Rick Santorum: Only dirty commies support the separation of church and state


Rick Santorum: Only dirty commies support the separation of church and state

The social conservative favorite is playing to type VIDEO

Rick Santorum: Only dirty commies support the separation of church and stateEnlargeRick Santorum (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum made his political career as a champion of theocratic conservatism, so it’s hardly a surprise that he’s no fan of the separation of church and state.

But to Santorum, the concept of church-state separation isn’t merely misguided. It’s downright communist.

Santorum delivered this sizzling take in a conference call with social conservatives posted online today and flagged by the watchdog group Right Wing Watch. A caller told Santorum that that many of the policy priorities of President Obama and “the Democrat Party” appeared in Karl Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto”; the caller proceeded to cite a number of things, including same-sex marriage, that appear nowhere in the tome.

“Well, I was just thinking,” Santorum chimed in, “that the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”

The fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear verbatim in the Constitution is a favorite right-wing talking point — one that conveniently glides over the founders’ explicitly expressed support for a “wall of separation.” It’s been a particular hobbyhorse of Santorum, who made headlines during his 2012 presidential campaign for saying that he “almost threw up” upon reading then-Sen. John F. Kennedy’s famed 1960 speech in which he advocated an “absolute” separation of church and state.

Santorum’s latest remarks don’t mark the first time he’s tarred an idea he doesn’t like with the pinko label. Earlier this year, he said that using the term “middle class” is “Marxism talk.”

“Since when in America do we have classes?” Santorum asked at the time. “Since when in America are people stuck in areas or defined places called a class? That’s Marxism talk.”

Early indications suggest that Santorum is prepared to take his anti-commie crusade to the 2016 presidential race, although it’s looking like America will be deprived of the chance to be led by the warrior for all that is good and godly. RealClearPolitics’ polling average finds Santorum in 11th place in the GOP field, garnering just 3 percent support.

Listen to Santorum’s newest comments, via Right Wing Watch:

Luke Brinker is Salon’s deputy politics editor. Follow him on Twitter at @LukeBrinker.

Religious Nutcase Kirk Cameron Causes The American Taliban To Drool


Kirk Cameron: “God IS the Platform”
The Christian Taliban movement
Wingnuts

Today’s moment of right wing religious fanaticism comes from former child star Kirk Cameron, who says, “one of our parties is wondering whether the name God should be in the platform,” but according to America’s founding fathers, “God is the platform!

The crowd cheers this line in a very disturbing way.

Rise of Far Right Extremism In America


Sikh worshippers in Wisconsin raise an American flag before a service commemorating the victims of a mass shooting. A gunman who identified himself as a white supremacist went on a rampage during a Sikh service at Oak Creek, killing six people.

Sikh worshippers in Wisconsin raise an American flag before a service commemorating the victims of a mass shooting. A gunman who identified himself as a white supremacist went on a rampage during a Sikh service at Oak Creek, killing six people.

AP

Rise of far right in US aided by ‘perfect storm’

WASHINGTON // Heated political rhetoric, economic hardships, changing demographics, anti-Islamic fervour and the first African-American president have all contributed to a “perfect storm” for the proliferation of extremist groups in America that some civil-rights groups are warning could become more violent.

The past two months have seen at least a dozen violent incidents involving religious establishments across America, including the massacre of six worshippers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most of the other incidents involved mosques and Islamic institutions. A mosque in Missouri was burnt to the ground, shots were fired at an Islamic school in Illinois and six other Islamic institutions were targeted in apparent acts of vandalism.

An Arab Christian church in Dearborn, Michigan, a Jewish holocaust memorial in New York and a synagogue in Florida were also vandalised.

If those acts suggest actions of the extreme political right, violence has also gone the other way. Last Wednesday, a man opened fire inside the Washington, DC, headquarters of a Christian conservative group, reportedly upset at its opposition to same-sex unions. A security guard was wounded.

Some fear more violence. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil-rights group that tracks extremists in America, said the Milwaukee killings did not surprise observers, who had been expecting some kind of copy-cat attempt after the shootings and bombings in Norway last July when Anders Breivik killed 77 people.

“I think we are at a very dangerous moment. There’s a kind of perfect storm of factors favouring the development of [extremist] groups and accompanying domestic terrorism.”

The SPLC has documented a nearly 70 per cent increase in the number of American extremist groups since 2000 and an “extraordinary” expansion – from 149 in late 2008 to 1,274 in 2011 – of so-called patriot movements, often loosely aligned anti-government groups that sometimes form armed militias.

Patriot militants were behind a string of domestic terrorism plots in the 1990s, including the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

The expansion coincides with the term of Barack Obama, the first African-American in the White House, but it is not necessarily a classic racist reaction, Mr Potok said. Rather, America’s First Family is visceral evidence of the fact that the country’s demographics are changing – 2011 was the first year in the United States in which non-white birth rates exceeded white birth rates, according to the US Census Bureau.

“Every white supremacist in America knows the census bureau has predicted that non-Hispanic whites will lose their majority in America by the year 2050.”

America’s slow recovery from its worst economic downturn since the depression of the 1930s and rhetoric that previously belonged on the fringe gaining more traction have also provided fertile ground for extremists, Frank Meeink, a former neo-Nazi and author of a memoir, The Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, said in a recent interview.

Mr Meeink joined skinhead gangs in the late 1980s. He said he sees many parallels between now and when Bill Clinton, another socially progressive Dempcratic president on civil-rights issues, took office in 1993 during an economic slump.

The difference, he said, is that rhetoric that used to belong to neo-Nazi groups has become more mainstream and is particularly evident in the language of the Christian Right and the Tea Party, where, he said, some of his former associates had ended up.

“The new lingo is calling everything ‘socialist’.And it’s almost the same as how neo-Nazis used to talk about Jews taking over the government.”

Adding fuel to the situation is the fact that unrestrained political rhetoric is seemingly becoming increasingly common in public places.

In New York City, for instance, posters citing “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01. It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism” went up last Friday and will be visible for another three weeks.

Buses in San Francisco bear posters proclaiming: “In a war between the civilised man and the savage, support the civilised man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad”.

Both are paid for by the American Freedom Defence Initiative, run by Pamela Geller, best known for her role in the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy in 2010 and part of a coterie of what Mr Potok described as “professional Islamophobes and the politicians willing to shill for them”.

The controversy over plans for an Islamic centre near the site of the World Trade Center in 2010 ushered in a year when anti-Sharia legislation began to appear in state legislatures across the country and congressional hearings into the “radicalisation” of America’s Muslims – which took place in early 2011 – were announced.

The same year also saw a 50 per cent spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes, according to FBI statistics, bucking a steady decline since 2002 when passions had settled after the attacks of September 11.

Robert Sellers, a professor at the Logsdon school of theology in Texas, warned of a “culture of Islamophobia” at the annual Baptist World Congress in late July.

“I trust that none of us wishes to sin against our neighbours by spreading fear and stereotypes,” Mr Sellers said, according to the Baptist Center’s Ethics Daily website.

Extreme rhetoric has an effect, Mr Potok said.

“When people make completely unsubstantiated and incredibly demonising statements about entire groups of people, they can’t be surprised when those people are subjected to criminal attacks

Which Western Nation Detains Journalists and Equipment Without Warrant?!


Via:- Antony Loewenstein

The US of A.

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald with a terrifying story that should concern any person who believes in the concept of free speech:

One of the more extreme government abuses of the post-9/11 era targets U.S. citizens re-entering their own country, and it has received far too little attention. With no oversight or legal framework whatsoever, the Department of Homeland Security routinely singles out individuals who are suspected of no crimes, detains them and questions them at the airport, often for hours, when they return to the U.S. after an international trip, and then copies and even seizes their electronic devices (laptops, cameras, cellphones) and other papers (notebooks, journals, credit card receipts), forever storing their contents in government files. No search warrant is needed for any of this. No oversight exists. And there are no apparent constraints on what the U.S. Government can do with regard to whom it decides to target or why.

But the case of Laura Poitras, an Oscar-and Emmy-nominated film-maker and intrepid journalist, is perhaps the most extreme. In 2004 and 2005, Poitras spent many months in Iraq filming a documentary that, as The New York Times put it in its review, “exposed the emotional toll of occupation on Iraqis and American soldiers alike.” The film, “My Country, My Country,” focused on a Sunni physician and 2005 candidate for the Iraqi Congress as he did things like protest the imprisonment of a 9-year-old boy by the U.S. military. At the time Poitras made this film, Iraqi Sunnis formed the core of the anti-American insurgency and she spent substantial time filming and reporting on the epicenter of that resistance. Poitras’ film was released in 2006 and nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

In 2010, she produced and directed “The Oath,” which chronicled the lives of two Yemenis caught up in America’s War on Terror: Salim Hamdan, the accused driver of Osama bin Laden whose years-long imprisonment at Guantanamo led to the 2006 Supreme Court case, bearing his name, that declared military commissions to be a violation of domestic and international law; and Hamdan’s brother-in-law, a former bin Laden bodyguard. The film provides incredible insight into the mindset of these two Yemenis. The NYT feature on “The Oath” stated that, along with “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has produced ”two of the most searching documentaries of the post-9/11 era, on-the-ground chronicles that are sensitive to both the political and the human consequences of American foreign policy.” At the 2010 Sundance film festival, “The Oath” won the award for Best Cinematography.

Poitras’ intent all along with these two documentaries was to produce a trilogy of War on Terror films, and she is currently at work on the third installment. As Poitras described it to me, this next film will examine the way in which The War on Terror has been imported onto U.S. soil, with a focus on the U.S. Government’s increasing powers of domestic surveillance, its expanding covert domestic NSA activities (including construction of a massive new NSA facilityin Bluffdale, Utah), its attacks on whistleblowers, and the movement to foster government transparency and to safeguard Internet anonymity. In sum, Poitras produces some of the best, bravest and most important filmmaking and journalism of the past decade, often exposing truths that are adverse to U.S. government policy, concerning the most sensitive and consequential matters (a 2004 film she produced for PBS on gentrification of an Ohio town won the Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy).

But Poitras’ work has been hampered, and continues to be hampered, by the constant harassment, invasive searches, and intimidation tactics to which she is routinely subjected whenever she re-enters her own country. Since the 2006 release of “My Country, My Country,” Poitras has left and re-entered the U.S. roughly 40 times. Virtually every time during that six-year-period that she has returned to the U.S.  her plane has been met by DHS agents who stand at the airplane door or tarmac and inspect the passports of every de-planing passenger until they find her (on the handful of occasions where they did not meet her at the plane, agents were called arrived at immigration). Each time, they detain her, and then interrogate her at length about where she went and with whom she met or spoke. They have exhibited a particular interest in finding out for whom she works.

She has had her laptop, camera and cellphone seized, and not returned for weeks, with the contents presumably copied. On several occasions, her reporter’s notebooks were seized and their contents copied, even as she objected that doing so would invade her journalist-source relationship. Her credit cards and receipts have been copied on numerous occasions. In many instances, DHS agents also detain and interrogate her in the foreign airport before her return, on one trip telling her that she would be barred from boarding her flight back home, only to let her board at the last minute. When she arrived at JFK Airport on Thanksgiving weekend of 2010, she was told by one DHS agent — after she asserted her privileges as a journalist to refuse to answer questions about the individuals with whom she met on her trip — that he “finds it very suspicious that you’re not willing to help your country by answering our questions.” They sometimes keep her detained for three to four hours (all while telling her that she will be released more quickly if she answers all their questions and consents to full searches).

Poitras is now forced to take extreme steps — ones that hamper her ability to do her work — to ensure that she can engage in her journalism and produce her films without the U.S. Government intruding into everything she is doing. She now avoids traveling with any electronic devices. She uses alternative methods to deliver the most sensitive parts of her work — raw film and interview notes — to secure locations. She spends substantial time and resources protecting her computers with encryption and password defenses. Especially when she is in the U.S., she avoids talking on the phone about her work, particularly to sources. And she simply will not edit her films at her home out of fear — obviously well-grounded — that government agents will attempt to search and seize the raw footage.

That’s the climate of fear created by the U.S. Government for an incredibly accomplished journalist and filmmaker who has never been accused, let alone convicted, of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Indeed, documents obtained from a FOIA request show that DHS has repeatedly concluded that nothing incriminating was found from its border searches and interrogations of Poitras. Nonetheless, these abuses not only continue, but escalate, after six years of constant harassment.

Poitras has been somewhat reluctant to speak publicly about the treatment to which she is subjected for fear that doing so would further impede her ability to do her work (the NYT feature on “The Oath” included some discussion of it). But the latest episode, among the most aggressive yet, has caused her to want to vociferously object.

On Thursday night, Poitras arrived at Newark International Airport from Britain. Prior to issuing her a boarding pass in London, the ticket agent called a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent (Yost) who questioned her about whom she met and what she did. Upon arriving in Newark, DHS/CBP agents, as always, met her plane, detained her, and took her to an interrogation room. Each time this has happened in the past, Poitras has taken notes during the entire process: in order to chronicle what is being done to her, document the journalistic privileges she asserts and her express lack of consent, obtain the names of the agents involved, and just generally to cling to some level of agency.

This time, however, she was told by multiple CBP agents that she was prohibited from taking notes on the ground that her pen could be used as a weapon. After she advised them that she was a journalist and that her lawyer had advised her to keep notes of her interrogations, one of them, CBP agent Wassum, threatened to handcuff her if she did not immediately stop taking notes. A CBP Deputy Chief (Lopez) also told her she was barred from taking notes, and then accused her of “refusing to cooperate with an investigation” if she continued to refuse to answer their questions (he later clarified that there was no “investigation” per se, but only a “questioning”). Requests for comment from the CBP were not returned as of the time of publication.

The World War on Democracy


World War on Democracy

by: John Pilger, Truthout  | News Analysis

B-1B Lancer Bombers on a runway at Diego Garcia, November, 2001, during the bombing campaign in Afghanistan. (Photo: Senior Airman Rebeca M. Luquin, U.S. Air Force)

Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence. She was the embodiment of people’s resistance to the war on democracy. I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos islanders, a tiny creole nation located midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean.

The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in a phenomenon of natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends, “Keep smiling girls!”

Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said, “I didn’t have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise. My great-grandmother was born there; I made six children there. That’s why they couldn’t legally throw us out of our own homes; they had to terrify us into leaving or force us out. At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving [then] they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs.”

In the early 1960s, the Labour government of Harold Wilson secretly agreed to a demand from Washington that the Chagos archipelago, a British colony, be “swept” and “sanitised” of its 2,500 inhabitants so that a military base could be built on the principal island, Diego Garcia. “They knew we were inseparable from our pets,” said Lisette, “When the American soldiers arrived to build the base, they backed their big trucks against the brick shed where we prepared the coconuts; hundreds of our dogs had been rounded up and imprisoned there. Then they gassed them through tubes from the trucks’ exhausts. You could hear them crying.”

Lisette and her family and hundreds of islanders were forced onto a rusting steamer bound for Mauritius, a distance of 2,500 miles. They were made to sleep in the hold on a cargo of fertilizer: bird shit. The weather was rough; everyone was ill; two women miscarried. Dumped on the docks at Port Louis, Lisette’s youngest children, Jollice and Regis, died within a week of each other. “They died of sadness,” she said. “They had heard all the talk and seen the horror of what had happened to the dogs. They knew they were leaving their home forever. The doctor in Mauritius said he could not treat sadness.”

This act of mass kidnapping was carried out in high secrecy. In one official file, under the heading, “Maintaining the fiction,” the Foreign Office legal adviser exhorts his colleagues to cover their actions by “re-classifying” the population as “floating” and to “make up the rules as we go along.” Article 7 of the statute of the International Criminal Court says the “deportation or forcible transfer of population” is a crime against humanity. That Britain had committed such a crime – in exchange for a $14 million discount off an American Polaris nuclear submarine – was not on the agenda of a group of British “defence” correspondents flown to the Chagos by the Ministry of Defence when the US base was completed. “There is nothing in our files,” said a ministry official, “about inhabitants or an evacuation.”

Today, Diego Garcia is crucial to America’s and Britain’s war on democracy. The heaviest bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan was launched from its vast airstrips, beyond which the islanders’ abandoned cemetery and church stand like archaeological ruins. The terraced garden where Lisette laughed for the camera is now a fortress housing the “bunker-busting” bombs carried by bat-shaped B-2 aircraft to targets in two continents; an attack on Iran will start here. As if to complete the emblem of rampant, criminal power, the CIA added a Guantanamo-style prison for its “rendition” victims and called it Camp Justice.

What was done to Lisette’s paradise has an urgent and universal meaning, for it represents the violent, ruthless nature of a whole system behind its democratic façade, and the scale of our own indoctrination to its messianic assumptions, described by Harold Pinter as a “brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.” Longer and bloodier than any war since 1945, waged with demonic weapons, a gangsterism dressed as economic policy and sometimes known as globalization, the war on democracy is unmentionable in Western elite circles. As Pinter wrote, “it never happened even while it was happening.” Last July, American historian William Blum published his “updated summary of the record of US foreign policy.” Since the Second World War, the US has:

  1. Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically elected.
  2. Attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries.
  3. Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
  4. Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
  5. Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

In total, the United States has carried out one or more of these actions in 69 countries. In almost all cases, Britain has been a collaborator. The “enemy” changes in name – from communism to Islamism – but mostly it is the rise of democracy independent of Western power or a society occupying strategically useful territory, deemed expendable, like the Chagos Islands.

The sheer scale of suffering, let alone criminality, is little known in the West, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications, nominally freest journalism and most admired academy. That the most numerous victims of terrorism – Western terrorism – are Muslims is unsayable, if it is known. That half a million Iraqi infants died in the 1990s as a result of the embargo imposed by Britain and America is of no interest. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Western policy (“Operation Cyclone”) is known to specialists, but otherwise suppressed.

While popular culture in Britain and America immerses the Second World War in an ethical bath for the victors, the holocausts arising from Anglo-American dominance of resource-rich regions are consigned to oblivion. Under the Indonesian tyrant Suharto, anointed “our man” by Thatcher, more than a million people were slaughtered. Described by the CIA as “the worst mass murder of the second half of the 20th century,” the estimate does not include a third of the population of East Timor, who were starved or murdered with Western connivance, British fighter bombers and machine guns.

These true stories are told in declassified files in the Public Record Office, yet represent an entire dimension of politics and the exercise of power excluded from public consideration. This has been achieved by a regime of noncoercive information control, from the evangelical mantra of consumer advertising to sound bites on BBC news and, now, the ephemera of social media.

It is as if writers as watchdogs are extinct, or in thrall to a sociopathic zeitgeist, convinced they are too clever to be duped. Witness the stampede of sycophants eager to deify Christopher Hitchens, a war lover who longed to be allowed to justify the crimes of rapacious power. “For almost the first time in two centuries,” wrote Terry Eagleton, “there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the Western way of life.” No Orwell warns that we do not need to live in a totalitarian society to be corrupted by totalitarianism. No Shelley speaks for the poor; no Blake proffers a vision; no Wilde reminds us that “disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue.” And, grievously, no Pinter rages at the war machine, as in “American Football”:

Hallelujah. Praise the Lord for all good things … We blew their balls into shards of dust, Into shards of fucking dust …

Into shards of fucking dust go all the lives blown there by Barack Obama, the Hopey Changey of Western violence. Whenever one of Obama’s drones wipes out an entire family in a faraway tribal region of Pakistan, or Somalia, or Yemen, the American controllers in front of their computer-game screens type in “Bugsplat.” Obama likes drones and has joked about them with journalists. One of his first actions as president was to order a wave of Predator drone attacks on Pakistan that killed 74 people. He has since killed thousands, mostly civilians; drones fire Hellfire missiles that suck the air out of the lungs of children and leave body parts festooned across scrubland.

Remember the tear-stained headlines when Brand Obama was elected: “momentous, spine-tingling”: The Guardian UK. “The American future,” wrote Simon Schama, “is all vision, numinous, unformed, light-headed …” The San Francisco Chronicle’s columnist saw a spiritual “lightworker [who can] usher in a new way of being on the planet.” Beyond the drivel, as the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg had predicted, a military coup was taking place in Washington, and Obama was their man. Having seduced the anti-war movement into virtual silence, he has given America’s corrupt military officer class unprecedented powers of state and engagement. These include the prospect of wars in Africa and opportunities for provocations against China, America’s largest creditor and new “enemy” in Asia. Under Obama, the old source of official paranoia Russia, has been encircled with ballistic missiles and the Russian opposition infiltrated. Military and CIA assassination teams have been assigned to 120 countries; long-planned attacks on Syria and Iran beckon a world war. Israel, the exemplar of US violence and lawlessness by proxy, has just received its annual pocket money of $3 billion together with Obama’s permission to steal more Palestinian land.

Obama’s most “historic” achievement is to bring the war on democracy home to America. On New Year’s Eve, he signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a law that grants the Pentagon the legal right to kidnap both foreigners and US citizens and indefinitely detain, interrogate and torture, or even kill them. They need only “associate” with those “belligerent” to the United States. There will be no protection of law, no trial, no legal representation. This is the first explicit legislation to abolish habeas corpus (the right to due process of law) and effectively repeal the Bill of Rights of 1789.

On 5 January, in an extraordinary speech at the Pentagon, Obama said the military would not only be ready to “secure territory and populations” overseas, but to fight in the “homeland” and provide “support to the civil authorities.” In other words, US troops will be deployed on the streets of American cities when the inevitable civil unrest takes hold.

America is now a land of epidemic poverty and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a “market” extremism which, under Obama, has prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street. The victims are mostly young jobless, homeless, incarcerated African-Americans, betrayed by the first black president. The historic corollary of a perpetual war state, this is not fascism, not yet, but neither is it democracy in any recognizable form, regardless of the placebo politics that will consume the news until November. The presidential campaign, says The Washington Post, will “feature a clash of philosophies rooted in distinctly different views of the economy.” This is patently false. The circumscribed task of journalism on both sides of the Atlantic is to create the pretence of political choice where there is none.

The same shadow is across Britain and much of Europe, where social democracy, an article of faith two generations ago, has fallen to the central bank dictators. In David Cameron’s “big society,” the theft of 84 billion pounds in jobs and services even exceeds the amount of tax “legally” avoid by piratical corporations. Blame rests not with the far right, but a cowardly, liberal political culture that has allowed this to happen, which, wrote Hywel Williams in the wake of the attacks on 9/11, “can itself be a form of self righteous fanaticism.” Tony Blair is one such fanatic. In its managerial indifference to the freedoms that it claims to hold dear, bourgeois Blairite Britain has created a surveillance state with 3,000 new criminal offenses and laws: more than for the whole of the previous century. The police clearly believe they have an impunity to kill. At the demand of the CIA, cases like that of Binyam Mohamed, an innocent British resident tortured and then held for five years in Guantanamo Bay, will be dealt with in secret courts in Britain “in order to protect the intelligence agencies” – the torturers.

This invisible state allowed the Blair government to fight the Chagos islanders as they rose from their despair in exile and demanded justice in the streets of Port Louis and London. “Only when you take direct action, face to face, even break laws, are you ever noticed,” said Lisette. “And the smaller you are, the greater your example to others.” Such an eloquent answer to those who still ask, “What can I do?”

I last saw Lisette’s tiny figure standing in driving rain alongside her comrades outside the Houses of Parliament. What struck me was the enduring courage of their resistance. It is this refusal to give up that rotten power fears, above all, knowing it is the seed beneath the snow.


 John PilgerJohn Pilger, Australian-born, London-based journalist, film-maker and author. For his foreign and war reporting, ranging from Vietnam and Cambodia to the Middle East, he has twice won Britain’s highest award for journalism. For his documentary films, he won a British Academy Award and an American Emmy. In 2009, he was awarded Australia’s human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize. His latest film is “The War on Democracy.”

 

For God So Loved the 1 Percent …


For God So Loved the 1 Percent …
By KEVIN M. KRUSE

Princeton, N.J.

IN recent weeks Mitt Romney has become the poster child for unchecked capitalism, a role he seems to embrace with relish. Concerns about economic equality, he told Matt Lauer of NBC, were really about class warfare.

“When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus 1 percent,” he said, “you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

Mr. Romney was on to something, though perhaps not what he intended.

Holly Gressley

The concept of “one nation under God” has a noble lineage, originating in Abraham Lincoln’s hope at Gettysburg that “this nation, under God, shall not perish from the earth.” After Lincoln, however, the phrase disappeared from political discourse for decades. But it re-emerged in the mid-20th century, under a much different guise: corporate leaders and conservative clergymen deployed it to discredit Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

During the Great Depression, the prestige of big business sank along with stock prices. Corporate leaders worked frantically to restore their public image and simultaneously roll back the “creeping socialism” of the welfare state. Notably, the American Liberty League, financed by corporations like DuPont and General Motors, made an aggressive case for capitalism. Most, however, dismissed its efforts as self-interested propaganda. (A Democratic Party official joked that the organization should have been called “the American Cellophane League” because “first, it’s a DuPont product and, second, you can see right through it.”)

Realizing that they needed to rely on others, these businessmen took a new tack: using generous financing to enlist sympathetic clergymen as their champions. After all, according to one tycoon, polls showed that, “of all the groups in America, ministers had more to do with molding public opinion” than any other.

The Rev. James W. Fifield, pastor of the elite First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, led the way in championing a new union of faith and free enterprise. “The blessings of capitalism come from God,” he wrote. “A system that provides so much for the common good and happiness must flourish under the favor of the Almighty.”

Christianity, in Mr. Fifield’s interpretation, closely resembled capitalism, as both were systems in which individuals rose or fell on their own. The welfare state, meanwhile, violated most of the Ten Commandments. It made a “false idol” of the federal government, encouraged Americans to covet their neighbors’ possessions, stole from the wealthy and, ultimately, bore false witness by promising what it could never deliver.

Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, Mr. Fifield and his allies advanced a new blend of conservative religion, economics and politics that one observer aptly anointed “Christian libertarianism.” Mr. Fifield distilled his ideology into a simple but powerful phrase — “freedom under God.” With ample support from corporate patrons and business lobbies like the United States Chamber of Commerce, his gospel of godly capitalism soon spread across the country through personal lectures, weekly radio broadcasts and a monthly magazine.

In 1951, the campaign culminated in a huge Fourth of July celebration of the theme. Former President Herbert C. Hoover and Gen. Douglas MacArthur headlined an organizing committee of conservative all-stars, including celebrities like Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, but largely comprising business titans like Conrad Hilton, J. C. Penney, Harvey Firestone Jr. and J. Howard Pew.

In an extensive public relations campaign, they encouraged communities to commemorate Independence Day with “freedom under God” ceremonies, using full-page newspaper ads trumpeting the connection between faith and free enterprise. They also held a nationwide sermon contest on the theme, with clergymen competing for cash. Countless local events were promoted by a national “Freedom Under God” radio program, produced with the help of the filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, hosted by Jimmy Stewart and broadcast on CBS.

Ultimately, these organizers believed that they had made a lasting impression. “The very words ‘freedom under God’ have added to the vocabulary of freedom a new term,” they boasted. Soon the entire nation would think of itself as “under God.” Indeed, in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over the first presidential prayer breakfast on a “government under God” theme and worked to promote public religiosity in a variety of ways. In 1954, as this “under-God consciousness” swept the nation, Congress formally added the phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the end, Mr. Romney is correct to claim that complaints about economic inequality are inconsistent with the concept of “one nation under God.” But that’s only because the “1 percent” of an earlier era intended it that way.


Kevin M. Kruse, an associate professor of history at Princeton, is the author of the forthcoming “One Nation Under God: Corporations, Christianity, and the Rise of the Religious Right.”

Suspected White House Shooter’s Right Wing Ideas


The Suspected White House Shooter’s Right Wing Ideas
An anti-government religious fanatic who thinks Obama is the anti-Christ
Charles Johnson

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama, and in light of the right wing blogosphere’s ongoing attempts to link Ortega to the Occupy Wall Street protests, it should be pointed out that what we know so far about his delusional ideas falls much more in line with right wing religious ideology: Idaho Man Threatened Obama, Officials Say.

Mr. Ortega-Hernandez’s family had reported him missing in Idaho Falls last month, after he drove away in the Honda Accord, the complaint said. The Secret Service has said it did not have Mr. Ortega-Hernandez on record as having made any threats against the president. But after the shooting, several acquaintances said he had been fixated on Mr. Obama.

Besides the one friend who told investigators that Mr. Ortega-Hernandez had said he believed the president was the “Antichrist” and that he needed to kill him, another friend said he stated “President Obama was the problem with the government,” was “the devil,” and that he “needed to be taken care of.” The second friend also said he appeared to be “preparing for something.”

Mr. Ortega-Hernandez has had legal problems in Idaho, Texas, and Utah, including charges related to drug offenses, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer, officials have said. He is said to be heavily tattooed, with the word “Israel” on his neck and pictures of rosary beads and hands clasped in prayer on his chest.

The crazy idea that President Obama is the anti-Christ is a very common meme on the religious right; here’s one of many articles at World Net Daily promoting this idiocy: Did Jesus actually reveal name of the ‘antichrist’?

The name that “Jesus revealed,” according to this article, is Barack Obama.

Fox News Loons Spew Racial Slurs at Morgan Freeman


Description: A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Gainesv...
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Fox News Audience Spews Racial Slurs at Morgan Freeman

Racism is one of the pillars of the Tea Party movement
Charles Johnson
Opinion • Fri Sep 23, 2011

In a CNN interview with Piers Morgan, actor Morgan Freeman made a statement with which I wholeheartedly agree: Morgan Freeman: Tea party is racist.

During an interview that airs Friday, CNN’s Piers Morgan asked the actor, “Has Obama helped the process of eradicating racism or has it, in a strange way, made it worse?”

“Made it worse. Made it worse,” Freeman replied. “The tea partiers who are controlling the Republican party … their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What underlines that? Screw the country. We’re going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of here.”

On the strength of the tea party, he said: “It just shows the weak, dark, underside of America. We’re supposed to be better than that. We really are.”

The Tea Party is an atavistic, deeply destructive force in American politics, a primal reaction to the election of a black President. Racist elements are everywhere in Tea Party groups, and their leaders are often the worst offenders of all.

We’ve had so many posts at LGF on racist signs at Tea Party rallies and outrageously bigoted statements by Tea Party members and leaders that it’s not possible to deny any more that racism is a driving force in the Tea Party movement — if not the driving force.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t deny it anyway, and accuse Morgan Freeman of being the “true” racist. For example, in this thread at Fox Nation, where the Fox audience responds to Freeman’s charge by whining that Freeman is the racist — then spewing racial slurs at him.

YOU CAN TAKE THE MAU MAU OUT OF THE JUNGLE…BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE THE JUNGLE OUT OF THE MAU MAU.

[…]

I understand how a defective gene pool can put you at a serious disadvantage dealing with a 21st century society. And maybe that’s why their unemployment rate is very much higher than the rest of society.

[…]

Didn’t your boy get elected president? But no, that’s not what the bl@ ck community is after. Not until you have pilfered the product of other’s hard work and we are all living in ghetto squaller will you be happy.

[…]

Will another bl ac k liberal please stand up and call the right racist… If it weren’t for conservatives the b la ck man would still be a slave or worse find himself hanging from a tree at the hand of a liberal wh it e guy. Remember the K K K were white liberals not conservatives. Somebody needs to teach these guys some history.

[…]

I am sick of bl/cks calling people names

If you tell the truth about them your racist

The liberal hatemonger hate game f-them

[…]

Morgan Freeman…quit nagging us about race. In other words, shut up nagger !

[…]

The haIfbreed musIim is a racist no mater what he is

Related:
Fox Nation on ‘Fast and Furious’: A Deluge of Death Threats and Racism
Fox News Commenters Respond to Somalia Story with Deluge of Racism
Fox News Commenters Respond to Common Story with Deluge of Racism and Hate
Update: Four Hours Later, Fox News Commenters Still Spewing Racism
Video: Tea Party Racism, In Your Face

A couple of pro- Tea Party videos, one featuring reputed neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, further serve to demonstrate the inherent political fascism, paranoia, lunatic conspiracy mentality and racism of Tea Party crackpots.

Religious Rights Republican Crusaders


The Christian right‘s “dominionist” strategy

Reuters/Richard Carson
Rick Perry

An article in the Texas Observer last month about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s relationship with followers of a little-known neo-Pentecostal movement sparked a frenzied reaction from many commentators: Dominionism! Spiritual warfare! Strange prophecies!

All the attention came in the weeks before and after “The Response,” Perry’s highly publicized prayer rally modeled on what organizers believe is the “solemn assembly” described in Joel 2, in which “end-times warriors” prepare the nation for God’s judgment and, ultimately, Christ’s return. This “new” movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, is one strand of neo-Pentecostalism that draws on the ideas of dominionism and spiritual warfare. Its adherents display gifts of the spirit, the religious expression of Pentecostal and charismatic believers that includes speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing and a belief in signs, wonders and miracles. These evangelists also preach the “Seven Mountains” theory of dominionism: that Christians need to take control of different sectors of public life, such as government, the media and the law.

The NAR is not new, but rather derivative of charismatic movements that came before it. Its founder, C. Peter Wagner, set out in the 1990s to create more churches, and more believers. Wagner’s movement involves new jargon, notably demanding that believers take control of the “Seven Mountains” of society (government, law, media and so forth), but that’s no different from other iterations of dominionism that call on Christians to enter these fields so that they are controlled by Christians.

After Perry’s prayer rally, Rachel Maddow featured a segment on her MSNBC show in which she warned,

“The main idea of the New Apostolic Reformation theology is that they are modern day prophets and apostles. They believe they have a direct line to God … the way that they’re going to clear the way for it [the end of the world] is by infiltrating and taking over politics and government.”

Maddow’s ahistorical treatment of the NAR, however, overlooked several important realities. For anyone who has followed the growth of neo-Pentecostal movements, and in particular the coalition-building between the political operatives of the religious right and these lesser-known but still influential religious leaders, the NAR is just another development in the competitive, controversial, outrageous, authoritarian and often corrupt tapestry of the world of charismatic evangelists.

Before the NAR came along, plenty of charismatic leaders believed themselves to be prophets and apostles with a direct line to God. They wrote books about spiritual warfare, undergirded by conspiracy theories about liberals and Satan and homosexuality and feminism and more (my own bookshelves are filled with them). They preached this on television. They preached it at conferences. They made money from it. They all learned from each other.

Before the NAR, Christian right figures promoted dominionism, too, and the GOP courted these religious leaders for the votes of their followers. Despite a recent argument by the Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg that “we have not seen this sort of thing at the highest levels of the Republican Party before,” it’s been there since at least 1980. Michele Bachmann is a product of it; so was Mike Huckabee. Ronald Reagan pandered to it; so did both Bushes; so does Perry.

In 2007, I saw Cindy Jacobs and other “apostles” lay hands on Shirley Forbes, wife of Rep. Randy Forbes, the founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which boasts some Democrats as members and many of the GOP’s leading lights. “You are going to be the mother of an army,” they told Forbes, prophesying that she would “speak the power of the word into politics and government. Hallelujah!”

The idea that Christians have a sacred duty to get involved in politics, the law and media, and otherwise bring their influence to bear in different public spheres is the animating principle behind the religious right. If you attend a Values Voters Summit, the annual Washington confab hosted by the Family Research Council, you’ll hear speakers urging young people to go into media, or view Hollywood as a “mission field.” That’s because they insist these institutions have been taken over by secularists who are causing the downfall of America with their anti-Christian beliefs.

A few days ago, the Washington Post’s religion columnist, Lisa Miller, took Goldberg and Maddow to task for overhyping dominionism as a plot to take over the world. Miller, though, misses the boat, too, by neglecting to acknowledge and describe the infrastructure the religious right has built, driven by the idea of dominionism.

Oral Roberts University Law School, where Bachmann earned her law degree, was founded with this very notion in mind: to create an explicitly Christian law school. Herb Titus, the lawyer converted by Christian Reconstructionism who was instrumental in its launch, describes his mission in developing a Christian law school as a fulfillment of a “dominion mandate.” After ORU was absorbed into Regent University in the 1980s, Titus was the mentor to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who last week was elevated to chair of the Republican Governors Association and is widely speculated to be a possible vice-presidential pick.

Christian Reconstructionists, and their acolytes of the Constitution Party, believe America should be governed by biblical law. In her 1995 book, “Roads to Dominion: Right Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States,” Sara Diamond describes the most significant impact of Reconstructionism on dominionism:

“the diffuse influence of the ideas that America was ordained a Christian nation and that Christians, exclusively, were to rule and reign.” While most Christian right activists were “not well-versed in the arcane teachings” of Christian Reconstructionism, she wrote, “there was a wider following for softer forms of dominionism.”

For the Christian right, it’s more a political strategy than a secret “plot” to “overthrow” the government, even as some evangelists describe it in terms of “overthrowing” the powers of darkness (i.e., Satan), and even some more radical, militia-minded groups do suggest such a revolution. In general, though, the Christian right has been very open about its strategy and has spent a lot of money on it: in the law, as just one example, there are now two ABA-accredited Christian law schools, at Regent (which absorbed the ORU law school) and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. There are a number of Christian law firms, like the Alliance Defense Fund, formed as a Christian counterweight to the ACLU. Yet outsiders don’t notice that this is all an expression of dominionism, until someone from that world, like Bachmann, hits the national stage.

John Turner, University of South Alabama historian and author of “Bill Bright and the Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America,” said that the NAR’s “Seven Mountains” dominionism is “just a catchy phrase that encapsulates what Bright and many other evangelical leaders were already doing — trying to increase Christian influence (they would probably use more militant phrases like ‘capture’) in the spheres of education, business and government.”

Bright, like Perry’s prayer cohorts, believed America was in trouble (because of the secularists) and needed to repent. One of the most well-known evangelicals in the country, Bright had agreed to let Virginia Beach preacher John Gimenez, a charismatic, organize the rally, despite evangelical discomfort with charismatic religious expression. In his book, Turner describes the Washington for Jesus rally of 1980:

From the platform, Bright offered his interpretation of the source of the country’s problems, asserting that “[w]e’ve turned from God and God is chastening us.” “You go back to 1962 and [196]3 [when the Supreme Court banned school-sponsored prayer and Bible-reading],” Bright argued, “and you’ll discovered a series of plagues that came upon America.” Bright cited the Vietnam War, increased drug use, racial conflict, Watergate, and a rise in divorce, teenage pregnancy, and alcoholism as the result of those decisions. “God is saying to us,” he concluded, “‘Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!'” … “Unless we repent and turn from our sin,” warned Bright, “we can expect to be destroyed.”

Unlike Perry’s rally, Ronald Reagan the candidate wasn’t present at the Washington for Jesus rally. At a 2007 gathering at his church, Gimenez recounted how he and Bright later met with President Reagan, and Bright told him, “You were elected on April 29, 1980, when the church prayed that God’s will would be done.”

In August 1980, though, after Reagan had clinched the nomination, he did appear at a “National Affairs Briefing” in Texas, where televangelist James Robison (also instrumental in organizing Perry’s event) declared, “The stage is set. We’ll either have a Hitler-type takeover, or Soviet domination, or God is going to take over this country.” After Robison spoke, Reagan took the stage and declared to the 15,000 activists assembled by Moral Majority co-founder Ed McAteer, “You can’t endorse me, but I endorse you.”

That was also a big moment for Huckabee, who worked as Robison’s advance man. It was even imitated by then-candidate Barack Obama, who met with a group of evangelicals and charismatics in Chicago and repeated Reagan’s infamous line. Obama’s group included publisher Stephen Strang (an early endorser of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid) and his son Cameron, whose magazines Charisma and Relevant help promote the careers of the self-declared modern-day prophets and apostles. Huckabee appeared with Lou Engle at his 2008 The Call rally on the National Mall (like Perry’s, billed as a “solemn assembly”) in which Engle exhorted his prayer warriors to battle satanic forces to defeat “Antichrist legislation.”

When I interviewed former Bush family adviser Doug Wead for my 2008 book, “God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters,” he gave me a lengthy memo he compiled for George H.W. Bush in 1985, to prepare him for his 1988 presidential run. In the memo, he identified a thousand “targets,” religious leaders across the country whose followers, Wead believed, could be mobilized to the voting booth.

In my book, I examined the theology and politics of the Word of Faith movement (also known as the prosperity gospel) and how Republicans cultivated the leading lights of the movement. Primarily because of television, but also because of the robust (and profitable) speaking circuit these evangelists maintain, they have huge audiences. All that was in spite of — just as the scrutiny of NAR figures now is revealing — outlandish, strange and even heretical theology. What’s more, Word of Faith figures have endlessly been embroiled in disputes not just with their theological critics, but with watchdogs and former parishioners who charge they took their money for personal enrichment, promising that God would bring them great health and wealth if they would only “sow a seed.”

At Gimenez’s 2007 event, Engle and the other “apostles” were not the stars; rather, the biggest draw was Word of Faith televangelist Kenneth Copeland. In 1998, writing to Karl Rove, Wead called Copeland “arguably one of the most important religious leaders in the nation.” At Gimenez’s church, Copeland, who has boasted that his ministry has brought in more the $1 billion over his career, preached for two hours. The sanctuary was packed, with the audience hanging on every word. Gimenez introduced him as “God’s prophet,” and Copeland urged them to “get rid of the evening news and the newspaper,” study “the uncompromised word of the Holy Ghost,” and take “control over principalities.”

The commenters who have jumped on the NAR frequently overstate the size of its following. Engle’s events, for example, are often smaller than advertised, including a poorly attended revival at Liberty University in April 2010, where one would expect a ready-made audience. When I’ve covered these sorts of events, including smaller conferences by local groups inspired by figures they see on television, it’s often hard to see how the often meandering preachers are going to take over anything, even while it’s clear they cultivate an authoritarian hold on their followers. I meet a lot of sincere, frequently well-intentioned people who believe they must be “obedient” to God’s word as imparted by the “prophets.”

Most chilling, though, is the willingness to engage in what’s known in the Word of Faith world as “revelation knowledge,” or believing, as Copeland exhorted his audience to do, that you learn nothing from journalism or academia, but rather just from the Bible and its modern “prophets.” It is in this way that the self-styled prophets have had their greatest impact on our political culture: by producing a political class, and its foot soldiers, who believe that God has imparted them with divine knowledge that supersedes what all the evil secularists would have you believe.

Last week CNN’s Jack Cafferty asked, “How much does it worry you if both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have ties to dominionism?” That worry crops up every election cycle. If people really understood dominionism, they’d worry about it between election cycles.

Forced Indoctrination At Gunpoint Wishes Mike Huckabee!


Mike Huckabee Says He Wants Americans To Be Indoctrinated At Gunpoint

David Barton is the leading promoter of a brand of falsified American history altered to support the claim that America was founded as a Christian, rather than a secular, nation. As Chris Rodda, who has authored an entire book debunking Barton’s brand of pseudo-history, writes,

I was quite surprised… to come across a video clip from this conference on the People for the American Way (PFAW) Right Wing Watch blog with the headline “Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced, At Gunpoint, To Learn From David Barton.” I had watched Huckabee’s speech. How on earth could I have missed a statement like that? Well, I didn’t. It had been edited out of the webcast that I had watched.

Kyle Mantyla over at PFAW’s Right Wing Watch had recorded Huckabee’s speech when it was streamed live on Thursday, and posted the ‘forced at gunpoint’ clip on Friday. By Saturday, when I watched the webcast on the United in Purpose website, that part of Huckabee’s speech had been edited out.

The webcast that I saw showed Barton leaving the stage as he ended his presentation, then the screen going black for a moment, and then what appeared to be the beginning of Huckabee’s speech. What was edited out was Barton returning to the stage to introduce Huckabee, and the first two minutes and forty-five seconds of Huckabee’s speech, during which Huckabee made his ‘gunpoint’ comment and praised David Lane, the man behind all of the American “Renewal” and “Restoration” projects that have popped up across the country during the past few elections.

[below: the unedited footage from Huckabee’s speech, with the “joke” about indoctrinating Americans at gunpoint to be found at at 1:06. Footage courtesy of Kyle Mantyla of Rightwing Watch, who might have almost single-handedly consigned Huckabee’s presidential hopes to the dustbin of history.]

I should also note that what Chris Rodda has to say about this has especial weight given that she’s arguably been the most indefatigable author to challenge David Barton’s sprawling falsified American history oeuvre, as a Talk To Action site search on Rodda’s extensive posts debunking Barton would suggest. Chris Rodda is author of the book Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History which prominently features David Barton, head of Wallbuilders and arguably king of the “liars for Jesus”. Rodda is also Head Researcher for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Fox Political Analyst: Herman Cain Could Beat Obama With Allen West as His Running Mate


May 21, 2011 12:45 PM

Fox Political Analyst: Herman Cain Could Beat Obama With Allen West as His Running Mate

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Well, it’s official; former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain has formally launched his presidential campaign today. And according to Fox News “political analyst” Angela McGlowan, if Cain just picks wingnut Rep. Allen West as his running mate, he can beat Obama in 2012.

Alan Colmes explained why he disagreed:

COLMES: Herman Cain… it’s not a coincidence that he announced his candidacy on doomsday. This is a guy who said he’d put no Muslims in his Cabinet. He said Muslims want to either convert you or kill you. He’s a birther. He has absolutely no chance whatsoever of becoming President of the United States.

McGlowan interrupted Colmes and reminded him that “being that extreme” could win him the primary to which Colmes basically responded, bring it on if that’s who Republicans want to run in 2012.

COLMES: If that’s who you want to have represent you. You want someone who can win the primary who could never win the general election, if that’s the way you want to go, be my guest. Have a good time. Have fun.

MCGLOWAN: If he chooses Allen West, he could win.

COLMES: Absolutely not. Allen West is another cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs far right extremist.

McGlowan also went on to suggest that after the latest Fox attack on President Obama after his speech on the Middle East this week that Hollywood Jews are going to abandon him in droves.

Media Matters has more on that — Right-Wing Media’s Deranged Attack: Obama “Sided With Terrorists”:

Right-wing media unleashed a crazed onslaught after President Obama’s speech on the Middle East, outrageously asserting that Obama “sided with terrorists” by saying that the 1967 borders should guide negotiations over the formation of a Palestinian state. But this position is nothing new, and American Jewish groups praised today’s speech. Read on…

The Audacity of Hate: Birthers, Deathers, Deniers, Racists and Barack Obama


The Audacity of Hate: Birthers, Deathers, Deniers, Racists and Barack Obama

WALTER BRASCH

The latest garbage spewing hate as it circles the Internet in a viral state of panic continues a three year smear against Barack Obama.

The attacks had begun with the extreme right wing spitting out Obama’s full name-Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as if somehow he wasn’t an American but connected to the Iraqi dictator who, despite the Bush Administration’s best efforts, had no connections to 9/11.

When the right-wingers and Tea Party Pack get tired of their “cutesy” attempts to link Obama to militant Muslims, they launch half-truths and lies to claim he wasn’t born in the United States. Like Jaws, Jason, or Freddy Krueger, “birther” propaganda keeps returning, even when independent state officials and analysts proved the claims false.

The issue simmered on Fox TV and talk radio until Donald Trump, the man with the planet-sized ego and the bacteria-sized brain, inserted his persona into the issue, while pontificating about becoming the next president. The media, exhausted from having to cover the antics of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, turned their news columns over to the man who would be God-if only it paid better.

The Wing Nut Cotillion, with Trump getting the headlines, then demanded Obama produce a long-form birth certificate-which he did while leading a combined White House-CIA-Pentagon effort to find and destroy Osama bin Laden. The truth still hasn’t quieted the conspiracy nuts.

Not willing to accept truth and logic, the extreme right wing, grasping for anything they could find, have attacked the raid that killed bin Laden. Among their screeches are that bin Laden isn’t dead . . . that he was killed a week earlier or even years earlier . . . that Obama had hidden the death until there was a more political time to reveal it . . . that it was George W. Bush (who publicly said six months after 9/11 that he didn’t care about bin Laden) who deserves all the credit . . . and that while Navy SEALS should get credit, Obama is too weak to have overseen any part of the mission.

And now from the caves of ignorance and hatred comes a much-forwarded letter, which the anonymous author says “shouldn’t surprise anyone.” Written as fact, the letter informs us Barack Obama: “never held a ‘real’ job, never owned a business and as far as we know, never really attended Harvard or Columbia since those transcripts have never been released and no one remembers him from their time at either school.”

The email of hate further “enlightens” us that “Being a community activist only gives someone insite [sic] on how to assist the less fortunate and dregs of society on how to acquire government housing and government benefits without ever contributing one penny in taxes.”

That’s right. The Whackadoodles Wearing Tinfoil Caps crowd has escaped again.

Among those community activists who worked with the “dregs of society,” apparently on ways to scam the government, are St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), founder of the Franciscan order and patron saint of animals and the environment; Jacob Riis (1849-1914), a journalist and photographer who exposed the squalor of slums and tenement buildings; Dorothy Day (1897-1980), a journalist who founded the Catholic Worker Movement that advocated nonviolent action to help the poor and homeless, and who the archdiocese of New York, at the direction of Pope John Paul II, began a process leading to beatification; and Jane Addams (1860-1935), who fought for better conditions for children and mothers, was active in the progressive campaigns of Teddy Roosevelt and who, like Roosevelt, earned a Nobel Peace Prize. Those who rail against community activists for not having “real” jobs would also oppose Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), who tirelessly established the nation’s most effective organizational structure to help the poor and disenfranchised to gain a voice against political, economic, and social oppression; Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903-1998), America’s foremost pediatrician, for leading antiwar campaigns; Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), who helped get farm workers respectable pay and decent working conditions; Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) who, with hundreds of thousands of others, forced a nation to finally confront its racism; and innumerable leaders of the feminist and gay rights communities who got America to confront their other prejudices. All were community activists.

Not dregs because they have “real” jobs are the bankers and Wall Street investors who brought about the housing crisis that led to the worst depression in the past seven decades. Also exempt from contempt are the business owners who downsized, right-sized, and shipped their production overseas, throwing millions of Americans out of work.

Barack Obama, castigated for not having a “real job,” worked more than a year as research associate and editor at the Business International Corp., three years as director of Developing Community Projects, a church-based group for eight Catholic parishes, and summer jobs at law firms. Other “not real” jobs include being an author, civil rights lawyer, and a professor of Constitutional law at one of the nation’s more prestigious colleges. Frankly, it’s rather nice to have a president who actually understands the Constitution-as opposed to the rabble who misquote, misstate, and misappropriate it all the time.

Those propagating the email of hate believe Obama couldn’t earn degrees from Ivy League colleges; the subtext is as clear as their refusal to believe in an integrated nation. So, I contacted the registrars at Columbia and Harvard. In less than 10 minutes, the registrar at Columbia confirmed that Barack Obama received a B.A. in political science, and the registrar at Harvard Law School confirmed Obama received a J.D. These are public records. Anyone can ask the same questions, and get the same answer. Logic alone should have shot down these accusations. Obama was editor of the Harvard Law Review, something as easy to verify as his graduation, and he passed the Illinois bar exam-which requires graduation from college and law school, and a personal character test-also a matter of public record.

Even if Obama provided official transcripts, which are confidential, the wing nuts of society will claim that, like the birth certificate and the death of bin Laden, the transcripts were faked.

The truth is that the politics of hate, combined with media complicity and Internet access, has led not to a discussion of issues but to character assassination, with racism and bigotry as its pillars.

Hysterical American Right Foamy-Mouthed Over Obama’s Speech


Instantaneous Outrageous Outrage: ‘Obama Sides with Palestinians!’

Distorted AP article triggers yet another fake outrage

In three short paragraphs about President Obama’s speech this morning, the Associated Press warps the story beyond recognition: Obama says Palestine must be based in 1967 borders.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is endorsing the Palestinians’ demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, in a move that will likely infuriate Israel. Israel says the borders of a Palestinian state have to be determined through negotiations.

In a speech outlining U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa, Obama on Thursday sided with the Palestinians’ opening position a day ahead of a visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is vehemently opposed to referring to the 1967 borders.

Until Thursday, the U.S. position had been that the Palestinian goal of a state based on the 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, should be reconciled with Israel’s desire for a secure Jewish state through negotiations.

Wow. Rarely have I seen such blatant distortion in a mainstream news release. Here’s the exact quote from Obama’s speech:

The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

Note: he didn’t say “1967 borders,” he didn’t “side with the Palestinians,” and he absolutely did still insist on mutually agreed swaps and secure borders for both countries. It’s nothing but a re-wording of the same position the US has taken for many years.

Based on this distorted and very misleading AP article, Fox News instantly put together a screaming fake outrage headline, currently leading on their front page:

Drudge Report also jumped on it, running a huge headline: “OBAMA SIDES WITH PALESTINIANS!”

And of course, it’s already all over the right wing blogosphere that President Obama “told Israel to move back to the pre-1967 borders.”

No. He didn’t.

All this fake outrage spread throughout the Internet within minutes after the President’s speech, like a virtual wingnut flash mob.

I guess it’s too much to ask these people to report what the President actually said.

UPDATE at 5/19/11 4:50:18 pm

Ben Smith comments:

Count me among those who have covered spats between the U.S. and Israel in some detail, and are a bit perplexed why sources from the New York Times to Benjamin Netanyahu are acting as though a Rubicon has been crossed by Obama’s restating universal assumptions and U.S. policy, and meanwhile slapping down the key Palestinian diplomatic drive.

Jeffrey Goldberg comments:

I’m amazed at the amount of insta-commentary out there suggesting that the President has proposed something radical and new by declaring that Israel’s 1967 borders should define — with land-swaps — the borders of a Palestinian state. I’m feeling a certain Groundhog Day effect here. This has been the basic idea for at least 12 years. This is what Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were talking about at Camp David, and later, at Taba. This is what George W. Bush was talking about with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. So what’s the huge deal here? Is there any non-delusional Israeli who doesn’t think that the 1967 border won’t serve as the rough outline of the new Palestinian state?

UPDATE at 5/19/11 5:00:44 pm

This section of Obama’s speech is certainly not “siding with the Palestinians” — in fact, he’s clearly saying that Palestinians will never have a state while they reject Israel’s right to exist:

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.

Pamela Geller “America’s Most Deranged Blogger”


Pamela Geller Rages at the Independent’s Accurate Article

Shrieking Harpy says, ‘I love Muslims!’

She’s looking more and more like SKELETOR!

“I ♥ me some Muslims!”
The Independent’s Robert Chalmers has a very balanced and fair look at Pamela Geller: American patriot or extremist firebrand?And of course, any balanced and fair examination of the Shrieking Harpy can only come to one conclusion: she’s desperately unhinged.

What’s striking about this article, though, is that Geller completely lacks the courage of her convictions. When confronted about her bizarre, hate-filled posts, she invariably attempts to pretend she didn’t really say what she did really say. It’s a “joke,” or it’s somebody else’s writing that she just happened to put on her blog for no particular reason, or it’s “taken out of context.” Like many extremists and bigots, underneath the bluster and the hateful statements Geller is a coward.

For example:

Among the many new things I have learnt from the work of Pamela Geller is that President Obama reputedly used to knock around with a crack whore.

“That,” the author, blogger and broadcaster insists, “is not what I said. You are taking this out of context. The post [on her website atlasshrugs.com] was pointing out how people were reporting lie after lie about Sarah Palin. I said to myself, there is so much about Obama we don’t print. In his youth,” she continues, repeating a story for which there exists absolutely no foundation, “he supposedly liked a girl who was a crack whore. I never reported it as fact. They say all these vile things about Palin but do we ever talk about Obama and the crack whore?”

The incredibly libellous post, entitled: “IT’S TIME TO EXPOSE THE TRUTH ABOUT OBAMA” appeared on 1 August 2009. “Why not tell the truth about Obama and his reported strange sexual predilections?” Geller wrote. “It is well known that he allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth. Very seedy stuff … Find the ho, give her a show! Obama allegedly trafficked in some very deviant practices.”

Pretty hard to take that out of context, wouldn’t you say?

Chalmers emailed me to ask for my reaction to Geller’s insults:

She began blogging on littlegreenfootballs.com, run by the professional musician and software expert Charles Johnson. Between 2004 and 2007, she posted thousands of entries. “She was always as reactionary,” he tells me, “as you see her now.”

Johnson, who, as that remark would suggest, does not share Geller’s opinions, is described as a “mental patient” on Atlas Shrugs.

“I know Pamela Geller often calls me crazy,” he told me. “But I’m not the one who talks about the president’s birth certificate being faked or says that he’s the illegitimate son of Malcolm X, and I’m not the one who defends a war criminal and makes alliances with white supremacist groups. That would be Ms Geller. She has a very long record of absolute lunacy, mixed with bigotry and racism and I am far from the only person to point this out.”

Please note: the article says Geller posted “entries” at LGF, but that’s not accurate. She posted comments only; even when LGF focused heavily on Islamic extremism, there was no way I’d ever let someone this crazed and illiterate post front page entries here.

The overall picture you get from the Independent’s article is of a pathetic, intellectually challenged bigot who thrives on the attention, and the Shrieking Harpy has responded to Chalmers’ article with her customary insults and incoherent rage: Independent Sunday Magazine Cover Story: Pamela Geller ‘The most dangerous woman in America???????’

Robert Chalmers could not disappoint his judgemental peers and risk losing his cache with the lemmings; hence he commiserated with intellectual frauds like Charles Johnson and an unnamed journalist who actually attempted amateur Geller psychoanalysis (as if), but Chalmers chose not to speak to the people I actually work with, like Robert Spencer, Pamela Hall, James Lafferty etc.,

Geller seems to believe that Chalmers was actually sympathetic to her, but too afraid to say so. Good grief.

Pamela Geller is definitely not the “most dangerous woman in America,” but she just might take the title of “most deranged blogger in America.”

Read the whole thing…

Seymour Hersh: Military Branch Being Run By ‘Crusaders’


Seymour Hersh: Military Branch Being Run By ‘Crusaders’

The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh alleged in a speech in Qatar that key branches of the U.S. military are being led by Christian fundamentalist “crusaders” who are determined to “turn mosques into cathedrals.”

Hersh was speaking at the Doha campus of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service earlier this week. He made the comments while discussing a forthcoming book he is writing. A writer for Foreign Policy magazine attended the event and reported his remarks.

“What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” Hersh said.

He said that the attitude that “pervades” a large portion of the Joint Special Operations Command, which is part of the military’s special forces branch and which has carried out secret missions to kill American targets, is one that supports “[changing] mosques into cathedrals.”

Hersh also said that Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before his tenure as the top general in Afghanistan, as well as his successor and many other JSOC members, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.” Blake Hounsell, the reporter for Foreign Policy, speculated that Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Catholic organization.

“Many of them are members of Opus Dei,” Hersh said. “They do see what they’re doing…it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

He also criticized President Obama, saying, “Just when we needed an angry black man, we didn’t get one.”