Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Rapture Day! Get Ready For The Big Tribulation Shindig Afterward.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

I'll bet that you didn't know that one of the real advantages for women getting caught up in today's scheduled Rapture is that it makes your boobs perky. Very perky.

I have no idea what it will do for guys. But my guess is that Viagra won't be needed.

In the meantime, the rest of us damned-for-all-eternity schlubs are looking forward to the Tribulation, because it means we won't have to put up with smug Bible-thumping zombies any more. Woo hoo!

The thing is, Pastor Camping's prophecy is really rather grim:

"The whole universe is going to be destroyed by fire," said California preacher Harold Camping... and the whole world listened.

It's his second apocalyptic prophecy promising the end on May 21st. He got the doomsday date wrong in 1994. This time it seems more people are talking about it largely in part because he's spreading it online. His website sent out customized warnings in nearly every language.
This all reminds me of our old friends at the Church Universal and Triumphant, Elizabeth Clare Prophet's cult who made for some interesting journalistic work back in the 1980s and '90s in Montana:
Primarily due to its doomsday predictions and attempts to establish a self-sufficient community on its 32,000 acre ranch in Montana, the Church Universal and Triumphant has come into considerable conflict with local residents and federal officials alike. The church was propelled into the national spotlight when Prophet predicted a massive Soviet missile strike on the United States for April 23, 1990. She now states that this date did not mean nuclear holocaust, but rather marked the beginning of a 12 year cycle of negative karma for the organization. Nevertheless, members from around the world streamed to the group's ranch, paying up to $12,000 each for space in one of the underground bomb shelters built by staff members. The state of Montana has since banned the church from ever using the shelters again.
My recollection was that when the date came and went, Prophet declared that the cult's fervent prayers had convinced the Lord to spare the Earth for now -- so they saved the world and then went home.

I rather expect we'll hear something like that on Sunday, too.

Glenn Beck Makes Fun Of Apocalypse Warnings -- Because They're Not His

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck actually opened his show yesterday making fun of the people getting ready for today's scheduled Rapture and general apocalypse.

Which at first struck me as a bit odd, considering that Beck has such a penchant for apocalyptic warnings himself. This kind of stuff, in fact, was a staple of Beck's even at CNN. You may remember, for instance, his segment with Pastor John Hagee where they explored whether or not Barack Obama is the antichrist. And when he switched to Fox, it intensified. Indeed, from the very outset of his time at Fox, Beck has been basically the network's Apocalypse Now Hour.

For instance, there was the show where he explored the End of Days with a fundamentalist "scholar" named Joel Rosenberg:

That was followed shortly by the infamous segment on the 'War Room,' where Beck and guests discussed various apocalyptic scenarios for America:

Of course, that one inspired a truly classic response from Stephen Colbert. So maybe it was worth it.

And it has been that way ever since. He's been incessantly warning America to prepare their doom bunkers, buy gold and guns, and get ready for the End, such as in this episode:

More recently, Beck's entire Mideast Caliphate Theory was carefully tailored to neatly merge with the apocalyptic scenarios he discussed with Rosenberg.

The truth is that Beck is in the same line of business as Pastor Harold Camping. They're actually competitors. He's only dissing the Camping camp because they aren't selling Beck's apocalyptic theories.

Right-wingers Flood Teen Who Challenged Bachmann To A Debate With Threats Of Violence

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

You all remember that high-school sophomore who challenged Michele Bachmann to a debate (because she knew full well she'd be able to kick wingnut butt)?

Seems she's attracted the usual right-wing response -- threats and thuggery:
Several media outlets reported on Myers' challenge. As a result, she said, people have threatened violence against her and threatened to publish her address online, the Courier Post reports. Myers' high school has also reprotedly received inquiries regarding Myers' letter.

"A lot of them are calling me a whore," Myers said of the online remarks against her. Added her father Wayne Myers: "I personally did not think there would be a reaction like actual stalking and the vitriol that's coming out."
The worst was reading the work of trolls at right-wing sites, the girl's father said:
Amy and Wayne Myers said the comments on conservative websites alarmed them most. Several commenters threatened to publish the Myers' home address.

Others threatened violence, including rape, they said.

"They're targeting me just because I'm challenging Bachmann," Amy said.
Amy's challenge is arguably unrealistic: Few if any sitting members of Congress would actually agree to debate a teenager.

Bachmann, talked up by the Republican right wing as a 2012 presidential contender, is often the subject of unflattering press. An aide said Tuesday the office would have no response to Myers' challenge.

The Courier-Post had scheduled a video interview with Amy Thursday. On Wednesday, a somewhat panicked-sounding Wayne Myers phoned to cancel, citing the alleged threats.

"I got a call from the principal that the main office received threatening mail," said the computer programmer and single father.
Such a classy bunch. Especially when you consider their fondness for depicting the Left -- and especially unions -- as a bunch of thugs.

[H/t to Alex Seitz-Wald at ThinkProgress.]

Friday, May 20, 2011

Palin Blames Media For GOP Dustups -- Then Launches Into Payback Rip Of Gingrich

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Sarah Palin thinks it's all the media's fault that there has been so much intraparty squabbling among Republican candidates so far -- because they just want to make the GOP look bad.

So of course, this then gave her leeway last night on Greta Van Susteren's Fox show to launch into a nasty bit of payback directed at Newt Gingrich, who back in January warned Palin to "be more careful" with her words. From Lexis/Nexis:
PALIN: I think the principles in the Republican Party are sound. The planks in our platform are great. The idiosyncrasies of some of the characters within the party are -- you know, they are what they are. And the mainstream media really likes to capitalize on some infighting and some mistakes made within the party so they exacerbate it and make it sound worse than it is. But the planks and the platform are right for America.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, isn't it our job, though, in the media to challenge the candidates, maybe put them in -- I'm not talking about being personal, but I mean, really grill them on some of the things they say about policies, even perhaps even the missteps or at least what is later called a misstep because sometimes those are the true intentions or the true views and someone after 24 hours has sort of rethought it after getting some heat.

PALIN: Absolutely. That is the media's appropriate role in holding an official or a potential candidate -- holding their feet to the fire, not playing the personal gotchas, but making sure that the record is clear regarding what it is that they say or the content, the context of what it is that they're saying. Yes, that's the media's role. If the media doesn't play that role, then they're not a cornerstone of the democracy that we would like to believe that they are.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that the challenge that -- in the last 24, 36 hours, or 48 hours, there's been a challenge -- Speaker Gingrich for what he said about Congressman Paul Ryan's bill in terms of dealing with entitlements -- do you think the challenge of him by the media and everyone going after him was right or wrong or someplace in between?

PALIN: Well, I think that the media -- that we all have a right to ask Speaker Gingrich, what in the heck did you mean that Paul Ryan's budget plan is radical or social engineering? No, what is radical is not proposing a plan to counter Obama's budget plan that has us on the road to bankruptcy.

What Paul Ryan's plan does -- not only does it tackle the Medicare problems that are -- we're going to face just smack-dab in our face very shortly and allow for a safety net to be provided our seniors with health care coverage down the road, but Paul Ryan's plan saves us $1.2 billion a day, as compared to Obama's big government overspending, debt-induced budget plan that he's rammed down our throats.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, I thought it was sort of interesting, though, in this sort of whole exchange, I thought to myself, If I were Senator Rick Santorum, I would send flowers to Speaker Gingrich because Senator Santorum making the remark about your former running mate, John McCain, something about him not understanding or knowing torture and what -- something -- some reference to that because that's a question -- you never get near Senator McCain (INAUDIBLE) because he does know torture more than anybody else. I thought that he sort of -- he was sort of unscathed as much as he could be, that the fuss over Speaker Gingrich overshadowed him.

PALIN: You know what I thought after the whole Newt Gingrich thing in these last 24 hours, Greta, was, Bless his heart and every other good ol' boy's heart that's in that political game there in the Beltway. They don't really know any more than the rest of us.

Greta, it was Newt Gingrich who told me in January of this year, Sarah Palin needs to slow down and really think through what it is that she has to say. Well, you know, he stumbles, too. We all stumble. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses.
Of course, if the media report this little kick in the nuts to Gingrich, it'll be their fault that voters might think there's some infighting going on over there in Republicanville.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

When O'Reilly's Own Poll Shows He Got Creamed By Jon Stewart, You Know It Was Total Evisceration

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Remember how Bill O'Reilly asked viewers to log in and vote on who won the debate he had just had with Jon Stewart over Fox's lame "Common controversy" the other night? Well, it didn't turn out so well for BillO.

O'Reilly sorta kinda halfway copped to it at the end of his show last night, responding to one the usual fawning letter writers he reads at the end of each night. It seems the outcome was the fault of us dirty f--ing hippies:
O'REILLY: Randy DeFord, Monticello, Indiana: "Bill, the debate with Stewart was great. Too bad he lost." Well, you know, lots of folks think he won, Randy. But it's impossible to get an accurate tally, because some far-left Websites have intruded on our poll. I thought that might happen. It is entirely my fault. But the results are skewed. You know, they tell their Night of the Living Dead people -- uuggghhh, go -- you know, all of that.
Notice that Bill didn't bother to tell you the actual numbers. Of course, if you go to his website, here's what you see:


Yep, that's pretty much what we thought, too. And no, it wasn't anything we said or did. There might have been other sites organizing a GOTV operation on O'Reilly's website, but those results probably came pretty much naturally.

Maryland Leads The Way By Passing Its Own DREAM Act -- And Exposing The Hollowness Of The Right

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

While Democrats in the Senate are still getting their efforts together at passing the DREAM Act -- which just barely fell short of passage in January, despite a relentless campaign of remorseless lying waged by Republicans -- legislators in Maryland have shown them how it's done -- simply get it passed, and watch the nativist Republicans reveal themselves as the hollow, lying hatemongers they are in the process. From Jackie at
After years of dogged organizing by local DREAM Act networks and CASA de Maryland-- and thousands of actions from members -- Maryland has finally passed an historic in-state tuition bill that was nine years in the making.

Still, the last few hours of the MD DREAM Act battle were as unpredictable and as they were tense. On Friday, the Maryland House joined the Senate in voting to approve the "Maryland DREAM Act" by a margin of 74-66. The measure was poised to clear a procedural vote in the Maryland Senate on Monday afternoon, when the proceedings took an unexpected U-turn. Maryland State Senators did not approve the amendments directly, but rather sent the bill back to a conference committee and on to face yet another vote in both chambers -- before the midnight deadline!

Amidst growing uncertainty, DREAM Act advocates at CASA de Maryland quickly called on the community to send messages to their Maryland representatives -- and hundreds of individuals took action immediately. Sparing no drama, the MD Senate approved the measure just a few short hours before the midnight deadline, 27 to 19, and the final House vote was a closer 74-65, according to initial tallies. As the last of the votes came in and the verdict became clear, the undocumented youth and community leaders who had gathered to watch the vote burst into cheers of joy. They hurried over to thank the delegates.
The bill was signed into law May 10. And the response from the Right was just as predictable: they've mounted an effort to get a repeal initiative onto the ballot:
Delegate Patrick L. McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican who is helping lead the drive, estimated Tuesday that organizers are “very close” to reaching the May 31 goal and expect to exceed the requirement in the next two weeks.

“I think they’re celebrating too soon,” he said of the bill’s supporters. “They shouldn’t be popping the champagne corks just yet.”
But the opponents' claims simply don't hold water. In order to argue against enacting this measure -- which really is a basic matter of common sense, decency and fair play -- they have to basically lie and make stuff up, as Ben Ferguson did on Fox News the other morning in attacking it, with Simon Rosenberg adroitly defending it.

The Washington Post was similarly clear
The measure is a tough, fair and sensible way to help make college affordable for students who grew up in Maryland but, often through no fault of their own, lack legal status in this country. Beyond helping them, it would help Maryland by providing credentials to talented young people who would be prepared to contribute to the state’s economy.

But the legislation, signed into law this week by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, is under attack by anti-illegal-immigrant activists. Brandishing slogans about respect for the law and the misuse of public funds, the activists want to make life so impossible for undocumented immigrants that they will somehow be forced to go “home.” Never mind that Maryland is the only home that many of these students, thoroughly American in speech, habits, culture and allegiance, know or remember.

The activists have launched a petition drive to block the law from taking effect this year by collecting about 58,000 valid signatures to put it on the ballot in 2012.


The bottom line for Mr. McDonough, as for many Republicans, is that illegal immigrants can and should be made to leave the country, and that federal, state and local governments can hasten that process by taking legislative and administrative steps that make life impossible for them.

This is fantasy, of course. Eleven million undocumented immigrants are in America, 7 million of them in the workforce; many have been here a long time and are deeply interwoven in the fabric of their communities. The idea that they can somehow be made to disappear — “attrited,” in Mr. McDonough’s euphemism — is a daydream. It won’t fly with businesses, industries and citizens that need and have come to rely on undocumented workers and residents.

In following at least 10 other states in enacting some version of the Dream Act, Maryland opened a door to youngsters who hope for a better future, like generations of immigrants before them. If that door is slammed, Maryland will shortchange its own future by blocking those residents from fulfilling their potential.
There's a reasonable chance that the effort to pass the bill in the Senate this year could succeed -- if the Democrats like Jon Tester can be made to see the light. Of course, the teabaggers running the House will never let it pass there -- but getting it done in the Senate will be an important step in advancing this simple, common-sense measure.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rick Santorum Says John McCain Doesn't Know What He's Talking About When It Comes To Torture

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Well, there's a frothy mixture of stupidity and arrogance for ya:
HUGH HEWITT: Now your former colleague, John McCain, said look, there’s no record, there’s no evidence here that these methods actually led to the capture or the killing of bin Laden. Do you disagree with that? Or do you think he’s got an argument?

RICK SANTORUM: I don’t, everything I’ve read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation. And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that’s how we ended up with bin Laden.
As Justin Elliott at Salon observes:
Here's a passage from McCain's memoir in which he describes being subjected to beatings and telling his interrogators false information in response:
Once my condition had stabilized, my interrogators resumed their work. Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship’s name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant. Pressed for more useful information, I gave the names of the Green Bay Packers offensive line, and said they were members of my squadron. When asked to identify future targets, I simply recited the names of a number of North Vietnamese cities that had already been bombed.
I was occasionally beaten when I declined to give any more information. The beatings were of short duration, because I let out a hair-raising scream whenever they occurred.
In one four-day period, McCain says he was beaten "every two to three hours," and his arm was broken and ribs cracked. So if nothing else, this is a man who can be said to know how enhanced interrogation works. (Santorum, as far as I can tell, has never been tortured, nor did he serve in the military.)

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, like McCain, also gave bad information after being tortured -- a point that McCain himself made in a recent Op-Ed ...
Ah, but we know that deep in his heart, Rick Santorum is a manly man who could withstand these puny "enhanced interrogation" techniques, just like McCain. Or at least, deep in his imagination.

Feel The Michelle-mentum: Fox Is Talking Up Bachmann's Presidential Bid Now

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Well, while more sensible thinkers like Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump have been dropping like flies from the Republican presidential-candidate field, this has of course left room for the complete nutcases like Michele Bachmann to step to the fore:
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite and something of a surrogate for Sarah Palin, is getting ready to jump into the presidential contest. Her advisers put out the word on Monday that a run was “very likely” and a D.C.-based consultant tells Power Play that Bachmann associates have been shopping for services.

“This is now beyond speculation. They are doing this,” the consultant said.

While Bachmann is a polarizing figure in the party, her candidacy is quite logical. With Mike Huckabee bowing out of the race, Palin showing no outward signs of launching a campaign and Newt Gingrich seeming to burn up on entry into the race, that leaves former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with an almost unobstructed view of the social conservative voters who dominate Iowa’s caucuses.

Bachmann’s candidacy is also helped by the fact that Donald Trump has renewed his contract with NBC and ended the most successful publicity stunt of his career. His appeal had been based on blunt, pungent attacks on President Obama, stock in trade for Bachmann. Plus, she gets similar attention from establishment media outlets that like to bring her on for bearbaiting sessions and then mock her afterwards.

As Bachmann has expanded her national profile and become more outspoken, her chances for reelection to her congressional seat have somewhat dimmed. Redistricting, a prospective romp by President Obama at the top of the ticket and the aversion to confrontation inherent in Minnesotans leaves Bachmann vulnerable to what would surely be a serious effort by Democrats to unseat her.
As you can see, Bachmann continues to play coy on Fox News, but it is starting to look like we'll get our comic relief in the Republican primaries after all.

I'm popping up a big batch of popcorn.

In A Sane World, WND's Farah Would Indeed Be Pulping Corsi's Birther Book In Embarrassment

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

See, this is why they say that satire is dead. In a sane and normal world, this would be a real news story, and not a satire:
In a stunning development one day after the release of Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President, by Dr. Jerome Corsi, World Net Daily Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah has announced plans to recall and pulp the entire 200,000 first printing run of the book, as well as announcing an offer to refund the purchase price to anyone who has already bought either a hard copy or electronic download of the book.

In an exclusive interview, a reflective Farah, who wrote the book's foreword and also published Corsi's earlier best-selling work, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak out Against John Kerry and Capricorn One: NASA, JFK, and the Great "Moon Landing" Cover-Up, said that after much serious reflection, he could not go forward with the project. "I believe with all my heart that Barack Obama is destroying this country, and I will continue to stand against his administration at every turn, but in light of recent events, this book has become problematic, and contains what I now believe to be factual inaccuracies," he said this morning. "I cannot in good conscience publish it and expect anyone to believe it."

When asked if he had any plans to publish a corrected version of the book, he said cryptically, "There is no book." Farah declined to comment on his discussions of the matter with Corsi.

A source at WND, who requested that his name be withheld, said that Farah was "rip-shit" when, on April 27, President Obama took the extraordinary step of personally releasing his "long-form" birth certificate, thus resolving the matter of Obama's legitimacy for "anybody with a brain."

"He called up Corsi and really tore him a new one," says the source. "I mean, we'll do anything to hurt Obama, and erase his memory, but we don't want to look like fucking idiots, you know? Look, at the end of the day, bullshit is bullshit."
But of course, it is a satire:
UPDATE, 12:25 p.m., for those who didn't figure it out yet, and the many on Twitter for whom it took a while: We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication. Are its author and publisher chastened? Well, no. They double down, and accuse the President of the United States of perpetrating a fraud on the world by having released a forged birth certificate. Not because this claim is in any way based on reality, but to hold their terribly gullible audience captive to their lies, and to sell books. This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule. That's why we committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book. Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all. Some more serious reporting from us on this whole "birther" phenomenon here, here, and here.
Apparently, Farah is taking it about as well as you'd expect a paranoid right-wing crank to: He's threatening to sue:
Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of World Net Daily Books, which published Corsi’s work, said he never spoke to the magazine and that the book is “selling briskly.”

“I have never spoken to anyone from Esquire. Never uttered these words or anything remotely resembling them to anyone. It is a complete fabrication,” Farah told The Daily Caller. “The book is selling briskly. I am 100 percent behind it.”


Farah said he is considering “legal options” against the magazine for posting the story .
“Let me say this very clearly: There is not a single word of that report that is true. I assume it is a very poorly executed parody. In any case, I have begun exploring our legal options, since this report has all the earmarkings of a deliberate attempt at restraint of trade, not to mention libel.”
Of course he's sticking to his guns. Farah -- who advised Donald Trump to jump aboard the Birther bandwagon and who devoted his National Tea Party Convention speech to a defense of Birtherism, -- is deeply invested in the story. And it's in the nature of conspiracy theorists never to give up in the face of devastating evidence, but rather to transform that evidence into further proof of their conspiracy theory.

Gee, I wonder if Sean Hannity will ask Corsi about this the next time he has him on his Fox show.

All this is coming on the heels of the news that Corsi's book was written with the help of far-right white nationalists. Just yesterday, as Eric Hananoki at Media Matters reported, one of the nation's most prominent white nationalists popped up and claimed credit for having helped assemble portions of the book:
The host of a self-described "pro-white" radio program has claimed that he helped WorldNetDaily reporter Jerome Corsi with a story related to Corsi's new book, Where's the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President.
James Edwards writes today that Corsi "personally e-mailed me a few months ago for some assistance on a story closely related to the contents of this book. I was happy to oblige and work behind-the-scenes with both Dr. Corsi and World Net Daily on this matter."

Edwards is the host of the "pro-white" radio program The Political Cesspool. The show's website states: "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White ... We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races." The show regularly features a guest roster of "pro-white" figures like David Duke and "neo-Nazi activist April Gaede."
Here's a sampling of Edwards' work:

As the SPLC's David Holthouse reported back in 2007:
"The Political Cesspool" in the past two years has become the primary radio nexus of hate in America. Its sponsors include the CCC and the Institute for Historical Review, a leading Holocaust denial organization. Its guest roster for 2007 reads like a "Who's Who" of the radical racist right. CCC leader Gordon Lee Baum, Holocaust denier Mark Weber, Canadian white supremacist Paul Fromm, American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor, neo-Nazi activist April Gaede, anti-Semitic professor Kevin MacDonald, Stormfront webmaster Jamie Kelso and League of the South president Michael Hill have all been favorably interviewed on the "Political Cesspool" this year, along with former Klan leader and neo-Nazi David Duke, the show's most frequent celebrity racist guest, who has logged three appearances.
Edwards is one of those slick young racists who knows to stay away from over race-baiting language in public as a way to buttress his claim that all he wants to do is promote the white race. But inevitably, as it always does with such folks, the cover eventually slips:
The "Cesspool" host is a rising star of the white nationalist movement because he's articulate, charming and equally at ease in a television studio, behind a radio microphone and standing in front of a crowd. He was a specially invited guest speaker at the CCC conference. His topic: "Creating Your Own Media." CCC National Field Coordinator Bill Lord told a "Martin Luther Coon" joke in his introduction of Edwards. Lord and other longtime CCC members casually dropped racial epithets at the conference, but Edwards carefully avoided using such crudely derogatory language, as he always does when speaking in public, on the airwaves or to the media. Edwards allies himself with hate group leaders who call black people "niggers," but he doesn't drop the N-bomb himself. Instead he speaks in the more or less polished code of a suit-and-tie racist, calling blacks "heathen savages," "subhumans," and "black animals," exclusively in the context of discussing violent black-on-white crime.

His audience of about 150 at the CCC conference included Jared Taylor, whose magazine specializes in race "studies," and Don Black, the former Alabama grand dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and founder of Stormfront, the largest racist forum on the Internet.
Guys like Farah would never try to run and hide now that their mendacious ruse has been exposed -- they always double down, proceeding as if their credibility was every bit as sound as ever. Which, really, it is. As I explained long ago, Farah never pays for having his conspiracy theories fall apart -- he just picks up and keeps moving. When the big "Y2K Apocalypse" he and his magazine ranted about for much of 1999 (a sample is here), Farah simply cleared his throat and pretended that it had all been a valuable lesson -- and then never raised it again.

That's because, underneath the conspiracy theory facade, these guys really are committed to a radical far-right agenda, and the theories they promote are really just a way of conditioning people to buy into that agenda. That's what they're about.

Most of all, it's an extremely clear example of what I call the Transmission Belt -- the way ideas and agendas move seamlessly from the fringes of the far right directly into the mainstream, thanks to characters like Farah and Corsi, and by extension to guys like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
But of course, it's very uncivil of us to be pointing this out.

Meanwhile, Ben Dimiero and Simon Maloy at Media Matters have the complete rundown on the Corsi book.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Against Jon Stewart, O'Reilly's Lame Defense Of Fox's Fake 'Common Controversy' Has No Chance

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We're kind of accustomed to seeing Jon Stewart pretty much mop the floor with Bill O'Reilly every time he goes up against him on Fox -- even when O'Reilly tries to carefully edit the tapes. And of course, it was no different last night when Stewart took up O'Reilly's challenge to debate him over the latest fake controversy ginned up by the network's smear-scandal mills.

As Ari Melber observes:
In two short segments, O'Reilly walked through his case, responded to factual charges of hypocrisy with some fairly sad parsing and then, when desperate, with rank "pettifogging," to use a term bandied by both men. Meanwhile, the "Daily Show" anchor's rebuttals were striking because, even in this casual mode on a minor item, he was more persuasive than the vast majority of people who are called on to represent a progressive view on TV.
The highlight came when O'Reilly, the past master of the Wurlitzer propaganda organ, accused Stewart of "pettifogging" the issue -- and then found himself promptly busted for pettifogging himself.

Stewart basically reiterated the points he'd already raised in The Daily Show's own rebuttals of the Fox fakery -- namely, Fox is hypocritical in its criteria for denouncing White House guests, especially given the network's own predilection for hosting people with violent backgrounds.
STEWART: It sounds like what you're saying -- and correct me if I'm wrong because I don't want to be wrong when I'm with you, 'cuz you know I got mad love for you -- that's a rap phrase...

O'REILLY: I got it.

STEWART: Correct me if I'm wrong. What you're saying is, if an artist supports someone that has been convicted of killing a cop, they should not be allowed to go to the White House. Is that a reasonable paraphrase?

O'REILLY: No, it's a little bit more than that.

STEWART: OK, say it.

O'REILLY: I am saying that when a president invites someone, in this case, the First Lady invites someone, the resume has to be put in front of them. And they have to select people who are almost unimpeachable, all right? Because they are getting that honor, to go to the White House. This guy is controversial all day long with this stuff. Not only did he support this cop killer, or celebrate the cop killer, he celebrated another one in Philadelphia!

STEWART: Again, he's celebrating someone he thinks was unjustly -- he's not celebrating --

O'REILLY: Is this Perry Mason we're talking about now? Is this the most brilliant lawyer of all time?


O'REILLY: This Common.

STEWART: Oh. Common. Let me ask you a question. Are you familiar with Leonard Peltier?


STEWART: OK. Leonard Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents.

O'REILLY: OK, now we're going out to Wounded Knee.

STEWART: It's similar.

O'REILLY: Oh huh. No it's not.

STEWART: Well, why is it not?

O'REILLY: Because you're pettifogging the issue.

STEWART: It's the exact same thing. It's a guy convicted of killing a law-enforcement official, no? Guess who wrote a song about Leonard Peltier. Bono.


STEWART: Guess where he was! [whispers] The White House! [shouts] Boo-yah!

O'REILLY: All right.

STEWART: That's a rap word.

O'REILLY: Did Bono -- ?


O'REILLY: Did he actually come out and say that he was innocent?

STEWART: I think that's the crux of the song.

O'REILLY: No. I think he was raising questions about it. And, and, the basic theme --

STEWART: Now who's pettifogging? Now I can't even see you! Here you pettifog. No -- that's exactly same!


STEWART: Bob Dylan wrote a song about a convicted killer named Hurricane Carter -- he's been to the White House. Why are you drawing a line at Common?

There is a collective outrage machine here at Fox that pettifogs only when it suits the narrative that suits them. This guy is in the crosshairs in a way he shouldn't be. Whether you agree with him or not, or you may think he's ignorant in believing Assadah Shakur is innocent. You may think he's ignorant in believing that Mumia is. But then guess what? Bono can't go to the White House, Springsteen can't go to the White House, Bob Dylan can't go to the White House. You got a lot of people that aren't allowed to sit in the White House because they've written songs about people convicted of murder.
There were also some delicious exchanges in the second half of the interview, particularly when Stewart brought up G. Gordon Liddy:

O'REILLY: OK. So you say, that because Bono, Springsteen, and Bob Dylan wrote songs defending people who were accused of heinous things, that I have to give Common a pass because he did the same thing.

STEWART: No. You have to be consistent with your outrage.


STEWART: G. Gordon Liddy, in the Randy Weaver case, after the ATF stormed that facility, right? When he was talking about the ATF, you know what he said on his radio show? He said, if they break down your doors, don't shoot them here [indicates torso], because they're wearing protective gear, shoot for the head.

O'REILLY: Was that before or after Liddy made the gold commercial?

STEWART: [laughs]

O'REILLY: OK, you see, your craziness -- you bring this stuff in.
O'Reilly obviously had no response to that one, because he obviously deflected the point and changed the subject there.

I wonder what would have happened if Stewart had managed to bring up Richard Poplawski -- an actual cop killer who was inspired by, among other people, Fox's own Glenn Beck.

Bet that would have wound up on the editing floor for sure.

Monday, May 16, 2011

'60 Minutes' Exposes The 'Sovereign Citizens' As The Nation's Most Serious Domestic-terrorism Threat

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

[H/t Heather]

60 Minutes' Byron Pitt had a superb segment last night on the sovereign citizens movement, springboarding from the tragic case of Jerry and Joe Kane, two sovereign citizens who mowed down a couple of West Memphis, Arkansas, police officers before themselves being killed.

It was actually a well assembled and insightful piece of reporting, including the analysis provided by J.J. McNabb, who is unquestionably one of the leading experts on the movement from the outside.

And while they let movement guru Alfred Adask run off at the mouth, in the end his own radicalism and complete lack of any connection to reality were made self-evident by his own words.

The only question is: Will Peter King finally listen and hold a congressional hearing on right-wing-extremist domestic terrorism, too?

The story particularly featured the work of Bob Paudert, the police chief in West Memphis father of one of the two slain officers. We've discussed Paudert's work previously (more here). He's been adamant that the information that could have saved his officers that day hadn't been disseminated to them because it was being bottled up.

Why is that happening? Well, as we noted then, we need look no further than the right-wing shriekosphere, which has done everything it can to demonize factual reportage of the actual threat of domestic terrorist activity from right-wing extremists:

The incident was yet another reminder that one of the most significant ongoing threats to law enforcement officers in this country comes from right-wing extremists of the Patriot/"sovereign citizen" variety -- people who take Republicans' government-bashing rhetoric to its illogical extreme and declare themselves free of federal laws and functionally laws unto themselves. There are constant reminders of this threat -- from the Hutaree Militia to the Richard Poplawskis out there.

Of course, we all were witness to the right-wing shrieking over that Department of Homeland Security bulletin warning police officers around the country about the nature of this resurgent threat. That's because conservatives are more concerned about whitewashing away these embarrassments than they are with the lives of police officers.

They like to use dead cops as props to attack liberals while loudly arguing, as Glenn Beck did a couple years ago, that even paying attention to such right-wing threats is a smear of mainstream conservatives.

Ironically, Glenn Beck was nattering at length on his Fox News show this week claiming that left-wing extremists are about to start killing police officers en masse, which is why they need to destroy their unions. Right.

The unfortunate reality is that federal officials are almost certainly not sharing this vital intelligence with police officers because, whenever they do, they're viciously and loudly attacked by right-wing pundits for allegedly smearing mainstream conservatives.
Amazingly, no one in the mainstream media seems to have yet cottoned to the fact that this really is a near-outright confession of complicity.

Indeed, domestic terrorism is sharply increasing in the past two years, as evidenced by the 22 incidents and counting we've documented involving right-wing extremists committing acts of violence against "liberals" and government targets.

But because right-wing talkers only want to discuss terrorism as a "Muslim" phenomenon, we're getting a badly skewed understanding of the nature of terrorism.
Here's that map -- and many of these indeed involve crimes committed by self-described "sovereign citizens":