Daily Archives: August 21, 2010

Lawmakers and the ‘birther’/Muslim myths

Washington Post

[...]

We’ve collected a list of lawmakers whose comments have helped fuel the debate. Most either said outright that the president is a Muslim, that he is not a U.S. citizen or appeared to leave open the possibility that either falsehood could be true. Several of the officials later issued statements saying that they don’t doubt the president’s citizenship. Feel free to let us know of others that we may have missed in the comments below:

Republican House candidate Tom Ganley
Ganley, of Ohio, told Roll Call “I don’t have a position on whether he’s a Muslim.” A spokeswoman later told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that Ganley does not believe the president is a Muslim.

Sarah Palin
The former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor said in a 2009 interview that the president’s birth certificate was “a fair question.” (Politico)

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio)
In this video, Schmidt appeared to agree with a woman who claimed that Obama could not be president “by our Constitution.” Schmidt later issued a press release stating, “The President is indeed a Citizen of this country and constitutionally qualified to be President of the United States.”

Arizona state Rep. Judy M. Burges (R)
CNN reported that in April, Burges said, through a spokesman, that an amendment she introduced was “an attempt to bring back transparency and confidence in the electoral process.” The amendment would have required presidential candidates to provide documents, including a birth certificate, to show they were legal citizens of the United States.

Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.)
He introduced a bill that would have required presidential hopefuls to produce “a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate.”

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.)
Expressed support for Posey’s bill that would have required presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.)
Burton co-sponsored Posey’s bill. In July, the Washington Independent reported that a spokesman for Burton called the bill “a good idea,” saying: “If candidates provided that information to the Federal Election Commission you wouldn’t have all this hullabaloo. You don’t want to needlessly expose presidents to crazy conspiracy theories.”

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.)
Campbell has become well known for this heated exchange over the president’s birth certificate with MSNBC host Chris Matthews.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Inhofe told Politico that birthers “have a point.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
Shelby told the Cullman Times last year: “Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate. …You have to be born in America to be president.” A spokesman later clarified, “While [Shelby] hasn’t personally seen the president’s birth certificate, he is confident that the matter has been thoroughly examined.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Co-sponsored the Posey bill that would have required candidates to produce a birth certificate. A spokesman for Blackburn said the congresswoman did not doubt the president’s citizenship.

Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and Greg Harper (R-Miss.)
All are featured in this video produced by the progressive Web site Firedoglake and, to varying degrees, express doubts about Obama’s citizenship.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
The Associated Press reported that Vitter said that although he doesn’t personally have legal standing to bring litigation, he supports “conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court.” He said, “I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it.” He added later that the debate could distract from policy issues.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.)
Broun questioned during an interview in March whether Obama was a citizen. The interview was initially spotted by the progressive organization Think Progress and later reported by Politico:

“Is he a Christian?” [Sirius XM host Pete] Dominick then asked.

“I don’t know that,” Broun responded, explaining that “I’m a Christian but only me and the Lord know that for sure.”

Bill Hudak, a Republican congressional candidate from Massachusetts
Hudak told a local paper that he believed the president was born in Kenya and had ties to radical Islam.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
A recording of Cuccinelli features him saying, “Someone is going to have to come forward with nailed-down testimony that he was born in Place B, wherever that is.” Cuccinelli later clarified his remarks in statement: “I absolutely believe that President Obama was born in the United States. I don’t buy into the claims that he wasn’t. On the recording, I was asked a hypothetical legal question, and I gave a hypothetical legal answer in response,” (Politics Daily/Talking Points Memo) (Thanks to commenter “vexvet” for the tip.)

Related News

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Achenblog: Are Americans total numbskulls?

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Countdown: Awesome Analysis By Georgetown Univ.’s Michael Eric Dyson On the “Obama Is A Muslim” Meme

I saw this segment last night and was blown away by the always eloquent Professor Michael Eric Dyson on the subject of the “Obama is a Muslim” meme.

Watch:

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Politico’s The Week In One-Liners

Politico

The week’s top 10 quotes in politics:

 “#SenJohnMcCain thanks for having my back! I’m going to make you part of my family. Grandpa Snooki for Prez!” — “Jersey Shore” reality star Snooki, continuing the mutual admiration festival between her and the Arizona senator.

 “I love the Iowa fair … It’s probably obvious from the 30 chins that I have.” — Fox News’ Sean Hannity, commenting on a midwest institution.

“Obama is at LAX and security is taking priority over Motley Crüe. What is our country coming to? ;)” — Motley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, tweeting from a slow tarmac.

 “Bob Gates has proven to be a miserable failure at retirement” — Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, doing his part to push back against speculation that his boss was retiring.

“The thing that bothers me the most, I think, it’s not that people think I’m corrupt, it’s that they think I’m stupid” — Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, looking back in the Department of Justice’s investigation of him.

 “This is a persecution.” — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, looking back on the government’s largely unsuccessful case against him.

“It’s a community center. They’re going to have a gym. They’re going to have point guards. Muslim point guards.” — Sen. Al Franken, poking fun at critics of a proposed mosque in lower Manhattan.

“‘The Expendables’ doing well at box office. Surprising there’s so much interest in a movie about White House economic advisers.” — Former Sen. Fred Thompson, keeping the yuks up in his post-office life.

“I’m a mayo guy.” — Rep. Kendrick Meek, explaining his condiment choice when visiting South Beach’s Jerry’s Famous Deli.

 “I didn’t do drugs on the boat.” — Former boxing champ Mike Tyson, denying drug usage while aboard Florida U.S. Senate hopeful Jeff Greene’s yacht in 2005.

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Stewart Talks Mosque AGAIN, Beats FOX News At Their Own Game (VIDEO)

In a segment on “The Daily Show” last night titled “Extremist Makeover Homeland Edition,” Jon Stewart addressed the Ground Zero mosque for the third time as of late, this time giving mosque critics FOX News a taste of their own medicine. 

In clips all from the last 24 hours, Stewart showed how several FOX pundits prefaced unfounded reasons why the Islamic cultural center would be dangerous with defensive claims of tolerance for the religion. Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris even went so far as to call it a “terrorist command center.” 

In another clip from FOX, Eric Bolling displayed his charred safety deposit box from the World Trade Center to show why he was personally invested in keeping the mosque away from the vicinity of ground zero. Although Stewart mocked his display of lost cash and coin from an event where so many lives were lost, Stewart respected Bolling’s discomfort with the symbolism of the mosque. That was until Bolling took out an index card written on in highlighter connecting Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to Iran and other dangerous parties, with question marks written next to each “fact.” 

“It’s a dangerous game of guilt by association that you can play with anyone,” Stewart pointed out. “It’s ‘six degrees of people who don’t eat bacon.’” He then pulled out an index card of his own, highlighted with similar “facts” connecting News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch to none other than Osama Bin Laden, leading him to ask, “Is FOX News a terrorist command center? I don’t know! I just don’t know.” 

Watch: 

 

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Franklin Graham, Evangelical Minister: Obama’s ‘Problem Is That He Was Born A Muslim’ (Video)

Huffington Post

Reverend Franklin Graham, son of renowned Christian evangelist Billy Graham, said Thursday that the reason a growing number of people believe President Obama to be a Muslim is because he was, in fact, born into that religion due to the “seed of Islam” that was passed to him through his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.

“I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name,” Graham told CNN’s John King.

“Now it’s obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ,” Graham went on to clarify. “That’s what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn’t. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said.”

Graham went on to say that Obama’s supposed conversion didn’t matter to the Muslim world.

“The confusion is, is because his father was a Muslim, he was born a Muslim. The Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs. That’s why Qaddafi calls him ‘my son.’ They see him as a Muslim. But of course the President says he is a Christian, and we just have to accept it as that,” Graham explained.

Though President Obama has explained in his memoirs that his father was indeed born a Muslim, according to a Time Magazine article by Barack Obama in 2006, Barack Obama Sr.’s deep skepticism of religion eventually led to his atheism:

My father was almost entirely absent from my childhood, having been divorced from my mother when I was 2 years old; in any event, although my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother he was a confirmed atheist, thinking religion to be so much superstition.

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Outrage Over Plans to Build Library Next to Sarah Palin

The headline looked innocuous at first glance.  Then I realized it was satire at it’s best!

The Daily Mash

PLANS to build a state-of-the-art library next to Republican catastrophe Sarah Palin are causing outrage across mainstream America.

Campaigners have described the project as insensitive and a deliberate act of provocation by people with brains.

The issue is forming a dividing line in advance of November’s mid-term congressional elections with candidates being forced to declare whether they have ever been to a library or spoken to someone who has books in their home.

Meanwhile President Obama has caused unease within his own Democratic party by endorsing the library and claiming that not everyone who reads books is responsible for calling Mrs Palin a fuckwit nutjob nightmare of a human being.

But Bill McKay, a leading member of the right-wing Teapot movement, said: “Sarah Palin is a hallowed place for Americans who can’t read.”

He added: “Our founding fathers intended for every building in this country to be a church containing one book, written by Jesus, that would be read out in a strange voice by an orange man in a shiny suit who would also tell you who you were allowed to kill.

“Building a library next to Mrs Palin is like Pearl Harbour. Or 9/11.”

And Wayne Hayes, a pig masseur from Coontree, Virginia, said: “I is so angry right now.

“It’s like something is on fire right in the middle of my head. Like I’ve eaten a real hot chilli, but it’s gone up my nose tubes rather than down my ass tubes.”

He added: “Would these library lovers allow me to set up a stall next to the Smithsonian Museum and start selling DVDs of bible cartoons as long as it was in accordance with local regulations?

“Oh they would? I see. So is that why they’re better than me?”

Ed. Note: (Emphasis are mine)

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Troops: Skipping Christian concert got us punished

Christian musician Jeremy Riddle opened the July 22 Spiritual Fitness Concert at Williams Stadium. (Photo: CMCENTRAL .COM / Flickr)

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. – The Army said Friday it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band’s concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up.

Fort Eustis spokesman Rick Haverinen told The Associated Press he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the investigation. At the Pentagon, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the military shouldn’t impose religious views on soldiers.

“If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy,” Collins said.

Pvt. Anthony Smith said he and other soldiers felt pressured to attend the May concert while stationed at the Newport News base, home of the Army’s Transportation Corps.

“My whole issue was I don’t need to be preached at,” Smith said in a phone interview from Phoenix, where he is stationed with the National Guard. “That’s not what I signed up for.”

Smith, 21, was stationed in Virginia for nearly seven months for helicopter electrician training when the Christian rock group BarlowGirl played as part of the “Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concerts.”

Smith said a staff sergeant told 200 men in their barracks they could either attend or remain in their barracks. Eighty to 100 decided not to attend, he said.

“Instead of being released to our personal time, we were locked down,” Smith said. “It seemed very much like a punishment.”

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation first reported on the Christian concert. The foundation said it was approached by soldiers who were punished for not attending or offended by the religious theme of the event.

The group’s president, Mikey Weinstein, claims Christian-themed events are “ubiquitous” throughout the military, and he credited the soldiers for stepping forward.

“Whenever we see this egregious, unconstitutional religious tyranny our job is to fight it,” he said.

Smith said he and the other soldiers were told not to use their cell phones or personal computers and ordered to clean up the barracks.

About 20 of the men, including several Muslims, refused to attend the concert based on their religious beliefs, he said.

Smith said he went up the chain of command and traced the concert edict to a captain, who said he simply wanted to “show support for those kind of events that bring soldiers together.”

While not accepting blame, the officer apologized to the soldiers who refused to attend the concert and said it was not his intent to proselytize, he said.

“But once you get in there, you realize it’s evangelization,” Smith said.

Read more about this at Truthout.org

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Colbert to honor troops returning from Iraq

San Francisco Chronicle

Stephen Colbert is dusting off his camouflage suit.

The comedian will broadcast two special episodes of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” to celebrate the end of combat operations in Iraq and to honor returning troops.

On Sept. 8 and 9, the show will fill its audience with Iraq War veterans and active duty service men and women. Others will be beamed in via satellite from Iraq, Afghanistan and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“The Report,” which likes to parody over-the-top cable news graphics, is calling the episodes “Been There: Won That: The Returnification of the American-Do Troopscape.”

Guests will include Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb and the U.S. military commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno.

Odierno famously shaved Colbert’s head — on President Barack Obama‘s orders — when the comedian broadcast four episodes of “The Report” from Baghdad last year. On that visit, Colbert donned a camouflage suit and reported from a desk supported by sand bags.

One of those Iraq episodes earned “The Report” an Emmy nomination for writing for a variety, music or comedy series. The show has three nominations, including for outstanding variety, music or comedy series, heading into the Emmy Awards on Aug. 29.

The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which exited Iraq on Wednesday, officially was designated the last combat brigade to leave Iraq under Obama’s plan to end combat operations there by Aug. 31. Some 50,000 members will stay another year in what is designated as a noncombat role.

Though Colbert’s normal mode is satire, he’s a strong supporter of the troops.

With the WristStrong bracelets he’s promoted since falling while running around his desk and breaking his wrist, he has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a charity that assists injured service members and their families. He’s a board member of DonorsChoose.org, which is raising money for the education of children of parents in the military.

“Sometimes,” Colbert said earlier to The Associated Press, “my character and I agree.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/08/19/entertainment/e204033D81.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0xCtUKzEt

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Call me a sentimental fool but I found this touching…

So did I, Mario…Thanks for sharing.

Mario Piperni

Call me a sentimental fool but I found this touching.

President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia swung by Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, an independent bookseller in the town of Vineyard Haven.

Plum TV talked to Bunch of Grapes owner Dawn Braasch after the visit. She said “We talked about what books he was reading, books that are coming out. He was very clear that this was for his girls. And we kind of let him shop quietly on his own. But he was just the loveliest person, I felt like I’d known him my whole life….[I was crying] because I adore him and it was such an honor to have him in my bookstore.”

Nice.  With all the idiocy going around it’s easy to forget that there are still many who see in this President the hope and change they yearn for.

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The Fox News Pundits Blame Obama For Perception He’s A Muslim

News Hounds

Just as Sean Hannity did last night (8/19/10), a slew of other Fox News pundits immediately blamed President Obama for the public’s misperception that he’s a Muslim. Democrat Kirsten Powers did an excellent job putting the focus on the likes of Rush Limbaugh and asking why mainstream Republicans are not repudiating such rhetoric. So why aren’t other Democrats coming out and demanding similar answers?

During an appearance on Happening Now yesterday, Powers jumped right out and reframed the issue (always the wise thing for a Democrat to do on Fox) by saying, “It’s the conservative media who have partnered up with conservative Christians who have started this.” Noting that it’s “troubling” that being called a Muslim is being used as a smear, she added, “They’ve started this and then it’s carried on in an attempt to make people think that Obama isn’t like them, he’s not an American, the whole birther movement. All these things that have been happening on the conservative side which, frankly, I haven’t heard a lot of conservatives telling them to knock it off… The birther movement really hasn’t been shut down… George Bush never went to church. Yet I never heard us talking about this. So I’m hoping that Chip (Saltsman, the Republican guest) is going to now tell us how wrong this is and that people should stop saying it about him.”

Saltsman agreed that “this shouldn’t have anything to do with (Obama)” and that it “doesn’t have any place in really good public policy discussions but the reality is, it is.” Then Saltsman went on to blame Obama by saying that it’s because “his approval ratings have gone down, (Americans) don’t like what he’s done.”

Powers came back with “people like Rush Limbaugh” referring to Obama as “Imam Hussein Obama” and the “constant insinuations” from the conservatives. “So don’t make it out that …people are upset with his policies.”

Powers added, “You are better than this… You can not actually say it’s OK to call him ‘Imam Obama.’”

Why isn’t every Democrat demanding similar answers from the GOP and its loud-mouthed, race-baiting pundits?

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