Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Air Seeps Out Of Fox News' Hyperinflated 'Sestak Scandal' Balloon

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Well, now that the big news about the White House's offer to Joe Sestak has been revealed -- that is, it was simply the usual D.C. horsetrading that's been part of American politics since the Founders -- there seem to be a lot of disappointed right-wingers wondering where to take it all next.

Sure, it's a luscious tidbit that Bill Clinton was involved. But unless someone can find some "there" there, this is yet another hyperinflated non-story.

Over at Fox, watching coverage throughout the morning was like listening to the hot air seep out of a hyperinflated balloon -- which is pretty much what the story was anyway. Fox had invested great amounts of breathless rhetoric in blowing the story up the past several days, particularly on Sean Hannity's show.

Wonder how that "Reagan Republican" will explain away the fact that his idol engaged in precisely the same kind of horsetrading?

Ken Rudin at NPR notes
Meanwhile, Matt Ortega, on Twitter, has unearthed an Associated Press story from 1981. Here's the first paragraph:
Sen. S.I. Hayakawa on Wednesday spurned a Reagan administration suggestion that if he drops out of the crowded Republican Senate primary race in California, President Reagan would find him a job.
Hayakawa, who was seeking a second term at the time, was being urged by GOP officials to withdraw from the 1982 primary, a race that included, among others, Reps. Barry Goldwater Jr. & Bob Dornan, San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson, and First Daughter Maureen Reagan. The last thing the White House wanted was a split-conservative field that would end in the nomination of Rep. Pete McCloskey, a longtime anathema to the Right.

Hayakawa ultimately decided not to run for re-election. Wilson won the primary and was elected in November.
Ah well. No doubt the minds at Fox are working on figuring out their next fake controversy. Maybe, if Glenn Beck has his way, they'll investigate Malia's "improper lobbying" of her father.

Glenn Beck Issues History's Lamest 'Apology' For Attacking 11-year-old Malia Obama

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck evidently realized that he had set himself up for endless mockery and serious public disgust by attacking Malia Obama yesterday on his radio show, so he promptly issued an apology -- of sorts:
In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize--and as a dad I should have known better.
As Keith Olbermann observed, in naming Beck his Worst Person in the World:
Well, that obviously changes things, because Beck at least has shown that he realizes his own hypocrisy, and he deserves -- wait a minute! He did the very thing he was apologizing for, and he did it in the apology!
Olbermann points back to the opening line of the "apology":
In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism ...
Olbermann observes:
In apologizing for putting kids into political debates, he put the president's kids back into political debates! This guy is so feral, that even in his brief moment of semi-sanity, he's still completely nuts!
It's also worth remembering that Beck's "rule" doesn't just pertain to children -- it regards politicians' entire families:
Beck: There's a difference! Leave my family -- leave people's families alone! I don't think I've -- I mean, I don't think I have ever -- I mean, I made this when it was Bill Clinton -- you don't go after Chelsea Clinton! You don't talk about the Bush kids! Now, the minute they get into politics, that's a different story. You leave the families alone! We've never done anything but protect the families, and question why the White House would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families alone!
As Zachary Pleat at Media Matters observes, Beck's apology is thus incomplete, by multiple standards:
Beck involved Obama's children in another attack on the president earlier this week, comments Beck did not address in his apology today.

Further, Beck limited his apology to just "my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates." But he has repeatedly stated that entire families are off-limits -- and he has dragged President Obama's family into "political debates" several times over the past year. In a sexist attack on the president's wife just last week, Beck referred to an image on the Drudge Report of Michelle Obama at a White House state dinner for the Mexican president and his wife, stating:

I don't think I've ever seen the first lady with her -- excuse the expression -- but with her breasts all smooshed up.

Beck has also repeatedly brought up Obama's parents on his Fox News and radio shows -- specifically in the context of discussing Obama's politics -- and more than a year ago, he made fun of President Obama's aunt.

Glenn Beck's apology is incomplete until he apologizes for all the other instances in which he dragged the president's family into his political attacks.
Indeed, probably the scummiest show Beck has ever put on was devoted to tearing down President Obama's late mother. He certainly never came close to apologizing for that.

But I think Beck's apology is incomplete in a much more important sense, as Karoli pointed out in her update: He failed to apologize directly to Malia Obama for mocking her, and to her parents for attacking their child.

Any real man making a real apology would have done that. This was not a real apology. This was half-assed ass-covering, at best.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memo To Right-wingers: Gulf Spill Isn't An 'Excuse' To Suspend Drilling Permits -- It's A Reason

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

As part of his press conference yesterday, President Obama announced that he was suspending drilling permits for offshore oil temporarily, until environmental officials were able to assess the safety of these operations, now that the consequences of failing to do so are manifesting themselves in the Gulf.

This had Neil Cavuto and Eric Bolling at Fox News in a tizzy yesterday, complaining that the price of oil had already risen on the Obama's news, and fearing that we might again see $5-a-gallon gas this summer as a result.
Cavuto: I don't want to sound too jaded or cynical, but -- do you think a lot of this was baked into the energy cake. In other words, this accident happened, horrific as it was and is, and it -- it provided a very good excuse to just say "no, no" to "drill, baby, drill".
Evidently, Cavuto still believes "drill baby drill" is a good idea.

But maybe he can explain to us the difference between "an obviously sound reason" and an "excuse".

Because with Obama's decision on drilling yesterday, those twenty-mile-long plumes of oil now in the Gulf are clearly the former.

Most of all, it leaves the proponents of "drill baby drill" without the latter.

Rand Paul's 'Cafeteria Constitutionalism': He Advocates Denial Of Birthright Citizenship To Immigrant Children

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Well, we already knew that Rand Paul's brand of "libertarian conservatism" was actually a front for the far-right beliefs he gets from his father -- even though he's done his best to scurry away from the consequences of having revealed that extremism inadvertently when Rachel Maddow put it in a context that mattered -- in this case, the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s.

But you know it's going to keep bubbling up, nearly every time he opens his mouth. For instance, in a recent interview with an English-language Russian news station recently, Paul held forth on immigration [via Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress]:
Paul: I recently have been talking more about satellite observation. They say you can sit in front of the store here and a satellite can read the headline on your newspaper. So I think you could also monitor your border with satellites, and then you just have to have some means of intercepting people who come in illegally. You could have helicopters stations positioned every couple of hundred miles.

I think you just have to have some means of intercepting people who come here illegally. You could have helicopter stations positioned every couple of hundred miles. And I think you could control your borders and control your borders within months if you had the willpower to do it. And I think neither party in our country has had the willpower to control our borders.

Q: Why not?

Paul: I don't know. Some of it may be labor force, things like that. But I'm not opposed to letting people come in and work and labor in our country, but what I think we should do is, we shouldn't provide an easy route to citizenship.

A lot of this is about demographics. If you look at new immigrants from Mexico, they register 3-to-1 Democrat. So the Democrat Party's for easy citizenship and for allowing them to vote. I think we need to readdress that.

We’re the only country I know of that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby, and then that baby becomes a citizen. And I think that should stop also.
It's worth noting that Paul is not only opposed to providing a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already here, but he is apparently also opposed to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. You know, the one that reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
This is a bit odd, don't you think, for someone who not only constantly cites the Constitution and calls himself a "constitutionalist," but also accuses his opponents of "violating the Constitution" at every turn? Indeed, only earlier in the segment he declared that President Obama's health-care reforms were "unconstitutional."

Note the words that people like Rand Paul never want to use when they talk about this, but which are what we're talking about here -- namely, birthright citizenship.

And contrary to Paul's assertion, there is a long list of nations [predominantly in the Americas] that practice jus soli. Moreover, it's not, as the Wikipedia entry explains, a particular innovation of American law, having its origins in British common law:
Birthright citizenship, as with much United States law, has its roots in English common law. Calvin’s Case, 77 Eng. Rep. 377 (1608), was particularly important as it established that under English common law “a person's status was vested at birth, and based upon place of birth--a person born within the king's dominion owed allegiance to the sovereign, and in turn, was entitled to the king's protection." This same principle was adopted by the newly formed United States, as stated by Supreme Court Justice Noah Haynes Swayne: "All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural- born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country…since as before the Revolution."
That, of course, hasn't stopped the Nativists who want to either overturn or ignore the Constitution. Indeed, Paul is just echoing the latest efforts of Arizona's immigrant-bashing nativists. And as we noted then:
[T]his is a sick joke. Surveys of undocumented workers have made indelibly clear that they don't come here to have "anchor babies," or to get our free health care, or any of the other fantasies harbored by nativists: they come here for jobs.

Moreover, there's no serious benefit to be had from having your child be born a citizen -- because under American law, you can be deported anyway, and in fact thousands of parents of American birthright-citizen children are deported every year: 100,000 of them over 10 years, to be precise.

There is an exemption available: After the immigrant parent has been present for no less than ten years, he or she may apply for Cancellation of Removal if he/she can prove ten years of good moral character and establish that deportation would create an exceptional hardship to her citizen child. There is an annual cap of 4,000 on the number of illegal immigrants who can be granted such relief, and for the past several years the government has not even reached that cap.
Of course, facts never have been much of an impediment to people like Rand Paul. Except when they make the tactical mistake of appearing on the Rachel Maddow Show.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is Bush Culpable In Gulf Oil Spill? Obama Points To 'Corrupt Practices.' Foxheads Bemoan 'Blame Game' -- Aka Reality

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

It's funny how right-wing talkers and their Beltway Village cohort really hate it when you point out how the lax regulatory oversight that resulted in the horrific Gulf oil spill originated in the Bush/Cheney administration.

Today at President Obama's press conference, it was Villager Chip Reid's turn to be all offended:
REID: Secondly with regard to the Minerals Management Service, Secretary Salazar yesterday basically blamed the Bush administration for the cozy relationship there.
And you seemed to suggest that when you spoke in the Rose Garden a few weeks ago when you said, for too long, a decade or more -- most of those years, of course, the Bush administration -- there's been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and federal agency that permits them to drill.

But you knew as soon as you came in, and Secretary Salazar did, about this cozy relationship. But you continued to give permits -- some of them under questionable circumstances. Is it fair to blame the Bush administration? Don't you deserve some of that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- well, let -- let me just make the point that I made earlier, which is, Salazar came in and started cleaning house, but the culture had not fully changed in MMS. And absolutely, I take responsibility for that. There -- there wasn't sufficient urgency in terms of the pace of how those changes needed to take place.

There is no evidence that some of the corrupt practices that had taken place earlier took place under the current administration's watch, but a culture in which oil companies were able to get what they wanted, without sufficient oversight and regulation, that was a real problem. Some of it was constraints of the law, as I just mentioned. But we should have busted through those constraints.
This was just too much for Megyn Kelly and her right-wing pal Mike Gallagher, who devoted a post-conference panel on Fox bewailing how wrong it was for anyone to blame poor George W. Bush for any of this.

Gallagher burst into crocodile tears, saying it was wrong for people to blame Obama now -- because they shouldn't have been unhappy with Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina, either:
Gallagher: There has been way too much finger-pointing going on, and frankly, as a Bush supporter, it frustrates me to see Obama critics do the same kind of thing that people try to do with George Bush. Now, having said that, it does seem like that answer was trying to again have Barack Obama point the finger of blame at the Bush administration to some degree. It's regrettable. All of this finger-pointing is counter-productive.

You know, we could have done one of two things, Megyn with this horrible oil spill -- we could have reacted, or we could have responded. Now that finally this flow has stopped, may we go forward and respond and be proactive and, and learn from what went wrong.
But this was a tragic accident that should not have been laid at the doorstep of either George Bush or Barack Obama, or even BP for that matter! No one wanted this to happen, they did everything they could to respond appropriately, and I think the blame game has just been absolutely appalling. And it's very distressing, and it breaks my heart to see what's happened the past few days.
Yeah, we can't blame BP because they didn't want it to happen -- they just decided to take the cheaper and far riskier route when drilling this well, thanks to the handy green light they got from the Bush/Cheney MMS.

Fortunately, the panel's token liberal, radio host Mark Levine, managed to make the salient point about all this:
Levine: Look, we've learned one thing -- if you don't learn from history, you're condemned to repeat it. The Republicans and conservatives have a philosophy -- they'll tell it to you all the time. They don't like any kind of government regulation, they trust corporations to do the right thing, they want government to get off the back of corporations, and not to regulate anything!

And we see what happens. When the Bush administration fills these regulatory agencies with a bunch of people watching porn and not caring, in bed with the oil companies.
This just produced more crocodile tears from Gallagher: "This makes me so sad," he said. Yeah, we bet. So sad.

After all, we recall how right-wing defenders of Bush, for the entirety of his tenure, blamed every conceivable obstacle he faced on Bill Clinton.

The first Bush recession? Clinton's fault. The 9/11 attacks? Definitely Clinton's fault. (Remember The Path to 9/11?) Indeed, they even tried to blame the 2008 Bush recession on Bill Clinton. They never gave up.

And of course, before Barack Obama was even sworn into office, they began calling the last Bush recession "the Obama recession"

Well, as we observed last time we heard this whine:
The conservative approach to mis-governance comes up at every turn today for the liberals and centrists now dealing with repairing the damage, from managing the economy back onto its feet to fighting the two wars Bush got us into to coping with environmental disasters produced by his safety regulations. And it would be stupid to pretend that it's not what we're dealing with.

Because you see, if we don't constantly remind people of the disastrous consequences of conservative rule, they start listening to people like the talking heads at Fox News. They start forgetting just who got them into this big damned mess in the first place. Some of them even start blaming liberals for it (especially the hard-core insane conservative defenders).

We can't let that happen. Conservatives need to be slapped with the Bush legacy on a daily basis. Sure, they'll whine. But they have it coming.
Of course, I'm still wondering how these right-wingers think we're supposed to prevent these kinds of things from happening again without making an open and frank assessment of how we got there in the first place.

Because it's clear they're more interested in saving the name of conservative dogma -- gasping and dying now from self-inflicted wounds like "Drill Baby Drill!" -- than they are in actually dealing with the mess they've handed us. But that's been clear for some time now.

Newt Defends AZ Law: Obama 'Engaged In ... A Racist Dialogue To Try To Frighten Latinos Away From' GOP

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Republican demagogues like Newt Gingrich are always faced with the dilemma of how to deal with reality, which as Stephen Colbert suggests, has that nasty liberal bias. Their favorite trick in recent years has been simply to invert reality on its head -- turn victimizers and predators into victims, and vice versa, make up into down, wrong into right.

So last night on Greta Van Susteren's Fox show, Gingrich -- confronted with the cold reality that Latino voters are fleeing the GOP in droves, thanks to the Republicans' championing of racist laws the just-passed police-state-inducing SB1070 in Arizona -- decided it was all President Obama's fault:
Gingrich: Well, look, I assume that somewhere after he [Obama] attacked Arizona, engaged in what I think was a racist dialogue to try to frighten Latinos away from the Republican Party, stood next to the president of Mexico and said borders don't matter because we have strong bonds, had the president of Mexico get a standing ovation from Democrats for attacking an American state, and has his own State Department apologize to the Chinese for the Arizona law -- somewhere in that process his pollster came in and said, 'You know, maybe you're positioned a little bad on this issue.'
No doubt Gingrich had a look at the grim numbers:
For the Republican Party, politically, there's good news and bad news in our new NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo poll on the subject of immigration. Let's start with the good news: The Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, passed by a GOP-led legislature and signed by a GOP governor, has been a short-term political winner. The poll shows that 61% of the public supports the law, and a Republican congressional candidate who backs the law beats a Democratic candidate who opposes it, 40%-26%. But here's the bad news: Latinos, once a semi-swing group of voters, now have swung overwhelmingly for President Obama and the Democratic Party, and younger Hispanics are moving to the Democrats in even greater numbers."

*** Latinos aren’t swing voters anymore:
For example, 68% of Latinos approve of Obama’s job (compared with 48% of overall respondents and 38% of whites), and they view the Democratic Party favorably by a 54%-21% score (versus 41%-40% among all adults and 34%-48% among whites). And their views of the Republican Party? In the poll, the GOP fav/unfav among Latinos is 22%-44%. What’s more, Latinos think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans in protecting the interests of minorities (by 58%-11%), in representing the opportunity to move up the economic ladder (46%-20%), in dealing with immigration (37%-12%), and in promoting strong moral values (33%-23%). The only advantage they gave Republicans was in enforcing security along the border (31%-20%). And Latinos remain a sleeping -- yet growing -- political giant: 23% of them aren’t registered voters (compared with 12% of whites and 16% of blacks), and

*** Dropping like a rock: It didn't use to be this way. In 2004, George W. Bush, the former governor of Texas, won some 40% of the Latino vote. But in 2006, that percentage for Republicans dropped to 30%, and it was 31% in '08. And check out these party identification averages among Latinos that our Hart (D)/McInturff (R) pollsters put together from our past NBC/WSJ polls; this chart puts together the YEARLY average of all Hispanics surveyed for each year (approximately 900 respondents are included in each yearly sample):

-- In 2004, Dems held a 22-point edge in party identification among Latinos (49%-27%)

-- In 2005, it was 24 points (48%-24%)

-- In 2006, it was 26 points (50%-22%)

-- In 2007, it was 30 points (52%-22%)

-- In 2008, it was 35 points (57%-22%)

-- In 2009, it was 31 points (50%-19%)

-- And so far in 2010, it has been 36 points (58%-22%).
See, Gingrich's problem is a real-world one: Every Latino voter in the country -- which is to, every Latino citizen -- who does not live in Arizona, and particularly anyone with an accent, knows full well that if they travel to Arizona, they'll need to bring their citizenship papers or birth certificate or some other certificate proving their citizenship -- otherwise they risk being caught up in a Kafkaesque law-enforcement and potentially deported.

Gingrich and the other defenders of SB1070 keep pointing to the fig leaf of the law's wording prohibiting racial profiling -- they don't want to cop to the realities of how police go about their work, which inevitably will mean that they will catch up Latino citizens in their snares.

These defenders keep claiming that only non-citizens are affected, because only they are required to carry their papers. But Latino citizens will constantly come under suspicion for being non-citizens, and their papers demanded of them too.

Latinos are perfectly cognizant of this reality. Which is why they're fleeing Gingrich's little up-is-down Bizarro World in droves.

See, in that Bizarro World, it's only "racist" when a Democrat decries racism. Otherwise, actual racism doesn't exist.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Now Glenn Beck Sounds Just Like A Militia Leader From The 1990s: A 'New World Order' Of 'Global Governance' Is Coming!

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

I guess now we can just call Fox News Channel "the Militia Station."

Glenn Beck has been espousing his belief in "New World Order" conspiracy theories since at least 2007, when he was hosting Birch Society leaders on his CNN Headline News show.

But for the most part he's kept quiet about it since he moved over to Fox News, except for that little outburst last November.

But more recently, he began espousing his paranoiac beliefs back in April on his radio show, warning that "a New World Order" and "global government" are "being cobbled together today". He's intimated this on his Fox show, but never came out and just said it until yesterday.

On Tuesday, he promised us he was going to spend the next day showing us how "they" are building a "New World Order" because, ostensibly, "they're saying it."

So what is his evidence, finally revealed in all its breathless glory Wednesday? Well, mostly a lot of red-meat speeches for liberals. Nothing about global governance. Quite a bit about global cooperation and international law, that sort of thing.

Mostly you've gotta love Beck's recitation of things he supposedly got "right" -- such as his prediction that taxpayers would wind up "bailing out the unions", which he now claims just came true in the form of Sen. Bob Casey's "Create Jobs and Save Benefits" Act. But even Republicans are calling out this baldfaced lie.

It's like deja vu all over again: I felt like I was watching a militia leader from the 1990s all over again. It was all there: The thin, almost nonexistent evidence. The paranoiac hyper-interpretation of benign government activity. The repeated assurances to the audience that they were being proven right by the day's events. And the overarching belief that a Democratic president was planning to bring "America as we know it" to an end, crushed by a "New World Order" global government. The only thing missing was a reference to the United Nations.

If you want to see for yourselves, I've edited a couple of videos out of my archives for you to make the comparison and contrast all on your own. I think you'll be amazed by the similarity.

First, here's John Trochmann, leader of the Militia of Montana, giving his durable "Enemies: Foreign and Domestic" lecture, complete with Beck-like diagrams and charts, at a gathering in 1995:

Next, here's Col. James "Bo" Gritz -- at one time, David Duke's running mate on the 1992 Populist Party presidential ticket, and then himself the 1996 Populist Party presidential nominee -- giving a speech on the New World Order at a 1998 "Preparedness Expo" in Puyallup, WA:

At the time, Gritz, like Beck, was an apocalyptic Mormon convert who had been gradually drawn into far-right extremism. He is now a full-fledged member of a Christian Identity church.

I'm sure you'll see more than just a familial resemblance here.

Which raises the question: How did a supposedly "mainstream" news organization get into the business of militia-movement extremism?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yet Another 'Sovereign Citizen' Leaves His Bloody Mark On The American Landscape

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

You all remember how the Right freaked out last year over that DHS bulletin for law enforcement warning that the nation was looking at a surge in right-wing domestic terrorism -- the kind of trend that always has lethal consequences for law enforcement personnel.

They were especially freaked out over a single footnote in the bulletin:
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
The report further detailed some of the antigovernment belief systems it was warning about, and how they would exploit the current circumstances:
Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty. Conspiracy theories involving declarations of martial law, impending civil strife or racial conflict, suspension of the U.S. Constitution, and the creation of citizen detention camps often incorporate aspects of a failed economy. Antigovernment conspiracy theories and “end times” prophecies could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons. These teachings also have been linked with the radicalization of domestic extremist individuals and groups in the past, such as violent Christian Identity organizations and extremist members of the militia movement.
The bulletin, it turns out, could have been describing Jerry Kane.

C&L was one of the first news organizations to report that last Thursday's shootout in West Memphis, Arkansas, involved a far-right extremist named Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son Joe, acting evidently on the paranoid belief systems they had been traveling the country promoting.

Now more details are emerging about Kane. And the portrait that is emerging is one that's becoming all too familiar: Yet another "sovereign citizen" radicalized by far-right belief systems, fully convinced that the American government and its laws are illegitimate, which gives them the right to act beyond the law.

And once they move beyond the law, anything is possible. This is why we've seen so many "sovereign citizens" acting out violently now, from Scott Roeder, the killer of Dr. Tiller, to James Von Brunn, the Holocaust Museum shooter, to Jerry Kane. This is also why we're seeing so many police officers -- seven in the past year alone -- mowed down by these far-right radicals.

The first firm details came in an Associated Press report that described some of Kane's wanderings and previous brushes with the law:
Jerry Kane, who used the Internet to question federal and local government authority over him, made money holding debt-elimination seminars around the country. He had a long police record and had recently complained about being arrested at what he called a “Nazi checkpoint” near Carrizozo, N.M., where court records showed he spent three days in jail on charges of driving without a license and concealing his identity before posting a $1,500 bond.

Sheriff Gene Kelly of Clark County, Ohio, told The Associated Press on Friday that he had issued a warning to officers on July 21, 2004, saying that Mr. Kane might be dangerous to law enforcement officers. Sheriff Kelly said he had based his conclusion on a conversation the two men had had about a sentence Mr. Kane had received for some traffic violations.

Sheriff Kelly said that Mr. Kane complained in 2004 about being sentenced to six days of community service for driving with an expired license plate and no seat belt, saying that the judge had tried to “enslave” him. Mr. Kane had added that he was a “free man” and had asked for $100,000 per day in gold or silver.

“I feel that he is expecting and prepared for confrontations with any law enforcement officer that may come in contact with him,” Sheriff Kelly wrote in his warning to officers.

On an Internet radio show, Mr. Kane expressed outrage about his New Mexico arrest. “I ran into a Nazi checkpoint in the middle of New Mexico where they were demanding papers or jail,” he said. “That was the option. Either produce your papers or go to jail. So I entered into commerce with them under threat, duress and coercion, and spent 47 hours in there.”

Mr. Kane said he planned to file a counterclaim alleging kidnapping and extortion. “I already have done a background check on him,” he said of the arresting officer. “I found out where he lives, his address, his wife’s name.”
According to the the Knoxville News, Kane's seminar videos included threats against federal officials:
Jerry Kane traveled the country with his son giving seminars on what he called "mortgage fraud" and offering advice on foreclosure strategies. A website promoting those seminars provided a trove of information -- audio files and YouTube videos and links to various documents -- detailing his world views.

One particularly chilling YouTube clip involves Kane fielding a question about a "rogue" Internal Revenue Service agent: "Violence doesn't solve anything, OK. It's not violence that we're after. The Bible even tells us that if you're going to go and make war against somebody, you have to kill their sheep and their goats and their chickens and their babies and their wives. OK?"

In the YouTube video he said, "You have to kill them all. So what we're after here is not fighting, it's conquering. I don't want to have to kill anybody, but if they keep messing with me, that's what it's going to have to come out. That's what it's going to come down to, is I'm going to have to kill. And if I have to kill one, then I'm not going to be able to stop, I just know it."

In that video, he and Joe joke about using a bat to "take care of" a problem with an IRS agent.
The SPLC's Mark Potok describes the precise stripe of Patriot ideology that Kane was selling:
Redemption theory varies across the country but arose in the Patriot movement, which generally sees the federal government as an evil entity involved in various conspiracy theories aimed at ordinary Americans. In its best known version, redemption theory claims that every U.S. citizen has a "straw man," or secret legal twin, that the government uses to capture the economic value of citizens unknowingly sold into slavery to a banking cabal. Redemptionists often claim that by filing certain documents individuals can reclaim their sovereignty and the money that was deposited into a special account at their birth. Kane appeared to be teaching a variant of the theory that supposedly allowed people who have lost their homes to foreclosure to get them back at a fraction of their value.

In addition, the My Private Audio site, apparently written by a friend of Kane and his son, talks about how Kane was pulled over in New Mexico last month for not having a driver's license. Many Patriots who call themselves "sovereign citizens" do not believe they are required to carry driver's licenses, pay taxes, or obey most laws. The site also carried other signs of Patriot beliefs, including discussions of implantable microchips and the Council of Foreign Relations, an object of much Patriot conspiracy theorizing.
The New York Times has more:
In 2002 and again in 2004, property owned by the Kanes was foreclosed on, according to court records, and the health department sued him twice. In 2007, Hope Kane died of complications related to pneumonia.

By then, Mr. Kane was already involved in what the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which study hate groups, call the Patriot movement or the “sovereign citizen movement,” extreme groups that believe the government has no legitimate authority. The van Mr. Kane was driving was registered to the House of God’s Prayer at 132 W. Main Street, in New Vienna, Ohio, a vacant building that is owned by an aging white supremacist.

J. J. MacNab, an insurance analyst and expert on tax and financial frauds who has closely watched sovereignty groups for a decade, said she had found 141 vehicles registered to that address under different names, including several church names, indicating that people were probably using it as a way to shelter property from the I.R.S.


Jim Jenkins, a former mortgage broker in Seattle who attended one of Mr. Kane’s seminars in April, said that Mr. Kane had been largely congenial, but that his anger had flared when he recalled a traffic stop earlier that month in New Mexico. Mr. Kane was arrested and jailed on charges of driving while his license was suspended or revoked and concealing his identity.

“He was very upset for quite a while about the New Mexico stop,” Mr. Jenkins said, “because he didn’t believe you need a license to travel in the nation’s highways. That that is a right of every American, not a privilege.”

In a clip from an Internet radio show, Mr. Kane accused the New Mexico officers of kidnapping him from a “Nazi checkpoint” and said he had done a background check on the arresting officer. “I found out where he lives, his address, his wife’s name,” he said.
In a video of one of his seminars, which was removed from YouTube over the weekend, Mr. Kane responded to reports of a zealous I.R.S. agent by twice suggesting that she be found and beaten up. Joseph said, “If you pay for the bat, I’ll take care of the problem.”
Mr. Kane also referred to a earlier problem with alcohol, saying: “I don’t want to kill anybody but if they keep messing with me, that’s what it’s going to come down to. And if I have to kill one, then I’m not going to be able to stop. I just know it, I mean, I have an addictive personality.”

Ms. MacNab said Mr. Kane had first appeared on her radar about four years ago as a promoter of the debt-elimination program run by the Dorean Group, whose leaders have since been convicted of fraud and conspiracy.

Two years ago, she said, he resurfaced as the leader of his own seminars. Seminars of this type usually teach that each person has a real self and a “corporate self” that is a fabrication of the government, and that banks cannot legitimately lend money that belongs to their depositors.

“It’s mumbo jumbo; it’s magic words; it’s abracadabra,” Ms. MacNab said.

Ms. MacNab said that Mr. Kane had competitors far more successful than he, whose seminars might command audiences of 250 people at a time.

At Mr. Kane’s last seminar in Las Vegas a week ago, for which he charged $300 per person, only six people attended.
As we explained back when the controversy was raging, the DHS report wasn't an attempt to "silence" mainstream conservatives who may find themselves holding views uncomfortably close to these radicals:
It's about Richard Poplawski. And the dozens, if not hundreds, of little latent Poplawskis out there, waiting to pop off and kill more police officers, or just as likely, a crowd of innocent bystanders.
But you'll notice that all the people who were squawking loudly about the DHS bulletin a year ago are being terribly quiet about this case.

The Next Step For Arizona's Nativists: Ignore 14th Amendment, Deny Children Of Illegal Immigrants Birthright Citizenship

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

It turns out that the Arizona immigration-bashing nativists who enacted SB1070, led by State Sen. Russell Pearce, were just getting started in their campaign to drive out Latino immigrants:
E-mails to and from Ariz.state Sen. Russell Pearce reveal the immigration enforcement debate may not stop with SB 1070, the controversial immigration law.

Pearce, R-Mesa, the author of Arizona’s immigration law, has been writing to some of his constituents about what he plans to accomplish next.

In e-mails obtained by CBS 5 News, Pearce said he intends to push for a bill that would enable Arizona to no longer grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants born on U.S. soil.

Pearce wrote in one e-mail: "I also intend to push for an Arizona bill that would refuse to accept or issue a birth certificate that recognizes citizenship to those born to illegal aliens, unless one parent is a citizen."

CBS 5 Investigates looked through hundreds of e-mails Pearce had sent to constituents and some of their replies. The e-mails varied from praise to criticism and outlined Pearce’s future plans. Most were about SB 1070, his immigration law.

E-mails from the law’s supporters outnumbered those from critics by seven to one.

One supporter wrote, "I think it is about time we take our state and country back from the Mexicans."
So Pearce went on Bill O'Reilly's show last night to try to explain his thinking. According to Pearce, the 14th Amendment doesn't actually say what it says in in plain language:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

O'Reilly, of course, is not much help: He counters Pearce by observing that this is "federal law" -- though that is hardly the half of it, since this particular principle, of birthright citizenship, is embedded in the Constitution and is indeed a proud part of America's heritage as a nation of immigrants.

Pearce wants to claim that this only refers to people with "legal domicile" in the U.S. -- even though the words appear nowhere in the Constitution.

He complains that the concept of "illegal immigration" hadn't been conceived when the 14th Amendment was written -- which is true enough, but irrelevant to whether it remains in force. Indeed, a much stronger argument can be made that the nakedly racist/eugenicist/Nativist Immigration Act of 1924 -- which first created "illegal immigration" -- was grossly unconstitutional because it clearly violated the 14th Amendment.

Moreover, it's irrelevant because the law has always been interpreted to mean that, when a newborn is accorded automatic birthright citizenship based on birth on American soil, its status is generally unaffected by the legal status or citizenship of that individual's mother or father. This was true both before and after 1924.

Indeed, Pearce then rambles over to the 1898 Supreme Court ruling United_States v. Wong Kim Ark and tries to claim that it, too, doesn't actually say what it clearly says -- namely, that
The 14th Amendment's citizenship clause, according to the court's majority, had to be interpreted in light of English common law tradition that had excluded from citizenship at birth only two classes of people: (1) children born to foreign diplomats and (2) children born to enemy forces engaged in hostile occupation of the country's territory. The majority held that the "subject to the jurisdiction" phrase in the 14th Amendment specifically encompassed these conditions (plus a third condition, namely, that Indian tribes were not considered subject to U.S. jurisdiction) - and that since none of these conditions applied to Wong's situation, Wong was a U.S. citizen, regardless of the fact that his parents were not U.S. citizens (and were, in fact, ineligible ever to become U.S. citizens because of the Chinese Exclusion Act).
Pearce wraps up by claiming we'll never solve the problem of illegal immigration if we don't cut off the great big incentive of having "anchor babies" here.

But this is a sick joke. Surveys of undocumented workers have made indelibly clear that they don't come here to have "anchor babies," or to get our free health care, or any of the other fantasies harbored by nativists: they come here for jobs.

Moreover, there's no serious benefit to be had from having your child be born a citizen -- because under American law, you can be deported anyway, and in fact thousands of parents of American birthright-citizen children are deported every year: 100,000 of them over 10 years, to be precise.

There is an exemption available: After the immigrant parent has been present for no less than ten years, he or she may apply for Cancellation of Removal if he/she can prove ten years of good moral character and establish that deportation would create an exceptional hardship to her citizen child. There is an annual cap of 4,000 on the number of illegal immigrants who can be granted such relief, and for the past several years the government has not even reached that cap.

Pearce is creating a boogeyman that doesn't exist -- just as he did in waving about drug-gang crimes as an "immigration" problem in pushing SB1070.

And this boogeyman is scary brown babies. That takes a special kind of chutzpah.

Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times
has more.

And Immigration Policy Center has a good rundown on the myths and facts about birthright citizenship. [PDF file]

The Palin Touch: Endorsee Vaughn Ward Of Idaho Caught Plagiarizing Obama's Speech

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Y'know, it kind of figures that Sarah Palin -- whose selection as John McCain's running mate raised enduring questions about the Republicans' vetting operations -- would have such a deft touch when it comes to endorsing candidates.

First there was the Nikki Haley fiasco, which of course is very much still ongoing.

Now we have another Palin endorsee, Idaho's Vaughn Ward, caught red-handedly plagiarizing a well-known speech by ... Barack Obama!
Vaughn Ward, a GOP candidate for Idaho's First Congressional district, is facing charges that he swiped key passages from Barack Obama's iconic 2004 Democratic National Convention speech for his own campaign kickoff speech in January.

The specific passages in question have since been spliced together by a Tea Party activist who asks, "Who Is Vaughn Ward Really?"

Mike Tracy, a spokesman for Ward's campaign tried to downplay the video, telling Politico that the attack was a sign that "[f]olks are getting desperate -- they're saying anything to get Vaughn to go after him. If anyone thinks he's anything like Obama, they're dead wrong."

These allegations come after a series of missteps for the GOP candidate's campaign. Ward fired his campaign manager following an embarrassing discovery that he had borrowed heavily from the campaign language of various other GOP politicians. Ward later sought to rebound from that hiccup with a high-profile appearance with Sarah Palin, who endorsed him -- along with other military veterans -- back in March, but the event was slightly tarnished by multiple reports showing that Ward had referred to Puerto Rico as a "country" during a recent debate.
Notes Jared Keller:
Palin stopped in Idaho to endorse Ward as the GOP nominee to challenge Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick in Idaho's first congressional district. Unfortunately for Palin, Ward has been subject to his own controversy after apparently plagiarizing a speech from another politician: Barack Obama. More specifically, the congressional hopeful cribbed a passage nearly word-for-word from Obama's famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a speech which made him a household name.

"Palin's endorsement is seen as something of great value among Republicans," writes Adams. "But the string of unfortunate events that occurred not long after Palin has given her support makes one wonder if there isn't a 'reverse Midas touch' effect: that rather than turning things to gold, Palin instead turns everything she touches into ... well, the opposite of gold."
One of Vaughn's GOP primary opponents, Lucas Baumbach, is being credited with the video.

Ah, the Schadenfreude.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Palin's Pal Nikki Haley -- Who Recently Boasted Of Overcoming 'Temptation' -- Embroiled In Sordid Tale Of Affair

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

A few weeks ago in a candidates' debate for the South Carolina governor's race (to replace the disgraced Mark Sanford), Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin endorsee Nikki Haley was asked the following question:
Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Bill Clinton, all men who have cheated on their wives while in power. When faced with opportunities and temptations that come with power, how do you stay true to your family, your faith, and your values?
Haley's answer:
You know, I think the answer is you keep the Lord, you keep your family and you keep your friends very close. And you always remember that you have to stay as humble as possible, and understand that service is just that -- it is service. And you are being held to a higher standard, and so you have much more service that you have to give. And you're a role model to everybody that follows you.
Ah, nothing like the smell of schadenfreude on a Monday morning:
A political blogger and former aide to Gov. Mark Sanford claims to have had a past romantic relationship with Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley. Haley, who is married and has two children, "emphatically" denied the claim Monday morning.

"Several years ago, prior to my marriage, I had an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki," Will Folks announced Monday morning on his political blog, FITSNews. Folks said political opponents of Haley and himself were leaking evidence of the affair to the press, and claimed the story would've come out this week no matter what.

"I will not be discussing the details of that relationship, nor will I be granting any additional interviews about it to members of the media beyond what I have already been compelled to confirm," Folks continued. The blogger did not say when the alleged relationship took place or whether Haley was married at the time, and gave no proof of an affair.
Of course, Haley vehemently denies it:
I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false.

It is sad, but not surprising, that this disgraceful smear has taken form less than a week removed from the release of a poll showing our campaign with a significant lead. It is quite simply South Carolina politics at its worst.
The denial, naturally, is good enough for everyone on the right, like NRO's Jim Geraghty, who take it at face value.

And Palin herself goes even further, and offers her usual "stay strong" advice to Haley -- that is, she oughta make like Sarah and use it as an opportunity for martyrdom:

Well, whaddya know? South Carolina’s conservative candidate, Nikki Haley, recently zipped to the front of the line in her state’s race for governor; and lo and behold, now accusations of an affair surface.

Nikki categorically denies the accusation that was spewed out there by a political blogger who has the gall to throw the stone, but then quickly duck and hide and proclaim he would not comment further on the issue. Quite convenient.

When Nikki and I held her endorsement rally on the steps of the beautiful and historic South Carolina state house last month, I warned her and her family that she would be targeted because she’s a threat to a corrupt political machine, and she would be put through some hell. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast in politics today – especially for conservative “underdog” candidates who surge in the polls and threaten to shake things up so government can be put back on the side of the people.

South Carolina: don’t let some blogger make any accusation against your Nikki if the guy doesn’t even have the guts or the integrity to speak further on such a significant claim. And don’t believe anything a liberal rag claims or suggests unless the reporter involved has the integrity and the facts to report to you so you can make up your own mind. For traditional media to rely on an accusation via some blog entry is almost laughable, but I know the seriousness of it because that’s exactly what my family and colleagues have had to put up with, every single day, for the past couple of years.

As I said to Nikki this morning, “Hang in there. I’ve been there. Any lies told about you will strengthen your resolve to clean up political and media corruption. You and your supporters will grow stronger through things like this.”
Problem is, though, that her accuser was actually one of her biggest blogospheric fanboys, and he made clear that he was only going public with the story because others were about to. Indeed, according to WIS-TV:
The Columbia Free Times has "been investigating a story involving an alleged affair between Haley and Folks for several weeks," and on Monday cited an unnamed source who claimed Folks privately admitted the affair in 2009. "Furthermore, the source ... says former Haley staffer B.J. Boling told him Haley had confided in him about the affair around the time Boling was working on her House reelection campaign in 2008," the Free Times reported.
Stay tuned. Pop some popcorn. This should be amusing.