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Late Night Open Thread: Evan Thomas says Obama is “God.”


This is too much. Peter Daou posted on Twitter earlier this evening about Evan Thomas’ appearance on Hardball tonight. I found a post about it at Newsbusters and it’s actually true. Check out the video. Evan Thomas says Obama is like God, standing above the world. What is wrong with these people? Here is the relevant portion of the transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Evan, you remember ’84. It wasn’t 100 years ago. Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?

EVAN THOMAS: Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn’t felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We’re seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial. We stand for something – I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God. He’s-


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“Islamic Extremists”


Have you ever heard anyone say “Christian Extremists”? Or “Jewish Extremists”?

It’s not like reactionary Jews and Christians don’t exist. In fact, an act of terrorism was committed against Dr. Tiller by Scott Roeder, a person who claimed he was a Christian. Was he a Christian? Was Yagil Amir Jewish? You decide.

The phrase “Islamic Extremist” should not be uttered by anyone with half a brain. (And I’m not condemning those who have used it before. We are all human and we all make mistakes and say things that we shouldn’t say, out of ignorance or contempt. That is natural. )  Terrorism is not an act of love. It is an act of violence, hatred, and fear. Such acts are against, not only the basic tenents of Islam, but the basic tenants of the other two Abrahamic Religions: Judiasm and Christianity.

The five Pillars of Islam are as follows:

  • Faith or belief in the Oneness of God and the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad;
  • Establishment of the daily prayers;
  • Concern for and almsgiving to the needy;
  • Self-purification through fasting; and
  • The pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.

The term Jihad is an Arabic noun that means “struggle,” or “to struggle in the way of God.” Not “holy war.”

The Qur’an, like the Bible, has passages that are violent and seem to condone and even advocate slavery, war, and other atrocities. But, like the Bible, it also has passages that are beautiful and peaceful.

Al Queda and other terrorist organizations aren’t a novelty, upon close examination of history. During the Crusades, scads of Muslims were butchered, and their lovely, and I do mean lovely, culture was destroyed. Were the Crusaders Christains? You decide.

Islam is the fastest growing organized religion in the United States. It, like any religion, has self proclaimed human (and sometimes mentally ill) adherents that commit violent, horrific or stupid acts when they confuse their God’s Will with their own.

Recently, Dear Leader gave a speech about American-Muslim relations. The speech stank like roadkill, because of it’s ridiculous statements equating women’s rights to the “choice” of wearing hajibs in oppressive Theocratic Governments, among other things.

However, there is a pattern of certain otherwise intelligent, respectable bloggers (I won’t name names or quote quotes) falling into a habit of saying cringeworthy things about Islam and Muslims whenever things like this come up.

And it should end.

Religious intolerance of all stripes should, like racism, misogyny, ageism, and homophobia, be condemned whenever it rears it’s ugly head. It is our job to do so, because it is the right and principled thing to do.

So there.

This is what racism looks like

Res ipsa loquitor

(h/t Cannonfire)

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Be afraid, be very afraid


This post changed after I started it.

Yesterday in my post Go Read Eriposte I quoted this passage from Eric Boehlert’s new book, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press:

After the hype died down, even some corporate media observers who had been relentlessly critical of Clinton’s campaign, including some at the Washington Post and Politico, concluded that there was no way anyone could have construed her passing RFK comment as suggesting that she was awaiting Obama’s assassination. Yet lots of bloggers made that leap. Wrote one online writer for the liberal American Prospect, “Hillary Clinton suggests, elliptically at the very least, that she’s staying [in] the presidential race in case Barack Obama is assassinated.”

“I thought it was character assassination,” Digby told me a couple weeks after the RFK controversy had passed. She was exhausted by the toll the campaign had already taken on the blogosphere. She was also aware of the kind of pie-fights that would erupt on her site if she posted a condemnation of those who unfairly attacked Clinton for her RFK comments. So Digby, who never endorsed either candidate, simply passed on the story. “I’m a chicken shit,” she said with a shake of her head.

Several people (including myself) expressed disappointment with Digby’s decision.  Some people were more than just disappointed, they were disgusted and angry.  I am inclined to be somewhat more forgiving.  As the long-time Conflucian known as “Seriously” put it:

I’m not defending digby, but she was genuinely freaked out by the change in the tone of her hate mail once she revealed she was female. Not everybody is a leader who’s just going to say eff it in the face of personal intimidation, plus some of the progressive loons were talking about tracking down people’s identities, calling their bosses, etc. Scary, thuggish stuff.

I, like many of us, know from personal experience that any blogger last year who criticized or opposed Barack Obama would be the target of troll swarms.  At some points last year the moderators here at The Confluence were deleting as many as 80 troll comments an hour.  While we are proud of the work we do here we have no illusions, this is a medium-small blog.

Hullaballoo is an “A” list blog with far more traffic, so you can imagine the size of the troll swarms Digby was dealing with.  At least twice last year she had to shut down comments completely.  The worst part is that Digby tried to stay neutral during the primaries and rarely if ever expressed even mild criticism of Obama.

Imagine yourself as a fairly successful blogger.  You make the decision to support Hillary Clinton and oppose Barack Obama.  Your comment threads immediately start to fill with truly putrid troll droppings.  Not just the petty and annoying stuff, I’m talking about graphic sexual  and scatalogical language that would make a sailor shudder in disgust.

Then you start getting ominous but not quite threatening stuff, like someone suggesting that what you really need is a good ass-f**king and offering to come by that evening to do it, or someone hoping that you soon die and that your rotting corpse is sexually defiled by goats.   If you think I’m making this shit up I’m not.

If the trolls do cross the line into actual threats you can make a report to the police or FBI, but good luck getting them to do anything about it.  You can ban people by blocking IP addresses but many trolls know how to evade the blocks.  But even if they are blocked you’ll find their comments in your spam filter, along with those that used trigger words.  Your readership won’t see it but you will.

If you blog under your real name or didn’t plan ahead or carefully enough, you may find your personal information published on the web.  Then you will start getting threatening emails on your private account and obscene and/or threatening phone calls at work and at home.

Now throw into the mix something that may or may not be coincidental, like your car getting vandalized or your home broken into.  Both Jeralyn Merritt and Anglachel reported being burglarized last year.  I have no idea about the specific facts in those two cases but I bet it crossed their minds that it was related to their online activities.

Some of us are braver than others but at some point we all start feeling nervous, which is exactly the intent of the people doing it.  They can’t defeat us with facts or logic so they try to intimidate us into silence.  They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work.

But suppose you are brave and fearless and you refuse to be intimidated.  I can think of someone who was like that – Dr. George Tiller.

Think I’m being ridiculous?  Make the jump and I’ll explain why I’m not:

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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

  • WE REMEMBER (h/t BostonBoomer)
  • On This Day In 1968: Robert F. Kennedy Is Shot Moments After Winning California Primary

    Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY), moments after declaring victory in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary in California, is shot three times by Sirhan Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant, at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel.

    Kennedy, who never regains consciousness, dies 25 hours later, on June 6.

  • Analysis of The Cairo Speech
  • Cairo scorecard: The good, the bad & the omitted (Jerusalem Post)

    The address US President Barack Obama delivered in Cairo on Thursday was one of the most anticipated and hyped speeches in recent memory. And now that the 5,804-word address has been delivered, every sentence will be dissected for days, weeks and months by various states and groups trying to figure out just how they fared.

    What Obama did and didn’t say (Haaretz)

    Speech stirs mixed feelings (Al Jazeera English)

    Arab intellectuals remain unsurprisingly split over the speech by Barak Obama to the Islamic world.

    While some consider it as bold, historic and an opening of a new chapter in US relations with the Islamic world, others simply see it as evasive and lacking substance.

    A blunt message for Arabs and Jews (Gulf Times)

    US President Barack Obama had a blunt, “tough-love” message for Arabs and Israelis that thrust him deeper into Middle East peacemaking – a tangled web that bedevilled his predecessors and carries risks for him.

    Obama put Arabs and Israel on an equal footing (Haaretz)

    […]U.S. President Barack Obama declared before the entire world, upon an Arab-Muslim stage, that the time has come to end the era of Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories. Moreover, Obama announced that he was taking responsibility for doing so. The imbalance in the unequal U.S.-Israel-Arab triangle was replaced Thursday by an Isosceles triangle.

    Obama’s Unfinished Speech in Cairo (Der Spiegel)

    With his address, US President Barack Obama offered a olive branch to the Islamic world. Whether his speech will go down in history will be determined by the mullahs in Tehran and the hardliners in Israel.

    Varying Responses to Speech in Mideast Highlight Divisions (NY Times)

    Obama’s Speech Brilliant and Troubling (Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, WashPost)

    The President’s remarks were filled with partial truths which often idealized the history of Islam and consistently avoided many of the real challenges which the world faces today.

    Do Obama’s words reveal his Middle East sympathies? (LA Times)

    A close examination of the speech underscores how Obama, four months into his presidency, is still introducing himself — and what he stands for — to Americans and the world.

  • Health Care Reform
  • Grass-roots groups must test President Obama’s mettle on health care reform

    As the White House launches its bid to reform health care, the big questions bedeviling the activist base of the Democratic Party are how and when to nudge President Obama to the left on key issues.

    Keeping Them Honest (Paul Krugman)

    Health reform will fail unless we get serious cost control — and we won’t get that kind of control unless we fundamentally change the way the insurance industry, in particular, behaves. So let me offer Congress two pieces of advice:

    1) Don’t trust the insurance industry.

    2) Don’t trust the insurance industry.

    Kennedy’s Absence Felt by Lawmakers on Health Care Bill

    Health care: America can learn lessons from abroad

    American health care is broken. At 16 percent, the United States spends a much larger share of GDP on health care than Western European economies. Yet the United States has about 45 million uninsured, while its peers do not.

    For those who haven’t read this must-read piece about the health care debate, here it is:
    The Cost Conundrum
    It’s very long (what do you expect? It’s in The New Yorker), but it is absolutely worth the time.

  • The SCOTUS Nominee
  • Nominee’s Criminal Rulings Tilt to Right of Souter

    Many questions for Sotomayor on abortion issue

    Some Democratic senators, including Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sought answers this week on Sotomayor’s commitment to privacy rights. Meanwhile, activists on both sides of the debate continue to press senators to grill the nominee on her views of 1973’s Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal nationwide, during upcoming confirmation hearings.

    Speeches Show Judge’s Steady Focus on Diversity and Struggle

    She has lamented the dearth of Hispanics on the federal bench. She has exhorted young people to value immigration. She has mulled over the “deeply confused image” America has of its own racial identity. And she has used on more than one occasion a version of the “wise Latina” line that she has spent much of this week trying to explain

    White House Undermines Its Case for Sotomayor

    The White House’s attempt to end the debate about a Sotomayor speech will end up prolonging it.

    Smears on Sotomayor

    For geeks, here is Judge Sotomayor’s filled out questionnaire.

  • Economy Watch
  • Ailing, Banks Still Field Strong Lobby at Capitol

    […] Mr. Obama did not mention that the measure he was signing, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, was missing its centerpiece: a change in bankruptcy law he once championed that would have given judges the power to lower the amount owed on a home loan.

    It had been stripped out three weeks earlier in a showdown between Senate Democrats and the nation’s banks, including many that are getting big government bailouts.

    Angelo Mozilo, mortgage risk-taker charged with fraud

    Governing GM (The Nation Editorial)

    The problem with bailouts

    Hulu May Begin Charging for Content

    Nothing free and awesome lasts forever. Case in point: Hulu.com. According to Jonathan Miller, News Corps.’s chief digital officer, Hulu may begin charging for some online content in the near future.

    Another Czar?
    White House Set to Appoint a Pay Czar

    The Obama administration plans to appoint a “Special Master for Compensation” to ensure that companies receiving federal bailout funds are abiding by executive-pay guidelines, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • What Else is New?
  • Democrats punt on war bill

    Intel firestorm: GOP reveals briefing info

    Republicans ignited a firestorm of controversy on Thursday by revealing some of what they had been told at a closed-door Intelligence Committee hearing on the interrogation of terrorism suspects.

    Democrats immediately blasted the GOP lawmakers for publicly discussing classified information, while Republicans said Democrats are trying to hide the truth that enhanced interrogation of detainees is effective.

  • The Sad and Ugly
  • Racial hatred runs African American family out of dream home

    Happy to have found a place near her salon in Altadena and close to her fiance in Pasadena, the 31-year-old hairdresser moved her four children from North Hollywood into the one-story charmer on Broach Avenue in Duarte last fall.

    Davy never thought about the fact that they would be the only black family on the mostly Latino block — until someone reminded her in a way that still makes her eyes tear and her stomach twist.

    Bank customer says he’s ‘on a mission to kill the president’; fed charges filed

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