Why The Democratic Daily’s Toleration of Anti-Semitism Matters

FBI crime statistics show that 68.5 percent of hate crimes motivated by religion were committed against Jews.

As our regular readers are aware, I left The Democratic Daily and started Liberal Values following Pamela’s efforts to excuse and minimalize Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic comments and history of anti-Semitism, and well as her trivialization of holocaust denial. These statistics are just one reason why this matters.

Anti-Semitism, as with racism (which accounted for the majority of hate crimes), isn’t something to rationalize or excuse. It is to be condemned. Period.

Update: At the request of another writer at The Democratic Daily I would like to repeat that this applies purely to Pamela and not any of the other writers at the blog.

Update II: Ginny has posted a response at The Democratic Daily. Her post is a highly inaccurate and dishonest spin on events but at least does bring out the point that Pamela had the goal of stopping me from posting on Mel Gibson. This was a developing story at the time with new events every day, but Pamela wanted me to stop my criticism of Gibson. Apparently, in their view, I was being myopic in seeing Gibson’s anti-Semitism as something bad. Sorry, I will not apologize for that. Nor can I condone Pamela’s initial defense of Mel Gibson, and her attacking me for sticking up for principle and condemning Mel Gibson and anti-Semitism. And yes Ginny, Pamela did edit things on the blog. and your claims to the contrary do not change reality.

I also note that, while I limited this to one issue, Pamela’s defense of Mel Gibson and her attacks on me for criticizing this, both Pamela and Ginny feel the need to both falsely cry libel and then show their true colors by adding in all sorts of personal attacks. At least it is out in the open. In a way that is better than the personal attacks they launched against me behind my back (with some notifying me) the last few months.

Ginny and Pamela have spread far too many lies about me to even attempt to respond to them all. Besides, that is not the point. The point remains sticking to principles in opposing anti-Semitism. Pamela first says she will not attack me at Democratic Daily, and then she and Ginny concoct this scheme to post a bunch of lies about me with the offer to take down their lies if I will take down my post. It’s not going to work, for while Pamela has been commenting all day, no where does she own up to her actions. No where does she acknowledge that it might have been wrong to defend Mel Gibson, that it might have been wrong to blind side me by siding with those who posted defending Gibson, that it was wrong to trivialize Holocaust denial, and that it was wrong to try to keep me from speaking out on these issues. Pamela and Ginny certainly have no qualms about trying to rewrite history and spreading a bunch of lies.

It is rather creepy that my criticism of anti-Semitism would be labeled an attack on The Democratic Daily and lead to such a barrage of personal attacks.

The New Nixon

Wow. MyDD shows that Joe Lieberman has become the new Nixon.

Bush Officials Rooted for North Korean Nuclear Test

I was a bit skeptical when I saw this headline, REPORT: Bush Officials Were ‘Rooting’ For North Korea to Test Nuclear Weapon. After all, who in their right mind would want North Korea to test a nuclear weapon. It looks like Think Progress can back up their story with this story at The Washington Post (emphasis mine):

At many points, the United States found itself at odds with other partners in the six-party process, such as China and South Korea, which repeatedly urged the Bush administration to show more flexibility in its tactics. Meanwhile, administration officials were often divided on North Korea policy, with some wanting to engage the country and others wanting to isolate it.

Before North Korea announced it had detonated a nuclear device, some senior officials even said they were quietly rooting for a test, believing that would finally clarify the debate within the administration.

On her trip to Asia this week, Rice has come close to saying the test was a net plus for the United States. She has tried to deflect criticism by saying the test was an affirmation, rather than a failure, of the Bush administration’s policy of trying to draw China deeper into negotiations on North Korea.

Anyone need any further evidence that this is the most incompetent, reckless administration in history?

Dick Morris on the (Mis)informed Republican Base

Dick Morris says the best way for Republicans to win is to scare the voters silly. He sees the solution as mobilizing the Republican base (emphasis mine):

the GOP base is the best informed group of voters in the nation, with educational levels consistently higher than their Democratic counterparts’. They follow politics closely and are the easiest voters to reach via the news media, cable TV and talk radio.

Best informed group? Perhaps what he means is most easily manipulated group. These are the people who fell for the lies (still repeated by some) that Saddam threatened us with WMD and had ties to al Qaeda. These are the people who ignoredd the historical record and believed the transparent lies from paid political operatives about John Kerry’s Vietnam record. These are the people who voted for George Bush in 2004 after a campaign based upon misrepresenting Kerry’s position on the issues as opposed to responding to Kerry’s real positions, realizing that a majority of voters would agree with Kerry’s actual positions if they got a chance to hear them. These are the people who listen to a druggie like Rush Limbaugh claim moral superiority over the Democrats as they write off the Foley scandal as a plot hatched by George Soros.

These are the people who believe that Republicans support freedom while they impose ever greater restrictions on the private lives of individuals. These are the people who believe that Democrats are anti-business socialists while Republicans stand for capitalism when Republicans use the power of the state to transfer wealth to the ultra-wealthy and the large corporations which contribute to them in a manner which would make Adam Smith roll over in his grave. These are the people who believe Democrats would be weaker than Republicans on national security while it was under Democrats that deaths from terrorism were minimized and North Korea was prevented from developing the bomb. (more…)

Election Reform and Journalists vs. The Blogoshere

Today ABC News has a story on the problems with electronic voting. It contains nothing new to those who have been following this story, but I’m happy to see this. Election fraud remains an occasional story for the mainstream media, but it has not become a major topic for them, despite its importance.

The blogosphere is often referred to as a new media source independent of the mainstream media, but in reality the blogosphere is at its best when it bases its information on the work of the mainstream media. The blogosphere can keep stories alive which the mainstream media quickly drops down the memory hole. The blogosphere can bring stories here, such as the Downing Street Memos and other factual information on Iraq which the international press has covered but the American media virtually ignored. In the end, despite the occasional exception, the information does generally come from the work of the newsmedia, not bloggers.

The problem with election reform is that the blogosphere got ahead of the media, and the weakness of the blogosphere has been made apparent. All too often bloggers ignore basics such as objectivity and verifying sources. This may be fine when we give our opinions, but this does not substitute for real investigative journalism. In general, coverage of election reform in the blogosphere has been pathetic. Rumors and unproven claims are given as much coverage as established facts. Speculation is also treated as facts as some bloggers will take the evidence reported that Diebold machines can be hacked as “proof” that they have already been hacked and elections have been stolen. The echo chamber of the blogosphere amplifies these errors as some bloggers claim that it has been proven the 2004 election was stolen, using unsubstantiated claims elsewhere as their supposed proof. One unfortunate effect is that John Kerry is bashed for not fighting an election “everyone knows” had been stolen. Never mind that there is not yet a shred of evidence which could have held up in court.

The result of the poor reporting of the need for election reform in the blogosphere is that serious people will see through the poor reporting and are likely to see this as representative of the entire subject. Reports of the dangers of electronic voting at sites like BradBlog are not taken any more seriously than report of UFO’s in the National Enquirer. Legitimate stories of voter suppression similarly risk being ignored. In order for election reform to receive the attention it deserves, we need experienced journalists exercising their skills to investigate this in a professional manner.

Change in Direction Necessary on National Security

Republicans are running on claims that Democrats cannot be trusted to handle national security, even stooping so low as to attempt to replicate the spirit of the 1964 mushroom cloud ad Johnson used against Barry Goldwater. In yesterday’s column David Broder attempted to look at what Democrats would really do if given a say on national security should they take control of the Senate.

No one speaks more authoritatively for the Democrats on defense and national security issues than Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, both longtime members of the Armed Services Committee. If you want to know what Democratic gains in this midterm election would mean for national security policy, Levin and Reed can provide the answers.

In a conference call with reporters the other day, the two senators outlined the changes in U.S. policy toward North Korea and Iraq that they and their fellow Democrats would like to see. They signal to voters the kind of change a Democratic victory would mean.

In the case of North Korea, Levin called for doing something that President Bush has refused for six years to do — engage directly in talks with representatives of the communist regime.

The Democratic plans sound preferable to a Republican policy which is responsible for a nuclear North Korea after years of successful containment under Clinton. Democrats would also help get out of the quagmire Bush got us into in Iraq: (more…)

Andrew Sullivan on How the Right Has Gone Wrong

Andrew Sullivan has become a litmus test to differentiate between true conservatives and the reactionaries of the religious right who have taken control of the GOP. Sullivan is a conservative on the issues which mattered in the past, but his opposition to the religious right results in many conservatives now mislabeling him a liberal. He may get the last laugh this November when there is the possibility the Republicans may lose the religious vote due to the immorality of their office holders, while simultaneously losing the support of socially moderate and liberal Republicans such as the Starbucks Republicans due to the Republican pandering to the religious right. Sullivan get his word in on the subject in The Conservative Soul, reviewed in The Washington Post.

Reviewer Byran Burrough is sympathetic to Sullivan’s position and echos several posts here on the loss of Republican support in the suburbs. He writes, “let me tell you, out here in the wilds of the New Jersey suburbs, it is pure hell being a Republican these days, or a conservative, which used to be the same thing.” Sullivan identifies religious fundamentalism as the problem:

The first half of The Conservative Soul , which explores the philosophical underpinnings of Christian fundamentalism and explains how they are anathema to a free society, made me as angry as anything I’ve read in months. That there are people in 21st-century America who believe the Bible is literally true, who believe the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, and who believe that our lives today should be dictated by codes of conduct written by people who lived 2,000 years before modern medicine, electricity or equal rights — and that these same Americans have influence in national affairs — should infuriate anyone with a functioning mind. Fundamentalism, Sullivan reminds us, is the antithesis of reason. Its adherents — Christian, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise — have been handed The Truth and cling to it, facts be damned. Quoting figures as varied as Pope Benedict XVI and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Sullivan repeatedly emphasizes how fundamentalism abhors the thinking mind, insisting that an individual’s conscious choices — whether to have an abortion or what to order at Burger King — amount to moral anarchy.