Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner appeared on a Sarasota conservative talk show today, echoing previous comments on the dangers of Sharia in the Sunshine State by saying there is a “civilizational jihad” underway across the country and in Florida. Audio after the jump.
“It’s not just a threat on foreign soil,” he continued. “It’s also a threat from those who seek to destroy us from within. And we have a problem of domestic terrorism both in the violent form as well as in the civilizational jihad that we’re witnessing here in our own country and our own state.”
There is no problem with anyone calling to their Faith, or trying to win converts, that is part of Freedom of Religion. Unfortunately both Rep. Arlon Linder and Pastor Campbell have crossed the boundaries of interfaith harmony and peace in to the territory of bigotry. Imagine if this were a Muslim Imam and Rep. Keith Ellison saying such words, you would never hear the end of it from Islamophobes. We would be inundated with threats that our Constitution was being desecrated and that the evil Mooslims were trying to take over and must be stopped.
The Associated Press reports that a Christian prayer on the Minnesota Senate floor on Monday made non-Christian members of that body uncomfortable. Pastor Dennis Campbell’s prayer was highly Christian, as opposed to the nonsectarian prayers that were commonplace under DFL control. It’s not Campbell’s first controversy; last summer he took out ads in the St. Cloud Times that were viewed as anti-Muslim.
“We pray, lord, that you help us show reverence to the Lord Jesus Christ,” Campbell prayed. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ our savior, we pray.”
The controversy mirrors that of one in 2000, when the Republicans last took over the Minnesota House. Previously, the DFL has allowed non-sectarian prayer in the House, but when Republicans took control, many of the chamber non-Christians protested the overtly Christian prayers.
Rep. Arlon Lindner, instead of acquiescing, instead attacked those members.
“You know, we’re told there’s one God and one mediator between God and man. That man is Jesus Christ. And most of us here are Christians. And we shouldn’t be left not able to pray in the name of our God… And if you don’t like it, you may have to like it. Or just don’t come. I don’t come sometimes for some prayers here… We have that privilege, and you need to exercise it. But don’t impose your irreligious left views on me.”
Following that statement, an ethics complaint was filed against Lindner, one of many in his career in the Minnesota Legislature.
Pastor Campbell came under fire for religious intolerance last summer when his church took out ads in the St. Cloud Times.
“What happens when Moslems take over a nation?” asks Campbell in the ad. “They will destroy the constitution and force the Moslem religion on the society, take freedom of religion away, and they will persecute all other religions.”
The ad also said, “Moslems seek to influence a nation by immigration, reproduction, education, the government, illegal drugs and by supporting the gay agenda.”
Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate, spoke to an event of Orthodox Jewish leaders on Wednesday and made comments that can only be described as bigoted and disgusting. Kudos to Zaid Jilani who, despite working for the Democratic Party-serving Center for American Progress, wrote about Schumer’s remarks on CAP’s ThinkProgress blog and explained the reasons they were filled with falsehoods, or — as he put it — “as offensive as they are wrong.”
Schumer told his audience that the ”Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution” and added that “they don’t believe in the Torah, in David.” As a result,”you have to force them to say Israel is here to stay.” It’s the Israeli blockade which accomplishes that, he argued. And Schumer is due some credit for being honest enough (unlike most devoted Israel defenders) to admit that a prime purpose of the blockade has nothing to do with keeping arms away from Hamas, but rather, is to economically strangle the people in Gaza — meaning not Hamas, but the 1.5 million human beings (men, women and children) who live there:
And to me, since the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas, while certainly there should be humanitarian aid and people not starving to death, to strangle them economically until they see that’s not the way to go, makes sense.
So as long as Israel stops just short of starving them all to death, then what Israel is doing is justified — just like John Yoo explained that American torture is perfectly legal and permissible just as long as it stops short of causing major organ failure or death (or, as Juan Cole put it, “anything short of ‘starving to death’, i.e. mass extermination in the camps, is all right as long as it convinces the enemy?”). I think the most repugnant part of Schumer’s comments is when he spoke about Gazans as though they were dogs needing to be trained to behave properly: the blockade is justified because it shows the Palestinians living there that “when there’s some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement.” Is that — punish the people of Gaza for the acts of Terrorists — not the very definition of “collective punishment,” which happens to be a war crime under the Geneva Conventions? The crowd — as the video of Schumer’s speech reflects (below) — erupted in wild cheers at his comments.
Of course, before Israeli propagandists began claiming for the consumption of Americans that the purpose of the blockade was to keep arms away from Terrorists, they freely admitted what Schumer acknowledged; when the blockade was first instituted, Dov Weisglass, adviser to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” Indeed, Schumer made very similar remarks back in April when — in the middle of condemning Obama for the crime of applying minimal pressure on Israel — he told an interviewer: ”Israel has blocked off the border and not let anything into Gaza, and I support Israel in doing that, and it may be tough on the Palestinian people, but when they vote for Hamas they are going to have to suffer the consequences.” If a country doesn’t vote for the leaders Chuck Schumer and Israel want, their children will be malnourished to the point of stunted growth, pervasive anemia, and massive food insecurity. Aside from how morally repugnant and criminal those actions are, see here for how harmful it is to America’s national interests, something with which Schumer appears completely unconcerned (they hate us for our Freedoms!).
At his personal blog, CAP’s Jilani elaborated on why Schumer’s remarks are so foul, including asking us to imagine what would happen if, say, Rep. Keith Ellison gave a speech urging that all Israelis be denied “fresh meat, basic medical supplies, and a whole host of humanitarian items” as a result of the horrific acts of the government they elected. Condemnation would pour down on him from all corners. That’s the same glaring double standard that just ended Helen Thomas’ career even though people as disparate as Mike Huckabee, Dick Armey and Matt Yglesias have said virtually the same exact thing about Palestinians that Thomas said about Israelis without any repercussions whatsoever (indeed, have seen their careers flourish afterward, though Yglesias, who was in college at the time, clearly no longer believes anything like that and now sees his remarks as “terrible”). Numerous people have written very good posts about why Schumer’s comments are as false as they are repugnant — see Juan Cole, David Dayen, Philip Weiss, and Taylor Marsh (who said, accurately: ”This is your Democratic Party hierarchy, folks”).
That last point, made by Marsh, is the critical one. This is why I’ve come to see the Democratic Party (and its apologists and loyalists in the pundit class) much differently now that it’s in power rather than out of it. Just look at Schumer himself. He isn’t some obscure Democratic official; he’s one of its leading figures. He’s not one of those dreaded Blue Dogs or “conservative” Democrats which Party pundit-apparatchiks and reverent Obama loyalists love to exploit to excuse the Party’s flaws (don’t blame theweak and helpless Obama; he is a prisoner to those bad, powerful conservative Democrats); rather, Schumer is considered progressive, or at least mainstream, within the Party, representing one of its largest and bluest states. If anyone is the face of the mainstream Democratic Party, it’s Chuck Schumer. That’s why he’s clearly the most likely replacement for Harry Reid to become Senate Majority Leader if Reid loses in November.
But look at what Schumer represents, who he is. Schumer championed countless, radical Bush appointees (including John Bolton, Michael Mukasey and Michael Hayden), but then sabatoged Obama’s appointment of Chas Freeman due to insufficient devotion to Israel. As The New York Times documented, he has long served as one of Wall Street’s most loyal and devoted servants, reaping huge benefits for himself and his Party. As the financial reform package gets negotiated and watered down, Schumer leads the way in doing Wall Street’s bidding. After spending years sucking up union money, he just congratulated Blanche Lincoln for fighting unions (and, showing how cynical he is, also congratulated her for fighting Wall Street even as business interests almost single-handedly funded her campaign and as he himself continues to serve as the most devoted property of bankers). So that’s Chuck Schumer: suffocate Gazans; champion Bush national security appointees; punish those with insufficient devotion to Israel; serve Wall Street. And that, by definition, is the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
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One last, related note: Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, one of Israel’s most steadfast defenders in Congress, last week demanded, while speaking on a conference call organized by “pro-Israel groups,” that the Justice Department prosecute all American citizens who were on board the flotilla attacked by Israel (for, in essence, providing material support to Terrorists by trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gazans), as well as demanding that Homeland Security permanently ban all the other passengers from entering the U.S. In this conflict that involved a foreign nation (Israel) against numerous American citizens, one of which ended up being shot four times in the head by the foreign country’s commandos, Sherman sides with the foreign nation and calls for the Americans involved to be imprisoned. I spent the last week emailing with Sherman’s Communications Director, Matt Farrauto, in an attempt to schedule a podcast interview (or other type of interview) with Sherman about his demands. Suffice to say, I have some questions to ask Sherman about his ideas. After repeatedly indicating that he would try to schedule something, Farrauto — who sent me a pro forma statement from Sherman on this matter — emailed last night to say, without explanation: ”Not sure that I’m going to get him for an interview. Is the statement useful for your purposes?”
I asked Farrauto whether Sherman has agreed to any interviews where he faced skeptical or adversarial questions about his radical call for American citizens to be prosecuted for trying to deliver humanitarian aid in violation of Israel’s wishes. He hasn’t responded, and I’ll post any response I get. But that’s Brad Sherman: cowardly issuing demands like that in front of highly sympathetic Israel activists, but then refusing to answer actual questions about it.
Joseph Lieberman is a chameleon-like politician who has weathered many political storms throughout his career. From running as Vice President along with Al Gore to the recent health care reform efforts, he has been a controversial figure. His trajectory has been one of a politician who started out as a liberal progressive but has increasingly taken on the causes and issues of the right-wing.
He has embraced and aligned himself with controversial figures such as Pastor John Hagee, whose Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conferences he has spoken at and attended in the past. He even compared Hagee to Moses! Hagee believes in the Rapture and end times ideology which say Jesus will return to earth and lift all his followers into the clouds and all other human beings will eventually be destroyed in tumultuous chaos. It is an ideology that also states that all the Jews will be annihilated except for a few thousand who convert to Christianity. This is what Pastor John Hagee believes, isn’t it strange for Lieberman to compare him to Moses?
This brings us to our topic today in which John Lieberman casts himself as the spokesperson or analyst who knows the inner feelings of Muslims. Responding to news that President Barack Obama’s administration is no longer using the misnomer “Islamic terrorism,” Lieberman responded by saying “this is not the first time that Obama administration has tried to tiptoe around referring to Islam in its security documents and that it’s time to ‘blow the whistle’ on the trend. ”
Sen. Joe Lieberman slammed the Obama administration Sunday for stripping terms like “Islamic extremism” from a key national security document, calling the move dishonest, wrong-headed and disrespectful to the majority of Muslims who are not terrorists.
The Connecticut independent revealed that he wrote a letter Friday to top counterterrorism adviser John Brennan urging the administration to “identify accurately the ideological source” of the threat against the United States. He wrote that failing to identify “violent Islamist extremism” as the enemy is “offensive.”
The letter was written following reports that the administration was removing religious references from the U.S. National Security Strategy — the document that had described the “ideological conflict” of the early 21st century as “the struggle against militant Islamic radicalism.”
Lieberman told “Fox News Sunday” this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has tried to tiptoe around referring to Islam in its security documents and that it’s time to “blow the whistle” on the trend.
“This is not honest and, frankly, I think it’s hurtful in our relations with the Muslim world,” Lieberman said. “We’re not in a war against Islam. It’s a group of Islamist extremists who have taken the Muslim religion and made it into a political ideology, and I think if we’re not clear about that, we disrespect the overwhelming majority of Muslims who are not extremists.”
Lieberman, in his letter, noted that prior Department of Homeland Security and Pentagon documents also did not refer to “Islamist extremism.” He expressed dismay that the administration’s review of the Fort Hood shooting, in which alleged shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan was said to have had contact with a radical cleric beforehand, omitted the term.
“Unless we’re honest about that, we’re not going to be able to defeat this enemy,” Lieberman told “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s absolutely Orwellian and counterproductive to the fight that we’re fighting.” (emphasis mine)
Can you imagine the chutzpah involved in stating that “we disrespect the overwhelming majority of Muslims” by not using terms such as “Islamic extremism.” Hello Joe, Muslims feel disrespected when hypocritical politicians attempt to sully the name of their faith in a way that paints all Muslims as extremists. That is exactly what is done when offensive, wrong and illogical neologisms such as “Islamic extremism” are employed. They shed no light on the problem at hand, instead, it obfuscates the threat to America.
The disclaimer he gives about “we are not in a war against Islam” is an empty statement. It is stating the obvious, but when he then turns around and advocates usage of terms such as “Islamic extremism,” he contradicts himself because he falls into the trap of implying that extremism is intrinsic to Islam. A connection which is as absurd as comparing John Hagee to Moses.
We have already done a few pieces on how the 2010 election season is turning out to be a doozie, and how the Conservative contenders all seem to be playing off of one form of Islamophobia or another. Allen West talks about going “kinetic,” and Lynne Torgerson seems to think saying “Keith Ellison is a Muslim” will automatically give her a victory.
Now we have Jane Norton, former Colorado Lt. Governor giving her full support to tea baggers.
Former Colorado lieutenant governor Jane Norton, one of the five candidates competing in the Republican primary for the state’s 2010 Senate race, is distinguishing herself with her full-hearted embrace of the tea party crowd.
Appearing at a recent coffee-shop event with Colorado voters, Norton sat silently while a female attendee declared twice that President Barack Obama is a Muslim and while a male attendee insisted that the president — who he deemed “an idiot” — wanted to let babies die on the side of the road “with the garbage.”
“Well as you can tell there is a lot of passion around what is happening in our own country,” Norton responded to the crowd, rather than correcting either individual. “And how we can channel that into positive constructive ways that will get our vote out it is going to be absolutely critical.”
Also at the event, Norton praised the “tea-party movement and the 9/12 groups” for pushing a right-wing populist, anti-Washington agenda. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee highlighted that exchange in a video it sent to reporters on Monday.
Colorado remains a hub of arch-conservative politics and anti-Obama sentiment despite its recent Democratic leanings. One month ago, an auto dealer in the state gained notoriety when he put up a billboard asking whether Obama was a Jihadist and demanding a birth certificate be produced for the president.
So it’s not all that surprising that Norton, in an effort to curry favor with the more impassioned voters, would tolerate that kind of over-the-top rhetoric. Indeed, the National Republican Senatorial Committee worked behind the scenes to get Norton into the race.
And yet, the willingness of the general public to stomach this kind of conspiracy-theory vitriol seems limited.