Friday, February 06, 2009

Al Gore is creating another Hitler Youth, Glenn Beck feverishly warns

-- by Dave

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Sometimes I think Glenn Beck is saying the crazy things he does just to get attention from liberals for being so crazy. It's the Ann Coulter model of right-wing punditry: the more outrageous the better for your ratings.

But Beck isn't as smart as Coulter. He's also more of a Bircherite populist, and he's convinced himself that the more mawkish the better he'll appeal to that sensibility. Unfortunately for Beck, he is also handicapped by not having a very firm grip on reality in the first place (not that this ever stopped other right-wing millionaire pundits). It shows up in his great fondness for right-wing populist conspiracy theories.

So after resorting to the good old Bircher standby -- "Commie! Obama's a Commie!" -- the night before, on his show last night he veered completely to the other side of the road and accused liberals of incipient Nazism:

Last night, I told you that we were on the road to socialism. Some comedy, you know, coming your way. Well, tonight -- oh dear, this may not go well -- when I finish this story, some may believe we're on the way to the Hitler Youth.

What inspired this analysis? It was a snippet of a quote from Al Gore, given to a crowd of schoolkids:

Al Gore: There are some things about our world that you know that older people don't know.

What, exactly, is wrong with this innocuous and fairly common-sense observation about the nature of generational change? It's an attack, apparently, on the sovereignty of parenthood:

Now you've got the former vice-president of the United States and a Nobel Prize winner looking your kid in the eye and telling them, 'You know what? You know things that your mom and dad don't.'

... The government and its friends are indoctrinating our children for the control of their minds, your freedom, and our choice and our future. It must STOP! Because history -- when properly taught -- has already shown us where it leads. This is what Nazi leader Josef Goebbels said about the Hitler Youth:

If such an art of active mass influence through propaganda is joined with the long-term systematic education of a nation, and if both are conducted in a unified and precise way, the relationship between the leadership and the nation will always remain close.

Well, what's next? If Mom and Dad decide to keep the temperature above 72, should our 'Gore Youth' report Mom and Dad? Should they also report groundings and spankings every time Daddy comes home to watch that evil Fox News?

Yyyyyeah, Glenn. Lotsa people out there talking about doing just that, big guy. Now excuse me while I take the next elevator.

So, in case you missed that, today's broadcast from Planet Beckazarro: Al Gore raising environmental awareness is the exact same thing as the state-sponsored Hitler Youth.

Or is it Communism? Agh! We're so confused! Where's Jonah Goldberg?

A little later, while interviewing the teenager who recorded it and her poor dissed Dad, Beck gives us a fuller context of the quote previously snippeted:

Gore: When I was your age and the Civil Rights Revolution was unfolding, and we kids asked our parents and their generation, 'Explain to me again why it's okay for the law to discriminate against people for the color of their skin color? And when our parents' generation couldn't answer that question, that's when the law started to change. There are some things about our world that you know that older people don't know.

Why would that be? Well, in a time of rapid change, the old assumptions sometimes just don't work anymore because they're out of date.

Sounds eminently sensible to me, but hey, I'm just a raging left-wing radical to guys like Glenn Beck.

Eventually, Beck wrapped up the episode by ranting with the ever-willing Bernie Goldberg, who has found a nice safe home at Fox, where he gets to be on display while Beck runs shots of Nazis around him. Nice gig, Bernie.

Meanwhile, here are some other quotes from Nazi leaders about propaganda and its value for Glenn Beck's consideration:

Hermann Goering, Hitler's second in command: "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

Ernst Rohm, chief of the SA: "The people want wholesome dread. They want to fear something. They want someone to frighten them and make them shudderingly submissive."

Dunno about you, but Glenn "The Apocalypse Is Coming" Beck sooner comes to mind when I read these quotes than Al Gore. And he has a hell of a lot bigger audience than a bunch of schoolkids.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

White supremacism lies at the root of the 'respectable' nativist right

We've known for some time -- ever since the Southern Poverty Law Center first reported it back in 2002 -- that there was a web of interests and backgrounds that connected some of the most prominent conservative anti-immigration "think tanks" to white-supremacist organizations, all revolving the activities of an environmentalist-turned-nativist named John Tanton.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, though, that this was the case, these groups -- particularly the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA -- have continued to enjoy mainstream respectability, in large part because they have continued to deny the connections to Tanton and to each other.

Now, the SPLC has definitively established the connections, thanks in large part to reporter Heidi Beirich's intrepid investigative work digging through Tanton's own papers and examining the groups' leaders records. One can only hope the report will finally persuade genuine conservatives and thoughtful Republicans that they would want nothing to do with either these organizations or their largely fabricated disinformation, which disguises a hateful, white-supremacist agenda.

Together with the immigration-reform group America's Voice, the SPLC held a press conference yesterday in Washington to discuss the report and its ramifications -- particularly for Americans interested in advancing a rational debate about immigration, free of racist scapegoating.

The result of the activities of groups like these has been profound -- a grotesque distortion of the immigration debate in America. As AV's Frank Sharry said at the conference, most people on the side of immigration reform in the past decade went in believing they were going to be engaged in a rational policy discussion, but instead found that for these groups on the right, the only interest was in finding more bodies to throw on the culture-war bonfires.

It's played a huge role in providing fuel for right-wing talkers like Bill O'Reilly, Lou Dobbs, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, and their hosts of imitators.

Here's the PDF file of the report, titled "The Nativist Lobby."

Some of the reporting will already be familiar, but the sections on the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA are full of new information. Of special note was what it uncovered about the CIS and
Mark Krikorian, who some of you may recognize from his work at NRO's The Corner:

Last October, as America was being roiled by the subprime mortgage meltdown that led to the current financial crisis, the executive director of one of the most influential immigration think tanks in the nation was in a joking mood.

Shortly after the failure of Washington Mutual Bank, Mark Krikorian found a press release issued months earlier by the bank that celebrated its inclusion on a list of “Business Diversity Elites” compiled by Hispanic Business magazine. Krikorian posted the release at the conservative National Review Online, where he writes from time to time, along with his own sneering headline: “Cause and Effect?” Krikorian no doubt thought of his posting as a simple joke.

But to many, the attempt by the leader of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) to suggest a link between Washington Mutual’s commitment to opening its ranks to Latinos and its demise spoke volumes about the nature of CIS and its prolific research. Although the think tank bills itself as an “independent” organization with a “pro-immigrant” if “low-immigration” vision, the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked.

Be sure to check out America's Voice's page devoted to the report, especially the sidebar that lets you vote on who the worst "immigration wolf" identified in the report is.

Image 2050 has more.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

O'Reilly declares war on New York Times after it calls him out on immigration

-- by Dave

Bill O'Reilly is outraged, outraged we tell you, over Sunday's superb New York Times editorial calling out Republicans -- and particularly movement conservatives who have thoroughly embraced the nativist wing of the party -- for the ugly racism they've indulged in recent years, driving what should be a rational debate over immigration into the fetid wastelands of hysterical fearmongering, bigotry, and scapegoating.

So last night on "The O'Reilly Factor" he declared "war" on the Times:

O'Reilly: In the Impact Segment tonight, more lies from the New York Times over illegal immigration. As you may know, the Times and other far-left entities favor amnesty for illegal aliens, primarily as a way to gain political power. As you may also know, most Americans reject blanket amnesty, as was demonstrated when the immigration bill of 2007 crashed and burned in Congress.

So yesterday, this man, editorial page director Andrew Rosenthal, printed a vicious piece of propaganda called "The Nativists Are Restless." In this smear, the Times implies that I and others racists because we oppose amnesty. The editorial says:

It is easy to mock white-supremacist views as pathetic and to assume that nativism in the age of Obama is on the way out. The country has, of course, made considerable progress since the days of Know-Nothings and the Klan. But racism has a nasty habit of never going away, no matter how much we may want it to, and thus the perpetual need for vigilance.

It is all around us. ... Google the words “Bill O’Reilly” and “white, Christian male power structure” for another YouTube taste of the Fox News host assailing the immigration views of “the far left” (including The Times) as racially traitorous.

Of course, you can post anything on YouTube, any lie you want, any distortion, and Google can highlight the smear in the blink of an eye -- there are no rules. For example, I could post that Andrew Rosenthal completely distorted Bill O'Reilly's view on illegal immigration, because Rosenthal is a dishonest far-left zealot who uses hateful tactics, like implying people with whom he disagrees are racist. I could post that, and then you could Google "Rosenthal" and "illegal immigration" and it would be there -- uncensored. Now if Rosenthal doesn't know that, he's stupid. If he does know it, then he's dishonest and intentionally misleading Times readers.

Well, besides O'Reilly's point being the most meaningless of nonsequiturs, it's also worth remembering exactly what does come up when you Google those terms: actual video from this site showing Bill O'Reilly, in full context, saying the following:

Bill O'Reilly: But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you've got to cap with a number.

John McCain: In America today we've got a very strong economy and low unemployment, so we need addition farm workers, including by the way agriculture, but there may come a time where we have an economic downturn, and we don't need so many.

O'Reilly: But in this bill, you guys have got to cap it. Because estimation is 12 million, there may be 20 [million]. You don't know, I don't know. We've got to cap it.

McCain: We do, we do. I agree with you.

Mind you, this was not an aberration for O'Reilly.

O'Reilly, in fact, is one of the major media figures responsible for whitewashing the reality that Patrick Buchanan's recent work has finally tipped the scales into outright white supremacist extremism. O'Reilly, in fact, had previously hosted Buchanan in 2005, an interview in which they discussed Buchanan's "Decline of the West" thesis.

Indeed, as Media Matters has observed, the decline of white male dominance is a frequent concern of O'Reilly's:

-- On the May 16, 2006, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly claimed that The New York Times and "many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad, so a drastic change is needed." O'Reilly continued: "According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will." O'Reilly's comments came during a discussion of opposition by the Times and others to deploying the National Guard to help secure the border.

-- On the May 1, 2006, edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, O'Reilly alleged that the "organizers" of nationwide pro-immigrant protests had a "hardcore militant agenda of 'You stole our land, you bad gringos,' " and that the protest organizers were seeking to "take it back by massive, massive migration into the Southwest.' "

-- On the April 12, 2006, broadcast of his radio show, O'Reilly claimed that on the April 11 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, guest Charles Barron, a New York City councilman, had revealed the "hidden agenda" behind the current immigration debate. O'Reilly told his listeners: "[T]he bottom line is Charles Barron said last night is there is a movement in this country to wipe out 'white privilege' and to have the browning of America." O'Reilly suggested that this "hidden agenda" included plans to let "people who live in the Caribbean, people who live in Africa and Asia ... walk in and become citizens immediately."

From the May 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Reluctantly, and I mean reluctantly, "Talking Points" is going to support this legislation. It's the best we can get and does improve the situation. But make no mistake, it's not fair. It drastically alters the United States of America. And there will be unintended consequences all over the place.

The new census report says America's now one-third minority. And in four states -- California, New Mexico, Texas, and Hawaii -- whites are the minority. So with the infusion of as many as 20 to 30 million new citizens in the next 10 years, the landscape of America will absolutely change.

Moreover, much as O'Reilly may mewl -- as he does through the rest of this interview, as well as in the subsequent segment in which he whined with other "victims" of the editorial about how mean the New York Times is and how awful it is that you can't talk about immigration without being accused of being a racist -- and claim that he's been a friend of illegal immigrants, the record is very much to the contrary:

For his part, Bill O'Reilly will often take a story of a specific crime and treat it as though it were a matter of national urgency. For example, he devoted segments on 13 separate programs to discussion of a case in Virginia Beach in which a drunken driver, who happened to be an undocumented immigrant, killed two young women in a traffic accident. As tragic as these deaths were, drunken drivers kill dozens of people every day; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 16,885 fatalities in alcohol-related auto crashes in 2005.16

O'Reilly was hardly on a crusade against drunken driving; his interest was in the fact that in this case, the driver was an undocumented immigrant.17 O'Reilly brushes aside arguments that such cases are unrepresentative -- and even makes attempts to link immigration to terrorism. "If the local authorities, and they should be part of homeland security, were to be more vigilant on criminal illegal aliens, notice the word criminal, and track them harder, the Fort Dix thing [a thwarted plot to kill U.S. soldiers] would have been caught sooner," he said in June. "The deaths of the Virginia Beach thing which we talked about. And all of these guys at 9-11 were stopped by local police."18 When O'Reilly is unavailable, his compatriots will pick up the slack. "The never-ending criminal alien revolving door," said guest host and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin last August. "Another heinous crime, another illegal alien suspect with a mile-long rap sheet, another bloody tragedy wrought by open borders."19 O'Reilly also uses the immigration issue to bash "the left": "The most extreme elements in this country want open borders, blanket amnesty, and entitlement for foreign nationals who have come here illegally, and generally want to change the demographics in the USA so political power can be assumed by the left," he said last October. "That is the end game."20

It's this kind of ugliness that the NYT editorial in question was specifically addressing:

Americans want immigration solved, and they realize that mass deportations will not do that. When you add the unprecedented engagement of growing numbers of Latino voters in 2008, it becomes clear that the nativist path is the path to permanent political irrelevance. Unless you can find a way to get rid of all the Latinos.

What was perhaps more notable than the report itself was the team that delivered it. It included Bay Buchanan, former adviser to Representative Tom Tancredo and sister of Pat, who founded the American Cause and wrote “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.” She was joined by James Pinkerton, an essayist and Fox News contributor who, as an aide to the first President Bush, took credit for the racist Willie Horton ads run against Michael Dukakis.

So far, so foul. But even more telling was the presence of Peter Brimelow, a former Forbes editor and founder of, an extremist anti-immigration Web site. It is named for Virginia Dare, the first white baby born in the English colonies, which tells you most of what you need to know.

Note that Pinkerton and Buchanan both appear in the whinefest that follows the "Impact Segment":

It's also in this segment in which O'Reilly declares:

O'Reilly: Look, I'm gonna take this New York Times on. I mean it's war. Absolutely war. I've had enough.

Note that neither the guests nor O'Reilly bother to address the substance of the NYT's point: That these "mainstream" conservatives were lending their voices to an enterprise irrevocably tainted by the significant involvement of virulent racists. It's not guilt by association when the association is entirely relevant.

For instance, Brimelow, it turns out, is also taking part, as Eric Ward reports, in a "racial awareness" event this coming weekend with the overtly racist British National Party (essentially the English skinheads party) at airport hotel in Baltimore:

According to the “Preserving Western Civilization” website, one of the goals of the conference is to address white guilt for the “disappointing performance of blacks.” The event, being held at the Four Points Sheraton BWI Airport Hotel in Baltimore, MD, will also feature alleged “mainstream” anti-immigrant leader Peter Brimelow. Brimelow is a regular contributor to white nationalist John Tanton’s quarterly journal Social Contact Press.

The Times' own retort is both pointed and on the money:

The reaction in some quarters to our editorial has been furious. Some accused us of erecting a straw man. Some said we were “frothing at the mouth,” defaming those who don’t share our supposed traitorous devotion to “open borders” and instant citizenship for illegal immigrants. Bill O’Reilly, who presents himself as a defender of the “white, Christian male power structure,” called it “one of the nastiest pieces of propaganda from the New York Times we’ve seen in recent memory.”

For the record, The Times does not support open borders, and never has.

We support comprehensive immigration reform, a combination of stricter enforcement at the border and the workplace, a chance for those already here to earn legalization, and an improved system of future legal immigration.

What Bill O'Reilly, Bay Buchanan, James Pinkerton, Lou Dobbs, Michelle Malkin, and the whole crew of right-wing media transmitters who repackage old racist nonsense for mainstream consumption fail to understand is that merely talking about immigration isn't a sign of racism. It's talking about immigration like racists that is.

What usually raises questions of racism is how readily the discussion turns to how Latinos are polluting or diluting white culture, how they're bringing crime and disease, turning America into "a third world cesspool," how they're "invading" the country. In other words, it isn't talking about immigration that makes people hear racism; it's talking racist crap that does.

The favorite whine of O'Reilly, Dobbs, Malkin, and the right-wing nativist cohort is that "it's not fair that you can't discuss illegal immigration without being accused of being racist." But the problem isn't discussing illegal immigration. Indeed, I think everyone involved would love to have a discussion on immigration without racism rearing its ugly head.

But racism is rearing its ugly head when O'Reilly and Dobbs and Malkin and the whole pack of "immigration reformers" treat white-supremacist propaganda as reliable information and parrot talking points from those white supremacists as well.

Pointing out that they're doing it isn't the problem. Pretending that they're not is.

UPDATE: NewsHounds has more, including detail on the third segment of TORF, which featured even more mewling.

UPDATE II: Scott Lemieux remembers one of the better examples of O'Reilly's fetish about white male culture.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Conservatives' Profoundest Fear: What if Obama succeeds?

-- by Dave


Memo to Conservatives: You failed and are now irrelevant.

OK, I expect you'll ignore this memo like our previous ones. Nate Silver is right: Republicans are caught in a death spiral, and it's going to be awhile yet before they hit bottom.

Nowhere is it more self-evident than in the broad acknowledgment this week that the GOP is being led by a bilious radio talk-show host, and the ongoing fact that its most popular politician is a wingnutty, malinformed Alaska governor.

The unanimous refusal of House Republicans to vote in favor of Obama's stimulus plan may have given the Malkinites a stiffy, but all it really demonstrated was the utter impotence of Conservatives to have any say in how we proceed with fixing the economy.

And there's one real reason for that: They broke it. Their philosophy of governance, especially their feverish laissez-faire demolition of regulatory oversight, and their obscene enrich-the-rich approach to taxation, were the two overarching reasons for our current economic debacle. Of course they still want to blame minority lending for the plunge, but no one with serious money is bothering to listen any longer, because they know what the story is. And so do most Americans.

So Rush Limbaugh can pen all the worthless split-the-baby-in-two proposals for economic stimulus he likes, and House Republicans can toss out all the tax-cut-heavy alternatives they like. And no one will take them seriously, because we've heard these proposals before -- for the past eight years, in fact. They've been nothing but a recipe for failure and disaster. Why would anyone want to take that course now?

What's worse for Republicans is that not only have they not yet figured out how irrelevant they've become, they are even further from understanding the reasons for their irrelevance. They're in deep denial about the direct relationship between their philosophy and the current economic debacle, and even more so the extent to which the public is finding their pugnacious, vicious, attacking style of politics increasingly repellent.

So Neil Cavuto is right when he defends Limbaugh by saying that of course, ideologically speaking, conservatives will naturally as a matter of principle oppose Obama's policies. We understand that Limbaugh and other conservatives believes that Obama's policies will fail and will vote and speak accordingly.

But he completely overlooks the problem with Limbaugh when he openly hopes Obama will fail: It's one thing to believe a policy will fail and oppose it accordingly. It's quite another to openly hope for it.

Most liberals, by way of contrast, believed George W. Bush would fail, and many predicted it; but it's hard to find any of them, particularly leading Democrats, who were out there saying that they hoped he -- and by extension, the nation -- would fail after 9/11 because his policies were "fascist." They opposed these policies in principle. Anyone who openly hoped for our military failure in Iraq, for instance, was in a tiny minority; but there were millions of us who opposed the war because we believed it was not only wrongheaded but doomed to fail. And we were proved right.

In fact, all this shouting is just cover for Republicans' greatest and deepest fear: That Obama in fact will succeed. That progressive "socialism" (as they call it) actually will make people's lives better, heal the economy, and get the nation back on its feet. That the nation's working people will finally get a clear view of which side is on their side. That the public will finally see that not only is Conservatism an abject failure, it's a fraud.

In the end, they are such deeply invested ideologues that they would rather see the nation fail than see that reality reach fruition.