going to be traveling to other states or out of the country for abortions just like everyone else. And then lying about it.

  5. Doc Bill says

    I have not researched the story of the testimony, but am I to believe that the statement about “incinerating” to generate power in DC was allowed to stand?

    So, you can lie to Congress. There is no perjury? One can simply claim that “somebody told me” to perpetuate an obvious fiction? I find the lack of push back to be more disturbing than what the whack-o’s utter from the chair.

  6. dianne says

    I don’t think it’s only when in doubt that they lie. It’s their default position.

  7. PaulBC says

    Reginald Selkirk@7

    “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

  8. says

    Many Christian hate groups like Dumb Idiot Ham’s AiG would do the same thing she does, make up outlandish lies out loud about race, CRT, homosexuality, and abortion, turn around and support all these things secretly in private, and then turn around again and lie about it in public.

  9. says

    “..and abortion. Turn around and support all these things secretly in private. And then turn around again and lie about it in public.”

    Typo fixed. Sorry.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    They can lie about everything.

    That’s what you get when you have freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly. As long as you aren’t harming a member of the upper class’ status or their ability to make money (i.e. libel and defamation) you can lie all you want and never face any consequences because “liberty.”

    No maddeningly-naïve liberals and ACLU donors, people are not “rational” as those Age of Enlightenment fops and dandies believed. Most human beings CAN’T differentiate between what’s true and what’s false because they are superstitious, greedy, selfish beasts who will believe what ever bests serves them rather than the species at whole. With a few expectations, human beings are dangerous, filthy, disappointing animals who, if left of to their own devices, would rob, rape, and murder their way into extinction. The failed “American experiment” and capitalism have proven that.

  11. Rich Woods says

    And on that cheery note…

    …I’m going to get a beer out of the fridge. It may be the first of many.

  12. raven says

    The three main sacraments of the fundie xians are hate, lies, and hypocrisy.
    All three of these are on display at the Washington DC congressional hearings.
    The two minor sacraments are greed and ignorance.

    Together they make up the 5 pillars of fundie xianity.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    Yes, my inner Tankie is ranting again. I’m aware of it. I just need to vent my frustrations at the stupidities of life and my impotence in the face of a right-wing that too many on the left want to treat with kid gloves rather than DESTROY!

  14. PaulBC says

    I’ll admit my first reaction was “What? Did they run out of mummies to burn?” I held off since the levity felt inappropriate, but at least mummies are dry and flammable (or seem so). Who would believe this ridiculous claim?

  15. Akira MacKenzie says

    Who would believe this ridiculous claim?

    Who would believe that giving the means of production to selfish, greedy sociopaths would lead to economic prosperity?

    Who would believe that white people are the “superior” race?

    Who would believe that the Earth is flat and the moon landing was faked?

    Who would believe that a global Satanic cabal of left-center politicians and celebrities rape and consume the adrenalin of children?

    Who would believe that the world was created, as is, 6000 years ago over the course of six 24-hour days by a magical immortal tyrant?

    Who would believe that the universe is ruled by said magical, immoral, tyrant that watches what you do and will punish you with eternal torture if you step out of line in the slightest?

    That’s who’d believe it.

  16. beholder says

    But wait…fetuses are small, wet, and squishy. It’s going to constitute a net loss of energy to incinerate them — they’re not like little candles that you can touch a match to them and they then burn. This is a patently ridiculous claim that makes no sense at all.

    You are mistaken in your assumptions. See, what happens with your typical Small Modular Fetal Reactor is you have to dry them out first, which is a trivial preprocessing step. Then, after greasing the machinery with adrenochrome and invoking the Black Mass on the refined fuel pile, a cold start is possible by, yes, touching a match to them. This procedure is not recommended, though, because no one with a match would want to be anywhere near the fuel pile when it produces enormous amounts of zero-guilt energy. You want the ignition source to be several pizza basements underground to protect, y’know, actual people.

    I understand your confusion. You can learn more by reading the fine print on your electricity bill.

  17. PaulBC says

    There is a kind of ‘logic’ that goes “I must think the worst of my opponents, so what is the worst possible thing I can think of them doing?” I doubt this kind of “belief” is the same as believing 2+2=4 or that your milk will go sour if you leave it out of the refrigerator too long. It’s a way of establishing membership in a group.

  18. raven says

    You are mistaken in your assumptions. See, what happens with your typical Small Modular Fetal Reactor is you have to dry them out first, which is a trivial preprocessing step. Then, after greasing the machinery with adrenochrome and invoking the Black Mass on the refined fuel pile, a cold start is possible by, yes, touching a match to them.

    You forgot that you have to summon the demons or it won’t work.
    There is a reason why it requires college degrees to run Necromantic power plants.

  19. wzrd1 says

    So, next we can expect power plants being attacked.
    Although, the laws of thermodynamics are most certainly going to be challenged by an alleged energy source that outproduces antimatter annihilation.
    Of course, I already have access to an even greater energy source – conservative hot air.
    When we were living in Louisiana, I was at a gas station when a white man was telling the shop’s black clerk earnestly about the welfare Cadillacs he witnessed being driven around town by welfare recipients.
    I looked at her, she clearly wishing she was breathing fresh vacuum on the moon, then at him and said, “That was bullshit when Ronnie Raygun said it, it’s still bullshit, try inventing something new, since you and reality are complete strangers”. He beat a silent and hasty retreat and the clerk thanked me.
    Great Replacement bullshit started with the civil rights era, complete with claims that I heard with my own ears, that MLK was telling black people to produce as many babies as they can to replace the white people. I called that speaker on their bullshit too, even as a kid in the ’60’s, I knew better.
    They bring nothing new, only poorly retreaded lies from decades previous, the entire gays in the military non-issue retread antidesegregation words, some verbatim.
    So, now they’ll try to ban electricity. Huh, looks like I was wrong, they don’t want to put us back into the bronze age, they want us back in the stone age – with them having guns.
    That’s fine by me, I’m quite handy with my recurved bows and I’m quite silent moving through the woods. They’ll all wake up with their shoelaces knotted together and entirely incapable of lumbering after me.
    Fetal power plants, now I’ve heard enough stupid to condemn the entire species, Putin, nuke away with those cobalt warheads!

  20. R. L. Foster says

    Oh, give me a fucking break, not another loony Foster. I swear, I’m going to have change my name if this keeps up.

  21. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 22

    Great Replacement bullshit started with the civil rights era, complete with claims that I heard with my own ears, that MLK was telling black people to produce as many babies as they can to replace the white people. I called that speaker on their bullshit too, even as a kid in the ’60’s, I knew better.

    Heh… If that speaker were active today, they’d not only keep on espousing GRT (Heh, after all their shrieking about “CRT” that’s a acronym we can throw back at them!) he would claim that MLK Jr.–who’d would be recast as a anti-abortion, free-market conservative–would agree with him!

    It’s so easy to put words into a dead man’s mouth–especially if you one of the sort who killed him in the first place.

  22. Akira MacKenzie says

    Eh, African-American, Hawaiian, they’re all the same thing, right?

    Just as long as he doesn’t actually look black, right Melissa?

  23. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@24 CRT will always be “cathode ray tube” to me. I know that’s the least of their transgressions, but it still pisses me off. The dirt is still fresh on the grave. Show some decency. Also, “steal” (as in “Stop the”) is not a noun (yes, you can noun any verb and vice versa). Also, “Democrat” is not an adjective (yes, historically it was not as much of a partisan distinction, but it is now and assholes like JD Vance know it and their audience is just too illiterate to care).

    I hate these people and I hate how they express themselves. There are enough of these little verbal signs that I shut off and stop listening within seconds most of the time.

  24. PaulBC says

    Barack Obama as we know, is neither African American, Hawaiian, nor even Kenyan. He’s really Indonesian, based on a supposed resemblance to a grainy black and white photo of Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo. (I won’t link, but do a little digging and you will find one of weirdest “birther” conspiracies out there.)

  25. answersingenitals says

    PZM, your apparent ignorance of Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC, or SHuC – it becomes real when you append an acronym to it – see the wiki article) has led you to discount the environmental benefits of fetalfuel. The reality of SHC explains Satan’s need to acquire a continuous supply of humans.

  26. answersingenitals says

    These Republicans have lost the guile of lying while appearing to tell the truth, as in:
    “I personally don’t believe these stories about fetuses being incinerated to fuel the electricity in Washington D. C., but I haven’t had the time yet to prove them wrong. And I am not persuaded by the number of knowledgable people who are promoting these stories.” How do you prosecute, or even chastise a person for disbelieving a lie?

  27. bcw bcw says

    Liars for Jesus(TM.) There is no inexcusable crime or unforgivable cruelty if you’re doing it for the lord.

  28. drew says

    Metaphorically, it’s true. Wedge issues like abortion get folks elected. They’re big money. They “keep the lights on” in DC.

    The video seems to me like a very literal-minded person read something metaphorical and believed it was all true exactly as written. I can’t diagnose, but that’s not unheard of on the autism spectrum.

    I used to date a tree-hugger. This person was also a hyper-literalist. And literally hugged trees. Because tree huggers are good people and you should literally wrap your arms around them. Often.

  29. Nemo says

    If it were true… wouldn’t it be an argument in favor of abortion? Does she want widespread blackouts?

  30. nomdeplume says

    But hang on a minute, I thought they were being burnt in pizza ovens to cook pizzas? So hard to keep conspiracy theories sorted in my mond.

  31. lochaber says

    I feel like I’ve heard this topic come up before, but I’ve had an exhausting week, and I’m sick of this shit, and therefore too damned lazy to bother digging up that pile of shit looking for sources…

    A while back, I vaguely remember something about some hospitals running some sort of electricity generation something off of their incinerator to help recover some small amount of energy/expense. I think the incinerator was primarily to dispose of single-use items, plastic and paper and cloth, but also was used to dispose of medical biohazard waste, including discarded tissue samples, and possibly including tissue from abortions, although that would be a negligibly small amount of the the biohazard discarded tissue, letalone and even smaller amount of what was being burned, yadda yadda…

    I vaguely have some memory of some court case about this, so although technically the discarded biohazard tissue resulting from an abortion would probably lower the energy generated by the incinerator, it was potentially present in the ‘fuel source’ powering the incinerator…

    gah, I need a shower, I feel gross potentially defending this nonsense…
    another beer it is…

  32. Akira MacKenzie says

    This wouldn’t be the first time some fetus-fetishist made this sort of claim. I recall Peter Popoff telling his congregation of suckers that they used aborted fetuses to make cosmetics. Also, I’m sure we all remember the Project Veritas “sting” video and Christian claiming vaccines are also made by from terminated zygotes.

  33. brightmoon says

    oh come on wzrd , you knew how stupid they were when they waited for JFK jr to reincarnate or something . Nothing completely stupid or cruel that they do surprises me any more. I’m just hoping to avoid the consequences of the toxic fundies being in charge.Being Black, elderly and female means that I’m a triple target for potential abuse .

  34. brightmoon says

    PaulBC I keep misunderstanding CRT as cathode day tube too 🤷🏽‍♀️