John Dickerson on Ben Quayle

The son of the former vice president survived allegations that he’d authored racy posts about Scottsdale women on a blog and posed with two children in a campaign flier to suggest that he had children he does not actually possess.

Really using the word “possess” with children? Dickerson makes it sound like the crime was fraudulently trying to sell something. Which, now that I think about it…


Shocking news today as the blogger who called Barack Obama Malcolm X’s illegitimate son uncovers video of Imam Rauf stating, a, uh, fact:

“the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.”

Let’s be extremely generous to Al-Qaeda’s non-Muslim kill count and put it at 10,000. Is there anyone who doubts that US intervention led to more than 10,000 Muslim deaths? Even the most conservative estimate (not politically speaking) puts the death count at 97,000 (The highest estimate puts the count at 1.2 million).

Refudiations (sorry, had to) of Imam Rauf’s claim are quite peculiar. Gellar sees fit to bring in the uncited claim that Muslims have killed 270 million in a 1000 year Jihad:

No mention of the 270 million victims of over a millennium of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilation and enslavement. No mention of the recent slaughter by Muslims of Christians, Hindus, Jews, non-believers in Indonesia, Thailand, Ethiopia, Somalia, Philippines, Lebanon, Israel, Russia, China……………. no candor, no criticism of Islam.

I’ll let it slide if Gellar both cites the claim and also provides a number on how many people have been killed by Christians over the last 1000 years.

It’s not worth spending too much time on Gellar, though I’d like to point out one last section because actually Rauf makes a really great point in the supposedly outrageous speech, and Gellar, bearing only the sword of Michael Moore hatred, claims that because Rauf has seen Fahrenheit 9/11, he must be a 9/11 Truther. This excerpt has not been edited:

And the Imam is conspiracy theorist – 911 was an inside job:

How many of you have seen the documentary: Fahrenheit 911? The vast majority – at least half here. Do you remember the scene of the Iraqi woman whose house was bombed and she was just screaming, “What have they done.” Now, I don’t know, you don’t know Arabic but in Arabic it was extremely powerful. Her house was gone. Her husband, I think, was killed. What wrong did he do? I found myself weeping when I watched that scene and I imagined myself if I were a 15-year old nephew of this deceased man, what would I have felt?
Collateral damage is a nice thing to put on a paper but when the collateral damage is your own uncle or cousin, what passions do these arouse? How do you negotiate? How do you tell people whose homes have been destroyed, whose lives have been destroyed, that this does not justify your actions of terrorism. It’s hard. Yes, it is true that it does not justify the acts of bombing innocent civilians, that does not solve the problem, but after 50 years of, in many cases, oppression, of US support of authoritarian regimes that have violated human rights in the most heinous of ways, how else do people get attention?

The more I realize Nicolle Wallace deserves a cackle of f*cking medals. As a former PoliComm major, amateur history buff, but mostly as a litmag editor, this is just appalling:

suggests Andy McCarthy’s post today, in which he makes yet another deeply flawed analogy in the case of the Park51 project. From the jump:

Imagine that there really were these fundamentalist Christian terror cells all over the United States, as the Department of Homeland Security imagines.

Of course we don’t have to imagine such a group because they actually exist. Not to mention this from the SLPC:

The number of racist hate groups tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Centre has grown by almost 50 per cent during the Bush administration years, from about 600 in 2000 to almost 900 now. In contrast to the 1990s, when the “angry white man” phenomenon fuelled the militia movement and led to the white-supremacist inspired Oklahoma City bombing, much of this new growth has been triggered by virulent hostility to immigrants pouring in from Mexico.

More McCarthy:

Now let’s say a group of well-meaning, well-funded Christians — Christians whose full-time job was missionary work — decided that the best way to promote healing would be to pressure the Saudi government to drop its prohibition against permitting non-Muslims into Mecca so that these well-meaning, well-funded Christian missionaries could build a $100 million dollar church and community center a stone’s throw from where the Kaaba used to be — you know, as a bridge-building gesture of interfaith understanding.

This doesn’t hold up; there’s no guaranteed freedom of religion in Mecca, unlike in America, where that guarantee has existed since the country’s inception, and barring McCarthy getting his way, will forever. If you’re going to back the idea (and McCarthy has in the past) that Muslims hate us for our freedoms, it might be a good idea to support those freedoms.

I’ve already covered the idea that it’s a 100 million dollar mosque in the Holmes post, so no need to rehash. But really, the point is while condemning Islam for intolerance, McCarthy suggests that America is somehow the equivalent of Saudi Arabia and that the World Trade Center is to America what Mecca is to Saudi Arabia.

It’s actually not too poor an analogy, at least from McCarthy’s point of view. By this logic, America should be a Christian dictatorship that worships an enormous center of economic activity.

Further, again let’s take what Imam Rauf’s beliefs really are, which seem to be the Islamic equivalent of Unitarian Universalism; I tend to think that if a bunch of Unitarian Universalists actually did persuade Saudi Arabia (remember, a dictatorship that in theory could arrest anyone for speaking out against the view stated views of the monarchy) you wouldn’t hear too much dissent, from, well, anyone and that this would actually be a step in the direction of religious freedom.

McCarthy goes on to ask more questions about his bad analogy disguised as a”thought experiment.” You’re more than welcome to read them on the above link.


The reason I’ve now blogged on this issue twice is that this is a classic conservative communication technique. McCarthy writes something that makes a certain degree of intuitive sense to white Christians–the base of the party, but also a considerable number of the independents. It’s a convenient, easily understood argument that suits the space of a quick talking point or bumper sticker. However, on closer examination, it turns out to be totally bunk.

We’ve heard conservatives decry the stimulus as a bunch of pork barrel spending; instead, they suggest we cut taxes. Well, a tax cut isn’t going to do much for you when you don’t have a job. In fact, it’s quite likely that tax cuts will lead to a loss of jobs in the public sector and a higher federal budget deficit (which conservatives are supposed to hate).

These bumper sticker ideas have, by and large, taken over the intelligentsia of the right side of the aisle, and at this point I don’t know how they can be credibly defended. McCarthy is the author of a book that suggests rabid secularists would team up with religious extremists to take over America; words fail.

Expect a negative ad starring He Hate Me to be produced by Reid in the next couple of days.

Hitting the trifecta today, let’s take a look at Amy Holmes’ post comparing the Westboro Baptist Church to Park 51. Let’s start with Holmes first shot to her own foot:

In the midst of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, a related story on religious expression has been overlooked. This week, a federal judge ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church has a First Amendment right to picket military funerals with harassing, homophobic chants and signs:

Chief U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan said the state statute violated free speech protections guaranteed in the First Amendment by imposing excessive restrictions on the ability to conduct protests outside funerals. The judge, who is based in Kansas City, Mo., also ruled that the controversial protests did not amount to “fighting words,” which are unprotected by the Constitution and can be banned.

“Although plaintiff’s speech may be repugnant to listeners, the court finds that, at a minimum, some of plaintiff’s speech is entitled to constitutional protection,” Judge Gaitan said in a 19-page decision announced Monday.

Let’s be clear about this before getting into why the scenarios are not analogous: Holmes admits the Westboro Baptist Church is allowed to protest soldiers’ funerals. That should end things right there. Certainly Holmes and other conservatives are allowed to register discontent at the Park 51 project, but according to the zoning laws of downtown New York and the Constitution of United States, the Park 51 project has every right to be constructed in an old Burlington Coat Factory.

Some questions: Should we, as Kathleen Parker suggests, support the Westboro Baptist Church’s ugly, anti-gay protests precisely because we don’t like the idea very much?

We don’t have to support the protests, or even the right to protest. We should however, acknowledge that the First Amendment guarantees most freedom of speech and religion.

Should we, as President Obama intoned last Friday, reach deep into our national character and declare our full-throated support for the right of this religious group to set up camp at a hallowed place without passing judgment on the wisdom of the church’s activities?

I don’t need to point out that downtown Manhattan is hardly “hallowed” as there are strip clubs, bars, adult stores all around the area. This point has already been made, and yet ignored. I shouldn’t need to point out that a soldier’s funeral is a deeply personal, one-time ceremony that actually is hallowed. Further, I’m failing to see how a group of protesters that mocks dead heroes at close distances to their actual graves is the same thing as a center that, among other things, works to make sure there won’t be another 9/11, nearby the site of the first.

Will we hear from left-wing commentators that, out of an abundance of tolerance, we must stand in solidarity with the Westboro Baptist Church (whose position on homosexuality is actually not all that different from fundamentalist Islam’s) in defense of religious freedom?

This one is truly hilarious. Holmes explicit says that fundamentalist Christians are just as bad as fundamentalist Muslims when it comes to homosexuality. To this comparison, I’d ask Holmes if we should fear terror attacks from the WBC. Could the WBC and those of their ilk should take over a major political party and subject us to a theocracy? Should we worry about fundamentalist Christians changing our society by say, oh, lying about the religious origins of our founding fathers?

In all seriousness, Holmes’ point is completely moot because Park51 is not a center for fundamentalist Islam. In fact, Park51 is borderline Unitarian Universalist; via Jeff Goldberg, dig the project’s founder, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, at a memorial for Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and killed by that obscure terrorist group Al-Qaeda:

We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic
faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.

If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to
love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I
have always been one Mr. Pearl.

And I am here to inform you, with the full authority of the Quranic texts and the practice of
the Prophet Muhammad, that to say La ilaha illallah Muhammadun rasulullah is no different.

It expresses the same theological and ethical principles and values

Of course as an atheist, I think you’re all full of shit 🙂 More Holmes:

I suspect that those who are now excoriating the 68 percent of Americans who are uneasy with a $100 million mosque being built two blocks from Ground Zero would discover the distinction between what is a right, and what is right.

Again, take the poll and ask the same question about strip clubs; hell, ask the same question about some of the investment banks and hedge funds located around the are. Further, the mosque is just one part of the center; arguing that the mosque itself would cost that amount is misleading.

I suspect the Westboro Church’s “free speech” would be roundly condemned as, at the very least, insensitive.

If those at Park 51 start a loud chant of “death to America” and repeatedly show footage of the planes hitting the towers, that’d probably be insensitive. It’s also the equivalent of what the WBC does. But that is clearly not the stated goal of Park 51.


The one unintended insight Holmes gives us with this piece is simple: she, and most conservatives, believe that even the most liberal, tolerant Muslims in the world, hate America. Even if they live happily here, even if they want to aid the community, whatever. They also apparently have the powers of mind control and this “$100 million dollar mosque” will only make things worse.

I did, however, enjoy Bill Maher’s pithy comment on this pathetic saga earlier in the week

Maybe if America had BUILT SOMETHING in the last 9 yrs at Ground Zero people wldn’t be so touchy about the mosque going up there.

I haven’t followed the project closely enough, but I think the bottom line is that he’s right. Perhaps it is just jealousy that a Muslim man is getting more done in the area than us in what should be the most important public works project of our generation.


I’ve been going after Drudge a lot here recently. While Drudge may not get quite the same play as Fox does, he, in no small part, is very responsible for Republican agenda. Something that appears on the Drudge Report will, the next day, dominate cable news and a lot of other mainstream outlets. In his theme of “Obama’s looking really Muslim” today, which is well-timed to the Downtown Islamic center controversy, he posts this headline:

NYT FLASHBACK: 'As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood'...

Let’s for one second ignore the irony in the right-wing largely believing that Muslims want to institute Sharia law against our will, and yet the same right-wing apparently wants to use a law of Islam to deem Obama a Muslim. Instead, let’s click the link….

That’s funny, it’s an opinion piece. Surely this piece will adhere to the opinion that Obama is a Muslim, and will endanger us by allowing a Muslim takeover…right? From the Drudge excerpted headline onward:

As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant.

Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.

His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive).

With few exceptions, the jurists of all Sunni and Shiite schools prescribe execution for all adults who leave the faith not under duress; the recommended punishment is beheading at the hands of a cleric, although in recent years there have been both stonings and hangings. (Some may point to cases in which lesser punishments were ordered — as with some Egyptian intellectuals who have been punished for writings that were construed as apostasy — but those were really instances of supposed heresy, not explicitly declared apostasy as in Senator Obama’s case.)

Instead, the piece states the rather dumb (but opposite) opinion that Muslims actually want to kill Obama for walking away from Islam.

We know now (even if this was obvious before) that this is not the case, and much of the so-called Muslim world’s anger with Obama is for failing to make progress on a two state solution and killing civilians in Afghanistan.

It should not be this easy to refute these lies. Then again, it seems like more and more this country has no interest in even clicking a link.