Feb 12 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #871

ON THE RECORD ….

“In my opinion, the only problem with Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now.” — Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaking against President Barack Obama’s efforts to transfer prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay detention center 1/05/15

“This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene. I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it. I don’t care who does it, whether it’s some court some place, or the United States Congress. Any which way, any dollar spent on that goal is worth spending, any brief filed toward that end is worth filing, any speech or panel contribution toward that end is of service to the United States.” — Michael Greve, a board member of CEI, the organization “coordinating and funding” King v. Burwell, the case that is likely to strip health insurance away from at least 13 million people if it succeeds. 2/05/15

obamacare

“It appears that the speaker of Congress made a move, in which we trusted, but which it ultimately became clear was a one sided move and not a move by both sides.” — Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi implying that House Speaker John Boehner led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to believe that his invitation for the prime minister to speak before Congress in March was bipartisan. 2/06/15

“Obviously rape is awful. What is beautiful is the child that could come from this.”– West Virginia House of Delegates member Brian Kurcaba (R-Monongalia), explaining why he opposed a Democratic-sponsored amendment to add an exception for rape victims. 2/05/15

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” — From President Obama’s remarks during the National Prayer Breakfast. 2/05/15

“If the whole point of this election was simply to give John Boehner and Mitch McConnell nicer offices, let’s give ‘em back.” — Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) complaining that GOP leaders have lost interest in repealing Obamacare. 2/06/15

“I’m sick of this woman and her ‘don’t touch my kid regardless what he/she did or will do again’ attitude. Perhaps a good paddling in school may keep me from having to put a bullet in him later.” — NRA board member Charles Cotton complaining about State Rep. Alma Allen’s (D) bill to “prohibit the use of corporal punishment in public primary and secondary schools. 2/07/14

“The measles hoax – is it possible we have been lied to about the measles, this outbreak?” — Glenn Beck calling the measles outbreak a “hoax” designed to make Americans “obey

“Those advocating mandatory vaccinations for the “so-called public good” could be ushering in “forced abortions” and “forced pills.”” — Fox News guest Jonathan Hoenig. 2/07/14

“Can Jeb Bush win Iowa? Of course he can. Can Jeb Bush come in fifth place in Iowa? Sure he can.” — Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann. 2/09/15

“Do they stop with one man and one man or one woman and one woman? Or do they go to multiple marriages? Or do they go to marriages between men and their daughters or women and their sons?” — Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore worrying that gay marriage would pave the way to marriages between men and their daughters or women and their sons. 2/10/15


1. The DAILY GRILL

“We are listening, and we are committed to repealing Obamacare so we can replace it with patient-centered reforms that lower costs and protect jobs.” —Speaker John Boehner 2/03/15

VERSUS

-“We’re working on this. Having discussions amongst our members, got a lot of divergent views about how best to go back to a doctor/patient relationship that’s revered, about rewarding medical professionals as opposed to all those rules that are coming down and frankly driving doctors out of the system.” — Speaker John Boehner 1/25/15

-“You know, the discussions about Obamacare and what the replacement bill would look like continue. We’re trying to build consensus around one plan. Not there yet.” — Boehner 7/24/14

-“Our goal is to show the American people what we believe would work better. I believe we will. We’ll continue to roll them out as we develop them.” — Boehner 3/26/14

-“Our members will offer an alternative when it comes to Obamacare. We’ll offer better solutions on jobs, on job training, education and a host of other issues while Democrats will sit on the sidelines and we’ll continue to lead and offer better solutions for the American people.” — Boehner 1/27/14

-“We had an alternative when they passed Obamacare. … But we’ve got other bills that have been introduced over the last year by various members of our conference. So we’re going to have a conversation today about the way forward on Obamacare.” — Boehner 1/30/14

-“(To) repeal Obamacare … isn’t the answer. The answer is repeal and replace. The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land.” — Boehner 3/25/14

-“It’s one of the big issues for conversation in terms of our agenda for this year, and I think you’ll see Republicans come forward with a plan to replace Obamacare.” — Boehner 1/16/14

-“The American people want to be able to pick their own type of health insurance. They want to be able to pick their own doctors. They want to be able to pick their own hospital. That is what a patient-centered health care system looks like.” — Boehner 12/03/13

-“I expect our conference in the coming weeks to have a discussion about Obamacare and how we’re going to deal with it, and what the replacement legislation would look like.” — Boehner 5/16/13

-“Listen, there are a lot of provisions that can be replaced. Remember, I said, we want to take a common-sense, step-by-step approach to replacing Obamacare.” —Speaker John Boehner 7/01/12 — TPM 1/05/15

 

“Not only did he vilify Christianity, but he actually made a case to defend radical Islam, that’s killing people around the world. He actually defended what they were doing, and tried to draw some sort of twisted equivalency, moral equivalency, between what they’re doing today and what Crusaders did 800 years ago.” — Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) 2/09/15

VERSUS

President Obama spoke out against those who “hijack religion” in order to justify terrorism during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Condemning the Islamic State (ISIS) as a “death cult,” Obama pointed to the nondenominational phenomenon of religion being used to justify “murderous ends,” including the Crusades and Inquisition of several centuries ago.” — ABC News 2/05/15 2/5/15

 

“I think it’s clear we can’t go forward in the Senate. And so the next move, obviously, is up to the House.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blaming the House for the impasse over funding DHS. 2/10/15

VERSUS

“The House did its job. We won the fight to fund the Department of Homeland Security and stop the president’s unconstitutional [immigration] actions. Now it’s time for the Senate to do their work. You know, in the gift shop out here, they’ve got these little booklets on how a bill becomes a law.” — Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) rejecting the plea from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a separate Homeland Security funding bill to avert a shutdown of the department on Feb. 27. 2/11/15

executive-action

2. Mark Fiore: How to Avoid Killing and Maiming Children

https://vimeo.com/118782730

3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox Airs ISIS Execution After Previously Blasting Media Outlets For Airing “Terrorist Propaganda”http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/04/fox-airs-isis-execution-after-previously-blasti/202414

Conservative Media Bash Obama For Mentioning Crusades At Prayer Breakfast http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/02/06/conservative-media-bash-obama-for-mentioning-cr/202447

Fox News Stokes Fears of Obamacare Penalty That IRS Already Waived http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/06/fox-news-stokes-fears-of-obamacare-penalty-that/202456

Fox News’ Special Report Advances Debunked Claim That Climate Change Data Is “Cooked” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/10/fox-news-special-report-advances-debunked-claim/202479

New GOP Hearing On The Presidents Executive Actions Will Feature Notorious Right-Wing Media Misinformers http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/10/new-gop-hearing-will-feature-notorious-right-wi/202476

Fox Guest Star Parker: Obama Mentioning Crusades At Prayer Breakfast Was “Verbal Rape” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/09/fox-guest-star-parker-obama-mentioning-crusades/202468

Limbaugh Furious That Republicans “Were Never Really Willing To Shut Down” Homeland Security Over Obama’s Immigration Action http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/02/11/limbaugh-furious-that-republicans-were-never-re/202493

Conservative Media Weaponize Brian Williams Suspension To Attack Hillary Clinton http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/02/11/conservative-media-weaponize-brian-williams-sus/202486

4. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Hillary Clinton is weighing in on the measles outbreak. She tweeted: ‘The Earth is round, the sky is blue, and vaccines work.’ She didn’t stop there. She also tweeted, ‘Fire is hot, ice is cold, and the Seahawks should have handed the ball off to Marshawn Lynch.'” –Jimmy Fallon

The CDC announced that there are currently 102 measles cases in the U.S. Some say it’s because people aren’t vaccinating their children. You can tell things are getting bad. Today Disneyland opened a new ride called ‘It’s a Smallpox World.'” –Jimmy Fallon

Remember that dancing shark from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show? A guy in Colorado actually got a tattoo of the shark. That story again: Weed is still legal in Colorado.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Mitt Romney is not going to be running for president. So you know what that means. We are getting closer and closer to ‘President Trump.'” –David Letterman

“The city of Boston today held its Super Bowl victory parade. Meanwhile, the city of Seattle held Seahawks coach Pete Carroll out a window by his ankles.” –Seth Meyers

“During an interview last weekend, President Obama was talking about the next race for president and refused to choose between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, saying quote, ‘Love ’em both.’ Which was nice until he said he’d support the nominee, regardless of who she is.” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama unveiled a $4 trillion budget for 2016 that would increase taxes on the wealthy and spend more money on education. He also made a snowball and put it in the oven, just to see which would last longer, his budget or the snowball.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Jeb Bush admitted that he smoked a notable amount of pot in school. He said, ‘You would too if your parents had named you ‘Jeb.'” –Conan O’Brien

“Mitt Romney is not going to run for president. Mitt said it’s time for fresh faces. So that’s good news for Bruce Jenner.” –David Letterman

“Mitt Romney announced that he is no longer considering running for president in 2016. As opposed to those other guys who forgot about running — the Seattle Seahawks.” –Jimmy Fallon

“It really was an incredible game. And even though the Patriots won, you really have to hand it to Marshawn Lynch. Don’t think about it. Just hand it to Marshawn Lynch.” –Seth Meyers

5. Borowitz Report: Bush Campaign Hopes to Stoke Nostalgia for Nation’s Most Glorious Era

Tracy Klugian, who heads the newly assembled Bush media team, said that he and his staff are poised to tap into the nation’s longing for a time “when everything in this country seemed to be going right.”

A centerpiece of the marketing strategy will be evoking memories of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “It’s been a long time since the United States has invaded another country for no reason,” he said. “People are sentimental about those simpler times.”

Additionally, Klugian said the Bush team hopes to rekindle Americans’ memories of “one of those most exciting times in recent history,” the financial meltdown of 2008.

“Seeing the financial system teeter on the brink of Armageddon was a thrill ride we haven’t experienced the likes of since,” he said. “I know I’m not alone when I say that I miss those days.”

All in all, Klugian said that he and the Bush team “can’t wait” to roll up their sleeves and start reminding America of the glories that were the years 2001 to 2009. “When you have a great story like the Bush story, it’s hard to know where to start,” he said. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

6. Republicans try to blame Dems in DHS funding fight

But with its funding set to run dry in 17 days, and with the House and Senate still tied in knots over President Barack Obama’s immigration policies, no signs are emerging of a solution to the DHS standoff — and Republicans are ramping up their efforts to blame Democrats.

“The Republicans – if there is a successful attack during a DHS shutdown – we should build a number of coffins outside each Democratic office and say, ‘You are responsible for these dead Americans,’” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said Tuesday.

Democrats are demanding a clean DHS bill free of immigration provisions, but several senior House Republican aides were skeptical that such legislation could pass the GOP-led House, even if carried mostly on Democratic votes. 2/10/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/dhs-funding-gop-senate-house-bill-115075.html

immigration

7. Daily Show (videos)

Guardians of the Veracity: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/j3ware/guardians-of-the-veracity

Fox News’ Strange Obsession With Jordan’s King Abdullah: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/mtqomx/wish-you-were-him

OPINION

1. Ruth Marcus: The right’s crusade against Obama

Such is the daggers-drawn state of political discourse in Washington these days that President Obama could go to the National Prayer Breakfast, call the Islamic State a “brutal, vicious death cult” — and still end up being assailed by conservatives.

Obama’s offense? He dared to note that Islam is not the only religion to have been perverted to justify violence and atrocity.

Thus, former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore’s (R) over-the-top reaction to Obama’s remarks as “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime.” Obama, Gilmore thundered, “has offended every believing Christian in the United States.”

But wait, that’s not all. More Gilmore: “This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.” Okay, if you’re one of the hordes of 2016 presidential hopefuls, maybe you’ve got to ramp up the rhetoric to have your voice heard, but really, this goes too far.

Gilmore wasn’t alone. “Obama Insults Christians,” blared the Catholic League; its president, Bill Donohue, termed Obama’s comments “an attempt to deflect guilt from Muslim madmen.” Twitter erupted. Ditto Rush Limbaugh.

This reaction was as predictable as it was disheartening. Conservatives have ample grounds to assail Obama on his handling of the war on terror and his belated response to the rise of the Islamic State.

Instead, they seem inexorably drawn to overstate, to detect insult to Americans and animus toward the United States where none exists. This reaction says more about Obama’s critics, and their inability to accept his legitimacy, than it does about the president. 2/06/15 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rights-crusade-against-obama/2015/02/06/a36f8202-ae5b-11e4-9c91-e9d2f9fde644_story.html

2. Peter Beinart: Is America at War With Radical Islam?

If there’s one thing top Republicans know, it’s that America can’t defeat terrorism unless we call it by its real name. “We are in a religious war with radical Islamists,” Lindsey Graham recently told Fox News. “When I hear the President of the United States and his chief spokesperson failing to admit that we’re in a religious war, it really bothers me.” Rudy Giuliani agrees: “If we can’t use the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ we can’t get rid of them.” So does Ted Cruz. At the Iowa Freedom Summit in January he declared that, “You cannot fight and win a war on radical Islamic terrorism if you’re unwilling to utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’”

There are several problems here. Even if one believed that calling the enemy “radical Islam” were a good idea, it would hardly explain how to defeat it. Yet the Republicans slamming Obama for his linguistic failures mostly stop there. After he chastised the President in Iowa for not saying “radical Islam,” Ted Cruz’s only policy suggestions were that Obama should have attended the anti-terror rally in Paris and that Americans who join ISIS should lose their citizenship. On Fox, Giuliani mentioned the Paris rally too, and then fell back on platitudes like “you know what you do with bullies? You go right in their face!”

Obviously, the United States need not be ideologically agnostic. American presidents should say they believe liberal democracy is morally superior to Islamic theocracy, just as it was preferable to fascism and communism. But that’s a far cry from declaring war on every regime based upon an -ism we don’t like. For much of the cold war, the United States battled the Soviet Union but not communist China. In the 1940s, the United States went to war against Germany, Italy and Japan but not fascist Spain. And today, the United States is at war with those “radical Muslim” organizations that actively seek to kill Americans while allying ourselves with other “radical Muslim” regimes that don’t. Why is that so hard for Ted Cruz to understand? 2/05/15 Read more at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/is-america-at-war-with-radical-islam/385200/

dorothy-cruz

3. Sam Kleiner: Is Rand Paul the World’s Most Gullible Man?

Wearing gray slacks and a white t-shirt, Rand Paul took a seat in the Capitol physician’s office last week to get a Hepatitis A booster. This wasn’t just about his physical health. He was there with a reporter to do damage control over his earlier remarks on vaccines. Paul had said on national TV that he was aware of “many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” The comment was a disaster for Paul and opened up serious questions about the viability of his candidacy. But while he likely will weather this storm, the episode does shed light on the conspiracy theories that have defined Rand Paul’s worldview and his rise to political power.

Time and again, in one incident after another, Paul has shown that his worldview is colored if not controlled outright by the idea that America’s very existence is constantly threatened by shadowy conspiracies both foreign and domestic. It is hardly surprising that someone who embraces such radical ideas would also adopt the conspiratorial anti-vaccine position.

To fully understand Paul’s asinine vaccine comments, we have to understand the conspiratorial nature of his worldview. This isn’t a one-off issue for Paul. Growing up under the tutelage of his father, Paul has embraced and espoused a conspiratorial worldview where “official” truths are to be doubted in favor of explanations based on secretive plots. Paul’s rise to power was based on the populist tradition of “weaving a vast fabric of social explanation out of nothing but skeins of evil plots,” in Hofstadter’s words.

Such views have always existed at the political fringe, but they become dangerous when they come close to finding a home in the Oval Office. And of course Paul doesn’t want us prying into his deep, disturbing history of embracing conspiracy theories just when he’s trying to mainstream his views for the presidency. Because if we did get a good look at the nonsense he’s been preaching for years, we might then realize just how unqualified he is to be president. 2.11.15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/11/is-rand-paul-the-world-s-most-gullible-man.html

obamacare2

4. Aaron Blake: Why Obama invoked the Crusades — and what it says about how he views terrorism

President Obama is drawing some heat — mostly from the usual quarters — for invoking the Crusades while talking about Islam and terrorism on Thursday.

Words matter, and the way this issue is framed is going to go a long way toward determining how the “war on terror” will be waged. Moreover, the rise of the Islamic State — along with the lesser-publicized Boko Haram — has ramped up the debate over terrorism and its roots to the highest point since perhaps after Sept. 11, 2001. This is a key moment in defining the terms of the debate. Both Republicans and Obama recognize that.

Obama’s critics believe he’s being Pollyannaish about the nature of the threat and how it is inherently tied to Islam. Without recognizing the seeds of terrorism, they reason, how can you combat it?

Obama disagrees wholeheartedly with that characterization and thinks attributing violence to Islam is unfair and damaging to relations between Christians and the broader Muslim population.

It’s perhaps the defining semantics debate of his presidency. 2/06/15 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/06/why-obama-invoked-the-crusades-in-re-islam-and-terrorism/

5. Dean Obeidallah: There’s No Such Thing as ‘Radical Islam.’ There Are Only Terrorists Who Are Muslim

ISIS is about as Islamic as the KKK is Christian. They just use religion. Their real agenda is political. Get with it.

To be honest, how many have heard about the details of ISIS slaughtering of Muslims? In 2014 in Iraq alone, can you guess how many Muslims civilians—not fighters, civilians—ISIS killed? At least 4,325. ISIS is murdering an average 12 Muslim civilian men, women, and children every single day.

Why do these facts matter? Because I think it makes it clear to any reasonable person that ISIS is not about the tenets of Islam. Their religion is power.

Those aren’t just my words. In September, more than 120 Islamic scholars and clerics wrote a letter to ISIS in both English and Arabic denouncing ISIS and its invoking of Islam to justify its horrific actions. They even explained in great detail how ISIS is violating the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, concluding that ISIS is truly unIslamic.

Yet these words don’t move many on the right in America, who continue to argue in essence: If a Muslim yells “Allahu Akbar” after committing any action, that absolutely means that their conduct is based on the faith. That is beyond simplistic—it’s idiotic.

And nearly as ludicrous is the claim by people like Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who stated on Fox News on Sunday that we need to call it “radical Islam” because we “have to define our enemy.”

Look, there’s no such thing as “radical Islam.” There is only one Islam. But there are radical Muslims.  And there are Muslims who engage in terrorist acts. They are called terrorists. That is the proper way to describe them. 2/06/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/06/there-s-no-such-thing-as-radical-islam-there-are-only-terrorists-who-are-muslim.html

6. Eugene Robinson: A Juvenile GOP

Bang. Bang. Crash. That was the sound of the Republican majority in Congress shooting itself in both feet, then tripping over them.

At a moment of heightened concern that terrorists in the Middle East might stage or inspire attacks on U.S. soil, the GOP-controlled House and Senate are unable to agree on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. If the party’s aim is to show Americans it is ready to govern, we are witnessing an epic fail.

Indeed, the whole episode does seem pretty insane. House Speaker John Boehner knew the bill he sent to the Senate would be dead on arrival. McConnell knew he didn’t have the votes to pass it. And both leaders knew that if the legislation somehow made it through — perhaps when Democrats weren’t looking, or through divine intervention — there was no way Obama would ever sign it into law.

Boehner and McConnell appear to be trying to teach House Republicans a lesson in basic arithmetic. The class, however, is busy throwing spitballs.

The GOP apparently hopes the display of juvenile behavior we’re witnessing will inspire voters to give the party even more power in 2016 by electing a Republican president. Good luck with that. 1/06/15 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/02/06/a_juvenile_gop_125511.html

bi-partisanship

7. Rachel M. Cohen: Blind to the Future

Some day not long from now, if you are traveling by rail in the Northeast, you may be stuck in a train waiting to enter a tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey. Perhaps your grumbling seatmate curses Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, or politicians generally. But one leader in particular will deserve to be singled out on such occasions: Chris Christie, who, as governor of New Jersey in 2010, blocked a joint federal-state project to build a new passenger rail tunnel.

Today, few outside the New York metropolitan area know much about Governor Christie’s decision to veto the Access to the Region’s Core plan (ARC), a $9.8 billion project in the works for nearly 20 years that would have doubled cross-Hudson rail capacity, with a projected 2018 completion date. Christie gained notoriety for one Hudson River tie-up in September 2013, when his aides and allies closed traffic lanes at the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against a local Democratic official. But compared to “Bridgegate,” as that twisted tale came to be known, Christie’s veto of the new rail tunnel is a far more serious scandal. For the sake of short-term political gain, Christie sacrificed the long-term interests of his state and the nation. The story of the blocked tunnel is also evidence of a wider problem: Republican leaders’ refusal to deal with failing infrastructure for fear of raising taxes and antagonizing anti-tax groups on the right.

Enthusiasm among Republicans for Christie may not be as robust as it once was, but he remains a serious contender for the party’s presidential nomination. After all, Republicans around the country are not going to ask why the governor of New Jersey canceled a rail tunnel under the Hudson River. And Christie will be long gone from state politics when people in the region are left to suffer the consequences of that decision. Winter 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine http://prospect.org/article/blind-future-chris-christie-and-republican-default-public-investment

8. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: Obama Was Right to Compare Christianity’s Violent Past to the Islamic State

Conservative critics are in hysterics thanks to a few short remarks made by President Barack Obama on the subject of Christian history during Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast. Addressing religiously motivated conflict abroad, Obama said, “Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

The degree to which, in retrospect, we are willing to condemn violent perversions of faith often has to do with their proximity to us. Most will now admit, however grudgingly, that the Crusades and Inquisition were efforts to carry out some construal of God’s will, however mistaken and otherwise motivated. With more recent conflicts, such as Bosnia and Rwanda, we are more apt to see Christianity as a single thread in a web of ethnic and political tensions that was ultimately only one cause among the many that ultimately culminated in brutality. And this analysis is probably right.

But it is also probably true of the terrorism perpetrated by ISIS, which has been roundly denounced as contrary to the principles of Islam by a host of Muslim leaders and clerics, most recently after the murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Like war crimes and individual acts of brutality committed within the Christian world, the pattern of tensions that has produced ISIS, in all its unthinkable cruelty, seems to be broader and deeper than its self-proclaimed religious convictions. For those not searching for a source of personal offense, this is the only point Obama’s remarks on the religious violence enacted by Christians really conveys.

And it is, at last, a hopeful point: If we in the Christian world are capable of owning the monstrosities of our past, identifying their sources as multivalent and contrary to our faith, and holding one another accountable for the behavior we exhibit moving forward, then so are the members of the faiths we live alongside in the world. But accountability requires honesty, and pretending that Christians have never attributed violence to the cause of Christ is a disservice to modern peacemaking and to the victims of the past. Obama was right to take a clear-eyed view of the years that have come before, and to look hopefully to what we can do together as a multi-faith nation in the years to come. 1/06/15 Read more at http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120993/obama-national-prayer-breakfast-compares-christian-violence-isis

9. Bill Moyers: When America behaved like ISIS: Jesse Washington and the Bible Belt’s dark history of public lynchings

After listening to one newscast after another rightly condemn the barbaric killing of that Jordanian air force pilot at the bloody hands of ISIS, I couldn’t sleep. My mind kept roaming the past trying to retrieve a vaguely remembered photograph that I had seen long ago in the archives of a college library in Texas.

Suddenly, around two in the morning, the image materialized in my head. I made my way down the hall to my computer and typed in: “Waco, Texas. Lynching.”

Sure enough, there it was: the charred corpse of a young black man, tied to a blistered tree in the heart of the Texas Bible Belt. Next to the burned body, young white men can be seen smiling and grinning, seemingly jubilant at their front-row seats in a carnival of death. One of them sent a picture postcard home: “This is the barbeque we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe.”

The victim’s name was Jesse Washington. The year was 1916. America would soon go to war in Europe “to make the world safe for democracy.” My father was twelve, my mother eight. I was born 18 years later, at a time, I would come to learn, when local white folks still talked about Washington’s execution as if it were only yesterday. This was not medieval Europe. Not the Inquisition. Not a heretic burned at the stake by some ecclesiastical authority in the Old World. This was Texas, and the white people in that photograph were farmers, laborers, shopkeepers, some of them respectable congregants from local churches in and around the growing town of Waco.

Yes, it was hard to get back to sleep the night we heard the news of the Jordanian pilot’s horrendous end. ISIS be damned! I thought. But with the next breath I could only think that our own barbarians did not have to wait at any gate. They were insiders. Home grown. Godly. Our neighbors, friends, and kin. People like us. 2/10/15 Read more at http://www.salon.com/2015/02/10/when_america_behaved_like_isis_jesse_washington_and_the_bible_belts
_dark_history_of_public_lynchings_partner/

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