Saturday, February 13, 2010

O'Reilly Thinks The Rest Of The Media Disrespect The Tea Party Protesters. Unlike How Fox Treated Anti-war Protesters.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Bill O'Reilly was kvetching earlier this week about how the rest of the mainstream media -- besides Fox News, of course -- was biased against the Tea Party movement because "they like to look down on the folks." Unlike the Real Americans at Fox.

He even went so far as to claim his crack staff of researchers had sifted through "thousands" of news stories and managed to find only two that were rated as "positive." Of course, judging by the news standards at Fox, "positive" coverage is indistinguishable from "promotional propaganda" at any other news outlet. Moreover, most journalists consider it their job to be neutral in reporting these matters, not "positive." Unless, of course, they work for Fox.

So let's just say that we're guessing the methodology of O'Reilly's researchers is questionable.
But the most revealing an interesting moment came in the following segment, when O'Reilly brought in fellow Fox sage Brit Hume to ruminate on his thesis. Hume made the following observation:
HUME: Well, I think also, Bill, it's fair to make a comparison between the kind of coverage let's say the big anti-war demonstrations that went on during the last part of the — last parts of the Bush administration, the kind of coverage they got. They there would be a parade of extremists up on the platform saying the most remarkable things and the coverage in a lot of mainstream media outlets would be focused on the nice couples and the little families that are down in the crowd and their kind of civic.

O'REILLY: That's a great analogy. It's a great..
Yeah, that's a very interesting analogy indeed. Especially considering the way Fox covered those same anti-war protesters, especially in contrast to its glowing coverage of the Tea Parties:
Media Matters' review of Fox News' coverage of prior demonstrations finds that the network offered no such promotional coverage of 2003 and 2005 protests opposing the Iraq war, the 2006 immigrants' rights protests, or other demonstrations in support of progressive positions. Instead, the network's hosts, contributors, and guests often attacked participants in those protests.
Leading the pitchfork parade against the anti-war protesters, of course, was Bill O'Reilly. Some examples:
O'REILLY: I called some of the anti-war demonstrators anti-American when they start saying that a -- the United States is a terrorist nation and, you know, giving us this revisionist history that -- this one and that one, we did this and that, and, you know, there's a line. We respect dissent here, by the way. If you're against the war, and -- that's fine, and we respect that. But, once you start attacking your country as fundamentally an evil place, which some of these anti-war people have done, then you're anti-American, in my opinion.
O'REILLY: All right. I believe there's a heavy strain. I don't think everybody -- And I know everybody -- I think there are some sincere peace demonstrators. I just think they haven't thought it through.

I always say to people who are doing this, remember Vietnam and remember Cambodia. What happened there, OK?

Because for every cause there's an effect, all right?

So you don't want Saddam Hussein removed for whatever your reason may be, but you can't guarantee anybody that this guy, a proven killer, will not turn around and do something very heinous. And then what happens? Are you responsible for that?
And then there were Foxheads like Fred Barnes:
BARNES: You know, I was struck by how uninformed and morally empty these demonstrations were.


BARNES: These demonstrators are both morally vacuous, they're stupid, they're disingenuous.


BARNES: They just don't want a war and they hate the U.S., Mort's right about that.
Or Sean Hannity:
HANNITY: Had we listened to the appeasement movement, the pacifist movement, the same protesters back then as the ones today, the world wouldn't be a safer place. Why do they even have any credibility based on their failure after failure, historically speaking?


HANNITY: Steven, by the way, these are Marxist groups. They do organize this thing with very anti-American ideas. I don't believe every anti-war protester is anti-American. I'm not suggesting that.
Ah, but that's not "looking down on the folks." That's "looking down on the liberals." Who, by the Fox definition, are not people.

Michigan Militiamen Insist They're Just Ordinary Folks With Guns And A Deep Paranoia About The Government

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

It's not news to regular C&L readers that militias are forming again in rural areas, a reality confirmed this summer by the SPLC.

It's deja vu all over again. And just as they did in the '90s, they're all insisting they really are just sincere patriots concerned about the looming tyranny of the federal government. And just as in the '90s, journalists are lapping it up.

The chief beneficiaries of this parachute-style journalism have been the reformed Michigan Militia, which was previously profiled by CNN in similarly heartwarming fashion.

Two reports this week on the Michigan Militia continued in this vein, though they at least contained some notes indicating that something darker is at work with militia organizing than the image the militiamen themselves want to cultivate -- that of ordinary citizens who are being civic-minded and patriotic.

Which is true. What's also true is that they're jacked up on large doses of paranoia about a "tyranny" that simply doesn't exist (particularly a fear that President Obama plans to take their guns away).

What's striking to me is how they sound just like the militiamen I met in the 1990s when they knew reporters were around (and, as we learned eventually, it was quite different from the way they talked among themselves in private). But even then, they sounded fairly extreme and marginal in their beliefs.

Now, they sound just like your average Tea Partier. Indeed, it's remarkable how much their rhetoric is echoes Glenn Beck.

One report, from Michigan NPR Radio, was reasonably careful in dealing with the subject:
It's a Wednesday night in February, and 22 men and one woman are gathered at Mayberry's Restaurant in Farmington Hills. They're all Caucasian. Some are middle-aged, out of shape; others are in their twenties, and fit.

This is the militia's monthly business meeting. It's also recruitment night.
You also get the feeling that the militiamen are overhyping the success of their recruitment efforts:
Only one potential new member shows up at the meeting. Jeff is in his early thirties, he has a wife and a new baby. He's deeply distrustful of the government and he believes something is to about happen, probably the collapse of the American economy.

"Well, I feel like I can't rely on our elected officials, I can't rely on our military who works for our government, so bottom line is we have to have somebody to rely on," he says.
This is fairly typical of the paranoia that was common to the '90s militias as well. Of course, if you watch Glenn Beck regularly and believe the garbage he peddles, then you're probably going to be in a similar state of mind.

They're also fearful about their guns, still:
Protecting the Second Amendment is the primary reason for the militia's existence.
Jeff is 42. He's a rifle team leader. He believes the current administration is sneaking around the back door to take his guns away, and he wants the right to protect his family during an emergency.

"Okay, I've got this food, I've got this water," he says. "I need to be able to defend that from people that don't. In a time of need, a couple of weeks without food and water and gasoline, people are going to be hungry. And they're going to do desperate things to do whatever they can to feed their families."
Right. Sounds a lot like that scenario Beck's guest offered just the other day.

The second piece on the Michiganders was from WWMT-TV, and it contained largely more of the same.

In it, militia leader Lee Miracle does offer a novel reason why it's unfair to connect the militias to Tim McVeigh:
“Let's say after the Oklahoma City bombing they said Timothy McVeigh, a known bread eater, blew up a building. Now when you go the store and buy some bread they're going to say, 'Oh he's eating bread just like Timothy McVeigh,'” said Miracle.
Well, if there were something in bread that made a person a person believe in conspiracy theories and various "facts" about incipient government tyranny that eventually will enslave all Americans, then this might be an accurate analogy. Because all that is true of the militias, and has a powerful causal connections to the motives of people like McVeigh when they set off bombs and commit terrorist acts. It is not, however, true of bread.

Which is why one can't help be darkly amused when the WWMT reporter asks Miracle if there's any chance he could suddenly become a violent terrorist with a gun. His answer:
“No, I'm a postal worker."
Somehow, that's less than assuring.

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Expat's Guide to the Vancouver Olympics

by Sara

Hello, world. We've been expecting you. It's good to see you here, milling around Robson Street in your uniforms and badges, whooshing here and there in what must be a million Official Olympic GM-donated cars, making guesses as to where in town they've hidden the fire tower for the Olympic Torch (it's still a big secret, but the local news station thinks they may have found it last night), and generally making it impossible for locals to get a restaurant reservation or cross a bridge. Still, we've got you to thank for the new convention center and Seabus ferry, the Canada Line subway that finally(!!) directly connects the airport to downtown, and that shiny new four-lane freeway that's taken half an hour off what used to be a treacherous winding trip two-lane up to Whistler.

So, y'no, thanks.

I got here a little ahead of you -- six years ahead, in fact, as a native California transplant who was looking for something a bit more like freedom back in 2003. This city has been preparing for this week almost exactly as long as I've been here. And I arrived already knowing what Vancouver was in for, because this isn't my first Games. I'm an Olympics veteran who did her time as a full-time paid staff writer for the Los Angeles Summer Olympics back in 1984. So the energy gathering around town right now is very familiar, mostly in a sweet, good way.

But Vancouver is a peculiar place (even by LA standards, which is saying something). It does things its own strange and subtle ways -- ways that the media hordes will only begin to be noticing, and will have no chance in hell of figuring out, by the time these Games are over. There's going to be plenty of coverage of the sports events, but I'm wagering you won't see or hear much on how these Games look on the ground to those of us who are going about our daily lives around and amid the party -- not least because so much about Vancouver outright defies so many American assumptions about life, the universe, and everything. That's the piece I'll be reporting on, with daily (or nearly-daily) dispatches on assorted facets of life in Olympicsland.

To kick this off, let me start by telling you a bit about my city.

Somewhere in your mind's eye, you're already conjuring totem poles and eagles, cruise ships and orcas, grizzlies and Mounties, and the misty interplay between mountains and sea and endless dark woods that makes our landscape the stuff of the North American frontier mythos. British Columbia is twice the size of California, with a population that's about the size of Washington State's. Over half the population lives in the Lower Mainland, as we call Greater Vancouver. In the American imagination, BC is the last outpost, the edge of the continent, the end of the West, and the beginning of everything that lies Out There, beyond the boundaries of civilization.

You probably know already that Vancouver routinely ranks at the top of everybody's "most liveable cities on earth" lists (Vienna and Melbourne are our chief rivals). You may have heard that we're an incredibly green city -- heavy on transit, light on freeways, an electrical grid that's almost entirely hydro-powered, and a food supply that's uniquely dependent on local sources. You may even know that we're one of the most densely urban and cosmopolitan cities in North America, with huge populations of Chinese, South Asians, Koreans, South Africans, Iranians, and...well, you name it. (The French, who give everybody in eastern Canada such political fits, are simply lost in the mix here. You want to get along, you learn Cantonese, which is the mother tongue of fully one-quarter of the city.)

Vancouver is the place where laconic, easy-going West Coast style meets hyperpolite Anglo-Canadian discipline meets an almost thoughtlessly casual multiculturalism meets a completely un-self-conscious, not-the-least-bit-ironic obsession with the common good. It's lush English gardens, savory Asian food, cautious Scots bankers, impeccable Mountie law enforcement, and gentle but effective First Nations justice.

And it's a vast landscape of contradictions. Alongside its legendary green ethos, you find forests clear-cut by the mile and salmon farms that breed parasites that are destroying the wild salmon stocks. Alongside its social progressivism, you sometimes find incredible official foot-dragging when it comes to domestic crimes against women and children. Alongside its strong First Nations culture -- perhaps the most vibrant surviving native communities still extant in North America -- you find odd moments of inexplicable racism. Alongside its extreme pacifism, there's hockey.

Still, the thing I love best about my Canadian neighbors is that they try very seriously to do the right thing by each other -- more seriously than Americans have for a long, long time. I'd like to hope some of that comes through your TV screen over the next two and a half weeks, because it's something we could stand to relearn from our friendly neighbors to the north (along with how to run a sound banking system). I'll do my part here each day to help the message along.

And if there's something you see during the next couple weeks of saturation coverage that you find weird, wonderful, disturbing, or simply curious, drop me a comment or a note, and I'll see what I can do to shed some light on the subject.

Speaking of light: the Olympic torch is moving through my neighborhood this morning, just a few streets over. I'll be wandering over later to see it. A group of drummers from the Skwxwú7mesh (just say "Squamish"; nobody really knows how you pronounce that seven thing) tribe has set up over in the village square downhill from the house; I can hear their drums and songs filtering up through the tall trees as I write this. More about the torch tomorrow.

Fun Vancouver Fact: Stanley Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America, about 10% larger than New York's Central Park. It was dedicated in 1888 by (and named for) Lord Stanley, who also gifted Canadian hockey with the Stanley Cup.

Crossposted from Alternet. Originally published Wednesday evening.

Lawrence O'Donnell Slams Marc Thiessen For His Hypocrisy, But Scarborough Shuts Him Down

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Marc Thiessen was out flogging his most recent bit of ugly fearmongering -- his book that claims that the Obama administration doesn't want to capture terrorists -- on Morning Joe today, and ran smack into Lawrence O'Donnell, who gave him an earful:
Thiessen: You know, we've got to think back to the period after 9/11. We didn't even know who hit us. We didn't know that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was the mastermind of 9/11, or the operational commander of Al Qaeda. And then we started rounding up these terrorists. We caught Abu Zubaydah, we caught Ramzi Binalshibh, and KSM. And these guys provided us information under questioning by the CIA that stopped a number of terrorist attacks. They would have been planning to blow up the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, they were planning to blow up our Marine camp in Djibouti, they were well on their way to recruiting a cell of terrorists who would fly an airplane into Heathrow Airport and buildings in downtown London. And KSM had recruited a cell of Southeast Asian terrorists called the Garaba Cell, because he knew we'd be on the lookout for Arab men, to fly an airplane into the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the tallest building on the West Coast. This program is why we did not have another 9/11 after the attack.

Scarborough: Lawrence O'Donnell:

O'Donnell: Well, you're lying about the West Coast thing, that's been covered very clearly --

Thiessen: Oh that's not true!

O'Donnell: -- But you as a former speechwriter for the White House, you took an oath of office when you took that job, that you might or might not remember. You actually published a book that says that the president of the United States, on its title, the president is inviting the next attack. Isn't it true that the president you work for invited the first attack?

Scarborough: All right.

Thiessen: Oh Lawrence, that's ridiculous.

O'Donnell: By having no idea what was going on with Al Qaeda. You just admitted that when you were hit on 9/11, you just said, 'We didn't know who hit us.' You said we didn't know who hit us. You were told who was going to hit us before we were hit on 9/11, and your administration invited the first attack, you should live in shame.
All this terribly upset everyone on the set, who began saying, "Lawrence, Lawrence!" Thiessen began responding by reverting to discussing Democrats' terrorism policies, and O'Donnell demanded he talk about the Bush administration's record. It was too much for Scarborough, who broke in:
We're going to break right now. We're going to break right now, and I'm going to be interviewing Marc myself.
When they returned, it was all civilized.

Have you ever noticed that anyone who wants to talk about the Bush administration's culpability for being asleep at the wheel on terrorism when the 9/11 attacks hit -- even though the record on this matter is quite clear -- gets quickly shut down?

In fact, even bringing it up gets you described as a "conspiracy theorist." For instance, the fact that 35% of Democrats believe Bush was warned in advance about the 9/11 attacks is frequently touted by people like Scarborough as some kind of evidence that the party is full of "9/11 conspiracy theorists."

Believing Bush was warned in advance about impending attacks from Al Qaeda is not a conspiracy theory: It's a fact. Or have none of these people ever heard of Bush's August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing -- the one titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US"?

You know, the briefing that specifically warned:
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a ---- service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.
It was ignored. And before that, so had been Richard Clarke's memo of January 2001 warning of the terrorist threat.

All this is consistent with what Clarke and other insiders reported about the Bush White House's pre-9/11 approach to terrorism: They viewed it as a "Clinton thing," and thus dismissed it as a minor concern for largely ideological reasons.

That's borne out by the Bush White House's pre-9/11 actions on a pure policy level:
The Bush Administration actually reversed the Clinton Administration's strong emphasis on counterterrorism and counterintelligence. Attorney General John Ashcroft not only moved aggressively to reduce DoJ's anti-terrorist budget but also shift DoJ's mission in spirit to emphasize its role as a domestic police force and anti-drug force. These changes in mission were just as critical as the budget changes, with Ashcroft, in effect, guiding the day to day decisions made by field officers and agents. And all of this while the Administration was receiving repeated warnings about potential terrorist attacks.
Then there was that New York Times report, summed up by Eric Alterman:
Tenet briefed Condi Rice about a potentially catastrophic terrorist attack on the United States on July 10, 2001. Rice ignored the briefing, just as she and Bush both ignored the August 6 "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" memo, when Bush told the CIA briefer who delivered the memo to him that he had "covered his ass" and then went fishing for the rest of the day. Rice not only ignored the briefing, but also misled the 9-11 Commission and then lied when confronted with the evidence by Bob Woodward.
Rice and the Bush administration also went to great measures to cover up their own incompetence, too.

Then there was the Hart-Rudman Commission report, which warned the White House in May 2001 that it needed to take serious steps to prevent a terrorist attack. The report was ignored.

Bush may have done everything right and the 9/11 terrorists might still have succeeded -- though taking some concrete steps (particularly heightening awareness and security at airports, given the specific nature of the warnings) would have increased our chances of catching them.

What was never excusable was that Bush and Co. were asleep at the wheel on 9/11 regarding their duty to "keep us safe" -- and no amount of historical revisionism by apologist speechwriters will erase that fact.

Nor will it erase the fact that Bush's "war on terror" has certifiably made us less safe, and more likely to suffer future terrorist attacks, as that 2006 National Intelligence Estimate made clear:
A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.
In other words, Bush botched the job of keeping us safe, both during his tenure and for the foreseeable future. But if we suffer another terrorist attack as a result of that botch, well, it'll be Obama's fault.

Which is the perfect setup for Bush apologists like Thiessen, who has a track record of eliding the reality when it comes to his defense of his team's terrorism policies. This was why O'Donnell called him out on his "West Coast" terrorism plot tale -- he's been taken down for it before, most notably by Timothy Noah at Slate:
What clinches the falsity of Thiessen's claim, however (and that of the memo he cites, and that of an unnamed Central Intelligence Agency spokesman who today seconded Thessen's argument), is chronology. In a White House press briefing, Bush's counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that the cell leader was arrested in February 2002, and "at that point, the other members of the cell" (later arrested) "believed that the West Coast plot has been canceled, was not going forward" [italics mine]. A subsequent fact sheet released by the Bush White House states, "In 2002, we broke up [italics mine] a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast." These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell the Los Angeles Times that Bush's characterization of it as a "disrupted plot" was "ludicrous"—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn't captured until March 2003.

How could Sheikh Mohammed's water-boarded confession have prevented the Library Tower attack if the Bush administration "broke up" that attack during the previous year?
Of course, this story is a favorite of Karl Rove's zombie lies, too. Birds of a feather and all that.

O'Donnell needed to call him out, even if it did upset Morning Joe. And he was on the money.

Tea Party Should Take Over The Republican Party, Convention Organizer Says

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

This isn't the first time Tea Party organizers have announced their intentions regarding the Republican Party. And it probably won't be the last.

But it's nonetheless well worth documenting that Judson Phillips, the organizer of last week's National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, went on Fox News yesterday with Gretchen Carlson and said it quite clearly:
Phillips: And part of it's gonna end up -- where this Tea Party movement goes, is partially gonna be dependent on the Republican Party. If they're going to keep pushing people like Dede Scozzafaza or Mark Kirk on us, the Tea Party movement is not gonna vote for somebody just because they have an R behind their name. We don't like people like John McCain. We want good conservatives in office.

And if the Republican Party is not going to help us do that, then in 2011 there's probably going to be a pretty big push to set up the Tea Party as a separate political party. I don't think that's the best idea in the world, I'd really prefer to see us take over the Republican Party. But there's a lot of pressure from our people right now because we want conservatives in office.
Bet that works out about as well as NY-23 did.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Conservative In Nashville: Tea Party Movement Now Dominated By Conspiracists 'Dangerously Detached From Reality'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We began reporting back in July that the Tea Party movement was rapidly becoming overwhelmed by the influx of far-right extremists, particularly at the leadership level, and that it was becoming a major nexus for mainstreaming far-right extremism.

Well, now Jonathan Kay at Newsweek -- a self-identified mainstream conservative -- is reporting essentially the same thing after spending a week in Nashville with the folks:
After I spent the weekend at the Tea Party National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., it has become clear to me that the movement is dominated by people whose vision of the government is conspiratorial and dangerously detached from reality. It's more John Birch than John Adams.


I consider myself a conservative and arrived at this conference as a paid-up, rank-and-file attendee, not one of the bemused New York Times types with a media pass. But I also happen to be writing a book for HarperCollins that focuses on 9/11 conspiracy theories, so I have a pretty good idea where the various screws and nuts can be found in the great toolbox of American political life.

Within a few hours in Nashville, I could tell that what I was hearing wasn't just random rhetorical mortar fire being launched at Obama and his political allies: the salvos followed the established script of New World Order conspiracy theories, which have suffused the dubious right-wing fringes of American politics since the days of the John Birch Society.
And as Kay notes, most journalists who covered the convention paid scarcely any attention to the wingnuttery that surrounded them and instead focused on Sarah Palin:

Perhaps the most distressing part of all is that few media observers bothered to catalog these bizarre, conspiracist outbursts, and instead fixated on Sarah Palin's Saturday night keynote address. It is as if, in the current overheated political atmosphere, we all simply have come to expect that radicalized conservatives will behave like unhinged paranoiacs when they collect in the same room.

That doesn't say much for the state of the right in America. The tea partiers' tricornered hat is supposed to be a symbol of patriotism and constitutional first principles. But when you take a closer look, all you find is a helmet made of tin foil.

No doubt Kay's piece will provoke a storm of outrage and denial, which has become the Tea Partiers' (and that now includes Fox) stock in trade -- even though the gig was up when people started packing heat at Tea Party gatherings, wasn't it?

This all brings to mind that ADL report on "Rage in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies" -- the one that called out Glenn Beck as the "Fearmonger in Chief." It contained a section on the Tea Parties:
Although a few events similar to the Tea Parties occurred late in the Bush administration, they took on a new tone and tenor after the election of President Obama.

While most people attending Tea Party events claim they harbor no extreme views, many of the ideas they promote fall outside the mainstream, especially the more conspiratorial ones. Angry protesters have frequently made claims ranging from proclaiming Obama’s “socialist” intentions to making explicit Nazi comparisons to suggesting that the President is defying or even subverting the Constitution.
As the study's overview observed:
What characterizes this anti-government hostility is a shared belief that Obama and his administration actually pose a threat to the future of the United States. Some accuse Obama of plotting to bring socialism to the United States, while others claim he will bring about Nazism or fascism. All believe that Obama and his administration will trample on individual freedoms and civil liberties, due to some sinister agenda, and they see his economic and social policies as manifestations of this agenda. In particular anti-government activists used the issue of health care reform as a rallying point, accusing Obama and his administration of dark designs ranging from “socialized medicine” to “death panels,” even when the Obama administration had not come out with a specific health care reform plan. Some even compared the Obama administration’s intentions to Nazi eugenics programs.

Some of these assertions are motivated by prejudice, but more common is an intense strain of anti-government distrust and anger, colored by a streak of paranoia and belief in conspiracies. These sentiments are present both in mainstream and “grass-roots” movements as well as in extreme anti-government movements such as a resurgent militia movement. Ultimately, this anti-government anger, if it continues to grow in intensity and scope, may result in an increase in anti-government extremists and the potential for a rise of violent anti-government acts.
But if you listen to Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, these folks are just an insignificant presence in the Tea Parties. And lollipops grow on trees.

Fox News Wants To Proclaim Blizzards Proof That Climate Change Is A Hoax -- Nevermind Those Pesky Scientists

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We know that folks on the East Coast -- especially in New York and D.C. -- tend to think the world revolves around them, but this is ridiculous.

The Fox News anchors were having a field day yesterday, promoting their coverage of the East Coast snowstorms, mostly as a way of springboarding into their claim that the storms somehow prove that global warming is not happening -- a fixture in the Fox narrative.

Because, of course, the only part of the world that actually counts is the East Coast. Nevermind that for the planet as a whole, temperatures in 2009 were the second-warmest on record, nor that scientists are anticipating more records in the immediate years ahead.

The theme on Fox: Because it's colder in New York and D.C., it must be colder all around the rest of the world!

Eric Bolling taunted Al Gore, as did Glenn Beck, who then went on to laugh at the reports noting that in fact this is evidence of global-warming theory, claiming that we were now using an upside-down thermometer, then darkly proclaimed that this was all about the "progressive agenda", which has no use for "the truth." And on Hannity's show, he trotted out the "blizzards debunk global warming" line, and Greg Gutfeld proclaimed that this meant the demise of the "global warming industry."

Of course, we could just as easily proclaim that the record warm temperatures we're getting in Seattle are proof that global warming is real.

But here in Seattle, we understand that what happens to us locally doesn't mean the same thing is happening globally. We're not only more honest about it, we're more reality-based.

And the reality, as the New York Times explained this morning, is that the heavy snowstorms on the East Coast in fact perfectly fit into the model of climate change being predicated by scientists:
Jeff Masters, a meteorologist who writes on the Weather Underground blog, said that the recent snows do not, by themselves, demonstrate anything about the long-term trajectory of the planet. Climate is, by definition, a measure of decades and centuries, not months or years.

But Dr. Masters also said that government and academic studies had consistently predicted an increasing frequency of just these kinds of record-setting storms, because warmer air carries more moisture.

“Of course,” he wrote on his blog Wednesday as new snows produced white-out conditions in much of the Eastern half of the country, “both climate-change contrarians and climate-change scientists agree that no single weather event can be blamed on climate change.

“However,” he continued, “one can ‘load the dice’ in favor of events that used to be rare — or unheard of — if the climate is changing to a new state.”

A federal government report issued last year, intended to be the authoritative statement of known climate trends in the United States, pointed to the likelihood of more frequent snowstorms in the Northeast
and less frequent snow in the South and Southeast as a result of long-term temperature and precipitation patterns. The Climate Impacts report, from the multiagency United States Global Change Research Program, also projected more intense drought in the Southwest and more powerful Gulf Coast hurricanes because of warming.

In other words, if the government scientists are correct, look for more snow.
Fox's Jane Skinner featured a report this morning discussing this Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who laid out in more detail how the heavier snows are likely a product of the heavier amounts of moisture in the atmosphere from global warming.

Want to bet that this bit of reportage goes completely ignored by the "opinion" anchors?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pam Geller Tries To Tell Ron Reagan Jr. She Knows Better What His Father Would Think Of Palin

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

If you ever needed evidence that right-wingers have no boundaries -- in terms logic, ethics, or basic decency -- that they will not trample all over in the defense of conservative "values" and leaders, check out Pam "Atlas Wanks Shrugs" Geller earlier this week on the Joy Behar show (along with Stephanie Miller), trying to tell Ron Reagan Jr. that his father would have been a big fan of Sarah Palin:
Behar: Ronald, let me ask Ron -- why do we pay attention to this woman? She has a point.

Reagan: Well, indeed, and I think we do have to pay attention to her, unfortunately -- it's sad that we have to pay attention to her, because she's totally unqualified for high office. Yet --

Geller: Your father would love her. Your father would love her.

Miller: First of all, his father didn't quit halfway through the term.

Geller: Neither did she. Neither did she. She did not quit. The Lower 48 needed her, and she heeded the call. She did not take the easy way out.

Reagan: No, she quit. No, Pam, she quit. When you leave the governorship halfway through your first term, it's called quitting. She quit.

Geller: She came to lead the next revolution.

Reagan: Quit. Quit.

Behar: Ron, Ron -- no, I want to hear from Ron. Why would your father not like this woman?

Reagan: Because she doesn't have a thought in her head. That's why.

Geller: That's what they said about your father.

Reagan: My father knew what he stood for, you can agree with it or disagree with it, he knew how -- what he stood for, he could explain what he stood for. He was conversant in domestic and foreign policy -- she's neither! She can't explain where she stands on anything!

Geller: Your father would love her, and frankly I don't think you can speak for your father, because you -- you don't even espouse --

Reagan: No, Pam, actually, have you ever met my father, Pam? Pam, did you ever meet my father?

Geller: Did you ever meet the Founding Father. I've read everything he said. I've read everything he said.

Reagan: Did you ever meet my father? I'm asking you a simple question. You can't answer that because the answer is no. So why don't you rely on someone who knew him very well to tell you what he would think of Sarah Palin.

Behar: It's really hard for you to argue with the offspring of the guy and claim you know more than he does.

Geller: He's nothing like the father! He doesn't share the epistemology of the father. He doesn't have the nature of his father, the knowledge -- he has nothing in common with the father. Look --

Behar: He knows what his father would think rather than you.


Reagan: Is Pam still blathering about me and my father? Oh, you are. You still haven't met him, though, right? You still didn't know him, so you're just sort of making things up as you go along, right?

Geller: You never met him either. You know, you never met him either. Do you think you're making your father proud? Do you really think you're making your father proud?
Gateway Pundit thinks Geller "destroyed" Reagan. Um, okaaaay.

See what I mean? These people are from another planet.

Oh Really? Monica Crowley Claims The Tea Parties Are Uber-popular. A New Poll Says Otherwise

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Monica Crowley was eager to change the subject on The O'Reilly Factor last night when Alan Colmes brought up the naked racism of Tom Tancredo's Tea Party Convention speech, so she launched into a defense of the Tea Parties with facts and information seemingly taken straight from her posterior:
Crowley: Look, the Tea Party movement is a massive grass-roots movement. It is based on legitimate concerns about out-of-control spending, high taxes --

O'Reilly: But to address Colmes' point, that the way they presented themselves, in Colmes' opinion, helped President Obama.

Crowley: No, absolutely not. I'll tell you why. Um, President Obama doesn't seem to be listening to what the Tea Party -- and it's not just the Tea Party movement.

Remember, a big majority of the Tea Party movement are made up of conservatives. But you have a number of -- and a huge number of mainstream moderate Democrats in this movement, and a huge number of independents --

O'Reilly: Libertarians, OK. So you -- was it a neutral? Was the Tea Party neutral toward President Obama? Did it hurt him? Did it help him?

Crowley: Bill, I think -- no, no, actually, I think it hurts Obama. It hurts Obama because they've got the mainstream message. The majority of Americans now are siding with the Tea Party movement on the issues of spending deficits and debt.
A huge number of Democrats? I haven't seen any polls showing anything more than insignificant number of Democrats joining the Tea Parties -- in no small part because their rallies are endless and vicious rants against Democrats and liberals. It's possible Crowley has data to back up her claim, but count me among the doubters, given my experience at Tea Party events, which are uniformly right-wing affairs.

Crowley's claims about the Tea Parties' supposed popularity doesn't exactly match what voters actually think, according to a new Rasmussen poll:
Days after Sarah Palin headlined the nation's first Tea Party convention, a Rasmussen Reports poll released today shows that a generic "Tea Party candidate" would come in third in a theoretical three-way congressional contest.

The poll found that 36% of voters would support a Democratic candidate on a generic ballot, 25% would back the Republican and 17% would go for the Tea Party pick. Twenty-three percent of respondents are undecided.

In early December, the same poll showed the Tea Party in second place and the GOP in third. Unchanged between the polls, according to Rasmussen, is that 41% of voters have a favorable view of the conservative movement.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken Feb. 7-8, just after the national Tea Party convention in Nashville. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
It's possible the public agrees with the Tea Partiers on a couple of issues. But overall the movement is turning them off, because it's not just full of nutcases, it's being led by them.

Newt Gingrich Lies To Jon Stewart, Claims Shoe Bomber Richard Reid Was U.S. Citizen

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We've always known that Newt Gingrich is a serial prevaricator, and has always provided us with plenty of material for the fulfilling the second half of this blog's name.

But last night on the Daily Show he did a special kind of lying: Pretending to be authoritative about how we handle terrorism cases, when in fact he was talking out of his butt.
Stewart: But why do you say they’re more radical?

Gingrich: Well, if you had gone to Bill Clinton and said, ‘We’ve just found this guy with his underwear burning because he tried to blow up an airplane’ --

Stewart: Wait, what? Woah. All I heard was Clinton and burning underpants – now I’m not sure what we’re talking about.

Gingrich: You’ve gotta keep focus.

Stewart: If you had gone to him and said –

Gingrich: Why don’t we make – Because he lived through Jimmy Carter’s sending prisoners to Arkansas, it helped him get beat in the 1983 election. And he understood there are certain things the American people have an aversion to, like trying to try terrorists in New York City, which is the place the terrorists tried to destroy. And that the American public doesn’t understand reading Miranda rights to terrorists in Detroit when it’s fairly obvious they’re terrorists.

Stewart: The only thing I would say to that is, didn’t they do the same with Richard Reid, who was the shoe bomber?

Gingrich: Richard Reid was an American citizen.
Of course, Richard Reid is in fact a British citizen:
Reid, also known as Abdul Raheem and Tariq Raja, was born a British citizen in Bromley, South London, to Leslie Hughes, who was of white English descent, and Colvin Robin Reid, whose father was a Jamaican immigrant of African descent.
Republicans are desperate to try to quash this point, because it completely undermines their favorite new meme (first promoted by Karl Rove), namely, that Obama is weak on terrorism because we shouldn't "Mirandize" terrorism suspects.

And they've been getting reminded of the reality a bit lately -- namely, that the cases are nearly identical -- and moreover, handling terrorists through the civilian court system simply makes the most sense.

So now they're just flatly lying about it.

Beck's 'Plan' Will Feature Fake History On Church-state Separation From David Barton

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We felt a sense of dread last November when Glenn Beck announced his "100-year plan" for America:
Beck then describes "The Plan," which he says is analogical to "lifeboats" on the Titanic: He says he's assembling a team of "experts" to help him shape a movement that will produce GlennBeckian electoral victories in 2010. (Obviously, that NY-23 experiment didn't turn out so hot.) These experts are being hired to work on policy areas such as the economy, the environment, national security, etc.
Beck: And what I've done, is I've found two really smart people in each category, two really -- oh, they just have all kinds of experience. And then I have coupled them with one rebel -- one radical. I hear that's popular to be a radical now.

But these radicals are not the radicals wearing the Che T-shirts. These radicals are the ones wearing the Jefferson T-shirts!
Beck had already displayed a propensity to traduce history in order to push his thesis that the progressive movement is the Enemy of America, which recently reached full flower in his pseudo-documentary based on Jonah Goldberg's pseudo-history portraying progressives as the font of all the great genocides of the past century.

Will Bunch reports
that this fondness for fake history is about to extend to church-state separation issues -- and will tread into territory long hold by far-right extremists.

Bunch reports that Beck has released the first concrete details about Beck's "experts" for "The Plan":
It is an eight hour event. You and I on stage with three different experts. David Barton is going to be the first one and we're going to talk about the meaning of faith in America. All the lies that you have been told, that this isn't a nation of faith, that religion played no role. I'm you will be stunned when you learn and see the real history that is no longer taught.
As Bunch notes:
The real reason that history "is no longer taught" is's bogus.
As Will explains:
Barton is the founder of a Texas-based group called the WallBuilders, a foundation devoted to proving that the roots of the United States and its Constitution are not based on the separation of church of state -- as is widely believed and widely taught -- but as country built upon a bedrock of Christianity. That is also the premise of a widely circulated book that Barton published in the 1990s called "The Myth of Separation" -- a book that was eventually re-written and issued under a different name because it was larded with bad information, some of which nevertheless became gospel on conservative talk radio. As noted in the 2006 Texas Monthly article (via Nexis):
In 1995 the historian Robert Alley attempted to trace the provenance of a quote that Rush Limbaugh had mistakenly attributed to James Madison, in which Madison purportedly called the Ten Commandments the foundation of American civilization. All roads led to David Barton, whose The Myth of Separation attributed the following quote to Madison: "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." Barton cited two sources for the quote: a 1939 book by Harold K. Lane called Liberty! Cry Liberty! and Frederick Nyneyer's 1958 book First Principles in Morality and Economics: Neighborly Love and Ricardo's Law of Association. Alley couldn't find the quote anywhere in Nyneyer's book, however, and eventually concluded that Barton had pulled it from an article in a journal with the unlikely title Progressive Calvinism, which, in turn, had attributed it to something called the "1958 calendar of Spiritual Mobilization." In any case, Alley reported, the editors of Madison's papers were unable to find anything in his writings that was even remotely similar. "In addition," they added, "the idea is inconsistent with everything we know about Madison's views on religion and government, which he expressed time and time again in public and in private."
Barton previously appeared on Fox News' show hosted by Mike Huckabee, to promote the same nonsense. And as we noted then:
[I]t take only a little research to uncover the fact that Barton has a history of specious research. For years his book, The Myth of Separation -- which he's been selling since the early '90s -- has featured bogus quotes, made-up nonsense, and flat-out falsified history that has been dismantled time and again. Rob Boston debunked Barton thoroughly back then, and his methodology has not improved measurably since. (Here's a page devoted to exposing Barton's multitude of bogus quotations from the Founding Fathers.)

Moreover, as Boston notes, Barton has a long history of dalliances with the extremist fringes of the far right...
Bunch also points to another Rob Boston piece for more details:
But Barton's biggest whopper concerns Thomas Jefferson, who coined the metaphor "wall of separation between church and state." Jefferson used that phrase in an 1802 letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association. According to Barton, Jefferson went on to add that the "wall" was meant to be "one directional," protecting the church from the state but not the other way around, and, furthermore, that it was intended to keep "Christian principles in government."

This is a complete fabrication, and if Barton would take the time to actually read Jefferson's letter he would see that he is simply wrong. Jefferson's letter says nothing about the wall being "one directional" and certainly does not assert that it was meant to keep "Christian principles" in government. Such sentiments appear nowhere in the body of Jefferson's writings or speeches. In fact, they conflict sharply with our third president's well known advocacy of church-state separation and religious freedom.
As Will notes, none of this has fazed supposedly mainstream conservatives when it comes to helping promote Barton:
Needless to say, none of these controversies derailed Barton's career as a rising star in either the evangelical movement or the Republican Party. In fact, for most of the 2000s, he served as vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, where he's also been a leading fundamentalist voice in that state's ever-raging debate over school textbooks. The national GOP hired Barton as a consultant in the 2004 election, and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said Barton's "research provides the philosophical underpinning for a lot of the Republican effort in the country today — bringing God back into the public square."
Beck has already established quite a track record when it comes to mainstreaming right-wing extremism. This will just add to it in a big way.

FAIL: Monica Crowley Tries To Claim That Bush Used Civil Courts On Reid Because Military Tribunals Didn't Exist In 2001

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Monica Crowley this morning, appearing on Fox News' Happening Now, followed in Newt's footsteps in her eagerness to deny that shoe bomber Richard Reid's case -- also tried in civilian courts by the Bush administration -- bore any similarity to that of "Underwear Bomber" Umar Abdulmutallab, a fact that undermines their brazen attempts to attack President Obama for his handling of the "war on terror".

That is, she lied:
Crowley: There are some unanswered questions here, Julian. Is Abdulmuttalab answering questions or cooperating because he got a plea bargain?

Also, Richard Reid was matriculated into the civilian justice system because military tribunals did not exist in late 2001, and the only reason we got a conviction in the Moussaoui case is because he plead guilty.
In fact, as Julian Epstein points out, military tribunals have been around in the United States a long time -- in fact, they've existed since the Revolutionary War. Moreover, the Supreme Court long ago set the precedent, in Ex parte Milligan (1866), that military tribunals used to try civilians in any jurisdiction where the civil courts were functioning were unconstitutional.

Crowley cannot even claim that she actually meant that Guantanamo Bay, where terrorism suspects bound for military tribunals have been held since 9/11, was not operating. In fact, terrorism detainees began arriving there on October 7, 2001, more than two months before Reid's arrest on December 22.

But then, facts have never been deterrent for right-wingers intent on bashing President Obama.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sarah Palin's Debut As A Motivational Speaker: Houston Attendees Rate Her A 'Fail'


[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

After her Tea Party Convention speech this weekend, Sarah Palin flew to Houston to continue campaigning for herself. The news focused on her appearance at a Rick Perry rally, but Palin also appeared at another event in Houston: a "motivational seminar" at the Toyota Center at which she was the featured attraction.

As Richard Connelly reported:
The other event here was the motivational seminar at Toyota Center. The event seemed to be grossly oversold (Tickets were just $19 for entire office staffs to attend), perhaps because organizers thought people would only attend parts of the all-day event.

But no one told attendees that Palin would be speaking at 8 a.m., so bitterly disappointed fans standing in line at 10:30 a.m. weren't happy.

Palin presumably was, having pocketed her fee for a 30-minute speech.
C&L had one of its friends at the seminar: Josef Jarod is a reporter in Houston, Texas, with a background that includes work for Fox and CBS News. He presently is on a "mystery" assignment in the Bayou City.

Here's Jarod's report:
"I wasn't motivated" one man said to me in the elevator as I left the speech, "she sounded un-prepared and erratic and focused an awful lot on her script."

It was 9:30 AM, and Just half an hour earlier Sarah Palin had wrapped up a "motivational" speech about "achievement" at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston.

Though Palin was to be the headliner of the all day business seminar which featured a dozen other speakers like General Colin Powell and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. She was the first to perform.

"I was also kind of amazed that they let her go first, I mean, we weren't even all seated yet when she started." Palin started her speech at 8:00 AM sharp, she was the first person out of the gates - there wasn't even a Master of Ceremonies. And given the fact that morning rush hour in Houston was exceptionally bad today, it meant there were going to be a lot of unhappy ticket holders(particularly as some paid as much as two hundred dollars.)

"She already gave her speech?!" One man exclaimed in the lobby after arriving minutes too late, "What the hell, I was stuck in traffic... why wouldn't they save the best for last?!" Several elderly women with Palin lapel pins who were trying desperately to hurry through security were also distraught when they heard the news, "Ohhh Noooooo! Nooooo!"

Sarah Palin had another engagement in California later in the afternoon and didn't have a minute to waste. The speech itself seemed more like a sermon, Sarah frequently attributed "God" and "Jesus Christ" to lifting her out of despair. She gave several long rambling examples of tough times in Alaska, during which she would occasionally lose her footing and immediately jump to praising the state for it's beauty.

She also focused heavily on her trade mark lines as a crutch. During one incredulous example of a way to get motivated describing a bed time fairy-tale she told to her daughter: "Last night Piper asked me to tell her a bedtime story and I said 'YOU BETCHA,' let me tell you about two brothers named Abel and Cain..."

The crowd was made up mostly of office-workers who opted to come to an "all day business seminar" instead of sitting in their cubicle and so the fanfare was minimal. As I gazed around the audience from my VIP seat - just feet away from the stage - I had the impression that most of those sitting near me were insulted. Sarah Palin was clearly still in campaign mode, but this wasn't a crowd looking for a stump speech.

She ended by spending several minutes with her head down reading from the podium and gave a very abrupt and final "God Bless America" before departing the stage. As she left one man with a thick country drawl leaned over to me and said "you know, she's not that impressive in person."
She's not that impressive on TV, either.

Look Out Below! Meghan McCain Disses The Tea Parties As A Bunch Of Racist Old People, Palin As A Hypocrite

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Oh, man, is Meghan McCain ever asking for it:

In an appearance on ABC's The View, Meghan McCain also took issue with a number of recent statements from Sarah Palin, criticizing the former Alaska governor for defending Rush Limbaugh's use of the word "retard" and for suggesting that President Obama launch a war against Iran in order to win a second term.

McCain described Former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo's call for a literacy test for voters as "innate racism."

McCain obviously also has issues with Palin, but it was Tancredo's speech -- in which he thanked God that McCain's father lost the election -- that stuck in her craw:
"It's innate racism, and I think it's why young people are turned off by this movement," McCain retorted on The View.

"I'm sorry, but revolutions start with young people, not 65 year old people talking about literacy tests and people who can't say the word 'vote' in English," McCain added.

McCain, a self-described "progressive Republican," criticized Palin's assertion that President Obama could get himself re-elected to a second term if he launched a war against Iran.

"You should never go to war unless its the absolute last circumstance," McCain said.
As for Palin's defense of Rush Limbaugh for using the word "retard" after calling for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's resignation over the same word last week, McCain said it was a symbol of "exactly what is wrong with politics today.

"We can't placate and say Democrats can say one thing and Republicans can say another thing," she said.

McCain added that the rhetoric coming from the Tea Party movement and from Republicans like Palin "will continue to turn off young voters, and anybody who says different is smoking something."
Why, if she only watched Fox News, McCain would know that America loves this movement and it's full of revolutionary fervor and all kinds of vim and vigor and pep!

Translation: Intraparty heretics like Meghan McCain are political roadkill. Like her dad.

Morans For Republicans

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Spotted at Sarah Palin's rally for Rick Perry in Houston on Sunday by Bryan Fotographer at the Houston Press, who also provided the caption: "The 'Get a brain, morans' sign guy must have been busy on Sunday."

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sarah Palin stakes out the Tea Party's right-wing populism: 'This movement is about the people'

-- by Dave

Sarah Palin's followers no doubt thought she gave a great speech at the National Tea Party Convention last night. Actually, it was pretty much cookie-cutter stuff, sprinkled with the requisite cheap shots at President Obama. If red meat is your thing, there was plenty. But as always with Palin, there was no substance, and the delivery was pretty close to fingernails clawing their way down a blackboard.

Mostly, she staked out the core political position of the Tea Party movement as the right-wing populism we've already recognized it as. But she repeated that the movement was about "the people," and indeed wrapped it up with an incoherent bit of babble featuring "the people."

There was the requisite nod to the ah, "revolutionary" component of the movement:

Palin: And I am a big supporter of this movement, I believe in this movement. Got lots of friends and family in the Lower 48 who attend these events and across the country, just knowing that this is the movement, and America is ready for another revolution, and you are a part of this.

Of course, the Tea Partiers like to insist that this is a non-violent revolution. But the way they keep packing guns around at public gathering as demonstrations of their constitutional rights, the rest of us aren't feeling all that assured.

Palin also made an interesting remark about Tea Party candidates taking out regular Republican candidates:

Palin: A lot of great common-sense conservative candidates -- they're gonna put it all on the line in 2010, and this year, there are gonna be some tough primaries. And I think that's good. Competition in these primaries is good, competition makes us work harder and be more efficient, and produce more. And I hope you'll get out there and work hard for the candidates who reflect your values, your priorities, because, despite what the pundits want you to think, contested primaries aren't civil war. They're democracy at work, and that's beautiful.

Yeah, we bet John McCain thinks it's just beautiful that he's facing a tough primary challenge from Tea Party favorite J.D. Hayworth this year. Palin later told the audience how proud she was to run with McCain on his ticket, but she seemed to be encouraging candidates like Hayworth. Sounds like some serious cognitive dissonance going on there.

Mostly, Palin spent a lot of time slagging Obama:

Palin: This is about the people, and it's bigger than any king or queen of a Tea Party. And it's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter.

Palin also ranked on at length about Obama's supposed weakness in the "war on terrorism," particularly in the case of the Underwear Bomber, who she believes should not have been allowed to "lawyer up." These attacks brought her some of her longest applause. Palin, like a lot of right wingers, seems to believe that the Constitution applies only to American citizens -- even though the Constitution itself is quite clear that it applies to anyone under U.S. jurisdiction.

And then they tell us that they're all about preserving constitutional values. Right.

Of course, the whole line of argument on the Underwear Bomber was really just an excuse to deliver cute lines slagging Obama:

Palin: Treating this like a mere law-enforcement matter places our country at grave risk. Because that's not how radical Islamic extremists are looking at this -- they know we're at war! And to win that war, we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern!

There was also the requisite hypocrisy:

Palin: Today, in the words of Congressman Paul Ryan, the $700 billion TARP has morphed into "crony capitalism at its worst," and it's becoming a slush fund for the Treasury Department favorite big players, just as we had been warned about.

This isn't the first time Palin has pretended she didn't support the bailouts in 2008, when she was running for vice president. But she in fact did.

Also noteworthy: Palin applauded Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak for screwing up health-care reform. Sounds about right. Way to go, Bart. Hope you're proud.

Palin wrapped up by defending the movement from critics (like us) who paint it as extremist. Why, Sarah can personally vouch that everyone she met in the movement is just folks.

And that gave her the launching pad for her populist wrapup:

Palin: This movement is about the people. Who can argue, a movement that is about the people and for the people -- remember, all political power is inherent in the people, and government is supposed to be working for the people. That is what this movement is about!

Palin may be right that "this isn't about parties," but there's no doubt that it is about ideology -- right-wing conservative ideology. And in its populist guise, it isn't fooling anyone.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What Bill O'Reilly edited out of his interviews with Jon Stewart: Total evisceration!

-- by Dave

If you thought, after watching the two segments of Jon Stewart's interview with Bill O'Reilly this week, that Stewart landed some telling observations, but he seemed to pull his punches a bit -- or at least they seemed to have been pulled for him -- you were right.

If you also noticed, as I did while making the clip, that the segments were pretty hamhandedly edited -- the continuity, especially in terms of Stewart's demeanor, was jarring -- it turns out you were also right.

Fox actually put the entire, unedited version of the interview up on its site, and the difference is jaw-dropping.

John Cook at Gawker (with the help of a couple of interns) got ahold of the full interview first, and provides a nice dissection that you should read (and watch) in full.

We've clipped some of the highlights for our own video, above.

If nothing else, the unedited video will be long remembered for the following quip:

I know what this is. I come from Jersey—it's the same thing: "I'm not saying your mother's a whore. I'm just saying she has sex for money. With people." [F]ox News used to be all about, you don't criticize a president during wartime. It's unacceptable, it's treasonous, it gives aid and comfort to the enemy. All of a sudden, for some reason you can run out there and say, "Barack Obama is destroying the fabric of this country."

Though I also thought this exchange was perhaps the most telling:

Stewart: But let's go into this. Because all I hear on your network is, this guy is -- it's tyranny, and socialism.

O'Reilly: That's what he believes.

Stewart: So, how is Barack Obama a socialist? As far as I can see, the majority of the billions of dollars he's given, he's given to banks. So if he is a socialist, he's dyslexic! Because when you redistribute the wealth, it's supposed to be going to --

O'Reilly: But he does believe in redistribution of income.

Stewart: Well, he's redistributed it to the banks.

O'Reilly: And that is a socialist tenet -- no, he's redistributing it --

Stewart: He's going up. He's dyslexic! It's supposed to be coming down!

O'Reilly: He -- Look. If you don't know that the Obama administration is redistributing income, then I'm gonna have to haul your program away from you. Get you off the air.

Stewart: Let me ask you: What is different about his redistribution of income and all other presidents -- he wants to raise the marginal tax rate back to where it was during the Clinton era. Was Clinton a socialist?

O'Reilly: He has promoted a variety of programs, OK, that --

Stewart: We already have Medicare, right? We have Medicaid. We have Social Security. Are we a socialist country? Do you want to get rid of those three?

O'Reilly: No.

Stewart: So are we a socialist country?

O'Reilly: But I want to moderate them so we don't go bankrupt.

Stewart: OK, but that's different. Now you're talking about fiscal responsibility.

O'Reilly: In a socialist country, the government pays for all of these entitlements -- the Obama administration is down that path.

Stewart: Who pays for Medicare? Who pays for Medicaid?

O'Reilly: The government pays for it.

Stewart: So now we're socialist.

O'Reilly: But now we're on Medicaid and Medicare with steroids, with the new health care bill. That's steroids!

Stewart: Once again, this is like the old joke. "Would you sleep with me for ten dollars?" "No." "Would you sleep with me for a million?" "OK." So now we know what you are, you're just negotiating price. For you guys to stand up --

O'Reilly: Of course, that's the degree of anybody when you describe socialism. There are little socialistic programs and giant socialist programs. OK? And some people believe that Obama is on the huge government creation -- the government dominance. And you yourself said it! You yourself said it! He wants more regulation, he wants to create things, he wants big government.

Stewart: But he's given back so much executive power!

O'Reilly: What?

Stewart: Executive power!

O'Reilly: He hasn't given back anything. He just hasn't handled the Congress. He doesn't know how to handle them yet. That's inexperience. Now --

Stewart: So he's not a tyrant. Because if he's a tyrant, then he's pretty lame for a tyrant.

O'Reilly: I don't object --

Stewart: How many tyrants do you know that really suffer because they can't get cloture? Very few.

OK, OK. So it wasn't a literal evisceration. Stewart did not unzip O'Reilly from scrote to sternum and empty out his intestines. We understand that he's a tad sensitive about how his takedowns are described these days.

Still, you can sure see why O'Reilly's producers edited this stuff out. Lord knows the regular septuagenarian Bold/Fresh audience would have fainted dead away.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.