Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rage and eliminationism

A significant facet of the mental makeup of movement conservatives is the belief that, because their motives are pure and their cause is just, they are allowed to "bend the rules" when necessary. It's a classic case of the ends justifying the means. Lying, cheating, stealing: these are all justifiable if done with a pure heart, for the cause.

This is what fuels so much of the rampant corruption in conservative ranks: the lying over WMDs, Plamegate, the Abramoff scandal, and now the NSA wiretaps scandal. And that's just the short list.

It's been around a long time, too. After all, David Brock's Blinded By the Right is essentially a history of this facet of the right-wing mindset in the 1990s.

The problem is, the rest of the world isn't quite ready to go along with them. They're not so convinced that lying and stealing with a pure heart for the cause of conservatism isn't still just lying and stealing.

So when guys like Ben Domenech get caught cheating and stealing and lying, their response isn't to reflect on the ethical foundations of conservatism. No. Of course not. Perish the thought. Their reflex is to blame liberals. Right, Glenn and Michelle?

When right-wingers get caught out, it's always somebody else's fault, usually the people who do the catching. The end result of this reaction is not reflection and reform, but rage.

And when right-wing rage comes out, as surely as night follows day, you know what's next: eliminationism.

So, rather predictably, over at Domenech's former haunts at RedState, you could read the following remark:
I repeat: Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.

This comment was offered not by an anonymous RedState commenter, but by one of the site's editor/contributors, the pseudonymous Thomas Crown.

Of course, the bitterness spills over even to those on his own side who were insufficiently supportive, and he actually makes an interesting point along the way:
To those conservatives who couldn't wait to find wrongdoing where none existed: Gee, funny you didn't get all hyped up about this with Bob Bork. Or Sam Alito. I guess maybe your common sense detector -- or decency reserve -- only kicks in when it gets you something you want?

You're all dead to me, as well. Too bad: One lady in particular was a favorite writer of mine. Ah, well.

Gee, it's not hard to guess who that might have been ... but then, Thomas is not alone in this sentiment, either.

What's funny about this is that previously in another thread, a commenter named Catsy complained about behavior of commenters at RedState, including:
Advocating or expressing approval of harassment, arrest, immprisonment, torture, or death of liberals and Democrats. Really, there's just no defense whatsoever for this, and yet it's not at all uncommon for me to see people joke about it. Guess what? My family's armed, and it's not funny.

And the same sainted Thomas replied:
That's a bannable offense, and I'm quite serious. If you know somewhere that's happened, I'm more than interested.

I might wonder if he's reported himself for banning yet, but then, I'm sure this is another one of the cases where it's best to "bend the rules."

Give him another few weeks and a couple of deeeeeep breaths, he'll probably revert to the standard right-wing claim that these remarks were "just a joke" anyway.

After all, that's what the folks at Stop the ACLU did this week in posting a Photoshoped picture of Albert Einstein writing the following formula on a blackboard:
Rope + Tree + ACLU Lawyer = Pinata

The picture, of course, appears with the following "disclaimter":
For those who are too stupid to understand, the below picture is satire. It is a joke. We do not actually advocate murder in any way here at STACLU.

Hee haw! Of course! What a knee-slapper! Obviously, this is just another example of that refined right-wing elimination humor.

I'm sure it would be OK for someone on the left, at no risk of being labeled "unhinged," to Photoshop the same picture with some other formulas. Oh, like this one:
Stake + Fire + Right-Wing Blogger = Roast Weenie

Or how 'bout:
Block + Ax + Rich Republican = Justice

Har de har har! See? Fantasizing about executing your fellow Americans is such fun! And if you call it a "joke," you can say damned near anything!

Most of all, it's a great way to vent the rage that comes when you're caught "bending the rules" for that truly just cause.

[Hat tip to ThinkingMeat.]

Friday, March 24, 2006

Domenech redux

Something that Jim Brady told Salon [via Atrios] caught my eye:
He explained that Post editors read "basically everything he'd written" during the past few years and spoke to many people who had previously worked with Domenech -- "both people he referred us to and people we found on our own," Brady said.

If so, then that means that they had to have read his Red State posts under the pen name Augustine, including Domenech's characterization of Coretta Scott King as a "Communist" (in commentary on her funeral, no less); he also said that judges were worse than the KKK, and called Post columnist Dan Froomkin an "embarassment" and "a lying weasel-faced Democrat shill ... I just have this specific and deep-rooted dislike for everything Dan Froomkin says and does. He's one of the dozen or so people in the world that I just detest ..." (See Alex Koppelman's rundown for a complete collection of Augustine's writings.)

Yet before he resigned, the Post's editors obtained from Domenech an abject apology for the King remark:
"I regret using the term because I think it's been way overblown," Domenech said. But he said King worked with organizations affiliated with communists in the 1950s and 1960s. Brady called it "a silly comment" but said he is satisfied with Domenech's admission of error.

So, which is it, exactly? Did the editors know about these "silly comments" and hire him anyway? Or had they somehow overlooked the Augustine posts? Could Domenech have been less than forthcoming with them about being Augustine?

Because the main thing these posts demonstrate, above everything else, is extraordinarily poor judgment. That alone should have raised red flags.

All this, of course, was well before plagiarism questions arose (and I'm not sure a standard background check would have found them anyway). But in addition to the red flags evident in the Augustine posts, there were others, particularly the clear evidence that he manufactured a quote he attributed to Tim Russert. Brendan Nyhan's piece discussing this was readily available through a simple Google.

All in all, the explanations for the Post's poor vetting process do not hold up.

Those blogger ethics

I suppose we ought to give Michelle Malkin credit for her seeming forthrightness in condemning Ben Domenech's plagiarism. But it's all explained through the Bizarro World prism of right-wing martyrdom:
I cheered for Ben, the editor of my last book at Regnery, when he announced his new position. I criticized unhinged bloggers on the Left who leveled vicious ad hominem attacks against him. It's clear, as the good folks at Red State (which Ben co-founded) note, that his detractors were on a search-and-destroy mission from the get-go.

But now the determined moonbat hordes have exposed multiple instances of what clearly appear to me to be blatant lifting of entire, unique passages by Ben from other writers. It is one thing to paraphrase basic facts from a wire story. But to filch the original thoughts and distinctly crafted phrases of a writer without crediting him/her--and doing so repeatedly--is unacceptable in our business. Some of the cases occurred while Ben was in college; he is blaming an editor for these transgressions. But at least one other incident involved a piece he wrote for NRO after he graduated. The side-by-side comparisons of these extensive passages is damning.

Yes, that's right: Domenech was Malkin's editor on Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild, which was to serious political discourse what In Defense of Internment was to serious history: a right-wing comic book without the pictures.

Moreover, it was comically afactual, combining astonishingly thin evidence with assertions that were hilariously disconnected from reality, including the following:
"[T]he truth is that it's conservatives themselves who blow the whistle on their bad boys and go after the real extremism on their side of the aisle."[p. 9]

And while conservatives zealously police their own ranks to exclude extremists and conspiracy theories, extremism and conspiracy theories have become the driving force of the Democrat Party. [p. 169]

Book editors, in my experience, can have a real impact on how a book is shaped. The best editors are tough editors who challenge your assumptions and assertions. But Malkin seems not to wonder if, perhaps, the judgment exercised by her ethically challenged editor at Regnery might have affected the quality of her book.

On the other hand, anyone who's read Unhinged (or just flipped through it, which because it's so thin is substantially the same thing) can tell you that this is a text that fully bears its editor's mark -- especially visible now that we know more about him.

But I'm even more put off by Malkin's hypocrisy in dismissing Domenech, because it's not as if she doesn't have some ethical skeletons in her closet.

Particularly, regular readers will recall that Malkin's own ethics came into question late last year when she apparently admitted that her husband, Jesse, has posted material on her blog under her byline. As I explained at the time:
As Matt Stoller says, what, exactly, is a "handful"? Are we talking just one or two? Or a dozen or more? A hundred? Why else mention the number you've actually posted?

Because the issue, in the end, is a serious one regarding Malkin's professional ethics: Did she post material under her name that was written by someone else without informing her readers?

It appears that the answer, from Malkin's own admission, is yes.

If so, why? What conceivable reason could she have for not giving Jesse Malkin his own byline on those posts he wrote?

Of course, Malkin never deigned to answer. But then, she's been studiously pretending that I don't exist for some time now.

Malkin's ethical breach isn't exactly on the same level as Domenech's -- but it does underscore her longstanding lack of professionalism. Fortunately, the Washington Post hasn't invited her to join their staff, either.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New depths in wankerdom

OK, while everyone's busy making fun of Jeff Goldstein and Ben Domenech, be sure also to check out the recent exploits of SuperFrenchie vs. a right-wing "comedian" -- or is that just "whiny ass titty baby"? -- named Alex Kaseberg:
Alright, that's when things got interesting. His response:

If you e-mail me again I will get a restraining order from the police that will go on your record.

We have a couple things cowards like you third world pussy country don’t have called freedom of speech and protection from harassment as a result.

Seriously, you are an ugly, ungroomed, smelly asshole fucking coward.

You email me again and see if I am kidding.

Ouch, I’m scared! My response:

I see!

Looks like I touched a nerve ... apparently, there are limits to your sense of humor. Happy to hear that.

And you're either a complete idiot or you have no idea what it means to publish your email address on a public web site!

Now the guy is seriously threatening. I don't know what sort of web site he went to, but he comes back with that:

This was from the FCC. See, you win a couple wars, you got some power. I cut and pasted this from their e-mail:

" at Boulogne-Billancourt 86.64.11 has just been notified by the United States to an agent at the Federal Communication Commission and will be sanctioned for International Internet freedom of Speech harassment, re: the FCC Internet Protection act of 1997. As a result, an investigation has begun and your Internet access will be suspended immediately until a judgment can be reached within three to six months. Any attempt at contacting Mr. Kaseberg again will result in further charges and a possible permanent suspension as well as possible a criminal charges."

My response:

Just checking if my Internet is still working ...

Pfew! It's still there

By the way, you know where Boulogne-Billancourt is, right?


Really, you have to read the whole thing to believe it. [Via Sadly, No!]

Strategery trumps principle

You can get a good look at just what's wrong with the Democratic Party by perusing Joan Vennochi's latest offering, which takes Russ Feingold to task for his proposed censure of President Bush:
Bush will never again be on an election ballot. Republicans in Congress will, as will a crop of presidential candidates whose last name is not Bush. Shouldn't they be the Democrats' focus? Those in Congress can be held accountable in 2006 and 2008. At this point, Bush answers to history.

One would gather from this line of reasoning that, once he wins his second term, any president is immune from accountability. Why, he can run amok if he chooses.

Sure. Just ask Dick Nixon and Bill Clinton if that's the case.

But Vennochi -- after the obligatory sniff at "lefty bloggers" -- continues:
Current polls and surveys show people think as little of Bush as they do of Congress. Democrats should be thinking of ways to change that. They need to increase their own favorability ratings at the expense of the opposition. Handing the opposition a weapon to use against Democrats is counterproductive. But censure, even impeachment, are seductive.

At this point, Democrats appear to understand the danger of pouring kerosene on the politics of Iraq and national security. Democrats thinking about running for president are another story. In the Senate, Feingold has been on his own.

You would gather from this that the Boston Globe columnist has been living in a cave for the past decade, or else has been viewing the world through a Rove-A-Scope.

Or perhaps she just failed to notice that no matter what Democrats do, Republicans will use it as a weapon. Meanwhile, inaction simply plays into their hands.

When will Democrats figure out that simply sticking to their guns and principles is the only way to deal with this?

Pearl-clutching, salt-sniffing liberals like Vennochi are all about strategy -- which is, frankly, the chief cause for their disempowerment.

Voters do care about principles. Democrats for the past two decades have been about strategy. Republicans, for better or worse, have been clear about at least creating and sustaining the image that they are about principles. Conservative principles may be utter horseshit, but they are principles nonetheless. Republicans thus at least appear to stand for something.

Democrats, well ... they can't even seem to recognize that the president nakedly and defiantly breaking the law regarding the wiretapping of American citizens actually is a principle most voters care about.

When they turn their backs on the Russ Feingolds, they demonstrate all too clearly that deep constitutional principles are really just talking points for them.

Which is why their strategies are doomed to failure. All the strategy in the world can't overcome an empty core. Democrats will not begin winning again until they can demonstrate that they actually stand for something.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Instasmear indeed

Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns and Money catches Glenn Reynolds indulging in yet another easy smear:
As predictably as the tides, via Greenwald I see that Glenn Reynolds has flat-out compared Mearsheimer and Walt to David Duke. Obviously, comparing scholars to a Grand Wizard of the Klan solely for publishing a paper whose conclusions you disagree with--with absolutely no evidence that either of them remotely share Duke's fascist worldview--is beneath contempt, but par for the course where Reynolds is concerned.

This is part of a recurring pattern with Reynolds. You'll recall that Reynolds a couple of years ago also repeatedly smeared MEChA as a racist organization, despite the fact that this was almost entirely a groundless charge. Reynolds compared MEChA to Jim Crow, and also labeled them "fascist hatemongers," and accused them of being both racist and homophobic.

The latter was especially egregious, since Reynolds was forced to correct the post factually: the link he gave was in fact to an anti-Semitic Latino group that has no connection to MEChA. And while he rather mutedly explained this fact, he utterly failed to explain that the charge they were homophobic racists was completely groundless; he also failed to apologize for the smear. But then, Reynolds rarely apologizes even in circumstances that obviously warrant it.

And yet, according to Reynolds, I'm the fellow in the blogosphere with a "tendency to hurl unsubstantiated charges of racism." All because I make it a habit of pointing out right-wingers' blind spots when it comes to domestic terrorism.

And I'm wagering he will neither correct nor apologize for this latest foray. That, too, is part of his pattern. I guess when your ego is as big as all Tennessee and your ethics as big as Bell Buckle, that's how the world works.

In any event, I have a question for the Perfesser:

David Duke also endorsed George W. Bush in the 2000 election. Does that mean the White House "has David Duke"?

The Koufax finals

I've made it to the finals, once again, of Wampum's annual Koufax Awards, though I won't be defending my title for Best Series this year (sob!). Actually, considering my output this year, I'm lucky to be a finalist at all in any category.

The categories are ...
Best Blog, Sponsored/Professional [aka the "Just Happy to Be Here" category ... I mean, check out the competition. Gulp.]

Best Single Issue Blog

Best Expert Blog

Of course, head over to Wampum and check out all the categories and finalists. Also, toss some nickels in their kitty.

I'd never tell anyone how to vote, of course, but feel free to help me out if you're so inclined; the Koufaxes have definitely helped. However, I will give some hints about my own votes: I think Goldy has the most effective local blog I've seen, the General never fails to make me laugh, and Maha is the blog you oughta be reading but might not be. And while firedoglake is the heavy favorite for my old title -- deservedly -- everyone should be sure to check out the work of Lawyers, Guns, and Money, which gives Jane and crew a run for their money.

Nature and children

Spring is beginning to arrive in our little corner of the planet, and I couldn't be happier, because it means my daughter and I can get outside more.

Much of the winter has been dedicated to reading books and playing board games (she's already on her way to being a decent chess player). Mind you, she's a pretty normal child, and she still likes to watch some TV. But what we both like to do best is get outside and do things: visit parks and playgrounds, go to the beach, take hikes in the woods.

I think being out in Nature is just essential to her developmental health. Certainly, her behavior reflects it; she's at her worst when she's been cooped up for days.

I'm not sure if this is just instinctive parenting on my part, but I was pleased to read this piece in Sunday's P-I op-ed section on the importance of nature education to children's well-being, and how being deprived of it is proving to have horrible consequences.

Among them is increasing obesity and a reliance on electronic entertainment. And a lot of it is occurring in a cultural milieu in which parents are constantly being frightened into keeping their kids indoors:
Why is this occurring, even in a state as rich in natural landscapes as Washington? While researching "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," I talked with hundreds of parents across the country who said their children spend less time in nature than they did when they were young. Parents point to diminishing access to natural areas, competition with electronic entertainment, increased homework, longer school hours and other time pressures. Most of all, parents cite fear -- of traffic, nature itself and, most of all, strangers.

I understand that fear and have felt it as a parent. But consider the facts: Violent victimization of children has dropped by more than 38 percent since 1975, according to Duke University's 2005 Child Well Being Index. What has increased is round-the-clock news coverage of a few tragedies involving children. This relative handful of abduction stories is repeated so often that American families are being conditioned to live in a state of fear.

Yes, there are risks outside the home, but there are also risks when we raise a generation of children under virtual protective house arrest. Many educators and health-care professionals are concerned about the dramatic increases they are seeing in childhood obesity rates, attention difficulties and depression. While pediatricians see fewer children with broken bones these days, they report more children with longer-lasting repetitive-stress injuries, related to overuse of keyboards and video game controllers.

The piece goes on to explore programs now under way to try to bolster nature education in Washington state. If it's successful, as I believe it probably will be, it could be a model for much of the rest of the nation:
Healing the broken bond between our young and nature is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our mental, physical and spiritual health depend upon it. So does the health of the Earth. Conservation-oriented groups are beginning to realize that a generation that has had little or no personal connection to nature is unlikely to produce passionate stewards of the Earth.

It all reminds me of something Hayao Miyazaki told the New Yorker in an interview:
"I'm not jealous of young people," he said. "They're not really free." I asked him what he meant. "They're raised on virtual reality. And it's not like it's any better in the countryside. You go to the country and kids spend more time staring at DVDs than kids do in the city. I have a place in the mountains, and a friend of mine runs a small junio-high school nearby. Out of twenty-seven pupils, he told me, nine do their schoolwork from home! They're too afraid to leave their homes." He went on, "The best thing would be for virtual reality just to disappear. I realize that with our animation we are creating virtual things, too. I keep telling my crew, 'Don't watch animation! You're surrounded by enough virtual things already.' "

As I noted at the time:
This isn't just grousing over "modern ways": it's a recognition that our materialism and desire for convenience and entertainment is leading us down a path where we lose our touch with what it is that makes us human.

Moreover, the right-wing "values" crowd is so eager to tout unbridled capitalism that it never seems to take stock of the fact that such an ethos is driving the very loss of values they're decrying. And I think progressives -- who are, at base, humanists -- should be taking stock of the need for the genuine traditional values we're losing in our rush to modernity as well.

Those values are the things we most want to hand down to our children. But always for them, actions speak much louder than words. And being in nature teaches them so much more than TV programs about nature.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Good Christian hate

Did you know that the theory of evolution was cooked up -- probably by Jews -- as part of a New World conspiracy to enslave mankind? No?

Well, the people agitating for teaching "creation science" in the schools at Dover, Pa., will tell you that if you talk to them long enough.

Not that it came out publicly this week, when Michael Marcavage's Repent America outfit -- whose work in Dover I recently discussed -- sponsored an appearance at Dover Area High School by none other than "Doctor Dino" himself, Kent Hovind. They're much too clever for that -- instead, they keep the banter to a steady stream of trite rhetorical bombs:
Much of creationist speaker Kent Hovind's seminar felt more like a clean stand-up comic show than a religious lecture. Hovind, a creation science evangelist, used terms including "American Communist Lawyers' Union" when referring to the ACLU. He called the Big Bang Theory a "cosmic burp," and said "Charlie Darwin's" lies should be removed from textbooks.

He joked about his former experience as a science teacher for 15 years and said students taught him that "There's not much intelligent life on this planet."

He went on to call evolution the "dumbest and the most dangerous religion in the history of the earth."

You see, Hovind and his ilk save the "serious stuff" for later.

As earlier coverage of the Hovind seminars noted, Hovind is actually a right-wing extremist with a penchant for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. And of course, Marcavage denied the charges, in imitable fashion:
Michael Marcavage, whose Philadelphia-based organization Repent America is sponsoring Hovind's visit, said the accusations of anti-Semitism and extremism are unfair.

"He believes that people are from one race, the human race," Marcavage said.

He said some Jewish organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union, are targeting Christians because of their faith.

"Those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh are under the spirit of anti-christ," Marcavage added, a reference to 1 John 4:2-3.

Yes, you see: Jews can't help being under the spirit of the anti-Christ. Well, they could if they converted. But otherwise, it's just in their nature. And defending themselves against anti-Semitic smears is of course how they "target Christians."

Actually, Marcavage and Hovind are birds of a feather: far-right extremists trying to pose as nominally normal, mainstream folks. The Southern Poverty Law Center report on Hovind's "Dinosaur Adventure Land" -- a creationist theme park for kiddies -- makes clear that this isn't just generic fundamentalism:
Opened in 2001, Dinosaur Adventure Land sprung from Hovind's Creation Science Evangelism ministry, which began to evolve in the late '80s. CSE sells videos and audiotapes of Hovind's lectures and his debates with evolutionary scientists, along with books on "Evolution and the New World Order." (At least one of them, Fourth Reich of the Rich, alleges a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.)

Hovind also points his followers to Citizens Rule Book, popular among antigovernment "Patriots"; Media Bypass, an antigovernment magazine with strong anti-Semitic leanings; and titles by America's leading authority on tax-dodging, Irwin Schiff, who was indicted on criminal tax evasion charges in March ... Two years ago, Hovind's "fine Christian friend," Joseph Sweet of the Joy Foundation, ran into similar trouble, sued by the feds for allegedly teaching folks how to evade income taxes.

An earlier SPLC report detailed just what comprises Hovind's theological approach:
Do you think the theory of evolution is a Satanic plot to bring about the New World Order? Are you worried that Darwin's idea produced "Communism, Socialism, Naziism, abortion, liberalism and the New Age Movement?" Then Dr. Kent Hovind is for you.

Hovind, who runs the Creation Science Evangelism ministry from Pensacola, Fla., says the whole Bible is literally true and that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. While that may seem par for the creationist course, Hovind also sells anti-Semitic books like Fourth Reich of the Rich and has recommended The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a book blaming the world's problems on a Jewish conspiracy.

Environmentalism and income taxes, Hovind says, are designed to destroy the United States and "bring it under Communism." "Democracy," he says, "is evil and contrary to God's law."

So the response he received in Dover, at least according to the local news report, was problematic:
On Friday, he found a receptive audience in Dover.

According to several in the crowd of more than 600, Hovind's charisma and humor got his message across: "The universe was created by God."

"Everybody's fighting over it," Frysinger, a 13-year-old who attends Dover's intermediate school, said of evolution versus creation.

"Actually, what he's saying is true," his brother, Chris Frysinger, 15, said of Hovind's lecture. "He knows what he's talking about. You can hear it in his voice."

Myriah Hartzell, 11, recently stopped attending a Christian school and enrolled in Dover Area School District's North Salem Elementary School because she wanted to be in a larger school that has a football team. She came to Hovind's seminar with her parents and younger brother and said she brought a book along expecting to be bored by the lecture. But she said Hovind was very funny and held her attention.

Most of those who attended, of course, were probably predisposed to listen to Hovind's message favorably -- even if they didn't previously share his views on the New World Order. And thus the far right continues to exert its gravitational pull on mainstream America.

Running on fumes

Michael Leahy has a fascinating profile of the Herndon, Va., Minutemen in Sunday's Washington Post Magazine that at least begins to peel away the layers of the group's motivations and makes clear to what extent they are fueled by the fumes of racial stereotypes.

This comes out particularly in Leahy's discussions with George Taplin, chief organizer of the Herndon day-labor watches:
Meanwhile, it infuriates him that local politicians refuse to admit that the presence of undocumented day laborers has created slums in Herndon, ushering in squalor, crime, danger. Take a ride down Alabama Drive, near the former day laborer site, he says. "Nobody in Herndon will walk around those apartments at night; they're afraid . . . Here's a question: Would [people] walk over to that public park behind [the apartments] where all the drug deals go on at night? Would they let their daughter walk over there at night alone?"

Town authorities deny the park is crime-infested or riddled with drug sales, he knows. But he's convinced it's political denial.

Are you saying that undocumented Latino day laborers are involved in drug deals in the park? he is asked.

"Oh, I didn't say it was," he replies. "I just said, Are you, would you allow--" He pauses in mid-sentence.

There could be Anglos in the park, too, right? he is asked.

"Oh, no," he answers. "I can tell you that. Because no Anglos will go to that park."

So, who is selling drugs there?

"It's part of the Hispanic community. It's probably gang-related. MS-13."

Are day laborers selling drugs in the park?

"I didn't say they were."

(You may recall that the Minutemen have a history of paranoia about MS-13.)

What's especially noteworthy about the piece is that it becomes clear that the Minutemen Leahy interviews are primarily driven by the perception that Hispanic immigrants are bringing crime to their previously "safe" (read: white) neighborhoods. A reliance on ill-grounded stereotypes may or may not be evidence of racism, but it certainly is characteristic of knee-jerk nativists.

The Kingfish's prophecy

Huey Long:
"Sure we'll have Fascism here, but it will come as an anti-Fascism movement."

Lou Rosetto [via Crooked Timber]:
But Iraq is not the war, it is a battle. The war is The Long War against Islamic fascism.

If anything, I believe even more strongly in actively combating Islamic fascism throughout the Global Village. Everyday is Groundhog Day for the anti-war movement, which is stuck re-protesting Vietnam -- while we are confronted by a uniquely 21st century challenge: a networked fascist movement of super-empowered individuals trying to undo 50K years of social evolution. Waiting to get hit by an NBC weapon is not an option. Dhimmitude for me or my children is not peace. Righteous forward defense is a necessity.

The US should persevere militarily until we defeat the fascists in Iraq, as we did in Afghanistan, as we must everywhere. The US's biggest failure has not been on the battlefield -- where we are relentlessly reducing our enemies -- but in waging media war against the Islamists and their fellow travelers on the Left, and in rallying the American people, who are confused, and perhaps angered, that once again we are being called upon to save the world.

(Ahem. You know, last I checked, Islamists were actually right-wing extremists whose fellow travelers in America actually have tended to be Republican. But maybe that's just me.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's about ethics, Tucker

The headline on Tucker Carlson's latest MSNBC blog post is truly appropriate:
A nasty little propagandist (Tucker Carlson)

Yes, he is.

Oh, but like all good conservatives, it turns out he's projecting, this time in Arianna Huffington's direction:
Liberal columnist Arianna Huffington wrote a blog attacking me for not revealing that my father has given money to Scooter Libby's legal defense fund. Her points were absurd, her tone was nasty. The fact that she dragged a member of my family into it made me red-in-the-face mad. I would have loved the chance to tell her this in person, and we tried. Unfortunately, a few hours ago a woman who identified herself as Arianna's quote, "chief of staff" informed us that Huffington would not be coming on the show tonight. That's a shame.

What's even more of a shame is that Carlson couldn't bring himself to follow the basic ethics of blogging and actually link to Arianna's post so that readers could go see for themselves just what it was Arianna wrote. But no, we're supposed to be content with Tucker's characterization of things:
Arianna could have criticized my views about Scooter Libby. That would have been fair. But she didn't. In fact, she didn't bother even to address them. Instead she went immediately for the most personal of attacks, dragging a member of my family into it. As if my father is responsible for what I believe.

Well, since Tucker won't do it, here's Arianna's post. The basic gist of it, as you can see, is that as a journalist, Carlson has an ethical obligation to explain the potential conflict of interest to his audience. And the involvement of Carlson's father with Lewis Libby's defense rather readily falls into that category, as Arianna explained:
But with all he's had to say about the case, there is one thing that Tucker Carlson has failed to mention: That his father, Richard Carlson, is on the advisory committee of the Libby Legal Defense Trust, the GOP-heavy-hitter-laden group that has so far raised $2 million.

Indeed, Richard Carlson was the Early Money Is Like Yeast of Libby defense fund-raisers, having couriered a check to Libby's home the morning he was indicted.

And Tucker Carlson's connection to Libby's defense fund isn't just familial. A quick scan of the Libby website shows that Scooter's high-powered pals appreciate the things that Richard's boy is saying.

In a section titled "What You Aren't Hearing About Scooter Libby," a cobbled version of Tucker Carlson's "What the hell is this investigation about" quote is prominently displayed, just under pro-Libby blurbs from President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

But while Carlson has mentioned the legal defense fund on the air and on his blog (including chiding Cheney for not donating to it), he hasn't seen fit to offer up an "in the interest of full disclosure" type disclaimer. Speaking of which: In the interest of full disclosure, I have known Richard Carlson for a number of years, and have always found him to be a very charming and gracious man. In fact, he's blogged on the Huffington Post. And if he wants to give his money to Scooter Libby, that's certainly his right.

See, Tucker, transparency is as easy as that.

Of course, I'm not telling Tucker Carlson anything he doesn't already know. In fact, during a recent debate with Eric Alterman at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Carlson said, "[News outlets] should not allow reporters to cover things where their interests are at stake." Their interests? Their fathers' interests? Their children's interests? Bottom line: it's so easy to be above board and up front about these things. And it's so important, especially for someone like Tucker who doesn't just toe the Republican Party line -- including on big issues like the war in Iraq.

Guys like Carlson, who have never been actual working journalists but have sprung, like bowtied Venuses from the warped Rovian half-shell, seemingly whole at birth onto the stage of national political punditry, don't understand such things as journalistic ethics, though.

Carlson might want, every once in awhile, to actually read Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, which might give some clues about the basic standards of behavior of those of us working the craft. Especially these clauses:
Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

It's truly amazing how journalists like Carlson, unburdened by the weight of ethics, quickly make themselves out to be martyrs at the hands of those nasty liberals when actually confronted about it.

Unless ethics have suddenly become equated with liberalism, that's not exactly Carlson's problem.