Saturday, October 23, 2010

There's no question there's a Bill O'Reilly problem in the world

-- by Dave

Ever since he made an ugly scene on The View with his smear that "Muslims killed us on 9/11", Bill O'Reilly has been obsessing on the subject, insisting that no, really, there really is "a Muslim problem in the world."

First he tried comparing it to World War II: "Do we say we were attacked by Japanese extremists? No." Um. Bill. We were attacked by a nation's army. That's why we said we were attacked by Japan. No such nation attacked us on 9/11. FAIL. Even Karl Rove thought so.

Undeterred, O'Reilly keyed off a week's worth of obsessing about the issue with his opening Talking Points Memo segment on Monday, which was unusually long:

Of course, what I said is absolutely true, but is insensitive to some. In a perfect world you always say Muslim terrorists killed us, but at this point I thought that was common knowledge. I guess I was wrong.

Anyway, the heated controversy continues and goes far beyond me and "The View" ladies. It has entered the fabric of America.

Barbara Walters said something interesting on Monday. She said that the nation is very angry, therefore commentators must watch the rhetoric.

OK, but my question to Ms. Walters is: Why is America angry?

There are a number of answers. One of them is that folks are fed up with politically correct nonsense. There is no question that there is a Muslim problem in the world, and if "The View" ladies will not acknowledge that, that's their problem because most Americans well understand the danger in the Muslim world.


The Muslim threat to the world is not isolated. It is huge. It involves nations and millions of people. Yet, the left in America will not face that fact.


No sane individual thinks Muhammad Ali or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is responsible for 9/11. But the reality is that most Americans are uneasy with the Muslim world in general because moderate Muslims have not stepped up in a visible way to help combat the jihadists.


The cold truth is that in the world today, jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, Israel and other countries are in grave danger.

Finally, wherever I went this weekend, people were high-fiving me. It was amazing. People were yelling out windows, "O'Reilly, keep going," that kind of stuff. Are all these people bigots? Do they all hate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? That's nuts. This has nothing to do with theology and everything to do with politics.

Americans are simply fed up with politicians and media people denying the obvious. There is a dangerous problem in the Muslim world, and once again I call for all peace-loving Muslims to join the United States and other conscientious nations to fight the jihadists, to defeat radical Islam.

That was just the beginning. All week, O'Reilly has been going on and on and on about it.

Just remember: Every time a Fox pundit says bigoted crap like this, Osama bin Laden -- who envisioned 9/11 as a way to create a war between Islam and the West -- pops a champagne cork.

It also does seem a bit strange that O'Reilly is wholly willing -- indeed, eager -- to smear an entire religion with the actions of a tiny fringe, yet he and his Fox cohorts are outraged, outraged we tell you that the "librul media" are "smearing" their beloved "ordinary Americans" of the Tea Party persuasion by the actions of "a few" sign carriers (who unfortunately showed up in large numbers the first year and more) (and let's not bring up the nutcase extremists who've been speakers at Tea Party events too).

But logic and consistency and basic decency have nothing to do with this: It's all about justifying anti-Muslim bigotry, giving it the cloak of "common sense."

Because, if O'Reilly and his Fox pals -- who have all been vigorously nodding their heads in defense of O'Reilly all week, which in fact led to Juan Williams' firing -- were genuinely interested in dealing honestly with the world's problems, they'd begin by recognizing that many moderate Muslims, in fact, have been vocal and active in opposing radical Islam -- and that the problem isn't just a Muslim problem.

Indeed, while radical Muslims' violent acts are a major problem, there are also many other violent factions at work in the world who have nothing to do with Islam -- but who are just as surely fomenting social upheaval and violence on a scale comparable to that of radical Muslims.

After all, it wasn't Muslims who:

Violently attacked a gay-rights parade in Serbia. Those were radical Christian fundamentalists.

-- Proposed death-penalty legislation for gays in Uganda. Those were radical Christian fundamentalists.

-- Are proposing to install a theocratic monarchy in Nepal. Those are radical Hindu fundamentalists.

-- Have massacred dozens of innocent Kenyans under the pretext of hunting witches. Those are radical Christian fundamentalists.

[Oh, that's right. There's a reason no one at Fox ever comments on that story.]

-- Have conducted, as we recently had to remind another of O'Reilly's on-air defenders, a long list of domestic-terrorist attacks against abortion clinics, abortion providers, gay bars, and various "liberal" and government targets over the past two decades. No, those were largely radical Christian fundamentalists.

The thing that connects all of this turmoil and violence isn't Islam -- it's radical fundamentalism. And that enemy takes many guises, including many non-brown people.

We don't a have a "Muslim problem," we have a "radical fundamentalist problem." However, we also have a media -- embodied most particularly by Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, but hardly they alone -- who are willing to go the lazy, knee-jerk xenophobic route by assuring their audiences that "the Enemy" they face is a readily identifiable brown person in a turban -- not someone who looks, talks and thinks like your average Fox News viewer.

The much more difficult truth, moreover, is that the very real enemy in confronting terrorism is sometimes an all-too-familiar one. That terrorism is ultimately engendered by people who modernity has left behind and abandoned and isolated, and simply killing them all is not a solution but a guarantee of making the problem worse.

When you have a media that won't tell the public those hard and complex truths, well, that's a real problem.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Ooops! That Republican 'stop the vote' effort for Latinos in Nevada is backfiring badly

-- by Dave

Those ads by a right-wing front group called "Latinos for Reform" -- urging Latinos no to vote for Democrats in the coming election because they haven't delivered on comprehensive immigration reform -- may not be turning out to be such a hot idea:

But the fever-pitch backlash to this advertisement suggests the message could bring about just the opposite effect, by energizing a Hispanic voting bloc that may have been lethargic with a new and compelling reason to get out and vote — by and large, for Democrats.

From the 2004 to 2008 elections, Hispanics grew in force from 8 percent of the electorate to 12 to 15 percent, depending on the exit poll — roughly equal to President Barack Obama’s margin of victory. Obama carried 76 percent of the Nevada Hispanic vote in 2008.

Electorate growth rates among Hispanics have slowed since. But what hasn’t is their overwhelming enthusiasm for Democrats.

“Hispanics are much more likely to view congressional Democrats favorably than other groups,” said John Tuman, chairman of UNLV’s political science department who also teaches in the Latin American studies department. According to a recent study by UNLV and the Brookings Mountain West think tank, “it’s only among Hispanics in any Mountain West state that you see Democrats having an overall net favorability ranking,” Tuman said.

Yeah, campaigns that smack of overt minority voter-suppression efforts -- particularly since the self-serving hypocrisy of these ads ("Punish Democrats because they haven't been effective in overcoming our longstanding efforts to kill immigration reform") is so transparent -- tend not to go over so well with minority voters.

Even the local Republican paper in Vegas declared the ads "repulsive".

And the sheer phoniness of a guy like Robert de Posada pretending that he favors immigration reform when in fact he's fought it tooth and nail is especially noteworthy. Political Correction:

Disturbingly, de Posada has frequently used race as a wedge issue and driven the narrative that Democrats favor other minority groups over Latinos. For instance, during the contentious confirmation process of Miguel Estrada, which Democrats filibustered because he was seen as "far beyond the mainstream," de Posada was quoted as asking, "Is the message here that the Democratic Party is sending that they have a favorite minority group?" The Associated Press reported that de Posada was frustrated that Estrada's nomination was being held up but "that two black judges have been confirmed to the U.S. Appeals Court." "Any opposition to [Estrada]" de Posada said, was "going to be taking it personally."

Gotta agree with the New York Times:

Latinos for Reform is not a grass-roots Latino immigration-reform group. It is the operation of a conservative Republican, Robert DePosada, a former director of Hispanic affairs for the Republican National Committee. While many Latinos are bitterly and rightly disappointed in President Obama’s failure to win immigration reform, the ad’s prescription — “Democratic leaders must pay for their broken promises and betrayals” — has it upside-down and backward.

Every time Congress has come close to passing bipartisan immigration reform, lock-step Republicans have destroyed any hope of passage. Democratic cowardice and ineptitude haven’t helped, but when a bill has come close to a vote, Republican-led filibusters killed it.

The Republicans’ contempt for Hispanic voters, of which this voter suppression is Exhibit A, is mirrored in the way their party exploits immigration rather than fixes it. Many immigrants and citizens yearn for reform. But if most of the Republicans running this fall have their way, we’ll never get it. Good reason to get out and vote.

Grace Cunningham and Jackie Mahendra at America's Voice have more.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sean Hannity's eliminationist humor: 'If we get rid of liberals, we solve our problems'

-- by Dave

Oh, that Sean Hannity is just sooooo funny. Last night on his Fox New show, he had the following "humorous" exchange with fake Democratic pollster Doug Schoen:

Hannity: My mind needs to be free so I can think about attacking liberals.

Schoen: You know what, we need to stop attacking and just try to come together.

Hannity: No, I want to attack liberals.

Schoen: Well, I want to solve problems.

Hannity: Well, by defeating liberalism we solve our problems, Doug.

Schoen: If we all work together, we solve our problems.

Hannity: If we get rid of liberals, we solve our problems.

Schoen: Well, most of them are going to lose this time anyway.

OK, we get it. Hannity's being funny. Because, you know, it would be funny to get rid of all the liberals.

Recall what I wrote in the Introduction to The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right:

Eliminationism is often voiced as crude "jokes," a sense of humor inevitably predicated on venomous hatred. And such rhetoric—we know as surely as we know that night follows day—eventually begets action, with inevitably tragic results.


The problem with eliminationism isn’t that it is simply unpleasant or ugly or even uncomfortable discourse, which is what can often be said of the Left’s frequently charged rhetoric. The problem, as we already noted, is that it implies the death of discourse, as well as its dissolution into violence and the use of force.

And what the eliminationists call jokes aren’t. The humor in their statements—whatever might be funny about them—is entirely contingent on their listeners’ underlying attitude about their fellow Americans, an attitude that not only demonizes them but also reduces them to subhuman level, prime targets for violent elimination. Jokes shouldn’t have a concrete real-world effect and these do: at some point members of their audience (particularly the more hate-filled and mentally unstable types) will act on them.


The eliminationist project is in many ways the signature of fascism, partly because it proceeds naturally from fascism's embrace of what Oxford Brookes scholar Roger Griffin calls palingenesis, or a Phoenix-like national rebirth, as its core myth. The Nazi example clearly demonstrates how eliminationist rhetoric has consistently preceded, and heralded, the eventual assumption of the eliminationist project; indeed, such rhetoric has played a critical role in giving permission for it to proceed, by creating the cultural and psychological conditions that enable the subsequent violence.

Of course, Hannity can't be held responsible if some nut decides that it's not just a joke and that it would be a good idea to get rid of all the liberals, and acts accordingly. Because, you know, that's just a nut. Who doesn't know how to take a joke.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Klan lynching Halloween display is Missouri man's show of 'white pride'

-- by Dave

One of white racists' favorite lines -- especially when they whine about the supposed racism of ethnic groups like the NAACP or La Raza -- is that they're really only about the same thing: pride in their racial heritage.

Which, of course, they primarily display by demonizing, dehumanizing, terrorizing, belittling and degrading people of other races.

Like this white-heritage proponent down in Missouri:

At the request of sheriff Rick Walter, Scott County homeowner Rick Hoskins removed a Halloween display in front of his home Wednesday that's the subject of much controversy in the Sikeston area.

The display, which featured a Ku Klux Klan figure alongside an effigy of a black man hanging from a noose, could be seen by drivers on Interstate 55.

Walter said his office had received several complaints about the display, so he contacted the office of prosecuting attorney Paul Boyd to see if it was within the sheriff's department's rights to remove it due to the problems it could cause.

Boyd encouraged Walter to discuss the matter with Hoskins and to ask Hoskins to take it down. Hoskins complied, but indicated he would contact his attorney with the intent of putting the decorations back up.

"There's been a bunch of people that's stopped by since I put them up," said Hoskins. "Said they want to shake my hand. They said they're glad to see a little white pride is still left in this country."

Hoskins also flies a Confederate flag in his front yard, and says he has for years.

"They're my Halloween decorations," Hoskins said. "I think they speak for themselves."

The most striking aspect of this is just how bold these people are becoming. It used to be they hid their Klan robes in the closet. Now they're coming out. Gee, wonder how that could be happening.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Swastikas and toxic white powder: The attack on Grijalva's Tucson office

-- by Dave

Following up on yesterday's shutdown of Rep. Raul Grijalva's office after a letter containing a toxic substance was mailed to them, we called up Adam Saravana, Grijalva's communications director, and got the inside story.

Here's what Adam told us:

At about 12:30, as they do every day, the staff checked the mail for the congressional district office. Among the letters was this envelope with -- it just had a mailing label, with a name and address on it, and I can't confirm if it's real or not. Inside the envelope, there were two pieces of paper with swastikas drawn on them.

And there was a little plastic baggie with this powder in there. And so they called the police. The police showed up, and then the fire department arrived. And the fire department did a test, and said, 'OK, this is actually toxic. This is for real.'

So the congressional office was on lockdown for more than an hour. They first had a police cordon around the building, they wouldn't let the staff leave -- the staff were all there while they were all tested for their vital signs and everything. And finally the fire department got its results back and they said, 'This stuff is dangerous, we need to get you out of here.' So they kept the cordon up but they evacuated the building.

Our congressional staff all went home. The congressman and I were out, and so they wouldn't let us in the building.

The substance, he told me, was identified as hydroxyacetenalide:

Symptoms of overexposure to this compound include nausea, vomiting, cyanosis from methemoglobinemia, injury to the liver, kidneys, central nervous system and heart, circulatory collapse, drowsiness, confusion, liver tenderness, low blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, jaundice, acute renal failure, death due to liver necrosis, metabolic acidosis, hepatic damage and cirrhosis. Other symptoms include changes in exocrine pancreas, diarrhea, irritability, somnolence, general anesthesia, fever and hepatitis. Diaphoresis and general malaise may occur. Exposure may lead to hematological reactions and, occasionally, skin rashes and other allergic reactions.

It's available generically as Tylenol, but not in mass quantities as a powder (though it certainly is conceivable that the senders simply ground up a large amount of Tylenol to create this). In powder form it can be very dangerous indeed. Not only will breathing it potentially induce these symptoms, but it also happens to be highly combustible.

As KOLD-TV News 13 reported:

This is not the first time the office has been the target of intimidation. In April, the Congressman closed down the Tucson office after receiving personal threats against his life. In July, someone fired gunshots through the front of his Yuma office. Rep. Grijalva calls it an indication of how emotionally charged this political year has been, in light of his stance on Arizona's illegal immigration law.

"This is not the way we have a civil debate," said Rep. Grijalva. "This is not the way we make decisions in this country. I think the tone has been ugly."

Grijalva's Republican opponent in the race for Arizona's Congressional District 7 seat issued a written statement late Thursday evening. Ruth McClung wrote: "There is no room for hatred or terror in this race. Mr. Grijalva and I have different opinions on a wide range of issues. However, our differences on policy and governance are legitimate and reasonable, and should be allowed to play out within the established boundaries of political discourse."

This is clearly an act of domestic terrorism, and it's astonishing to me that my fellow journalists don't seem to recognize it as a significant escalation of the threats towards Democrats we've seen in recent weeks.

As I noted yesterday:

Let's be real clear: It's already considered an act of terrorism to send someone a letter with powder in it, as many right-wing fanatics have done in the past decade and more -- specifically, it's a kind of piggybacking, as in the case of that deranged Malkin/Ingraham/Coulter fan, Chad Castagana:

What Castagana's case demonstrates, clearly, is the way terrorism functions. Initial attacks always inspire subsequent rounds of echo attacks that intentionally feed off the terror created by the earlier rounds. It's called "piggybacking," and it has been an explicit strategy of the extremist right for two decades and longer.

The shape of Castagana's threats -- sending white powder in an envelope and including threats suggesting the powder is anthrax -- has been around for awhile. He almost certainly got the idea from its earlier perpetrators, most notably Clayton Waagner, who terrorized hundreds of abortion clinics with similar hoaxes.

Waagner's threats, in turn, piggybacked off the very real anthrax terrorist who killed five people, sickened dozens more, and scared the bejeesus out of the media for a couple of weeks, until they figured out that it most likely was a domestic terror attack.

And the anthrax terrorist, likewise, clearly piggybacked off of 9/11: the attacks occurred two weeks later, and the rampant speculation in the media for quite awhile was that this was another Al Qaeda attack, or perhaps one from Iraq.

Terrorists of all stripes -- foreign and domestic, Islamist and white nationalist, competent and incompetent -- have a symbiotic relationship with each other: one attack creates an "echo" that often has its own idiosyncratic purpose, but simultaneously enhances the intent of the original terrorist attack. The one thing all terrorists have in common, after all, is a general intent: to destabilize public confidence in the government and thus topple it. In the case of far-right domestic terrorists, they hope to present themselves as an authoritarian alternative to a system unable to keep its citizens secure.

What distinguishes those cases from this is that the powder they sent was benign, and the actual threat thus considerably diminished.

Now someone has sent genuine hazardous material that could have sickened Grijalva's staff.

Rep. Grijalva has already been the subject of death threats. Now it has escalated well beyond that.

This is some serious terrorism. It needs to be treated that way. Let's not let the media sweep this one under the carpet.

Rep. Grijalva is a friend of ours from many visits. Be sure and show him some support if you can.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Joe Miller gets a Hannity Job, tries to explain why reporter was cuffed with bogus 'men's room' lie

-- by Dave

[media id="18517" embed="true" image="true" download="true"]

Joe Miller may not be answering questions about anything to any reporters in Alaska, but he's more than happy to go on Fox News and get a Hannity Job -- you know, one of those appearances where Sean strokes you, tosses you a bunch of softballs, and lets you promote your campaign and issue non-answers whenever you like.

Sure, Joe's fellow Alaska Republicans may think it's a bad idea for Miller to avoid answering appropriate questions about his past:

No electable candidate can seriously pursue public office without implicitly saying to voters, "I promise to be ethical, honest and accountable and to make my candidacy as open and transparent as possible." It is unacceptable -- and certainly not a winning strategy -- to explicitly refuse to answer reasonable questions about oneself, and to disrespect the Alaska public and the press' right to do so before the questions have even been asked.

So what does Miller do? He goes on Fox with Hannity, who asks him about the letter -- and Miller, rather than answer, simply deflects the question, saying it's just another feeble attempt by his opponents to try to keep Alaskans from thinking about his bright and shiny future Alaska free, free at last! from federal influence.

In fact, that's Miller's answer to all of Hannity's soft questions, including those about how his militia/security goons roughed up and handcuffed a reporter at one of his events. And you'll note that Hannity doesn't even bring up the matter of the goons' hard-core militia background.

And perhaps sensing that this wasn't enough, he also trotted out the weird claim that Hopfinger followed him into the men's room at the event.

This is, of course, not just a bogus smoke screen but a lie. Hopfinger was tackled by thugs when Hopfinger tried to ask him questions immediately after Miller had given a speech -- there was no men's room involved in the "arrest" incident.

There was, however, a brief meeting between the two in the men's room before Miller spoke -- but only because Hopfinger happened to be using the men's room at the same time, not because he had followed Miller in there.

The incident was described in one of the Dispatch's early reports on the whole affair:

Hopfinger seemed still baffled by the events Sunday night. "This is a public school," he said. "This is a public event," adding that Miller clearly knew whom he was talking to because the men had earlier exchanged pleasantries in the men's restroom.

Hopfinger said he didn't think that was the time or place to ask Miller difficult questions about what happened in Fairbanks. He figured, he said, it would be better to wait until after Miller was done with his town hall meeting and ask the questions then.

Full disclosure: I took note of this aspect of the story because I thought it was funny -- especially having been in the same situation: Reporter runs into the men's room before an event and winds up in urinal next to the person you're there to cover -- and for whom you have some tough questions that he has been evading. It may flash briefly in your mind to ask them there and then -- but for most working journalists, common sense and decency restrains them.

I called the Dispatch to confirm that Hopfinger had in fact not followed Miller into the men's room. Hopfinger was unavailable, but one of his reporters confirmed this was the case, saying he had never met Miller before and just happened to wander into the men's restroom at the same time.

I think it says everything about Joe Miller's paranoid state of mind that he assumed that Hopfinger followed him in.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Isn't that sedition? GOP congressional candidate (and Glenn Beck pal) Broden: Violent overthrow 'on the table' if GOP fails

-- by Dave

You know, I've been warning that there may be some serious unpleasantness ahead if the Tea Partiers find their planned takeover of the government falls short come the day after Election Day.

It seems a Republican congressional candidate and Tea Partier (and frequent Glenn Beck guest) agrees with me:
GOP congressional candidate Stephen Broden says violent overthrow of government is 'on the table'

WASHINGTON – Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.

In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising "is not the first option," but it is "on the table." That drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks "inappropriate."

Broden, a first-time candidate, is challenging veteran incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas' heavily Democratic 30th Congressional District. Johnson's campaign declined to comment on Broden.

In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical.

"We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution."

Watson asked if his definition of revolution included violent overthrow of the government. In a prolonged back-and-forth, Broden at first declined to explicitly address insurrection, saying the first way to deal with a repressive government is to "alter it or abolish it."

"If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary," Broden said, adding the nation was founded on a violent revolt against Britain's King George III.

Watson asked if violence would be an option in 2010, under the current government.

"The option is on the table. I don't think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms," Broden said, without elaborating. "However, it is not the first option."

Here's the original WFAA piece.

Let's not forget, of course, that Broden is a pal of Glenn Beck's and frequent guest on his show. Here he is in an earlier Beck appearance:

But gee, isn't it mean of people like the NAACP to point out that the Tea Party movement is riddled throughout with violent radicals? Why, who would think that? And why would they think it?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

President Obama rips Republicans on campaign trail in Seattle: 'You can't drive!'

-- by Dave

Well, I'm sure Sean Hannity will be as quick as ever to pooh-pooh the prospects that President Obama is capable of igniting his supporters this year on the campaign trail -- it's been a running theme at Fox, you know, that there's a big "enthusiasm gap" and that candidates are actually running away from having Obama campaign for them.

Whatever. Today I went to Obama's campaign appearance for our friend Sen. Patty Murray in Seattle at the UW campus. As Murray put it: "I've got to tell you, for all those TV pundits and skeptics who say there's an enthusiasm gap -- I've got four words for them: Come to Washington state!"

Indeed, I'd wager that the majority of the 10,000 or so who packed HecEd Pavilion walked out energized and eager to go help drum up votes for Democrats over the next couple of weeks. Because Obama was at his best.

Perhaps the best indicator of a skilled rhetorician is one who can tell the same speech/story over and over again and yet find ways to make it fresh each telling. And Obama did that -- he's been telling this story about how Republicans drove the national car into a ditch for a long time, and he's been using the punch line: -- "You can't drive!" -- since at least May 14.

But he told it again, and you know what? It still worked.

Even a non-Obamabot like myself has to come away impressed with his sincerity and drive. And since I happen to share Obama's pragmatism, I'm more than happy to do my part to likewise urge people to get out and vote. Too much is at stake. It's too important that we spend the next two years playing offense. Sitting on our hands is going to mean we'll be playing a whole lotta defense.

Andrew Villeneuve at NPI has picture and some thoughts. Also, here's Philip Rucker's report for the WaPo.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Call a Waaahmbulance: NAACP exhaustively details how the Tea Party's connections empower racism

-- by Dave

Cue the right-wing wailing and gnashing of teeth: The NAACP has now fully backed up its accusations of racism within the Tea Party movement with a meticulously documented report on the Tea parties' multifarious connections to racists and various far-right extremists.

The report, "Tea Party Nationalism," looks at the relationships and differences between the six major Tea Party organizations -- FreedomWorks Tea Party, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, and Tea Party Express -- and the various ways that each group has established connections with, and empowers, outright racists and white supremacists, as well we far-right "Patriot" extremists of various stripes.

"In these ranks, an abiding obsession with Barack Obama's birth certificate is often a stand-in for the belief that the first black president of the United States is not a 'real American.' Rather than strict adherence to the Constitution, many Tea Partiers are challenging the provision for birthright citizenship found in the Fourteenth Amendment," write authors Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which produced the report for the NAACP.

The heart of the report is the section titled "Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse, which includes some previously overlooked facets of the movement and revealing details:

-- James von Brunn, the white supremacist who killed a Holocaust Museum guard last year, posted on Tea Partner Express partner websites.

-- Mark Williams, former chairman of the Tea Party Express, not only wrote racist screeds, he made death threats against President Obama,

-- Billy Joe Roper, a member of the ResistNet Tea Party who also happens to be the founder of the overtly racist White Revolution organization, indulging in "Nazi glamorization" with his eulogy for William Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries, the notorious race-war blueprint.

We also get "profiles of troubling Tea Partiers," including Roan Garcia-Quintana, a South Carolina Tea Party member who the report says belongs to the largest white nationalist group in the country; Karen Pack, another Tea Party member the report says is linked to the Ku Klux Klan; and Clay Douglas, a Tea Party member from Arizona the report says has pushed "militia-style 'New World Order' conspiracies" and "hard core anti-Semitism."

As Benjamin Jealous remarks in the Foreword to the report:

I hope the leadership and members of the Tea Party movement will read this report and take additional steps to distance themselves from those Tea Party leaders who espouse racist ideas, advocate violence, or are formally affiliated with white supremacist organizations. In our effort to strengthen our democracy and ensure rights for all, it is important that we have a reasoned political debate without the use of epithets, the threat of violence, or the resurrection of long discredited racial hierarchies.

Naaaah, no such luck:

“Here we go again,” said Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation. “This is typical of this liberal group’s smear tactics.”

And elsewhere:

And the Tea Party Express' Sal Russo said that "[t]o attack a grassroots movement of this magnitude with sundry isolated incidents only goes to show the NAACP has abandoned the cause of civil rights for the advancement of liberal Democrat politics."

Of course, because the data in this report is there for everyone to see, it's pretty hard for them to claim that this is merely anecdotal evidence: Rather, we're talking about a problem that is very much systemic in nature.

If the Tea Party leaders were sincere and honest about wanting to get rid of any racists who might be attaching themselves to their movement, they would take this report seriously and respond to it forthrightly.

But they aren't. So they won't.

And the reality of racism within the ranks of the Tea Party will only deepen.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Joe Miller's pals at Drop Zone: About as hard-core as militias get

-- by Dave

Those thugs that Joe Miller used to rough up reporters, it seems, aren't just your ordinary street-corner hooligans.

It turns out, as Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday, that they're also active-duty soldiers. On top of that: the company, Drop Zone, is an unlicensed business, and the supplier for the Alaska Militia.

PalinGates has the details:

"Dropzone Security Services" is not just a company run by people who are not very clever, but the company is also right at the heart of the "Alaska Citizens Militia" - a group commanded by Norm Olson, who once rose to "fame" as the founder of the Michigan militia.


"Dropzone Bill" is the "nickname" of none other than William F. Fulton, the owner of "Dropzone Security Services", who came across as an unprofessional "goon" during the "arrest" of Tony Hopfinger.

He uses this nickname for his postings on the google-message board of the "Alaska Citizens Militia", which conveniently is public, for everyone to see.

From the postings, several facts can be established: Fulton's "Dropzone" military surplus shop in Anchorage which he owns together with his (currently unlicensed) security company, is a regular meeting point for the members of the militia and appears also to be their main supplier, according to the messages on the website. In addition, Fulton aka "Dropzone Bill" is a local commander of the militia.

According to Tony Hopfinger's site, the Alaska Department of Public Safety is now investigating.

And the more you look at Drop Zone, the uglier they get. For instance, check out this "Lone Wolf Resistance Newsletter". It's from the militia site Patriot Resistance, which is based in Arizona, and built out of its page dedicated to the Lone Wolf Survival Manual.

You all remember lone wolves, don't you? Does the name James Von Brunn ring a bell?

The "lone wolf" concept was popularized in the late 1980s by an Aryan Nations leader named Louis Beam as an extension of his strategy of "leaderless resistance." One white supremacist, a fellow named Alex Curtis, even went so far as to develop a "point system" for lone wolves.

A 2003 piece by Jessica Stern in Foreign Affairs described how even Al Qaeda was finding the concept useful. And she explains its origins:

The idea was popularized by Louis Beam, the self-described ambassador-at-large, staff propagandist, and "computer terrorist to the Chosen" for Aryan Nations, an American neo-Nazi group. Beam writes that hierarchical organization is extremely dangerous for insurgents, especially in "technologically advanced societies where electronic surveillance can often penetrate the structure, revealing its chain of command." In leaderless organizations, however, "individuals and groups operate independently of each other, and never report to a central headquarters or single leader for direction or instruction, as would those who belong to a typical pyramid organization." Leaders do not issue orders or pay operatives; instead, they inspire small cells or individuals to take action on their own initiative.

The strategy was also inspired by at least one "lone wolf" shooter: Joseph Paul Franklin, a racist sniper who in the late 1970s and early 1980s killed as many as 20 people -- mostly mixed-race couples -- on a serial-murder spree, and attempted to assassinate both Vernon Jordan and Larry Flynt. (Franklin was also the inspiration for William Pierce's Hunter, the follow-up novel to The Turner Diaries.)

There has been no dearth of lone wolves in the years since Beam set the strategy for the radical right: Eric Rudolph. Buford Furrow. Benjamin Smith. James Kopp. Jim David Adkisson. And now add Scott Roeder and James von Brunn to the list.

That's quite a trail of "isolated incidents," isn't it?

These are quite the folks that Joe Miller has surrounded himself with, isn't it?

Well, we already warned you that Joe Miller was lining up to become the Patriot movement's first elected Senator, and until this incident, he was doing it largely under the radar. Hopefully Alaskans will wise up before Election Day.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Is Your Tea Party On Thugs

-- by Dave

We've already seen in this election cycle the level of threatening behavior escalating to new heights, thanks in large part to the innate viciousness of Tea Party rhetoric. In particular, threats from mentally unstable people, as well as far-right Patriot movement followers, freshly energized by the Tea Parties, are rising to the fore.

Now we're witnessing thuggery from the political leaders of the Tea Party themselves, or at least from the minions they unleash on any unpleasant dissenters in their vicinity. Real American democracy, obviously, is just too hard to take for these patriots.

Watch the video above, taken by another reporter at the scene when Joe Miller's hired thugs muscled and then handcuffed a reporter asking questions -- and then likewise muscled other reporters at the scene.

Folks, that's what fascism looks like.

Even Miller's supporters were appalled:

"I would say Tony was aggressive, and I would say he was rude because he interrupted me, but he didn't do anything wrong and he wasn't posing a threat to Miller," Symbol said.

She said Miller tried to get away from the reporter and in doing so put his hand on her arm and pushed her aside. Her 8-year-old son, Vincent Mahoney, was standing right behind her, and Miller bowled him over in his attempt to get away. "I don't know if [Miller] didn't see him or didn't care, but he didn't say 'excuse me' or 'I'm sorry'. He didn't even turn his head," Symbol said. "He simply did not care at all."

Symbol said after Miller fled, she turned and saw Hopfinger trying to get around the security guards who were blocking his way. "They kept pushing him back. He kept saying, 'I have a right to be here, I have a right to be asking these questions.' Tony would try to walk forward and they would push him back."

Symbol said she did not see Hopfinger push anyone in the time she was watching the confrontation.

Then again, this is what happens when you hire far-right extremists of the Patriot variety to act as your "security" force. It's becoming abundantly clear that Miller is very much part of that world, and indeed is poised to become the Patriot movement's first elected senator.

As the Financial Times observed, this kind of thuggery toward members of the media was probably inevitable, given the Tea Partiers' proclivity for attacking them rhetorically (particularly Sarah "Lamestream" Palin). However, it's not just media folks, but anyone perceived to be from "the other side" by Tea Partiers. And it's not just in Alaska.

Down in Florda the other day, we had this from another Tea Party candidate -- Allen West:

From NBC 6 in Miami:

Tonight, NBC 6 Miami reported on a new Allen West (FL-22) controversy: West’s biker supporters caught on tape harassing a Florida Democratic Party campaign staffer. Citing safety concerns, Florida Democratic Party officials have stopped covering the Allen West campaign.

This comes just days after NBC News’ Lisa Myers reported that Allen West (FL-22) has ties to an infamous motorcycle gang and organized crime syndicate, the Outlaws. The Justice Department has said that the Outlaws produce and distribute methamphetamine, and engage in other criminal activities including arson, homicide, and prostitution.


Male voice: You know you're not wanted here.
Tracker: All right. You guys made that clear.
Male: It's private.
Tracker: You really want to do this?
Male: We're doing it.
Tracker: You can do it all day.

Reporter: Is this too intimidating on the campaign trail?

Tracker: Hey, hey, hey, hey. This is a free place.
Male voice: And we’re free to stand here.
Tracker: As long as you don't touch me. I was trying to walk that way.
Male voice: Get the [bleep] out

Reporter: A campaign worker for Democrat Ron Klein trying to videotape his Republican opponent, Allen West, at a veterans rally at a public park in Del Ray Beach. The video shows West supporters verbally harassing the 23-year-old videographer. Threats can be heard on the video tape. The West supporters force him to get back into his car.

Listen to how University of Miami professor of politics, Donald Jones describes the incident, “Thuggishness. These are troubles wrinkles coming at a time when West doesn't need them. He needs to hold together this coalition of economic and social conservatives that the Republican party represents.”

Reporter: I had an appointment to interview Allen West earlier today, but he canceled. I e-mailed this video to his campaign manager who issued this statement. "I saw a kid who was asked to leave. These are Vietnam veterans, they are not thugs. They were attending a private Allen West function to honor American veterans."

Sure. They're just Vietnam Veterans who happen to wear biker leathers and act like thugs. They're not really thugs.

Expect a lot more of this from the Tea Partiers. And because the media are just watching and letting it happen, expect them to continue to get away with it. It's the new normal. And that's not good.

UPDATE: Digby points out that Miller's thugs are also active-duty soldiers. She adds:

It would be interesting to ask Miller about the Oathkeepers and watch him turn himself into a living pretzel trying to explain how all this works.

Yeah, except that Miller isn't answering questions from the press anymore, dontcha know? And if you try, you get a faceful of locker.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sharron Angle defends her race-baiting ad: 'I'm not sure those were Latinos,' and 'Some of you look a little more Asian to me'

-- by Dave

[media id="18477" embed="true" image="true" download="true"]

Seems that Sharron Angle doesn't want to cop to the naked race-baiting of her "illegal aliens" ads -- especially not when she's in a room full of Latino students.

She was called on the race-baiting this weekend, and she tried two different dodges:

-- Those weren't Latinos in those ads, which really were about security on our northern border.

-- What's the difference between Latinos and Asians anyway? We're all just a big melting pot, right?

No, really. That's what she said.

Jon Ralston at the Las Vegas Sun has the gory details:

Question: Why is it that in all of your commercials you have the image of Latinos? What do you see when you hear, and I quote, “illegal aliens?”

Angle: I think that you’re misinterpreting those commercials. I’m not sure that those are Latinos in that commercial. What it is, is a fence and there are people coming across that fence. What we know is that our northern border is where the terrorists came through. That’s the most porous border that we have. We cannot allow terrorists; we cannot allow anyone to come across our border if we don’t know why they’re coming. So we have to secure all of our borders and that’s what that was about, is border security. Not just our southern border, but our coastal border and our northern border.

Yeah, who could have gotten the idea those were Latinos in that commercial, eh? Silly of them, really. But then, if you wanted to check for yourself, you might have a problem since Angle was so proud of the ad she took it down from YouTube.

Fortunately, we still have it here:

You'll notice the intense discussion of our northern border (which, incidentally, is largely on forested tracts or grasslands -- not a sagebrush desert) in this ad. By its utter absence.

Not content to have dug herself a deep hole, Angle then kept digging:

"So that’s what we want is a secure and sovereign nation and, you know, I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don’t know that. [Note: it's the Hispanic Student Union. The whole room is Hispanic teenagers.] What we know, what we know about ourselves is that we are a melting pot in this country. My grandchildren are evidence of that. I’m evidence of that. I’ve been called the first Asian legislator in our Nevada State Assembly."

In any event, her ignorance seems to know no bounds.

Are Nevadans really seriously thinking of sending this woman to the Senate?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]