Friday, August 20, 2010

Keith's Special Comment On "Ground Zero Mosque" Goes Viral

Congrats, KO! Duking it out for top viral video honors with Eminem is quite a feat.

Sarah The Constitutional Scholar And Her New BFF

Let’s face it: Sister Sarah is the gift that keeps on giving. The woman is such a complete moron that she jumps into the “Dr.” Laura “N” word fray without giving it much thought or reflection (not that she can) or realizing the utter imbecility of her tweets. The woman who has redefined “idiot” to beyond metaphysical cluelessness even lacks the basic understanding to limit her low I.Q. on display to more than 140 characters. Which is, after all, the point of her tweeting: Keep what you say within 140 characters and you won’t sound like an idiot -- FAIL!

Here’s her latest pair of REALLY STOOPID TWEETS:

By “Laura:don't retreat...reload!” Sister Sarah seems to be urging Laura to double down (“reload”) on the “N” word. Nice.

Then the idiot totally misrepresents the First Amendment: Dr. Laura’s First Amendment rights never “ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence” her because (a) she resigned voluntarily, and (b) the First Amendment also protects the right of Dr. Laura’s critics to criticize her or threaten a boycott of her advertisers. Oh Sarah, we’re missing the part in the Constitution that forbids advertiser boycotts?

And Sarah, even if the faux doctor had been fired by her employer, here’s a Newsflash, YOU IDIOT: The First Amendment does not protect employees from restrictions on speech by private companies and organizations. Therefore, “Dr.” Laura’s employer is perfectly within its rights to terminate her employment if it finds she violated its standards and practices for permitted speech. In most private organizations in this country, anyone who repeats the word “nigger” in the workplace even one time let alone eleven, is practically begging for a pink slip.

The First Amendment, missy, protects us from government censorship and infringement on our free-speech rights! Furthermore, use of the word “shackles” in this context isn’t only insensitive and offensive, but downright racist. Even an individual as stupid as Sarah Palin should have barely, just barely sufficient gray matter to know better.

Sister Sarah is like a hapless house pet collector going, “Here Dr. Laura kitty, kitty-kitty-kitty” as she reaches into a nest of vipers. I wonder how much America’s village idiot is looking forward to “unshackled” offerings like this one from the viciously opinionated faux “doctor.” C’mon, “Dr.” Laura, why don’t you tell us what you really think of Sarah Palin!
“I am extremely disappointed in the choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Republican Party. I will still vote for Senator McCain, because I am very concerned about having a fundamental leftist, especially one who is a marvelous orator, as President…

I'm stunned - couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain? I realize his advisors probably didn’t want a “mature” woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age. But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?

I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family’s newborn.”
Cat fight, anyone?

P.S. -- For you Palin fans and teabaggers out there: Can you spell hypocrisy? Do you really think being as stupid and hypocritical as Sister Sarah is a high virtue? Sarah, here’s your big, dumb mouth coming back to BITE-YA:
“I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of [his] inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel,” Palin wrote in February. “The Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff scolded [liberal critics] calling them, ‘F---ing retarded,’ according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities -- and the people who love them -- is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.
From where we’re sitting, missy, this one looks like a TWO-FER re: your new BFF, “Dr.” Laura.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ted Olson, Former Solicitor General Under George W. Bush, Weighs In on Mosque Controversy

It is truly tragic that the view of a rational and prominent conservative such as Ted Olson, whose wife died in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, should not prevail with the leadership of the Republican Party and indeed among most self-described conservatives. It is evident that the Republicans have no responsible leadership; they have capitulated to the Islamophobic incitements of Limbaugh’s hate radio and Palin’s racist and moronic tweets.

Few critics of the Islamic cultural center project in lower Manhattan have suffered more than the 9/11 families and Mr. Olson, with whom they share that special bond. After having to endure the indecent politicized bloviations of Newt Gingrich, comparing Muslim Americans to Nazis and center organizers to “triumphalist radical Islamists,” it is still surprising to hear the dissonant voice of decency from this honorable conservative:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blago Sends Patrick Fitzgerald a Music Card:

Lone juror 'refused to find Blagojevich guilty'

A single juror prevented former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich being convicted of selling Barack Obama's Senate seat, the jury foreman has said.

The juror, a female retiree, believed there wasn't sufficient evidence - "a smoking gun" - to warrant a conviction for corruption, James Matsumoto said.

"She saw it as, no crime was being committed. It was just talk - political talk," Mr Matsumoto told reporters.

The Chicago federal jury convicted Blagojevich of lying to FBI agents.

That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

The jury was unable to reach unanimous verdicts on 23 other corruption charges. On several charges, the same juror held out.

Notes From the Fringe: Oh, Those Wingnut Reptilian Brains!

When asked on ‘The View’ to comment on the recent controversy involving a USDA official who was falsely accused of racism by wingnut provocateur Andrew Breitbart, President Obama said “There’s still kind of a reptilian side of our brain -- that part of our brain that if somebody looks different, sounds different” … reacts like, well, a wingnut. Obviously, the more developed the reptilian brain, the more like a wingnut the creature will react.

POP Quiz: Who among these Fox GOP network hosts and fellow travelers in hate radio and wingnut blogosphere have the most developed reptilian brain?

Obs.: The creature on the left is more ferret-like in the way it curls its upper lips; the creature on the right is definitely a highly-developed reptilian brain, which is also a sign of low intelligence; the two in the middle suffer from Messianic delusions, more than one is clinically insane, and one barks on his TV program like a dog.

In other reptilian brain news, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the wingnut radio host who dispenses "social conservative" advice, announced she is ending her show, claming persecution by “angry, hateful groups” who were offended by a racist rant in which she said “nigger” eleven times on her radio show. “Dr.” Laura claims she was making a “philosophical point” and berated the caller who took offense.

This is a spurious claim. Whatever “philosophical point” Dr. Laura was trying to make could have been edited in the faux doctor’s mind. (She is not a Board-certified psychologist or psychiatrist nor does she hold a degree in philosophy.) To initiate an intelligent dialogue, “Dr.” Laura could have simply asked the question: “African American comedians on HBO say the “N” word multiple times. Is there a double standard?” Instead, she launched into a tirade compulsively shouting the “N” word multiple times while heaping scorn, resentment, and racism on the caller:

It’s quite different for African Americans to take ownership of arguably the most despicable word in the English language, one that was used to dehumanize and define them, and in so doing, defang and strip it of its heinous context. Sticks and stones. Those of us who know of the history -- the centuries of slavery, racism, lynchings, and state-sanctioned discrimination –- understand the non-discriminatory context. It is not a double standard.

“Dr.” Laura wasn’t just being “politically incorrect” by shouting the ‘N’ word eleven times, saying indignantly, “don’t N-double-ACP me,” then berating the caller that if she’s so “hypersensitive” she shouldn’t “marry outside [her] race.” Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves. Most wingnuts, including “Dr.” Laura, are immune from standards of decency and nondiscrimination that govern our lives out in the normal world.

Only in RightWingVille could a radio talk show host voluntarily step down then whine that “my First Amendment rights have been usurped by angry, hateful groups that don’t want to debate, they want to eliminate.” Wingnuts are first-class whiners and have a finely-tuned persecution complex when they’re caught being offensive, unethical, hypocritical, and racist. If only Glenn Beck, whose program Fox subsidizes after a mass advertiser flight, and the reptilian (‘Pigman’ is an insult to bovines) Rush Limbaugh followed her example, ending their daily hate regurgitations with a parting persecution whine … and were replaced by responsible radio hosts, the world would be a better place. Guaranteed.

For someone who isn’t qualified to dispense on-air advice, “Dr.” Laura made a wise choice in stepping down. Here’s a bit of gratuitous, but wise, advice for “Dr.” Laura: Seek immediate professional help from a Board-certified psychiatrist to work on your race-related issues.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blago Verdict Is In: Hung Jury on 23 of 24 Counts

Rod “Elvis” Blagojevich skates. Of the 24 counts, Rod Blagojevich was convicted on only one count: Lying to the FBI about his knowledge of individual campaign contributions and contributors. Ironically, he was convicted of lying about something that isn’t a crime. The disgraced former Illinois governor got off on all the major counts, including racketeering and trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder.

[Caption correction: Delete "Jury" and insert in its place "Juror"]

So it’s perjury, carrying a maximum of 5 years jail time and a $250,000 fine. But the judge declared a mistrial on the other deadlocked 23 counts. The prosecution vows to retry the case, but at what point is it a case of diminishing returns. Big loss for Patrick Fitzgerald. It seems the Blago strategy of working the local radio talk show circuit and playing the hapless bumbler on Celebrity Apprentice had an impact. Blago’s father-son legal team, judged to be outclassed and lacking in “style” to try a case in federal court, came out looking like geniuses. Evidently, Blago’s depiction as “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” resonated with the jury.

At this writing, Elvis is still in the building.

Hysteria Grips Nation Over the Building of an Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

A few salient facts seem to vanish amid the rampant demagoguery of Republican politicians and runaway xenophobia of the usual suspects on the right, but also among those who ought to know better, including Democrats and members of the non-Fox media. The issue: Whether a private Islamic group has the right to build an Islamic community center (not a mosque, although 2 of 13 floors are set aside as a prayer area) several blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
  • The Islamic community center (it is not a mosque nor is it on Ground Zero) is to be built on private property, an abandoned building that once housed the Burlington Coat Factory;
  • Its religious neighbors within walking distance include at least two churches and one tiny walk-in mosque (closer to Ground Zero) that predate (one church by centuries) the 9/11 attacks;
  • The building shares space with such commercial establishments that include tattoo parlors, greasy spoons, thrift shops, and perhaps a house or two of ill-repute … It is hardly hallowed ground, but rather a fairly typical New York City neighborhood. And given all the empty storefronts, it is an area that could use development and economic activity, as Mayor Mike Bloomberg and other City leaders who support the center recognize;
  • The responsible leaders –- those who aren’t running for the hills in the face of a tough reelection –- President Obama and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in particular, have weighed in favoring development the Islamic community center on the proposed site.
The Republican politicians who jumped in to oppose the center on cynical political grounds have been despicable. After the President, and others, eloquently defended the constitutional right of the community center to be built, Republicans realized they could not invoke the Constitution in opposition. (The First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion, is a heavy lift; it’s the 14th Amendment they want to repeal.) So they quickly recalibrated the message to one of “sensitivity.”

John Boehner said building a mosque (it’s a community center) near Ground Zero shows “a gross lack of sensitivity to the 9/11 families and to the people who were lost.” Frankly, this demagogue couldn’t recognize “sensitivity” unless it whacked him in the balls with a nine iron. Texas Republican John Cornyn said the President’s remarks were “out of touch.” The Republican game plan is to milk this controversy as one of their typical hot button campaign issues in the Fall.

The President addressed the issue eloquently, with all due respect for the families of the victims: “Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. And the pain and the experience of suffering by those who lost loved ones is just unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. And Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.”

But, the President continued, “As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.”

President Obama reminded us that we are fighting Al Quaeda and not the 1.4 billion Muslims in the world, or the millions of American Muslims. In followup remarks one day later, the President said he would not comment on the “wisdom” of building the community center, but only on its constitutionality, which dates back to our founding. This gave Republicans an opening to attack him. From the President’s perspective, however, it’s not wise for him to further stoke right wing hysteria, manufactured or not, regardless of short-lived political consequences. Not now. There is still time to allow Republicans to overplay their hand. Some responsible Republican leaders such as Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, who will likely win the Senate seat as an independent and caucus with Democrats, said Republicans are overreacting.

Whether or not Ground Zero is “hallowed ground,” as the President said, is a matter for reasonable disagreement. I do not believe, in its present dimensions, that it is, principally because a new, titanic building is being constructed on the site. A comparison was made to Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews were exterminated in the Nazi gas chambers. When an Order of Carmelite nuns set up a convent in Auschwitz, Pope John Paul II ordered them to leave. Unlike Ground Zero, though, where construction to erect a new commercial financial center proceeds apace, Auschwitz stands as it did at the height of the Nazi genocide –- a stark reminder to the world of the unimaginable horror that occurred in that now-empty and desolate place.

The same can be said for Gettysburg Battlefield, that was consecrated as hallowed ground by President Lincoln and remains largely unchanged by the passage of time. Efforts to turn the area into condominium and commercial development have met with fierce opposition. Once the new Ground Zero financial center is completed and occupied on the site of the fallen towers, how much of this new, massive construction will be “hallowed ground?”

A memorial to the 9/11 victims is certainly planned. It will be hallowed ground, just as the Arizona Memorial site is at Pearl Harbor. But how much of Pearl, where more than two thousand Americans died, remains hallowed ground today? These are difficult questions, but they are not without importance. Would Auschwitz remain hallowed ground if it was razed and flattened tomorrow to make way for a mall where the camp had once stood? Once a decision is made to build over sites imbued with such meaning, do the physical parameters of the hallowed ground change? One could argue that they did not change in Auschwitz and Gettysburg, but did at Pearl Harbor, and will at Ground Zero with completion and occupancy of the new financial center.

Significantly, the area surrounding Ground Zero, as was shown, cannot be considered hallowed ground, much less be of special religious significance to one faith or the other, as the Wailing Wall is to Jews or the Stations of the Cross is to Christians in Jerusalem.

Ground Zero and its surrounding neighborhoods are not religious holy sites.

Although 68% to 32% of Americans oppose development of the incorrectly named “Ground Zero mosque”— many respondents have never been to New York City and probably regard it with suspicion or distaste bordering on all-out contempt. Those most affected by its proximity, New York City residents, favor the community center by a sizable 56%. Not surprisingly, the polling data show a great deal more ambivalence and nuance in the attitudes of the American people.

What has been lost in this ugly debate is that Muslim Americans were among those who died in the towers on 9/11 alongside Christians and Jews and every other victim. What about them? What makes them any different than the other victims?

Among the most vocal opponents of the community center using the issue for political gain, stoking hatred and xenophobia, none has been more despicable than Newt Gingrich. He compared the building of the Islamic community center to putting a Nazi sign next the Holocaust Museum. It’s probably the single most offensive thing this pompous windbag who would be president has ever uttered. Not only has he offended millions of Muslim Americans who have no connection whatsoever to terrorism, but he painted the entire Islamic faith with the broad brush of Nazism. And this, even as 17 million Pakistani Muslims face a humanitarian catastrophe in flood-ravaged lands, requiring immediate relief.

Inciting hatred and bigotry against those who cannot defend themselves is what demagogues and bullies do. The media outside Fox “News” has been irresponsible as well. This is how one arrogant, self-absorbed CNN anchor reacted. Despite certain news accounts that chose to quote one organization of 9/11 families who are opposed to the community center over others, for maximum conflict, in truth the families are not monolithic. They are divided in their sentiments. I was particularly struck by what Charles Wolf said in this excerpted news story of 9/11 families’ reactions:
Charles Wolf of New York City lost his wife, Katherine, in the attacks. “She was a wonderful girl,” said Wolf, 56.

He said he supports the Muslim community center “100 percent.”

“I'm not going to brand any group for the actions of a few of the fringe,” Wolf said. “The fact that the extremists who did this to us have now moved us in this direction through our fear and hatred, to be exactly like them ... it will come back to haunt us.”

He accused certain politicians, like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, of using the controversy over the community center to “foster a public backlash against Muslims.” Giuliani called the project “a desecration” on the conservative Jeff Katz radio show this week.

Wolf thinks that sentiment is wrong, and said Americans can't support the rights of certain groups over others.

“This country was founded on the principles of religious freedom for all,” he said. “Are we going to start denying that to people? If we start doing that we start dismantling the values this country was founded upon.”
In the final analysis, religious freedom is not subject to “sensitivity” or bigotry. It is a right conferred to us by the Constitution. Whether or not an Islamic community center (and mosque) should be developed near Ground Zero is a local not a national, or presidential, or congressional decision. The decent, American thing to do is reject the hate of Newt Gingrich and stand with Charles Wolf and the memory of his wife, who died on 9/11.

The message here is that we will always remember and honor the victims of 9/11. But life and living must, and should, go on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday School With Mike Malloy: Eviscerating The Tea Party

Nothing like starting the week off with a few Mike rants. Here Mike takes aim at the Tea Party.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Robert Gibbs’ Strange Outburst at the “Professional Left”

It’s much ado about nothing in the grand scheme of things. Mostly, it’s one of those stories that resonate inside the beltway, like a giant particle accelerator whipping overheated matter and energy around the nation’s capital before dissipating of its own accord. As beltway particle accelerator stories go, this one fell short of the breathless POLITICO feverish critical mass and Armaggeddon standard.

Still, while generally a yawner, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s General McChrystal moment last week had its teachable nuggets. For the Left, “professional” or not, there was mostly bemusement at gaining such an elevated station in Gibby’s eyes. Michael Moore said it was the first time he’d heard the Left referred to as “professional” so he wasn’t sure he’d take offense. Gibby said he watched too much cable (‘because he had to’?), hence that nasty MSNBC trio (who else is there?) must be responsible. Although I’m not quite sure where Gibby heard President Obama compared to George W. Bush. For once, Gibbs left the wingnuts speechless when he said we ought to be “drug tested” and would only be satisfied if “Dennis Kucinich was president.”

Gibbs cried into his beer that we in the Left weren’t being good little foot soldiers like the Fox-Republican-wingnut axis when the Unitary Executive-Patriot Act torturers were in power. As if to justify the White House selling out to corporate interests, Gibbs was dismayed that we might look favorably on Canadian-style (Medicare) universal healthcare. Why is the happiness index of Canadians and every other country that provides universal healthcare to its people higher than the U.S.’s? And they live on average three-to-five years longer than us, too. Only in this country would aspiring to the pursuit of happiness, the American Dream, stolen from us by modern, healthy, affluent, HAPPY 21st Century states be considered a sign of drug-induced madness. We get the fife-and-drum crowd with the powdered whigs (sp. intentional) -- but Robert Gibbs?

Ultimately, Gibbs’s frustration is one of perception. He thinks that the non-professional coalition of netroots, young people, students, and community activists differs in its attitudes from the so-called “professional Left.” Well, he’s wrong and he needs to step outside and test the winds. Just because we like the President personally and write nice things to him on his birthday doesn’t mean we agree with the White House when they continue to push half-measures and incremental change, while caving to those who wish only to see the President fail.

There was calculation in Gibbs’s outburst. It wasn’t entirely spontaneous. The next day he did not apologize or walk back his remarks. But he’s miscalculated the level of discontent out in the netroots that were key to the President’s election. And Robert, FYI, Firedoglake is the libertarian “Left” and Jane Hamscher’s patron, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, is a libertarian conservative with an agenda that is closer to the Pauls (Ron and Rand) and Republican Ayn Rand follower Paul Ryan’s slash-and-burn voodoo economics than to the President’s.

So you might have your labels mixed up if you believe a wingnut site’s hilarious labeling of Ratigan as a liberal. Ratigan has so much wingnuttery bottled up inside just waiting to burst out that he lashes out at the White House in barely coherent rants while the Mike Pences of this world suck up to him as an expert on economics. The absolute pits is Ratigan appropriating a Truman quote to spread his libertarian bullshit. When Truman said, “I don’t give ‘em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell” ... he was attacking a Republican Congress not unlike the GOP bastards who populate it today.

If that’s Robert’s complaint, then I’m totally with you, pal. Labels don’t matter much, it’s true, unless you totally get them wrong.