Archive for Colbert Report

In Muslim community, Lee Baca wins support through conversation, not confrontation

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by loonwatch

Sheriff Lee Baca, a Republican,  made LoonWatch’s 2010 list of anti-Loons and is in one of the leaders for 2011. Here he is still doing a tremendous job.

In Muslim community, Baca wins support through conversation, not confrontation

The L.A. County sheriff, a Republican with a strong reputation as a crime fighter, believes in building trust within minority communities. He reads the Koran and shuns hard-line tactics.

By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

April 19, 2011

Reporting from New York— Three young women, all wearing delicate hijabs, are gathered outside a TriBeCa lecture hall in eager anticipation. It’s not an actor or a pop star they’re waiting for. The object of their giddiness is Sheriff Lee Baca, in town for just one night.

It might be unusual for a lawman anywhere to have fans, let alone one a continent away from his jurisdiction. But such is the life of Los Angeles County’s chief law enforcement officer since his outspoken support of American Muslims vaulted him into the national spotlight.

“I just want to meet you and thank you,” one young woman blurts out after catching Baca outside a recent speaking engagement on Muslim outreach. “You gave us a voice.”

In an only-Nixon-could-go-to-China kind of way, Baca, a former Marine reservist and registered Republican, has been largely immune to the innuendo that has caused other politicians to distance themselves from Muslims post 9/11. He has bucked the hard-line law enforcement approach of security checks and surveillance in favor of outreach and cooperation.

His law-and-order credentials have made him an irresistible ally for Muslim advocates, earning him shout-outs on national TV shows, including “The Colbert Report” and invitations to the halls of Congress. On more than one occasion he’s been the only law enforcement official willing to mix it up with Republican lawmakers on the issue.

In New York, where Baca preached the benefits of Muslim outreach on a panel about national security, the sheriff seemed energized by his warm reception. “Did you see those girls? Do they look like terrorists to you?” he said of the gaggle of young Muslim women who greeted him. “They’re not terrorists. I know my public.”

Reading the Koran

The events of 9/11 quickly took Baca in an unusual direction. When many politicians chose an arms-length approach to Muslims, Baca chose the Koran — literally. In the black sedan that ferried him from one engagement to another, he pored over the book, reading it from front to back, memorizing passages.

Within days of the terrorist attack, Baca met with local Muslim leaders, promising them protection. Responding to reports that Pakistani store owners were being hassled, Baca ordered his deputies “to go by the 7-Elevens and offer support.”

His empathy for a persecuted minority, he says, isn’t rooted in any sort of shared experience as a Mexican American but in an unusual childhood.

The son of a seamstress who had to care for three children on her own, Baca was sent as a boy to live with his pensioner grandparents in East L.A. His developmentally challenged uncle, then in his 30s, still lived at the home.

“He was a pound and a half at birth,” Baca said. “Couldn’t read, write, speak sentences. My uncle had no faculty, no capacity.”

With no household car, 7-year-old Leroy, his uncle and his grandmother traversed the city by bus. Those rides had a lasting effect.

“People would sneer at my uncle, laugh at him, make fun of him, and I believe that’s wrong,” Baca recalled. “We’re not bothering anyone. So how about just leaving us alone? Is that asking too much?”

His affinity for minority communities had political benefits. A long-shot candidate for sheriff in 1998, Baca got creative in his campaigning, tapping ethnic groups other candidates ignored.

“I had to have other bases of support outside the traditional realms,” he said. Among them were Iranians, Lebanese and other groups with large Muslim populations.

But his decision to intensify those ties post 9/11, he says, wasn’t political. Lapses on the federal level exposed by the attacks put a newfound pressure on local law enforcement. “All of our lives have been changed by 9/11,” Baca said. “We’re the ones who will get slammed if something falls through the cracks.”

Thousands of tips flooded law enforcement agencies after 9/11. Even leads that seemed silly had to be followed. “The one you don’t follow will end up being the one that matters,” Baca said. In one instance, a local group of Muslim men frequenting paintball facilities were investigated as potential terrorist snipers. They turned out to be “a buncha guys who just liked paintballing,” Baca said. “What are you gonna do? Ignore it?”

To pinpoint legitimate concerns, Baca needed his deputies inside Muslim communities. His focus on homegrown terror grew after the 2005 London Underground bombings, when four men, all living and working in England for years, killed 52.

“I realized we didn’t have a strategy for homegrown terrorism,” Baca said. “Cops are not gonna be invited into an extremist plot. That’s rule No. 1…. But if you get people to tell you something that’s troubling them, that’s the first sign of success.”

To build enough trust to be tipped off to extremist plots, Baca needed his deputies to become hyper-responsive to the Muslim community’s more routine crime concerns.

Less upfront tactics have at times backfired on other agencies. In Orange County, the FBI is still suffering from the fallout of a 2006 operation in which a paid informant posing as a Muslim convert infiltrated mosques.

The mole, equipped with a microphone keychain and a hidden camera, was outed soon after his talk of violent jihad became so extreme that one mosque was granted a restraining order. Many Muslims still point to the incident as proof that they’re too often treated by law enforcement as suspects, not partners.

Baca is reluctant to criticize the FBI, but his disdain for its style of covert intelligence gathering shows.

“I think they learned on their own what the plusses and minuses are. I believe terror plots are more sophisticated. I’m more of a chess player,” he said. “There are so few Muslim extremists in America. You can’t burn all the hay to find the needle, because the people are the hay.”

After initial struggles to make inroads, Baca’s Muslim community affairs unit, which staffs two deputies fulltime, has well-attended community exchanges and receives regular calls from Muslims with concerns that are terrorism-related and other issues. Baca’s personal involvement has softened up many of the community’s older, more reluctant leaders. The department employs about a dozen Muslim deputies and half that many Arabic speakers.

“They want to be able to say ‘I know the sheriff,’” said Sgt. Mike Abdeen, who leads the unit. “They like to go back to the community and say I know so and so, I’m a man of influence.”

Baca has been quick to accept their invitations — and fully participates when he does. At a PakistanDay celebration, he wore traditional garb. With Iranians, he’ll throw in some Farsi; with Pakistanis, a bit of Urdu. He keeps a Koran in his office and another at home and is known to quote passages from memory. Inside mosques, he removes his shoes and during prayers, he joins in, going to his knees and pressing his forehead to the ground.

“He might not understand what he’s doing,” said Deputy Sherif Morsi, the other officer in the unit. “But the point is he’s letting people know ‘I’m your sheriff, I support you.’”

That commitment has taken Baca to more than a dozen Middle Eastern countries since 9/11. The tangible benefits of the trips aren’t always clear, but Baca maintains they give him a unique window into Muslim cultures and to counterterrorism where the fight’s the fiercest.

In Saudi Arabia, he watched hundreds of police recruits march as he and other officials sat in “very elegant seats as if we were heads of state.” Afterwards, they sat on rugs in police headquarters and feasted on a barbequed lamb. “They ripped out the choicest pieces of meat for us with their hands,” Baca raved.

In Egypt, he chatted with the national police chief about his “surgical” approach to beating back the Muslim Brotherhood on the Sinai Peninsula. In Pakistan, then-President Pervez Musharraf agreed to have Baca briefed on two assassination attempts. In one, Pakistani authorities used an Israeli cellphone scrambler to halt a remote bomb detonation. When Baca returned home, the Sheriff’s Department purchased its own.

“I met the police chief of Mecca and I understand who he is. I’m on the street, you don’t learn these things in your office,” Baca said.

Baca’s effort has not been without criticism.

Far right-wing websites have derisively described Baca as an “international” lawman, and a “Hamas-affiliated CAIR” sheriff, referring to the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim group Baca defends. Last year, the innuendo followed Baca to Washington, D.C. One congressman seemed to surprise the sheriff by accusing him at a hearing of cozying up to CAIR despite the group’s “radical” speech. “You’ve been 10 times to [its] fundraisers,” the congressman said.

“And I’ll be there 10 more times,” Baca shouted back.

CAIR is generally considered a moderate, if aggressive, Muslim civil rights group. Attacks against it haven’t dissuaded Baca. Hussam Ayloush, director of CAIR’s regional branch, said Baca is one of the few public officials who have asked for his organization’s side of the story.

“Most politicians I’ve worked with would have avoided the headache. It’s not about the truth, it’s about perception, and they don’t want to touch it,” Ayloush said.

Naive? That’s OK

On a recent evening, Baca strolled along a seedy street in Manhattan’s Chinatown. It was his second East Coast trip in as many weeks, both times to speak on Muslim outreach.

Street vendors, unaware that the stick-thin man before them was a major law enforcement figure, tried one after another to sell him knock-off purses and wallets. “How are you?” Baca greeted them, smiling wide.

Pulling in close as if to share a secret, Baca said he knew his post-9/11 stance has been attacked. Even among friends he’s been warned of being naive. He’s OK with it.

“I’m not endorsing Muslim groups. I’m defending them. ‘Oh he’s a Muslim lover, he’s a Jew lover.’ I don’t pay attention to bigots.

“I know I’m a little naive. I know I am overly trusting. That’s who I choose to be. If you’re uncomfortable with others, you’re not in a position to lead. I’ve created somewhat of a palace in my mind because, if you don’t, this world is your prison…. I can take the attacks. Attack me! Am I going to change who I am? No. Because it works.”

Stephen Colbert: Radical Muslim Snacks

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2011 by loonwatch
Stephen Colbert

Colbert does it again. Hilarious!

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
ThreatDown – Radical Muslim Snacks, Flying Robot Drones & Coked Up Vacuums<a>
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive


Reza Aslan Discusses Mooslims on the Colbert Report

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by loonwatch

Colbert interviews Reza Aslan on his newest work. Does he give a possible headnod to Loonwatch by saying “Mooslims”?

Colbert: “Is there a difference between Moslem and Muslim?”

Aslan: “There’s a difference between Moslem and Mooslim.”

The Rally to Restore Sanity: No Need to Fear Muslims

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2010 by loonwatch

Candidates for anti-Loons of the Year, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their combined Rallies to Restore Sanity and March to Keep Fear Alive on the Washington Mall, Saturday October, 30th. The event was held to promote a dialogue of reasonableness and restore rationality to the divided discourse that exists in America. Over 250,000 people showed up, more than Glenn Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor which garnered around 90,000.

Among the many messages, one was explicitly addressing the irrational fears Americans have of Muslims.

Jon Stewart on his intentions for the rally,

JON STEWART: I’m really happy you guys are here, even if none of us are really quite sure why. So, what exactly was this? I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are, and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s twenty-four-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the résumé. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate—just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

Stewart and Colbert also awarded Jacob Isom a medal for his contribution to restoring sanity,

JON STEWART: Our next honoree reacted quickly when he found himself face-to-face with a flammable situation.

JACOB ISOM: Snuck up behind him and took his Quran. He said something about burning the Quran. I was like, “Dude, you have no Quran,” and ran off.

JON STEWART: I like that. Can we hear that again, maybe with a dance remix?

JACOB ISOM: [remixed] You have no Quran. Snuck up behind him and took his Quran. Said something about burning the Quran. I was like, “Dude, you have no Quran. Dude, you have no Quran.”

JON STEWART: Thank you, YouTube. Now, obviously I don’t normally condone ripping things out of people’s hands, but I think in this situation it was the most reasonable thing to do. Ladies and gentleman, our final awardee, Jacob Isom. Sir? Come on up, brother. Oh, there you go.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Boo-ya! Dude, you have no medal! How’s that feel?

Finally, the pair of comedians had an exchange with Karim Abdul Jabbar to highlight the fact that Americans shouldn’t fear Islam and Muslims and those who are doing criminal actions are a very tiny minority:

STEPHEN COLBERT: What about Muslims?

JON STEWART: What? What about them?

STEPHEN COLBERT: They attacked us.

JON STEWART: Stephen, “they” did not. Some people who happen to be of Muslim faith attacked us. But there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Most of them—

STEPHEN COLBERT: Did not, is what you’re saying?

JON STEWART: That is correct.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Oh, Jon, oh, so you’re saying—you’re saying that there is no reason at all to be afraid of Osama bin Laden?

JON STEWART: No, Osama bin Laden is a specific person. He’s bad.

STEPHEN COLBERT: He is a specific bad Muslim person.

JON STEWART: Yeah, but that’s not—there are plenty of Muslim people that are not bad and that you would like, and that’s fine.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Oh, really? Who? Who would I like?

JON STEWART: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

JON STEWART: Yes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.


JON STEWART: That is someone that you would—

STEPHEN COLBERT: Watch your head. Kareem, my man! Hey, Kareem!

JON STEWART: You know, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is Muslim.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Well, that’s not fair, Jon. That’s not a fair example. Kareem is cool. We’re friends.

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, we’re acquaintances. You know, a real friend understands that no matter what religious position someone plays, we’re all on the same team.

It was an amazing rally, and despite all the attempts to undercut it and underplay its significance by both the media and certain politicians it was a tremendous success! The message at the end of the day was that we can have disagreements in a reasonable manner and that what binds us as humans is stronger than what divides us. As cliche as it sounds, at the end of the day it was a call for peace and love.

I leave you with this duet between Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and Ozzy Osbourne doing their respective Peace Train and Crazy Train:


Colbert on Muslim Threat Down

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2010 by loonwatch
Stephen Colbert

Colbert mocks the so called threat of Muslims taking over America. Enjoy

Stephen Colbert: It’s a Small-Minded World

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by loonwatch
Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert is on it again. This time dealing with the small-minded world we live in.

Stephen Colbert Warns of Muslim Vampires

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by loonwatch
Stephen Colbert

I love Stephen Colbert, the man is a genius! He talks about another instance ofIslamophobiapalooza. This time dealing with a rural Muslim community being told by scared residents to dig up the bodies in their cemetary because you know the only thing scarier than a live Muslim is a dead one.


Stephen Colbert: TSA Should Give all Young Muslims Involuntary Colonoscopy

Posted in Loon TV with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2010 by loonwatch
Stephen ColbertStephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert says all young Muslims should be given a colonoscopy.

David Edwards and John Byrne
Raw Story
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In a desultory rant Tuesday night, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert jabbed conservatives who are promoting racial profiling and more radical techniques after the failed Christmas bomb plot against a commercial jetliner.

“Every time a young Muslim man arrives at the airport, the TSA should respectfully take him aside and give him an involuntary colonoscopy,” Colbert quipped. “This cannot fail. Everyone knows that terrorists are all young, poor, disenfranchised Arab Muslims. Well, except the Christmas bomber, who is a middle-class well-educated Nigerian. Which, frankly, I don’t think is fair.

“We elected a black guy. What more do Nigerians want? I mean, ever since we elected JFK, the Irish haven’t terrorized us… So i guess we have to profile anyone who looks like a Nigerian too. Basically, all black people.

“And, I’m not saying all black people look alike,” Colbert continued. “I’m saying I can’t tell them apart. I mean, which of these guys is Kenyan? Of course, there was the dirty bomber Jose Padilla, so we’ll have to go after Hispanics too. Then there’s shoe bomber Richard Reid. God only knows what he is. Belgian? Patchouli? To be safe, let’s profile anyone named ‘Reid.’”

“Ben Franklin did say, ‘Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither,’” Colbert added wryly. “Then again, Franklin said a lot of things.”

This video is from Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, broadcast Jan. 5, 2010

Must Watch: Stephen Colbert Rips Christopher Caldwell

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2009 by loonwatch

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert

Christopher Caldwell, author of Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, a book which flirts with theEurabia conspiracy theory appeared on the Colbert Report to discuss his book. Colbert was in full form and in his usual satirical and humorous way made short shrift of Caldwell.