Daily Archives: August 23, 2011

John McCain Debunks Right-Wing’s ‘Sharia In Libya’ Claim

Sen. John McCain speaks at Albuquerque Memoria...

Image via Wikipedia

Why are right-wingers so afraid of sharia law?  Our Constitution forbids it and the revolution in Libya doesn’t indicate that it was a theocratic opposition that ousted Qaddafi.

Think Progress

Yesterday, a blog post at the Heritage Foundation pulled a quote from a draft constitution to suggest that the Libyan revolution may descend into a radical Islamic state supporting Sharia law. Rush Limbaugh, the Drudge Report, and several pundits and commentators on Fox News picked up the meme and ran with it. The task fell to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to try to talk everyone down.

We’ve produced this video compilation to tell the story. Watch it:

As Adam Serwer noted over at The American Prospect, references to Islamic law are common in national constitutions throughout the Middle East, including those of post-occupation Iraq and Afghanistan. While theocratic extremism is a real danger in the region, such references in a constitution hardly guarantee its enactment — and ensuring a functional civic order and the absence of political repression are much more important to preventing it.

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Al Sharpton Officially Named MSNBC Host Of ‘PoliticsNation’

Al Sharpton

Image by Ewils Photo via Flickr

This is surely good news for the Rev. Al.   I, personally thought that the previous host in that time slot,  Cenk Uygur was doing a fine job.

We’ll see how long Reverend Al Sharpton lasts in his new MSNBC role.  Here’s wishing him well.

Huffington Post

Al Sharpton has been officially named the host of the 6 PM hour on MSNBC. The network announced Tuesday that Sharpton will host “PoliticsNation” on weeknights starting August 29.

Sharpton has been the de facto host of the hour for many weeks, but no official announcement had been made until Tuesday. He replaced Cenk Uygur as the all-but-official 6 PM host after Uygur’s acrimonious exit from MSNBC in July.

The choice of Sharpton to host the hour has been marked by some controversy. MSNBC was criticized for not hiring a black journalist as a host, and there were charges that Sharpton’s close ties to Comcast and the Obama White House helped him get the role. For his part, Sharpton dimissed these concerns, saying he was becoming the host because of his career in activism.

“I am very happy and honored to join the MSNBC team as we collectively try to get America to ’Lean Forward,’” Sharpton said in a statement. “It is a natural extension of my life work and growth. We all learn from our pain and stand up from our stumbling and one must either learn to lean forward or fall backwards. I’m glad they have given me the opportunity to continue my forward lean.”

See MSNBC’s full statement here…

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Filed under MSNBC, Rev. Al Sharpton

The Earth Quake…

 

Rather than being redundant with a report about the quake here, I’ve decided to list some sites that are doing excellent reporting on the phenomena…

Washington, D.C. Earthquake 2011: 5.8 Earthquake Hits Nation’s Capital, Felt In New York
Earthquake in Maryland: D.C. area rocked
Earthquake hits D.C. area
5.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Virginia, shaking felt in New York; White House, Pentagon evacuated

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Filed under U.S. Politics

Rewrite, Sugarcoat, Ignore: 8 Ways Conservatives Misremember American History—for Partisan Gain

I can’t believe that the current crop of GOP presidential candidates actually think their followers are that stupid…uh, strike that…

The Nation

The mortgage crisis began in 2006 and it’s all President Obama’s fault—at least according to Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity recently blamed Obama—“his policies, his economic plan, his fault”—for the mortgage crisis, ignoring who was actually president (that would be George W. Bush) as the housing market slipped.

Hannity’s is just one example of the selective memory and historical revision frequently on display in the conservative movement. Right-wing pundits, politicians and pseudo-historians are nibbling away at objective historical truths to rewrite history for present-day purposes, and hardly any topic is off-limits: glorifying the “Reagan Revolution” to children, sugar-coating the Jim Crow South and revising textbooks to offer a favorable view on Phyllis Schlafly—among many others.

Below, read about eight ways in which conservatives try to rewrite, sugarcoat or ignore aspects of American history.

1. Michele Bachmann on the founding fathers and slavery. Propelled to the front of the Republican field after her victory in the Iowa straw poll, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann’s historical views are notoriously error-prone. In one her infamous gaffes, she said the founding fathers “work[ed] tirelessly to end slavery” (in fact, George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves) and that John Quincy Adamswas a founding father—he was born in 1767.

Bachmann was a research assistant to John Eidsmoe for his 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of our Founding Fathers, in which Eidsmoe wrote, “The church and the state have separate spheres of authority, but both derive authority from God. In that sense America, like [Old Testament] Israel, is a theocracy.” And at a conference, Eidsmoe outlined his belief in church/state separation: “The church’s responsibility is to teach biblical principles of government and to drive sinners to the cross…. The function of the state is to follow those godly principles and preserve a system of order.” Bachmann  has praisedEidsmoe as “absolutely brilliant. He taught me about so many aspects about our godly heritage.”

2. Secession was fine, dandy and legal. Texas Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is fond ofpro-secession comments; in 2009, he joked that “we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”

In his dreams. In fact, these attempts at humor sidestep what secession actually leads to: a nullification crisis, a Civil War, hundreds of thousands of casualties and the federal government as the victor anyway. And secession is illegal. In 1866 the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that Texas’s ordinance of secession was “absolutely null.”

Perry isn’t the only Republican to make such comments. Congressman Zach Wamp alluded to secession and Georgia’s Senate passed a secession-related bill in 2009.

3. Forgetting September 11? Conservatives have an uncanny ability to misremember when the September 11 attacks occurred. In July, Fox News host Eric Bolling said “we were certainly safe between 2000 and 2008 — I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time.” (In his “apology,” he accepted no blame: “Yesterday, I misspoke when saying that there were no US terror attacks during the Bush years. Obviously, I meant in the aftermath of 9/11, but that is when the radical liberal left pounced on us…. thank you liberals for reminding me how petty you can be.”)

A surprising slip came from ex–New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In January 2010 he claimed that “we had no domestic attacks under Bush.” In December 2009 Mary Matalin made the outrageous claim that Bush inherited the attacks from Bill Clinton. In November 2009 Bush’s ex–Press Secretary Dana Perino said “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.”

4. Mike Huckabee’s “Learn Our History.” Mike Huckabee’s cartoon history series is whitewashing American history. While claiming to engage children in an easy-to-digest format without “misrepresentations…historical inaccuracies, personal biases and political correctness,” personal biases somehow make an appearance. Each video is produced with consultation from Learn Our History’s “Council of Masters;” one “Master,” Larry Schweikart, is the author of 48 Liberal Lies About American History, including “Lie #45: LBJ’s Great Society Had a Positive Impact on the Poor.”

In  a DVD on the “Reagan Revolution,” viewers are invited to “journey to a time when America suffered from financial, international and moral crisis:” Washington, DC, 1977. A knife-wielding African-American man demands “gimme yo’ money!” Ronald Reagan’s arrival—against triumphant music playing and a caption reading “one man transformed the nation…and the world”—changed all that for the better, the DVD suggests.

Continue reading here…

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John McCain’s bitter Libya spin

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Image by jim.greenhill via Flickr

Daily Kos

If only Obama had acted like the GOP, like the metaphorical bull in a china shop (*), then Libya would’ve been a success as quickly as … uh, Iraq and Afghanistan? John McCain:

Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat Qaddafi, but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower.

It’s kind of hard to employ the full weight of our armed forces when they’re bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq. Remember those wars, John? Engaging in elective wars sure makes fighting morally justifiable ones much more difficult.

Ultimately, the air power employed by NATO was enough to degrade Gaddafi’s forces while the rebels got their shit together. And they did, performing acts of unbridled courage and heroism. I can’t wait to read full accounts of how the rebels broke the siege of Misrata, or how they barely held on to Benghazi those first early days of the revolution before NATO got involved.

Suffice it to say, we all know where McCain originally stood in all this: bowing to Gaddafi.

While I don’t believe American support was determinative to this successful outcome, it certainly played a helpful role. And that’s the difference between the GOP—that thinks that Americans should lord it over the entire world, and Democrats—who believe that we should work within international institutions to lend support whenever we can.

Had they been in charge, Republicans would’ve certainly found some way to fuck this up. Their track record is pretty clear about that.

(*) Bulls actually do quite well in china shops.

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Filed under John McCain, Muammar Qaddafi

Huntsman calls Perry and Bachmann ‘extreme’ and ‘unelectable’

Daily Kos

Jon Huntsman is positioning himself alongside Karl Rove, warning against extremism in the Republican presidential primary. Huntsman let loose on ABC’s This Weeksaying “I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable.”

In the general election: not wrong. In the primary election, in which he’s currently a candidate: wrong.

He had specific issues with his opponents, as well:

Of Bachmann’s pledge to drastically lower gas prices, Huntsman said she was pandering to tea party supporters.”I just don’t know what world that comment would come from,” he said.  “You know, we live in the real world.  It’s grounded in reality.  And gas prices just aren’t going to rebound like that.”

Asked about Perry’s view that global warming is a “scientific theory that has not been proven,” Huntsman said Perry was “on the wrong side of science and therefore in a losing position.”

A losing position in the long run? Yes. A losing position in the immediate future, i.e. the Republican primary? Not so much. Similarly, Bachmann’s pandering habit of living somewhere other than reality is not a bad approach to getting tea party votes.

Brian Knowlton at the New York Times posits that Huntsman may have learned a lesson from Tim Pawlenty’s failure to take tough stands against other candidates. More likely, Huntsman is going after the support of Karl Rove and others in the GOP establishment who are becoming concerned that the tea party may actually take control of their party rather than accepting that their place is to be a front for said establishment.

But if Huntsman keeps this up, I may start believing that he’s really in the race so that the Obama campaign can point to the extremism of the eventual nominee and say “see, even Republicans think this goes too far.” Because this is clearly no way to win a Republican primary.

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