Christine O’Donnell: ‘Where in the Constitution is the Separation of Church and State?’

Christine O’Donnell is a terrible Senate candidate with essentially no chance of winning. She has doomed the GOP’s chances of re-taking control of the Senate. She has gotten way too much attention from the media. But I have to admit, she makes people laugh. Watch the video to hear a law school debate audience laughing at her ignorance of the U.S. Constitution (go to 2:51). Via TPM:

Ben Evans, AP News:

Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion.

The exchange came in a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, as O’Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons’ position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that “religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked him.

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”

Her comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, generated a buzz in the audience.

“You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,” said Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone, adding that he thought it raised questions about O’Donnell’s grasp of the Constitution.

TPM’s David Kurtz attempts to clarify the weirdness:

In O’Donnell’s (mild) defense, it’s a common refrain among those pushing for more inclusiveness for religion in public life that the phrase “separation of church and state” is not actually contained in the Constitution. The origin of the phrase is believed to be this 1802 letter penned by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (CT) Baptist association.

UPDATE: Think Progress: Christine O’Donnell Not Sure If Separation Of Church And State Is In The Constitution

…O’Donnell is not alone, nor an outlier, in her party’s understanding of the Constitution. As ThinkProgress’s Ian Millhiser notes, while Republicans love to wrap their actions in the Constitution, much of their agenda “is nothing less than a direct assault on America’s founding document.”

UPDATE: Scarecrow on FDL:

Christine O’Donnell is hardly the only Tea Party candidate either ignorant of or confused by the U.S. Constitution while claiming to be staunch defenders. In fact, there’s very little about the Constitution that Tea Party candidates actually accept.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper:

“I’m sure most of us get confused about which amendment is which, I certainly do,” Cooper said. “But most of us aren’t running for Senate, and most of us don’t claim to be constitutional experts, as Christine O’Donnell has…

When asked recently what qualified her for the Senate, O’Donnell discussed her “graduate fellowship from the Claremont Institute in constitutional government.”

“By the way, the graduate fellowship she talks about from the Claremont Institute? The Claremont Institue is a conservative think tank, it’s not a university, and the fellowship lasted a grand total of seven days,” Cooper said.

UPDATE: Think Progress: O’Donnell Can’t Name A Single Democratic Senator

TPM: O’Donnell: I Won That First Amendment Debate!

“After that debate my team and I we were literally high fiving each other thinking that we had exposed he doesn’t know the First Amendment, and then when we read the reports that said the opposite we were all like ‘what?'”

  1. #1 by Uncle Rico on October 19, 2010 - 8:42 pm

    O’Donnell is such a tool she doesn’t even realize that people are laughing at here, not with her. Sad but also strangely hilarious.

  2. #2 by brewski on October 19, 2010 - 11:15 pm

    At 6:20 she clearly says “the phrase separation of church and state”. So she did not make any mistake. You can disagree with her all you want. But she is correct.

    You and Maddow Lie and you were caught, again!

  3. #3 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 12:41 am

    O’Donnell made a series of unbelievably ignorant statements that ignore the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. And she drew a complete blank when asked about the 14th and 16th Amendments.

    The Constitution does in fact prohibit the establishment of religion. This means separation of church and state, as the Founders intended. Religious indoctrination isn’t allowed in public schools, as everyone ought to know.

    I guess she thought she was being clever, however in front of an audience of law students her Tea Party re-interpretation just evoked laughter.

    Thank you for watching Rachel Maddow tonight (you must have, because I never mentioned her in the post). Ana Marie Cox was right, O’Donnell is an “embryonic Palin.” Which means Faux News will probably hire her after she loses the election.

  4. #4 by Uncle Rico on October 20, 2010 - 8:44 am

    At 7:12:

    Coons: The government shall make no establishment of religion.

    O’Donnell: That’s in the First Amendment?

  5. #5 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 9:30 am

    I did watch Maddow and I knew you would buy her dishonest piece hook line and sinker.

    It was clear what O’Donnell meant because she really did say at 6:20 “the phrase”. So you can disagree with her all you want, but for you and Maddow to say she doesn’t know what the Constitution says is an obvious third grader lie.

    So much for ethics in reporting and blogging.

  6. #6 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 9:42 am

    What Rico said.

  7. #7 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 9:56 am

    Just before O’Donnell displayed her own shocking ignorance of the Constitution, she remarked to Coons, “you just proved how little you know about constitutional law.”

    Truly hard-core ignorant people think they know everything, and a wise person knows there is always something new to learn. We are now learning that uneducated people like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell can be successful in politics by appealing to religiosity and ignorance.

  8. #8 by Uncle Rico on October 20, 2010 - 10:28 am

    but for you and Maddow to say she doesn’t know what the Constitution says is an obvious third grader lie.

    brew- O’Donnell herself admitted that she didn’t know what the 14th and 16th Amendment said (and its questionable whether she knew what the 17th Amendment said). Its also pretty clear that based upon what she herself said, she didn’t know that the First Amendment prohibits government from establishing religion.

    Beyond that, if you listen to her very superficial non-answer to the question that was posed, it is evident that she has absolutely no understanding of the very constitutional principles she purports to cherish so highly.

    So yes, using O’Donnell’s simpleton’s approach to constitutional analysis, she gets credit for knowing that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the First Amendment. But to say that she knows what is in the Constitution and, more importantly, that she understands it is an obvious third grader lie.

  9. #9 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 10:41 am

    Truly hard-core ignorant people think they know everything, and a wise person knows there is always something new to learn

    Is that a confession Richard?

  10. #10 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 10:45 am


    It’s not about me. But no, I don’t think I know everything. That’s why I always look for sources to learn the facts, instead of relying on right-wing propaganda like O’Donnell does.

  11. #11 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 10:48 am

    By the way Richard, can you tell me where the phrase “public purpose” appears in the Constitution?

    Or how about the phrase right after “equal protection” where it says “except for Connecticut firefighters?

    Or how about right after “abridging the freedom of speech” where does it say “except if it might hurt someone’s feelings”?

    The left has no claim to Consitutional fidelity.

  12. #12 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 11:04 am

    More Tea Party constitutional revisionism and right-wing propaganda. You should watch Rachel Maddow more, you could learn something.

  13. #13 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 11:11 am

    Nice dodge.

  14. #14 by cav on October 20, 2010 - 12:05 pm

    I can see the bottom racing up.

    I suppose: We could blow right on through.

    We certainly have momentum on our side.

  15. #15 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 12:23 pm

    brewski :

    Nice dodge.

    I just haven’t got time today to rehash every constitutional issue the right-wing is obsessed with. They can’t get away with demanding big changes to the Constitution while claiming to defend it.

    Certainly the wall of separation between church and state is a foundation of our democracy. If you don’t believe in that, then you don’t believe in the Constitution.

  16. #16 by Tiller on October 20, 2010 - 12:32 pm

    More fantastic belief, and of course hope. The bottom is made of concrete cav. We but flesh and blood.

    I find this yin and yang of irrelevant politics is historically pretty typical right before what is real sets in. Maddow is right? Glenn Beck is wrong, or reversal depending on your politics. Bottom line everyone….

    Endless war in error, actually due to trying to keep the geo-political upper hand strategically with China, really what the ME conflicts are all about. Oil denial.

    13 trillion outstanding debt, more threats of cabbage creation.

    45 trillion plus in future unfunded liabilities. Aging populace. Have to wonder what will happen when 70% of us are obese. Heard that on the AM as a prospect in our near future.

    Outsourced jobs, industry, disappearing middle class. People want answers, Larry will say what is the solution? To these people I say what is the solution to your own limited time on earth? Make poor decisions and the outcomes can be irreversible. I mean really it has only been 30 years since the unreality of deficit spending and constant government program creation, and war of course has spent this nation into oblivion.

    As individuals we can go on a diet, work out. As a nation we as people have very little control over the levers of power as they are currently ensconced, the “brain” of our leadership is profoundly damaged, and the best any side of the public can do is blame the other.

    About the clearest case of dementia you could ever concoct.

  17. #17 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 12:48 pm

    To believe in “a wall of separation between church and state” is to believe in the letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists Association.

    To believe that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is to believe in the Constitution. So when Christmas trees are removed from airports, and pictures of missions are removed for the Los Angeles seal [nevermind the history of the City’s founding], you are entering a world of Constitutional silliness worth much louder laughter and much more bitter Maddow-esque condescending derision.

    Yes, I do watch Maddow sometimes. I do learn something. I learn she is a liar and those who agree with her are sheep.

  18. #18 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 1:48 pm

    Another absurd argument. Has Bill O’Reilly started talking about the “War on Christmas” (TM) early this year?

  19. #19 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 2:01 pm,_California_seal_pre-2004.png

    As you can see, the old LA seal was truly offensive. Now that the Goddess Pomona is on it, everything is just fine. The ACLU has yet to state why the Goddess Pomona does not violate the “wall of separation between church and state”.

  20. #20 by Tiller on October 20, 2010 - 2:03 pm

    …and the elites laugh until spittle froths from their mouths as they continue to ship your jobs away as these distractive issues lie heavily on the public mind.

    “It is a [disputed] question, whether the circulation of paper, rather than of specie, is a good or an evil… I believe it to be one of those cases where mercantile clamor will bear down reason, until it is corrected by ruin.” –Thomas Jefferson to John W. Eppes, 1813. ME 13:409

    By the time this idiocy of monetary policy comes to its fruition, everybody will be praying, and there won’t be much of a state to separated from.

  21. #21 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 2:32 pm

    So what if the ACLU got carried away? I’ve never even heard of this before you brought it up.

    Moses and/or the Ten Commandments appear three times in the architectural embellishment of the Supreme Court building. I doubt if anybody is going to threaten to sue the Supreme Court over what is clearly an innocent reference to tradition.

  22. #22 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 3:52 pm

    O’ Donnell can say anything she wants because after the last administration, the constitution they swore to protect became nothing more then a “Goddamn piece of paper”.

    Reality itself is Goddamned in our society. Sara Palin is going to get paid a million plus per-episode to do a nature show on the “Discovery” channel.

    No wonder she ditched that stupid Governor’s job!

  23. #23 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 3:57 pm

    George Bush never knew HIS job was to protect and defend the constitution, he thought he was there to keep us, (us, meaning the wealthiest Americans), safe.

  24. #24 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 4:20 pm


    Just imagine what Christine O’Donnell’s TV show will be like. She’s probably got an agent working out the deal right now.

  25. #25 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 4:40 pm

    Christine O’Donnell’s “The Power of The Constitution” premiering August 19th on PBS. Check your local station for times in your area.

  26. #26 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 4:50 pm

  27. #27 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 4:50 pm

    According to verifiable paper ballots, O’ Donnell didn’t win the primary anyway. According to machines, she did. Since there were more votes cast on the machines…

    Well, you decide.

  28. #28 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 5:02 pm

    Utah has been voting on secretly programmed voting machines since around the time Republicans started to win here…

    You decide.

  29. #29 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 5:10 pm

    This isn’t about O’Donnell, but it’s one of my pet peeves. Sarah Palin caught on video disrespecting the American flag. Just like President Bush used to do, signing his name on it!

  30. #30 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 5:57 pm

    And there’s also this very strange picture taken by Reuters New Service at the holocaust museum:

  31. #31 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 6:44 pm

    So what if the ACLU got carried away? I’ve never even heard of this before you brought it up.

    Why are you are so forgiving when lefties want to trample the Constitution?

  32. #32 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 6:48 pm

    This isn’t about O’Donnell, but it’s one of my pet peeves. Sarah Palin caught on video disrespecting the American flag. Just like President Bush used to do, signing his name on it!

    You get upset about disrepecting the American flag when this is what you people do to it?

  33. #33 by cav on October 20, 2010 - 6:54 pm

    Lapel pins and flag-bombs UNITE! you have nothing to lose but your boredom.

  34. #34 by Richard Warnick on October 20, 2010 - 8:48 pm

    “You people” includes me and the late Abbie Hoffman? That’s a new one.

    Look, I’m in totally favor of freedom of speech. What irks me is people who think they are being patriotic by writing things on the American flag or wearing it as an article of clothing, etc. That’s defined as disrespect for the flag, and if they were real patriots they would know that.

    In what way does the ACLU want to “trample the Constitution”? IMHO Constitution-trampling would run counter to their mission:

    The right to practice religion, or no religion at all, is among the most fundamental of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU works to ensure that this essential freedom is protected by keeping the government out of religion.

  35. #35 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 9:16 pm


    The only thing that would make me want to burn an American flag is if Orrin Hatch makes it unconstitutional because it would be unconstitutional to do so.

    Anybody who photographs Karl Rove with a flag behind him is desecrating it, but I saw that happen just last week.

  36. #36 by brewski on October 20, 2010 - 11:14 pm

    Larry, how about this?

    The ACLU is very selective in their interpretation of the constitution. They like some of it some of the time and ignore a lot of it all the time. They really have no credibility and no one thinks they are serious.

    Meanwhile, for 30+ years now, this shit still goes on in this country:

    PHILADELPHIA, December 6, 2006—A report released today by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reveals that burdensome restrictions on speech are commonplace at America’s colleges and universities. The report, entitled Spotlight on Speech Codes 2006: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses, surveyed more than 330 schools and found that an overwhelming majority of them explicitly prohibit speech that, outside the borders of campus, is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    “There is a common misconception that ‘speech codes’ are a thing of the past—a relic of the heyday of political correctness of the 1980s and 90s—but the public needs to know that speech codes are perhaps more pervasive and restrictive than ever,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said.

    The report’s findings include:
    ?Public colleges and universities are disregarding their constitutional obligations. More than 73% of public universities surveyed maintain unconstitutional speech codes, despite numerous federal court decisions striking down similar or identical policies.

    Overbroad and vague speech codes from the 2005-2006 academic year include:
    ?Macalester College bans “speech that makes use of inappropriate words or non-verbals.”
    ?Furman University bans any “offensive communication not in keeping with community standards.”
    ?At the University of Mississippi, “offensive language is not to be used” over the telephone.
    ?The University of North Carolina–Greensboro prohibits “disrespect for persons.”

    So where is the ACLU?

  37. #37 by Larry Bergan on October 20, 2010 - 11:32 pm


    What about it?

    Hendrix fought in Viet Nam, unlike all of your heros.

    He won the right to portray the Star Spangled Banner any damn way he wanted. He actually saw the bombs bursting in air and then found out the truth.

    Why don’t you or O’ Donnell sign up for wars planned by the rich – for the rich?

  38. #38 by Richard Warnick on October 21, 2010 - 8:57 am


    Campus speech codes are another one of these right-wing micro-issues. I haven’t got time to research why the ACLU doesn’t care. I think these universities are just interested in civility, they aren’t concerned with what you say — only how you say it.

  39. #39 by brewski on October 21, 2010 - 9:09 am

    Yes, campus speech codes aren’t nearly as important as whether the Federal government can force you to buy a product from a private company. But they are illustrative of the intellectual weakness of the left, and the left’s true intent on controlling you.

    You know that when you ban an Oktoberfest since it may be offensive to Germans, that you have totally lost it.

  40. #40 by Richard Warnick on October 21, 2010 - 9:14 am

    First they came for Christmas, but I did not protest because I was not a Christian. Then they came for Halloween, but I did not protest because I was not a witch. Then they came for Oktoberfest, but I did not protest because I was not a beer drinker. Then they came for…

  41. #41 by Tiller on October 21, 2010 - 9:36 am

    for…Juan Williams because he fears Muslim’s in their garb on airplanes. National Petroleum Radio is going to have a tougher time begging up money after this flap.

    Perhaps Walmart can increase its donation. Fair and balanced.., the state of the news America these days is that none of it is.

    “they aren’t concerned with what you say — only how you say it.

    On campus? You have to be kidding Richard. With the increasing attempts at controlling thought, there can only be a backlash, and the left will be bringing about their own demise. The moral high ground doesn’t exist anymore considering the intolerance the left has allied itself with. If it isn’t what they think, you are sanctioned. Intellectual fascism and it isn’t going unnoticed.

    Question is, who benefits from this?

  42. #42 by Richard Warnick on October 21, 2010 - 9:55 am

    TPM: O’Donnell: I Won That First Amendment Debate!

    “After that debate my team and I we were literally high fiving each other thinking that we had exposed he doesn’t know the First Amendment, and then when we read the reports that said the opposite we were all like ‘what?'”

    This is what happens when you live in the Tea Party Wonderland instead of the real world.

  43. #43 by Tiller on October 21, 2010 - 10:19 am

    Amazing that this has now become a factor. It speaks to the bankrupt nature of the left at being unable to blunt this phenomenon. Someone stated on site here that it would not take more than this group and schlock jock Glenn Beck to unseat the progressive train.

    I am thinking it has something to do with arrogance and the idea that progressives have that they are morally superior and more intelligent. Maybe it is true, but that means little in getting and maintaining power, evidenced by Bush tramping 10 ft, tall over Democrats and getting them to approve his agenda, and then even carrying over to continue the policies under Obama. Bailouts were a Bush scheme, foreign wars continued..not even worth talking about anymore this late in the game.

    What is evident is that other nations public’s are keen to the rip off now. 500k laid off government workers yesterday in England, the riots in France, not just over the attempt to raise the retirement age, but from the knowledge of people that they have been pillaged, and the benefactors were international banks.

    We are just seeing the beginning of it. For Larry, this chaos is the “Fix”. It is what happens when those in power have nothing to help. It is going to clear the decks, and there will likely not be one iota of justice in it. Only losers. The winners already absconded with our wealth.

  44. #44 by Richard Warnick on October 21, 2010 - 10:31 am

    If there is was such a thing as a “progressive train,” it might look like this:

  45. #45 by brewski on October 21, 2010 - 11:08 am

    This is what happens when you live in the Tea Party Wonderland instead of the real world.

    This is what happens when you watch liars like Maddow.

  46. #46 by Tiller on October 21, 2010 - 11:30 am

    Awesome. Nothing to do but plow that wreck to sidebar and sell it for scrap.

  47. #47 by brewski on October 22, 2010 - 9:00 am

    Richard, you may not have time to find out why Regressives want to samp out the Constitution on every college campus since it is some fringe Tea Party issue, but surely you object to your taxpayer funded NPR stamping out the constitution.

  48. #48 by Uncle Rico on October 22, 2010 - 9:02 am

    To believe in “a wall of separation between church and state” is to believe in the letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists Association.

    Or in the Father of the Constitution.

  49. #49 by brewski on October 22, 2010 - 9:26 am

    I guess Obama should get rid of the White House Christmas Tree.

    • #50 by Glenden Brown on October 22, 2010 - 9:35 am

      I think that’s a damn fine idea! Of course I hate Christmas on principle. Seriously, we spend and spend and spend and get . . .. bupkes.

  50. #51 by Richard Warnick on October 22, 2010 - 9:33 am


    I know Sarah Palin said Juan Williams’ First Amendment rights were violated, but just because the half-baked Alaskan tweets something doesn’t make it true.

    Apparently Palin and the Tea Party crowd didn’t learn from the Dr. Laura Schlessinger flap and the Facebook fiasco.

    I hope I don’t have to explain why this is not a freedom of speech issue. Williams was on Bill O’Reilly’s show last night looking for sympathy, but he’ll get none from me. Faux News is paying him almost $2 million for another three years, and all he has to do is go on TV as the “liberal” who always agrees with Billo.

  51. #52 by brewski on October 22, 2010 - 9:49 am

    So if Maddow had been fired from MSNBC for saying something controversial and lefty, and MSNBC was taxpayer supported, then you’d think that was just dandy. Richard, you lie like a rug.

  52. #53 by Richard Warnick on October 22, 2010 - 9:58 am

    Josh Marshall opines that Williams is now unleashed. He’s liberated.

    Williams can come out of the closet as a full-on wingnut cartoon character. No more living a lie as a one-time journalist playing a fake liberal…

    As a matter of fact, in February 2003 MSNBC fired Phil Donahue for being against the Bush’s invasion of Iraq. At the time, Donahue was their the highest-rated show. I challenge you to find anybody (left or right) complaining that Donahue’s First Amendment rights were violated.

  53. #54 by brewski on October 22, 2010 - 10:01 am

    Your post is even more inane the more I think about it.

    Facebook is not taxpayer supprted and is not a news organization and is not a 501c3.

    Dr. Laura Schlessinger worked for pro-profit companies through her syndicated show. She did not work for a taxpayer funded organization or 501c3.

    NPR is taxpayer funded, is a news organization, is a 501c3.

    BTW, I learn more from you about Sarah Palin’s tweeting than I do from anywhere else. So I am not sure why you would reference her in response to my comment since I didn’t.

    If Sarah Palin tweeted the sky is blue you would say it was green.

  54. #55 by brewski on October 22, 2010 - 10:03 am

    Being MSNBC’s highest rated show is like having the best big-wage surfing in Nebraska.

  55. #56 by Uncle Rico on October 22, 2010 - 10:05 am

    I guess Obama should get rid of the White House Christmas Tree.

    No! We can’t do that, because its Obama and we voted for him!

    There you go brew. Is that what you’re looking for?

  56. #57 by Richard Warnick on October 22, 2010 - 10:09 am


    Progressives are rolling on the floor laughing as the right-wingers threaten to take away the two percent of NPR’s funding that comes from the government.

    Palin’s tweets are ghost-written by consultant Rebecca Mansour, so you’d think they would be more intelligent than anything the ex-half-governor would normally say.

    Keep looking for anyone who protested that Phil Donahue’s freedom of speech was violated by MSNBC. I’ll be patient.

  57. #58 by Tiller on October 22, 2010 - 10:22 am

    It finally gives proof to the lie of free speech and the status of NPR as “public”. Dissent and “wrong thinking” are not allowed in soviet of NPR. A funny stance for National Petroleum Radio, and it’s primary Chinese sponsor, Walmart.

    When considering militant Islam, it’s history with the West should matter for something, 700 AD to 1689 AD not a moments rest in the prospect of conquering Europe or any infidel. Asking Algerians what they think might be a good idea too, as that bloodbath is very recent. It’s like Christians having to answer for the Inquisition, Muslims of peaceful bearing are going to have to be committed to policing their own members, even if they don’t claim them.

    If the inability for us or them to eliminate the militants from the walkaday world causes fear, and that fear is expressed it is really no surprise. Who is hiding? Juan stated what felt, Merkel did last week too. The upshot is this religion in the context of Western secular ,mores just isn’t fitting in.

    For as much as NPR’s adherents, and progressives in general hold disdain for religion, it is interesting that it is now so willing to stand up for another crackpot religion that puts fear of the zealots in unbelievers and sanction anyone who speaks out against them.

    Really Juan didn’t even speak out against them, just stated how the aspect of a religion of women who aren’t allowed to drive a car, run by men who demand it, some of whom like to blow things western up, makes him feel uncomfortable on a plane. Reminds me of polygamous Mormonism, though they without a tendency to blow things up.

  58. #59 by Richard Warnick on October 22, 2010 - 10:38 am

    Glenn Greenwald explains why there is so much hypocritical furor on the right over Juan Williams: it’s the FEAR, stupid! Anti-Muslim bigotry is central to the fear-mongering that supports massive military expenditures and secret government programs.

    “The Muslims” are currently the premier, featured threat …following in the footsteps of The American-Japanese, The Communists, The Welfare-Stealing Racial Minorities, The Gays, and The Illegal Immigrants. Many of those same groups still serve this purpose, but their scariness loses its luster after decades of exploitation and periodically must be replaced by new ones. Muslims serve that role, and to ensure that continues, it is vital that anti-Muslim sentiments of the type Williams legitimized be shielded, protected and venerated — not punished or stigmatized.

    …One would think we’d be more interested in the extremists among us, but by obsessively focusing on Them, we are able to blind ourselves to the pathologies which drive our own actions. …All this over a “menace” (Terrorism) which killed a grand total of 25 noncombatant Americans last year (McClatchy: “undoubtedly more American citizens died overseas from traffic accidents or intestinal illnesses than from terrorism”).

  59. #60 by brewski on October 22, 2010 - 10:45 am

    Then you will have no problem then if Congress makes that 0%.

    As already stated, MSNBC is a for profit company. They can do what they like. Which part of that is so hard for you to understand? Get hit by a board in the head this morning?

  60. #61 by Richard Warnick on October 22, 2010 - 10:50 am

    Oh, come on. In case you weren’t watching last night, Rachel Maddow explained it:

    Let’s be clear here. This is not a First Amendment issue. … The First Amendment does not guarantee you a paid job as a commentator to say what you want. Your employment as a person paid to speak is at the pleasure of your employer. In this case, it displeased Juan Williams’ employer, at least one of them, for him to have reassured the Fox News audience he too is afraid of Muslims on airplanes and that’s not a bigoted thing. … And so, Juan Williams lost that job. This is not a First Amendment issue. This is an issue of what your employer is OK with.

    Shorter Maddow: this is not about free speech. It’s about people who get PAID millions of dollars to speak.

    Eugene Volokh gives the case law citation:

    NPR is not a government actor, and thus not bound by the First Amendment; that it gets some funding from the government does not make it a government actor, just as private colleges’ getting grants and other benefits doesn’t make them government actors bound by the First Amendment. See Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830 (1982) (so holding, even as to a school that got 90% of its money from the government).

  61. #62 by Tiller on October 22, 2010 - 10:57 am

    Of course it is fear. What is to be expected after all that has happened? Do you know anything about what happened in Algeria Richard? It doesn’t have to make sense to be reality. The democrats helped scare the crap out of people over communism, to the extent they started a war with in Vietnam over an event that we now know never even happened. Millions died. As if this way of doing business is the monopoly of one branded party or ideology.

    It is human nature to bundle the extremists and their religion and those that keep it as well. It is impossible to differentiate for most people. It does not help that Muslim women are not brought into what are their rights in western countries. The main complaint in Europe revolves around this and the inability to speak the language of their chosen country, and get higher education. This problem has become trans-generational and it isn’t as if there is not opportunity to do so.

    Sure this is how the elites create the fear required to rule. The left does it by bundling all conservatives with some imagined republican rubrick, all to terrify the left that they are somehow alien and must be stopped. You Richard, and this site are primary tools in this. That which Greenwald talks about in relation to the need to spread this fear, you are a part of. One side fears the extremism of the other, focuses on it, and does the job for the elites quite admirably.

  62. #63 by Tiller on October 22, 2010 - 11:11 am

    Too bad nobody watches it Richard, Maddow that is. Williams never said anything about his feelings on Muslims at his job at NPR. Did he? Unless toeing some kind of ideological line is in his contract with them, what they did is certainly have him pay consequences for his free speech on Fox.

    What he said was said outside the context of his job at NPR, and as such NPR has no right to sanction it, only a desire.

    Maybe wherever he signed his contract with NPR is an at will, right to work state, so NPR doesn’t need a reason. Un fortunately for them, they have stated the reason for his firing as his statements at his other job. Poor NPR, more irrelevant every day that passes.

  63. #64 by Richard Warnick on October 22, 2010 - 11:15 am

    I believe the NPR CEO was tired of Williams going on Faux News and falsely representing himself as a “liberal” because of his affiliation with NPR. She was probably looking for an excuse to fire him, and found one.

  64. #65 by Tiller on October 22, 2010 - 11:32 am

    Yes, so you maintain William’s was the closet conservative in NPR’s coven, so what, if anything, is “public” about an organization that will fire people based on their beliefs and these outside the context of their work environment?

    In any place but a right to work state, where reasons for firing need not be given, what NPR did is a civil rights violation, violation of existing federal labor laws. If he isn’t in such a State where his contract is signed, he should sue the pants of them, and make it a shotgun approach, suing the organization, and the CEO personally. It’s criminal, it civil, and NPR now shows they are every bit as Fox, and Fox, just not nearly so shrewd or popular.

    It is another nail in NPR’s coffin.

  65. #66 by Tiller on October 22, 2010 - 11:40 am

    The removal of the 3% Federal subsidy for NPR will have one very positive effect. It would as part of the action force them to remove the word “public” from their name, and that is long overdue.

    I recommend National Petroleum Radio, in light of their long affiliaition with Exxon-Mobil, or perhaps National Peking Radio, in light of Walmart’s sponsorship, or maybe National Poltroon Radio, or maybe Not Prone (to) Reality..just like Fox, the phony yin to their phony yang.

  66. #67 by brewski on October 22, 2010 - 1:55 pm

    Then NPR also needs to fire Mara Liasson for her regular appearances on Fox News, and Nina Totenberg should be fired for appearing on Inside Washington. I mean, that is what liberals really want, to intimidate and silence people unless they have one specific point of view. There is no diversity, there is no democracy, it is a one thought, one opinion, one-party state.

    Richard, thank you for defining National Socialism for me so clearly. Richard uber alles.

  67. #68 by Larry Bergan on October 23, 2010 - 12:45 am

    This is nothing but political theater. Now that the NYC “mosque” flap has died, it was necessary for the wingers to, once again, make sure America knew that liberals were clueless and spaced out about the great danger Muslims pose at the backyard barbecue.

    Juan Williams is just one more phony liberal that pushes the conversation to the right. If NPR were liberal, they would stop inviting many more right wing pundits then left wing pundits on their shows. They DO have some good hosts, but like Olbermann, they are forced to chat with minders of the status quo much more then sane people with good ideas.

    Nobody got upset when Helen Thomas got shafted.

    If I was NPR, I would have fired Williams the FIRST time he got caught wading though the sewer naked.

  68. #69 by Larry Bergan on October 23, 2010 - 12:48 am

    Here we go again, talking about something the Republicans want us to talk about instead of the important stuff!

  69. #70 by brewski on October 23, 2010 - 8:37 am

    Why is my comment in moderation?
    More thought police?

  70. #71 by Tiller on October 23, 2010 - 9:14 am

    This is important stuff. NPR is not a “public” unbiased forum any more than this site is. Your bearing is fascistic Larry. Larry defines what is important. His people can do no wrong. The people he reveres are all good, and those that he is told are bad, are bad.

    It is ridiculous, though you might as well get used to it, as your opposition is not going to go away. If anything, it is getting stronger while the far left withers. This is a democracy, in that the middle should be where most decisions lie. Due to the extremism you help promote, your side does not get to participate because of their whack job status.

    Obama letting you down should have taught you this. A 2 year program for the far left to understand how many do not agree with them.

    As for Helen, she spoke out against the Tribe, and that is why she is gone. That truth cannot be spoken on NPR or anywhere and remain mainstream.

  71. #72 by Tiller on October 23, 2010 - 9:29 am

    If there were anyone here with a conservative bearing who could top post, taking the topic away to some level of relevance wouldn’t be necessary.

    Your complaints give proof to the fact that most of what is top posted is so biased, the threads have to go elsewhere to be of much interest. After a few responses of bobble headed agreement from the peanut gallery, anyone who isn’t moderated, or constantly labeled, gets down to disassembling the posts agenda.

  72. #73 by Uncle Rico on October 23, 2010 - 10:57 am

    Its a leftist conspiracy to victimize and silence you brew. Because, ya know, your comments are the only ones that ever get hung up in moderation.

  73. #74 by Larry Bergan on October 23, 2010 - 12:23 pm


    I just checked, and I don’t see any comments in moderation. If the comment has appeared, let us know which one it is so we can read it please.

    Some strange things have been happening. cav had one of her comments duplicated in another thread and so I deleted one of them today.

    If the thought police are out there messing with things, I would suspect they are from your side.

  74. #75 by Larry Bergan on October 23, 2010 - 12:48 pm

    Tiller (glenn):

    I hate to admit it, but sometimes it does seem that people who reason things out in a moralistic way are losing. We can’t buy as much freedom of speech as they can because we haven’t been as obsessed with grabbing all the cash we could steal. That doesn’t mean we’re not here in much greater numbers; simmering over the damage they do to our elections, sanity and everything else.

  75. #76 by Tiller on October 23, 2010 - 3:09 pm

    You could be over estimating that Larry, the mid terms will let you know however they turn out.

  76. #77 by Larry Bergan on October 24, 2010 - 4:54 am

    norealname (Tiller) says:

    You could be over estimating that Larry, the mid terms will let you know however they turn out.

    Over estimating what “Tiller”?

    My paranoia has already been verified, over and over again Ad infinitum on

    What can never be verified on the machines are the mid terms – whether Democrat or Republican.

    Unless you’re stupid as hell, you would know that, but you have no name and your point today is that nothing really matters.

    As for tomorrow…

  77. #78 by Tiller on October 24, 2010 - 10:37 am

    How many people believe like you do and will vote in the manner you will vote is all that was meant.

    If you believe that the vote is rigged in that paranoid fashion you readily admit, then there is no point in voting, or worrying about it. It is funny, so the Obama victory was rigged, as was the election of the large majority that the Democrat party had and then blew. If the elections are so rigged, then those you support must have benefited in the last go round.

    Can you have it both ways? Did the right wing machine somehow give up its power last time out and keep it devilish machines honest? Will they do it this time out? I feel like you watch a lot of Rocky and Bullwinkle, beware Boris and Natasha…

    The tiller steers, that is all Larry, it doesn’t have a fixed opinion.

  78. #79 by Larry Bergan on October 24, 2010 - 11:15 am

    The “Tiller” machines will decide!

  79. #80 by Tiller on October 24, 2010 - 12:39 pm

    There is no need for machine manipulation, there is only a need to get misinformation in the heads of the electorate, they then will vote in manner of the lies they believe.

    It worked last out as a great many people believed the misinformation of Democrats, and no one who is progressive can look at Obama and say he gave all that he promised. So last time out the Democrat lies won the day.

    Democracy has always been less than it is advertised, it can often when based in incorrect belief lead to a tyranny of the stupid.

  80. #81 by Tiller on October 24, 2010 - 12:41 pm

    I had my first post deleted by Larry I assume. Another form of information control that Larry cannot help, despite being committed to democracy, and free speech.

  81. #82 by Tiller on October 24, 2010 - 1:04 pm

    “I promise 100% transparency in my administration.”

    “I promise no new taxes on a family making less than $250K.”

    “I will allow five days of public comment before I sign any bill.”

    “I will remove earmarks for pork projects before I sign any bill.”

    “I will end income tax for seniors making less than $50K.”

    “I’ll put the health care negotiations on CSPAN so everyone can see who is at the table.”

    “I’ll have no lobbyists in my administration.”

    Who said these things? The Ghost of campaigns past?

  82. #83 by Larry Bergan on October 24, 2010 - 1:55 pm

    Larry deletes no thing, dude!

    Not even an elephant.

  83. #84 by Tiller on October 24, 2010 - 2:11 pm

    I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. Just ever fascinated by the selective memory that humans display when it comes to the facts and ideology, and leader worship. It is my opinion that the adoption of “sides” by the public, despite very little change from either party, is what in fact keeps the division going, and those who foster it in charge. The difference? Wish I could point out major ones. What is different is mostly style.

    We could go into the history, and example like warring on Vietnam, there the
    Democrats were commiecons, not neocons, every “side” gets to turn its trick it seems. The losers are obvious. US.

    The first post appeared, and then upon refresh disappeared. You or whatever moderator, could well have done it in error, as the site was down for about 45 minutes.

  84. #85 by brewski on October 24, 2010 - 8:30 pm

    Seletive memory, selective standards, selective indignation. It’s all the OneUtah way.

  85. #86 by Uncle Rico on October 25, 2010 - 9:53 am

    brewski :Seletive memory, selective standards, selective indignation. It’s all the OneUtah way.

    Spoken with authority.

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