Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beck Lies About Oakland Cop Sniper, Claims Innocence In Inspiring Shooter Who Targeted Tides Foundation

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We knew Glenn Beck was going to deny any culpability for his role in inciting a right-wing nutcase named Byron Williams, who got into a shootout with Oakland police officers last week when they pulled him over en route to his planned attack on the San Francisco offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU. After all, Beck always cries, like his conservative cohorts, that eeeeevil libruls are just trying to "silence" him whenever he incites acts of violence.

Personal responsibility? That's for liberals and black people, we guess.

But his denial yesterday on his Fox News show went beyond mere cries of "bloody shirt!" -- though it contained that, too. What he attempted to do was claim some kind of equivalence and another Oakland incident involving shots fired at the police -- even though the claim is just nakedly false:
The next thing is, they're painting people into terrorists -- painting people into dangers.
Um, you know, we had a sniper in, um, Oakland, California, trying to kill police. At the same time we have another guy who appears to be against the Tides Foundation, uh, and he goes down and he's going to try to kill people at the Tides Foundation. I'm tied to the Tides Foundation in this story because, quote, how scary is this? We have searched all the television records and Glenn Beck is the only host that spoke about the Tides Foundation in the past year. That's terrifying.

But I'm tied to that. But nobody's even talking about the sniper from the left trying to shoot the police officer.

So where do you stand on violence?
Let's parse this carefully, because it's important to understand just how deep Beck's mendacity is here.
First, let's be clear that no one is "painting" Glenn Beck as a terrorist -- and there should be no question, frankly, that Byron Williams fully intended to be a terrorist.

More significant, though, is the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that the sniper case in Oakland involved any political motive at all. As you can see from the Oakland Tribune report, this appeared to be largely a case of someone who was angered by a police drug bust, or simply hated cops. That stands in direct contrast to the Williams case, which was unmistakably motivated by political hatred.

We know that particularly because of the information from Williams' mother about his motives:
She said her son, who had been a carpenter and a cabinetmaker before his imprisonment, was angry about his unemployment and about "what's happening to our country."

Williams watched the news on television and was upset by "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items,"
his mother said.

... She said she then checked the locked safe where she kept her guns, all legally purchased and owned, and found that they were also missing.

Janice Williams said she kept the guns because "eventually, I think we're going to be caught up in a revolution." But she said she had told her son many times that "he didn't have to be on the front lines."
And how did Byron Williams come to choose the Tides Foundation as a target? What television show did he watch that made him think the Tides Foundation was an evil entity worthy of being shot up and terrorized.

Well, as Beck openly admits -- and as Media Matters explains in detail -- there was only one show that did so -- Glenn Beck's.

Moreover, Beck is being disingenuous in the extreme to describe his role in this as merely "talking about" the Tides Foundation -- he viciously (and groundlessly) demonized them as an organization intended to "destroy capitalism", a "Trojan horse" engaged in "indoctrinating children" and "warping your children's brains" with the idea that "capitalism is evil", the "nastiest of the nasty," a bunch of "far left radicals" who are "infiltrating" and "failing capitalism" so they can "destroy it."

These are all utterly false and base smears, of course. But if you were a violent and gullible right-winger prone to anger, you probably would be inspired by this kind of rhetoric to try to take them out. Which fits the description of Byron Williams to a T.

As we've said about Beck previously:
Because we believe in freedom of speech and freedom of thought, there will probably always be haters like Richard Poplawski among us. Inevitably they will be driven by fear: the fear of difference. Because to them, difference of any kind is a threat.

And what we know from experience about volatile, unstable actors like them is that they can be readily induced into violent action by hateful rhetoric that demonizes and dehumanizes other people. And thanks to human nature and those same freedoms, we will certainly always have fearmongering demagogues among us. But the purveyors of such profoundly irresponsible rhetoric need to be called on it -- especially when they hold the nation's media megaphones.
Tragically, it's becoming increasingly clear that both Beck and Fox News have no intention whatsoever of stopping this profoundly irresponsible behavior. Which means that he's going to continue whipping up violent, unstable nutcases with his scapegoating and demonization.

Which means that someday, someone is going to finally succeed in a violent attack on one of his targets. Someday, there will be a lot of people killed by one of Beck's eager acolytes. Someday, he won't be able to hide behind his whining that eeeevil libruls are trying to "silence" him. Someday, it will be unmistakably clear to everyone exactly what he has been doing. Someday, he will be finally, irrevocably, disgraced.

We will all be in mourning that day. But it seems that until then, he will never stop.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tea Partying 'Patriots' Ginning Themselves Up For A Shooting War -- And GOP Politicians Are On Board

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Nicholas Phillips at the Riverfront Times takes note of this YouTube video from a Tea Party/Patriot movement outfit calling itself Don't Tread On Me, which apparently is planning a movie documenting the "Patriot uprising" against President Obama and the eeeeeeevil Marxist/socialist/fascist Democrats.

Among the featured guests on the video are a couple of Missouri Republican House legislators: Rep. Cynthia Davis, who you may remember for her proclamation that "hunger can be a motivating force", which is why we shouldn't give kids school lunches; and Rep. Brian Nieves, who got some attention earlier this month for his goofy political demanding Obama and Muslims "leave us alone".

The theme of the video is that eventually, "patriots" are going to have to take up arms against the eeeeeevil Democrats. Nieves, for instance, intones:
Thirty years from now, somebody's going to ask you what you did during the patriot uprising.
Davis adds:
We're drawing the line in the sand and saying, 'This is our territory.'
But hey, those Tea Partiers are just normal, sane people who only want to advocate for fiscal restraint. Right? Right?

Digby has more.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Right-Wing 'True Patriot' Bank Robber Got Away With $86,000 He Gave To 'The Cause'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

When I first heard this story about a farmer from Port Townsend -- on the other side of Puget Sound from Seattle, the area where The Egg and I was set -- who had embarked on a bank-robbing spree, I was moderately intrigued. After all, rural hardship is often closely involved in these cases.

Michael Fenter
But it turns out that wasn't the case at all: Michael Fenter wasn't hard up for money to keep his farm afloat. Indeed, he didn't keep or spend any of the $86,000 he got away with: he gave it away, apparently to a right-wing Patriot organization or something very much like it.

This information was buried, actually, in the Seattle Times story by Maureen O'Hagan:
Calling it "one of the most perplexing cases" he's ever considered, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle sentenced Fenter on Monday to 10 years in prison, and ordered him to make restitution to the banks. He walked away with $86,000 from the first three robberies, and that money has never been accounted for.


During the robberies, Fenter told bank employees that he was angry about the government bailout of banks. He said he was taking the money to give to people who needed it, according to court documents — though when asked about it by authorities he declined to provide details.

Upon his arrest, he said his name was "Patrick Henry," a Revolutionary War-era governor famous for his "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech.

One Bank of America employee said at Friday's sentencing hearing in Tacoma that she thinks about the robbery everyday and her heart races.

"He's a terrorist," she said.


As for the question why? Fenter said robbing banks wasn't to get money for himself or his family. Instead, he did it because he was a "true patriot." The money, he said, went to fund that cause.

"What I am for is real justice, real truth, and real accountability within our system of government," he said. "The money was used and is probably currently being used to get to the truth."

He did not make clear who was using the money — though he emphasized it was being used in a "peaceful" way. Nor did he say what, exactly, he hoped to learn.
I think it's funny that Fox News spends so much time whipping up hysteria over scary black people.
Because there sure as hell are some scary white people out there, ya know?

Jan Brewer's Fearmongering Is Destroying Arizona's Economy -- But Hey, It Wins Votes

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and her misbegotten immigration law, SB1070, may be popular with Arizonans looking for a handy scapegoat right now, but they may not be so popular a little down the road, after they've completely destroyed what's left of the state's economy.

KPHO-TV in Phoenix, for instance, found that her fearmongering about "headless corpses" was driving tourists away from the state in droves:
Veronica and Richard Schultz have owned the guest ranch for the past 14 years. The operation’s close proximity to the border used to be a selling point for guests. Now, it’s more of a repellent.

“We’ve definitely lost guests and we've had guests call us. We’ve had friends call us from all over the country and say, ‘Hey, are you safe?’” Richard Schultz said.
Between the economy and boycotts related to Arizona’s tough new immigration law, SB 1070, tourism in the state is down 10 percent.

The Shultzes said state politicians are not helping matters. Every day on cable news, anchors and reporters are discussing an invasion at the border, headless bodies in the desert or a rash of kidnappings.

During this election cycle, Arizona politicians are touting the potential dangers of illegal immigration. Gov. Jan Brewer is one of the loudest voices.

She has made several statements to the national media, the validity of which CBS 5 Investigates could not confirm. The governor told one media outlet that almost all illegal immigrants are bringing drugs across the border. U.S. Border Patrol officials said that statement is false.

Brewer also said law enforcement officials have found decapitated bodies in the desert. Calls to all of Arizona’s border county medical examiners revealed no decapitated bodies have been reported to them.
You've also gotta love how, when asked about her rhetoric in the segment above, Brewer simply fled. She must be getting her lessons in media relations from Sharron Angle.

Then there was the LA Times piece reporting how Latinos are fleeing the state in droves -- and how it's killing businesses:
No one has measured the effect of SB 1070 on businesses, or the number of immigrants it has prompted to leave Arizona. But merchants say the repercussions are clear — not just in how it's prompted many families to leave the state, but scared others enough to curtail their regular activities.

"The economy's already bad, but on top of it [SB 1070] is like a bullet in the head to us," said Osameh Odeh, 35, whose Eden Wear clothing store was empty one recent afternoon. "People don't come out of their houses anymore."
Of course, we not only predicted this outcome, we reported on its early manifestations already awhile back. You know the political price for this may be a steep one -- considering that wrecking the economy is not usually a popular outcome. Even Judge Bolton's ruling, staving off the law's enactment, can't prevent these outcomes.

And it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.

Shawna Forde And Her Killer Minutemen Had Scheduled Other 'Operations' When They Were Arrested For Murders

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

There have been some interesting developments in the bizarre and telling case of Shawna Forde, the Everett, WA, woman who led an offshoot unit of Minutemen who ran armed border patrols for patriotic "fun" and then decided to go "operational." They concocted a scheme to raid drug smugglers and take their money and drugs and use it to finance a border race war and "start a revolution against the government". They mistakenly chose the home of Raul Flores and his wife and two daughters, which had neither money nor drugs; first they shot the father in the head and wounded the mother, and then, while she pleaded for her life, they shot 9-year-old Brisenia in cold blood. (Her sister, fortunately, was sleeping over at a friend's.)

It seems the FBI got a heads-up about Forde's plans -- and did nothing about it, since the information was sketchy. But it also seems that Forde and Co. had a whole slate of violent home invasions ready to roll. From Kim Smith at the Arizona Star:
According to documents filed this week in Pima County Superior Court, two confidential informants for the FBI say they told agents in April 2009 that Forde was recruiting people to raid a house she believed was filled with illicit drugs, money and guns.


The documents say Forde, 42, and others were on the verge of hitting additional targets when she, Jason Bush, 35, and Albert Gaxiola, 43, were arrested on June 12, 2009.


Both men are described as active members of the border-defense movement who routinely camp on the border so they can spot illegal immigrants and report them to the U.S. Border Patrol.

One of them told investigators that he met Forde in October 2007 while on a mission outside Arivaca. He said that in April 2009, Forde called him, saying the other men she knew in the border-defense movement were "sissies," and she was impressed with his courage.

The informant says Forde knew rocket-propelled grenades, drugs and millions of dollars were being funneled into the U.S. through Arivaca and wanted him to help her protect the community.

Not wanting to get involved, the man told Forde to call another man.

The second man says Forde shared her intelligence with him several times in person, over the phone and by e-mail.

Once Forde made arrangements to meet with him, the second man said he deemed her serious and contacted his FBI handler, who instructed him to keep gathering information.

The two men say they and two other men met with Forde at an Aurora, Colo., truck stop in late April 2009, at which time Forde said she wanted them to force their way into an Arivaca house and get control of the occupants.

They said she told them a second team would then come in and gather up the drugs, money and weapons, which would be sold to help the Minutemen American Defense, an organization based in the state of Washington.

One of them relayed the information to the FBI a few days later. The other corroborated his account of the meeting. They were told to keep on gathering information.

Forde later called one of the men to ask if he could be in Arivaca within 18 hours, but he said he made excuses about why he couldn't. About 10 days later, they learned of the slayings.

The men said they immediately suspected Forde, suspicions they said were confirmed when Forde called an associate to help Bush, who had been shot in the leg.

Forde told their associate that Bush was shot while patrolling the desert, but they suspected Bush had really been shot during the home invasion, they told authorities.

On June 7, one of the informants told Forde in a conversation taped by the FBI that he and the other informant wouldn't be able to drive to Tucson for a few days. He also told her he didn't want to bring one of the other participants in their truck-stop meeting because he didn't trust him.

Forde replied that she did trust him and went on to say: "We can train him. We can start him on soft targets. Our hands are already dirty. We've got to know he can pull the trigger."
You can listen to the wounded mother's 911 call here:

It's not as if Shawna Forde was a renegade Minuteman, either, though she did run an offshoot (which is how the majority of Minutemen are organizing these days, the large national organizations having gone kaput). Indeed, Forde served as a spokesperson for FAIR and was closely involved with Minutemen leader Jim Gilchrist right up to the time of her arrest.

The trial this fall is going to be intensely interesting -- and deeply revealing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who, Me Unleash Violent Nutcases? Beck Wonders Why The Concern About The Tides Foundation -- But Doesn't Mention Shooter

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck was all hyped up about last week's Netroots Nation gathering in Vegas, especially the frequency with which he was mentioned. The reason, he said, was that "this was really about you" (which is, of course, one of the rhetorical devices Beck uses to get his viewers to identify with him).

He was especially struck by the remarks made by our friend and sometime C&L contributor, Color of Change's James Rucker, who has been the point person in organizing one of the most effective advertiser boycotts of Beck's program.
Beck: We're exposing the progressive agenda to the light of day. And that is what he has a problem with. Watch:
Rucker: No one knew what Tides was until Glenn Beck started -- I mean, people outside of our political world didn't know Tides, until Glenn Beck's blackboard.
Beck: Now wait a minute. We did talk about Tides. There I am -- last September. We talked about Tides! Well, why wouldn't you want us talking about Tides? Aren't they helping people? Aren't they working for social justice? Isn't that what all of your progressive friends are working towards? Why would you hide it?
Gee, Glenn, no one's trying to hide the Tides Foundation. And no one minds anybody -- Fox News included -- "talking about" them. What they object to, rather, is your scapegoating them: unleashing a torrent of violent eliminationist rhetoric, ripe with fearmongering and falsehoods, in their direction.

The reason James Rucker mentioned the Tides Foundation, in fact, was a news story Beck assiduously has avoided mentioning -- namely, the gunman in Oakland last week who targeted the Tides Foundation after watching Beck's program.

Funny that Beck seems blissfully unaware of this incident, isn't it?

Especially when, as Media Matters has explained in detail, Beck appears to be the primary, if not sole, inspiration for this violent nutcase's choice of target:
According to his mother, Williams "watched the news on television and was upset by 'the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.'"

We don't know what Williams was watching, or that television played a role in his decision to target Tides. However, if it did, according to our Nexis searches, the primary person on cable or network news talking about the Tides Foundation in the year and a half prior to the shootout was Fox News' Glenn Beck.

According to our searches, since Beck's show premiered on January 19, 2009, Tides has been mentioned on 31 editions of Fox News programs, 29 of which were editions of Beck's show (the other two were on Sean Hannity's program). In most of those references, Beck attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy theories. Two of those Beck mentions occurred during the week before Williams' shootout.

On July 14, Beck said:
You believe that America is the last best hope for the free world. Boy, was I a moron for believing that. Nope, there are a lot of people that believe that we are the oppressor. This man states it. He states in this book "The purpose is to create mass organizations to seize power." Wow! That almost sounds like the Tides Foundation.
On July 13, Beck said:
Well, they have the education system. They have the media. They have the capitalist system. What do you think the Tides Foundation was? They infiltrate and they saw under Ronald Reagan that capitalists were not for all of this nonsense, so they infiltrated. Now, they are using failing capitalism to destroy it.
By contrast, since January 19, 2009, according to our Nexis search, Tides was not mentioned on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, or PBS. Not once. This search is not perfect -- Nexis does not include, for example, MSNBC's daytime coverage. But the contrast with Beck's coverage is stark.
As if to illustrate the point in yesterday's segment, Beck ruminated a little later -- inspired by Harry Reid's promise at Netroots that a public option will eventually pass the Congress -- in a way that very much sounded like he's promoting violent action:
Beck: You know, it's funny, I don't know what's going to wake your friends and neighbors up. I really don't. I don't know. Are they still saying it couldn't happen here in America? Is that what they're saying? I don't know what else it takes to wake your friends and neighbors up. But their freedoms are being lost. They're being stolen in the cover of darkness. It's like these guys are wearing an invisibility coat, or think they're wearing an invisibility cloak, and -- and everybody can see them. Like, 'Hm, no' -- your neighbors -- 'No, I can't see them.' 'But they're right there!'

I have a sense -- I have a sense that there is growing frustration in this country. I have a sense also that there are lunatics everywhere -- on the left and the right -- that have no problem killing. Because that's what lunatics like to do. The average American, I fear, is about to say, 'I give up. I give up.'
All of this -- particularly the vicious attacks on the Tides Foundation -- constitutes a classic example of eliminationist rhetoric -- something Beck has been doing for a long time, with progressives as his main target. Beck always tries to claim that he's being victimized and his free speech attacked whenever this is pointed out -- even though link between hateful rhetoric and violent behavior is a well-established one with a long and sorrowful track record.

We wondered not too long ago how long it would be before someone decided to act on Beck's eliminationist rhetoric directed at progressives. Looks like we have our answer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beck And His Cohost Have A Big Giggle Over Olbermann's History Lesson, Mock His Education, And Betray Their Own Ignorance

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

You can tell that Keith Olbermann scored some serious points in his special comment of last week attacking the wingnuts at Fox News, because Glenn Beck and his radio cohort, Pat Gray, spent a long, long time attacking and deriding it and giggling at it the next day.

Somehow, the doofuses at the Right Scoop concluded that this display destroyed Olbermann and made Beck look good. Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Some things stand out as pretty obvious:
  1. Beck really is stupid. Who else would purposely conflate Alfred Dreyfus with Richard Dreyfuss? Obviously Beck knows the difference -- the fact that he knows this is French history makes clear he knows about the Dreyfus case. (And in fact Dreyfuss made a film, Prisoner of Honor about the case -- though he actually played the attorney who obtained Dreyfus' exoneration.) If Beck thinks this kind of obscuranist humor is funny to anyone outside of the control room, he's every bit the moron he seems to think Olbermann is.
  2. Speaking of which, Keith Olbermann did indeed graduate from an ag school -- at Cornell. Considering that Glenn Beck couldn't even make it through a single semester of college ... well, let's just say he's not exactly in any position to deride anyone else's education. (And besides, what does Beck have against agricultural colleges? Sarah Palin graduated from one too, dude.)
  3. The Dreyfus affair was not just French history, nor even merely world history. It was one of the more significant points in history, period -- a seminal point in terms of institutionalized racism, specifically anti-Semitism, in government, and one of the most significant precursors of the Holocaust. The fact that the analogy just blows right by Beck and Gray -- them with their giggling and exaggerated rolling "r"s of Breitbart -- just shows them to be the ignoramuses they are proud of being.
  4. Finally, we know Beck said he dried out, but are we sure? This looked more like two stoned teenagers finding everything they say hilarious when no one else does.
Beck thinks he can just laugh at his critics and everyone will just laugh along. But first he has to explain what's actually funny. Which, of course, is never very funny to anyone else.

[H/t Nicole for the input.]

Ex-Tea Party Spokesman Mark Williams Doesn't Want The Story To Be About Him. Too Late, Dude.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Mark Williams -- having seen his Tea Party Express booted from the National Tea Party Foundation for his nakedly racist screed about "coloreds" -- went on CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon yesterday and announced he was stepping down as the TPE spokesman. In the process, demonstrated exactly why the Tea Parties cannot distance themselves from their racists within quite as easily as they'd like:
LEMON: So I want to ask you, why did you resign from the Tea Party Express?

WILLIAMS: To take the spotlight off of me. It's a movement. It's not about me. It's not about my ego. It's not about my fat head. I did succeed in getting the NAACP to the table. And by the way this tea party federation which represents exactly 40 groups out of 5,000, I was never a member of. I have no idea who they are, but they threw me out.
Hmmmm. This is most peculiar, since the press release announcing the formation of the National Tea Party Foundation in April 2009 lists the Tea Party Express as one of its founding member organizations. And I can't find any indication the Tea Party Express ever indicated that this listing was in error.

In any event, Williams then went on to explain that he was still very much a Tea Party activist:
LEMON: OK. So listen, if you say that you wanted to take the spotlight off of you, I have to ask you then why did you accept this interview if you don't want to be in the spotlight?

WILLIAMS: I weaselled on you last time. The reason why I canceled last time was because the day before David Webb went on TV and did all this nonsense about kicking me out of a group I never belonged to, I had sat down with the Urban League, the NAACP, Reverend Al and a bunch of other people and we reached an agreement to put all the rancor behind us and find common ground.

This guy Webb, looking for headlines, cashing in, whatever it was, decided he would chime in. That makes me the issue when the issue should really be America and what we're working to save.


WILLIAMS: I am still a Tea Partier. I just don't speak officially for the Tea Party Express.
And then he demonstrated exactly the kind of racist ignorance that is embedded deeply in the movement he formerly represented:
LEMON: OK, listen, I want to go back and read this first again, because it's the first time I have talk to you. Go back and read the first part of your letter to Lincoln that you posted on your blog and then later removed. It says, "We colored people don't cotton -- we colored people have taken a vote and decide we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us colored people and we demand that it's stop."

Are you still defending this as satire, Mark?

WILLIAMS: I defend the idea behind it. I certainly am upset with my sloppy execution of it. But when a group that calls itself colored people says it's against freedom and emancipation and it's against self-determination, the first thing that pops into my mind is those colored people must be speaking for some bizarre group of people that I'm not familiar with. And in people's mind, when people say they use the words colored and black interchangeably, that's in their heads.


LEMON: I think you are a smart guy.


LEMON: And I think you know the NAACP is an historic organization which got its name 100 years ago before there was anything about colored, black, African-American. And there is some debate even among African-Americans about changing the name. But you are a smart enough guy to know that you can't use that word just like you can't call people the "N" word. You used to be able to do that. We still say the negro league when we talk about old timers in baseball, but you don't walk around calling people Negros. So why do you use that defense? It seems like your being disingenuous about it.

WILLIAMS: No. I used the name of the group and I used what they call themselves. And I used the intent behind their -- behind their resolution. And when we sat down and we agreed to put all that behind us, and I agreed on national television, by the way, on another network, that I was over the top with it, we put it behind us. And the next day this bottom feeder Webb just went and destroyed all of that and turned it into a big debate over me.
As you can see, the interview continues on in this tone through several more questions. He defends Andrew Breitbart and repeats the lie that Shirley Sherrod's audience applauded when she discussed her impulse to "act racistly".

Williams just doesn't get it. He's still utterly clueless about what his screed revealed about so much of the Tea Partiers' claims to "colorblindness" -- that it's really just lip service, window dressing for a profound bigotry.

That, ultimately, is why he remains an exemplar of the Tea Partiers' race problem -- and will for a good long time to come.

Fun In Colorado: Tom Tancredo Ditches The GOP For The Constitution Party

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Tom Tancredo seems to be on a one-man crusade to make Colorado the Wingnutopia of this year's political campaigns:
Tancredo will run for governor as American Constitution Party candidate
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is in the race for Colorado governor, he said this morning.

“I will officially announce at noon that I will seek the nomination of the constitution party,” Tancredo told The Denver Post.

The Littleton Republican must file some papers with the Colorado Secretary of State and register as a member of the American Constitution Party, but then “he’s ready to go,” raising money, disclosing his platform and launching a website that is already put together.

Tancredo gave Republican candidates Scott McInnis and Dan Maes an ultimatum last week: Promise to get out of the race after the primary if polls showed the winner lagging behind Democrat John Hickenlooper or else he would get in as a third-party candidate.
Both Maes and McInnis refused.

Tancredo’s entry into the race is likely to split the GOP vote in the general election, giving Hickenlooper a win, said Dick Wadhams, head of the state’s Republican Party.
He blasted Tancredo after hearing the former congressman was going to get in.

“Tom Tancredo has nobody’s interest in mind other than his own,” Wadhams said. “But what do you expect from a guy who reneged on his term-limit pledge and has been running for office for five decades.”

Tancredo and Wadhams had an all-out-brawl on Peter Boyles’ KHOW radio station show this morning, screaming at each other and calling each other “liars.”
Yeah, that fits Tancredo's style. And it comes right amid the little dustup over dissing Birthers from Tancredo's good pal and GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck, for whom Tancredo has already done many favors.

Of course, we remember well Tancredo's embrace of right-wing extremism at the Tea Partiers' convention.

Now, this embrace of the Constitution Party pretty much seals the fact that Tancredo is a real extremist. Because it's important to remember -- or simply understand -- just what the Constitution Party is: fundamentally, it is the "Patriot"/militia movement's political party.

My very first awareness of the militia movement, in fact, came in early 1994 when a researcher friend showed me a promotional video (featuring a radical anti-abortion evangelist named Matthew Trewhella) that was being distributed by an outfit called the U.S. Taxpayers Party. It, and many other USTP videos and publications, explicitly urged Americans to form militias in order to fight off the "New World Order" being planned by President Clinton.

The USTP was run by a longtime far-right activist named Howard Phillips, who at one time had been a key fundraising/mobilization figure for the "Reagan Revolution" in the early 1980s. Since then, Phillips has gone completely off the rails into black-helicopter land, as embodied by his USTP.

In 1999, he rechristened the USTP as the Constitution Party. Since then, it has played home to such far-right celebrities as Judge Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments nutcase, and has reached its tendrils into the state politics of some rural states, most notably Montana. It's also been the home of such notable political candidates as Minutemen leader Jim Gilchrist, whose character we're all too familiar with.

Tom Tancredo has never faced a statewide vote. This is going to be amusing to watch.