Producer Of New Commercial Smearing Muslims For Political Gain Also Produced The Willie Horton Ad

These people are just plain mean-spirited and vicious…

Think Progress

The American Future Fund (AFF) is a 501(c)(4) organization that bills itself as an institution designed to “elect candidates who reflect our values through a variety of activities aimed at influencing the outcome of the next election.” Its latest ad takes aim at Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and is focused on the subject of the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center that is going to be built near Ground Zero in New York City.

The ad ominously warns that, “for centuries, Muslims built mosques where they won military victories. Now, they want to build a mosque at Ground Zero…It’s like the Japanese building at Pearl Harbor.” It goes on to say that the “Muslim cleric building the mosque believes America was partly responsible for 9/11, and is raising millions overseas from secret donors.” It then says, “Bruce Braley supports building a mosque at Ground Zero.” Watch it:

Many of the ad’s claims are offensive, some are wildly misleading and others are outright lies. The Sufi Muslim founders of Park 51 have no connection to Muslim conquerors (Muslims do not think as a hivemind) in Europe centuries ago, and aren’t building a mosque at Ground Zero — they’re building an Islamic community center two blocks away from the site of the attacks. As even the conservative Daily Caller admits, “you can’t even see the [site] from there!” The Japanese actually have built in the area of Pearl Harbor, with a few Shinto and Buddhist shrines near the location of the Japanese attack that occurred decades ago.

Park 51’s Imam Abdul Rauf did not say America was responsible for 9/11. He called the attacks a “crime” that America did not deserve, and merely noted that certain American policies have served to radicalize Muslims over the years, an admission also made by Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). And Rauf is not “raising millions overseas from secret donors.” His organization has barely even started fundraising for the project — the last financial report filed with the state found that it had raised $18,255 so far.

To be able to put out a misleading ad smearing a minority group like the one above, AFF turned to a dubious cast of “experts.” One of the organization’s key media strategists is Larry McCarthy, who is president of media firm McCarthy Marcus Hennings. “In 1988, McCarthy produced the infamous, racially tinged Willie Horton television ad” in the Dukakis-Bush race that helped tank the Dukakis campaign by ginning up racial animus against African-Americans.

AFF’s founder Nick Ryan confirmed to the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) that McCarthy produced the ad. Ryan also told CPI that McCarthy “does a lot of ads for the fund.”

Unfortunately, AFF is far from a fringe organization. This special interest group using racially-charged ads has deep ties to the Republican establishment. Although it has scrubbed its official website of the details of its lecture series, a search through its web cache reveals that in recent months it has hosted such GOP heavyweights as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Iowa Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad.

Self-proclaimed civil rights leader Glenn Beck’s history of racially charged rhetoric

Media Matters

Attacks on “racist” President Obama

Beck: Obama is a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” On the July 28, 2009, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Beck said of President Obama: “This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” Beck added: “I’m not saying that he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. He has a — this guy is, I believe, a racist.” The following day, Beck stood by the remarks: “I think the president is a racist.”

Beck suggested Obama’s name is un-American. On the February 4 edition of The Glenn Beck Program, Beck said of Obama: “He chose to use his name, Barack, for a reason. To identify, not with America — you don’t take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical?”

Obama pushing for “reparations.” On several occasions, Beck has claimed that Obama’s agenda is driven by a desire for “reparations” and to “settle old racial scores”:  

  • Health care reform. “This guy is not who he says he is. None of his bills, none of his proposals are about what he says they’re about. The health care bill is reparations. It’s the beginning of reparations. He’s going to give — if you want to go into medical school, the medical schools will get more federal dollars if they have proven that they are putting minorities ahead.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 7/22/09]
  • Assistance to Native Americans. On November 11, 2009, Beck said: “When the president was sitting there, or standing there, and he was talking about Native American rights in the middle of a tragedy, Fort Hood, it didn’t feel right. And it seemed, maybe to me, that he was even promising reparations.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 11/9/09]
  • Everything Obama does. “Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama’s thinking on one idea: reparations. … These massive programs are Obama brand reparations — or in presidential speak, leveling out the playing field. But, just in case the universalness of the program doesn’t somehow or another quench his reparation appetite, he is making sure to do his part to pay the debt in the other areas.” [Glenn Beck, 7/23/09]

Obama elected because of race, not policies. On the June 8, 2009, edition of his radio program, Beck said of the 2008 election: “You were voting for – not change, but change, I think, in race. You were like ‘Hey, let’s put this behind us.’ I think a lot of people were there. They weren’t necessarily for his policies because his policies and everything else are – what are they?”

Read more: Obessesion with slavery…and lots more…

Glenn Beck Rally Will Be Like Moon Landing, Wright Brothers, & Rosa Parks All Rolled Into One Massive Orgasm Of American History {Satire}

Huffington Post

Outside of joining the locals in a deep and contented chuckle over the whole “STAY OFF THE GREEN LINE” matter, I’m not sure what there is to say about this coming weekend’s “Glenn Beck Sings A Song Of Myself” rally on the steps of the Lincoln memorial. Weirdly, people only seemed to get terribly concerned about how it will be held on the same day of Martin Luther King’s historic March On Washington this week, despite the fact that this has been known from the get-go. I’d have never imagined this was necessary, but on the off-chance that you’re confused about whether Glenn Beck and Martin Luther King are the same person, here’s some exhaustive research from Media Matters demonstrating this is not the case.

As Dave Weigel points out, it might be more worthwhile to be upset about “the b.s. way [Beck]’s selling” the rally. Not that this breaks with any of Beck’s established traditions! But, as Politico‘s Ken Vogel reported, what’s noteworthy is that Beck’s fameball act is starting to irk some of his nominal allies, spurring some skepticism of his motives:

The rally and Beck’s increasing political forays have made him an object of suspicion among some conservatives, even as they acknowledge his influence and potential importance as a spokesman.”The conservative movement is still split on Glenn and whether he’s doing it for himself or doing it for the movement,” said Erick Erickson, founder of the influential conservative blog Red State. Erickson said he’s offered his assistance to Team Beck in his political exploits, which in the past year have included a high-profile battle with the White House, the creation of a network of perhaps hundreds of political groups, and the keynote speech at a major conservative political conference. “Until that question is resolved, I think you’re going to see some groups hesitant to go all in with him.”

Some tea party leaders have rejected Beck’s requests to help with the rally because of concern over his inflammatory rhetoric and fear that he was seeking to leverage their organizational know-how and grass-roots credibility for his own financial benefit, providing little in return.

“They wouldn’t even give us a booth,” said a leader of a tea party-related group that rejected Beck’s entreaties. “I resented their presumption that a relatively small organization like ours would use our connections to promote an event where Glenn Beck and FreedomWorks are featured, and we get no recognition at all. No thanks.”

Well, Beck’s insanely melodramatic video promotion of the rally, replete with Goldline scamflackery and nutlog comparisons to Rosa Parks, the Wright Brothers, and the moon landing, isn’t going to do anything to tamp down that nascent skepticism.


Mosque Bore

Joe Klein of Time Magazine really gets it… 

Over at the National Review, Clifford D. May takes the mainstream media, including Time, to task for rolling over for the “terrorists” on the Cordoba Center mosque in downtown Manhattan. He does cite our poll which had 46% of Americans thinking that Muslims were more likely than others religionists to act violently: 

Goodness, why would anyone think that? Could it have something to do with the fact that there have been close to 16,000 terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam since 9/11? Just last month, Time had on its cover the photograph of an 18-year-old Afghan girl whose nose and ears were sliced off by members of the Taliban because she had violated Islamic religious law as they interpret it by “running away from her husband’s house.” The word “Taliban” means “the students.” Students of what? Engineering? Dentistry? No. Of Islam. 

Now, to say that this is slipshod slander of more than 1.5 billion human beings (minus maybe 20,000 extremists) is almost beside the point. Although I do find it offensive that Mr. May has problems with Sufis–among the most peaceful religionists extant–the former Cat Stevens, the Green Movement protesters in Iran, the “liberated” people of Iraq, plus several close Muslim friends of mine who are–at least, it seems to me–far more civilized than any hater who would make this sort of statement. 

It can be safely said that Mohammed, unlike Jesus and Moses, was a prophet who took up the sword and this may have had some influence on some of his more extreme followers (Moses, a wise delegator, asked God to take up the sword against his enemies). It could also be said that western colonial assumptions about Islamic inferiority may have had something to do with creating the ghastly anger that attends the outer precincts of Islam now. And it could also be said that Christianity, in its crusading phase, spilled an awful lot blood and behaved, in general, in a manner that might have caused its pacifist Jewish founder to become a Buddhist or Zoroastrian, or a Sufi. 

But none of this matters. Nor does the occasional immoderate statements made by the Cordoba Center’s founder, who truly seems a person attempting to create an important interfaith dialogue…most of the time. 

Why doesn’t it matter? Because the Cordoba controversy isn’t about Islam. It is about America. It is about whether or not we take the freedom of religion clause in our Constitution seriously. And that is all the dispute is about. Period. I find it hilarious that conservatives who insist on the purity of the Second Amendment are such relativists when it comes to the First. I find it appalling that neoconservative Jews, whose presence and historic success in this country is a consequence of the First Amendment, would deny full rights to Muslims…and that, in their mania, seem to think that it’s all right to defame so many innocent people. (By refusing to acknowledge the specific and benign humanity of most Palestinians, for example–a too-common practice among American Likudniks–they relinquish the right to be assumed civilized themselves.) 

I am, admittedly, a bit radical on this subject: I think Ground Zero itself–not a building two blocks away–would be a terrific site for a mosque, as a demonstration of American freedom, one of the truly superior qualities our nation offers the world. But you don’t have to agree with me. You don’t even have to like Muslims. You may be concerned about the senstivities of  some of the families of some of the 9/11 victims; I certainly am; some of them are my neighbors. You just have to like the Constitution. I love it. 

Update: Greg Sargent took Krauthammer to task for similar assumptions about the nature of Islam recently in the Washington Post.

Read more:

Five Fall Feuds

The Daily Beast

John McCain vs. himself! George W. Bush vs. the historical record! The Daily Beast picks the strangest and most electrifying political contests of the coming season.

Each summer, The Daily Beast likes to make sure you have room on your calendar for the fall’s most promising political fights. Last August, we had our eyes on Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s headlock on health care legislation. We were watching the Democratic Senate primary field in Massachusetts to see which liberal would inherit Ted Kennedy’s throne (whoops). Oh, and there was a little scrum over ground zero, but this one had nothing to do with a mosque: New Yorkers were squabbling over how little was getting done at the site. Now we’re in an election year, the feuds have gotten more pitched. Here’s a preview:

John McCain vs. John McCain
The war hero will enter a heroic battle with himself after he cashiers talk jock J.D. Hayworth in Arizona’s Republican primary and rounds the corner toward the general election on November  2. McCain built his reputation on being a man of conscience, rather than party; someone who reads from the playbook of a higher body, not that of the Republican caucus. But with the immigration debate at full boil, the former maverick has re-incarnated himself as a conservative flamethrower, saying whatever he can to earn points with Tea Party nation. Having spent a fortune to beat Hayworth, McCain will enter a new round of shadow-boxing, as he tries to determine how much of his old fighting self he wishes to recover.

The Feds vs. Julian Assange 
WikiLeaks had its moment in the sun in July, when the secret-sharing site dropped hundreds of thousands of pages of documents detailing U.S. blundering in Afghanistan. But amid all the hubbub—Were they the new Pentagon Papers?—one tiny detail dropped from the conversation. The war logs weren’t the most explosive weapon in the website’s arsenal. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ founder, is said to have a video of the U.S. bombing of the Garani village in Afghanistan. The Justice Department is trying to find ways to connect WikiLeaks to a criminal investigation into the documents’ release. Those on the right have begun to beat the drums, rooting for his prosecution: “WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a criminal organization,” former Bush aide Marc Thiessen has written. When the next video surfaces, the federal government’s maneuvering to put a hold on Assange’s operation is likely to get even more fervid.

George W. Bush vs. History
History, George W. Bush has often professed, isn’t his bag. “We don’t know. We’ll all be dead,” the president once told reporter Bob Woodward. But that won’t stop Bush from making his case. On November 9, the Decider will release his presidential memoir, Decision Points. The Daily Beast’s Matt Latimer, a former Bush speechwriter, has noted how the book is already giving Republicans fits, as they worry a resurfacing Bush will make for unwanted waves before Election Day. But the more interesting contest will be Bush’s struggle with history—by the end of his presidency, his approval ratings were in the 20s and he was a regular on historians’ “worst” lists. The memoir is Bush’s chance at a rebuttal. Bush hired Chris Michel, known for his collection of presidential biographies while working at the White House, to work as his amanuensis. Michel is likely well aware of what kind of book is necessary to help the Bush rehab project and will be angling to get his boss moved up a few spots in the presidential batting order. The Bushies have already worked out a rough draft of the Bush presidency, finishing a 128-page book called A Charge Kept as they turned out the lights in the West Wing. Students of history will look closely at how Bush tangles with the economic downturn and Hurricane Katrina.

House Democrats vs. Barack Obama
As the days grow shorter and Democrats’ sleepless nights get longer, the love-hate relationship between the president and his Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives will likely grow more intense. First, House Democrats were crying that Obama wasn’t paying attention to them on issues like climate change and the stimulus—his professed pragmatism gumming up any real progressive agenda. Then, many realized that perhaps they didn’t want Obama’s attention, worried that having the president in their backyard might remind voters of their inchoate frustration with Washington. If Republicans make substantial gains in November, as is predicted, expect the trail of recriminations to stretch from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other. 

GOP Presidential Wannabes vs. Each Other
As the midterm elections shake out, the Republican candidates who are chomping at the bit to challenge Obama in 2012 will be prepping their final machinations. A proxy war between Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and others has broken out as each contender backs primary candidates, hoping for a little love when presidential campaign season returns. Many of the 2012 hopefuls are already regular visitors to early-voting states: Romney is wearing out the byways of New Hampshire in his 2002 Chevy. Pawlenty’s sneaking into Iowa for corn-field pep-talks. And they’ve often endorsed competing candidates in the same GOP primaries. So while many eye the current ballot, another campaign will be taking form in the shadows.

Ready For My Closeup

Top 10 Presidential Pop Culture Moments

Barack Obama Goes on The View

Richard Nixon Invites Elvis Presley to the Oval Office

Marilyn Monroe Performs for John F. Kennedy

Boxers or Briefs? Clinton Answers

Richard Nixon Goes on Laugh-In

Bush the Elder Invites Dana Carvey to the White House

Jimmy Carter’s Playboy Confessional

George W. Bush Appears on Deal or No Deal

Gerald Ford and Chevy Chase at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner

Eisenhower And Television

‘The Daily Show’ Takes On The Tennessee Mosque Controversy

Huffington Post  

The discussion about the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque” continued last night on “The Daily Show,” with Jon Stewart now facetiously dubbing it the “Community Center Of Death.” This time, however, the focus moved from the downtown Manhattan to Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the planned mosque there that has people up in arms. 

In a segment called “Tennessee No Evil,” Aasif Mandvi visited Murfreesboro and met with Laurie Cardozza-Moore, the leader of the mosque opposition. Mandvi sat back and listened as Cardozza claimed her opposition had “nothing to do with religion” before she listed a slew of “facts” about Islam ranging from what they eat to how it is a actually a “political system of global domination.” 

“You do know I’m Muslim,” Mandvi said at the end of her lengthy rant, to which Cordozza replied: “Nobody’s perfect.” 

The more Cordozza spoke, the more Mandvi continued to troll her, going so far as to make a “suspicious” cell phone call after she mentioned Islamic training camps. “She knows about the training camps!” Mandvi whispered into a cell phone in front of her to someone named “Ahmed.” 

Mandvi also got to visit the mosque already in Murfreesboro for over 30 years and was ultimately shocked at how few terrorists there were, and how many tolerant mothers named “Cami.” Still, Cardozza referred to the cultural center with no reputation for violence as “The Mothership.” 

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Man Shouts ‘Terrorists’ In Mosque, Urinates On Prayer Rugs

I suspect these attacks on Muslims are just a sampling of things to come unless someone from either party, some “grown-up” comes out and says “enough!”.   

I am so sick of hearing, “No one is arguing that they have a fundamental right to freedom of religion, BUT…”  To me, what that says is that opponents of the Park 51 site want to set aside that fundamental freedom and replace it by asking  the supporters and developers to understand the “sensitivity” of the issue with respect to those who died in the 9/11 assault. 

That’s unacceptable…Muslims died on that day as well.

Huffington Post

In another brazen anti-Muslim incident, a man wandered into a mosque in Queens Wednesday night, shouting racial slurs and urinating all over prayer rugs.

According to police, a drunk Omar Rivera shouted “terrorists” before relieving himself in the Iman Mosque.

Reports the New York Post:

Evening prayers were disrupted at the Iman Mosque on Steinway Street in Astoria when the unhinged man “came in with a beer bottle in his hands, clearly very intoxicated,” said Mustapha Sadouki, who was attending services.”He fumbled over to our rugs where people were praying” and then committed the despicable desecration, Sadouki said.

Police took Rivera to a hospital and charged him with criminal trespass.