Saturday, May 01, 2010

AZ Gov. Jan Brewer: Arizona Under 'Terrorist Attacks' In The Form Of Illegal Immigration

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Fox News' Megyn Kelly invited Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on yesterday morning to explain exactly why she signed into law a bill that effectively transformed her state into a police state for immigrants and Latinos.

As she has done all along, Brewer mostly whined about how mean her critics were, including all of the folks from other cities who are now officially boycotting Arizona. Kelly listed some of them and asked:
Kelly: Do you think that these folks who are all noticeably outside of your state, are the ones that I just ticked off, including the President, have an appreciation, governor, for what Arizona has been going through with respect to illegal immigration?

Obviously not. You know Arizona has been under terrorist attacks, if you will, with all of this illegal immigration that has been taking place on our very porous border. ... The whole issue comes back, that we do not and will not tolerate illegal immigration bringing with it very much so the implications of crime and terrorism into our state.
Terrorism? Does anyone have any idea what Brewer is talking about?

I know that much of the hysteria that was whipped up to push this bill through was based on the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was in fact almost certainly slain by a scout for the drug cartels.

Nonetheless, the Right -- embodied by Fox News -- consistently described his killer as an "illegal immigrant" -- even though the man was not crossing the border to emigrate, but to enable drug crossings on the border.

In other words, the Krentz case was not about illegal immigration, but drug smuggling across the border -- an entirely separate issue. Indeed, Brewer and the Republicans would have been far more effective in attacking that problem by passing laws decriminalizing marijuana.

Perhaps more to the point, Brewer is living in another universe if she's trying to claim that the wave off immigration that has hit Arizona in the past decade has produced a crime wave. As Media Matters points out:
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the violent crime rate in Arizona was lower in 2006, 2007, and 2008 -- the most recent year from which data are available -- than any year since 1983. The property crime rate in Arizona was lower in 2006, 2007, and 2008 than any year since 1968. In addition, in Arizona, the violent crime rate dropped from 577.9 per 100,000 population in 1998 to 447 per 100,000 population in 2008; the property crime rate dropped from 5,997 to 4,291 during the same period. During the same decade, Arizona's undocumented immigrant population grew rapidly.
As for terrorism in Arizona, the only case I can recall of any kind of recent vintage was the Viper Militia bunch arrested back in 1996 -- though some of their rabid supporters have been showing up at Tea Party rallies with guns.

The only terrorist of note to come from Arizona was Robert Mathews, the leader of the neo-Nazi gang The Order.

But those folks are all operating at the same end of the political spectrum as their pal Joe Arpaio -- who was the inspiration for this legislation in the first place.

Funny how that works, isn't it?

The Dems' Framework For Immigration: Mostly A Worthy Start, With A Big Biometric Exception

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Well, if you were only to listen to Beltway media Villagers like Suzanne Gamboa at the AP, you'd think that President Obama had magically swept immigration reform off the national agenda by simply pointing out that getting it passed would be tough -- one day before Democrats unveiled their "framework" for comprehensive immigration reform.

As Bob Menendez explains to John King in the video above, the proposal includes lots of Republican ideas, mostly as a standing invitation to Republicans to actually participate in the process rather than resorting to the reflexive opposition that's come to characterize their behavior in the past year.

Whether they will or not is going to be up to them -- though Democrats will be capable of at least proceeding with the debate without them.

And at this point -- considering that it took over a year to pass health-care reform -- that's probably the best Dems can hope for. But there's no doubt it's past time to begin the national discussion. Immigration reform is far from dead.

Here's a PDF of the Democrats' framework.
And as you can see, it has a lot of good ideas in it -- and one amazingly, gobsmackingly bad one.

Adam Luna at America's Voice
offers a preview of the pros and cons of the framework provided so far:
The pros:

1. The framework describes a plan to immediately register undocumented immigrants and establishes a temporary immigration status so that they can work legally, pay taxes, travel abroad, and no longer live in fear of deportation. Eligible immigrants and temporary protected status (TPS) holders will be considered for the first step of the legalization program, an interim “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” (LPI) status, as soon as the program is up and running. After eight years, these immigrants can apply for green cards and get on a path to full U.S. citizenship.

2. DREAM Act is included.

3. AgJOBS is included.

4. Permanent partners immigration provisions included.

5. On family-based immigration: family immigration backlog would be cleared in eight years. Spouses and children of Legal Permanent Residents are moved to “immediate relative” immigration category, reducing their waiting period to enter the U.S. now and in the future

6. Increased labor protections and remedies, as well as a commission to determine future employment-based visa numbers based on labor market needs.

On the other hand, the framework also includes some provisions that many advocates for comprehensive immigration reform are not going to like, particularly in the enforcement sections. Senator Menendez said as much at yesterday’s press conference. Some of the “zero tolerance” language governing future deportation rules raises red flags, given our past experience with immigration laws like those passed in 1996. Legal experts are dissecting the outline now, and we look forward to their review of the detention and deportation provisions in the coming days.
But without question the worst idea in the plan is the proposal to create a biometric National ID system in which everyone in the country would be required to carry a card containing their personal histories embedded inside:
Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.

The proposal is one of the biggest differences between the newest immigration reform proposal and legislation crafted by late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The national ID program would be titled the Believe System, an acronym for Biometric Enrollment, Locally stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment.
It would require all workers across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.

“The cardholder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the microprocessing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer,” states the Democratic legislative proposal.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a civil liberties defender often aligned with the Democratic Party, wasted no time in blasting the plan.

“Creating a biometric national ID will not only be astronomically expensive, it will usher government into the very center of our lives. Every worker in America will need a government permission slip in order to work. And all of this will come with a new federal bureaucracy — one that combines the worst elements of the DMV and the TSA,” said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel.

“America’s broken immigration system needs real, workable reform, but it cannot come at the expense of privacy and individual freedoms,” Calabrese added.
As John Cole says, besides being a profoundly bad idea, it's incredibly tone deaf: Republicans have just branded themselves the Police State "Show Us Your Papers" party, and now Democrats want to not only join them, but amp up the system by expanding it to everyone in the nation?

Democrats like Chuck Schumer -- the main proponent of this misbegotten idea -- need to ask themselves how they'd like to have this kind of system in the hands of the next Dick Cheney, which is probably an inevitability should it pass. [Shudder.]

The framework is an excellent start in many ways, but the biometric-ID proposal is so noxious and unacceptable that any version containing it should be targeted for defeat.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Gee, Whatever Happened To 'Drill Baby Drill'? Its Proponents Are Awfully Quiet These Days UPDATED

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Remember how the crowds at the 2008 Republican National Convention all chanted "Drill Baby Drill," led by the likes of Michael Steele, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and most of all by Sarah Palin? Here's what Palin said in her debate with Joe Biden:
The chant is "drill, baby, drill." And that's what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into. They know that even in my own energy-producing state we have billions of barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas. And we're building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline which is North America's largest and most you expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets.

Barack Obama and Senator O'Biden, you've said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we're in. You even called drilling -- safe, environmentally-friendly drilling offshore -- as raping the outer continental shelf.
There -- with new technology, with tiny footprints even on land, it is safe to drill and we need to do more of that.
Yeah, it sure is safe:
Coast Guard officials were investigating reports on Friday that crude oil leaking from a well beneath the Gulf of Mexico had washed ashore, threatening wildlife in fragile marshes and islands along the Gulf Coast.

As the vast and growing oil slick spread across the Gulf and approached shore, fishermen in coastal towns feared for their businesses and the White House stepped up its response to the worsening situation.

President Obama ordered a freeze on new offshore drilling leases until a review of the oil rig accident that caused the spill could be concluded, and new safeguards put in place.
“I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security,” Mr. Obama said on Friday, addressing concerns about whether the administration would continue with its plan to increase drilling in the Gulf.

Even so, he said, “the local economies and livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast as well as the ecology of the region are at stake.”
Of course, for some people, that's a negligible concern:
Fund managers and analysts in the City said they were deeply worried about the financial cost to BP of the kind of legal action that could be taken in the US by those damaged by the accident.
Why, nobody could have predicted this, right? Even though BP was fined a record $87 million last September for safety violations in Texas.

Well at least Newt Gingrich has remained consistent:
In 2008, Newt Gingrich began American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), the casino-funded 527 that used the slogan “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” to promote the false idea that new offshore drilling could lower gas prices. On its website, Gingrich’s ASWF is continuing its petition while reporting on the inevitable consequences of dependence on dirty oil.
And, as Brad Johnson at the Wonk Room reports, this is shaping up to be a worse environmental disaster than the Exxon Valdez disaster.

We sure eager to hear what the "Drill Baby Drill" crowd will say now. No doubt they'll find a way to blame Obama for the mess.

UPDATE: Sure enough. Limbaugh: Oil spill is "Obama's Katrina". I understand this was the talking point this morning on "liberal" MSNBC's Morning Joe.

UPDATE II: Josh Nelson notes that Palin has tweeted her compassion:

Isn't that special? Gotta love the heartfelt compassion there. That and three bucks will get you a double-tall latte at Starbucks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Senate Democrats About To Unveil Their Proposal For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

You know, you gotta figure that if every Republican and all the Villagers are in agreement that taking up immigration reform is a bad idea for Democrats, then -- reverse barometers being the valuable tools they are -- there's high likelihood that it's a good idea.

We'll find out soon enough, because Democrats are proceeding apace anyway -- and doing so in the face of the near-certainty of uniform opposition from the GOP:
One Democratic aide close to the issue noted that in the wake of Graham’s abandoning negotiations, Schumer is continuing to meet with a handful of Senate Republican lawmakers — Scott Brown (Mass.), George LeMieux (Fla.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Judd Gregg (N.H.) and Dick Lugar (Ind.) — and that the summary is part of a dual-track alternative for moving forward.

According to this aide, under the new alternative, if Republicans continue to reject bipartisan overtures, Reid, Schumer and Menendez would look to have a handful of other top Democrats co-sponsor the legislation, including Durbin and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the second ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.

Menendez said his preference would be to have Republican support, but that it was more important to have a framework that can be publicly distributed so that Senators “can begin the debate and move the process forward.” Menendez said he was still optimistic that the chamber could pass a bill this year, even though no Republicans have indicated they might support a bill.

“If we put our effort to it, and we have presidential leadership and we have Republicans who truly want to see immigration reform versus just talk about it, I think it’s possible,” Menendez said.

Senate Democrats’ decision to move forward on their own drew applause from Hispanic lawmakers in the House, who have seized on Arizona’s tough new state immigration law to ramp up the pressure for the Senate to act on a comprehensive bill this year.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) described the proposal Senate Democrats floated Wednesday as a “responsible bill that basically reflects the principles that were discussed with Lindsey Graham.”

“It is the kind of bill that could be supported by any Republican who truly believes that the broken system should be fixed,” Velázquez said. “So it is time to stop playing politics with this issue and do the work the American people sent us to do here.”
We're hearing that a press conference announcing the bill is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. EDT in D.C. today. We'll keep it covered.

The NYT's Helene Cooper reports
that President Obama is pointing out that passing a bill is going to be difficult in the current environment. No doubt that's true -- and one hopes he is merely observing a truism rather than backing off his earlier powerful remarks pushing for immigration reform. As we observed then:
The Arizona craziness is a good example of why we can't let comprehensive immigration reform wait.

We know that lots of Democrats, especially the Blue Dogs, want to put immigration reform on the back burner till after the 2010 election. After all, it's the kind of issue that defines them: Blue Dogs always pander to conservatives on key issues, because they think that wins them more votes in the end than standing up for core principles.
In this case, as we saw from the 2008 election results, it's also nonsensical:
It's also apparent, from these results and from polling, that the nativists' "deport them all" immigration policy is wildly unpopular -- and that, moreover, Americans in fact take a pragmatic view of immigration: They're not interested in shipping out illegal immigrants, they're interested in seeing them become legal citizens.
The evidence is that voters get behind progressives who talk straight common sense on immigration -- as opposed to the fearmongering and scapegoating inherent in the Arizona Republican approach, which inevitably leads to the institution of a police state and the destruction of families.

It's also looking like Harry Reid will be pushing immigration reform as well. And there are many more reasons than fearful Blue Dogs why it's a politically smart move, too. Just ask those 200,000 people who gathered in D.C. last month.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Glenn Beck Is Outraged By Comparisons To Nazi Germany. Who Would Do Such A Thing? Besides Glenn Beck, That Is.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck got all worked up yesterday defending Arizonans from the outrageous, slanderous comparisons of their fair new police state to Nazi Germany. Heaven forfend:
Beck: Arizona sure is putting the AZ in Nazi. I really hate to rain on the hate parade, but could we slow down for just a second here and ask: You’re out of your mind? Are you comparing the systematic cold-blooded extermination of millions of Jews, to America making sure people are here legally? The parallels are non-existent.
Of course, Beck blithely neglects to mention that the Nazi laws requiring papers were originally about "making sure people were there legally" too. That's how police states work. The roundups come later.

And in case anyone forgot, there have been a lot of comparisons of liberals generally and the Obama administration to Nazis and Germany. Right there on Fox News, a number of times. By a guy named Glenn Beck.

We provide the examples in the video.

Megyn Kelly Wants To Compare Tea Partiers To Arizona Immigration Protesters

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Yesterday on her Fox News show, Megyn Kelly thought it would be revealing in some fashion or another to run footage of protests from angry Latinos in Arizona, and run them side by side with footage from the Tea Party protests in Washington, D.C. in March.

Talk about selective footage: What they showed of the Arizona protests -- which indeed were largely peaceful -- were the moments when the rowdiness got out of hand and people were arrested. And of course, the footage they showed of the Tea Partiers was of moments when their protest was entirely peaceful -- not the ugliness that erupted when Democrats tried to walk through the crowd.

But it left me wondering: Why didn't Kelly and Co. do the same thing back in March when there were in fact immigration marchers in D.C. at the same time as the Tea Party protests on health-care reform?

As I noted then:
Indeed, this crowd was significantly larger than the much-promoted "9/12 March on Washington" last September, even though that event was endlessly promoted for over a month by Fox News (I know, I know; they like to claim they had 1.2 million people there, but the reality was that it was actually about 70,000).

Yet, strangely enough, there was only ONE Fox News crew on hand to cover the immigration march today. I spoke with the reporter for this crew, and he told me Fox News had several other crews on hand today -- but they were all up covering the Tea Partiers and the health-care vote.

And in case you're wondering, there were exactly ZERO stories on Fox News reporting on this march in advance. ZERO. I couldn't find any at CNN or MSNBC either.
There was exactly ONE report on Fox News covering this rally -- because Fox was so busy covering the Tea Party protesters.

On its website, Fox carried only an AP report (now scrubbed) and a slide show. That was it.

The final estimate for this crowd was 200,000 people -- which dwarfed the Tea Party protests. And it was considerably more peaceful and civilized than the ugliness up at the Capitol.

Wonder why they didn't do a comparison/contrast back then, don't you?

Another Republican Solution To Illegal Immigration: Microchip 'Em!

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]


Up in Iowa, Republicans are brainstorming on solutions to the immigration mess:
Third District GOP congressional hopefuls called for more R&D on illegal immigration – as in round-up and deport.

Speaking at a Tama County Republican forum Monday, six candidates for the GOP nomination to face seven –term Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell opposed amnesty for illegal aliens and called for tougher enforcement of border security.

“I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going,” said Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician. “I actually support micro-chipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I micro-chip an illegal?

“That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under,” Bertroche said.
I see the GOP's Latino outreach efforts are continuing apace.

Ya know, for a bunch of people who continually accuse Democrats of trying to install a totalitarian police state, it sure is interesting how many right-wingers are eager to implement one.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Profiling Arizona Legislator Russell Pearce: Author Of Immigration Law Is Pals With Noted Neo-Nazi

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

There are some things about state Sen. Russell Pearce, the author of Arizona's new police-state immigration law, that Greta Van Susteren and all the other Fox anchors who've had him on this past week aren't telling you.

Indeed, they let him just come on and spew misleading nonsense, as he did last night on On the Record, telling Van Susteren that the law only "takes the handcuffs off" for law enforcement officers and "allows" them to arrest suspected illegal immigrants. Actually, it requires them to.

Well, we mentioned previously that Pearce has a colorful background involving the white-supremacist far right, including dalliances -- like his close pal Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- with neo-Nazis.
Rachel Maddow discussed some of this in her segment last night, but it's worth discussing some more so that people can fully appreciate the nature of the police state just signed into law in Arizona. Byron York has proclaimed it "a very carefully crafted law" -- and he is quite correct about that. Crafted to what end, however, is quite another story.

Y'see, back in 2006, Pearce caught a lot of people's attention by forwarding to a bunch of his friends and associates an article on immigration from a neo-Nazi news source -- namely, the National Alliance, the folks who brought you The Turner Diaries. The article was about Jewish control of the media and how it supposedly creates a bias against whites and favors minorities and Israel. Pearce apologized, but never could explain why he was reading material from the National Alliance in the first place.

But then he was seen working arm in arm with this fellow:


That's a guy named J.T. Ready, who also happens to be one of Arizona's leading neo-Nazis. Here's J.T. at a neo-Nazi rally in Nebraska:


Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times
Ready's tight with state Representative Russell Pearce, who's bashed Mexicans ever since a Latino teen shot off his finger when he was a county sheriff's deputy. Pearce is a racist law machine, pumping out statute after statute targeting the brown segment of AZ's population. At a June anti-illegal demonstration at the state Capitol, Ready and Pearce worked the crowd arm-in-arm.

Remember when Pearce forwarded a neo-Nazi e-mail to supporters in '06? Pearce claimed a "friend" sent him the e-mail. Could that "friend" have a last name that rhymes with "Freddy"?

The blanket isn't big enough these days for all the bigoted bedfellows who want in on the nativist lovefest. In any other state, Pearce's ties to a white nationalist like Ready would make him a pariah, especially after the outrage over that neo-Nazi e-mail.

Instead, both Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Candy Thomas recently honored Pearce at a "gala reception" and dinner to raise moolah for Pearce's committee exploring a primary challenge to Congressman Jeff Flake, a moderate Republican who's championed comprehensive immigration reform. It was $100 a plate for the dinner, $200 if you wanted a pic of yourself with Thomas, Arpaio, or radio wingnut Bruce Jacobs. Minuteman leader Chris Simcox was on the fundraiser's planning committee.
Pearce's political career has been built on an obsessive effort to demonize, scapegoat, and attack Latino immigrants. One of his more noteworthy previous efforts was an effort to eliminate Hispanic outreach programs in Arizona schools, predicated on the phony "MEChA is racist" meme. He's also proclaimed that illegal immigrants have no rights under the Constitution.

Just as noteworthy, perhaps, is this bit from his Wikipedia bio:
In 1995, Pearce became the Director of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. Pearce was fired from that position in 1999 by then Arizona Department of Transportation Director Mary Peters after an investigation revealed that Pearce and two underlings had tampered with a Tucson woman's driving record.
This is someone who obviously has no problem with handing police officers totalitarian powers -- and no problem with a little procedural abuse along the way.

And now his vision of law enforcement is Arizona law. Lovely.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yes, The American Right Really Has Gone Insane

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

A couple of weeks ago, when I was about to appear on-air with Rachel Maddow, her producer warned me that one of the questions might be: "You and John Amato have a new book coming out this spring titled Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane. Insane?"

Easy reply: A-yup.

Unfortunately, she never actually asked it. Now, of course the title is a bit of hyperbole in that it's hard to say whether one could accurately call this a clinical insanity (more on that in a bit). But what John and I and the rest of the C&L team have been observing over the past year, and have compiled into a coherent and (we hope) thought-provoking study, is simply the descent into madness of an entire political bloc. It's a verdict that, in the past couple of weeks, has been not just vindicated but manifested in news events.

Sometimes the insanity turns up anecdotally, as in this e-mail I was forwarded from a friend:
I got a call from my daughter that the whole family went out to dinner. While eating dinner my granddaughter gets a text message from one of her classmates. The text is: "It's God's responsibility to forgive Obama but it's our responsibility to arrange the meeting between God & Obama." My granddaughter is 12 years old, black and in the sixth grade at an elementary school [near Atlanta]. The classmate who sent the text is also twelve years old but white. When my daughter saw this message, she texted this 12-year-old back and asked her what she meant by arranging the meeting between God and Obama. The 12-year-old essentially said it meant to kill Obama.
Or it turns up in the Facebook page with a "joke" wishing for God to take Obama:
A recently created Facebook page reads, "Dear Lord, this year you took my favorite actor, Patrick Swayzie (sic). You took my favorite actress, Farah (sic) Fawcett. You took my favorite singer, Michael Jackson. I just wanted to let you know, my favorite president is Barack Obama. Amen."
Most often these days, it turns up at Tea Parties and related right-wing events, such as the April 19 D.C. armed march, featuring gun-nut rhetoric like that from Media Matters Action Network in the video above.

Some of this, as the Violence Policy Center recently explored in a study titled "Lessons Unlearned: The Gun Lobby and the Siren Song of Anti-Government Rhetoric" [PDF file] is being deliberately whipped up by right-wing organizations, notably the gun lobby.

And some of it is merely free-floating right-wing angst, stirred up by sources ranging from Glenn Beck to Ron Paul to FreedomWorks. I especially enjoyed this video from the April 15 Tea Party protest in D.C., compiled by the fine folks at NewLeftMedia:

I especially loved the woman who informed us that President Obama plans to ban fishing, didn't you?

The insanity also manifests itself in Republican governors' new fondness for Guy Fawkes as a model for Tea Partiers to follow. As Josh Marshall put it, "I find this completely bewildering. The Republican Governors Association is embracing the mantle of a 17th century radical who tried but failed to pull off a mass casualty terrorist attack to kill the King of England and all of Parliament.... Nothing shocks me anymore. But this shocks me."

Adds Steve Benen:
It's a reminder that the Republican mainstream made a right turn at scary, and have arrived right at stark raving mad.
Even for Beltway folks like Marc Ambinder are wondering: "Have Conservatives Gone Mad?" Ambinder's answer: A-yup.
I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don't exist -- serious Republicans -- but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.

It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance, causing experimental voices to retrench and allowing a lot of people to pretend that the world around them is not changing. The obsession with ACORN, Climategate, death panels, the militarization of rhetoric, Saul Alinsky, Chicago-style politics, that TAXPAYERS will fund the bailout of banks -- these aren't meaningful or interesting or even relevant things to focus on. (The banks will fund their own bailouts.)
This disconnect from reality is occurring because the American Right is insistent on it. Indeed, one of the reasons that I'm perfectly comfortable calling the American Right "insane" -- even if you couldn't call them "insane" in the legal or clinical sense -- is that one of conservatives' outstanding characteristics is their perfervid insistence on believing things that are provably untrue, even when presented with insurmountable and indisputable evidence.

If, per Einstein, doing something repeatedly and expecting different results defines "insanity," then similarly, insisting on believing in things that are provably untrue is also a definable sign of it. Which is, in fact, what I was going to tell Maddow.

Here, just for starters, are the Top 10 Provably Untrue Things Tea Partiers Believe In:
1. The Birth-Certificate Conspiracy.
2. Death Panels.
3. Obama Is A Muslim/Socialist/Fascist.
4. Obama Is Going To Take Away Our Guns.
5. Obama Is Raising Our Taxes.
6. Fascism Is A Left-Wing Phenomenon.
7. Global Warming Is A Hoax.
8. Two Million People Were at 9/12 March.
9. 16,000 New IRS Agents.
10. The Tea Parties Are a Non-Partisan, Broad Grassroots Movement.
That really is the definition of insanity.

David Duke Defends The Tea Parties From Charges Of Racism: Why, They're Just Like Him.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

In case any of you were confused by the Evil Librul Media's depiction of the wholesome, America-loving Tea Party Movement as somehow a hotbed of racism and radical extremism -- all because it's over 90 percent white -- have no fear.

Dr. David Duke, former Klan leader, is here to explain it all for you in his new YouTube message:
Duke: Tea Party people are called racist because the vast majority wants to stop the massive non-European immigration that will turn America into a crumbling tower of Babel. Most Tea Partiers believe that we in America have the right to preserve our heritage, language, and culture, just as every nation has that human right. The vast majority of Tea Party activists oppose affirmative action and diversity, which are nothing more than programs of racist discrimination against white people. The vast majority of Tea Party enthusiasts despise Hollywood and the mass media.

You know, the unelected media bosses have far more power than any senator or congressman, and are far more alien to America than the British were at the time of the American Revolution. At least the British were of our own, Christian cultural heritage, while the non-Christian ethno-religious minority who dominates Hollywood sees itself as very distinct from the 98 percent of the rest of us.

Tea Party activists are true populists who see the powers that control international finance and the Federal Reserve as the biggest threats to American prosperity and freedom.

...... The Tea Party movement is made up of American people who have watched in silent anger while the nation of our forefathers has been destroyed. The Tea Party movement, as the original Tea Party, is about preserving our heritage and our freedom.
In other words, the Tea Partiers aren't any more racist than he is.

And of course, it's the fault of the evil Jewish media that anyone should think so.

Duke also notes that the Tea Party leaders have been eagerly promoting a multiracial image, while the reality is that it is predominantly a white movement. The message of the video was to advise them to stop doing this and embrace their whiteness.

See, when David Duke whines that "pro white" organizations don't get treated the same as "pro black" organizations, he's ignoring a critical difference: "Pro black" organizations (think the NAACP) are all about lifting up people of their own color. "Pro white" organizations are all about tearing down people of other colors. That's why they call them "hate groups."

The Tea Partiers probably don't want Duke's endorsement. But he's basically right: The Tea Partiers argue from exactly the same kind of appeals that Duke and his fellow white nationalist have used for years, particularly the appeals to the "Founding Fathers" -- most of whom were, after all, white supremacists themselves.

Indeed, the Tea Party movement is nothing less than the manifestation of the agenda Duke has been pushing for years. We appreciate him pointing that out for public consumption.

[Via FreakOut Nation.]