Archive for GOP

Sheldon Adelson: “All Terrorists are Islamic”

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by loonwatch

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is the biggest patron of Newt Gingrich's presidential bid, giving a reported $10m to a Gingrich-supporting Super Pac. Photograph: Vincent Yu/AP

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is the biggest patron of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, giving a reported $10m to a Gingrich-supporting Super Pac. Photograph: Vincent Yu/AP

Newt Gingrich’s former, and Mitt Romney’s soon-to-be sugar-daddy, Sheldon Adelson recently commented on terrorism, and how he believes all terrorists are “Islamic” or “Islamist.”

Sheldon Adelson could have saved himself from looking like a complete doofus and unintelligent moron if he read our most popular article: “All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% of Terrorists that Aren’t”

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The Right Wing’s Election-Year Islamophobia Fuels a New Smear Campaign Against Obama

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2012 by loonwatch

Barack_Obama

Barack Obama

Interesting article about the evolving “Obama is a Muslim” myth and the raging Islamophobia in the GOP, as well as the reality of Obama’s relationship with Muslims in both the US and overseas:

The Right Wing’s Election-Year Islamophobia Fuels a New Smear Campaign Against Obama

by John Feffer (AlterNet)

Those who fervently believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim generally practice their furtive religion in obscure recesses of the Internet. Once in a while, they’ll surface in public to remind the news media that no amount of evidence can undermine their convictions.

In October 2008, at a town hall meeting in Minnesota for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, a woman called Obama “an Arab.” McCain responded, incongruously enough, that Obama was, in fact, “a decent family man” and not an Arab at all. In an echo of this, a woman recently stood up at a town hall in Florida and began a question for Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum by asserting that the president “is an avowed Muslim.” The audience cheered, and Santorum didn’t bother to correct her.

Though they belong to a largely underground cult, the members of the Obama-is-Muslim congregation number as many as one third of all Republicans. Arecent poll found that only 14% percent of Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi believe that the president is Christian.

These true believers treat their scraps of evidence like holy relics: the president’s middle name, his grandfather’s religion, a widely circulated photo of Obama in a turban. They occasionally traffic in outright fabrications: that he attended a radical madrasa in Indonesia as a child or that he put his hand on the Qur’an to be sworn in as president. An even more apocalyptic subset believes Obama to be nothing short of the anti-Christ.

By and large, however, this cult doesn’t attract mainstream support from the larger church of Obama haters. Indeed, these more orthodox faithful have carefully shifted the debate from Obama being Muslim to Obama actingMuslim. Evangelical pundits, presidential candidates, and the right-wing media have all ramped up their attacks on the president for, as Baptist preacher Franklin Graham put it recently on MSNBC, “giving Islam a pass.”

The conservative mainstream still calls the president’s religious beliefs into question, but they stop just short of accusing him of apostasy and concealment. What they consider safe is the assertion that Obama is acting as if he were Muslim. In this way, Republican mandarins are cleverly channeling a conspiracy theory into a policy position.

There is a whiff of desperation in all this.  After all, it’s not an easy time for the GOP. The economy shows modest signs of improvement. The Republican presidential candidates are still engaged in a fratricidal primary. By expanding counterterrorism operations and killing Osama bin Laden, the president has effectively removed national security from the list of Republican talking points.

One story, however, still ties together so many narrative threads for conservatives. Charges that the president is a socialist or a Nazi or an elitist supporter of college education certainly push some buttons. But the single surefire way of grabbing the attention of the media and the public — as well as appealing to the instincts of the Republican base — is to assert, however indirectly, that Barack Obama is a Manchurian candidate sent from the Islamic world.

Obama and the Muslim World

A succession of Republican candidates have attempted to run to the right of party favorite Mitt Romney by asserting that only a true conservative can defeat Obama in November. Most of them boasted of the same powerful backer. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all declared that God asked them to run for higher office. Together with Newt Gingrich, they have deployed various methods of appealing to their constituencies, but none is more potent than religion.

Rick Santorum, a Catholic and the favorite of the evangelical community, has been particularly adept at using his soapbox as a pulpit. The president subscribes to a “phony theology,” Santorum has claimed, “not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.” Although he occasionally asserts that “Obama’s personal faith is none of my concern,” he nonetheless speaks of the president’s attempt to “impose values on people of faith”– implying that the president is certainly no member of that community.

In his attacks on the president’s spirituality, Santorum is cleverly attacking Mitt Romney’s Mormonism as well (a theology also based on text other than the Bible). At the same time, the suggestion that Obama is somehow “other” operates as a code word for “Black” in a race in which race goes largely unmentioned.

It’s an odd set of charges. Obama, after all, did everything possible during his first presidential campaign to foreground his Christianity. He was repeatedly seen praying in churches and assiduously avoided mosques. He never made a campaign appearance with a prominent Muslim. He talked about his “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ.

The day after he clinched the Democratic Party nomination in 2008, he gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in which he reaffirmed that he was “a true friend of Israel.” Although he would occasionally mention his Muslim relatives and the time he spent in Indonesia as a child, he generally did whatever he could to emphasize only two out of the three major monotheisms.

As president, Obama has certainly “reached out” to the Muslim world. In Cairo, in June 2009, he spoke of seeking “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

That new beginning, however, has yet to come. At home, for example, the Obama administration provided federal funds that the New York City Police Department then used to expand its surveillance of Muslim American neighborhoods. (Even the CIA was involved in this “human mapping” project.) The FBI has spent the Obama years rounding up suspected Muslim terrorists in operations that flirt dangerously with entrapment. The administration has expanded the no-fly list, though because the list is secret it’s difficult to know whether Muslim-Americans are specifically profiled. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that they are.

The administration’s record internationally is even more disappointing. The conduct of U.S. troops in Afghanistan — the night raids, massacres (including the recent murders of 16 Afghan villagers), and the Qur’an burnings — have enraged local Muslims. Obama has expanded the CIA’s drone air campaign by a considerable margin in the Pakistani borderlands. Civilian casualties, overwhelmingly Muslim, continue to occur there and in other “overseas contingency operations” as U.S. Special Operations Forces have dramatically expanded their activities in the Muslim world.

Despite right-wing charges, Obama has maintained a tight relationship with Israel and the Israeli leadership. As former New Republiceditor Peter Beinart concludes, “The story of Obama’s relationship to [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and his American Jewish allies is, fundamentally, a story of acquiescence.”

It’s no surprise, then, that surveys in six Middle East countries taken just before and two months after the Cairo speech in 2009, the Brookings Institution and Zogby International discoveredthat the number of respondents optimistic about the president’s approach to the region had suffered a dramatic drop: from 51% to 16%. A 2011 Pew poll found that U.S. favorability ratings had continued their slide in Jordan (to 13%), Pakistan (12%), and Turkey (10%).

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Majority Whip Sen. Durbin: GOP Candidates at War with Islam

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Sen. Dick Durbin dropping some truth about the Republicans:

Majority Whip Sen. Durbin: GOP candidates at war with Islam

Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) appeared on Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien to discuss the flare up of violence in Afghanistan.

Durbin says, “And understand, just go back to history a little bit to 9/11, President George W. Bush, I sure had my differences with him, but I thought he got it right, and he stuck with it through his presidency. He said our war is not with the religion of Islam. Our war is with those who would distort it and turn it into terrorism. And I think that was a bright spot kind of a guiding principle. It was adopted by President Obama. Now, listen to these Republican candidates for president. They’re at war with Islam.”

CNN Contributor Will Cain counters, “Senator Durbin, I haven’t heard one thing that backs up what you suggest. Just give me an example, how are they at war with Islam?

Referencing the Quran burnings, Durbin replies, “Newt Gingrich saying that the president is guilty of appeasement…. What you listen to is incendiary rhetoric coming out in a very delicate situation. Lives are at stake here. The president is showing leadership. The president is stepping up, trying to calm a situation. These three candidates are coming on television doing the opposite.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs week mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Singling Out Islam: Newt Gingrich’s Pandering Attacks

The former House speaker regularly calls for treating Muslims differently — and his discriminatory remarks are mostly forgiven. 

It’s interesting to observe what qualifies as beyond the pale in American politics. For bigoted newsletters written two decades ago, Ron Paul is deemed by many to be disqualified from the presidency. I don’t fault anyone for criticizing those newsletters. I’ve done so myselfThey’re terrible. So is the way he’s handled the controversy. But isn’t it interesting that Paul has been more discredited by years-old, ghostwritten remarks than has Newt Gingrich for bigotry that he’s uttered himself, on camera, during the present campaign? It’s gone largely ignored both in the mainstream press and the movement-conservative organs that were most vocal condemning Paul.

That’s because Muslims are the target. And despite the fact that George W. Bush was admirably careful to avoid demonizing a whole religious faith for the actions of a small minority of its adherents — despite the fact that Barack Obama too has been beyond reproach in this respect — anti-Muslim bigotry in America is treated differently than every other kind, often by the very same people who allege without irony that there is a war in this country against Christians.

In the clip at the top of this post, Gingrich says, “Now, I think we need to have a government that respects our religions. I’m a little bit tired about respecting every religion on the planet. I’d like them to respect our religion.” Of course, the U.S. government is compelled by the Constitution to afford protection to religion generally, and “our” religion includes Islam, a faith many Americans practice. That’s just the beginning of what Gingrich has said about this minority group. In this clip, he likens Muslim Americans seeking to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan to Nazis building next to the Holocaust Museum. He once suggested that the right of Muslims to build mosques should be infringed upon by the U.S. government until Christians are permitted to build churches in Saudi Arabia, a straightforward suggestion that we violate the Constitution in order to mimic authoritarians. He favors a federal law that would pre-empt sharia law — though not the religious law of any other faith — from being used in American courts, which would be the solution to a total non-problem.

And no surprise, for he regularly engages in the most absurd kind of fear-mongering. To cite one example:

I think that we have to really, from my perspective you don’t have an issue of religious tolerance you have an elite which favors radical Islam over Christianity and Judaism. You have constant pressure by secular judges and by religious bigots to drive Christianity out of public life and to establish a secular state except when it comes to radical Islam, where all of the sudden they start making excuses for Sharia, they start making excuses that we really shouldn’t use certain language. Remember, the Organization of Islamic Countries is dedicated to preventing anyone, anywhere in the world from commenting negatively about Islam, so they would literally eliminate our free speech and there were clearly conversations held that implied that the U.S. Justice Department would begin to enforce censorship against American citizens to protect radical Islam, I think that’s just an amazing concept frankly.

If Gingrich believed all of this it would be damning. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether it is more or less damning that his tone, and much of his substance, is in fact a calculated pander. Justin Elliott at Salon demonstrated as much when he delved into how Gingrich used to talk about these issues:

Gingrich’s recent rhetoric represents a little-noticed shift from an earlier period in his career when he had a strikingly warm relationship with the American Muslim community. As speaker of the House in the 1990s, for example, Gingrich played a key role in setting aside space on Capitol Hill for Muslim congressional staffers to pray each Friday; he was involved with a Republican Islamic group that promoted Shariah-compliant finance, which critics — including Gingrich — now deride as a freedom-destroying abomination; and he maintained close ties with another Muslim conservative group that even urged Gingrich to run for president in 2007.

The article goes on to note:

Gingrich’s warm relations with the Muslim community continued well into the mid-2000s. Around 2004, for example, he participated in a planning meeting of the Islamic Free Market Institute, according to an activist who also attended the meeting. “His tone was nothing like what you hear today,” recalls the activist. “He was very positive, very supportive. His whole attitude was that Muslims are part of the American fabric and that Muslim Americans should be Republicans.” By the standards of the Gingrich we know today, the Islamic Free Market Institute was essentially engaged in “stealth jihad.” The now defunct group, founded by conservative activist Grover Norquist in 1998 to woo Muslim Americans to the GOP, was involved in educating the public and policymakers about Islamic or Shariah-compliant finance. Its 2004 IRS filing reported the group spent tens of thousands of dollars to “educate the public about Islam[ic] finances, insurance, banking and investments.” To most people, there’s nothing nefarious about Islamic finance — there is a large international banking business centering on special financial instruments that are compliant with Islamic strictures against interest, and so on.

So in 2004 Gingrich attended a planning meeting of a group devoted to promoting Shariah-compliant finance. Fast forward to 2010 and here’s what he said in his speech to the American Enterprise Institute: “[I]t’s why I think teaching about Sharia financing is dangerous, because it is the first step towards the normalization of Sharia and I believe Sharia is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”

If an American politician suggested, of Christians or Jews, that they should be required to take a special loyalty oath before assuming office; that the government should restrict where they’re permitted to build houses of worship; that laws should be passed singling out their religious law as odious; that they don’t count when Americans talk about “our” religion; that their main lobbying group should be aggressively investigated: if any American politician said any of those things, they’d be regarded as an anti-religious bigot engaged in a war on Christianity.

Whereas the accusation that there’s something wrong with Gingrich’s rhetoric is met on the right with righteous indignation, as if he is the put-upon victim of political correctness or the elite media.

In the 1980s, the Ron Paul newsletters played on white anxiety about urban crime and racism toward blacks. It was awful. And apparently America didn’t learn its lesson, for Gingrich 2012, like Cain 2012 before it, is playing on majority anxieties about terrorism and xenophobia toward Muslims. This is particularly dangerous in the civil-liberties climate produced by Bush and Obama, where American citizens can be deprived of their liberty and even their life without charges or due process, a protection that is especially valuable to feared minorities.

North Carolina GOP Lawmaker Calls For Bringing Back Public Hangings, Starting With Abortion Providers

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2012 by loonwatch

What if he were Muslim?

North Carolina GOP Lawmaker Calls For Bringing Back Public Hangings, Starting With Abortion Providers

By Marie Diamond (Thinkprogress)

The last legal public hanging in America took place in 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The “event” attracted 20,000 people and turned into such a sickening spectacle that many credit it with ending the practice in the U.S.

But one North Carolina Republican believes that as a country we’ve grown soft since banning public hangings and is calling for them to reinstated as a deterrent to crime. If Rep. Larry Pittman had his way, “abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers” would be first in line for the gallows:

Republican Rep. Larry Pittman, who was appointed to the District 82 House seat in October, expressed his views in an email sent Wednesday to every member of the General Assembly. […]

“We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”

As ThinkProgress reported, last year Republicans in South Carolina, Nebraska, and Iowa pushed legislation that would essentially legalize the murder of abortion providers. Such radical sentiments have been echoed by prominent conservatives like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who said during his 2004 campaign, “I favor the death penalty for abortionists.”

“Judenrat Jon” Stewart

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2012 by loonwatch

“Judenrat Jon” Stewart

by: David Harris-Gershon on January 7th, 2012

When Jon Stewart is called a “smug, self-loathing Jew” by a right-wing Jewish personality (who is often called upon by conservative pundits to wax political), it’s tempting to dismiss the comment as a disgusting tribal dig.

When Jon Stewart is called a Judenrat who “would have been first on line to turn over his fellow Jews in Poland and Germany” by this same hawkish voice, it’s tempting – even though this voice has a visible platform – to just ignore the comment as the product of the Republican, FOX-inspired echo chamber.

However, ignoring these comments wouldn’t just be dangerous, it would be to allow a growing brand of hatred coursing through America’s veins – produced on the fringes – to continue infecting our public discourse (and public opinion) on matters both foreign and domestic.

It’s a hate-filled islamophobia that masquerades as patriotic, as anti-terrorism, as proudly American and Zionist (as though the two are synonymous). It’s a brand of hatred that the current GOP seeks, a hatred it feels it needs, a hatred it foments for perceived political gain at great cost to civil society. And, as much as it pains me as a progressive Jewish American to say, it’s a hatred right-wing American Jews are often solicited to be spokespeople for on venues like Fox News, with claims of anti-Semitism at the ready should they be critiqued by people such as, well, Jon Stewart.

So, wait – what happened to Jon Stewart, exactly? – you ask. Here is the context:

Jason Jones and The Daily Show crew produced this rather brilliant segment on how Broward County Republicans orchestrated a campaign to block membership of a Muslim Republican to the Broward Republican Party’s executive committee. This was done with the help of the Muslim-hating group ironically called Americans Against Hate (headed by Joe Kaufman, who is running against Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Congress).

The segment elicited this disgusting display from Pamela Geller:

This is not the first time that The Daily Show made fun of, ridiculed, and smeared proud Americans and passionate zionists. What’s he doing? And why? Does he know how much CAIR raised for their home office, Hamas, whose stated goal is to destroy the Jewish homeland, through the Holy Land Foundation? Stewart missed his calling. He would have been first on line to turn over his fellow Jews in Poland and Germany. Smug self-loathing Jew.

Yes, Geller is a nut. And yes, this particular display has been limited – so far – to her personal site. But Geller, just one of many fringe figures who inexplicably get airtime aplenty, knows what she’s doing. She knows the game: play the anti-Semitism card.

And not just any anti-Semitism card – the self-hating-Jew card. And she plays it against one of our country’s most important media critics and defenders of reason. Why? Because he represents exactly what she and her right-wing minions loathe: someone willing to call out islamophobia for what it is, even when promoted by American Jews.

While it would be easy to dismiss all this due to the messenger, does Jon Stewart shy away from railing against hatred and bigotry when it is perpetrated by the unhinged?

Nope.

And neither should we.

Santorum wants to impose ‘Judeo-Christian Sharia’

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2012 by loonwatch
Santorum
Rick Santorum bows his head in prayer during a campaign rally in Iowa this week.

(H/T: Ali5)

Santorum wants to impose ‘Judeo-Christian Sharia’

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN

CNN Editor’s note: Dean Obeidallah is a comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Axis of Evil” special, ABC’s “The View,” CNN’s “What the Week” and HLN’s “The Joy Behar Show.” He is executive producer of the annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and the Amman Stand Up Comedy Festival. Follow him on Twitter.

(CNN) – There are two Rick Santorums: The first one I might not agree with, but the second one truly scares me.

“Santorum One” pushes for less government regulation for corporations and shrinking the federal government. You may or may not agree with these positions, but they are both mainstream conservative fare.

Then there’s “Santorum Two.” This Santorum wants to impose conservative Christian law upon America. Am I being hyperbolic or overly dramatic with this statement? I wish I were, but I’m not.

Plainly put, Rick Santorum wants to convert our current legal system into one that requires our laws to be in agreement with religious law, not unlike what the Taliban want to do in Afghanistan.

Santorum is not hiding this. The only reason you may not be aware of it is because up until his recent surge in the polls, the media were ignoring him. However, “Santorum Two” was out there telling anyone who would listen.

He told a crowd at a November campaign stop in Iowa in no uncertain terms, “our civil laws have to comport with a higher law: God’s law.”

On Thanksgiving Day at an Iowa candidates’ forum, he reiterated: “We have civil laws, but our civil laws have to comport with the higher law.”

Yes, that means exactly what you think it does: Santorum believes that each and every one of our government’s laws must match God’s law, warning that “as long as there is a discordance between the two, there will be agitation.” I’m not exactly sure what “agitation” means in this context, but I think it’s a code word for something much worse than acid reflux.

And as an aside, when Santorum says “God,” he means “not any god (but) the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” So, if your god differs from Rick’s, your god’s views will be ignored, just like the father is on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

Some of you might be asking: How far will “Santorum Two” take this? It’s not like he’s going to base public policy decisions on Bible passages, right?

Well, here’s what Santorum had to say just last week when asked about his opposition to gay marriage: “We have Judeo-Christian values that are based on biblical truth. … And those truths don’t change just because people’s attitudes may change.”

Santorum could not be more unambiguous: His policy decisions will be based on “biblical truths,” and as he noted, these “truths” will not change regardless of whether public opinion has evolved since the time the Bible was written thousands of years ago.

Imagine if either of the two Muslim members of Congress declared their support for a proposed American law based on verses from the Quran. The outcry would be deafening, especially from people like Santorum.

One of the great ironies is that Santorum has been a leader in sounding alarm bells that Muslims want to impose Islamic law — called Sharia law — upon non-Muslims in America. While Santorum fails to offer even a scintilla of credible evidence to support this claim, he continually warns about the “creeping” influence of Muslim law.

Santorum’s fundamental problem with Sharia law is that it’s “not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature and origin, but it is a civil code.”

Consequently, under the Sharia system, the civil laws of the land must comport with God’s law. Now, where did I hear about someone wanting to impose only laws that agree with God’s law in America?

So, what type of nation might the United States be under Rick Santorum’s Sharia law?

1. Rape victims would be forced to give birth to the rapist’s child. Santorum has stated that his religious beliefs dictate that life begins at conception, and as a result, rape victims would be sentenced to carrying the child of the rapist for nine months.

2. Gay marriages would be annulled. Santorum recently declaredthat not only does he oppose gay marriages, but he supports a federal constitutional amendment that would ban them, invalidating all previous gay marriages that have legally been sanctioned by states and thus callously destroying marriages and thrusting families into chaos.

3. Santorum would ban all federal funding for birth control and would not oppose any state that wanted to pass laws making birth control illegal.

4. No porn! I’m not kidding. Santorum signed “The Marriage Vow”pledge (PDF) authored by the Family Leader organization, under which he swears to oppose pornography. I think many would agree that alone should disqualify him from being president.

To me, “Santorum Two” truly poses an existential threat to the separation of church and state, one of the bedrock principles of our nation since its inception. Not only did Thomas Jefferson speak of the need to create “a wall of separation between church and state,” so did Santorum’s idol, Ronald Reagan, who succinctly stated, “church and state are, and must remain, separate.”

While there may be millions of Americans who in their heart agree with the views of “Santorum Two,” it is my hope they will reject any attempts to move America closer to a becoming the Afghanistan of the Western Hemisphere.