Saturday, August 16, 2008

Right-wing violence and mental illness

-- by Dave

Cujo359, whose work I respect, has posted a challenge to me for characterizing the assassination of the Arkansas Democratic Party chairman as "starting increasingly to look like yet another case in which an unhinged wingnut decided to 'take out' more liberals." [Yes, this was an FDL post, but since FDL isn't the appropriate place to post a lengthy and detailed response, I'm doing it here.]

Obviously, in a post titled "Looking For Hate In All The Wrong Places," this was not a characterization I made lightly. In fact, I'd had a backstage disagreement with Sara over whether this case qualified as a politically eliminationist act -- at the time, I didn't think the evidence was in. But, after gathering more info, including my own sources, I decided the case was looking increasingly like a political killing.

There was also, in fact, what we knew publicly about Johnson, particularly that he had a large stash of guns, and these were not collector items. Such a collection is typically not indicative of a left-wing bent, but rather a right-wing one. There was also a note found in his home indicating he had selected Gwatney as his victim in advance.

Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times blog has more on Timothy Johnson and the evidence for him having a political motivation. Similarly, David Coon at the same blog fills in more of the gaps, including a local-TV report that interviewed some of Johnson's classmates and people who knew him reasonably well. Says one:

"I would always remember going to class and I would see that he had a Bill Clinton anti-campaign sticker [on his car] that says I don't miss Bill. [No such bumper sticker was on the pickup he crashed in a police chase, however.] "He would surf the internet and he would see that a Democrat had died and he would laugh about it."

An earlier version of this story referred to "weird political conversations" these classmates had had with Johnson, indicating that he held NRA-type views about gun rights (which is fairly typical of people who own 14 guns). It's hard to say what Johnson's motives were for participating in Democratic primaries, as he evidently did, but considering his animus for the Clintons specifically and Democrats generically, it seems likely if he ever was a Democrat to any great extent, it wasn't as a member of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party in Arkansas; far more likely, it was from the "Justice Jim" Johnson wing.

I happen to believe that as more details about Tim Johnson emerge, my earlier assessment will prove to be correct. But I also expect that we will learn a great deal more about Johnson's mental instability -- and the case will be dismissed by ascribing it simply to that cause. Indeed, Cujo says: "There seems to be no reason to believe that Johnson's actions were any more than a result of the unfortunate combination of a depressive personality and firearms." Yet that fails to explain why someone with this combination of traits would target a political figure like Gwatney.

Part of the problem is that we actually have seen this happen time after time after time: A mentally unstable person is inspired by hateful right-wing rhetoric to act out violently -- and yet because of that mental state, the matter is dismissed as idiosyncratic, just another "isolated incident." And over the months and years, these "isolated incidents" mount one after another.

But simply ascribing these acts to mental illness is a cop-out. It fails to account for the gross irresponsibility of the people who employed the rhetoric that inspired the violent action in the first place, and their resulting moral culpability.

The clearest illustration of this is a case that occurred here in Seattle in the mid-1980s, about which I've written previously:

People who study the far right have known many of these people over the years: Gordon Kahl. Robert Matthews. Tim McVeigh.

One of the most memorable of these, for me, was a man named David Lewis Rice.

On Christmas Eve 1985, Charles and Annie Goldmark were at home with their sons Derek, 12, and Colin, 10, preparing for a holiday dinner when the doorbell rang. It was Rice, a 27-year-old unemployed transient, posing as a taxicab driver delivering a package. He brandished a toy gun and forced his way into their home, then set about using chloroform to render all four Goldmarks unconscious. He then proceeded to kill them slowly, using a steam iron and a knife that he used to insert into at least one of the victim's brains. Annie was pronounced dead on the spot, Colin pronounced dead on arrival, while Charles died there a short while later; Derek finally succumbed 37 days later.

But Rice wasn't just a deranged loony -- though he probably fit that description too. He also was a deranged loony who had been set into action by the malicious lies of a group of right-wing haters, whose venom became his inspiration, as the HistoryLink piece explains:
David Rice, a former steel worker from Colorado, joined an extremist group in Washington called the Duck Club. Although the Duck Club was almost defunct, the Seattle chapter still functioned. The group convinced Rice that Charles Goldmark was Jewish and a Communist. (Charles Goldmark's parents, John and Sally Goldmark, had won a highly publicized libel case in 1964 when they were accused of being Communists.)

The Goldmark case is a centerpiece of James Aho's study of the far right, This Thing of Darkness: A Sociology of the Enemy (which I've discussed previously). Aho goes into more detail about what drove Rice, as well as the circumstances surrounding his decision to kill:
Conversion (resocialization) ... occurs not through brainwashing of passive victims or through obsessive self-conversion. It takes place through active efforts of the disciple, sometimes indifferent to ideology or theology as such, to solidify and preserve social ties with his mentors.

... Ed Fasel [fictitious name] was head of the local Duck Club chapter. It was from Ed that Rice received the tragic misinformation that Charles and Annie Goldmark were leading Seattle Communists. In the course of discussions concerning local subversives and crooks who were presumably frustrating Rice's efforts to secure a job, Fasel, mistaking Charles for his father John, related to Rice that the Goldmarks had been investigated and that Charles was "regional director of the American Communist Party." Rice took this to mean that Charles was the "highest obtainable target I could reach, the greatest value informationally." After handcuffing the Goldmarks, Rice intended to interrogate them about the next person in the conspiratorial hierarchy, possibly to preempt at the last moment the impending invasion of alien troops [a conspiracy theory to which Rice subscribed].

What occasioned Fasel to dredge up a name associated with an event that had occurred two decades previously in another part of the state? In a Seattle Port Commission election during the summer of 1985, one of the candidates was Jim Wright, a Republican. Wright's campaign manager was none other than Ashley Holden, a defendant in the Goldmark trial. [Holden had been a leading torchbearer in the McCarthyite "Red fever" that swept Washington state in the late 1940s and '50s, and had been one of the people who falsely accused the Goldmarks in print of being part of the Communist Party.] Upon discovering this unusual link, the Seattle media jumped on it, and the name "Goldmark," with its unfortunate connotations, "got out again," to use one informant's phrase.

In my interview with him, Holden convincingly insisted that he knew nothing of the Duck Club nor any of its members. "I deplored the murder," he said. "There is no question," he went on, parroting local wisdom, "Rice was demented."

I have met some of the old leaders of the Duck Club, including "Fasel" -- whose real name was Homer Brand. They reminded me of Richard Butler: they had a moral stench about them like rotting corpses. Of course, they never faced legal liability for their role in the murders. But they had blood on their hands, just as surely as does the "Libertarian National Socialist Green Party" and whoever else gave Jeff Weise his inspiration.

The issue arose again two years ago here when a Muslim man named Haq -- who, it quickly developed, had a history of mental instability -- went on a rampage inside the Jewish Federation building in Seattle. As I wrote at the time:

Seattle has a history of dealing with tragedies like these -- especially in which the Jewish community is targeted by a mentally unstable person who has bought into the dogma of anti-Semitic hatemongers. The most notorious of these was the 1985 murders of the David Goldmark family by David Lewis Rice, who had decided he was going to singlehandedly eliminate the "top communist" and "top Jew" in Washington -- even though Goldmark was neither. (The Goldmark family had long been politically active progressives; Goldmark's brother Peter, incidentally, is currently running for Congress as a Democrat in eastern Washington's 2nd District.)

The Friday shootings also echoed the 2000 rampage of Buford Furrow at a Los Angeles Jewish day-care center. Furrow, you'll recall, was a white supremacist from Washington state who'd been undergoing mental-health treatment in the Seattle area for several years.

The city, in fact, is still reeling from the more recent killing rampage by a young man from Montana named Kyle Huff, who gunned down six ravers in the early-morning hours after a rave because he hated ravers and "this world of sex that they are striving to make," telling his brother in a letter that he wanted to "kill this hippie shit."

The Huff massacre was not a classic hate crime, because these typically involve prejudice against race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, while Huff's hostility was almost purely cultural. But if we see more of this trend, it may be time to rethink that.

What all of these incidents have in common is the mental instability of the actors; and I've explored previously how that affects the way society and the law must deal with the perpetrators. In the case of Buford Furrow, for instance, his mental illness became a mitigating factor in his eventual sentence, as prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty in large part because of it.

Marking off rampages like Furrow's, Huff's, and Haq's as "isolated events" caused by mental illness is a cop-out, however. Because, as the case of David Lewis Rice made all too clear, these mentally unstable types are almost always stirred up and driven to their insane acts by haters of various stripes, the kind whose voices seem each day to be growing louder in our public discourse. These cultural vampires have developed a real knack for inspiring mentally unstable people into horrific acts of violence.

If it turns out that Timothy Johnson was mentally disturbed, that fact hardly exonerates the people who have constantly demonized Democrats as the root of all evil over the past two decades. On the contrary, it only underscores the gross irresponsibility of this rhetoric -- and stands as one of the important reasons why this kind of talk has to stop.

So when Cujo says this:

There is no doubt that liberals and progressives are the target of hateful rhetoric these days. There is no doubt that, at least on occasion, there are unstable people who take that rhetoric too seriously.

The problem is that this has happened more than "on occasion" -- rather, there is a history of this kind of violence, and there's a consistent pattern to it. What's most noteworthy is that the violence expands with the increasing use of eliminationist rhetoric. When people look at the Gwatney shooting and ask "Why?" -- as so many are -- that history and that pattern are a good place to start looking.

McCain’s Character Issues: What Kind of Honor Izzat?

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

A group of moderate evangelicals calling itself Matthew 25 is running an ad tonight during the joint appearance by John McCain and Barack Obama with evangelist Rick Warren in California. It’s all about Obama’s commitment to his family, and it damns McCain in a subtle but unmistakable way, as Bruce Tomaso observes:
McCain is never mentioned in the ad, but at one point, Caldwell says, "Throughout his entire career, Sen. Obama has stood by familes."

Caldwell’s wife, Suzette, seated next to him, responds: "Including his own."

Caldwell nods, smiles, and says, "Hmmmm."
I was particularly amused by the reaction from the McCain camp:

A Republican strategist speaking on the condition of anonymity reacted to the Caldwell comments by telling ABC News: "My advice to the Obama people: ‘proceed with extreme caution.’ They don’t want to get into a discussion of character and background. They are opening a door that they will not be able to close. They are putting on the table issues and personalities that they do not want to discuss."
Oh really?

Just for the record, here’s what John McCain did with his first family: When he returned from Vietnam, he found that his first wife, Carol, had been disfigured in an auto accident. He began cheating around on her, and eventually hooked up with his current wife, Cindy, when she was single and he still married. He then divorced the first wife.

McCain has dealt with it somewhat forthrightly, casting all the blame (appropriately) on himself. (Nicholas Kristof lays out what happened here.) He was estranged from his children as well, and did not reconcile with them until later.

But owning up to mistakes does not mean McCain ever could undo the stain on his honor from casting aside his first family in such a callous manner. McCain constantly talks about honor and integrity and good-feeling stuff like that.

But what kind of honor was that? And what does that tell us about his character?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bush's deportation policies dumping thousands of children into squalor

-- by Dave

We've already seen, here in the States, the travesties created by the Republican push to deport illegal immigrants: police-state tactics, the bastardization of justice, the destruction of families, the inhuman treatment of cancer victims. But that's just the beginning of the ugliness.

Then there's what happens afterwards -- particularly to the children. A La Jornada report (translated; see original here) gives the basic outline:

During the first seven months of the year, at least 90,000 Mexican children were deported by the U.S. government, in the context of its anti-immigration policy, reported a study of the working group for migration issues of the PRI in the Chamber of Deputies. It also has deported around 300,000 adults.

He reported that about 15 percent of children, some 13,500, are living along the Mexican border, without any government protection. Those best off are attended by religious institutions or NGOs.

The group's coordinator and secretary of the Commission on Population, Borders and Migration Affairs, the PRI deputy Edmundo Ramirez Martinez, pointed out that children are entrusted to polleros, or traffickers, to be brought to the United States with their parents and if the would-be migrants are deported, the children are virtually stranded on the Mexican border.

In addition, the report states that for every three adults deported from the United States, a child of Mexican origin is left in that nation. He said that many children accompanied their parents in the adventure of reaching the country from north to find work, but were deported by the authorities of that country.

A more localized La Jornada Michoacan report (translated version -- original here) describes the outcome for these children:

Preznit McCain: Look Who’s Presumptuous Now

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

While Obama has been working to dispel the McCain-inspired notion that he is somehow "presumptuous", McCain himself, by thrusting himself into the Georgia mess, has been busy making sure everyone sees him as "President McCain".

But even the Washington Post isn’t sure this is such a hot idea:
The extent of McCain’s involvement in the military conflict in Georgia appears remarkable among presidential candidates, who traditionally have kept some distance from unfolding crises out of deference to whoever is occupying the White House. The episode also follows months of sustained GOP criticism of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who was accused of acting too presidential for, among other things, briefly adopting a campaign seal and taking a trip abroad that included a huge rally in Berlin.

"We talk about how there’s only one president at a time, so the idea that you would send your own emissaries and really interfere with the process is remarkable," said Lawrence Korb, a Reagan Defense Department official who now acts as an informal adviser to the Obama campaign. "It’s very risky and can send mixed messages to foreign governments. . . . They accused Obama of being presumptuous, but he didn’t do anything close to this."
And apparently, that November thing is just a formality:
Asked about his tough rhetoric on the ongoing conflict in Georgia, McCain began: "If I may be so bold, there was another president . . ."

He caught himself and started again: "At one time, there was a president named Ronald Reagan who spoke very strongly about America’s advocacy for democracy and freedom."
So evidently that ad he ran awhile back crowning himself president was no joke.

More orcas

-- by Dave

I was out in the San Juans again last week and had another close encounter with the killer whales there. It was very close; you can hear us knocking on the hull of the kayak to let them know where we were.

And related orca news: The southern residents' oldest matriarch, is confirmed to have passed away. (That's her fin you see adorning the still version of this video. She was in her 90s, so this wasn't a surprise -- though still sad and noteworthy.

Meanwhile, there's a new calf in L pod, and this is very good news indeed.

The Copperhead Libel

-- by Sara

Bill O'Reilly has taken his war on the blogs to the next level, engaging an "Internet Cop" who regularly appears on his show to provide examples of just how over-the-top outrageous those potty-mouth liberal bloggers are. The argument is that while conservative blogs may be rough-and-tumble, they're nothing like those liberal blogs, where commenters routinely make death threats against conservatives. (I know. I know. Conservative projection in action, once again. When Ann Coulter calls for us to be executed as traitors on national TV, that's just incisive commentary in Bill's World. When some hothead with issues corks off on our pages -- even when the rest of us cut him off or shut him down -- it's a cardinal sign that liberal blogs have become a danger to the nation.)

The really funny part of this is that his "cop" is Amanda Carpenter of, a site that recently called Michelle Obama a "race pimp" and said that congressmen who "damage the morale and undermine the military" should be executed as saboteurs. And no, those weren't comments -- those calls came on the front page. You'd think that would pretty much disqualify her as the Amy Vanderbilt in charge of enforcing good manners on blogs -- but, y'no, it's Fox, and reality is what they say it is.

The not-so-funny (and not-so-surprising) part is that Carpenter's own comments threads contain their fair share of precisely the same kind of ugly speech she purports to be digging up on the threads at liberal blogs -- and, in fact, much worse. Brad Friedman went out and found a choice series of eliminationist screeds that should give all of us pause (and perhaps send us out to the local gun shop this weekend):

FYI: "Copperheads" were Northern Democrats who opposed the Civil War on the grounds that it was expensive, unnecessary, bad for trade, and unlikely to save the Union. Many of them were small businessmen in the border areas of the Union states who lost significant trade with the South; others were out-and-out racists who didn't think freeing black slaves was worth the price in white blood. They got considerable political traction in the north in the latter years of the war, and helped split the Democratic party for the next two decades, allowing the new GOP to become entrenched.

Some Copperheads were overt Confederate sympathizers, and gave aid and comfort to the enemy during and after the war. That's why most Northerners considered them traitors, and advocated executing them as such. (My great-great-grandfather, a Union general who lived on the Indiana bank of the Ohio River, made a small career out of busting up Copperhead nests and arresting their members in the years following the war.)

Calling liberals "Copperheads" because we oppose the misadventure in Iraq is the kind of libel that seems likely to stick -- and will, in some minds, justify an eliminationist response. And the suggestion that American troops may come home from Iraq and turn their guns on their fellow citizens (like my grandfather did) is one we should take seriously. People who have committed heinous acts in the service of a cause are often deeply unwilling to step back and question the rightness of that cause -- because that justification is the single, slender post that keeps the moral weight of their actions from crushing their souls. They'd rather die -- or kill some more -- than allow anyone to point out that the only belief holding up their sanity is a lie.

BOR is, as usual, missing the big story here. It's no secret anywhere anymore: every national law enforcement and intelligence agency we've talked to is bracing for an onslaught of right-wing violence in the months ahead, which will intensify with an Obama win. (We may look back in a few years and realize Knoxville was the opening shot of a much larger wave of domestic terrorism.) The language and logic of that uprising are being worked out in the pages of Amanda Carpenter's own blog -- and yet he's got her on his show, explaining to America why liberals will be the ones to blame when the shooting starts.

Obama The Antichrist: It’s All About Scaring The GOP Base

[Crossposted at Firedoglake.]

Last night CNN aired a segment wondering aloud whether or not Obama is the Antichrist. It’s just the latest step in making what ought to be an outrageous and nonsensical bit of religious nuttery into an actual campaign issue. Raw Story has the details:
CNN notes that regardless of its intent, though, the ad seems to have spurred increased interest in the baseless speculation. At least one entire blog is devoted to the question and a Google search for "Obama Antichrist" returns nearly 1 million returns.
And regardless of CNN’s intent, it too managed to handle the story in such a "fair and balanced" fashion that the interest of which it speaks will, in turn, ratchet up yet another notch.
The story that inspired the segment — in which "Left Behind" authors Tim LaHaye and Dan Jenkins officially pronounced Obama NOT the Antichrist — was actually a clever bit of politicking: Even though the verdict was negative, it gave the very question a veneer of legitimacy it does not deserve. It made the question seem like a serious theological problem — one that could then be debated further — rather than the scurrilous nonsense it really is.

That story in turn was sparked by the discussion that followed the release of the McCain campaign’s anti-Obama ad, "The One", which was just chock full o’ nutty images that clearly were intended to lead viewers to wonder whether there was a sinister, even diabolical, side to Obama’s celebrity.
Back when the ad first aired, Amy Sullivan in Time pointed out:
A new TIME poll finds that the most conservative Evangelicals are the least enthusiastic about McCain’s candidacy. Convincing them that Obama does have two horns and a tail might be the best way of getting them to vote. That’s what worries Campolo, who also sits on the Democratic Party’s platform committee. "Those books have created a subliminal language, and I think judgments will be made unconsciously about Barack Obama," he says. "It scares the daylights out of me."
obama-nation-v1.thumbnail.jpgIt probably should, because this is yet another component of the larger strategy being planned this fall by Republicans. Like their dog-whistle racial campaign ads, these are in fact very subtle appeals — the kind that let the McCain campaign send messages to their lizard-brain base while giving them a measure of plausible deniability about doing so. As Jane said awhile back, their strategy is to make "implicit" appeals without creating the backlash that would result from more explicit appeals.

The same theme courses throughout Jerome Corsi’s smear job. Indeed, it’s going to be an endless stream of this crap until November. The Obama campaign’s frontal assault on these smears has been somewhat effective, but the subtler appeals have proven a thornier problem — one that ain’t going away.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When wingnuts go looking for terrorists

-- by Dave

It seems a strange Somali man from Canada was found dead in a Denver hotel room this week with a pound of sodium cyanide in his room. It's an unusual case and certainly raises concerns about the potential for a terrorist incident at the Democratic National Convention later this month.

The wingnutosphere, of course, leapt quickly into action. Led by Michelle Malkin and her band of flying monkeys, the man's Somali ethnicity immediately became ground for suspecting yet another evil Muslim terrorist plot.

One small problem: They're wrong, as usual.

Now, the right-wing bigotsphere has been sharply on the lookout for would-be jihadis in America ever since 9/11. This has produced a seemingly endless parade of xenophobic hsyterics, led largely by the likes of Malkin, pointing to the presence of supposed Muslim terrorists -- from the guy who blew himself up with a pipe bomb in Oklahoma to the "mysterious" men on the Seattle ferry -- who turn out not to be after all.

In the meantime, of course, any incidents involving white, non-Muslim domestic terrorists does not interest them in the least -- especially when, as with the recent Knoxville shooter, there is a clear and unmistakable connection to right-wing ideologies.

In the case of the Denver cyanide carrier, the wingnuts leapt to all kinds of conclusions. Even though FBI agents found no evidence of a conspiracy and no clear evidence that the cyanide was being planned for terroristic purposes, Malkin and Co. were scoffing at this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

'Obama Nation' vs. 'The Real McCain': A Study In Contrasts

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

t certainly is interesting to see the amount of attention Jerome "Swift Boat" Corsi’s new smear book, The Obama Nation, is already garnering. We wait with breathless anticipation Corsi’s multiple appearances on cable TV talking about Obama’s "unanswered questions" and anti-American attitudes, yadda yadda yadda — during which, one can rest assured, there will be no questions about Corsi’s history of ugly hatemongering at Free Republic.

In comparison, Cliff Schecter’s expose of John McCain, The Real McCain, has been given the classic media blackout treatment. There have been some brief references — like the Jon Stewart skit that discussed the "c word" story — but otherwise, Cliff’s cable appearances could be counted on one hand, as can the book’s mainstream-media reviews.

Today’s New York Times piece about Obama Nation sort of alludes to this when discussing how readily the right-wing media chamber picks up on books like Corsi’s:
“There’s just no doubt that in terms of longer-term infrastructure, there’s more out there on the right than there is on the left,” said Cliff Schecter, author of a liberal attack book on Mr. McCain, “The Real McCain,” which, with 35,000 copies in print, did not make the Times bestseller list.
Gee, I wonder if maybe the fact that the New York Times did not even bother to review the book — let alone treat its release as a news event worthy of thousand-word news piece — might have had something to do with the book’s relatively paltry sales.

Or maybe it was the fact that no one has yet come forward with anything even vaguely refuting the information in Schecter’s book. In fact, unlike Corsi’s entire body of work, The Real McCain is built out of well-established fact and thoroughly vetted information.

The Times piece, to its credit, does list the multiple falsehoods and distortions in Corsi’s book (Media Matters has a whole bunch more). So perhaps there will be at least a reasonable chance that this book will be treated more skeptically than Corsi’s Swift Boat book.

But you have to wonder why so much more ink and broadband will be devoted to this book than a similar book about McCain. Makes you wonder if those rumors about McCain’s people threatening the networks with retaliation for any airtime for Schecter are true.

Your librul media at work again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dave Reichert's lobbyist money

-- by Dave

Darcy Burner's opponent, Dave Reichert, likes to pose as a moderate, "independent" kind of Republican, even though he largely votes the GOP party line like a good footsoldier. And he's rewarded for that loyalty not just with visits from Preznit Bush and John McCain, but also with fund-raisers from the usual K Street lobbyists.

The problem with that, as Politico recently reported, is that those lobbyists represent business interests who work directly against the interests of Reichert's constituents -- particularly the Boeing employees who are in line to build the Pentagon's new tanker plane:

In Washington state, where Boeing would build the tanker if it finally got the contract, Rep. Dave Reichert, the Republican incumbent in the 8th Congressional District, has so far raised less money than his Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner. She has $1.48 million in the bank; he $928,000.

Just before the August recess, a group of well-connected young Republicans calling themselves Club 218 attempted to make up the difference, arranging a fundraiser for Reichert, according to news reports.

The problem?

Roll Call recently listed some of Club 218’s members, including Mike Chappell, a lobbyist for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. at Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock; and Christopher Cox, a D.C. Navigators’ lobbyist for Alabama Aircraft Industries, which is fighting Boeing on a tanker maintenance contract.

EADS is teamed with Northrop Grumman in the tanker competition, to assemble the tanker in Mobile, Ala.

... “The fact that Congressman Reichert is benefitting from fundraisers organized by lobbyists for corporate interests trying to strip thousands of jobs from our district is the height of hypocrisy,” said Burner’s spokesman, Sandeep Kaushik. “It raises questions about his commitment to the district.”

Reichert's campaign denies that there's anything wrong with taking money from Club 218, and claims it hasn't taken any money from the EADS lobbyist (while saying nothing about Cox). But that's an evasion of what this story is about.

The K Street Republicans are savvy enough to keep an Airbus lobbyist off Reichert's FEC filings; the story is that this group of anti-Boeing/pro-Alabama lobbyists quietly organized a Capitol Club fund-raiser for Reichert.

This funder was a joint event with Darren White of New Mexico; one would assume that White was the object of any EADS lobbyists' largesse. But the event itself was reflective of how deeply, incestuously enmeshed the Republican House members have become with K Street lobbyists, and Reichert is as deeply entwined as any of them.

Which is why he'll go on TV and denounce the original decision not to award the tanker to Boeing (as he does in the video above) and then privately gather funds with help from anti-Boeing lobbyists. It's called talking out both sides of your mouth, and Reichert is a master.

It’s Not Just Immigrants On Sheriff Joe’s List — It’s Everyone

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

Right-wing nativist assholes are also right-wing authoritarian assholes. They come in the same package. Case in point: Arizona’s Crazy Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
PHOENIX – The American Civil Liberties Union is in a federal district court beginning today seeking to rebuff an attempt by Maricopa County and its sheriff, Joe Arpaio, to terminate a federal consent decree mandating that he maintain conditions at the Maricopa County Jail that meet constitutional minimums.

The ACLU will argue in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona that deteriorating conditions within each of the jail’s five facilities that house pre-trial detainees – people who have been arrested but not yet tried or convicted – necessitate federal court oversight to ensure that Arpaio and other county officials maintain safe and humane conditions and provide the thousands of pre-trial detainees held there basic levels of medical and mental health care.

… Pre-trial detainees at Maricopa County Jail are regularly given moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food. Detainees with serious medical, mental health and dental needs receive inadequate care, and they are routinely denied beds or bunks at intake, forcing them to sleep on the floor. Additionally, severe overcrowding in three of the jail’s facilities has created extremely dangerous environments by significantly increasing the potential for violence among inmates.

In one recent and particularly galling example, jail officials chose to punish rather than treat the bizarre behavior of a young and severely psychotic African immigrant. Jail officials put him in disciplinary segregation and chose to house him with other inmates, resulting in his being so severely beaten by his cell mates that he had to be taken to the emergency room.
It was only last week that the ACLU was similarly taking Arpaio to court to force him to live up to a court order to transport female prisoners to abortion appointments.

This is the same wingnut sheriff who has been rounding up every Latino in Maricopa County, transforming his department into an immigration bureau and incapacitating his office’s normal law-enforcement duties. I guess it shouldn’t be a big shocker that someone who thinks brown people’s rights are expendable would feel the same about women. This is just the right-wing approach to the "rule of law" in action — it’s only the law if a right-winger says it’s so.

As the WaPo opined the other day: It’s time for someone sane to step in here. Kudos to the ACLU.

Obsession: Sally Quinn’s Old D.C. Fragrance

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

Ever notice how the adultery scandals always manage to draw Sally Quinn out of the society-maven closet?

Quinn awhile ago sorta donned her tatty and never-particularly-good old journalist’s hat back to co-author Newsweek’s "On Faith" column — which, true to form, has always been awfully short on actual faith and long on moralizing. What made Quinn an expert on faith? Who knows. But adultery scandals, well, that’s another parlor game altogether.

So of course, given the chance this week, she used her "On Faith" column space to weigh in on her favorite subject — adultery. The John Edwards foofara was perfect grist for her lofty moral mill — though she manages to discuss it with nary a reference to "faith," other than the marital kind:
Yes, I want to smack John Edwards across the puss. But more than that I want Elizabeth Edwards to do it for me. Not just for me but for all of us.
Oooh, yeah, smackin’ those hound-dog men around just feels sooo good. And smackin’ the wife around for lettin’ him hound-dog feels even better!

Note, as Megan Carpenter does, that we’ve heard this before: Sally Quinn said almost precisely the same thing about Hillary Clinton when Monica erupted — and is still saying it about her.

Why the obsession with adultery? Well, maybe it has to do with Quinn’s own marital history as a husband-stealer:
At the time Bradlee was married but separated; Quinn was living with journalist Warren Hoge, who would later work for the Times. Quinn and Bradlee became an item, Bradlee’s marriage failed, the two were married in 1978 — and Sally Quinn’s career took off.
Ah, those moral paragons of the Beltway. They always know better than the rest of us.