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January 05, 2006

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ain't religion grand...

Pat Robertson is pretty much on the record as supporting the ethnic cleansing of the occupied territories, which needs to happen so that 2/3 of the Jewish people can be exterminated (the remainder having become members of the 700 club). This nut has far too much influence in US politics.

I'm beginning to think that the only long term solution to the rise of the wack-job faction of religious conservatism is to fight them directly by attacking the foundations of their faith. That would be an explicitly religious tactic rather than a political one, but there are already people starting to do it (Jimmy Carter's recent book seems like a stab in this direction).

God leaves Pat around to remind us of the sin of egotism, and the mind-destroying effects of self-righteousness. :-)

Unfortunately, it difficult to get rid of him for contractual reasons.

Pat Robertson himself is of no interest--what I'd like to know is if there is any poll data showing how many Americans agree with him on the things he says.

It's just an example of magical thinking - the health of the land is reflected in the health of its "king" and vice versa. You had people, during Katrina, saying that it was the US's punishment for pressuring Israel to withdraw from Gaza as well. It's the same kind of mode of thought. And I'm sure somewhere someone's thinking that the death of Sharon shows that hidden 12 imam is now hastening on his way.

fortunately, it difficult to get rid of him for contractual reasons.

Ugh. OK, so he has a contract, but like Diane Keaton exclaims in "The Family Stone,"---"Tough sh*t." get rid of him before he ignites an international incident we can't laugh off.

what I'd like to know is if there is any poll data showing how many Americans agree with him on the things he says

according to its website, his 700 Club show gets somewhere just south of a million viewers daily. i know some people watch shows they disagree with, but i doubt there are a million of them interested in the 700 Club just for the oppo' research.

If a stroke is God's punishment for Sharon, what would be God's punishment for Robertson? Rectal cancer?

The worst mistake that Pat Robertson might make would be to imagine that MORE than half of the American people agree with him.

The worst mistake that any of the rest of us might make would be to imagine that FEWER than half of the American people agree with Pat Robertson.

How many Republicans think Howard Dean is nuttier than Pat Robertson? (Charles, et al.?)

That would be a litmus test for certification of wingnuttery.

"1 million people" sounds impressive until you look at it as a percentage of population - i.e., 0.04%, if that.

Oh, jeez; I left out a zero. That should be 0.004%, or less than one half of one percent.

Let him bray. Every statement of this kind that he makes is more effective in combatting the theocratic Right than a thousand posts on Media Matters.


The only "700 club" viewer I've ever known had what proved to be severe senile dementia.

Something similar will catch up to him shortly (and about 99% of his audience).

There's no need to take any action; even the Iranians know he's one cr-a-zy mullah.

CaseyL, you actually had an extra zero. It's 0.4%.

Actually, that would be more like 0.4%, CaseyL. I get 0.333%, assuming a population of 300 million.

Great minds, and all that.

The only "700 club" viewer I've ever known had what proved to be severe senile dementia.

I co-hosted it once. It's a little tidbit that usually puts me on top in twisted games of Six Degrees.

Robertson started getting very, very political in the 80's, peaking with his run for president. The show started some serious morphing then, from 'Christian living room talk show' to 'religious punditry.'

"1 million people" sounds impressive until you look at it as a percentage of population

for comparison: Chris Matthews doesn't break 500,000 daily.

also for comparison: Access Hollywood gets about 4 million. Oprah gets 7 million daily - both a lot more than 1 million, but niether are a large percentage of total population.

Robertson's successor, and he will have a successor, will be even worse.

For the kids!

The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

I blame Robertson's craziness on his growing "leftism".

best title ever.

Robertson's successor, and he will have a successor, will be even worse.

It might be his son Gordon, who also appears on the show.

Or, "If We Can Put a Man on the Moon, Why Can't We Put Pat Robertson On the Moon And Leave Him There?"

Robertson is a prime example of the old Republican theory, “Survival of the Richest.”

No doubt ABC could void their contract with Robertson if they cared to; that's what lawyers are for. But as cheaply as they could fire him and pay damages, ritual hand-wringing comes even cheaper. Why, if Robertson were more threatening than a black woman's nipple, the FCC might even tell him to tone it down.

I gotta say though, as nutty as Robertson is, these guys are even nuttier:

"I take full responsibility for what happened," far-right activist Baruch Ben-Yosef, one of the participants at the July pulsa denura, told The Jerusalem Post. "Our pulsa denura kicked in. Nothing could kill Sharon and he said his ancestors lived until they over 100 years old but we got him with the pulsa denura."

Here it's the 21st century and this guy thinks he hurt Sharon with a magic spell. I stand in amazement at the primitive mind. Anyone else need to taken down? I have a +4 Staff of Wounding I'll let go for right price.

Pat Robertson....a fine Virginian.

On a related topic, do you know that Virginia imports tons of garbage into my fine Commonwealth?

Maybe we can trade doddering fools. A tit for a tat. I'm sure most have their own lists. Or do we trust that most Americans and possibly a reasonable number of Earthlings can decipher the difference. Naw, your right, throttle everyone over 60.

Naw, your right, throttle everyone over 60.

my browser must be broken. i think it skipped the part where anyone suggested such a thing.

Peddling your tit around the internet again, bloggy?

blogbudsman, it actually occurred to me that that title might strike some as ageist, but in the end I decided that if there was a textbook example of a doddering old fool, Robertson stood the best chance of being the one. My apologies if you took offense...I was going for the humor in it.

"Why, if Robertson were more threatening than a black woman's nipple, the FCC might even tell him to tone it down."

Minor point of fact: the FCC regulates that which is broadcast over radio frequencies. Cable tv is not, in fact, broadcast, and takes up no broadcast frequency. Said regulation exists because of the limitations of physics. (A point that ever escapes innumerable physics-handicapped people, though presumably not Paul.)

The FCC has no jurisdiction over cable, since the physical spectrum of energy broadcast does not apply to it. Thus, no FCC regulation of cable. This happens to be in line with "freedom of speech."

This is, some of us think, a good thing. First Amendment and all.

On the pulse denura, I conveniently have a professor of Jewish mysticism standing behind this billboard, and she points out that it's crap. Don't lay idiots off on Jewish mysticism, Judaism, or religion, thank you very much.

Don't lay idiots off on Jewish mysticism, Judaism, or religion, thank you very much.

I do no such thing. I'm quite fond of Gershom Scholem, actually, and I'm not particularly antipathetic to religion in general, either. But anyone who thinks Sharon was hurt by a magic spell is a nutburger.

also for comparison: Access Hollywood gets about 4 million. Oprah gets 7 million daily - both a lot more than 1 million, but niether are a large percentage of total population.

No, but they're a relatively larger percentage of total television households (TVHH), and an even larger percentage of sets-in-use in their dayparts, which are the only two numbers programmers care about.

The FCC has no jurisdiction over cable,

I guess I must have imagined the Federal "must-carry" laws, then. Not to mention, you know, all of this.

You might have modified your statement to say that the FCC has no control over cable content. Which is also not quite true, but is a little bit closer.

"But anyone who thinks Sharon was hurt by a magic spell is a nutburger."

Fer sure, though I doubt anyone around here needs disabusing of this fact.

I welcome being refuted by facts, and thus correcting a misunderstanding on my part, but might you perhaps point to a specific link in regard to the FCC regulating cable? A quick glance at your cite isn't showing that to me, though I'm entirely prepared to believe that this is because I'm hasty and careless.

(And when I leave momentarily, it's not because I'm ducking argument, but because of other things to do, by the way.)

"You might have modified your statement to say that the FCC has no control over cable content."

Although, well, gee, if we weren't discussing content, I clearly lost track of the conversation. Could you offer a pointer as to where upthread we were discussing something besides content, so as to point out where discussion of FCC regulation of other than content might be relevant, perhaps? Thanks.

The post title didn't strike me as ageist (sp?), but it did sound awfully like "will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?"

Could you offer a pointer as to where upthread we were discussing something besides content, so as to point out where discussion of FCC regulation of other than content might be relevant, perhaps?

Well, "we" weren't. But in any case, as I intimated, you're also 47 U.S.C. §559 and 18 U.S.C. §1468(a) respectively bar the transmission of obscene material over a cable system and the knowing utterance or distribution of obscene matter by means of a cable television system or subscription service.

So, there it is, in any case. I'm also having trouble sussing your argument that the FCC having no power to regulate cable is "to be in line with 'freedom of speech.'" Is its power to regulate broadcast spectra also "in line with 'freedom of speech'?"

I doubt anyone around here needs disabusing of this fact.

I'd be worried if anyone did. No, there wasn't much of a point there.

I'm ignorant of the FCC's precise regulatory responsibilities, I confess, but Phil's remarks are more or less what I was thinking of offhandedly. For all I know Cable TV may be entirely unregulated, but I'd be surprised if someone could acquire a cable channel for the express purpose of making veiled threats. If that's impossible then the only way Robertson gets away with it is by veiling his threats a little better, or because no one cares to ask him to stop.

Well, "we" weren't. But in any case, as I intimated, you're also 47 U.S.C. §559 and 18 U.S.C. §1468(a) respectively bar the transmission of obscene material over a cable system and the knowing utterance or distribution of obscene matter by means of a cable television system or subscription service.
I've checked, and I'm reasonably sure I am not actually either pieces of code.

Despite that, I note that the first link is, in fact, broken. The second doesn't invoke the FCC at all, let alone in regard to cable tv. Have I missed a section? (Always possible, I'm not reading this for pay.)

Nor am I aware of a judicial decision declaring such language "obscene." Cite?

I'm perfectly willing to believe that some larger part of Title 18 invokes it, but if you'd like to cite it, please do.

I'm not quite on to whatever else your point is, Phil, but as I'm trying to avoid quarreling for its own sake, carry on and make your point as you wish.

"I'm ignorant of the FCC's precise regulatory responsibilities, I confess...."

Regulating the broadcast spectrum, basically. It's a matter of, as I said, physics, and thus necessary. The energy spectrum, and its frequencies, are limited. Physically. (I'm reminded of an argument with a fellow liberal who didn't grok the universe, who insisted that the Republicans were hypocritical in not letting the market expand the broadcast spectrum indefinitely, and no, we weren't talking about subfrequencies, or anything physical; um, well, there's a problem there.)

"I'm ignorant of the FCC's precise regulatory responsibilities, I confess...."

It's possibly best to not advance notions about that of which we are ignorant, but I'm sure I can be found guilty of that myself, somewhere, sometime.

As regard Pat Robertson, I'm reasonably sure that it would be hard to find a record of me having a kind word for him, but that's scarcely here nor there.

"If that's impossible then the only way Robertson gets away with it is by veiling his threats a little better, or because no one cares to ask him to stop."

I might agree, or I might disagree, if only I knew what that meant. To be sure, I often write hastily and end up being unclear, as well. (Rereading the paragraph didn't help, but, again, neither does it help understanding my own sentences when I overly rush. I imply no fault or personal flaw.)

My general observation is that it turns out that the United States Federal Communications Commission is not, actually, impowered to censor or comment upon people's speech in general, and thank goodness for that. Though if Pat Robertson fell and hit his head on a rock tomorrow, I would only feel normal human compassion towards him, and not regret that we no longer have the benefit of his wisdom.

Gary, I'm certainly not under any impression that you're a fan of Robertson, or hold any brief for him. No worries there.

It's possibly best to not advance notions about that of which we are ignorant

I'll take that in the spirit I'm sure it was meant, that is, charitably, but note that this is, after all, just a blog. Use any man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

if only I knew what that meant.

I thought my preceeding sentence made it clear. Anyway, let me try to restate the question. What's to keep someone from starting a cable channel devoted to veiled (or not so veiled) threats to political figures, classes of people, etc. Anything? And if there are Federal or State laws that would hinder such an enterprise, then at what point does Robertson skirt that line?

"What's to keep someone from starting a cable channel devoted to veiled (or not so veiled) threats to political figures, classes of people, etc. Anything?"

In America, beyond getting companies to sign up to carry it, I'm unaware.

I tend to think that's a good thing.

I'd really really really like to have cable tv, myself, incidentally. I miss any version of it quite a bit, but, again, I digress.

There are, of course, laws against death threats, and threats in general, though primarily these are pursued in civil court.

Maybe I'm not following the question.

Myself, I'm quite glad to live in a land where we are free to make completely hateful, horrible, disgusting, assholes of ourselves in our speech.

God knows how I'd survive on the internets otherwise.

The Hate Channel might be both interesting and useful for tracking, now that you mention it. I'm reasonably sure that hints of it exist in public access here and there. There, anyway.

I missed an < /a > tag in my post, Gary. Suffice to say that the FCC does have the power to regulate the content of cable television, particular as regards obscenity and indecency. The fact that it has chosen not to exercise that power doesn't change the fact that it can.

Nor am I aware of a judicial decision declaring such language "obscene." Cite?

I didn't claim it had been, so I'm not sure why you're demanding a cite from me? My post was meant to counter your claim that the FCC has no content regulation power at all over cable. It does. And it can get more power from Congress whenever Congress decides; spectrum's got naught to do with it.

Regulating the broadcast spectrum, basically. It's a matter of, as I said, physics, and thus necessary.

Well, the necessity of parceling out pieces of bandwidth implies neither the power nor the responsibility to exercise control over content. Which, as you've noted, the Commission doesn't really do; they respond to viewer/listener complaints as needed.

"I missed an < /a > tag in my post, Gary. Suffice to say that the FCC does have the power to regulate the content of cable television, particular as regards obscenity and indecency."

I'm perfectly willing to believe you. Cite, please? I'd really like to know if this is so.

The post title is offensive and wrong-headed on a lot of levels.

One is the 'who will rid me ...' aspect noted already.

The second is that Pat Robertson might be old, but he's no fool. He's a menace. He's not some fringe, powerless figure. He runs an enormous, profitable broadcast operation that promotes far-right policies of all kinds, and he funnels huge amounts of money into Virginia and national politics. If he were merely a doddering old fool, he could be safely ignored.

Dismissing Robertson lets off the hook all the Republican politicians who dance to his tune, take his money, and won't condemn his hateful b.s.

Third, Robertson is not the sole source of this poison. The threats he makes against Jewish Americans and Israelis who don't take a maximalist position wrt the Palestinian territories have been echoed recently by other far-right fundamentalist "Christian Zionists"; Michelle Goldberg, among others, has been reporting this story.

"Dismissing Robertson lets off the hook all the Republican politicians who dance to his tune, take his money, and won't condemn his hateful b.s."

I've criticized various folks in recent months who have denied that Robertson still has considerable influence on the Republican Right, with my usual throwing up of facts and stats (I can pull testimony at the drop of a cursor, you know), but it's equally a mistake to suggest that Robertson is, today, a major influence on the Republican Party. Let's try to keep up with the fact that this is the year 2006. His influence is neither negligible nor remotely dominant. No national Republican any more "dance[s] to his tune" and even the message has measurably less effect than circa 1992.

For the slow: his message, not similar messages. The direct influence of Pat Robertson, not the influence of the fundamentalist Christian message in America. Let's try to track the actual, realtime, dangers, shall we?

So you guys are sayimg 9/11 wasn't caused by homosexuality?

So how do you explain the grey aliens kidnapping people?

I'm with Nell, Robertson had some heavy access with Bush Jr., and the reason for my quip, Robertson is a prime example of the old Republican theory, “Survival of the Richest.”

What is up with this?:

No casualties? White House disputes Robertson comment

And the rallying forces of the "PC brigade" ride again. I'm sure that Edward_ only used the words "doddering old fool" because he's not allowed to use the technical term for Pat Robertson: f***wit.

Fix your broken system.

Grand to see that typepad still refuses my comments

Fuck Typepad, and those who use it.

All we shall ever see is these blank pages. All that we do shall be made blank. All that is better is lost.

Typepad.

Sometimes they really are out to get you.

For the slow: his message, not similar messages.

Gary, I'm going to chalk your insults and condescension up to irritation with Typepad, and try not to take it personally. But (as you so often ask): Did you read the link in my post?

There is a developing split inside U.S. Jewish organizations over ties with ultraright 'Christian Zionists'. The CZs are biting back, with threats to withdraw their significant financial support for settlements and Israel tourism.

I think this feud is a good and overdue thing, and Robertson's remarks will no doubt serve to strengthen the hand of those who want to shed this squalid alliance (against neoconservatives, who have been its biggest promoters).

But the fact remains that Robertson is not the only CZ with these same (not similar) views, simply the one with the biggest megaphone. Tim LaHaye is another CZ at the same financial/organizational level as Robertson.

What happens over the next two years in Israel and Palestine, and with Bush administration Israel policy, will determine how the CZ faction behaves and where they put their money.

Yes, it's 2006, and soon enough it will be full-out presidential campaign season. We'll see whether anyone in the national Republican party still dances to Robertson's tune. The anointing hand of Ed Gillespie is on the head of George Allen, someone who has been supported lavishly by Pat Robertson for his whole career. Your analysis implies the good chance of a 'Sister Souljah' moment. Mebbe.

Digby today:

It isn't just FOXNews. CBN is a powerful force in the Mighty Wurlitzer too. Robertson may be a nutcase, but he's also a huge player in GOP politics whether they like it or not.

The post has excerpts from a Columbia Journalism review article from this past spring that details the scale and scope of Robertson's operation.

Disclaimer: I'm close at hand, and directly involved in Virginia politics, so it's quite possible that I'm oversensitive to Robertson's poisonous presence. Here there's no hyperbole at all in calling his influence huge. He may have funnelled as much as $2 million into the campaign of our new Attorney General, who got his law degree from Robertson's "Christian university" in Virginia Beach.

But it's a big country. Maybe the moment has finally arrived when the extremist organizations that underpin a chunk of the Republican base will be ditched in the interest of appealing to swing voters.

The CJR article linked in Digby's post suggests there will be some cost to such a move. We'll see.

I apologize for violating the posting rules in my remarks ab out Typepad. It was deep frustration speaking, and I also didn't think that that set of type would appear any more than the other several posts I wrote that disappeared. I thought I was typing into a field no one would end up seeing. Naturally, that's not what happened. The universe is perverse, and hates me.

I apologize to the entire Obsidian Wings community for my error. As usual.

I am still just an egg. Really.

Since we are talking about getting people who say stupid things to shutup this one is long over due for many. I think it impossible to count how many times many on the left have said that Iraq had no relationship to terrorism.


Saddam's Terror Training Camps

What the documents captured from the former Iraqi regime reveal--and why they should all be made public.

by Stephen F. Hayes
01/16/2006, Volume 011, Issue 17


THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/550kmbzd.asp>http://www.weeklystandard.com

Personally, my favorite part.

And throughout the decade, the Iraqi regime sponsored "Popular Islamic Conferences" at the al Rashid Hotel that drew the most radical Islamists from throughout the region to Baghdad. Newsweek's Christopher Dickey, who covered one of those meetings in 1993, would later write: "Islamic radicals from all over the Middle East, Africa and Asia converged on Baghdad to show their solidarity with Iraq in the face of American aggression." One speaker praised "the mujahed Saddam Hussein, who is leading this nation against the nonbelievers." Another speaker said, "Everyone has a task to do, which is to go against the American state." Dickey continued:


Every time I hear diplomats and politicians, whether in Washington or the capitals of Europe, declare that Saddam Hussein is a "secular Baathist ideologue" who has nothing do with Islamists or with terrorist calls to jihad, I think of that afternoon and I wonder what they're talking about. If that was not a fledgling Qaeda itself at the Rashid convention, it sure was Saddam's version of it.

Much like the Taliban was to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Hussein was to transregional terrorism in Iraq. Ridding the middle East of him was crucial to fighting terrorism around the world.

The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

Key words. In other words, they haven't even seen the documents, and the '11 government officials' cited are unnamed.

How do we even know these documents exist? On the word of 11 (unnamed) government officials? Unless the reporter actually reads the documents, he can cite 1100 officials; it's still worthless.

Furthermore, judging by the heavily partisan source, your gloating seems premature at best.

Incidently, this pretty much has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

What's your take on Pat Robertson's latest verbal gaffe.

Or are you finding it hard to muster a defense for the whole 'Sharon's stroke was God's will' meme?

(I'm sorry, Gary, I know - DNFTT and all that...)

*What's your take on Pat Robertson's latest verbal gaffe?

Proper punctuation, Mister B...

Pastor Phelps celebrates the miners' deaths.

Update:

Israeli officials will go forward with the evangelical Christian theme park after all, only Robertson will not be among the group of official investors.

Highly symbolic distancing, while the alliance and the money move forward.

The theme park is considered the latest building block in the growing and controversial political alliance between the Israeli government and America's evangelical community, a loose affiliation of an estimated 30 million conservative and fundamentalist Christians.

"What Robertson said was outrageous. It hurts our feelings, but it won't affect the plan," Levy said on Thursday. "It's a plan bigger than one man."

That it is.

On February 15, 2004, Israeli Tourist Minister Binyamin Elon ... honored Pat Robertson of CBN at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Charlotte. Elon said that Robertson’s leadership saved Israeli tourism from bankruptcy by promoting pilgrimages to the Holy Land despite the United States Government’s travel warnings. After September 11 and an increase in hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, the pilgrimages continued. Elon estimated that over 400,000 evangelicals traveled to Israel in 2003 and contributed millions of dollars to the Israeli economy.

The most recent estimate is over half a million evangelical tourists (out of a million Christian tourists in all), bringing in half a billion dollars.

Ted Haggard and Franklin Graham are two big funders already on the theme park project; others may step in to replace the Robertson stake.

Ted Haggard is head of the National Assn of Evangelicals; his New Life church raises money for Beit Haggai, a settlement near Hebron.

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