Saturday, October 17, 2009

Limbaugh, conservatives and the 'bloody shirt': The right has a long history of turning bullies into victims

-- by Dave

Bill O'Reilly held an extended whinefest on The O'Reilly Factor Thursday night about how poor Rush Limbaugh was the victim of a "witch hunt" by racial political-correctness police. For a bunch of people of pooh-pooh the "victimology" of minorities, it would be hard to find a bigger bunch of crybabies than American right-wingers these days.

Indeed, that's a key part of what's going on here: In addition to Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity later that evening, O'Reilly -- with Juan Williams chiming in with his usual sycophancy, agreeing wholeheartedly that Limbaugh is being victimized by the conservative Republicans who run the NFL -- is basically claiming that blacks and liberals who are bringing up Limbaugh's long history of racially incendiary rhetoric are "waving the bloody shirt" -- "the demagogic practice of politicians referencing the blood of martyrs or heroes to inspire support or avoid criticism."

Watch how O'Reilly and Williams focus on three apparently bogus quotes attributed to Limbaugh -- while ignoring a mountain of genuine quotes that make the point irrevocable: Limbaugh does like to play the race card with divisive and false claims, and he does it with great frequency.

The one sane commentator O'Reilly brings on -- talk-show host Warren Ballentine -- manages to make this point with a handful of counter-examples, but even that is not really representative.

For every three bogus Limbaugh quotes, it's a very simple matter to provide thirty bona-fide comments that are consistent examples of real race-baiting rhetoric from Limbaugh.

But this is an old tactic of American conservatives: Turn their own foul behavior on its head, and accuse those who would hold them accountable for it. That's what "waving the bloody shirt" has always been about, since the phrase was first coined.

Wikipedia again:

... In American history, it gained popularity with an incident in which Benjamin Franklin Butler of Massachusetts, when making a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, allegedly held up the shirt of a carpetbagger whipped by the Ku Klux Klan.

That's not the half of it. Stephen Budiansky, in his amazing book The Bloody Shirt: Terror After the Civil War, has the rest of the story (excerpted in the New York Times):

The sequel was this—or at least this was the story everyone in Monroe County believed, and in time everyone in Mississippi and the whole South had heard it, too. That a U.S. Army lieutenant who was stationed nearby recovered the bloody night-shirt that Huggins had worn that night, and he carried it to Washington, D.C., and there he presented it to congressman Benjamin F. Butler, and in a fiery speech on the floor of the United States Congress a few weeks later in which he denounced Southern outrages and called for passage of a bill to give the federal government the power to break the Ku Klux terror, Butler had literally waved this blood-stained token of a Northern man’s suffering at the hand of the Ku Klux. And so was born the memorable phrase, “waving the bloody shirt.”

Waving the bloody shirt: it would become the standard retort, the standard expression of dismissive Southern contempt whenever a Northern politician mentioned any of the thousands upon thousands of murders, whippings, mutilations, and rapes that were perpetrated against freedmen and women and white Republicans in the South in those years. The phrase was used over and over during the Reconstruction era. It was a staple of the furious and sarcastic editorials that filled Southern newspapers in those days, of the indignant orations by Southern white political leaders who protested that no people had suffered more, been humiliated more, been punished more than they had. The phrase has since entered the standard American political lexicon, a synonym for any rabble-rousing demagoguery, any below-the-belt appeal aimed at stirring old enmities.

That the Southerners who uttered this phrase were so unconcerned about the obvious implications it carried for their own criminality, however, seems remarkable; for whoever was waving the shirt, there was unavoidably, or so one would think, the matter of just whose blood it was, and how it had got there. That white Southerners would unabashedly trace the origin of this metaphor to a real incident involving an unprovoked attack of savage barbarity carried out by their own most respectable members of Southern white society makes it all the more astonishing.

Most astonishing of all was the fact that the whole business about Allen Huggins’s bloody shirt being carried to Washington and waved on the House floor by Benjamin Butler was a fiction.

The story about Huggins being whipped by the Ku Klux was true enough. Huggins was whipped on that bright moonlit night so ferociously that he could barely walk for a week or two afterward, so ferociously that in a burning anger that overcame any fear of his own death he traveled to Washington to testify before Congress and then returned to Monroe County with a deputy U.S. marshal’s badge and a determination to arrest every man he could lay his hands on who had been a part of the reign of Ku Klux murder and terror in those parts. And Benjamin Butler—“Beast Butler,” as he was invariably called in the Southern press, the man who had committed the unpardonable insult against Southern womanhood as the Union occupation commander in New Orleans during the war with his order that the next Southern woman who insulted his troops on the street would be “regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation”— this nemesis of the South, now a congressman from Massachusetts, did indeed make a long, impassioned speech about the Ku Klux outrages on the House floor that April, and did tell the story of Huggins’s brutal beating in the course of it.

But nowhere in the Congressional Globe’s transcripts of every word that was uttered on the House floor is there any allusion to a bloody shirt; nowhere in the press accounts of the leading papers of the time is there any mention of a crazed congressman waving a blood-stained garment, on the floor or off; nowhere in any reports of Huggins’s appearances before Congress does such a story appear. That part never happened.

What was more, this was not the first time that Southerners had invented the fiction that Northerners were given to making fetishes of blood-stained tokens of their victimhood at Southern hands. The same story had cropped up fifteen years earlier in connection with another Massachusetts politician equally reviled in the South, Senator Charles Sumner.

Once again the beating was a fact, the alleged Northern reaction to it a fantasy. Furious at the insult to Southern honor Sumner had committed in a speech attacking slavery and the morality of the slave owner, South Carolina congressman Preston Brooks had approached Sumner in the Senate chamber, stood over his desk, and beat him on the head thirty times with his gold-headed cane until Sumner crumpled to the floor in a pool of his own blood.

And sure enough, Southerners were soon saying that Sumner’s bloody coat had become a revered “holy relic” in Yankee and abolitionist circles. Sumner, they said, had carried his own blood-encrusted garment to England to show the Duchess of Argyle, when she invited him to dinner; had placed it in the hands of an awe-struck John Brown, before his fateful raid on Harper’s Ferry; had put it on public display in Exeter Hall. “All the abject whines of Mr. Sumner, for being well whipped,” wrote one Southerner in 1856, a few months after the event, “all the exhibitions of his bloody shirt to stale Boston virgins who, in vexation of having failed to secure a man, would now wed a Sumner, have proved futile.” Years later, years after the Civil War, scornful stories about Northerners exhibiting Sumner’s bloody shirt were still being circulated in the South. Not a scrap of it was true.

A footnote, but a telling one: To white conservative Southerners, the outrage was never the acts they committed, only the effrontery of having those acts held against them. The outrage was never the “manly” inflicting of “well-deserved” punishment on poltroons, only the craven and sniveling whines of the recipients of their wrath. And the outrage was never the violent defense of “honor” by the aristocrat, only the vulgar rabble-rousing by his social inferior. “The only article the North can retain for herself is that white feather which she has won in every skirmish,” declared one Southerner, speaking of the Sumner–Brooks affair. Only a coward would revel in a token of his own defeat.

The bloody shirt captured the inversion of truth that would characterize the distorted memories of Reconstruction that the nation would hold for generations after. The way it made a victim of the bully and a bully of the victim, turned the very blood of their African American victims into an affront against Southern white decency, turned the very act of Southern white violence into wounded Southern innocence; the way it suggested that the real story was never the atrocities white Southerners committed but only the attempt by their political enemies to make political hay out of it. The mere suggestion that a partisan motive was behind the telling of these tales was enough to satisfy most white Southerners that the events never happened, or were exaggerated, or even that they had been conspiratorially engineered by the victims themselves to gain sympathy or political advantage.

To Bill O'Reilly and Juan Williams and the rest of the Fox crew, the outrage is never the atrocities they actually uttered, only the effrontery of having those atrocities held against them. They all want to make a victim of the bully and a bully of the victim. Their narrative is that the real story is not the atrocities that Rush Limbaugh utters but only the attempt by his political enemies to make political hay out of it.

But then, they're working out of a long and storied tradition when they do.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Another Glenn Beck weepfest, because Americans need to wake up to the evil Marxist radicals in the White House. Hooboy.

-- by Dave

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Glenn Beck ended his show with another his patented weepfests yesterday. It was special. And not just because it was about as sincere as the last time we saw Beck cry.

No, this one was special because it was accompanied by a loopy rant about how "life was simple" in the Golden Days of America, and then rambled into a weird metaphor comparing the nation to teenagers who innocently get stuck at a party and have to come home to mom and dad and face the music.

No, really. I'm not exaggerating.

Apparently the straying behavior for which we have to face the consequences now has something to do with having elected Barack Obama as President. Because the entire preceding show was a rant attacking the White House as riddled with "radical Marxists" who want to transform America into a communist state.

What got him especially worked up was this video featuring White House Communication Director, Anita Dunn:

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Well, Beck will somewhat rightly get to claim this as a coup -- Dunn reportedly is on her way out anyway, but Beck will get to claim he helped push her -- because it's frankly a pretty dumb statement to say that Mao and Mother Teresa are two of your favorite political philosophers. (Both leave a lot to be desired, frankly.) Per "Revolution," "When you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao ..."

Now, I always thought people who rejected Marxist thought out of hand were playing into their hands, so I have read Mao's "Little Red Book." And there is wisdom to be found there, along with a tyrant's blindness. Still, the line from Mao that Dunn quoted was not only innocuous, it is -- like much of Mao's "philosophy" -- rather generic in nature. Who, after all, can really object to the admonition to persevere in the face of being told to give up? Certainly not Glenn Beck.

No, he just objects because the person who said it was Mao.

Look, Anita Dunn never said she subscribed to Communist ideology; she just said she admired Mao's writings. (At times, even ardent anti-Communists like George W. Bush admitted to being fascinated by Mao.) There is, in fact, a substantial difference.

Still, Beck is all worked up because he thinks radical Marxists have taken over the White House -- even though the best he can come up with is McCarthyite smears like this. We've been bad teenagers, letting these evil radicals into the government.

You have to wonder what he thinks the consequences of that ought to be.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Glenn Beck has a theory on brontosauruses, and it is his, and what it is too

Watching Glenn Beck descend into yet another of his bizarre chalkboard rants earlier this week, it occurred to me I had heard a similar theory once: Miss Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses.

The Wikipedia entry observes:

The skit coined the concept of "Elk Theories" to describe scientific observations that are not theories but merely minimal accounts.

I've also heard the term "Elk Theories" used to describe hypotheses that mean nothing and prove nothing.

Which, you know, is what Beck's bizarre "six degrees" guilt-by-association "theory" comes down to. One can play this game with anyone. It wouldn't take six degrees to connect Glenn Beck to Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Timoth McVeigh, if he wants to play that game. But it wouldn't prove anything, would it?

Except, of course, that Glenn Beck is becoming so detached from reality that his programs are now unintentional comedy skits. And no, Glenn, we're not laughing with you. We're laughing at you.

Enjoy the mashup.


For the Python fans who find it sacrilegious to run the "Miss Anne Elk" skit alongside Glenn Beck, here's the original version from Monty Python's Flying Circus, Episode 31 (1972):

And for the true aficionados, here's the audio file of the original version of the skit, which first appeared on Monty Python's Previous Record (1972). It's actually much, much funnier:

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Sean Hannity helps Jerome Corsi promote his black-helicopter 'New World Order' conspiracy theories

-- by Dave

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Sean Hannity hosted not one but two whole segments last night devoted promoting the new book by Jerome Corsi -- godfather of the Swift-Boating of John Kerry -- titled America For Sale, which is basically an extended black-helicopter-style conspiracy tome straight out of the Patriot movement of the 1990s, updated for the new century.

This is a classic case of conservatives mainstreaming extremist ideas. I haven't read all of Corsi's book yet, but it differs very little in ideas and content and overall thesis from the kinds of books you could buy at militia-meeting tables in the '90s.

I haven't yet found whether Corsi decided to include his recent reportage for WorldNetDaily detailing the nefarious Obama conspiracy to round up conservatives and imprison them in concentration camps. Hannity managed to not bring up that point last night.

But yes, that's what Corsi wrote:



The proposed bill, which has received little mainstream media attention, appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.

Funny, I still have a Militia of Montana book that outlines this very same nefarious plot being concocted by Bill Clinton.

As Steven Thomma explained for McClatchy:

In truth, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., has proposed a bill that would order the Homeland Security Department to prepare national emergency centers — to provide temporary housing and medical facilities in national emergencies such as hurricanes. The bill also would allow the centers to be used to train first responders, and for "other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security."

Of course, Corsi and Hannity aren't the only ostensibly mainstream conservatives peddling this paranoiac fearmongering: So is Michelle Bachmann, among others:

"There is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service," Bachmann told a Minnesota radio station.

"And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."

It's also cropping up quite a bit at Tea Party gatherings. That's where you find outfits like the "Oath Keepers," whose organization is built around resisting citizen roundups.

Why, exactly, does Sean Hannity so avidly promote Jerome Corsi and his conspiracy theories anyway? Look at his record:

Corsi is also a frequent participant in's online forums, posting under the pseudonym "jrlc" since 2001. (Click here to read a full set of Corsi's posts; click here to read the post in which "jrlc" admits to being Jerome Corsi.)

On, Corsi has, among other things, said that "ragheads" are "boy buggers"; referred to "John F*ing Kerry"; called Senator Hillary Clinton a "Fat Hog"; referred to her daughter as "Chubby Chelsie" Clinton; referred to Janet Reno as "Janet Rhino"; called Katie Couric "Little Katie Communist"; suggested Kerry was "practicing Judaism"; and expressed the wish that a small plane that had crashed into a building in Los Angeles had instead crashed into the set of NBC'S The West Wing, thereby killing actor Martin Sheen.

After penning the Swift Boat book, Corsi co-authored a book with Jim Gilchrist about the wonderful Minuteman movement. It included a chapter devoted to extolling the virtues of then-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, who wanted to run Orange County the way Joe Arpaio runs Maricopa County. Except that Mike Carona was actually a corrupt cop who wound up resigning.

Then he wrote his first outright conspiracy tome: The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger With Mexico and Canada which ostensibly exposed secret plans to form a "North American Union" by combining the three countries into one. He evidently folds that theory into his latest book.

obama-nation-v1_584e9.jpg Then he wrote last year's The Obama Nation (get it? Abomination/Obama Nation?) which was the usual farrago of distortions, fabrications, and outright falsehoods we've come to expect from him. In between, he helped drum up media interest in the phony Ramos/Compean case.

There are mainstream conservatives who have spoken out about how badly this kind of embrace of extremism by movement leaders reflects on their ideology. But as we pointed out then, it's much more deeply entrenched than they realize.

And it's a large part of the reason we're now seeing militias come crawling out of the woodwork. For that, we can thank not just Corsi but Hannity too.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Memo to Glenn Beck: As long as you're making corrections ...

-- by Dave

Dear Glenn Beck:

You like to regularly tell your audience -- often during one of those faux-humility schticks -- that you only report the truth, that your credibility is "everything" to you, and that your material is rigorously fact-checked, and by golly that if you get something wrong, folks just have to let you know and you'll correct it right there on that program.

Thing is, you produce such a torrent of falsehoods it's hard to keep up. And you routinely ignore it when it's pointed out to you.

Apparently the only time you'll acknowledge a factual falsehood is when it's pointed out by the White House. Yesterday, responding Anita Dunn's criticisms of Fox -- which included some specifics about your various errors of fact -- you finally admitted to a correction:

Beck: They are more worried about the war on Fox than the actual war in Afghanistan. And boy, there are some zingers. They say that we are completely irresponsible. Like when I said -- this is one they pointed out -- when I said that Major Garrett was never called on. Let me -- let me just correct that huge error right up front. He has been called on. Yeah.

Another one they point out is when I called Van Jones a radical, communist, anarchist czar. The White House would like me to remind you that, uh, he wasn't really a czar. ... I didn't think that was really the problem with that, but maybe I don't understand how this game works anymore.

I am so busted! I'm glad the White House has cleared up that very, very important fact for the future of America.

That's good, Glenn. Now maybe you can issue some corrections on other things -- including, the other things you called Van Jones (since calling him a "radical communist anarchist" is so self-evidently nonsensical, not to mention a McCarthyite smear, it's likely the White House chose not to debunk that because it's not worth dignifying). For starters, how about the time you falsely called Van Jones a "convicted felon"?

BECK: We've spent some time over here. There is so much more to cover, but I want to talk to you about the green movement root. I couldn't figure out why the green movement -- here is Van Jones. This is a convicted felon, a guy who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating.

And while you're at it, here are some other corrections you need to make for your audience:

-- Those "bombs" being set off by nefarious eco-terrorists? There were no bombs -- just a land excavator.

-- Those scary black militants doing a team martial-arts routine? They were actually a dance troupe.

-- That nefarious Diego Rivera painting in the Rockefeller Center? It was removed on Rockefeller's orders. (Heck, just watch Cradle Will Rock sometime; the painting figures prominently in the plot.)

-- Those 1.7 million protesters who showed up for the 9-12 event? Um, dude, it was closer to 60,000. Little bitta difference there.

-- Just like Van Jones, Peter Orszag isn't a "czar." He passed congressional approval.

-- UAW workers do not make $154 an hour.

-- Unions do not, as you've claimed, need only 30 percent approval from employees in order to be established. It's still the usual 51 percent.

-- Those "doors replaced with stimulus funds? They were hangar doors. And they didn't cost "$1.4 million." More like $256,100. Again, bitta difference.

-- Contrary to your claim that "only 3 percent" of the stimulus plan would be spent in its first year, the actual plan calls for closer to 21 percent of the plan spent in the first seven-and-a-half months alone.

-- Just because we can breathe it doesn't disqualify carbon dioxide from consideration as a pollutant -- particularly at high levels. You breathe carbon monoxide in nontoxic quantities all the time, too.

-- Contrary to your sneering claim, Paul Krugman not only didn't miss the housing bubble, he was one of the few to be warning about it long in advance.

Those are just some of the more recent falsehoods you've broadcast, entirely since you've come aboard at Fox.

But somehow -- considering how non-seriously you took your obligations to correct the false facts already pointed out to you -- we really don't expect you to actually correct them. Because it would take a long time and would be really embarrassing, and you don't do embarrassing -- except when it's time to spring a gusher.

No, it's much easier to rant that the White House -- in calling you out for your relentless, paranoid, fact-deprived attacks on the Obama administration as an enclave of scary militant black radicals who want to remake the USA into a communist/anarchist/fascist/whatever state -- is "trying to shut this network down." Surround Fox headquarters on a map with toy tanks. Whatever.

Of course, no one's trying to shut Fox down. That would be absurd and futile. But it would be nice if, eventually, you all would live up to the claim to be a "news" operation instead of the vicious propaganda machine you have become -- especially with the likes of you aboard.

Sincerely, Dave

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fox whines that White House 'attacks' confuse news with opinion -- in a 'news story' that gives only one side

-- by Dave

As we mentioned elsewhere, the folks at Fox News were all up in arms Monday about Anita Dunn's scathing commentary in which she pointed out the cold truth: Fox News has become a propaganda arm of the Republican Party. In fact, the outraged howls could be heard on every Fox program yesterday (except Shep Smith's).

Fox's chief defense is that the White House is confusing its opinion shows with its news coverage. It ran one such "news story" outlining the "attacks" by the White House on Fox, which included the following fine whine from Fox News Senior Vice President Michael Clemente:

"It's astounding the White House cannot distinguish between news and opinion programming. It seems self-serving on their part."

Actually, the White House is not alone. Indeed, anyone watching Fox News throughout the day will suffer much of the same confusion.

Fox is trying to pretend that only on its "opinion shows" such as Glenn Beck, The O'Reilly Factor, and Hannity is there free-ranging criticism of President Obama and his administration. But that's a load of hooey.

If you watch Fox's daytime "news" programs -- from Fox & Friends to Happening Now to Special Report with Bret Baier (where this report aired) -- you'll find that, while they lack the viciousness of the "opinion" programs, they nonetheless are heavily slanted with an anti-administration bias. "Reporters" like Carl Cameron and James Rosen constantly bring on Republican spokespeople and reliably transmit GOP talking points as though they represent fact (when in reality they usually have an estranged relationship with the truth). Anchors like Gretchen Carlson and Trace Gallagher regularly comment on the news they're reporting with an unmistakable right-wing slant.

A classic case, in fact, is this very "news" story that ran both on Baier's segment and earlier on Happening Now: It is wholly a defensive piece of propaganda that reliably gives the Fox News line -- comparing Obama's recognition of cold reality with Richard Nixon's paranoid "enemies list" -- with no attempt whatsoever to explain the White House's point of view.

If you wanted to see why the White House might confuse Fox's "news" programming with its "opinion" shows, one need look no further than this "news report" itself. Speaking of "self-serving."

Of course, there is a mountain of such examples already plunked in the middle of our national discourse. The most notorious recent such case was Fox's ardent promotion of the anti-Obama Tea Parties, beginning back in April and continuing through the "Tea Party Express, which produced such "news" segments as the one where Griff Jenkins was openly cheerleading the tea parties, and a Fox producer was caught working up the crowd to cheer. Then, of course, there was the whole 9-12 event, which Fox not only avidly promoted (it was, after all, wholly the creation of Fox's Glenn Beck) but actually attacked other networks for ostensibly failing to cover it as avidly as they did.

But that's just scratching the surface. Everyone knows it -- and Fox just wants to pretend it all away.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Delusions of grandeur: Militia video warns President Obama to leave the country by Oct. 15

-- by Dave

Rob Waters at Hatewatch happened to catch the above short-lived video the other day:

It advises President Obama and other prominent people (“Our Dear Leader and co.”) to “leave now and give us our country back” and to do so by next week.

“If you stay,” the silent video message continues, “ ‘We, The People’ will systematically dismantle you, destroy you and reclaim what is rightfully ours. …

“We are angry and we are ready to take back the rights of the people. We will fight and We will win. …

“Dead line [sic] for your national response: October 15, 2009

“Thank you to all patriots who support our cause. … Be prepared for when the fateful day of the declaration of war is nationally announced.”

As the post notes in an update, the video was taken down shortly after it appeared on the SPLC site with no explanation. However, we managed to capture it before then and have reproduced it here in its original form, with a C&L tag at the end.

The "National Militia, Soldiers of Freedom" is not a known organization of any kind. Most likely it is some guy sitting in his basement.

This is about 99.99999999 percent certain to be just so much hot air from the "Patriot" movement and its attendant lunatic fringe. It reminds me of the threat to organize a "Million Man Militia" march back in July that never came close to materializing.

These kinds of delusions of grandeur are endemic to the Patriot movement, and are part and parcel of the grand paranoia about a looming New World Order planning to imprison conservatives and the radical communist regime of Barack Obama. That is, not only do they wildly imagine the nefarious conspiracy out to destroy America, but their imaginations similarly run riot when assessing their own breadth and strength -- not mention their abilities to act on their fantasies.

Still, the spread of this kind of rhetoric underscores the violent mindset of the militia units we now see forming at various locales around the country. Eventually, someone competent is going to act on it. And it's clearly being abetted by the wild fearmongering being promulgated by the likes of Glenn Beck and other right-wing pundits.

Indeed, you have to wonder if this is the kind of thing Glenn Beck had in mind in his recent interview with Newsmax:

"I fear a Reichstag moment," he said, referring to the 1933 burning of Germany's parliament building in Berlin that the Nazis blamed on communists and Hitler used as an excuse to suspend constitutional liberties and consolidate power.

"God forbid, another 9/11. Something that will turn this machine on, and power will be seized and voices will be silenced."

Of course, I think we can predict now that if there is another Oklahoma City -- rather than a 9/11 -- Glenn Beck will also be calling it a "Reichstag moment" and claiming it's the product of a government conspiracy to clamp down on civil rights.

This is why he and the rest of the right-wing chorus have been so eager to dismiss the existence of right-wing extremists -- even in the face of obvious evidence that the violent crazies are coming out of the woodwork. We can thank the tea parties for providing the fertile ground for much of this rhetoric.

If you want a sampling of how bad it's getting, check out the video below, which I captured from the same YouTube site as the one that hosted the "warning" video. The owner stocks it up with Alex Jones conspiracy videos, but this profile of the militias caught my eye:

The main militiaman featured in this is a fellow, evidently from Oklahoma, who calls himself "July4Patriot" and is one of the key players in an outfit of veterans who call themselves the "Oath Keepers". They're organized around a batch of wild conspiracy theories involving supposed plans to use the military to begin rounding up American citizens and placing them in concentration camps.

Indeed, you can see "July4Patriot" -- whose real name is Marine Sgt. Charles Dyer -- in action at a July 4 "Tea Party" in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in the video we snagged earlier this summer. At that event, Dyer ranted at length about the supposed roundup conspiracy.

There's a growing contingent of people out there on the fringes who not only really believe Glenn Beck when he warns that the government wants to destroy America, but think he's being too tame. And of course, the crazier his claims become, the farther out to sea they all go.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Glenn Beck thinks non-citizens shouldn't be counted in the Census

-- by Dave

Glenn Beck devoted a long rant last night to his contention that the U.S. Census Bureau shouldn't be counting what he blithely calls "illegal aliens" -- i.e., undocumented immigrants.

But his argument -- that we shouldn't be counting people who can't vote -- doesn't merely cut against the undocumented. It cuts against all immigrants -- who, by definition, are also already non-citizens.

Moreover, the Census Bureau isn't charged with accurately counting the number of citizens living within the United States -- it's charged with counting the entire population.

What Beck wants Census to do -- that is, to exclude non-citizens from its count -- is in direct violation of its charter, which is to count the population whole:

The Census Bureau does not ask about legal (migrant) status of respondents in any of its survey and census programs. As examples, in the decennial census, the American Community Survey, and Current Population Survey as there is no legislative mandate to collect this information. Given the success of Census 2000 in counting nearly every person residing in the United States, we expect that unauthorized migrants were included among people who indicated that the United States was their usual place of residence on the survey date. The foreign-born population includes naturalized U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, temporary migrants (e.g., foreign students), humanitarian migrants (e.g., refugees), and unauthorized migrants (people illegally present in the United States).

Beck would have the Census omit not just unauthorized migrants, but also lawful permanent residents, humanitarian migrants, and foreign-born residents here legally.

Of course, he's arguing for this because he believes counting the undocumented will give the eeeeevil SEIU more power in its quest for total global domination or something like that. You have to watch the video to get it all, and even then it never quite holds together, much less make sense.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Michael Moore makes mincemeat out of Hannity's fake 'hospital' video footage from Cuba

-- by Dave

Someone really should have thought twice before letting Sean Hannity embarrass himself with the failed stunt he tried in his interview with Michael Moore, the second half of which aired last night on Fox.

Hannity wanted to make a point about how health care in Cuba is so much worse than it is in the YooEssAy -- in contradistinction to Moore's own reportage -- so he offered what he called special video footage he had been provided of a "hospital" in Cuba.

What we then see is a rattletrap mess with old beds and rotting toilets, etc. But Moore notices what should be obvious: There are no patients, either.

Ah, but wait! We shortly see footage of patients in a hospital. But they're in an obviously different building (or at least wing), because this room is clean and the beds and equipment sanitary and well-tended. But we only get to see them for a few seconds before -- swoop! -- off we go back to the rat's nest.

Which is obviously an abandoned hospital or wing, which is certainly not unheard of, even in the YooEssAy.

Moore, of course, laughs at all of this with glee. Hannity quickly changes the subject, since his oh-so-convincing video evidence just makes him look as bad as he has recently in his Jennings Jihad.

You'd think Hannity & Co. would know better than to try to run such hamhandedly edited footage past an experienced filmmaker like Moore. This was so amateurish that they all should just be embarrassed.

But they're too arrogant and too stupid to be so.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Disturbing explosives case: Family ran a day care with bomb-making material and neo-Nazi lit in the back

-- by Dave

Fox News' Trace Gallagher got all excited Thursday reporting some news out of California:

Gallagher: We're told that a man has been injured in an explosion. Reportedly he injured his hand. Now here's the key: You'd think a guy injuring his hand in an explosion -- this is in Lake Elsinore, which is about 45 miles northeast of San Diego -- the man apparently was handling explosives including, ah, triacetone triperoxide. The FBI is now involved in this. This is the same type of explosive that Najibulah Zazi is accused of trying to build. It is highly unstable and highly powerful. And remember those chemicals that Najibulah Zazi is accused of having? They're still missing. So now in San Diego, or just north of San Diego, someone blows up his hand, using similar chemicals in a powerful, highly unstable bomb. The FBI is now on it. We'll bring you more information on that as it comes in here to the Live Desk. This could be key.

Yep, they were hoping it would be part of their favorite new storyline about radical Islamists hiding out in American suburbs and preparing to strike with a fresh round of terrorist acts.

But then the next day, Jane Skinner had the follow-up on Happening Now: It had nothing to do with Najibullah Zazi or his terrorist cells. This was a project undertaken by a young white man, working out of the garage of his mother's place there in Lake Elsinore.

Oh, and his mother's place was a licensed day-care facility. So while Mom was taking care of a houseful of kids, Junior was in the garage whipping up a fresh batch of bombs. From the L.A. Times:

Benjamin Kuzelka allegedly was making an explosive device when it accidentally detonated about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, deputies said. He suffered an injury to one hand. About 20 minutes later, deputies said, he showed up at a local hospital saying that he had accidentally shot himself with a gun.

"His injuries were inconsistent with a gunshot wound and doctors called the police," said Deputy Melissa Nieburger, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

Deputies went to the Kuzelka home on a cul-de-sac in the 30500 block of Audelo Street. Property records list Rebecca Kuzelka as the sole owner of the house, which was built in 1983.

Inside the home, Nieburger said, deputies found materials used to make explosives, as well as a sophisticated indoor marijuana growing room.

Authorities did not say how many marijuana plants allegedly were found in the home or disclose the type of explosive materials that were uncovered. A law enforcement source told The Times that substances found at the home were similar to acetone peroxide, or TATP, the same type of powerful explosive used in the 2007 London subway terrorist bombings. There was no evidence that the Lake Elsinore incident was related to terrorism, the source said.

Nieburger said deputies had not determined how many children Rebecca Kuzelka cared for at her home. No children were present at the time of the explosion, authorities said.

And that wasn't all. According to a couple of local reports:

Nazi paraphenalia was also found inside the home.

Everyone's mum about the possibility that the explosives were connected to terrorist activity. But with that kind of background and given the nature of TATP manufacture -- it tends to be a project only for people serious about blowing things up -- that shouldn't be ruled out.

All of which puts some perspective on Gallagher's speculation of the day before. Yes, it was connected to terrorism -- just not the kind of terrorism he was thinking about.

Which likewise underscores the nature of the terrorist beast: He's not always a brown-skinned guy from another country. Sometimes he's the strange right-wing white family that lives next door. But then, Fox never concerns itself with that kind of terrorism.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.