ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party

The Pain of Palin And Gingrich.

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It can’t be easy to be a potential party nominee to the Presidency of the United States. Aside from the intrusion, the fact you need millions and millions to run and years spent climbing the greasy pole there are other obstacles in the way of ultimate power, emails and ex-aides.

A vast treasure trove of emails from Sarah Palin have just been released and I am sure that we will hear much more about her idiocy, parochialism and self-conceit.

The Guardian, Slate, ABC News, New York Times and Huff Post are excited by what these, presumably self-serving, emails will tell us about Sarah Palin.

I can’t help thinking it will be very little, although they will probably confirm that Palin hasn’t read the US Constitution and the questions that Katie Couric asked were just too easy!

Newt Gingrich isn’t having it easy either, as his political aides resign en masse, the Atlantic Wires explains:

“Will Rogers: quit as Gingrich’s Iowa political director on May 31 Where He Griped: Also the Register

“I’d say, ‘Oh, great. Thanks for inviting us. We’ll get this sent up to the Washington, D.C., folks.’ … And then I’d send it to the D.C. folks and it would be radio silence. A few days later, you’d ask again and you’d ask again and you wouldn’t hear anything back. At first I thought it was the staff. And then I came to find out it was the candidate.”

“I decided I wasn’t going to continue to spend 60, 70 hours a week away from my family while begging GOP activists and friends around the state to be involved in the campaign.”

But the really bitchy stuff remains, of course, off the record. It also focused on Gingrich’s wife, Callista, portraying her has a Yoko Ono dividing the team and encouraging her man to fritter away his genius. It was Callista, they say, who insisted on the couple’s two-week luxury Greek cruise, the last straw for many staffers.

“He does whatever she wants,” a source complained to Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman.

“She insisted on the cruise,” a source told Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns.

“It’s how much time that his wife thinks that he should spend on this… It’s not a hobby. This is a full-time, 80-hour-a-week job,” a staffer told The Daily Beast’s Peter J. Boyer.

“The problem was the wife. Aides to Newt Gingrich have resigned from his presidential campaign in protest of what they felt was a takeover by Callista Gingrich… The euphemism offered by departing staffers was they disagreed with Gingrich’s ‘strategy’ for the campaign. Indeed, they did disagree. But it was a strategy–a part-time campaign, in effect–that Gingrich’s wife favored,” In fact, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes reports. “

How Newt Gingrich’s Campaign Imploded by Peter J. Boyer.

All most amusing, couldn’t happen to nicer people !

Update 1: One of the “almost” Palin quotes (really from Tina Fey, but you could imagine Palin saying it, “I can see Russia from my house):

Wikipedia, Sarah Palin And Dodgy History.

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If you ever wanted an example of why Wikipedia is flawed, if occasionally informative then this Slate piece should do the job:

“This is a hell of a get by Charles Johnson. Starting on Sunday, as Sarah Palin kept explaining that her version of the Paul Revere “Midnight Ride” was historically accurate, Palin fans emerged on Wikipedia to “fix” the Revere biography. Palin’s taking heat for saying Revere “warned the British”? No problem: Just add the line in italics.

Revere did not shout the phrase later attributed to him (“The British are coming!”), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects.

That revision is deleted with the explanation “content not backed by a reliable sources (it was sarah palin interview videos).” The people who keep cleaning this up are getting sort of bored now.

– I would strongly suggest locking this page until the Palin controversy blows over and her supporters lose interest in trying to rewrite the page to conform with her erroneous version of Revere’s ride.

– Wiki rules apply to Palin fans the same as anyone else; they are free to add material to the page as long as it is reliably sourced. IIRC, it does look like Palin’s supporters have a published source that partially agrees with her version of events, although the concept of relating Revere’s ride to gun control or 2nd Amendment rights is nonsense. However in her defense, I think Palin herself was using that as a metaphor – not a literal interpretation of this event. In any case,Palin doesn’t claim to be a professional historian so her words don’t belong on this page.

– If you mention Sarah Palin you’re doing it wrong. This article is about Paul Revere, a historical figure who died nearly two centuries before Sarah Palin came to prominence. She has absolutely nothing to do with the article. I would expect to see contemporary sources and theories proposed by modern historians, but Sarah Palin is neither here nor there.

– Sarah Palin is intent on destroying wikipedia, isn’t she? First we had huge wars over the blood libel article, now this. But Obama’s supporters do not support claim that there are 57 states! Amazing!

The original video, from Channel 7, really makes it look like Palin got a historical question she wasn’t expecting, and then flubbed it. The way she grits her teeth on the phrase “riding HIS HORSE THROUGH TOWN!” is agonizing, for all involved. And look, if someone asked me, on the spot, to explain exactly what happened during Paul Revere’s ride, I’d struggle a bit to access my elementary school memory banks. The twist, with Palin, is that she has a bona fide army of supporters who will sic themselves on anyone and anything that threatens to damage her image. One example: Last week I looked at the new CNN poll and made a mundane point about Herman Cain’s poll surge being more compelling than Palin’s narrow lead. This was interpreted in the Palinverse as “Exhibit A in the Stop Palin campaign.” “

Basically, Palin’s supporters wanted to change a Wikipedia entry to match the contents of one of her rants, then claim she was accurate as Wikipedia said so. Loopy.

Bachmann And Fischer, No First Amendment Rights For Muslims?

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Attacks on Muslims are not only physical there is an intellectual current at work too. This phenomena can be seen in North America with the comment of Bryan Fischer, Right Wing Watch has more:

“While the American Family Association claims that one of its founding objectives is to “defends the rights of conscience and religious liberty from infringement by government,” its chief spokesman r continues to show his contempt for religious freedom. Fischer, the AFA’s Director of Issues Analysis, repeatedly demanded that the US deport all Muslims and prohibit and purge Muslims from the military, and also called for the banning and destruction of mosques. Fischer today attempted to reconcile his ardent opposition to Muslim religious liberty with the Constitution’s First Amendment by claiming that the Constitution actually doesn’t apply to or protect Muslims at all:

Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment.

Our government has no obligation to allow a treasonous ideology to receive special protections in America, but this is exactly what the Democrats are trying to do right now with Islam.

From a constitutional point of view, Muslims have no First Amendment right to build mosques in America. They have that privilege at the moment, but it is a privilege that can be revoked if, as is in fact the case, Islam is a totalitarian ideology dedicated to the destruction of the United States. The Constitution, it bears repeating, is not a suicide pact. For Muslims, patriotism is not the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the First Amendment is.

To Europeans and others this might seem like irrelevant nonsense, but the United States Constitution is key to political matters within the US of A and no more so than the First Amendment.

This is how Cornell Law School describes the importance of the First Amendment:

“The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. See U.S. Const. amend. I. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV.

Two clauses in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. The establishment clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the “separation of church and state.” Some governmental activity related to religion has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. For example, providing bus transportation for parochial school students and the enforcement of “blue laws” is not prohibited. The free exercise clause prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person’s practice of their religion.”

Most American politicians, and certainly anyone remotely educated, in the US would understand that, as it is drilled into them in school and college, yet Fischer chooses to deny the accepted meaning of the First Amendment and applicable to all.

So why Michele Bachmann didn’t take this matter up with Fischer when she was interviewed on his show recently is a mystery, possibly her connection to the Tea Party overrides her commitment to the First Amendment?

Just in case any Tea Partyers read this, here’s a refresher:

“Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

That applies to all, including Muslims in the US and people should remember that.

Formalising Anti-Muslim Bigotry in the US.

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Years back those with obsessive prejudices would often form political parties to articulate their bigotry, but now they are a bit more sophisticated, Politico has more:

“The clearest sign of the new effort to transform anti-Islam crusading into a mainstream lobbying effort came when the group ACT! For America wooed away Rep. Sue Myrick’s (R-N.C.) chief of staff Hal Weatherman to run its communications shop in February. The move helped complete the group’s transformation from a tiny, obscure organization into an ambitious nonprofit with a budget of $1.6 million in 2009, the last year for which figures are available.

ACT! now has a staff of eight that includes a full-time federal lobbyist, a detailed legislative agenda and a television program – all dedicated to pushing a handful of issues, ranging from keeping the Guantanamo Bay prison camp open to pushing for alternative energies to Middle Eastern oil.

The leaders of this new movement include the blogger Pamela Geller and her group Stop Islamization of America, the Clarion Fund, a New York City-based nonprofit — and the controversial Gabriel herself.

“The idea that congressional staffers would agree to meet an organization led by a woman whose agenda is pure unadulterated hatred and whose purported life story is a laughable fiction — it’s sad,” said Hussein Ibish, a former communications director for the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee who is now a fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine. “She seems to have brought with her a pathological hatred of Muslims and other Arabs.”

Written by modernityblog

08/03/2011 at 15:53

Organised Labour Vs. The Tea Party.

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Meanwhile over in Wisconsin:

“After a year dominated by the Tea Party, the American left has found its voice, and a cause, united against a bill backed by the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, to neuter public sector unions.

The bill, which restricts collective bargaining and other union rights, was close to being passed by the Republican members of the Wisconsin state assembly on Thursday.

Trade union supporters have been pouring in – 160 from Los Angeles arrived on Wednesday – for what is seen as the most important labour dispute in America since the 1950s. It is Organised Labour versus the Tea Party and the outcome is uncertain.

It came after 12 days of continuous protest by teachers, students, steelworkers, pensioners, nurses and a host of others. There are placards proclaiming Cops for Labor, even though the police, with the fire service, are exempt from the anti-union measures.

“We have to stand with our brothers and sisters,” said Dane county deputy sheriff Jim Brigham, 41, standing on one of the capitol’s snow-covered walls addressing about 50 fellow officers opposed to the bill.

He sees it as part of a systematic campaign by conservatives, backed financially by the billionaire Koch brothers, to dismantle the unions. “They are trying to take this state. If it falls, others will fall too,” Brigham said. Ohio, Indiana and other states are at various stages of similar anti-union legislation. “

Written by modernityblog

04/03/2011 at 02:55

Stupid Palin And The Meaning Of Words.

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We tend to expect politicians to be conversant with words. To know of their usage, to be aware of their affect, yet not unsurprisingly Sarah Palin’s continued ignorance precludes that literate self-awareness.

Frankly, we shouldn’t be surprised at anything that Sarah Palin says, despite the fact she was almost one heart beat away from being President of the United States. She makes George W. Bush seem like a Shakespearean scholar.

You would be hard put to find a bigger ignoramus on the American political scene at the moment and there’s a lot of competition.

Still, you would hope that her advisers (who presumably can walk and chew gum at the same time) will be capable of looking up a reference to blood libel after they written her speech, and appreciate its sensitivity.

But no, they couldn’t even do that.

It is frightening to think that she could have been Vice President of the USA.

If she or her aides read this, then try this link it might help to explain exactly what the Blood Libel is.

Next time, she should follow Samuel Clemen’s advice:

“It is best to keep your mouth shut and be presumed ignorant than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Update 1: Rebecca has a good piece on this issue, including Pat Buchanan’s intervention, but I particularly liked this:

“Far be it from me to disagree with the distinguished Professor Dershowitz, but the fact that he used it in the case of his criticism of the Goldstone Report hardly validates the use of the term outside of the proper historical context. At various times when I’ve been living in Israel I’ve heard Israeli politicians use the phrase to protest against other people’s (usually correct) criticisms of their (often corrupt) behavior. This metaphorical use has always struck me as an absurdly exaggerated attempt to play on the sympathies of the audience.

I would prefer to use the phrase “blood libel” to refer to actual blood libels.

The first recorded blood libel was the accusation in 1144 that 12-year-old William of Norwich had been murdered by Jews for ritual purposes before Passover. The Medieval Sourcebook has published the first written account, from 1173, by Thomas of Monmouth, of the supposed torture and death of William at the hands of local Jews. [Warning: not for the faint of heart]. Accusations of ritual murder by Jews for religious purposes have been made since then, including up to the present in the Arab world.

Not a phrase to use lightly.”

Written by modernityblog

13/01/2011 at 02:08

The Tea Party, Racism And Antisemites.

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It is very easy to criticise the Tea Party for putting up or backing some plainly idiotic candidates, Christine O’Donnell and Rich Iott are just two examples. But the Tea Party’s problems extend slightly further than a one time Witch and a Republican candidate that likes to dress up in an SS uniform.

It is the Tea Party movement’s association with the fringes of the American Far Right and active antisemites that illuminates these issues.

There is a marvellous report by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights on Tea Party Nationalism.

Here are two extracts from the section dealing with the Tea Parties – Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse:

“Tea Party leaders have promoted and provided a platform to known racists and anti-Semites on multiple occasions. Dale Robertson, the chairman of the 1776 who displayed the infamous “n****r sign,” for example, brought Martin “Red” Beckman on as a guest to the Tea Party Radio hour that he co-hosts with Washington state talk show host Dr. Laurie Roth. Beckman has been known for over twenty-five years for his anti-Semitic writings and his defense of militias. In 1994, Beckman was evicted from his property in Montana by the IRS for refusing to pay taxes. He now resides in southwestern Washington State.

In a separate incident, Robertson endorsed Pastor John Weaver on the 1776 Tea Party Meet Up website. According to Robertson, “John Weaver is a very knowledgeable Christian leader who presents scriptural basis for Constitutional Rights. The Church has not exercised these rights and consequently is in decline. The Constitution is founded on the principal of God and a moral people, without either then the Church and the people of this land will fall victim to an oppressive government.”[203] Robertson also used this Meetup site to advertise an August 29, 2009 “family retreat” with Pastor Weaver in Magnolia, Texas.[204] The site also indicates that Robertson attended that retreat.

Weaver, of Fitzgerald, Georgia, has a sprawling set of connections to neo-Confederates and those preaching the so-called Christian Identity doctrine. He is the former Chaplain in Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.[205] He has spoken at “Christian Identity” gatherings in Branson, Missouri in 1998 and 1999.[206] According to this particular theology, Jews are considered a satanic force (or the incarnation of Satan himself), and people of color are considered less than fully human. By contrast, the white people of northern Europe are considered racial descendants of the Biblical tribes of Israel, and the United States of America is considered their “promised land;” a theory descended from a theology known as British-Israelism. Although Weaver describes his particular outlook as a variant of “Dominionism,” his essay, “The Sovereignty of God and Civil Government” was listed in a book catalogue published by the British-Israel World Federation. As such, this would place Weaver just one step to the right of the most radical forms of Christian fundamentalism.[207] “

Read more.

Meghan McCain On Bits Of The Tea Party.

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The Torygraph has a funny piece on Christine O’Donnell:

“Miss McCain, a Republican who is making a name for herself as an outspoken pundit, said what many party colleagues have been afraid of uttering publicly.

She is moderate who supports gay marriage, has criticised her father’s vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin and taken issue with the anti-tax Tea Party for its “innate racism”.

Miss O’Donnell, 41, is a Tea Party darling.

She is trailing badly in the Delaware Senate race, is best known for having spoken out against masturbation and admitting she had “dabbled” in witchcraft.

Her first television campaign advertisement began with her saying: “I am not a witch.”

“Well, I speak as a 26-year-old woman and my problem is that, no matter what, Christine O’Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office,” Miss McCain said on ABC News. “She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business.

“It scares for me for a lot of reasons. In my group of friends, it turns people off because she’s seen as a nut job.” “

Very brave words, cos if Ms. McCain wakes up one day with pin holes in her then we’ll know the rumours about Christine O’Donnell are true, very brave 🙂

Update 1: Nick Lowles has more on some anti-Obama types:

“So you can imagine my surprise when I came across some anti-Obama activists outside the White House this afternoon. I was even more surprised to find them to be supporters of Lyndon LaRouche, well known to us at Searchlight for his right wing conspiratorial views.

There were about seven LaRouche activists there, some with placards with pictures of Obama with a Hitler moustache.

After taking a few photos I went over and struck up conversation with one of the people there. “Wasn’t it unfair to link Obama to Hitler?” I asked. “No,” came the reply. According to this woman the same people and institutions that funded Hitler were funding Obama – including, she told me, the Bank of England. hmmmm.”

Update 2: Ms. O’Donnell is very shaky on a key part of North American politics, the US constitution:

“The US constitution has its quirks but it is crystal clear on one issue: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” begins the first amendment, adopted in 1791. But more than 200 years later, its meaning appears to be lost on Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party favourite running for a US Senate seat.

At a debate today for the Delaware Senate seat once occupied by Vice President Joe Biden, O’Donnell appeared to be nonplussed by the wording of the first amendment, repeatedly returning to the subject and sounding incredulous after her Democratic opponent Chris Coons attempted to explain it to her.

When Coons told her the text of the constitution prohibited government from establishing any religion, O’Donnell replied in apparent bewilderment: “You’re telling me that’s in the first amendment?”

Minutes earlier, the audience at Widener Law School in Delaware had laughed in derision when O’Donnell asked: “Where in the constitution is the separation of church and state?”

Not only is the first amendment perhaps the most famous part of the constitution but the “establishment clause”, as it is known, is the subject of legal precedent stretching back into the 19th century. No less an authority than Thomas Jefferson, one of the constitution’s authors, declared the clause’s aim to build “a wall of separation between church and state”.

While O’Donnell’s campaign was quick to attempt damage limitation, saying that the words “separation of church and state” appear nowhere in the constitution, the gaffe does O’Donnell no favours as her campaign unravels and she trails far behind Coons in latest opinon polls.”

Written by modernityblog

18/10/2010 at 21:50

Entertainment News: Tea, A Would-be Witch And Mel Gibson.

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I suppose we shouldn’t laugh, but the idea of starting a political advert saying “I’m not a Witch…” is only something that a Tea Partyer could do.

This is Christine O’Donnell’s advert, and I dare you not to smile:

And below another clip from 1999 where she admits to being a Witch:

Ms. O’Donnell makes Dan Quayle look like a erudite scholar by comparison, and here’s a reminder of his abilities:

More humour from the States, apparently Mel Gibson’s one-time partner, Oksana Grigorieva, is hiring a lot of lawyers, some 39.

Ms. Grigorieva will need them, having put up with Gibson’s rants, assaults and his racism she’ll need all the help she can get.

I have a feeling that Mel might be up for Tea Party membership shortly

Written by modernityblog

16/10/2010 at 22:52

A Few Things.

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I meant to cover some items in more detail, but never get around to them and with a host of draft posts I thought I would try remember some things that I saw.

Azarmehr has excellent coverage on Iran, in particular the plight of .

Among the EDL – Leicester 2010

The extraordinary passion of Liu Xiaobo.

Stuck with Outlook? This might be worth a look at.

Israel’s political class and their 10 worse errors.

Ubuntu 10.10 Benchmarks.

Irish Passports, Russia and Israel, my bet is that there won’t be too much fuss in the press and no shouts of indignation in the wider media. I doubt that the West wouldn’t want to upset the Russian elites. Bread, which side is buttered and all that.

The Tea Party and the EDL? Bigots congregating?

The Livingstone Formulation and the issue surrounding it deserves more scrutiny. Here it is as a PDF, Accusations of malicious intent in debates about the Palestine-Israel conflict and about antisemitism.

France and a new 1968?

Rich Iott, Tea Partyer in Ohio has a secret, he likes dressing up as a Nazi. Yes, a real Nazi, a Waffen SS one. The group that he “re-enacts” are the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, they committed many war crimes during WW2.

Richard Wilson looked at Migration Watch’s defamation case against Sally Bercow.

The New Statesman blog has more.

Yaacov Lozowick’s review of Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People:

Views from the streets of Leicester.

Worse than hashish? Gazans are fighting back against Hamas by brewing their own wine!

Finally, EDL – Here Come The Hun!