The Watering Hole – Saturday Aug 11, 2012 – Bearer of False Witness

Conservative evangelist David Barton, who likes to go around the country telling people he’s an historian, suffered a major setback this week when Thomas Nelson, the Christian publisher of his book, “The Jefferson Lies,” pulled the book from publication because it contained too many lies. And who could blame him them? Readers at the History News Network voted the book the “least credible history book in print.” But try not to weep too much for this Right-Wing Nut Job. He will publish the book under his own publishing company, Wall Builders, and is already selling the book at a discount.

What happened was that two conservative Christian professors, Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter, did some fact-checking and found that many of Barton’s claims about Jefferson simply didn’t hold up to objective scrutiny and published their findings in a book called “Getting Jefferson Right.” According to the Amazon website page for the book, some of the questions they answer include:

-Was Jefferson unable to free his slaves under Virginia law?

-Did Jefferson sign his presidential documents, “In the year of our Lord Christ?”

-Did Jefferson and other Founders finance a Bible in 1798 to get the Word of God to America’s Families?

-Did Jefferson found the Virginia Bible Society?

-Was Jefferson an orthodox Christian, who only rarely expressed questions about orthodox Christian doctrine?

-Did Jefferson edit the Gospels of the New Testament to remove sections he disagreed with?

-Did Jefferson found the University of Virginia to be the first transdenominational Christian college?

If you’ve ever watched David Barton being interviewed in a non-friendly setting (by which I mean some place other than Fox News Channel or Newt Gingrich’s bedroom), like The Daily Show, you can almost immediately see him employ his deflective tactics to weasel his way through the conversation. One of this favorite techniques is to re-define words in the middle of the discussion to “prove” that you don’t understand history as well as he does. He also likes to throw out obscure, difficult-to-disprove factoids, as evidence of his claims. And, as with many on the right, he likes to use the Straw Man argument, such as when he claimed that people everywhere call Jefferson an atheist, as evidenced by a billboard that went up somewhere, when most of us who know the truth know that’s not true. Jefferson really did believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, he just didn’t buy into all the divine miracles attributed to the man.

But Barton also likes to divert the conversation to what he believes are examples of Christians being denied their First Amendment right to practice their religion. He cites Pastor Mark Holick of Kansas, saying he was arrested just for trying to pass out Bibles to anyone who walked by. That’s not exactly what happened, or why he was arrested. He was arrested because he was blocking the entrance to a mosque while trying to get Muslims to take his Bibles. When a police officer told him to move up the sidewalk, he refused. This is but one example of the deception David Barton uses to sell his conservative Christian agenda. He so desperately wants to believe that the United States of America is NOT a secular nation (at least, according to the definition of “secular” that he claims the courts use) and that it is, in fact, a Christian nation (again, according to the definition of “Christian nation” that he likes to use.)

I recommend trying to sit through all the parts of the Daily Show interview, including the multi-part extended interview, with the Bearer of False Witness known as David Barton. I know it can be difficult to listen to this weasel in action, but I strongly urge you to refrain from giving into your desire to punch his smarmy little face with something big and heavy, like a bowling ball. Or you can do something else today because it’s Saturday! Yea!

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.


132 thoughts on “The Watering Hole – Saturday Aug 11, 2012 – Bearer of False Witness

  1. URGENT: It’s being widely reported on all the media outlets that Mitt is going to pick Paul Ryan as his running mate and the official announcement will be today.

    Seems a bit sudden, and I’m sure the timing is to knock the media off the “taxes” story. I wonder if Mitt looked at any of Paul Ryan’s tax returns before making his decision.

    Personally, I think this signals the end of the Romney candidacy. Boring white guy picks annoying white guy. And let the ads begin reminding voters that Paul Ryan wanted to end medicare.

  2. I fell asleep with the tv on MSNBC, and woke up first about one am to this being ‘breaking news’.
    If Rmoney thinks Ryan ends the tax return issue, he’s absurdly mistaken.

  3. Nate Silver


    I think Ryan pick (if rumors true) indicates bearish view from Romney campaign. Not a pick you make if you think you’re ahead.

  4. On Up, we’re getting a preview of tommorrow’s Meet the Press with Rachel.

  5. Andrea Mitchell made me think of one question. Is Ryan giving up his run for re-election to his House seat, or will he run for that too, in case the Romney-Ryan ticket fails? I recall that Biden won his Senate seat, and resigned it after the election, to serve as VP.

  6. Paul Ryan lives in a six-bed, eight-bath house on the National Register of Historic Places.… #manofthepeople

  7. Back to topic: Revisionist history. It is what they do best. Fit events into previously conceived notions. If the facts don’t fit, change them.

  8. “Fanfare For the Common Man”??? Are you fucking kidding me, Mitt?

    Also, I missed this from last night but he re-tweeted it.

  9. “…intellectual leader of the Republican Party…”

    Damning him by faint praise won’t help, Mitt!

  10. This dick is going to talk until MSNBC switches to Olympics, and I would rather hear another hour of UP, instead of pentathlon coverage.

  11. Willard the rat and Eddie Munster….bah-ha-ha-ha. Obviously Mitt has no balls and was pressured by the right wing to pick Ryan. So now Willard will have the nut job far right wing base but loses more seniors, women and sane independent voters.

    Austerity measures don’t work and neither does cutting government spending when the economy is stagnant. Consumer driven economies need consumers with money to buy things. Whether it be through employment, unemployment benefits or food stamps.

    • Srsly, Mittens’ campaign would have been better off with Rob Portman. He must have bowed to pressure form the extreme rightwing.

      • I totally agree because Portman could of helped Rmoney in Ohio. Scary thought is that the republicans must feel confident that voter suppression, 24/7 attack ads and lies sponsored by the 1% and…electronic voting devices all but assure a Rmoney/Ryan victory???

        He was bullied by the Tea Party faction to pick Eddie Munster. Wait until these idiots feel the Ryan austerity measures first hand IF R/R win in November. Who do they blame then?………Clinton? Carter? FDR? Kennedy? LBJ? Obama? Pelosi? Reid? The liberal media? ACORN? Soro’s?

  12. The token conservative on UP talks about ‘a choice between a government-driven approach to Medicare reform, and a competition (approach)’.

    There is no competition now. All the health insurance companies are exempt from anti-trust laws, not that they are being enforced anywhere else either. The Ryan plan throws everyone on the mercy of those colluding corporations.

    • Healthcare for the elderly, poor, and disabled in this country should not be a fucking game!

      Ugh, I need to get out the door. Back laters, so y’all better not behave yourselves.

  13. Chris Hayes’ freudian slip: “It looks like the Mission Impossible event”

    Meaning Bush’s Mission Accomplished event.

  14. Ok, when I heard about the Ryan pick I immediately flashed to this. It is the perfect way to describe Willard’s campaign.

  15. Well if the creepy Romney/Ryan ticket doesn’t get Democrats out to vote nothing will.

  16. Wayne, it appears that the Ryan announcement was a deliberate move on the part of the Romnoids to distract everyone from your post, which is really a good one. I don’t know if Barton has any real influence among the RW base because, well, because he writes books without pictures. He does seem to get on Faux of course.

    One niggle with the post: you refer to Thomas Nelson as “he” and report that he pulled the book. Thomas Nelson is the publishing house, founded in the 18th Century. The actual Thomas Nelson is considerably deceased,

    • My sincere thanks. I stand corrected. I never heard of Thomas Nelson before I read that article. I suppose I could have read it more closely, but that might have been dangerous to my sanity. 🙂

      P.S. I’ll add a correction to this one and to the post on my blog.

      • I think I actually had some Thomas Nelson titles in my library years ago, but they would have been from the British house, which published a fair amount of popular fiction.

    • It is something of a glimmer of hope that a Christian publishing house would willingly pull the book and that other conservative type historians would pan it. Had the criticism come from the Left, it would be ignored. Maybe even the RWNJ’s are getting the idea that rewriting history is an exceptionally bad idea.

  17. The Ryan choice reinforces a lot of the ideas behind Willard and his run. Ryan comes from humble beginnings and has spent his life trying to get a place at the rich people’s table. He has made himself the perfect corprocrat underling, sucking up to his ‘bosses’ with his opportunistic, Randian driven ideas. Most of the other possible candidates have too much personality (i.e., they’re certifiable), not a WASM or they aren’t total yes men.

    I think Willard would feel threatened by anything other than a toadie.

    • I’m certain the remembrance of watching Little Boy Bush squishing out from between Cheney’s toes makes Willard squirm.

  18. QOTD:

    “I don’t think [Paul Ryan] has the slightest desire to be vice president. While it is a good stepping stone to the presidency even for those who don’t achieve the office through death of a president, I don’t think that is Ryan’s ambition,” – Bruce Bartlett, in an article published yesterday titled, “Paul Ryan Will Not Be Mitt Romney’s Running Mate”

  19. I think this announcement was timed to keep MSNBC pundits off the airwaves while the minions at Fox and CNN did their best to get positive opinions into the heads of the undecideds. They knew MSNBC had a commitment to the Olympics, and couldn’t spend all day picking Ryan apart.

  20. Romney will now have to spend the next 2 months explaining how and why shrinking Medicare after 2023 will create prosperity in 2013.

  21. WTF? How in Hell is a private citizen allowed to commandeer a naval vessel for a political announcement? Sigh…

    On the other hand; Ryan just might prove to be a worse pick than Bible Spice. He can actually speak a human language but he has a political resume that already polls very poorly with American voters.

    • The Wisconsin is not an active naval vessel. It was decommissioned in 1991 and been designated at musuem as of 3/2006 and was donated to the city of Norfolk who made it a museum in 2010.

      • My bad. Actually, I went out for a walk just after my post and it dawned on me that she is now a museum. The jingoism still bugs me.

  22. I think that this was just timed to be the talking points of the Sunday shows and not the continued hammering of Romney’s taxes. But that’s ok. Mitt’s taxes can wait, they are on the back burner on low, they haven’t gone anywhere.

  23. David Frum imagines the likely script of the next attack ad. A woman in her later 40s, looking worried at a kitchen table. She’s probably vaguely Latino; the photos on her refrigerator (kids, no dad) suggest a single mom.

    A woman’s voice over. “You’ve worked hard all your life. You’ve paid Medicare taxes for almost 30 years. But under the Republican plan, Medicare won’t be there for you. Instead of Medicare as it exists now, under the Republican plan you’ll get a voucher that will pay as little as half your Medicare costs when you turn 65—and as little as a quarter in your 80s. And all so that millionaires and billionaires can have a huge tax cut.”

    That ad will draw blood and will—as Henry Kissinger used to say—have the additional merit of being true.

  24. In August of 2008 we were in a tailspin, heading for an economic collapse that threatened not only the US but the world. We were engaged in two wars. Gas prices had sky rocketed. And the only thing that stalled the collapse was the influx of hundreds of billions of dollars to save the companies who had squandered even more money.

    In August of 2012 we have an economy that has shown over two years of growth, in spite of austerity measures that have stripped public jobs (many from the Bush years). We are down to one war and it is in draw down phase. The stock market is at record highs, business has a war chest that could pay off the national debt and yet they can’t find the money to rebuild America’s manufacturing heart, even with massive subsidies and tax cuts.

    I don’t think Republicans understand what failure really means. Unless they mean they have failed to stop America. doG knows they have been trying awfully hard.

  25. ¡Viva, México! ¡Viva!
    ¡México captura de oro!

    (apologies if this is a ‘spoiler’ for anyone — I’m just too excited to keep it in)

  26. My hubby just suggested that the Republican brain-trust sees Mitt going down in flames this cycle, and so they are putting Paul Ryan out there to season him for the next Presidential election cycle. Makes sense to me. Otherwise, this pick was political suicide.

  27. I know someone that considers himself an Independent, and has been critical of both parties for months now. He said something interesting this morning. He has paid into Medicare for 36 years, and he is about to reach the age where he can take advantage of those benefits, and now with this VP pick who wants to end Medicare, he knows who he will need to vote for:
    President Obama.
    I wonder just how many people around this country – Dems, Independents and Republicans alike – will feel the same way..

    • I am in my early 50’s; my husband is in his later 50’s. When he reaches 65, my husband will get Medicare. If Ryan’s plan comes to fruition, I will get a voucher and a pat on the head.

      • I know a guy who is 67 and still working, so he can afford to keep his wife insured. Can you count on your own job keeping you insured for those years?

        • I am self employed, so right now, my health insurance, as well as my 22 yr old and 17yr old are all on my husband’s insurance. We have looked into private insurance in case something happens to him, but it isn’t pretty or cheap.

          • Same here, I can’t purchase health insurance at any price and I’m not sure how insurers would view the 13 year old autistic kid.

      • I will turn 55 in September, not that I really believe that would keep me safe from Ryan/Cantor and the rest of the GOP pack of vultures determined to pick the last bit of flesh from the bones of the middle class.

    • Most every poll I’ve seen indicates that number is very large. Of course, the “librul media” will sugar coat the Ryan plan and claim that Mittens’ nonexistent plan takes precedence. People who just get their “news” while waiting for the weather report and sports will never know what these freaks have in store for them.

      • I think that is because the media needs it to remain a horserace until the end so they can report on it 24/7, and keep people interested and watching their TV’s. Not very exciting if it begins to look like it’s a given that Obama will win a second term these last three months.
        That’s one reason I never put any weight on polls.

  28. Charles P. Pierce, writing for Esquire:
    “One day, some years from now, I’m going to figure out how Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, managed to fool so many people for so long. He’s a garden-variety supply-side faker. His alleged economic “wonkery” consists of a B.A. in economics from Miami of Ohio — which he would not have been able to achieve without my generosity in helping him out with the Social Security survivor’s benefits that got him through high school after his father kicked. (You’re welcome, zombie-eyed granny-starver. Think nothing of it. Really.)”

    Read more:

  29. Oops, I may have upset some republican friends with my facebook post:

    While I feel both political parties are worthless, it just seems that one particular political party is controlled by fear. Fear of terrorism. Fear of Muslims. Fear of immigrants. Fear of Blacks. Fear of Hispanics. Fear of liberals. Fear of Gays & Lesbians. Fear of progress. Fear of death panels. Fear of communism taking over the country. Fear we are marching towards socialism. Fear the government will take away their guns. Fear that Sharia law will become the law of the land. Fear of the mythical liberal media. Fear of Iran. Fear of Syria.

    When did our country become a bunch of fearful pussies? Stop being manipulated and controlled by fear and start thinking for yourself. We are Americans damn it, grow a pair.

    • 🙂
      To think these fearful folk are the ones who paint us as a bunch of wussies.

  30. On the day when Mitt hoped to gain some Teapublican cred while announcing his VP pick here in VA, he dissed the tea favorite and crazy person, AG Kooky Cuccinelli in favor of the less crazy GOP Lt.Gov. Both are running to replace our Governor, transvaginal Bob. Good job Mittens!

  31. Vultures are beneficial – those Repugnant party candidates are not!

    Without the Cathartidae and Accipitridae families we’d be knee-deep in carcasses!
    The mighty California condor is so magnificent in flight!
    Turkey Vultures soar with the grace and beauty of ballet dancers! They take to the air and can go for mile upon mile with nary a flap!
    Just had to stick up for my avian friends!

    • I can’t think of a single wild animal specie which engages in wanton killing and destruction.
      The Republiscum are more akin to a pack of feral pit bulls. Bred for fighting and killing each other, and anything weaker than themselves.

      • Even “surplus killing” isn’t wanton. A carnivore will get into a pen full of domestic animals and may make multiple kills because it’s surrounded by easy targets that can’t escape but I don’t know if it’s ever been documented with wild prey. Of course, carnivores in cold climates will kill more prey than they can eat in one meal but, since they essentially have freezers/refrigerators, that’s more akin to buying 15 pounds of shrimp because one finds a deal.

    • I have always advocated that Bain Capital actually be called Vampire Capitalists (instead of Vulture) because they suck the lifeblood out of a corporation leaving nothing but the shell.

  32. Krugman:

    Galt / Gekko 2012

    Paul Ryan for VP — or, as Romney said in the press conference, “the next president of the United States”. I did say Galt/Gekko, not Gekko/Galt…

    [A]nyone who believes in Ryan’s carefully cultivated image as a brave, honest policy wonk has been snookered. Mark Thoma reviews selected pieces I’ve written about Ryan; he is, in fact, a big fraud, who doesn’t care at all about fiscal responsibility, and whose policy proposals are sloppy as well as dishonest. Of course, this means that he’ll fit in to the Romney campaign just fine.

    As I said, I have no idea how this will play politically. But it does look like a move from weakness, rather than strength; Romney obviously felt he needed a VP who will get people to stop talking about him.

  33. I LOL’d:

    Paul Ryan helped facilitate the defection of Marko Ramius!!!

    • Indeed, a resident at the Eureka zoo.
      And, sadly, it only looks industrious. Along with it’s companion, they did that restless and endless non-stop prowling common to captive creatures.

  34. 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower

    On the nights of Aug. 11th through 13th, the best meteor shower of the year will fill pre-dawn skies with hundreds of shooting stars. And that’s just for starters. The brightest planets in the solar system are lining up right in the middle of the display.

    • Judge Carolyn Passamonte did just this, noting in her minute entry that Torres’ long-form birth certificate was “clearly exculpatory evidence that should have been presented to the grand jury.”

      The judge remarked that the documents on file with Vital Records had been “available to the state,” and in oral arguments, the prosecutor had to admit that he’d never bothered to pull the file and inspect it.

      AZ seems to be re-inventing itself as a third-world country.
      How can it not be embarrassed at such actions. (never mind)
      Brewer and Arpaio need to be incarcerated in the pink underwear tents!

      • It’s sickening that the racism of the power structure in AZ can just take away this woman’s freedom on a whim. They had the proof they needed, but they didn’t like it, so they ignored it. Her whole life had to be turned upside down. Her job must be gone, her child could have gone into the foster care system, and she could have been evicted from her home for non-payment of rent. And the AZ powers that be just couldn’t be bothered to give one flying fuck about that or this woman’s friggin’ civil rights, because she looks like “the other.”

        This pisses me off.

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