Saturday, August 29, 2009

Obama's 'SS': Glenn Beck sees scary black people

-- by Dave

Eric Boehlert at Media Matters wonders if Glenn Beck has forgotten that the entire reason he is in hot water with advertisers revolves around the fact that he called the President of the United States a "racist" and someone who has "a deep-seated hatred of white people".

Because, you know, in all of his lashing out this week and last at his critics, he has yet to address this central point. Certainly he has not apologized for it. In fact, he's acting as though he never actually said it. As Boehlert puts it:

I ask because watch this clip below of Beck on Bill O'Reilly's show this week and watch as the two men bemoan the attempts by nasty liberals "loons" to shut Beck up; to snatch away his Freedom of Speech.

What's rather astonishing is that while Beck and O'Reilly clearly make (indirect) references to the ad boycott campaign, they never explain to viewers what sparked the outrage. They never explain why. They never explain the campaign was launched in direct response to the fact that Beck went on national television and called the President of the United State a "racist"; somebody who flashed a "deep-seated hatred of white people."

At Fox News, that smear has been flushed down the memory hole, and all that's left is playing victim.

Ah, but here's the one thing: If you've been watching Beck this week on his program, he's been imploring his audience to record it -- write it all down, even -- because it's the Most Important Stuff They'll Ever Watch on the Teevee.

That's because, if you watch what he's been doing so far, what seems to be emerging is that he is basically building a case justifying his declaration that Obama is a racist who hates white people.

This became crystal-clear midway through his Fox News program Thursday night, during a segment featuring ex-Democrat now complete loser Patrick Caddell and the ever-vivacious Michelle Malkin to heartily agree with whatever craziness came burbling out of his mouth.

They were all gathered to talk about the "army" of "thugs" that President Obama is planning to gather under the combined umbrellas of ACORN, SEIU, Color of Change and whatever other insidious "radicals" Beck believes he's uncovered.

And what does this "army" of "thugs" look like?

Why, they're all black people, of course.

Watch the segment and observe the examples he offers of the kinds of "thugs" he says Obama intends to incorporate into his army: some gun-toting Black Panthers, a shot from a Louis Farrakhan sermon before a Nation of Islam gathering, and a group of young black men doing military-style exercises.

This, as he explained earlier in the show, will be "Obama's SS."

So we now can see the arc of Beck's thesis this week: He was right to call President Obama an anti-white racist because he is this very moment forming an army of militant black thugs to take over your white neighborhoods and threaten your children and impose a liberal fascist state.

Or something like that.

You do have to wonder when the honchos at Fox will realize that Glenn Beck may bring in the ratings, but he is inflicting a deep scar on their brand name that will be a long time fading.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Idaho Republican candidate jokes about buying 'Obama tags' to go along with wolf hunt

-- by Dave

Much of my family still lives in Idaho, and my dad is fond of hanging at the gun range. He says he hears guys talking casually about how easy it would be to shoot President Obama with a long-range rifle. And how they'd really like to do it. Jokes like that are becoming common there, too.

So it really didn't surprise me when one of the wingnuttiest wingnuts in Idaho (this is really saying something) joked about how he'd happily buy a hunting tag for shooting President Obama:

RexRammell_59bf2.JPGRex Rammell, a long-shot gubernatorial candidate seeking the Republican nomination, criticized Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter on Wednesday for not making good on a promise to buy the first wolf tag. Tags for hunting the gray wolf went on sale Monday.

Rammell's remarks on Otter came in an interview Wednesday after the Times-News asked about comments Rammell made Tuesday night at a local Republican party event.

After an audience member shouted a question about "Obama tags" during a discussion on wolves, Rammell responded, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

Rammell, a veterinarian and former elk rancher from Idaho Falls, said his comment was a joke and he would never seriously talk about President Obama that way, although he doesn't support anything Obama's done as president.

"I was just being sarcastic. That was just a joke," Rammell said. "I would never support him being assassinated.

"She kind of caught me off guard, to be honest with you."

Sure, just a joke. Except that to find it funny, you'd actually have to harbor that wish.

Rammell, as we said, is something of a wingnut's wingnut. He got into politics when the state shut down his elk-ranching operation for his disastrous mismanagement of the facility. So he ran as an Independent in last year's Senate campaign in Idaho, won by James Risch (Rammell finished a distant third, with 5.4% of the vote).

Just a few months ago, Rammell announced he was running for a House seat as a Republican. Then he shifted gears and is now running for Idaho governor as a Republican.

He's also written a wingnut tome that, as Randy Stapilus explored recently, is a real piece of work. Just like its author.

[H/t Julie F.]

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Right-Wing Fearfest: Beck says 'free speech is under attack,' then Limbaugh tells him Obama brings 'totalitarianism'

-- by Dave

Glenn Beck seems to be feeling sorry for himself for having brought down a brickload of opprobrium -- and fleeing advertisers -- for having called President Obama a "racist" with "a deep-seated hatred for white people".

So he brought on the big guns to defend his teary-eyed self: Rush Limbaugh. No black hole emerged from the critical mass of so much wingnuttery on one program, but it did produce a yawning maw of first-tier fearmongering, colored with a garish streak of self-pity.

Beck started off the festivities with a brief reference to his, ah, persecution at hands of liberal blue meanies:

Beck: Oh sure, they're tearing me apart -- but none of the facts! Write what you learn on this show down. Write these questions down and demand answers.

Because it's not my America we're talking about here. It's all of ours -- left, right, Democrat, Republican -- all of our freedom of speech is on the ropes. And questioning your government is not only important, it is -- in a democratic republic, which I think we still have, it is required of you. Freedom of speech is under attack.

Then came on the Big Man himself, who declared Beck heroic for bearing up under siege from those liberal meanies, who want to "silence" right-wing talkers like themselves:

Limbaugh: This whole administration is as radical and far left as any that the country has ever had. And what they're trying to do here to communications is simply stifle dissenting voices. They're trying to wipe out any opposition. If you look at Barack Obama and his track record as a politician, it is to clear the playing field. He doesn't even like debating his opponents. He just wants to get rid of them.

Quoth the man whose frequently-expressed desire to "do away with all the liberals" inspired The Eliminationists. But then, Limbaugh is nothing if not the Master of the Projection Strategy.

Thus inspired to new depths, Beck then unleashes one of his patented paranoid fantasies about how somebody from the right is going to do something ugly and give the Obamabots the excuse to "seize power overnight":

Beck: If you watch MSNBC, I contend that you will see the future. Because they are laying the ground for a horrible event that will be -- eh, what they're laying the ground for, anything from the right, they're -- some awful event -- and I fear this government, this administration, has so much framework already prepared that they will seize power overnight before anybody even gives it a second thought!

Hmmmm. Yeah, it'll be the fault of those darn liberals at MSNBC -- and not right-wing fearmongers like Beck and Limbaugh who are constantly frothing up mindless hysteria about Obama and the Democrats -- who will be responsible when some right-wing extremist blows up another federal building. Right.

Limbaugh, in response, saves the best for last:

Limbaugh: I'm really -- you know, we may be looking at Barack Obama destroying the Democrat Party. It's too soon to say that now, but we may be looking at that happen. There are reasons for optimism, but you are right, it is a dangerous time. It's the most dangerous time in my life for freedom and liberty in this country.

Beck: I will tell you, um, a lot of people would say, 'Well, that's Rush Limbaugh, he's, you know, this is hyperbole, etc. etc.' Would you agree with me, Rush, that this is not -- this is not conservatives or Republicans or independents talking about this, because they don't like Rush -- uh, they don't like, um, Barack Obama. These are Americans -- I'm an American, I'm speaking to you as an American -- this is bad for anyone unless you're in the power circle. You don't want to go down this road with what they're proposing with the FCC.

Limbaugh: No -- well, I don't want to go down the road with anything they're proposing on anything, Glenn. And it's -- but you ask an interesting question. You know, are people going to react to you or me, because, 'Well, that's hyperbole,' that's what these guys do.

I, uh, my first hour yesterday was chronicling how this man is systematically dismantling our ability to gather intelligence to protect ourselves against an attack. He is purposely using his Attorney General to make the United States the villain of the world.

And I'm gonna tell you, folks. From the bottom of my heart, I am uncomfortable thinking and saying these things about a man who's been elected president of the United States. It is terribly upsetting and disconcerting, and I wish I didn't think it, and I wish I didn't have to say it.

But, there's no way to sugar-coat it: This is not politics as usual. This is not left vs. right. This is not Republican vs. Democrat. This is statism, totalitarianism, versus freedom.

And if these people are allowed to go where they want to go unchecked, then some people, a lot of people -- I don't think half the country, but close -- will wake up one day and find, 'My God, what the hell happened?' Because this is not what they voted for, they had no intention of this. They thought they were getting something entirely different. And it is, uh, it's a responsibility that we all have, being honest and earnest, to inform people of what these possibilities are, because they are very real.

Sigh. Doesn't anyone else find it kind of peculiar that right-wingers -- and these two in particular -- not only avidly don the garb of victimhood after making light of actual victims on a professional and regular basis, but also are unable to actually name any "freedoms" that Obama is actually taking away?

In the two most common instances cited -- Beck's old fave, guns, and his current fave, the FCC and the "Fairness Doctrine" -- there have been no actual policy changes even submitted or discussed so far. In other words, they're scaring up boogie men out of thin air.

This includes the wailing and teeth-gnashing over the ostensible efforts to "silence" them. Just Lather. Rinse. Repeat:

This is a familiar refrain that comes up every time anyone raises a socially damning issue like this one: We're trying to oppress them, to silence their voices, by pointing out how morally and ethically bankrupt they are.

Actually, we're just pointing out how bankrupt they are. No one here has said anything about silencing their voices -- we just want them to face up to the consequences of their irresponsible rhetoric. It's called culpability: They obviously are not criminally culpable, nor likely even civilly culpable. But they are morally and ethically culpable.

We do have serious differences of opinion here. We strongly believe that there's a clear, common-sense connection between the paranoiac fearmongering that has passed for right-wing rhetoric since well before Obama's election (and has become acute since) and violence like that in Pittsburgh, or in Knoxville: horrifying tragedies, in which the sources of the criminal's unambiguous motives are that very same hysterical fearmongering -- whether it's about the evil socialists, stinking immigrants, or conspiring gun-grabbers who've taken over the country since Election Day.

... The point is not to silence the people saying these things, but to point out how grotesquely irresponsible they are -- in the hopes that they will cease doing so, and start acting responsibly. It's their choice to use irresponsible rhetoric. It's not just our choice but our duty, as responsible citizens, to stand up and speak out about it.

And make no mistake: Rhetoric that whips up irrational fears among the public, that demonizes and dehumanizes and scapegoats -- that's irresponsible rhetoric. And we are calling the American Right on it.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bernie Goldberg thinks he's uncovered a scoop about Bush's military records -- that was reported 10 years ago

-- by Dave

Bernard Goldberg was on The O'Reilly Factor last night touting his hot new scoop in the long-running controversy over George W. Bush's military service in the Texas Air National Guard:

Until now, the controversy over the Rather/Mapes story has centered almost entirely on one issue: the legitimacy of the documents – a very important issue, indeed. But it turns out that there was another very important issue, one that goes to the very heart of what the story was about – and one that has gone virtually unnoticed. This is it: Mary Mapes knew before she put the story on the air that George W. Bush, the alleged slacker, had in fact volunteered to go to Vietnam.

Who says? The outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called “Rathergate” mess says. I recently re-examined the panel’s report after a source, Deep Throat style, told me to “Go to page 130.” When I did, here’s the startling piece of information I found:

Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush “did want to go to Vietnam but others went first.” Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

This information, despite the fact that it has been available since the CBS report came out four years ago, has remained a secret to almost everybody both in and out of the media — one lonely fact in a 234- page report loaded with thousands of facts, and overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the documents.

There's only one problem with this: These claims were nothing new. In fact, it had been reported by the Washington Post back in 1999 -- in a story that Goldberg in fact cites in his piece. Here are the relevant grafs:

Four months before enlisting, Bush reported at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts to take the Air Force Officers Qualification Test. While scoring 25 percent for pilot aptitude – "about as low as you could get and be accepted," according to Martin – and 50 percent for navigator aptitude in his initial testing, he scored 95 percent on questions designed to reflect "officer quality," compared with a current-day average of 88 percent.

Among the questions Bush had to answer on his application forms was whether he wanted to go overseas. Bush checked the box that said: "do not volunteer."

Bush said in an interview that he did not recall checking the box. Two weeks later, his office provided a statement from a former, state-level Air Guard personnel officer, asserting that since Bush "was applying for a specific position with the 147th Fighter Group, it would have been inappropriate for him to have volunteered for an overseas assignment and he probably was so advised by the military personnel clerk assisting him in completing the form."

During a second interview, Bush himself raised the issue.

"Had my unit been called up, I'd have gone . . . to Vietnam," Bush said. "I was prepared to go."

But there was no chance Bush's unit would be ordered overseas. Bush says that toward the end of his training in 1970, he tried to volunteer for overseas duty, asking a commander to put his name on the list for a "Palace Alert" program, which dispatched qualified F-102 pilots in the Guard to the Europe and the Far East, occasionally to Vietnam, on three- to six-month assignments.

He was turned down on the spot. "I did [ask] – and I was told, 'You're not going,' " Bush said.

Only pilots with extensive flying time – at the outset, 1,000 hours were required – were sent overseas under the voluntary program. The Air Force, moreover, was retiring the aging F-102s and had ordered all overseas F-102 units closed down as of June 30, 1970.

In other words, if Bush actually did volunteer for Vietnam duty, he did so secure in the knowledge there was no chance he'd actually be called upon. That is, he was talking big talk, once again, knowing full well he'd never have to back it up.

This is especially so considering what followed -- namely, that Bush wound up failing to fulfill his obligations to the Texas Air National Guard, precisely because he failed to maintain even the most basic, fundamental components if his TANG pilot's status beginning in the summer of 1972.

Indeed, there is a set of facts about Bush's service that is irrefutable: Lt. Bush did refuse an order to take a required physical, and he was suspended for "failing to perform up to standards". Moreover, the sequence of events that failure set in motion eventually ensured that Bush did not fulfill the entirety of his military obligation.

(You can see the documentation of Bush's suspension from flying status in Sept. 1972 here.)

In the military-flying world, failure to take your flight exam is a big honking deal. As the Boston Globe reported at the time:

Two retired National Guard generals, in interviews yesterday, said they were surprised that Bush -- or any military pilot -- would forgo a required annual flight physical and take no apparent steps to rectify the problem and return to flying. "There is no excuse for that. Aviators just don't miss their flight physicals," said Major General Paul A. Weaver Jr., who retired in 2002 as the Pentagon's director of the Air National Guard, in an interview.

Brigadier General David L. McGinnis, a former top aide to the assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, said in an interview that Bush's failure to remain on flying status amounts to a violation of the signed pledge by Bush that he would fly for at least five years after he completed flight school in November 1969.

"Failure to take your flight physical is like a failure to show up for duty. It is an obligation you can't blow off," McGinnis said.

What's more, Goldberg's big "scoop" was actually one of the Bush team's talking points when trying to deal with the TANG questions. On NPR's Morning Edition Feb. 23, 2004, Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot said:

"John Kerry served his country very honorably, and we salute his service. We would never, for a moment, diminish his service to the country. At the same point in time, the President served his country very honorably too. He signed up for dangerous duty, he volunteered to go to Vietnam, uh, he wasn't selected to go, but nonetheless, served his country very well."

It was a bogus claim then, and it remains a bogus claim now. Bush may have had a hankering to go to Vietnam in 1970, as he and those lieutenants who talked to Mary Mapes may have claimed.

But by 1972-73 -- which is the time frame that's relevant here -- he couldn't even be bothered to maintain his flying status or keep up with his TANG training time requirements. That is hardly indicative of someone intent on serving in combat missions. And it completely nullifies Goldberg's claim that Bush really wanted to serve in Vietnam.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Glenn Beck dives off the conspiracist deep end with nutty guilt-by-association game

-- by Dave

Glenn Beck has been imploring his viewers this week to record the show and keep it and watch it and rewatch it so that they can absorb all the vital information it will contain, because it's rilly, rilly important.

The upshot: There are a bunch of radical left-wing Marxists who have been mainstreaming themselves through various civil-rights and community-organizing fronts who are all connected to President Obama.

The apparent nexus of this conspiracy is the Apollo Alliance, which describes itself thus:

The Apollo Alliance is a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working to catalyze a clean energy revolution that will put millions of Americans to work in a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs. Inspired by the Apollo space program, we promote investments in energy efficiency, clean power, mass transit, next-generation vehicles, and emerging technology, as well as in education and training. Working together, we will reduce carbon emissions and oil imports, spur domestic job growth, and position America to thrive in the 21st century economy.

Woo. Sounds like a bunch of wild-eyed Marxist radicals to me. Their board, too, looks like a bunch of people who make their livings as capitalists -- though Beck wants to paint them all as "anti-capitalists."

One of the realities of conspiracy theories like this is that they rely not merely on guilt by association, but that they are themselves about hidden agendas. All conspiracy theories are fundamentally scapegoating narratives, and so the most fundamental aspect of them is who they are scapegoating. In this case, it's community organizers like Van Jones (named prominently in Beck's recent diatribes) and other minority civil-rights and environmental activists.

So what Beck isn't telling you is that the very people he's scapegoating -- particularly Jones' outfit, Color of Change -- have been leading the charge to strip Beck's show of advertisers in the wake of his outrageous attacks on President Obama as a "racist" and "someone who hates white people, white culture".

If Beck had an ounce of honesty in his body, he'd offer full disclosure: That the very organizations he's smearing as riddled with "Marxists" and "communists" and as fundamentally a bunch of "radicals" are the same organizations that have been hurting him and his show financially.

Incidentally, he's still losing advertisers, but can always stand to lose more.

Today, FWIW, we get Rush Limbaugh on Beck's show to lead his defense. We can only hope a hole in the time-space continuum does not open from the critical mass of so much wingnuttery on one show.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gun-toting Arizona protester belongs to hate-mongering pastor's flock

-- by Dave

So it turns out that Contessa Brewer had good reason to see a connection between the rabidly hateful rhetoric spewed by the likes of Pastor Steven Anderson and the angry, gun-toting protesters turning out for presidential events: One of the most prominent of these, an African-American man named "Chris", is in fact a member of Pastor Anderson's congregation.

"Chris" was on Alex Jones' "Prison Planet" radio show late last week and discussed how "my pastor was beaten up" at a Border Patrol checkpoint.

Yes, that pastor is indeed Steven Anderson, who was arrested in April by the Border Patrol for being uncooperative at a patrol checkpoint. Anderson attempted to make himself something of a national martyr to the conspiracists out there by posting a video to YouTube about it that quickly went viral.

Jones took note of the Anderson connection:

Jones: Now I'm starting to get a clearer picture. You go to Pastor Anderson's church, I see.

Chris: Yeah, yes I do. Proudly. I think it's the best church in the world.

The funny thing about these gun-toting protesters is that they like to portray themselves as being simple, honest defenders of their gun rights when they show up for public events, especially those featuring the president, packing heat publicly.

They adamantly deny that they're bringing their guns to intimidate their fellow citizens from speaking out with a contrary view. But this is beyond disingenuous; it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the vast majority of the people who attend a public debate will perceive someone with a gun as someone they should fear -- particularly if they have an opposing view. Most people will see someone with a gun at an event that does not deal with guns as a potential threat. And you can't tell me that most of these gun-toters are not perfectly aware of the intimidation factor they carry with them and are not in fact packing heat for just that reason.

Moreover, these gun-toters want to assure us they pose no threat whatsoever to either the president or his supporters by bringing these guns. They're just ordinary citizens standing up for their rights, right? The Secret Service need have no fear about their motives.

But then we find out that at least one of them ardently admires a pastor who preaches how much he hates Obama and wishes him dead, in order "to save this country."

And we're supposed to tell these "innocent" gun nuts from the people who might actually aim their weapons at the president how?

[H/t to reader jefro3000.]

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Reportage you'll never see on Fox: MSNBC's Contessa Brewer explores extremist rhetoric and right-wing violence

[H/t Heather]

-- by Dave

Yesterday MSNBC's Contessa Brewer tackled the rantings of Pastor Steven Anderson down at his strip-mall church in Tempe, Arizona, and examined the common-sense connection between this kind of hate-filled rhetoric and the people bringing guns to events featuring President Obama, as well as the various acts of domestic terrorism and right-wing violence that have accompanied the rise in this kind of talk.

The segment featured Evan Kohlmann, an NBC terrorism analyst, who remarked:

Kohlmann: Yeah, it's amazing that this kind of rhetoric is allowed if you're a certain kind of person, if you're a patriotic American you can say whatever you want, no matter how far along the line it comes to inciting people to violence towards other innocent people. It's completely unjustified.

But but but but ... doesn't Kohlmann know there is no connection whatsoever between the people who fill crazy people's heads with crazy, provably false ideas and the violent and insane actions that follow? That's what you always hear from the right-wing pundits at Fox, at least.

Which is why you'll never see this subject discussed at Fox -- except, perhaps, in dismissive tones designed to make excuses whenever the violence does inevitably erupt.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frum unloads on talk-show wingnuts for distorting health-care debate, while Kurtz tweaks Fox hypocrisy

-- by Dave

David Frum spoke out this weekend about the reckless direction America's right-wing talk-show hosts are taking our national discourse -- embodied by the nuts bringing guns to events featuring President Obama:

Nobody has been hurt so far. We can all hope that nobody will be. But firearms and politics never mix well. They mix especially badly with a third ingredient: the increasingly angry tone of incitement being heard from right-of-center broadcasters.

The Nazi comparisons from Rush Limbaugh; broadcaster Mark Levin asserting that President Obama is "literally at war with the American people"; former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin claiming that the president was planning "death panels" to extirpate the aged and disabled; the charges that the president is a fascist, a socialist, a Marxist, an illegitimate Kenyan fraud, that he "harbors a deep resentment of America," that he feels a "deep-seated hatred of white people," that his government is preparing concentration camps, that it is operating snitch lines, that it is planning to wipe away American liberties": All this hysterical and provocative talk invites, incites, and prepares a prefabricated justification for violence.

And indeed some conservative broadcasters are lovingly anticipating just such an outcome.

Frum notes that conservatives were quick to attack a Homeland Security bulletin warning law-enforcement officers of a looming threat from right-wing extremists -- only to have those warnings come all too true:

Newt Gingrich tweeted: "The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired."

I don't think the former speaker could tweet such a thing today in good conscience. The person who drafted that homeland security memo has gained very good reason to be worried. The guns are coming out. The risks are real.

It's not enough for conservatives to repudiate violence, as some are belatedly beginning to do. We have to tone down the militant and accusatory rhetoric. If Barack Obama really were a fascist, really were a Nazi, really did plan death panels to kill the old and infirm, really did contemplate overthrowing the American constitutional republic—if he were those things, somebody should shoot him.

Frum was on CNN's Reliable Sources this Sunday and talked about it with Howard Kurtz:

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Um, just before I came out here, David Frum, I read a column that you wrote for The Week magazine about people who bring guns to these town meetings or Obama events. And you really took on some on the right, on your side, so to speak -- Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity -- you talked about hysterical talk about violence, you said that we have to tone it down, we have to tone down, excuse me, "the militant and accusatory rhetoric."

DAVID FRUM: Ah, we do. We do. Because --

KURTZ: Is it fair to blame the broadcasters for this atmosphere?

FRUM: Uh, yeah, it's very -- coping with a downward trend in advertising revenues for talk radio, the broadcasters have ramped up what they are saying. When you have broadcasters saying the president is, quote, literally at war with the American people, um -- literally at war is a very serious thing, Al Qaeda is literally at war with the American people.

KURTZ: And has a deep-seated hatred for white people.

FRUM: And has a deep-seated hatred -- so it's inflammatory. And the thing that is so enraging about all this, is obviously people are getting more excited about that, than they do about the details of health insurance.

Interestingly, Kurtz a little later discusses Fox's flaming hypocrisy in backing anti-Obama protesters when previously it had dismissed anti-war protesters as "loons", something they were called out for by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show:

KURTZ: [H]asn't Fox, in fact, flipped -- some Fox hosts, I should say -- from slamming liberal protesters to defending these anti-Obama protesters?

That, in fact, is part of the bigger picture: The teabaggers are being inflamed and openly encouraged to act irrationally and disruptively by Fox News and its right-wing radio cohorts, specifically because they know that no matter how crazy they act -- even bringing guns to events featuring the president -- they will be actively defended for it, instead of exposed for the thugs they are.


KURTZ: Speaking of Fox News, there's a bit of a smack-down on the airwaves that we're going to play for you that goes to the question of how Fox is treating the protesters.

First, Jon Stewart, on "The Daily Show," played some clips to that effect. And then Bill O'Reilly came back the next night with a rebuttal. Let's show that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: When we cover the town hall meetings, we don't describe the protesters as loons.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Of course you don't describe the protesters as loons. What kind of monster would describe honest Americans voicing their political opinions that way?

O'REILLY: The surveys show many protesters are simply loons.

STEWART: All right. To be fair -- to be fair, those were protesters he agrees with.

O'REILLY: To be fair? Ha! Once again, Jon Stewart took the "loon" clip out of context. Here's what I really said...

There are the anti-Bush protesters here in New York City. While most of these people have been peaceful, more than 1,000 have been arrested, and surveys show many protesters are simply loons, calling for the destruction of the American system, calling for retreat in the face of terrorism.


KURTZ: And O'Reilly went on to say that he understands that Stewart is a satirist, but that he had been unfair in the way he had framed it.

So, Anne Kornblut, I'm sure "The Daily Show" does selective editing for comedic purposes, but isn't there a serious point here about who you describe protesters, depending on what the cause is?

ANNE KORNBLUT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I guess so. I'm glad he has a new target besides Olbermann. There's a new fight going on.

Sure. I mean, look, we have to be -- I think all of us here are careful about how we describe the protesters and giving them credence. They operate in a different universe. And certainly, I think, Jon Stewart's goal in all of this is to be funny first and probably accurate first-ish.


KURTZ: Clarence, hasn't Fox, in fact, flipped -- some Fox hosts, I should say -- from slamming liberal protesters to defending these anti-Obama protesters, some of which -- some of whom are very articulate and some of whom seem a little confused about some of the facts?


KURTZ: Yes, let's try that.

PAGE: ... to be fair that we are talking about the line being blurred between news and entertainment more than any of us could have imagined, except maybe in the world of Paddy Chayefsky's "Network" back in 1975. If you look at that now, you're seeing that kind of a circus unfold on cable TV now.

The real point underlying all this is that it's OK to slant your anchor coverage, if you will, to slant your shows on cable TV now...


KURTZ: But aren't these opinion shows? They're not anchors. They're not anchors, they're commentators.

PAGE: But, you know, again, how much of our audience out there understands the distinction? I mean, we're in this business, you know, and we make that distinction. But folk outs there -- I go to my video store and the guy says, "Oh, I get all my news from Bill O'Reilly." I like Bill, but getting all your news from any one place...

KURTZ: And MSNBC, some hosts, seem to be more inclined to go after these town hall protesters than they were to go after the anti- Bush demonstrators.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Right-wingers are always eager to dismiss the existence -- and the threat -- of far-right extremists

-- by Dave

Conservatives have been working like mad to whitewash out of public view the existence of violent right-wing extremists, only to run into one problem: They keep popping back up again, time after time. Darned reality intrudes again.

So when the Southern Poverty Law Center recently confirmed what we've been reporting at C&L for awhile now -- that the far-right "militia" movement of the 1990s was roaring back to life -- it really wasn't a big surprise when Fox ran a story quoting a bunch of various right-wing officials dismissing it:

"I think it's utter nonsense to say it's racial," said Carter Clews, spokesman at Americans for Limited Government. Clews said Obama's "doctrinaire socialistic approach to government" has triggered a populist backlash, but "it's inappropriate to use the word militia."

The SPLC report came just four months after the Department of Homeland Security issued a controversial report on "right-wing extremists." That assessment carried many of the same themes and warnings as the new "militia" report, also warning that the election of the first black president could be exploited as a recruiting tool.

According to data ALG obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the DHS relied in large part on news articles, questionable Web sites and several already-public SPLC reports -- not official government sources -- in writing its "right-wing extremists" report.

William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said the latest SPLC report suggests that DHS and the law center are relying largely on the same pool of information to make their claims about the rise in right-wing extremism.

"They are attempting to brand all right-of-center protesters as potential domestic terrorists or extremists," he said. "They are painting whole swaths of people as hate groups and extremists."

This is, of course, pure bunk of a sort: The report specifies that the key to considering someone under the influence of the Patriot movement is their willing adoption of the various conspiracy theories and provably false "facts" that form the bedrock of the movement's belief systems. Things like, for instance, believing Obama is actually a non-citizen born in Kenya.

So to the extent that the SPLC is branding "whole swaths" of people, that's only true as far as these kinds of far-right beliefs spread. Unfortunately, as we've seen with the adoption of "birther" beliefs by nearly half of all Republicans, that now includes a much broader swath of society than we'd heretofore suspected.

But that is not the SPLC's fault. Rather, all that point raises is serious questions about the direction that movement conservatism is now taking.

After all, all those Obama-hating crazies are not coming out of the woodwork in a vacuum.

Earlier this week, Keith Olbermann explored this in depth with the SPLC's Mark Potok. It's an enlightening discussion.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Gospel of Hate: Arizona pastor Steve Anderson spews bile toward Obama, Frank, and gays

-- by Dave

Pam Spaulding happened upon this character named Steven Anderson, who preaches from the pulpit at Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. I compiled some of the more, ah, interesting bits from the sermons I surveyed into the 20-minute audio above.

As you can hear, this is pure eliminationism with a Biblical veneer. First he demands that all gays and lesbians face the death penalty:

The same God who instituted the death penalty for murders is the same god who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals, sodomites and queers!

steve_39657.jpg That's what it was instituted for, okay? That's God, he hasn't changed. Oh, God doesn't feel that way in the New Testament ... God never "felt" anything about it, he commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed.

You know why God wanted the sodomites in the Old Testament to be killed? You know why every good king of Israel, the Bible says they got rid of the sodomites in the land? You know, the good kings that came after the bad kings who had allowed the sodomites to infest their land, they had infiltrated ... King Asa got the sodomites out of the land, Jehoshaphat exterminated the sodomites that were left from the days of his father, Asa. Why? Because the sodomites are infectious, that's why. Because they're not reproducers, that goes without saying, they're recruiters.

How are they multiplying? Do you not see that they're multiplying? Are you that blind? Have you noticed that there's more than there were last year and the year before, and the year before that? How are they multiplying? They're reproducing right? No, here's a biology lesson: they're not reproducers, they're recruiters! And you know who they're after? Your children. Remember you dropped off your kids last week? That's who they're after. You drop them off at some daycare, you drop them off at some school somewhere, you don't know where they're at. I'll tell you where they're at: they're being recruited by the sodomites. They're being molested by the sodomites. I can tell you so many stories about people that I know being molested and recruited by the sodomites.

They recruit through rape. They recruit through molestation. They recruit through violation. They are infecting our society. They are spreading their disease. It's not a physical disease, it's a sin disease, it's a wicked, filthy sin disease and it's spreading on a rampage. Can't you see that it's spreading on a rampage? I mean, can you not see that? Can you not see that it's just exploding in growth? Why? Because each sodomite recruits far more than one other sodomite because his whole life is about recruiting other sodomites, his whole life is about violating and hurting people and molesting 'em.

[Via RightWing Watch.]

Then he rips into Barney Frank, blaming him for the economic collapse:

I'm here to preach the Bible. And I'm sick to death -- hey, let me tell you something. Our country is run by faggots. You know who wrote this 700-billion-dollar bailout bill? You know who was the man who was the architect of the bailout? His name is Barney Franks, he is a pedophile, he has been arrested for uh, interacting with boys that are in their teenage years when he's in his 50s, it's in the news, he's been arrested for it. He is a pedophile, he is a homosexual, he has stood up in the floor of the sacred halls of justice and said, 'I am gay, I am a sodomite.'

That's Barney Frank, that's who just sold our country into fascism. That's who just sold our corporations to the government. That's who sold out our country, a faggot! And I'm here to tell you something! I'm not going to stand for it, and let a faggot run the church! It's bad enough that we've got a bunch of faggots running the government!

Most disturbing of all, you can hear him, in his Aug. 16 sermon titled "I Hate Barack Obama," not only openly avow his complete and utter hatred of the president, but openly wish for his death -- because of his support for abortion rights and the "lewdness" he supposedly has brought to American society.

His key motif, inspired by one of King David's imprecatory prayers against his enemies, is to compare Obama to a slug or snail and wishing he could pour salt on him:

Yeah, God appointed him to destroy this country for the wickedness of the United States of America. God appointed him because that's what our country has turned into. That's who we deserve as a president.

But let me tell you something: I don't love Barack Obama. I don't respect Barack Obama. I don't obey Barack Obama. And I'd like Barack Obama to melt like a snail tonight. Because he needs to recompense, he needs to reap what he's sown.

You see, any Christian will tell you that someone who commits murder should get the death penalty. Because that's what it says in Genesis Chapter 9, that's what it says in the Mosaic Law, that's what it teaches us throughout the Bible. 'Who so sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.' 'From the image of God created he Man.'

And when Barack Obama is gonna push his partial birth abortion, his salty saline solution abortion, hey, he deserves to be punished for what he's done. I'm not going to pray for God to bless Barack Obama. This is my prayer tonight to Barack Obama.

...Now, look, if somebody wants me, it somebody twisted my arm and tells me to pray for Barack Obama, this is what I'm going to pray, because this is the only prayer that applies to him: 'Break his teeth, O God, in his mouth. You know, as a snail which melteth, let him pass away. Like the untimely birth of a woman, that he thinks -- he calls it a woman's right to choose, you know, he thinks it's so wonderful. He ought to be aborted. It ought to be, 'Abort Obama.'

He goes on to equate Obama with Hitler, Stalin, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Then he explains:

You say why are you preaching this, you know what? Because it makes me mad. I'm mad. I don't know about you, but I'm fed up tonight. I'm angry tonight. Because I'm angered by a bunch of preachers who want to sit back, and let America go to hell, let our freedoms go to hell, let the souls of Americans go to hell, and we all just sit back and just, we're comfortable, we're lazy, we're lukewarm, we're neither cold nor hot, and we want to come to church and have our ears tickled. Hey! This isn't to tickle your ears, it's to give you a swift kick in the pants tonight! 'Cuz that's what you need every once in awhile!

... But I'm here to tell you tonight, that God is a God of wrath and vengeance. And that's the message that oughta be thundering from every pulpit in America today. People oughta be trembling today. People in America oughta be scared to death and trembling! And saying, 'Oh God! What are you gonna do to our country?! Oh, God! Are we gonna be able to survive?! Oh, God! Are you gonna allow us to go into the depths of socialism, and communism with Barack Obama!?'

Anderson goes on to mangle Obama's personal history, buying whole into the "birther" mythology that Obama was actually born in Kenya (using a bevy of racist stereotypes along the way), and then says that people like Obama are "so wicked" that they become "animals" who are "not human" and "past feeling."

That leads to this:

Let me tell you something: Barack Obama has wrought lewdness in America. America has become lewd. What does lewd mean? L-E-W-D? [Pause] Obscene. Right? Dirty. Filthy. Homosexuality. Promiscuity. All of the -- everything that's on the billboard, the TV. Sensuality. Lewdness! We don't even know what lewdness means anymore! We're just surrounded by it, inundated with it!

... And yet you're going to tell me that I'm supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things -- you're gonna tell me I'm supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he's in Phoenix, Arizona.

Nope. I'm not gonna pray for his good. I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell. When I go to bed tonight, that's what I'm going to pray. And you say, 'Are you just saying that?' No. When I go to bed tonight, Steven L. Anderson is going to pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.

You say, 'Why would you do that?' That our country could be saved.

ChattahBox has more.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.