Right Wing Round-Up

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tells The Daily Beast she has secured the commitment of Senate Armed Services Committee to hold hearings on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” this fall.
  • Box Turtle Bulletin: An estimated 10,000 people turned out to celebrate Charlotte Pride yesterday, while an anti-gay protest organized by local evangelist Michael Brown and TheCall’s Lou Engle attracted about 500 participants. While the Charlotte Observer reports that the number of protesters this year was a significant over previous years, it appears to have fallen short of the thousand that the organizers had hoped for ... Charlotte police report no problems and no arrests.
  • Steve Benen notes that the people at Fox News apparently do not take criticism or mockery particularly well.
  • Think Progress: Sen. Hutchison attacks Gov. Perry for turning down stimulus funds that she voted against.
  • I feel like I say this just about every day, but Glenn Beck gets more ridiculous by the day.
  • Finally, in today's Birther news: Joe.My.God points out that the woman who hijacked Rep. Mike Castle's town hall meeting is known around Delaware as "Crazy Eileen" and posts audio in which she claims to have talked to an angel who came down in human form; even Ann Coulter says that the Birthers are crazy; Greg Sargent reports that Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii is going to put GOP members on the record by introducing a resolution on the House floor commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood which describes the state as Barack Obama’s birthplace; and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs concisely explained why this issue won't go away: "Because for $15, you can get an Internet address and say whatever you want."

Some Concerned Advice for Palin

Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America is quite proud of her PhD, proclaiming herself “a recognized authority on sex trafficking, the United Nations, U.S. domestic issues, as well as national and international cultural, children's and women's concerns.”  Of course, it turns out that her PhD is actually in Communication Theory from the State University of New York at Buffalo, so how that makes her an expert on sex trafficking is hard to understand.

But now comes a situation in which her PhD is actually relevant and so she is offering debate advice to Sarah Palin:

Dr. Janice Crouse, political commentator for Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, is an expert on presidential communication.  The former presidential speechwriter (Bush 41) said, “In a move distinctly different from Eisenhower’s abandonment of Richard Nixon when he got in trouble with the press, John McCain (R-Arizona) invited Palin to his ranch in Sedona, Arizona, where she will spend two days preparing for the debate — thus sending a signal of his continued support for his veep pick and providing a haven where she will be able to regroup from the vicious attacks and regain her confidence before she faces the ultimate test of her candidacy.”

How chivalrous of McCain to protect Palin from the mean old press so that she can cram for a few days before her big test.  And what expert advice does Crouse have for her?

(1)   First and foremost, be yourself, and remember — as Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense — we are endowed with the intelligence to equip us for self-governance: the colonists didn’t need a monarch to rule them, Reagan didn’t need State Department geeks to tell him how to win the Cold War, and you don’t need inside-the-beltway pundits to tell you how to be Vice President.  Your life experiences and intuition equip you just fine for the job.

(2)   You don’t have to know everything or be an expert in foreign affairs; you are training for a debate, not a television quiz show like Jeopardy.  If you duck and dodge like the vast majority of Washington pols, you will not retain the public’s admiration (52 percent favorability rating even after all the attacks).

(3)   Counter Sen. Joe Biden’s (D-Delaware) phony talk about his blue-collar background with the facts regarding the elitism of the leftist ticket, focusing on Sen. Obama’s (D-Illinois) extreme voting record, his radical friends and associates, and the extraordinary number of Obama earmarks in his short Senate tenure.

(4)   Push your actual executive decision-making experience in contrast to Obama’s appalling number of “present” votes during his Senate tenure.

(5)   Emphasize the role of Frank Raines (Obama’s financial advisor) and the leftist Congress in the current financial crisis.

(6)   Last, your primary job is to convince the public that you can be trusted, that you are honest, and that you are authentic.  The election, ultimately, will depend on the public’s assessment of the candidates’ trustworthiness — especially in this time of national upheaval over the national financial crisis.

Because nothing will demonstrate Palin’s honesty and authenticity and show that she can be trusted quite like engaging in thoroughly bogus attacks about earmarks and Obama’s advisors.

The David Barton of Kearny, NJ?

Last week we mentioned David Paszkiewicz, the teacher at Kearny High School in New Jersey, who has been using class time when he should have been teaching U.S. History to tell his students that they are going to hell if they “reject [Jesus’] gift of salvation.”

On Wednesday, the Kearny Observer published a letter to the editor from Paszkiewicz that puts forth the standard right-wing claim that the separation of church and state is bogus and reads as if it were written by David Barton, the Right’s premier pseudo-historian whose work has been described as "laced with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact."    

In fact, just about every quote Paszkiewicz offers up that is attributed to one of the nation’s Founding Fathers appears to have come directly from the WallBuilders website:

Paszkiewicz: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

WallBuilders: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Paszkiewicz: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly to implore his protection and favors.”

WallBuilders: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

Paszkiewicz: “God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”

WallBuilders: “God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.”

Paszkiewicz also offers this quote which he attributes to George Washington: “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.”  WallBuilders offers a slightly different interpretation of this quote, saying “in his speech on May 12, 1779, [Washington] claimed that what children needed to learn ‘above all’ was the ‘religion of Jesus Christ.’”

In fact, what Washington said on that day in his “Speech to the Delaware Chiefs” was entirely different:

I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethren of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.

As a history teacher, Paszkiewicz ought to know better than to rely on a "historian" whose credentials are as suspect as Barton's. If he keeps this up, Paszkiewicz may soon need to issue his own list of “Unconfirmed Quotations.”

WSJ: Small Groups, Talk Radio Fuel Small-Town Anti-Immigrant Drive

An article (temporary link) in today’s Wall Street Journal examines the rise of nativist groups and anti-immigrant sentiment – such as California’s “Save Our State,” which inspired small towns like Hazleton, Pennsylvania to attempt to crack down on immigrants through local ordinances:

Armed with a computer and less than $100, Joseph Turner two years ago formed a group called "Save Our State." His goal: save California from turning into a "Third World cesspool" of illegal immigrants, he says. The group doesn't have a formal membership, and Mr. Turner counts barely 2,000 people on his email list and message board.

Yet this meager base has proved to be a powerful springboard. Through his Web site, Mr. Turner has recruited supporters to hold confrontational protests outside Home Depot stores, where unauthorized workers often gather to seek jobs. He has also helped ignite a nationwide movement by local governments to crack down on illegal immigration. So far, about 10 towns have passed ordinances to drive out undocumented immigrants after getting the idea from Mr. Turner. Dozens of other towns are considering such measures. …

"With as little as five people you can shut down a day-laborer center," says Mr. Turner, because employers will be too intimidated to stop and hire them. Contractors have been deterred from hiring from these sites during the protests and in several days that followed. Home Depot declines to comment on Mr. Turner.

At a rally outside the day-laborer center in the ritzy coastal town of Laguna Beach, neo-Nazis and white supremacists waved Nazi and confederate flags. Mr. Turner says they weren't welcome at the event but that he couldn't stop them and that Save our State members left shortly after they arrived. Mr. Turner says he also deletes white-supremacist rhetoric when it pops up on his Web site's message board.

About a year ago, Mr. Turner drafted a three-page ordinance -- the "City of San Bernardino Illegal Immigrant Relief Act." Although it was derailed before it could come to a citywide vote, the ordinance went on to be imitated, and passed, by several towns and cities across the country.

Meanwhile, towns that adopted the Turner-inspired ordinances, like Riverside, New Jersey, are reeling as large parts of the community leave:

Dave Ercolani is glad he's retiring and closing his hardware store. It could be tough to stay in business now that the township, not long ago teeming with recent arrivals from Brazil, has adopted one of the nation's toughest anti-immigration laws.

The town council adopted an ordinance in July that makes it a crime for businesses to knowingly employ illegal immigrants or for landlords to rent to them. Even though the law isn't being enforced, its effects can be felt because of a fast loss of hundreds of residents who have left town since the law was adopted.

"This town was starting to move," said Ercolani, who said he does not know whether the law was right or wrong. "I feel that they killed everything."

Riverside is an old industrial town on the banks of the Delaware River. Its downtown has wide sidewalks and wider streets lined with proud two-story buildings. Many of them - more than a few months ago - have "Apartment for Rent" or "Store Closed" signs. And on Wednesday afternoon, there was almost no life on the sidewalks. People who work downtown say that's a big change from before the ordinance was adopted.

Values Voter Summit: The Gay-Bashing Bishop

Bishop Wellington Boone, a frequent speaker at Promise Keepers events, reveled in what he thought would be shocking the polite crowd with his unapologetic attacks on gays and anyone who supports them. He touted a flyer he'd written called "The Rape of the Civil Rights Movement," which he said explained how "sodomites" were hijacking the civil rights to "promote perversion." After recounting the history of violence and oppression against African Americans, from deaths on the middle passage through slavery and Jim Crow, he hollered, "You tell me a gay has a right to get in on some of that? Get out of here!" Boone recalled that as a young person, he and his friends used the words "faggot" and "sissy" to refer to people who didn't stand on principle. "God has not called us to be sissies!" Boone seemed disappointed that his gay-bashing hasn't gotten more notice. "I want the gays mad at me. I am not on enough of their hit lists." Boone also seemed to long for an unapologetically Christian nation, when anyone he derides as "unbiblical" wouldn't be serving in office. He read from what he described as an 18th century constitution for Delaware, which required al office holders to pledge fealty to a Christian creed. And he mocked the notion that someone running for Congress would not be "biblically based." "How can someone that doesn't feel the need for God lead me?"
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