Posts Tagged: Posts

Oct 10

Spencer: The Washington Post’s moral collapse

My column in Human Events this morning:

Several years ago, in a key defeat for free speech, newspapers cowered before Muslim rage and refused to run cartoons of Muhammad. Now at the Washington Post they’re going one better, and refusing to run cartoons that don’t depict Muhammad-again, believe it or not, for fear of enraging Muslims. And once again, one of the nation’s most influential mainstream media outlets fails to see the free-speech implications of their cowardice and enabling of Islamic supremacism.

Last Sunday’s “Non Sequitur,” a single-panel comic strip that runs in around 800 newspapers, did not appear in the venerable WaPo: editors decided that the panel, which depicted a scene of busy activity with the caption “Where’s Muhammad?,” might, in the words of Post ombudsman, “offend and provoke some Post readers, especially Muslims.” This despite the fact that Muhammad isn’t actually depicted in the strip at all.

“Non Sequitur” artist Wiley Miller was apparently not informed of the Post’s decision to drop his drawing: “I have absolutely no information on why any of the editors chose not to run it,” he said. But he did note the irony: he said that he intended his cartoon to poke fun at “the insanity of an entire group of people rioting and putting out a hit list over cartoons,” and at the “media cowering in fear of printing any cartoon that contains the word ‘Muhammad.’”

Miller added: “All I can do is surmise that the irony of their being afraid to run a cartoon that satirizes media’s knee-jerk reaction to anything involving Islam bounced right of their foreheads. So what they’ve actually accomplished is, sadly, [to] validate the point.”

Miller is right. So is a Post reader, John D. Stackpole, who wrote in to the paper to call their editorial staff cowards, which they manifestly are, and added: “The wonderful irony [is that] great newspapers like the Washington Post, that took on Nixon-run in fear of this very tame cartoon, thus validating the accuracy of the satire.”

If any person or group is considered off-limits for critical examination and even ridicule, that person or group has been given a privileged position in society, and has a free hand to do what it wishes. That’s why the freedom of speech is an indispensable bulwark against tyranny: It prevents authoritarian rulers from arrogating to themselves and exercising unfettered power….

There is more.

Jihad Watch

Oct 10

Eboo Patel in Washington Posts forgets about jihad terrorism, blames “fear of Muslims” on antijihadists

Eboo Patel has a used car to sell you. “Nine years after 9/11, a debate about Islam,” by Eboo Patel in the Washington Post, October 4 (thanks to all who sent this in):

How is it that fear of Muslims in America is actually higher nine years post 9/11? Watching Christiane Amanpour’s special on Islam Sunday provides plenty of clues.

Patel, you see, wants to fool his eminently foolable Washington Post readers into thinking that If there is any actual suspicion of or negative feelings toward Muslims in the United States, it is the fault of people like Franklin Graham and me. He would prefer that you not think about Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihadist; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas underwear jihadist; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who killed one soldier and murdered another in a jihad shooting outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark.; Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square jihadist; Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden on 9/11; the London jihad bombers of July 7, 2005; and so many others.

The most striking voices in the debate were Amjad Choudry [sic! Patel is referring to Britain-based jihadist Anjem Choudary] and Reverend Franklin Graham. Choudry wore a regulation size beard, looked menacingly at the television camera and declared that the flag of Islam will one day fly over the White House. He knew full well that he was playing the scary Muslim figure from central casting. His message: Islam requires me to dominate you.

“He knew full well that he was playing the scary Muslim figure from central casting.”

Franklin Graham talked about church-burnings in the Sudan, the dangers of Sharia law, and the purpose of mosques as vehicles of conversion and domination. In other words, he agreed with Amjad [that is, Anjem]: Islam requires Muslims to dominate others.

Patel is here attempting a sleight-of-hand: Graham discussed church burnings in the Sudan, Sharia’s oppressive features, and mosques as vehicles of conversion and domination. See? — says Patel — he’s just like Anjem Choudary (although Patel does manage to spell Graham’s name correctly, so at least in that they differ). He doesn’t mention, of course, and apparently hopes that you won’t bring to mind the fact that it wasn’t Franklin Graham or Anjem Choudary who burned churches in the Sudan. It wasn’t Franklin Graham who used mosques to preach hatred; to spread exhortations to terrorist activity; to house a bomb factory; to store weapons; to disseminate messages from bin Laden; to demand (in the United States) that non-Muslims conform to Islamic dietary restrictions; to fire on American troops; to fire upon Indian troops; or to train jihadists.

When that kind of thing is known to have gone on in mosques, and when Muslims implementing Sharia in Saudi Arabia and Iran have victimized non-Muslims and women, people aren’t thinking that “Islam requires Muslims to dominate others” because Franklin Graham or Anjem Choudary told them so; they can see with their own eyes. And no amount of smoke blown into those eyes by Eboo Patel and his ilk can ultimately obscure the truth.

There are Muslims who go on television representing Islam and non-Muslims who go on television representing “Why you should fear Islam” and they are saying the same scary things. Is it any wonder that many Americans, whose first conscious experience with Islam was 9/11, are thinking: “I’m scared of these people.”

The idea that people saying “scary things” on television makes Americans “scared” of “these people” is as ridiculous as it is condescending. Americans are not that stupid, Mr. Patel. Manipulative talking heads, Muslim or non-Muslim, are not the problem in this: Nidal Hasan and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Faisal Shahzad and innumerable others are. But for Eboo Patel to face that, he would have to face up to the reality of the Islamic texts and teachings that inspired those jihadis. And that is a reality that he seems determined to obscure.

What about the moderate Muslims?

Daisy Khan, leader of a group called the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), explained that she was moved by the events of 9/11 to leave her corporate career to start an institution to grow the moderate voice in Islam. She has led Muslim youth and women’s events all over the world. One of the “fear Islam” panel members was unimpressed. “How do we know you are not a secret radical?” he asked.

A blunt but apposite question, given Daisy Khan’s dishonesty about whether or not this “community center” would be a mosque — she has said so in the past in my presence, but has now adopted the line that it is not a mosque, with no explanation for or acknowledgment of the change. Moreover, her husband, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an open proponent of Sharia, and calls for restrictions on the freedom of speech in his book What’s Right with Islam. These things should cause concern for free people. And that Patel would hold the likes of Daisy Khan up as an example of a moderate Muslim doesn’t speak well of him, either.

The imam of a Muslim community in Murfreesboro, TN pointed out that Muslims had been a visible part of Murfreesboro for 30 years and not one member of the community had been involved in a single crime in that time. Recently, the community’s mosque construction site had experienced vandalism and arson, likely because of the fear of Islam cutting through the culture. Robert Spencer’s response: Muslims have a pattern of fabricating such things, and perhaps the imam was making this up as well.

Do Muslims fake hate crimes, or is this just an invention of that greasy Islamophobe Spencer? From “CAIR’s Hate Crimes Nonsense” by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha:

  • CAIR cites the July 9, 2004 case of apparent arson at a Muslim-owned grocery store in Everett, Washington. But investigators quickly determined that Mirza Akram, the store’s operator, staged the arson to avoid meeting his scheduled payments and to collect on an insurance policy. Although Akram’s antics were long ago exposed as a fraud, CAIR continues to list this case as an anti-Muslim hate crime.

  • CAIR also states that “a Muslim-owned market was burned down in Texas” on August 6, 2004. But already a month later, the owner was arrested for having set fire to his own business. Why does CAIR include this incident in its report?

  • CAIR lists the March 2005 lawsuit filed by the Salmi family for the firebombing of their family van as one example of a hate crime report it received in 2004. However, the crime named in the lawsuit occurred in March 2003, was already reported by CAIR in 2003, and should not have been tabulated again in the 2004 report.

  • CAIR reports that “a home-made bomb exploded outside of the Champions Mosque in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas,” staking its claim on eyewitness reports that on July 4, 2004, “two white males” were seen placing the bomb. We inquired about the incident and found that Spring’s sheriff department could not locate any police files about an explosion. Further inquiries to the mosque and an e-mail to CAIR both went unanswered. There is scant evidence that any crime even occurred.

  • CAIR notes that “investigators in Massachusetts are still investigating a potential hate-motivated arson against the Al-Baqi Islamic Center in Springfield.” However the case was long ago ruled a simple robbery, news that even CAIR’s own website has posted. The Associated Press reported on January 21, 2005, that prosecutors determined the fire was set by teen-age boys “who broke into the Al-Baqi mosque to steal money and candy, then set the fire to cover their tracks.” The boys, they clarified, “weren’t motivated by hatred toward Muslims.”

  • CAIR describes what happened to a Muslim family in Tucson, Arizona: “bullet shots pierced their home as they ate dinner in October 2004″ and two months later their truck was smashed and vandalized. But the only evidence that either incident was motivated by hate of Muslims is the Dehdashti family itself, not the police. Detective Frank Rovi of Pima County Sheriff’s Department, who handled the shooting investigation, said that according to the neighbors, the desert area by the Dehdashti house was often used for target practice. Neither incident was classified as a hate crime and both cases were closed by February 2005, long before the CAIR report went to press.

  • Of twenty “anti-Muslim hate crimes” in 2004 that CAIR describes, at least six are invalid – and further research could likely find problems with the other fourteen instances.

    Would Eboo Patel really say, in light of all this and more, that it is unreasonable for non-Muslims to be suspicious when a Muslim claims that he has been the victim of a hate crime? How many times must we submit to being fooled?

    There you have it in a nutshell. The forces of intolerance scream from the rooftops, “Islam is about domination”. The forces of moderation are questioned with the intent of delegitimizing them (they’re either just liars, or liars and secret radicals).

    Well, Patel, it would help if you could come up with an example of a “force of moderation” who wasn’t a public and demonstrable liar like Daisy Khan.

    Patel then proceeds to build a “fear bomb,” to hoodwink his hapless readers into being afraid to resist the advance of Islamic supremacism:

    How do you build a fear bomb? Here’s how:

    1) A high-profile event like 9/11 that raises fears and suspicions of a religion and a community.

    2) People like Amjad Choudry [sic!] who claim to represent that religion and community who look scary and say scary things.

    3) People who claim to want to protect everybody else who point to people like Amjad Choudry and say, “See, he represents Islam. Told you they were scary.”

    4) A deliberate campaign to delegitimize humanizing, moderate voices.

    This is all so patently dishonest. If Eboo Patel really wants to present himself as an alternative to the person he persists in calling “Amjad Choudry,” he needs to counter Choudary’s influence in the Muslim community. Then if non-Muslims see that the “humanizing, moderate voices” are really doing something among Muslims to neutralize Islamic supremacists and jihadists, and to counter their appeal, it will be a lot harder for anyone to make the case that “Choudry” “represents Islam” — which of course I have never said anyway.

    And that Patel would also praise the likes of Reza Aslan, a Board member of an organization that can’t think of a single move the U.S. should take to counter the actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is telling as well:

    The role played by Reza Aslan in the conversation was hugely important. He made a few compelling key points. Number one: Islam is a huge religion with a long history. Saying all of its adherents are about one thing – domination – is the very definition of bigotry.

    This case would be a lot easier to make if the people Patel praised weren’t so unsavory. Daisy Khan and Reza Aslan are the voices of reason and moderation? Then we are indeed in trouble. Aslan is a Board member for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has clear links to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and he has called for the U.S. to “squeeze a deal out of” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Number two: people like Franklin Graham and Amjad Choudry say they’re on different sides of the debate, but really they represent the same position (and ought to go have coffee together and leave the rest of us alone, as Reza colorfully suggested).

    Finally, people like Robert Spencer who seek to intentionally delegitimize moderates are advancing a not-too-subtle form of racism, and their ideas will join anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism in the dustbin of history.

    I don’t “delegitimize moderates.” They do that all by themselves. Daisy Khan said at a Lower Manhattan Community Board meeting that the building was a mosque. I was there. Then she said on ABC News that it wasn’t a mosque. I am supposed to trust her now? And Reza Aslan is part of a group that seems to have numerous links to the bloodthirsty Iranian mullahcracy. Moderate?

    And this business about anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism, in which Patel echoes Aslan and the latest talking points that are making the rounds among the Islamic supremacists, is supremely specious. Jews and Catholics weren’t shooting people at military bases, or hijacking planes and flying them into skyscrapers, or setting off bombs in their underwear on other airplanes, or trying to blow up Times Square, etc. etc. etc. There is simply no comparison between concern about Islamic supremacism and jihad and nativism, which was baseless and indeed racist.

    Patel’s agenda is clear, and the Washington Post ought to be ashamed of itself for publishing him — that is, if it had any shame.

    Jihad Watch

    Oct 10 Pushes Case for Tax Hike with Back-to-Back Posts

    With congressional Democrats divided on how to approach the soon-expiring Bush tax cuts, reliably liberal Newsweek has taken upon itself the task of defending tax hikes, particularly those on the "rich."

    In back-to-back posts today, Ben Adler sought to dismiss the stimulative effect of tax cuts while Nancy Cook profiled some rich liberals who are allegedly looking forward to their taxes going up. [click image above for full-size screen cap]

    "Republicans, moderate Democrats, and even members of President Obama’s economic advisory board say raising taxes on the rich will slow the economic recovery," Adler noted in the subheadline of his story. "But that’s only if you don’t do something smarter with the money," he added.

    The "something smarter"? You guessed it, shovel-ready stimulus jobs!:

    [W]hichever approach we choose, there are clearly more cost-efficient ways to spur growth than keeping income tax cuts for the rich. Even supporters of keeping the cuts, such as Feldstein, acknowledge, though, that political practicality may be driving the decision more than pure policy. “The only issue on the table with a very short amount of time is what to do with the expiring tax cuts,” Feldsein says, “not what more general policy might be adopted.” While full tax-cut extension would exacerbate income inequality, many alternative proposals, such as payroll-tax cuts for workers or unemployment benefit increases, would reduce inequality but might be less politically palatable. Other approaches, such as investing in infrastructure, would give society something tangible for its investment, with potential economic or environmental benefits in decades to come.

    For her part, Adler colleague Nancy Cook interviewed rich liberal  Jeffrey Hollender, the CEO of green cleaning products company Seventh Generation, who is all too happy to be taxed some more:

    NEWSWEEK: So why do you oppose extending the tax cuts for families that make more than $ 250,000 a year?

    Hollender: This is a time when the wealthiest Americans need to give back to the country. I know this well, as someone who has been financially successful, the vast array of benefits available to me that are not available to other people. It’s a moral question, but it’s also equally economic, because I don’t necessarily need everyone to agree with my morals and my perspectives. We can agree that the country can’t afford the tax cuts. This is the absolute wrong time, because where is that money going to be made up from? It’s going to come from social services. The government will have to reduce expenses, probably by providing fewer benefits for less affluent Americans. I can’t remember the government dealing with economic problems in a way that has inflicted pain on me, but that’s the not the case if you’re living below the poverty level.

    Of course, later in the interview we get around to the less than altruistic interest Hollender has in tax policy (emphasis mine):

    [NEWSWEEK] What else would you like to see the government do to close the gap between the poor and the wealthy?

    [Hollender] The tax code is a disaster. It needs to be simplified. There is a huge amount of taxes collected out of people’s paychecks. Unfortunately, we tax too much of the good stuff, like income, and not enough things that pollute our air or that cause many of the problems we face. We have an economic system that encourages bad things and bad behavior. Why should organic food cost more than nonorganic food? If you want to create that kind of negative impact, you should have to pay for the right to do that. I really think that we send very confusing messages to the marketplace and that makes it hard for people to do the right thing.

    Remember, Seventh Generation is a "green" cleaning products company. It’s hardly surprising that its CEO would lobby for heavily taxing "bad things" — like non-recycled garbage bags, for example, which would help push consumers towards buying Hollender’s recycled-plastic garbage bags.

    To be fair, Hollender’s views on tax policy are probably not completely driven by economic interest, but it certainly has to be one factor in his views.

    Yet Cook failed to press Hollender with any skeptical questions on this point in her interview. – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

    Sep 10

    Wash Post’s Anne Kornblut: Why, Despite Obama’s Healing Efforts, Is There So Much Anti-Muslim ‘Resentment?’

    Washington Post staff writer Anne Kornblut used her question at a White House press conference on Friday to worry that, despite Barack Obama making it a "priority," anti-Muslim "suspicion" still existed in America.

    She queried the President, "Nine years after the September 11th attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of Islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to improve relations with the Muslim world?" [MP3 audio here.]

    Obama’s response seemed to echo his infamous 2008 comment about Americans being "bitter" and "clinging" to their guns. He proclaimed, "You know, I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then, you know, fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. And, so, I think that plays a role in it."

    On April 11, 2008, the then-Senator condescended, "It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

    Of course, Kornblut had no follow-up and didn’t challenge Obama on his latest assertion.

    A transcript of the September 10 question and answer can be found below:


    ANNE KORNBLUT: Thank you, Mr. President. Nine years after the September 11th attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of Islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to improve relations with the Muslim world?

    BARACK OBAMA: You know, I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then, you know, fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. And, so, I think that plays a role in it. One of the things that I most admired about President Bush was after 9/11, him being crystal clear about the fact that we were not at war with Islam. We were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted Islam, had stolen its banner to carry out its outrageous acts. I was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion. We’re not going to be divided by ethnicity.

    We are all Americans and we stand together against those who would try to do us harm. And that’s what we’ve done over the last nine years. We should take great pride in that. And I think it is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the American people to hang on to that thing that is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance, clarity about who are enemies are. Our enemies are al Qaeda and their allies who are trying to kill us, but have killed more Muslims than just about anybody on Earth.

    You know, we have to make sure that we don’t start turning on each other and I will do everything that I can as long as I’m President of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God and we may call that god different names. But we remain one nation and, you know, as somebody who, you know, relies heavily on my Christian faith in my job, I understand, you know, that the passions that religious faith can, can raise.

    But I’m also respectful that people of different faiths can practice their religion, even if they don’t subscribe to the exact same notions that I do. And that they are still good people and they are my neighbors and they are my friends and they are fighting alongside us in our battles. And, you know, I want to make sure that this country retains that sense of purpose. And I think tomorrow is a wonderful day for us to remind ourselves of that. – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

    Sep 10

    Sigh: DHS posts signs to deter illegal aliens

    In Invasion, published eight years ago, I pointed out that the Bush administration’s lame immigration enforcement measures included orange rubber cones and useless “No Entry” signs posted at the border.

    Well, file this under “The more things change.” The Washington Times reports that the Obama administration is posting new signs at the border warning travelers and illegal aliens about violent smugglers.

    The federal government has posted signs along a major interstate highway in Arizona, more than 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, warning travelers the area is unsafe because of drug and alien smugglers, and a local sheriff says Mexican drug cartels now control some parts of the state.

    The signs were posted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend, a major east-west corridor linking Tucson and Phoenix with San Diego.

    They warn travelers that they are entering an “active drug and human smuggling area” and they may encounter “armed criminals and smuggling vehicles traveling at high rates of speed.” Beginning less than 50 miles south of Phoenix, the signs encourage travelers to “use public lands north of Interstate 8″ and to call 911 if they “see suspicious activity.”

    As Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer noted earlier this summer, the signs are empty gestures without real physical deterrents to back them up:

    And why bother calling 911 when you know DHS/ICE is backing off deportations?

    Don’t let the White House spin on illegal alien statistics distract you. The bipartisan open-borders end game is amnesty. Always has been. Always will be.


    GOP Rep. Gus Bilirakis:

    If the administration would take meaningful steps to secure our border, it wouldn’t need to put up signs in Arizona warning citizens that travel 100 miles from the border is unsafe (“Signs in Arizona warn of smuggler dangers”).

    Likewise, the Department of Homeland Security should not spend its time writing memos about how to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants or dismiss thousands of deportation cases.

    As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight, that is why I’m asking for hearings and answers from DHS on what it’s doing to protect the border.

    The administration continues to take actions that seem counterproductive to border security, and we need to know why that is the case. We need to make sure DHS is complying with, and enforcing, our nation’s immigration laws.

    Michelle Malkin

    Aug 10

    Buck Posts First General Lead

    Weld Co. DA Ken Buck (R) holds an early lead over Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), according to the first live-call poll taken after the Aug. 10 primary.

    Buck has support from 49% of likely voters, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll, while 40% back Bennet. Still, 54% of the state’s registered independent voters say they are undecided, with Bennet leading among that group by a 27%-17% margin. Among all registered voters, Buck leads Bennet 44%-40%.

    Buck’s early lead is evidence of an enthusiasm gap that has registered GOP voters much more likely to turn out than registered Dems. Fully 76% of GOPers said they were completely certain to turn out, while 59% of Dems said the same.

    That enthusiasm gap is also hurting other Dem candidates, even those most likely to win. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) is running even with businessman Dan Maes (R) among likely voters at 45% each, assuming a 2-way race.

    Hotline On Call

    Aug 10

    NewsBusters 5th Anniversary: A Look Back at Some of Our Top Posts of Outrageous Media Outbursts

    As part of the 5th anniversary celebration of NewsBusters we have started a weekly Five for Five feature to list the blog’s top twenty five posts. Last time, we looked at the top five posts on journalistic Obamagasms. On Friday we concluded with the top five posts of outrageous media outbursts.

    We have picked out a couple posts from each of the five categories and asked the authors to reflect back on writing them up. In this series of short videos, they share their thoughts on how they caught the particular media moment and describe the impact their post had.

    We finish our video look back by reflecting on two of top posts of outrageous media outbursts: "Rosie O’Donnell Spouts 9/11 Conspiracies: ‘First Time in History Fire Has Ever Melted Steel’" by Justin McCarthy (reflection by Rich Noyes) and "Maher Buys Into Claim Sarah Palin’s Baby Son Really Her Grandson" by Brent Baker.

    Check out the last video of NewsBusters’ Tim Graham and Kyle Drennen remembering some of the top posts on journalistic Obamagasms. – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

    Aug 10

    GOP IA state candidate deletes offensive Facebook posts, but unsure if AIDS is punishment for gays.

    Yesterday, the Iowa Independent broke the story that Jeremy Walters — a Republican candidate for the Iowa State house — posted Facebook messages in which he quoted biblical verses saying that gay people should be “put to death” and suggested that AIDS is a punishment for the sin of homosexuality:


    Walters’ statements were immediately condemned by One Iowa, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, and the Iowa Republican party, leading the candidate to remove the posts. But in a subsequent interview with the Wonk Room, Walters explained that his outburst was motivated by the recent Prop 8 decision and that he was still uncertain if God was trying to kill gay people. Read the interview here.

    Think Progress

    Aug 10

    GOP IA State Candidate Deletes Offensive Facebook Posts, But Unsure If AIDS Is Punishment For Gays

    GOP Iowa House Candidate Jeremy Walters with Ron Paul

    GOP Iowa House Candidate Jeremy Walters with Ron Paul

    Yesterday, the Iowa Independent broke the story that Jeremy Walters — a Republican candidate for the Iowa State house — posted Facebook messages in which he quoted biblical verses saying that gay people should be “put to death” and suggested that AIDS is a punishment for the sin of homosexuality. Walters’ statements were immediately condemned by One Iowa, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, and the Iowa Republican party, leading the candidate to remove the posts.

    But then Walters contacted me (in response to an earlier request for comment), and in the 15 minute conversation that followed, explained that his outburst was motivated by the recent Prop 8 decision and that he was still uncertain if God was trying to kill gay people:

    WALTERS: I just felt people should know what’s in the Bible, you know, scripture…I’m sorry that I even posted that because now I’m getting all of this attention and it’s bad attention, it’s not good attention. What inspired me posting that is because I had a few friends who were both homosexuals and passed away form AIDS.

    VOLSKY: I understand that you regret posting it…But do you still believe that AIDS is the result of the sin of homosexuality?

    WALTERS: Well, I don’t want to say that I don’t. I just, like I said, had an experience of friends dying….But back to the posting, that post when I posted, I do feel sorry and denounce what I said.

    VOLSKY: Ok, so just to be clear, you are denouncing what you said? So you no longer believe that AIDS is God’s way of getting back at the sin of homosexuality?

    WALTERS: Well, you know, I want to say that I’ve been seeing a lot of people that are in that lifestyle become with HIV and AIDS, but like I said, you can also get it through dirty needles and things so…. I would have to say that I removed it because it was not right to post it on there and I shouldn’t be picking on their lives, because they’re not picking on my life. I should be an understanding person and not a hater.

    Asked what message he has for gay voters, Walters said, “I ask them for forgiveness, I don’t know what else I can do. I feel really bad. Now I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep at night for having this up.” He also assured me that if elected he would take the opinions of people who support gay rights into consideration. “If it came down to the majority of the people in my House district were for gay rights, then I’d take that to that state house and say we need gay rights,” he said.

    Wonk Room

    Aug 10

    Do a couple of blog posts prove politics is “broken”?

    My friend Matt Lewis writes a condemning column today about John Hawkins on the right and Matt Yglesias on the left to argue that politics is indeed broken, and that two pieces written by them prove it.  In the process, Matt makes the same error of which he accuses John, at least, which is to ignore context and scope, both in his criticism of John’s project and in his application of John and Matt as poster boys of all American politics. […] Read the rest »

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