Daily Archives: September 19, 2010

American Politics – Ugliness and Wildness Let Loose

With the horrific rhetoric and fear mongering coming from the right, one can’t help but notice that our country is engaged in some sort of “political culture war”.  Maureen Dowd and Mario Piperni have their  say on this issue:

Maureen Dowd.

At the Values Voter Summit here on Friday, the 41-year-old O’Donnell cited another fantasy world to conjure up a Christlike image for the Tea Party.

“We’re rowdy, we’re passionate,” she told the enraptured crowd. “It reminds me of the C. S. Lewis Narnia books, where the little girl asks someone about Aslan the lion, who represents God, and she says with a little concern over such a fearsome lion, ‘Is he safe?’ And her friend says, ‘Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.’ ”

She’s right that there’s an untamed beast rampaging through American politics. But this beast does not seem blessed; rather it has loosed a kind of ugliness and wildness in the land.

In this age of teabaggers, birthers, Islamophobes, homophobes, calls for near theocratic rule, Beck, Palin, O’Donnell, Angle and like-mined conservatives and Republicans, it does seem as if an untamed beast has been set loose, doesn’t it?

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Filed under GOP Political Attacks, Mario Piperni, Maureen Dowd, Tea Party Ignorance, Tea Party Racists, Teabaggers

Kristol Calls Christine O’Donnell ‘A Bit Of A Flake’

Think Progress

Discussing the firestorm around Christine O’Donnell’s surprise victory in Delaware’s U.S. Senate GOP primary last week, Bill Kristol insisted on Fox News Sunday today that he had no problem with where O’Donnell stood on the issues. He explained that as a “fellow wing-nut” he would “agree with all the votes she would cast in the Senate” and he therefore would be inclined to vote for her if he lived in Delaware. But Kristol’s praise was fleeting. He noted that he would have voted for her establishment-picked opponent Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) in the primary because “Christine O’Donnell is a bit of a flake I think… or has been in the past.” Watch it:

 

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Jason Snelling of the Atlanta Falcons

My son was hootin’ and hollerin’ at the TV this afternoon and I went to go see what he was so excited about.  It seems his buddy Jason Snelling of the Atlanta Falcons had just made a touchdown.  But wait, that was only one-third of what was to come!

Jason went on to make two more touchdowns in the same game against the Arizona Cardinals!

So, Jason, I’m proud of you.  It looks like you’re destined for the record books and a lot of endorsements!

Keep up the good work, young man.  No one deserves the attention you’re about to get, more than you.

 

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Filed under Jason Snelling, Sports

Colin Powell: Newt Gingrich’s Obama Critique ‘Doesn’t Make Any Sense’

Gross-Powell

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General Colin Powell has, in my opinion, always spoken about political issues with honesty and integrity.  This instance is no different.  When you compare Powell to Gingrich, the fear mongering 2012 hopeful, Powell wins, hands down. 

Huffington Post

In a largely even-tempered appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell did save a few harsh words for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for propagating rumors about the president that he labeled “nonsense.”

Asked to address Gingrich’s latest controversial comments — in which he insisted that President Obama suffered from a Kenyan anti-colonial worldview — Powell insisted that the former speaker was simply pining for the spotlight. He also urged Republican voters not to fall for the gambit or mistake it for serious or winning politics.

“I would just tell my fellow Americans: think carefully about what was just said, think carefully about some of the stuff that is coming across the blogs and the airwaves. Let’s make a couple points: One, the president was born in the United States of America. Let’s get rid of that one, let’s get rid of the birther thing. Let’s attack him on policy and not nonsense. Next, he is a Christian. He is not a Muslim. Twenty percent of the people see he is a Muslim, 80 percent apparently do not believe he is a Muslim.”

At this point, moderator David Gregory interrupted to note that even more Republicans (30 percent, roughly) bought the Obama-is-a-Muslim myth.

“Well surprise, surprise. But I bet you a dollar if the unemployment rate was not 9.5 percent but it was down to four percent then you would find only five percent think he is a Muslim. So they are attacking the president on this line. But he is not a Muslim. He is a Christian, and I think we have to be careful when we take things like Dinesh D’souza’s book, which is the source for all this, and suggest that somehow the president of the United States is channeling his dead father through some Kenyan spirits. This doesn’t make any sense. Mr. Gingrich does these things from time to time, with a big bold statement. He did it with [Sonia] Sotomayor, she’s a reverse racist; he did it with Elana Kagan, she ought to be taken off the nomination for Supreme Court justice; and he does it occasionally to make news and also to stir up dust.”

Powell, it should be noted, has made appeals to sober-minded Republicanism before, also on “Meet the Press.” And his pleas were met with calls from some of the GOP’s more senior members to, essentially, leave the party. So while his rebuke of Gingrich may be newsworthy, the reaction to it could produce some telling remarks as well.

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Filed under General Colin Powell, Newt Gingrich, Tea Party Hypocrisy, Tea Party Ignorance, Tea Party Nuts, Teabaggers

Christine O’Donnell Knocked By Hosts For Backing Out Of Sunday Shows (VIDEO)

Huffington Post

Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell was scheduled to appear on two national Sunday morning talk shows today but canceled at the last minute after a video of her saying in 1999 that she once “dabbled in witchcraft” began making the rounds.

Spurned hosts Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” and Bob Schieffer of CBS’s “Face the Nation” both called O’Donnell out for not coming on their shows. Wallace noted with suspicion the fact that her campaign gave the show conflicting answers for canceling:

WALLACE: This is not the program we were planning to bring you. Christine O’Donnell, the surprise winner of the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, agreed to come here live in Washington today to take our questions. However, late Friday night ,her campaign canceled, saying O’Donnell was “exhausted” and had to return to Delaware. Saturday morning, O’Donnell called me and said this: “I got-triple booked. I had been invited to go to church and then a picnic. I have to keep my priorities to Delaware voters.”

On CBS, Schieffer said O’Donnell’s campaign denied that the reason they backed out was because of the witchcraft video, which aired on Bill Maher’s HBO show on Friday night and was first posted by Faiz Shakir of ThinkProgress:

SCHIEFFER: Well, after we became aware of this [witchraft video], we e-mailed the campaign again and asked them if in fact was that the reason that she decided to cancel the appearance. We got back an e-mail that said, “No, that is not the reason. We weren’t aware that he had released this tape until yesterday afternoon.” As for dabbling in witchcraft — whatever that is — her campaign spokesman said, “Campaigns about what she did as a teen is hardly a worry to her or the people of Delaware.”

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Sal Russo, Tea Party Express Strategist, Fought For Christine O’Donnell Victory

Huffington Post

Sal Russo, a consultant whose roots in Sacramento stretch back to Gov. Ronald Reagan’s days, took a direct hand in O’Donnell’s victory Tuesday. He is the brains behind the Tea Party Express, one of several campaign operations that lays claim to representing the tea party movement.

The organization has led two national bus tours and will begin a third this weekend with a rally against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his hometown in Nevada.

But the man behind the organization is anything but a fresh-faced activist. The architect of the Tea Party Express, Sal Russo, is a California political operative who has spent nearly half a century campaigning for Republican candidates.

The Sacramento-based political action committee that funds Tea Party Express activities, Our Country Deserves Better, has taken in more than $4.5 million since forming in 2008 to help John McCain’s presidential campaign. That includes major contributions from corporate executives and other bedrock supporters of conservative candidates, such as actor Chuck Norris.

The organization is elevating its profile this week as it rallies against Reid, who has become a poster child for what is wrong with Washington in the eyes of conservatives as he runs for re-election.

The event will feature a speech by Sarah Palin and launch a 42-city bus tour culminating with a tax day rally in Washington.

That the Tea Party Express is led by operatives such as Russo has caused some resentment among others in the tea party movement. They believe the group has blurred the line between what they see as a nonpartisan effort and the GOP establishment.

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Filed under Sal Russo, Tea Partiers, Tea Party

Clinton’s warning: Tea Party is a corporate front

Official White House photo of President Bill C...

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Salon - Joe Conason

Stumping in Minnesota, he calls Michele Bachmann “the ultimate example of putting ideology over evidence”

Minneapolis — As Tea Party activists celebrated their upset triumph in Delaware, Bill Clinton showed up in Minneapolis to support the Democrat challenging the insurgent Republican movement’s favorite member of Congress:  Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the founder of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.

At a late-night fundraiser for state Sen. Tarryl Clark, Clinton described Bachmann as the epitome of a trend he regards as profoundly dangerous to the nation’s future. “Your opponent,” he told Clark, “is the ultimate example of putting ideology over evidence.”

“I respect people with a conservative philosophy,” he continued. “This country has been well-served by having two broad traditions within which people can operate. If you have a philosophy, it means you’re generally inclined one way or the other but you’re open to evidence. If you have an ideology, it means everything is determined by dogma and you’re impervious to evidence. Evidence is irrelevant.

“That’s how I see Rep. Bachmann. She’s very attractive in saying all these things she says, but it’s pretty stupid.”

Clinton lamented that “a distinguished former governor of Delaware was beaten tonight by the so-called tea party candidate” because enough primary voters had accepted a “new narrative” promoted by the extreme right. “They’re saying that Barack Obama represents the spearhead of this vast socialist conspiracy to have government swallow up the fabric of American life and he’s going to crush our individualism, and our freedom, and the vitality of small business … They tell us that they they represent America the way it used to be, self-reliant, virtuous individuals and small businesses. And the truth is, what they want to do is dismantle government so corporations, big corporations will control our destiny.”

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Filed under Michele Bachmann, Tea Party, Tea Party Hypocrisy

Sunday Talk – You’ve Got To Hand It To Them

Daily Kos

This was the week the Tea Party finally secured its place in American history books (pending approval from the Texas Board of Education).

Whereas, until now, teabaggers had been content with nominating fringe lunatics like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle for Senate seats, this time around they chose someone well within the mainstream of lunacy.

What Christine O’Donnell lacks in experience, she more than makes up for with her vast knowledge of crime scene forensics, suntan lotion marketing, satanic rituals, dorm room living, STD prevention, radiocarbon dating, human-animal hybridisation, and the collected works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

She truly epitomizes outside the box thinking.

Morning Lineup:

Meet the Press: Former President Bill Clinton; Former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Face the Nation: Former President Bill Clinton; US Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell (R-DE); Republican Strategist Ed Rollins; Michael Gerson (Washington Post).

This Week: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Roundtable: Delaware State Republican Chairman Tom Ross, George Will (Washington Post), David Sanger (New York Times) and Peter Beinart (Daily Beast).

Fox News Sunday: US Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell (R-DE); US Senate Candidate Joe Miller (R-AK); Republican Operative Karl Rove; Roundtable: Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Nina Easton (Fortune), Sociopath Liz Cheney and Juan Williams (NPR/FNC).

State of the Union: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC); DNC Chairman Tim Kaine; Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA); Former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn; Reliable Sources: John Avion (CNN); Craig Crawford (Congressional Quarterly); Debra Sanders (San Francisco Chronicle); Tina Brown (Daily Beast).

The Chris Matthews Show: Gloria Borger (CNN); Chuck Todd (NBC News); Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune); Kelly O’Donnell (NBC News).

Fareed Zakaria GPS: Former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Leader Noman Benotman; Chrystia Freeland (Reuters); Author Bernard-Henri Lévy; Kathleen Parker (Washington Post); Dan Senor(Council on Foreign Relations).

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Filed under Sunday Talks Shows, Tea Partiers, Tea Party

Gingrich Calls For Federal Ban On Shariah Law In US

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spea...

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Ok, I want to know what is it in the genetic make-up of far right wingers that make them say the craziest things?  I mean, what is the purpose of placing a “federal ban” on Sharia Law when it would never occur in this country anyway?  This is all about fear-mongering and hate-mongering.  It’s shameful and it’s loathsome.

TPM DC

The second morning of speeches at the Values Voter Summit here in DC was dominated by a man who is swiftly becoming the nation’s spokesperson for Islamophobia — former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Fresh off the release of his Islam-focused film “America At Risk,” Gingrich told the crowd at VVS that it’s time to take federal action to prevent Shariah Law from infiltrating courtrooms in the US.

“We should have a federal law that says sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States,” Gingrich said to a standing ovation from the audience. The law will let judges know, Gingrich said, that “no judge will remain in office that tried to use sharia law.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Morals, Morals, Morals! Conservatives Gather For Values Voter Summit]

Gingrich made a not-so-subtle reference to the right wing meme about freshly-minted Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan which claims that Kagan is “sympathetic” to Shariah and — as some suggested during her confirmation hearings — might allow it to be recognized as law in the United States.

But beyond the Kagan hit, Gingrich’s anti-Shariah talk inserted him directly into the most extreme end of the Islamophobic push-back against mosque projects all over the country.

Opponents of Islamic building projects in New York City, Tennessee and Temecula, California and Florence, Kentucky have often raised fears that the goal of Muslims seeking to build new houses of worship is to slowly make America comfortable with Shariah before using political power to allow it to become the law of the land.

Fear of sharia law’s encroachment was at the center of the whole “Burn The Koran Day” brouhaha, too. And that — according to David Petraeus, among others — put U.S. troops at risk in the Middle East. Pastor Terry Jones, the would-be book burner in Gainesville, Florida, said torching Korans was supposed to send a message about American distaste for Shariah.

Gingrich, who’s been looking more and more extremist lately, now has made himself into the latest voice of paranoia crying that the Muslims are coming to take over us all.

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Filed under Fear Mongering, Hate - mongering, Islam, Islamophobia, Newt Gingrich, Values Voter Summit

Nicholas Kristof – “Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry”

Nicholas D. Kristof, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times  recently wrote this:

Many Americans have suggested that more moderate Muslims should stand up to extremists, speak out for tolerance, and apologize for sins committed by their brethren.

That’s reasonable advice, and as a moderate myself, I’m going to take it. (Throat clearing.) I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.

I’m inspired by another journalistic apology. The Portland Press Herald in Maine published an innocuous front-page article and photo a week ago about 3,000 local Muslims praying together to mark the end of Ramadan. Readers were upset, because publication coincided with the ninth anniversary of 9/11, and they deluged the paper with protests.

So the newspaper published a groveling front-page apology for being too respectful of Muslims. “We sincerely apologize,” wrote the editor and publisher, Richard Connor, and he added: “we erred by at least not offering balance to the story and its prominent position on the front page.” As a blog by James Poniewozik of Time paraphrased it: “Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human.”

I called Mr. Connor, and he seems like a nice guy. Surely his front page isn’t reserved for stories about Bad Muslims, with articles about Good Muslims going inside. Must coverage of law-abiding Muslims be “balanced” by a discussion of Muslim terrorists?

Ah, balance — who can be against that? But should reporting of Pope Benedict’s trip to Britain be “balanced” by a discussion of Catholic terrorists in Ireland? And what about journalism itself?

I interrupt this discussion of peaceful journalism in Maine to provide some “balance.” Journalists can also be terrorists, murderers and rapists. For example, radio journalists in Rwanda promoted genocide.

I apologize to Muslims for another reason. This isn’t about them, but about us. I want to defend Muslims from intolerance, but I also want to defend America against extremists engineering a spasm of religious hatred.

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Filed under Ground Zero Mosque, Islam, Islamophobia, Park 51 Islamic Center