Following President Obama's announcement that he has authorized "a limited military action in Libya" to "protect Libyan civilians," the right-wing media has absurdly declared that Obama is "essentially backing Al-Qaeda" and is "making the world safe for jihad."
What do you get when you combine the wits of ridiculous conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney and ridiculous conspiracy theorist Andrew Breitbart? You get a wild, obviously baseless theory that, using the precedent of the United Nations Security Council resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, President Obama may one day order a military strike on Israel.
Writing on Andrew Breitbart's website Big Peace, Gaffney states: "There are many reasons to be worried about the bridge-leap the Obama Administration has just undertaken in its war with Muamar Gaddafi. How it will all end is just one of them. What I find particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Qaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel."
As best I can make out, Gaffney's theory is that Obama will soon agree to a Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine as an independent state. If Israel does not immediately dismantle its settlements in Palestine, Obama will threaten "U.S.-enabled 'coalition' military measures aimed at neutralizing IDF [Israel Defense Forces] forces on the West Bank - and beyond, if necessary." Gaffney then foresees the possibility of "the United States ... actually raining down cruise missiles on Israeli targets in the West Bank, as it has done on Libyan ones at the behest of the Arab League and UN Security Council."
Consistent with long-standing U.S. policy, the Obama administration has criticized the building of new Israeli settlements on the West Bank. But the administration also recently vetoed a U.N. resolution seeking to condemn Israel over its settlements and, in doing so, garnered the thanks of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. So, would the Obama administration really make an about-face and authorize the use of force against Israel?
Of course not. Except in the fevered minds of Gaffney and Breitbart.
The right-wing media is claiming that Rep. Keith Ellison made up a "phony Islamophobic story" that a Muslim first responder who died in the September 11 attacks had been subject to dark rumors that he may have been involved in the attack. In fact, numerous media outlets reported on such "unfounded speculation" from authorities and others, and that those rumors were ended for good when his body was found.
A post on the conservative blog Big Peace falsely claimed that President Obama is "making us more dependent on foreign oil." However, statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that imports have declined faster than domestic production in the past several years, and current projections show that our dependence on foreign oil will continue to decrease through 2035.
In a World Net Daily article cross posted at Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace, Diana West lashed out at critics of Glenn Beck on the "Right and Left" for dismissing his caliphate theory as "delusional" and "as though it were a mythological beast, not a historical system of Islamic governance still revered and yearned for by most Muslims." To lend weight to Beck's claim, West cited a 2007 University of Maryland/WorldOpinion poll finding that 74 percent of Egyptians support "strict Shariah," while 67 percent of Egyptians support an Islamic "caliphate."
Here's where it gets really bad.
West then claimed that the only thing "delusional" is "the belief that American principles -- freedom of religion, freedom of speech, equality before the law -- have a natural place as 'universal principles' in a culture grounded in Shariah principles," and added, "[t]his is the pure fantasy that has driven our foreign policy through a decade of "nation-building" wars." West further wrote that "the only way I know how to get to anything you might call 'universal principles' into the Islamic world is through the establishment of ... a caliphate."
Get that? West seems to be suggesting that Muslims are bent on imposing Shariah law by means of an Islamic caliphate, so let's not even bother supporting calls for human rights and democratic freedoms in Muslim countries. Calls for these rights and freedoms are disingenous anyway, because the only possible "universal principles" in Muslim countries are of the "caliphate" variety.
The poll West cited, by the way, found that "[i]n all four countries polled, strong majorities (67% overall) said they considered 'a democratic political system' to be a good way of governing their country." The poll also found that "[s]upport for Democracy was highest in Egypt, where an overwhelming 82 percent saw it as good and a 52 percent majority called it 'very good.' "
West probably just forgot to mention that.
When Glenn Beck wants to get away with smearing George Soros with anti-Semitic tropes, he just argues that Soros doesn't really count as Jewish. And when Beck's allies at Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace want to defend Beck from Jewish Funds for Justice and the 400 rabbis who signed a letter expressing disgust with these anti-Semitic attacks, they try a similar tactic.
Here's Big Peace's Dan Friedman rationalizing Beck's position:
If you get the paper edition of The Wall Street Journal you probably won't be able to ignore a full-page ad signed by 400 rabbis and paid for by a group calling itself Jewish Funds for Justice. The ad takes aim at criticizes Glenn Beck and Beck's boss at Fox, Roger Ailes, for, inter alia, exposing the young George Soros's WWII collaboration with the Nazis and how his past now informs his present-day leftist politics and his anti-Zionism. Following in the footsteps of the "blood libel" frenzy of just a few weeks ago, the signers also take special exception to references by Beck and others at Fox to the "Holocaust." To put it plainly, the ad is the Jewish version of the race card and simply another left-liberal attempt to muzzle speech by people who claim, as Jews, to be offended when the speakers are conservatives.
The ad demands Ailes should "sanction" Beck and issue an apology for Fox's transgressions. But before Fox considers those demands, I'd suggest they visit the sponsor's website first. There they will find little or nothing about Judaism or Israel, but rather thousands of years of Jewish history and tradition reduced to the leftwing planks of the Democratic platform or a nominally Jewish mutation of ACORN.
Got that? Saying that anti-Semitic attacks on Soros (ones which, by the way, have already been thoroughly debunked) don't count because he doesn't self-identify as Jewish is bad enough. But it really, really strains credulity to suggest that 400 rabbis don't really count.
GOProud, the conservative group for gay conservatives and their allies, just appointed Andrew Breitbart to their board. However, Breitbart and his contributors at his BigPeace, BigGovernment, BigJournalism and BigHollywood sites have repeatedly engaged in incendiary anti-gay rhetoric. Additionally, his contributors have actively opposed the repeal of Don't ask Don't tell, and opposed GOProud's inclusion in the conservative conference CPAC.
A post on Andrew Breitbart's BigPeace today tops the blog's long history of demonizing Muslims, republishing an essay by Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels, titled, "The connection between Muslim inbreeding and terrorism":
If there are two things that characterize Islamic culture, they are terrorism and inbreeding. The latest research shows that these two things might be closely connected.
The concept of Islamic terror does not need any introduction. Not everyone might know, however, that seventy percent of Pakistanis and forty percent of Turks are inbred (Jyllands-Posten, 27/2 2009 "More stillbirths among immigrants"). Research shows that the same goes for close to half of all Arabs (Reproductive Health Journal, 2009 "Consanguinity and reproductive health among Arabs").
First cousin marriages have been the tradition in many Muslim families for innumerable generations. Such marriages increase the risk of negative mental and physical consequences. My article "Muslim inbreeding: Impacts on intelligence, sanity, health and society" details extensive research data on the subject. In brief, inbreeding through consanguineous marriages increases the risk of depression (Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 2009 "Relationship between consanguinity and depression in a south Indian population") and schizophrenia (American Psychiatric Press, 1982 "The role of genetic factors in the etiology of the schizophrenic disorders").
The risk of serious illnesses or handicaps increases by up to 1800 percent (BMJ, 1994 "Infant death and consanguineous marriage"). Risk of mental retardation increases with 400 percent (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 1978 "Effect of inbreeding on IQ and mental retardation"). Research shows that the IQ is 10-16 points lower in children born from blood related parents and that abilities related to social behavior and empathy develops slower in inbred babies (Indian National Science Academy, 1983 "Consanguinity Effects on Intelligence Quotient and Neonatal Behaviours of nsari Muslim Children" [pdf]). Such facts might make several pieces fall into place for many people. [Big Peace, 12/20/10]
To further support his odious claims, Sennels goes on to cite -- poorly -- a study by Yusuf Yadgari of the Medical University of Kabul that found, based on the autopsied remains of suicide bombers, "that close to ninety percent [of them] were suffering from severe illness such as blindness, cancer, missing limbs or leprosy."
Actually, if you click through to the 2007 NPR report on Yadgari's study, the number is 80 percent. More importantly, only 20 percent of bombers were found to have mental illnesses in this study, while 60 percent were suffering from physical illness, like the aforementioned "cancer, missing limbs, [and] leprosy." While genes play a role in some physical ailments, like cancer, it's not terribly scientific to conclude from autopsies that all these maladies were caused by "inbreeding."
So who is this not-so-scientific scientist?
Following a North Korean attack on a South Korean island, conservative voices have appeared on air and online to promote the use of U.S. strikes against North Korea.
The right-wing media have been attacking President Obama's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), claiming it "may harm national security." But the treaty enjoys widespread support among military leaders, who have called its passage a "no-brainer," and have argued that "the treaty makes us safer."
The right-wing media have recently advanced the conspiracy theory that the $1.8 million grant to NPR from the Open Society Foundations -- which were founded by philanthropist George Soros -- is related to Juan Williams' firing. Andrew Breitbart's websites have dramatically one-upped that conspiracy theory, accusing the White House of having a role in Williams' termination and suggesting that Williams' firing is evidence of a "shariah-mandated stealth jihad" -- perhaps part of a "Muslim Brotherhood influence operation."
Right-wing media are attacking President Obama's statement that he "believe[s] that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country" and are entitled to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan.
A post on Andrew Breitbart's BigPeace.com claims that "previously unimagined assaults on women and girls are taking place almost exclusively from within Islamic communities." Not to minimize violence against women in these communities, but to even suggest that horrific violence against women occurs "almost exclusively" in "Islamic communities," is unbelievably ignorant. The problem of violence against women is widespread in our society and is certainly not exclusive to any community.
On BigPeace.com, Diane West writes of the brutal attack on an 18-year-old Afghani woman named Aisha. She then adds that it's not just women in Afghanistan, this is occurring to Muslim women in the West too:
Similar scenarios play out beyond the wilds of the Taliban zone wherever Sharia culture flowers, an expanding zone that now includes urban centers of the Western world -- from Berlin to London to Atlanta to Calgary -- where previously unimagined assaults on women and girls are taking place almost exclusively from within Islamic communities. This gruesome fact renders Time's cover line -- "What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan" -- absurdly provincial in scope. That is, it's not only in Afghanistan where Islamic men have dominion over Islamic women. It is wherever Islamic law, de facto or de jure, empowers them.
Again, I do not mean to minimize the horror of violence against women by Muslims. But violence against women and girls is by no means an Islam-specific phenomenon.
Just look at the statistics compiled by the American Bar Association on domestic violence, For instance, "[t]he U.S. Department of Justice reported that 37% of all women who sought care in hospital emergency rooms for violence-related injuries were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend." Also, according to the ABA-compiled statistics, "The level of injury resulting from domestic violence is severe: of 218 women presenting at a metropolitan emergency department with injuries due to domestic violence, 28% required hospital admission, and 13% required major medical treatment. 40% had previously required medical care for abuse."
A couple of other things leap out from the ABA statistics:
And of course, one can point to specific, horrific examples of attacks against women and girls by non-Muslims too. Remember Joel Steinberg, the New York City attorney who abused and killed his young daughter Lisa as well as his live-in lover Hedda Nussbaum? Or the story of a teenage Oregon girl who allegedly was killed "in the course of, or as a result of intentional maiming and torture" by her mother and step-father?
The problem of violence against women is a societal and global problem. While we should fight such violence in Muslim communities, we shouldn't pretend that it is limited to them as BigPeace.com does.
Right-wing blogs have been promoting a rumor that "highly trained killers" from a Mexican drug gang have "invade[d]" the United States, taking over two ranches near the Mexico-U.S. border in Laredo, Texas, but law enforcement agencies in the area have flatly denied the rumor.
The Laredo Morning Times reported that law enforcement officials had been "bombarded" with calls about the rumor but that "officials with the Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff's Department and Border Patrol said they knew nothing about such an incident, while Erik Vasys, an FBI spokesman in San Antonio, said the agency does not comment on rumors."
Some conservative blogs have acknowledged that the story appears to be bogus, but others are standing by it.
I must admit I've been concerned that Andrew Breitbart's new and unfortunately-named website Big Peace was lacking the sort of credibility that would make it a player on the wing-nut warmongers scene. But those concerns were allayed when I saw that Big Peace counts among its contributors noted non-lunatic and definitely sane person Daniel Pipes, who offered this observation in his inaugural post:
Jaw-dropping court testimony by Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber, singlehandedly undermines Obama administration efforts to ignore the dangers of Islamism and jihad.
I see... The court testimony from the would-be terrorist who was arrested, interrogated, and convicted by the Obama Justice Department undermines the Obama administration's "efforts to ignore the dangers of jihad."
This is an ideal situation for Pipes -- so long as the Obama administration keeps arresting, interrogating, and convicting terrorists, he'll have all the evidence he needs that the Obama administration is ignoring the dangers of terrorism.