Saturday, December 18, 2010

By Asgard's Hammer! Far-righty whities mighty uptighty about black actor playing Norse god

-- by Dave

Hey, fellow white guys -- don't these characters make you feel proud? After all, that's what they're supposedly about -- "white pride":

A US white supremacist group has called for a boycott of the Kenneth Branagh-directed superhero movie Thor on the grounds that a black actor has been cast in the role of a Norse god.

The Council of Conservative Citizens is upset that London-born Idris Elba, star of The Wire and BBC detective series Luther as well as a number of Hollywood films, is to play deity Heimdall in the Marvel Studios feature. The group, which opposes inter-racial marriage and gay rights, has set up a website, to set out its opposition to what it sees as an example of leftwing social engineering.

"It [is] well known that Marvel is a company that advocates for leftwing ideologies and causes," the site reads. "Marvel frontman Stan 'Lee' Lieber boasts of being a major financier of leftwing political candidates. Marvel has viciously attacked the Tea Party movement, conservatives and European heritage.

"Now they have taken it one further, casting a black man as a Norse deity in their new movie Thor. Marvel has now inserted social engineering into European mythology."

The CofCC post [warning: hate site] goes on in this vein:

It’s not enough that Marvel attacks conservative values and promotes the left-wing, now mythological Gods must be re-invented with black skin.

It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves.

Considering that a number of outright neo-Nazi organizations have adopted Asatru and other "Nordic" neo-paganisms as their official religions (most famously, perhaps, The Order among them), it's not surprising, perhaps, that they would get all worked up at the prospect of a black face spoiling their long-awaited screen rendition of the Lords of Asgard.

Especially since Heimdall is known as the "white god" and "whitest of the aesir". It's enough to make one rend their Klan robes.

You all may recall that the CofCC was at one time a favorite cause of Trent Lott's, and was a big supporter of Haley Barbour's run to the Mississippi governorship.

Then there was Ann Coulter, claiming in her latest screed that the CofCC had been unfairly defamed and mischaracterized:

In her latest foaming-mouth tome — Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America, released on Jan. 6 — Coulter spends the better part of three pages defending a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which The New York Times had described as a “thinly veiled white supremacist organization.” Coulter begs to differ. The CCC, Coulter opines, is “a conservative group” that has unfairly been branded as racist “because some of the directors of the CCC had, decades earlier, been leaders of a segregationist group.” “There is no evidence on its Web page that the modern incarnation of the CCC supports segregation,” she says. “Apart from some aggressive reporting on black-on-white crimes — the very crimes that are aggressively hidden by the establishment media — there is little on the CCC website suggesting” that the group is racist. Indeed, its main failing is “containing members who had belonged to a segregationist group thirty years earlier.”

... [T]o Ann Coulter, there is “no evidence” on its website that the CCC “supports segregation.” Mostly, she says, the group — which was formed from the debris of the White Citizens Councils that Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once called “the uptown Klan” — is about “a strong national defense, the right to keep and bear arms, the traditional family, and an ‘America First’ trade policy.” Indeed, she says, The New York Times and other critics of the CCC are simply liberals “who have no principles.”

In reality, this is only the most recent confirming example of the CofCC's naked white-supremacist ideology:

The CCC’s columnists have written that black people are “a retrograde species of humanity,” and that non-white immigration is turning the U.S. population into a “slimy brown mass of glop.” Its website has run photographic comparisons of pop singer Michael Jackson and a chimpanzee. It opposes “forced integration” and decries racial intermarriage. It has lambasted black people as “genetically inferior,” complained about “Jewish power brokers,” called gay people “perverted sodomites,” and even named the late Lester Maddox, the baseball bat-wielding, arch-segregationist former governor of Georgia, “Patriot of the Century.”

One day, the CCC ran photos on its home page of accused Beltway snipers John Muhammad and John Malvo, 9/11 conspirator Zacharias Moussaoui and accused shoe-bomber Richard Reed. “Notice a Pattern Here?” asked a caption underneath the four photos. “Is the face of death black after all?” On another occasion, its website featured a photo of Daniel Pearl, the “Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter” who had just been decapitated by Islamic terrorists. In the photo, Pearl was shown with his “mixed-race wife, Marianne.” The headline above the couple’s picture was stunning even for the CCC: “Death by Multiculturalism?” The CCC Arkansas chapter ran an essay waxing nostalgic for the days “when racial separation was the norm.”

And we wax nostalgic for the days when apologizing for white supremacists meant the death of your mainstream career.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Friday, December 17, 2010

Right-wingers sure seem eager to bring on a government shutdown. Wanna bet they do?

-- by Dave

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Bill O'Reilly seems to think it would be a good thing for the government to shut down. Last night in his opening "Talking Points Memo" monologue:

If the feds don't pass a new spending bill, the government might shut down in a few days, and I say good. These pinheads need some time off.

And of course, in O'Reilly's book, only "patriots" are the folks trying to create the shutdown.

Wait until such a thing comes to pass, though, and suddenly half the economy and a gazillion non-essential government functions come to a screeching halt. Then it'll be a catastrophe, and here's a prediction: Bill O'Reilly will say it's President Obama's fault.

O'Reilly wasn't the only one egging on a shutdown on Fox. On Fox Business News, David Asman was pontificating: "We have to shrink the government, and if that means shutting down the government then so be it":

Evidently Republicans don't remember what happened the last time they tried this tactic, in 1995. Not even the guy who engineered it, Newt Gingrich, seems to remember. He was on Fox too yesterday, likewise justifying a shutdown:

I especially like the part where Gingrich says he has no regrets about what happened. Well, here's what happened:

The Republicans blamed Clinton for the shutdown, and Clinton blamed the Republicans. Public opinion favored the president; Clinton's approval rating rose to the highest it had been since his election. The Republicans' support was further diminished two days later when Gingrich made a widely-reported complaint about being snubbed by Clinton; Tom DeLay called it "the mistake of his [Gingrich's] life".

DeLay writes in his book No Retreat, No Surrender:

"He told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him and Bob Dole sit at the back of Air Force One... Newt had been careless to say such a thing, and now the whole moral tone of the shutdown had been lost. What had been a noble battle for fiscal sanity began to look like the tirade of a spoiled child. The revolution, I can tell you, was never the same."

Gingrich's complaint gave rise to the perception of his behaving in a petty egotistical manner, and Clinton defended the seating arrangement as a courtesy to Gingrich, the back of the plane being closer to his pickup car. Later, the polls suggested that the event badly damaged Gingrich politically.

Go for it, bully boys.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why filibuster reform is vital: The Founders' intent was for the Senate to be a majority body, not a supermajority

[From Fix The Senate Now: Interview with a senator who likes how it dysfunctions.]

-- by Dave

Quietly behind the scenes in the Senate, Democratic senators are working to prepare a package of filibuster-rules reforms, led in particular by Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.

This morning I sat in on a conference call with Merkley and Udall, who explained how they were planning to roll out a framework for other senators to examine soon. (Here's Dave Weigel's report.) Certainly the urgency to do so has only been heightened by events of the past few days, with Republicans using the filibuster to effectively forestall any action by the Senate in the lame-duck session beyond extending the Bush tax cuts -- including approval of the START treaty, DADT repeal and the DREAM Act.

Fundamentally, as these events have demonstrated, Republican abuse of the filibuster has rendered the Senate into a body in which only the supermajority rules. Considering that it was clearly never designed to be anything other than a majority-rule body by the Founding Fathers, it's a pretty classic case of hypocrisy for Tea Partying right-wingers who love to parade their love of the Founders whenever possible.

So I asked them about whether they intended to use the Founders' intent as a kind of marketing point for their plan. Here's what they said:

Udall: That point is very much talked about. And it was not that long ago that there were major pieces of legislation in which the public discussion always was, 'Can we get 51 votes to pass this?'

We had controversial Supreme Court justices -- for example, Clarence Thomas -- who was passed through without a supermajority. There was no cloture process or extended debate requested by those who opposed him.

It was considered a privilege to exercised -- that is, the privilege of delaying the Senate so that you could continue to make your points was considered a precious privilege to be exercised upon very rare occasion. That social contract has been eliminated. And members of the Senate are ready to make their objection to the regular order of 51 on everything, and often many times on a single bill, and that has done what you've just described, which is it has turned the Senate into a supermajority body. And for all those who say, do not disrupt the tradition of the Senate, the response is, the tradition of the Senate has never been for it to be a supermajority body.

Merkley: To give you one little factoid here: When Lyndon Baines Johnson was in the Senate, the time he was the Majority Leader from 1954 to 1961, in that entire six-year period, he only attempted to cut off debate, filing cloture, one time. The last two years, Harry Reid had to do that 84 times.

So we've taken something that was an extraordinary rare expression of opposition -- where you went down to the floor and you did everything you could to persuade the American people and your own constituents as to your point of view -- now we don't do that. Now the only filibuster -- the only filibuster I think I've really seen, a true filibuster in the Senate tradition, in the two years I've been here is what happened with Bernie Sanders in the last couple of days, where he took the floor for approximately eight hours or more to actually talk about the tax package.

Most of the time, we see this in a secret way, when you look at C-SPAN2 and you're looking at the Senate, you see a quorum call, the post-cloture debate time -- that time is not being utilized for debate, and that has rendered the Senate a broken institution.

Merkley also talked about the dysfunction that occurs after a cloture vote -- that is, a vote to end the debate and thus the filibuster -- fails to reach the 60-vote threshold:

Merkley: You can think of a cloture vote that fails as the following: 41 senators have said they want to continue debate. When that happens, under current rules, we do not have ongoing debate. People just leave the floor and we are let with a quorum call. There's nothing to compel senators to actually engage in the debate that they have said they want to have. There are a number of potential rules that could be used that exist currently, but each of them is trumped by some other procedural mechanism. And that's why you don't see continuous debate after a cloture call. ...

The advantage of continuous debate is that it honors the purpose of the cloture vote, which was to have debate. The other advantage is that it says to the American people: 'Here is my position. This is why I'm not ready to have a vote yet. This is what is most important. Here is my case.' In other words, senators stand on the floor, literally stand on the floor and make their case to the American public. And the American public and their colleagues can say, 'You're a hero' or 'You're a bum.' And provide that kind of feedback to all of the senators, who will have to vote on a subsequent cloture vote at some point down the line. And if no one has anything left to say, then the whole purpose of the post-cloture debate is concluded -- that is, if no senator at some point is ready to continue the debate, then we should automatically go to a majority vote.

This would get rid of many of the frivolous objections. And just to give you a sense of this -- we just had a food safety bill in which three filibusters were launched, delaying the work of the Senate by three weeks. Each objection to the regular order creates a one-week delay and a 60-vote hurdle. And yet that was on a bill that had substantial bipartisan support, it was not, if you will, one of the bills that has grave national consequences one direction or the other. So if, on a simple, ordinary bill, you can have three cloture motions, you can imagine the type of delay that has resulted in we have no appropriations bills, why we don't have a budget that was debated, and so on and so forth. Why so many House bills come here to die.

Aas Greg Sargent reports today, there is some quiet momentum building in support of these reforms, especially given the galling impotency of the past couple of weeks:

The key thing that's happening is that groups pushing to reform the filibuster are now laying down a clear roadmap to action, and are setting their sights on clearly defined common-sense reforms that seem eminently achievable if enough political will gathers to make them happen. For instance, a range of lefty groups and powerful labor unions like AFL-CIO and SEIU recently spelled out a statement of core principles that would form the bedrock of reform.

The underlying ideas here are twofold: First, there's Senator Tom Udall's insight that each Congress has the power under the Constitution to set its own rules. And second, Senator Jeff Merkley, one of a new crop of younger reform-minded Senators, is getting traction with a proposal of simple, achievable reforms to encourage as much open debate as possible, mainly by forcing Senators to actually filibuster.

Of course, as anyone even casually familiar with the inner workings of the Senate will tell you, the best-intentioned ideas can -- and often do -- disappear without ever getting acted on, for reasons that no one can explain. But it's certainly noteworthy that a real movement seems to be taking shape to prevent that from happening this time around.

Tom Harkin is predicting some serious fireworks on Jan. 5:

Senate Democrats will make a dramatic effort to reform the rules of the chamber when the next Congress begins, one of the body's primary filibuster-reform advocates said Wednesday morning.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who has championed a weakening of the procedural mechanism that allows the minority party to hold up legislation, predicted "fireworks" on Jan. 5, 2011 -- the day on which the Senate can, he argued, revamp its rules by a simple majority vote.

"There could be some fireworks. There could be some fireworks on January fifth," Harkin said at a pro-reform event sponsored by several like-minded organizations. "I'm going to be there. I'm armed. I'm armed with a lot of history, and I know the rules, and I know the procedures too, so we will see what happens on the fifth."

"[Former Sen.] Robert Byrd in 1975, the last time that last time that we changed the rules and [brought the filibuster threshold] from 67 [votes] down to 60, actually stated on the floor that a majority, 51 senators, could change the rules. And that's what we intend to do and that is what we are working on right now. We are coming on the fifth to basically send a motion to the vice president ... that will change the rules and there is a procedure to provide 51 votes to do that. Robert Byrd said that in 1975 and that's what we are going to try to do."

Essentially, that path to reform requires Vice President Joe Biden -- who supports weakening the filibuster -- to rule on the first day of the next session that the Senate has the authority to write its own rules. Republicans, presumably, would immediately move to object, but Democrats could then move to table the objection, setting up a key up-or-down vote. If 50 Democrats voted to table the objection, the Senate would then move to a vote on a new set of rules, which could be approved by a simple majority.

Keep your fingers crossed. And call your senators and buck them up.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

McCain says he wants to see 'an uprising' of angry Tea Partiers against omnibus bill

-- by Dave

John McCain went on Sean Hannity's show last night to rail like an aging old crank again, this time against Republicans' pet target of the week: the omnibus spending bill making its way through the lame-duck session of Congress. In the process, he seemed to be calling out the Tea Party troops to action:

McCain: It's a direct repudiation of the voters of last November 2, it is a direct insult, to stick their thumb right in their eye. I was on the phone with the Tea Partiers all over Arizona today. They are enraged. They are outraged. And I want to see an uprising all over this country. The same people that caused the victories, we've got to hold these people to account.

He's actually going to have to hope that none of his newfound Tea Partying friends -- remember, they weren't always so close, back when J.D. Hayworth was making him sweat -- actually heed his call in the way some of them are likely to.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Scrooge O'Reilly: Baby Jesus Would Not Want Us to Worry Our Pretty Heads About the Poor

-- by Dave

At the ominous word “liberality,” Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

A Christmas Carol

Bill O'Reilly's most recent column:

"Keep Christ in Unemployment"

There comes a time when compassion can cause disaster. If you open your home to scores of homeless folks, you will not have a home for long. There is a capacity problem for every noble intent.

America remains the land of opportunity, but you have to work for it. The unemployment rate for college graduates is 5%. For high school drop-outs, it is 16%. Personal responsibility is usually the driving force behind success. But there are millions of Americans who are not responsible, and the cold truth is that the rest of us cannot afford to support them.

Every fair-minded person should support government safety nets for people who need assistance through no fault of their own. But guys like McDermott don't make distinctions like that. For them, the baby Jesus wants us to "provide," no matter what the circumstance. But being a Christian, I know that while Jesus promoted charity at the highest level, he was not self-destructive.

The Lord helps those who help themselves. Does he not?

Since that aphorism appears in no known religious work -- particularly not any known Scripture -- we'll refer instead to what Jesus actually said about the poor. And about rich men like Bill O'Reilly.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gay-hating fundamentalists are not happy about being designated 'hate groups' by the SPLC

-- by Dave

When right-wingers got wind of the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center had designated a number of Religious Right organizations who specialize in rhetorically bashing gays and lesbians as hate groups, they and their allies on the Right came more or less unglued.

Now, rather than face up to the substance of the accusations, they're choosing to demonize the SPLC and their critics. Par for the course for this crowd.

What was especially noteworthy about the SPLC report was that it zeroed in on the fundamental falsity of the material attacking people in the LGBT community that these so-called "Christian" organizations distribute maliciously and knowingly. That is, they are lying baldfacedly, and they frankly seem not to care. Evidently, that 9th Commandment about bearing false witness and all that is now a disposable rule.

Jeremy Hooper noted that the Family Research Council -- one of the largest of the groups named -- launched a counteroffensive called "Stop Hating/Start Debating," with a press release that begins thus:

The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.

The hypocrisy, of course, is not just a laughable bug, but a definitive feature of these groups. Alvin McEwen at Pam's House Blend enumerates just how many ways the FRC's opening salvo is a farce.

Their political friends leapt into action too. Cliff Kincaid called the SPLC's hate-group designation a "racket" by conniving liberals. And Peter LaBarbera at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality -- also one of the designated groups -- complained that the SPLC never seems to pick on mean gay groups that fight back against the fundamentalist assault. Meanwhile, of course, he doubles down by claiming that all the lies against LGBT folks enumerated by the SPLC are in fact actually true. Uh-huh.

Perhaps the funniest attack came from Ed Meese at CNS News:

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese says it is “despicable” for the Southern Poverty Law Center to classify the Family Research Council and a dozen other top conservative organizations as “hate groups” similar to the Ku Klux Klan.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Meese told about the list published by the SPLC. “I know about seven or eight of those groups. I know the people very well. I know the groups very well, I’ve worked with them over the years, and I think it actually undermines the credibility of the Southern Poverty Law Center to make such a statement.”

Last week, the Southern Policy Law Center announced that it was going to classify the Family Research Council and 12 other organizations as “hate groups” because of their positions on homosexuality.

Among the groups being designated by the SPLC are the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Coral Ridge Ministries, Family Research Institute, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Illinois Family Institute, Liberty Counsel, MassResistance, National Organization for Marriage and the Traditional Values Coalition.

The SPLC said these organizations will be named to its "hate group" watch list.

But Meese said the Southern Poverty Law Center had cited no evidence whatsoever to show that the FRC or the other major pro-family conservative organizations were hate groups.

“I think it is attacking them for exercising their freedom of speech and their freedom of religion,” said Meese, who served as U.S. attorney general during the Reagan administration, and is currently the Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow in public policy and chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

“I know that none of these groups, in anyone’s wildest imagination, could be thought of as hate groups,” Meese told

“All of the groups that I know of--and that’s about half of them--take the traditional biblical views of homosexuality, which is not at all unusual," he said. "And I think it is despicable of an organization that purports to be a civil liberties organization to make those kinds of attacks.”

The CNS story then goes on to include similar whining from Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage, whom similarly "said the announcement contains nothing that even hints at why the groups are being compared to the KKK."

Evidently, neither Meese nor Gallagher bothered to actually read the report. Because it lays out quite a bit of relevant information about these groups. For instance, here's the entry on the FRC:

*Family Research Council
Washington, D.C.

Started as a small think tank in 1983, the Family Research Council (FRC) merged in 1988 with the much larger religious-right group Focus on the Family in 1988, and brought on Gary Bauer, former U.S. undersecretary of education under Ronald Reagan, as president. In 1992, the two groups legally separated to protect Focus on the Family’s tax-exempt status, although Focus founder James Dobson and two other Focus officials were placed on the FRC’s newly independent board. By that time, FRC had become a powerful group on its own.

Headed since 2003 by former Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins, the FRC has been a font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history. It relies on the work of Robert Knight, who also worked at Concerned Women for America but now is at Coral Ridge Ministries (see above for both), along with that of FRC senior research fellows Tim Dailey (hired in 1999) and Peter Sprigg (2001). Both Dailey and Sprigg have pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia: Sprigg has written that most men who engage in same-sex child molestation “identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual,” and Dailey and Sprigg devoted an entire chapter of their 2004 book Getting It Straight to similar material. The men claimed that “homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses” and similarly asserted that “homosexuals are attracted in inordinate numbers to boys.”

That’s the least of it. In a 1999 publication (Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys) that has since disappeared from its website, the FRC claimed that “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order,” according to unrefuted research by AMERICAblog. The same publication argued that “homosexual activists publicly disassociate themselves from pedophiles as part of a public relations strategy.” FRC offered no evidence for these remarkable assertions, and has never publicly retracted the allegations. (The American Psychological Association, among others, has concluded that “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.”)

In fact, in a Nov. 30, 2010, debate on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” between Perkins and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok, Perkins defended FRC’s association of gay men with pedophilia, saying: “If you look at the American College of Pediatricians, they say the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children. So Mark is wrong. He needs to go back and do his own research.” In fact, the college, despite its hifalutin name, is a tiny, explicitly religious-right breakaway group from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the 60,000-member association of the profession. Publications of the American College of Pediatricians, which has some 200 members, have been roundly attacked by leading scientific authorities who say they are baseless and accuse the college of distorting and misrepresenting their work.

Elsewhere, according to AMERICAblog, Knight, while working at the FRC, claimed that “[t]here is a strong current of pedophilia in the homosexual subculture. … [T]hey want to promote a promiscuous society.” AMERICAblog also reported that then-FRC official Yvette Cantu, in an interview published on Americans for Truth About Homosexuality’s website, said, “If they [gays and lesbians] had children, what would happen when they were too busy having their sex parties?”

More recently, in March 2008, Sprigg, responding to a question about uniting gay partners during the immigration process, said: “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.” He later apologized, but then went on, last February, to tell MSNBC host Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” “So we should outlaw gay behavior?” Matthews asked. “Yes,” Sprigg replied. At around the same time, Sprigg claimed that allowing gay people to serve openly in the military would lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.

Perkins has his own unusual history. In 1996, while managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican State Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins of Louisiana, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the mailing list of former Klan chieftain David Duke. The campaign was fined $3,000 (reduced from $82,500) after Perkins and Jenkins filed false disclosure forms in a bid to hide the link to Duke. Five years later, on May 17, 2001, Perkins gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Perkins claimed not to know the group’s ideology at the time, but it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation. In 1999, after Republican House Speaker Trent Lott was embroiled in a national scandal over his ties to the group, GOP chairman Jim Nicholson urged Republicans to quit the CCC because of its “racist views.” That statement and the nationally publicized Lott controversy came two years before Perkins’ 2001 speech.

Here's an even more detailed file on the FRC's hatemongering.

And here's the report's entry for Maggie Gallagher's outfit:

National Organization for Marriage
Princeton, N.J.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which is dedicated to fighting same-sex marriage in state legislatures, was organized in 2007 by conservative syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher and Princeton University politics professor Robert George. George is an influential Christian thinker who co-authored the 2009 “Manhattan Declaration,” a manifesto developed after a New York meeting of conservative church leaders that “promises resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same sex marriage.”

NOM’s first public campaign was in 2008, supporting California’s Proposition 8, which sought to invalidate same-sex marriage in that state. It was widely mocked, including in a parody by satirist Stephen Colbert, for the “Gathering Storm” video ad it produced at the time. Set to somber music and a dark and stormy background, the ad had actors expressing fears that gay activism would “take away” their rights, change their lifestyle, and force homosexuality on their kids.

The group, whose president is now former executive director Brian Brown, has become considerably more sophisticated since then, emphasizing its respect for homosexuals. “Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose,” NOM says on its website, “[but] they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”

For a time, NOM’s name was used by a bus driver named Louis Marinelli, who drove a van for NOM’s “Summer for Marriage Tour” this year. Marinelli called himself a “NOM strategist” and sent out electronic messages under the NOM logo that repeated falsehoods about homosexuals being pedophiles and gay men having extremely short lifespans. In homemade videos posted on his own YouTube page, he said same-sex marriage would lead to “prostitution, pedophilia and polygamy.” But this July, NOM said it was not associated with Marinelli.

Maybe Maggie Gallagher and Ed Meese don't understand that the chief way the Ku Klux Klan operates these days, a la David Duke, is to claim disingenuously that it is only "standing up for white culture" while doing so by expending most of its energy demonizing and attempting to disenfranchise anyone who is not white. Similarly, these anti-gay hate groups claim that they're only standing up for Christianity, but they do so by demonizing and attempting to disenfranchise anyone who is gay. That alone is why your fundamentalist friends are considered to have organized hate groups.

Likewise, we heard from Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel -- the guy who described gay relationships thus: "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’ " -- in the Moonie Times, arguing that the SPLC was attacking these groups because it is a liberal outfit dedicated to promoting the gay agenda. And besides, he says, if you think about it, they're trying to make gay-bashers out to be Nazis:

Of course, the tired goal of this silly meme is to associate in the public mind's eye mainstream conservative social values with racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The ironic result, however, is that, as typically occurs with such ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks, the attacker ends up marginalizing himself and galvanizing his intended target (I'm rubber, you're glue and all that).

Hence, beyond a self-aggrandizing liberal echo chamber, the SPLC - and by extension the greater "progressive" movement - has become largely, as it stews in its own radicalism, just another punch line.

It's often said that the first to call the other a Nazi has lost the argument.

Congratulations, conservative America: They're calling you a Nazi. Carry on.

This is pretty ironic, when you think about it: as Warren Throckmorton points out, the canard that gays are Nazis is in fact one of the common myths bandied about by fundamentalist gay-bashers.

As Throckmorton -- himself a dedicated Christian advocate, but not a hater -- explains, the people on this list should be working to repair their badly damaged reputations as Christians that the hate-group designation represents, rather than simply doubling down by insisting that their lies are true and telling even MORE lies:

The groups which now populate the SPLC list specialize in ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks. Claims that gays die 20+ years early, that they are child abusers, that they are inherently diseased, and responsible for the Holocaust are the kinds of ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks which lead thoughful people, liberal and conservative, to question the credibility of those making the claims.

Christian groups should care about nuance and bearing honest witness. They should avoid misleading stereotypes and strive for accuracy in fact claims. When they don’t, they hurt the church and the good work that others are doing. Being designated a hate group is a serious matter and one which should cause reflection about the charges and not reckless defensiveness.

This is not the only serious Christian response I've seen. A woman named Kathy Baldock, who writes a Christian blog called Canyon Walker Connections, wrote a devastating post examining the Religious Right's lies about gays and lesbians:

I listened to Tony Perkins, President of FRC, on Fox and Friends as he responded to the dishonor announced last week on being place on the SPLC’s Hate Groups list. I talked to my computer screen and boiled at his smiling, what-me? attitude. No, Mr. Perkins, FRC is not on the list because you are a conservative group. Your actions have placed you there. No, Mr. Perkins, the left is not trying to shut down the debate or take away your freedom of religion. GLBT people are fighting for what the mascot-version-God aside you says they deserve—equality. Religious straight conservatives (and I am one) will still be able to get married, have children, serve in the military and attend houses of worship of their choice. No one wants to strip us of any of those rights; they just want the same rights, not special rights, not more rights, not gay rights—the same rights. Mr. Perkins, you drag God into your battle as an accomplice and, to me, that is even more despicable than your messages. You use God as your validation, saying you are fighting to protect His Judeo-Christian values. You and FRC deserve to be called dangerous and hateful; you and FRC have earned it.

Indeed they have. And they're doing nothing to escape the condemnation that follows.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]