Saturday, October 23, 2010

Website Suggests GOP Candidate Link to Priest Sexual Abuse Without Actually Saying So

The candidate is Ed Martin, challenging Democratic incumbent Russ Carnahan from Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District. The website is titled “The Real Ed Martin.” It suggests that while Mr. Martin was employed by the St. Louis Archdiocese as Director of the Office on Human Rights he was in a position to have knowledge of accused pedophile priests being transferred from parish to parish.

The website contains supporting materials, facts, documents, background information, but no smoking gun, no definitve proof Ed Martin had personal knowledge of pedophile priests. It was created by a New Mexico private investigator, Michael Corwin, and a well-credentialed former network TV producer, Jeannine Dillon. The site states:
“This is not a smear campaign against Candidate Ed Martin. It is a three-month investigation revealing important, relevant, and previously unreported facts that raise serious concerns about Candidate Martin’s integrity, judgment, and ability to serve the public as a United States Congressman. The investigation focuses on the role Candidate Martin played as a member of the St. Louis Archdiocesan Curia, the policy it had of moving accused and convicted pedophile priests from parish to parish, and the trail of molested children left behind.”
Here’s the crux of the issue: During Martin’s tenure, the Archdiocese approved a settlement between Fr. Leroy Valentine and the Scorfina family, in a case that was reported nationally. The family was paid a sizable sum and agreed to remain silent about the case with the understanding Fr. Valentine would be excommunicated. Fr. Valentine was not excommunicated.

This is not a “palling around with terrorists” guilt-by-association smear. The fact Martin was employed by the Archdiocese in an official capacity while a possible coverup of sexual abuse was in progress is a serious matter. It goes to the candidate’s character and judgment. The public has a right to know what Martin knew about the Fr.Valentine case.

Whether or not the website is directly connected to the Carnahan campaign, it still strains credulity that Martin was unaware of what was going on. He denies any knowledge and blames Carnahan. Standard denial. Given its ultra-conservative bent, the Church’s enforced prohibition on clergy serving in political office, on balance, is a good thing. It’s unfortunate the same restrictions, even if voluntary, do not extend to lay employees — past and present — of the Catholic Church as well.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Batting Practice: More Howlers From Keith’s Secret Wingnut Admirer at The DC Caller

She’s baaaack … for her weekly lobbing of silly spitballs at Keith Olbermann. Ruthie tries hard, at least. She claims to do it only for the money (“because we’re paid to,” thanks to Keith for her job), which hardly explains the unintended hilarious entries. Ruthie seems obsessively preoccupied with Keith, in a Glen Close kind of way. Still, it’s less weird than her boss’s recent behavior; instead, Ruthie serves up a steady diet of  harmless wingnut pokey buffoonery on the Daily Howler.

Ruthie says indignantly Keith is “mad” at Rupert Murdoch because “turns out he gave some money to the Republican Governors Association” and Keith notes, “he also runs a TV network that purports to cover news.” Doing her best clueless Christine O’Donnell imitation, Ruthie agrees: “Good point, Keith!”

Then she proceeds to go off-point, listing among Murdoch’s entertainment holdings such liberal broadcast favorites as The Simpsons, House, and 20th Century Fox which made Star Wars and (oh the humanity!) the pro-union Norma Rae. Having unburdened herself of wingnut guilt (Ruthie seems to have a glimmer of conscience, which is the first step toward recovery), back to the point: Murdoch’s contribution to the RGA. Specifically, Fox News purports to be a legitimate news organization rather than the propaganda arm of the Republican Tea Party. So when its owner contributes a whopping $2.25 million to the GOP, $1.25 of it to the RGA and the rest to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that puts the lie to its ridiculous “fair and balanced” claim over the years. This is Murdoch’s reply to a shareholder complaint about his contributions to the GOP:
RUPERT MURDOCH, NEWS CORP CEO: “We believe that it is certainly in the interest of the country and of all the shareholders and the prosperity—of the—that there be a degree of—a fair amount of change in Washington.”
Who is “we” — is it News Corp? Evidently, Rupert Murdoch doesn’t realize or care that a news organization in a free society has an ethical responsibility to be neutral and objective. Here is what Ruthie further omits from her silly little hit piece:
OLBERMANN: How much do Republicans love the Democratic focus on their secret pay masters?

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch spent much of his annual shareholders‘ meeting today fielding questions about his $1 million donation to the Republican Party, in what he thought was going to be a secret News Corp. donation to the chamber.

There‘s breaking news on that.  At this hour, it turns out it wasn‘t just $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from FOX‘s parent company, News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch. There was another donation of $250,000 more.  News Corp. is now in the books with the Chamber of Commerce for $1.25 million.

You will hear Murdoch on tape defending these actions to his shareholders later in this hour. But despite the Republican claim this story does not matter, Karl Rove‘s group today sent reporters an e-mail blast playing defense, trying focus attention on Democrats who previously also worked for groups that did not disclose their donors.

And what to make of claims by Rove‘s groups and others that they are benefiting from this scrutiny because it‘s prompting new donations? “Politico” today reporting that Rove‘s group claimed to have gotten more than $100,000 in small dollar online donation since the president began to criticize them, and that they will use that money to pump $2 million into eight more House races today.

So, how does $100,000 to get them to $2 million? A separate story in “Politico” reports $13 million raised in the same time period.  But the $100,000 was, quote, “small dollar donations,” which would make the remaining $12, 900,000 medium to large donations.”

But in our fourth story: the chairman and CEO of News Corp., Rupert Murdoch, has given the most overtly political explanation to date, regarding $2 million contributions and other one for $250,000 benefiting the Republican Party.  Quote, “It‘s certainly in the interest of the country and of all the shareholders that there be a fair amount of change in Washington.”

And now this other quarter million dollar donation has surfaced.  Today at News Corporation‘s annual shareholder meeting, stakeholders wanted to know why News Corp. had given $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which backs Republican, and $1 million more to the Republican Governors Association.

And since this morning‘s shareholders meeting, IRS disclosures show that News Corp. gave another $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association, that according to “Think Progress.”  That brings News Corp.‘s total contribution to the RGA to a million and a quarter.

As to the question posed, however, Mr. Murdoch offered only this:

MURDOCH: In these two donations that you‘re speaking of, we judged it to be in the best interests of the company.  It has nothing to do with the editorial policies or the journalism, or the films or anything or anything else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you just take a moment and explain how you believed it to be in the best interest?  How you believe it would further —

MURDOCH: No, we believed it is in the interests—we believed that it‘s certainly in the interests of the country and of all the shareholders and the prosperity of the—that there be a degree of—a fair amount of change in Washington.


OLBERMANN: Murdoch also said that News Corp.‘s political action committee had given more money to Democrats than to Republicans.  But yet, another shareholder correctly noted that those donations had been comparatively small, $78,000 to Democrats, $66,000 to Republicans in various congressional races.  The shareholder further noted the million dollar donations by News Corp., that would be kind of different.

(AUDIO CLIP - cont.)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to engage shareholders in that process?

MURDOCH: No, sorry. You have the right to vote us off the board if you don’t like it.
This is but one story reported by Countdown on a given night, all of it omitted by Ruthie. Such misrepresentations are common in wingnut media, which explains the multitude of studies showing why Fox viewers lag significantly behind viewers of programs like Countdown and Rachel Maddow in the factual knowledge necessary to make informed decisions as voters. Ruthie’s lame retort is that Glenn Greenwald in “that notorious conservative rag” (projection! DC Caller) Salon, wrote last year that “GE isn’t even bothering any longer to deny the fact that they exert control over MSNBC’s journalism.” Well, d’oh Ruthie, are you really this dense? Why do you think Keith has the following he does: because he toes the GE corporate line? Keith Olbermann is famous (infamous with the suits) for his independence, which is the single most important reason he anchors all MSNBC programming with its largest audience.

Ruthie’s waste of bandwidth consists of one silly ad hominen jab after another, since she cannot mention anything that is either substantive or in proper context. For example, “Just who are you calling an un-American bastard” blares Ruthie’s headline, with the text identifier, “As for the rest of the show, the high/low point was calling “Fox and Friends” anchor Brian Kilmeade an “un-American bastard.”

Actually, Keith didn’t, so … was Ruthie’s piece inadvertently cut here? She offers no further explanation. This is what Brian Kilmeade said, as reported in Countdown. Let the reader be the judge:
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim.

OLBERMANN: Somewhere, Timothy McVeigh is very surprised. 

But our winner, Brian Kilmeade.  There is stupid and there is bigoted and there is paranoid and there is Islamaphobic.  But it takes a big man to combine all four of them.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Do you think Americans have a right to look at moderate Muslims and say, show me you‘re not one of them?  Because that‘s really where we‘re a t right now as a country.


OLBERMANN:  No, we‘re not.  But that was just a warm up.  Wait for the hate.


KILMEADE:  The Shoe Bomber, the Times Square Bomber, the Underwear Bomber, they have one thing in common.  They are all extremists and they are all Muslims.  Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist.  But every terrorist is a Muslim.  You can‘t avoid that fact.  And that is ridiculous that we got to keep defining this.


OLBERMANN: “Every terrorist is a Muslim.” Scott Roeder, who assassinated George Tiller, must be surprised to find out that he‘s a Muslim.  Jim David Atkison, the church murderer, who says he was inspired by Bernie Goldberg‘s writing, he converted without his knowledge apparently.  Eric Rudolph, and the guy who tried to attack the Tides Foundation and the ACUL, and the man who detonated a bomb at a mosque in Jacksonville, all Muslims.  And Timothy McVeigh.


KILMEADE:  And the people that equate Timothy McVeigh with the al Qaeda terrorist organization, which is growing, and a threat that exists --


OLBERMANN:  That‘s right, see, because when McVeigh was put to death, that ended all threats of American born terrorists on the radical right. So here‘s one for Mr. Kilmeade: not every un-American bastard is Brian Kilmeade.  But all Brian Kilmeades are un-American bastards, and tonight‘s Worse Person in the World.
As with most wingnuts, Ruthie lacks a clear ethical compass since, after all, their stock-in-trade is in being unethical, the more outrageously so the better. Nothing is out of bounds. Not even a new-born child. Ruthie was unfamiliar with guest host Cenk Uygur “It sounds like he’s going to be fun. He also named his son “Prometheus Maximus” — seriously — so he seems to have exactly the level of self-regard befitting an MSBNC host. Welcome!”

“Exactly the level of self-regard”…? Excuse me, Ruth, but what exactly does the child’s name have to do with anyone’s “self-regard” or being an MSNBC host? This is typical of wingnut invective, personalizing the hate, attacking the children, even in the absence of anything substantively objectionable about the subject. Real low blow, Ruth. (There are others too, but at least they don’t involve a child.)

There’s too much hilarity to mention. Ruthie huffs indignantly “Groan. Yes, Keith, we get it, you’re a “journalist.” (No, you’re not.)” only days after he received an Edward R. Murrow award for best writing in electronic journalism. MSNBC’s parent company, NBC, swept the top awards, while Fox was nowhere to be seen. Hmm, I wonder why? In response to Keith’s rhetorical Q&A: “Why does the chamber oppose regulation? Do they really believe it‘s about jobs? No. They believe it‘s about the bottom line for the big multinational corporations they represent.” … Ruthie offers this howler rebuttal:
“Remember, on “Countdown,” jobs are something created when nice grandmothers think happy thoughts about butterflies. Jobs smell like cinnamon and their favorite thing in the world is hugging under a rainbow. They have nothing whatsoever to do with “the bottom line” at “big multinational corporations.”
Um Ruthie, see it’s like this. Absent tax incentives (a Democratic bill blocked by Republicans) for corporations to create jobs at home, they will continue to ship and create jobs overseas by the millions (see “TEA PARTY Remedial Education: Your Candidates Are Financed By Outsource Jobs USA, Inc. Do You Care?” below) precisely because it is good for the bottom line of big multinational corporations. The connection, Ruthie, is really a no-brainer. Finally, after some garbled, confused whining about the nature of  “class warfare” politics in America, this:
“News flash, Keith: Many Americans vote based on not just their tax bracket, but on who they want to be, or what they think is best for the country. You do it, too. So stop being such a condescending creep when others act in that same spirit.”
Gee, looks like Keith touched a raw nerve by repeating the truism that middle and lower middle class people often vote against their best interests, e.g., for candidates who will get rid of tax breaks for the middle class, privatize Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, VA hospitals, kill the EPA and the Departments of Energy and Education, end affordable student loan programs, the medical patient’s bill of rights, unemployment benefits, and on and on. They might read a provocative, sensationalist headline in your wingnut rag re: fear of  burkas, or sinister-looking illegals, and be so very afraid as to punch that (‘R’) for the corporate candidate whose policies will royally screw them in the short, medium, and long term. Happens all the time. It’s not really a surprise, given the level of misinformation and fear trafficked by wingnut propaganda outlets.

There was more weird stuff from Ruthie re: Michael Phelps in a speedo and Superman Keith avoiding the Kryptonite … best not to go there. Her historical faux pas deserve a post by themselves. But this is my favorite Ruthie howler: “Tonight Keith got himself in a huff over New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino over “his shouting and his tone,” which is pretty rich coming from the president of Shouters Anonymous.”

Wow. ¡Qué rico, Hoochie! (trans: That’s rich, Ruthie!) As luck would have it, I have located a priceless vid of the president of Shouters Anonymous. Enjoy!

Reading wingnut media (not watching it — the principal participants are much too repulsive) is similar to experiencing a Sam Peckinpah film (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs) while on a caipirinha buzz. It’s one slightly unbelievable shocker after another. Of course, what Peckinpah did was high art. Wingnut media is more like low-brow performance art turned accidental satire.

(I’m beginning to think there’s something to this reptilian brain, lizard people thing.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quotable, Bill Maher: "A Lot of Americans Are Just Dumb"

Oh, I think it‘s absolutely (the very existence of a black president) that‘s driving these people crazy. When they say they want their country back, that‘s what they mean, really, is they want their country back to the appropriate time when a white person was in the White House. It‘s called the White House. It‘s not hard to figure out. But I think it‘s also just impatience. 

I mean, I don‘t want to cast most Americans as being racist, but I think a lot of them are just dumb. I‘m sorry, but they are. They are clueless about the issues. They don‘t think further than things are not great, let‘s have a change — even though we just had a change two years ago. I mean, they voted for this massive change two years ago. But because it didn‘t immediately start raining $20 bills, they want to go back to the way it was. They remind me of a battered girlfriend, you know, who goes back to the guy who was battering them because, I don‘t know, the new boyfriend forgot their birthday or something?

Bill Maher, on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

THE VIEW, America's Most Dangerous Talk Show, Claims Another Victim: Buh-Bye, Juanito

First it was Bill-O The Clown's turn to suffer the walkout mockery of those uppity women who treated Mr. Bombast The Bigot like a wingnut crawly couch bug, jumping up and exiting stage left, presumably in search of bug spray:

Bill-O was still talking about it when Juanito Williams came under NPR re-View and release for, strangely, deciding to speak out in solidarity with The Clown. How weird and stupid is that. (Maybe there was some unresolved hostility toward The View ladies? ...  Bill-O The Clown's certainly got woman issues there that only professional help can tackle.)

Did NPR overreact? Probably. But the subtext here  is that NPR suits were upset Williams was working for a wingnut propaganda network. And it did affect their public image. On occasions when I listened to NPR and a Williams segment came up, my first reaction was to laugh. Then, it was in one ear and out the other. Why? Because he's been prostituting himself for Fox money and playing the Colmes (white) role of black token liberal on the propaganda wingnut network. It taints the guy; he's not recognized as a serious journalist. That's just the way it goes. And that's why he's very well compensated by Rupert Murdoch — so he can burnish the Fox image as something it's not. Williams's long-time association with Fox is a journalistic fraud, and NPR had just about had enough of that. It's understandable, and it's their right. Here's Juanito's swan song from NPR:


Funnin' Rachel Maddow: What To Do After a Vicious Assault From The Wingnut Blogosphere ...

Learn To Mix A Traditional CAIPIRINHA! 

Rachel, when the wingnut bloggers are nipping hysterically at your heels, there's nothing like a traditional caipirinha to give you that nice tropical buzz, making happy face and taking the edge off crushing the widdle whackos  ...

Note: It's LIME, not lemon.

Flash: Post-PA Senatorial Debate, Quién Ganó?

Joe Sestak clobbered Pat Toomey. Sestak turned into John Wayne with a PA twang in his admiral navy whites, leading troops into battle, "boy, we had that battle group humming," using all sorts of military slogans, "truth is the first casualty,"etc., tough talk on trying terrorists in civilian courts ("I want them put to death!"), his daughter's brain cancer cured because of his VA healthcare, the patriotic battle cry, "We the People"— be it from a political, substantive, or stylistic approach, Sestak had Toomey sounding punch-drunk admitting he had indeed worked on Wall Street. Even the Sestak retort, "He sounds like my parrot at home" worked ... After all, what's the cartoon sailor's constant pet/companion perched on his shoulder?

Wonder what the post-debate polls will look like. From this corner, to mix a few,  it's game, set, and match; lights out; damn the torpedos, and full speed ahead!                                                              

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ONE Wall Streeter Dumped $300,000 PLUS to BUY Pete DeFazio's Seat In Oregon

Amazing, isn't it Teabaggers? This jackass capitalist, Robert Mercer, who likes to go "through my life without saying anything to anybody," recently sued a contractor for allegedly overcharging him $2 million for a giant model train set in the basement of his Long Island mansion. Seems like a real-life version of Daddy Warbucks all wrapped up in Mr. Potter. This guy is so filthy rich that at a time when folks are losing their homes and being foreclosed on by the millions, his daughter and her husband spent more than $28 million buying six adjoining apartments in one of New York's upscale apartment buildings. Are they going to sit around picking and choosing their apartments' population, like regular folks at the Pet Store picking out the ornamental fish to populate their aquariums?

And what exactly do hedge fund managers do? No one really knows, except that they were mixed up to their eyeballs in our economy's recent meltdown. They do not build or make tangible things. They do not teach history or biology or research a cure for cancer. They're bottom-feeding Wall Street wheeler-dealers who, on a good day, create casino paper wealth by making risky investments and leveraging their funds trading in derivatives and distressed debt. Hedge fund managers were at the forefront, the cusp, of the financial shenanigans that nearly destroyed our economy and sent us tumbling down into this deep recession. So what's Mercer's beef with Pete DeFazio, Democratic Congressman from Oregon's 4th District? As best we can tell, Mercer dislikes DeFazio intensely for railing against Wall Street financiers and supporting a tax on securities trades. You know, the kinds of anti-Wall Street positions the Teabaggers supposedly favor.

Hedge fund managers are rapacious, vampiric, blood-sucking parasites. They skulk around the shadows and are hardly seen. This is an artist's rendition of a sinister anonymous capitalist/hedge fund manager plotting the purchase of the United States Congress:

Anti-Abortion Ad Depicting President Obama as "Angel of Death" Could Be Most Despicable Ever

A ballot measure in Colorado that failed overwhelmingly in 2008 with 73 percent of voter oppositon has been reintroduced by a radical anti-choice group as "Amendment 62" stating "the term 'person' shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." Even theologians will concede this is a religious, not scientific, definition. The so-called "personhood" amendment prohibits abortion even in cases of rape and incest or to save the mother's life, and puts Big Government in every pregnant woman's bedroom in America to ensure she carries her pregnancy to term. It also bans stem cell research and birth control except for the "barrier method." Ken Buck, TEA PARTY Republican candidate for U.S. senator from Colorado, supports Amendment 62.

As Tea Party insurgency on the Right fuels this anti-choice radicalism, which runs counter to the views of a solid majority of Americans, an ad by the group behind this ballot initiative, Personhood USA, is so revolting in its demonization of President Obama and in shoving its radical agenda in people's faces that it is certain to backfire, drawing more voters to come out in opposition to it and for Democrats. It is hoped that as the President gets set to go on a Western campaign swing, responsible community leaders and politicians in both parties will step forward to condemn this propaganda garbage filled with lies. Anti-choice zealots are among the scariest and most violent extremists around. This is really disgusting.

NAACP Releases Chilling Report on The TEA PARTY

Editorial Note: This comprehensive report issued today by the NAACP, is so disturbing in its findings that the complete text of the introduction to the report is reproduced in our blog in the interests of disclosing information about the Tea Party movement that is essential for voters to make an informed decision. This text provides an overview of the detailed analysis contained in the full report. It is not opinion or conjecture. It is extensively documented and sourced. Everyone is strongly urged to download the complete document from the link provided below, and read it before November 2, 2010.
The highlights are ours.
A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of Its National Factions BY DEVIN BURGHART AND LEONARD ZESKIND


The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights is responsible for the content and
analysis of this report. Additional materials, including updates and exclusive web content can be
found at


Tea Party Nationalism is the first report of its kind. It examines the six national organizational networks at the core of the Tea Party movement: FreedomWorks Tea Party, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, and Tea Party Express. This report documents the corporate structures and leaderships, their finances, and membership concentrations of each faction. It looks at the actual relationships of these factions to each other, including some of the very explicit differences they have with each other. And we begin an analysis of the larger politics that motivate each faction and the Tea Party movement generally.

The result of this study contravenes many of the Tea Parties’ self-invented myths, particularly their supposedly sole concentration on budget deficits, taxes and the power of the federal government. Instead, this report found Tea Party ranks to be permeated with concerns about race and national identity and other so-called social issues. 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.

Tea Party organizations have given platforms to anti-Semites, racists, and bigots. Further, hard-core white nationalists have been attracted to these protests, looking for potential recruits and hoping to push these (white) protestors towards a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy. One temperature gauge of these events is the fact that longtime national socialist David Duke is hoping to find money and support enough in the Tea Party ranks to launch yet another electoral campaign in the 2012 Republican primaries.The leading figures in one national faction, 1776 Tea Party (the faction more commonly known as, were imported directly from the anti-immigrant vigilante organization, the Minuteman Project. Tea Party Nation has provided a gathering place for so-called birthers and has attracted Christian nationalists and nativists. Tea Party Express so outraged the public with the racist pronouncements of its leaders, that other national factions have (recently) eschewed any ties to it. Both ResistNet and Tea Party Patriots, the two largest networks, harbor long-time anti-immigrant nativists and racists; and Tea Party Patriots has opened its doors to those aiming at repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment and the direct election of United State Senators. While Tea Partiers and their supporters are concerned about the current economic recession and the increase in government debt and spending it has occasioned, there is no observable statistical link between Tea Party membership and unemployment levels. Readers will note a regression analysis on this question done last January specifically for this report. And their storied opposition to political and social elites turns out to be predicated on an antagonism to federal assistance to those deemed the “undeserving poor.

The Tea Party movement as a whole is a multimillion dollar complex that includes for-profit corporations, non-party non-profit organizations, and political action committees. Collectively they have erased the advantage that Democrats once enjoyed in the arena of internet fundraising and web-based mobilization. They have resuscitated the ultra-conservative wing of American political life, created a stiff pole of opinion within Republican Party ranks, and they have had a devastating impact on thoughtful policy making for the common good, both at the local and state as well as at the federal levels.

A quick look at the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, led by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), reveals a significant level of overlap with the enforcement-only House Immigration Reform Caucus led by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA). More, a number of these caucus members are also sponsors of a bill sitting in committee that would end birthright citizenship, H.R. 1868. The Tea Party movement has unleashed a still inchoate political movement who are in their numerical majority, angry middle class white people who believe their country, their nation, has been taken from them. And they want it back. The oft-repeated Tea Party call to “Take it Back, Take Your Country Back” is an explicitly nationalist refrain. It is sometimes coupled with the assertion that there are “real Americans,” as opposed to others who they believe are driving the country into a socialist ditch.

The Tea Party phenomenon exists at about three levels of agreement and commitment. Several national opinion polls point to support for the Tea Parties running at approximately 16% to 18% of the adult population, which would put the number of sympathizers in the tens of millions. That would be the outermost ring of support. At the next level is a larger less defined group of a couple of million activists who go to meetings, buy the literature and attend the many local and national protests. At the core is the more 250,000 members in all fifty states who have signed up on the websites of the six national organizational networks that form the core of this movement. Tea Party Nationalism focuses on this core of the movement. It would be a mistake to claim that all Tea Partiers are nativist vigilantes or racists of one stripe or another, and this report manifestly does not make that claim. As this report highlights, however, all of the national Tea Party factions have had problems in these areas. Of the national factions, only FreedomWorks Tea Party, headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, has made an explicit attempt to narrow the focus of the movement as a whole to fiscal issues—an effort that has largely failed, as this report documents.

Nevertheless, the impact of President Barack Obama’s election, and the fact that the First Family of the United States has ancestors who were once the property of white people, has had an effect. It is not direct and mechanical, like a cue ball hitting the nine ball into the corner pocket. But it is identifiable nonetheless. Consider, for example, the incessant depiction of President Barack Obama as a non-American. !is theme began among those who regard him as a non-native born American who should not rightly (constitutionally) hold the presidency. The permutations go on from there: Islamic terrorist, socialist, African witch doctor, lying African, etc. If he is not properly American, then he becomes the ‘‘other” that is not “us.” Five of the six national factions have these “birthers” in their leadership; the only exception being FreedomWorks. A look at the graph counting Tea Party numbers over time shows that the organizations are continuing to grow. The different factions are not all growing at the same rate, however. The Tea Party Patriots and ResistNet, the two national factions with the most diffuse, locally-based organizational structures, are experiencing the fastest rate of growth. This would tend to indicate a larger movement less susceptible to central control, and more likely to attract racist and nativist elements at the local level. Simply put, the Tea Parties are not going away after the mid-term elections, and they can be expected to have a continuing impact on public policy debate into the future. It should not be expected, however, for the Tea Party movement to have the same organizational configurations for the indefinite future. At a minimum, some sorting out process is likely to occur--including a major segment of Tea partiers who move in to the Republican Party apparatus, while others shift closer to the white nationalist movement.

The contemporary white nationalist movement was created in the 1990s, as a realignment of forces brought the Klan-national socialist dominated white supremacist movement together with elements formerly associated with Buchanan-style conservatism. This type of nationalism is akin to the ethnic nationalism of the post-Soviet era in Yugoslavia, and differs significantly from the post-World War Two anti-colonial national liberation movements in southern Africa and elsewhere.

In this instance, “scientific” racists, America first isolationists, anti-immigrant nativists seeking to maintain a white demographic majority, neo-Confederates, and a strain of so-called paleo-conservatives melded with Holocaust deniers, Posse Comitatus-style militia groups, Aryanists, white power skinheads and white citizen council-types to create a single if not seamless white nationalist movement. These are all self-conscious racist ideologues, as opposed to those who exhibit unconscious racist attitudes. While this movement’s goals are often divided between those who want to carve a whites-only republic out of the United States and those who work for a return to the pre-Brown decision, pre-civil right legislation era, one and all seek the establishment of total and unquestioned white domination. Toward these ends, the white nationalist movement is divided between two strategic orientations: the go-it-alone vanguardists, and the mainstreamers who seek to win a majority following among white people. It is decidedly the mainstreamers, such as the Council of Conservative Citizens discussed in this report, who seek to influence and recruit among the Tea Partiers.

Similarly, it is the more mainstream-oriented militias that most interact with Tea Party organizations. Militias are organizations of men and women with weapons, who create a command structure based on rank, and often engage in paramilitary training with the presumption that they will fight an enemy to be named later. For justification, they search in the Second Amendment, as well as in the ideas of the 1980s-era Posse Comitatus. That Posse Comitatus based itself on the arcane doctrine of a “sovereign” form of citizenship for white Christians, with rights and responsibilities that are presumed to be superior to that of those who they call Fourteenth Amendment citizens--all non-Christians and people of color. The Posse’s form of “state” citizenship predates the “national” citizenship of the Fourteenth Amendment, and it is this state citizenship, coupled with the Second Amendment, that creates their justification for militias. Otherwise these groups might otherwise be regarded simply as private armies. As noted in this report, there are several militias that regard themselves as Tea Party organizations.

A word about Tea Party nationalism qua nationalism. Despite the fact that Tea Partiers sometimes dress in the costumes of 18th century Americans, wave the Gadsden flag and claim that the United States Constitution should be the divining rod of all legislative policies, theirs is an American nationalism that does not always include all Americans. It is a nationalism that excludes those deemed not to be “real Americans;” including the native-born children of undocumented immigrants (often despised as “anchor babies”), socialists, Moslems, and those not deemed to fit within a “Christian nation.” The “common welfare” of the constitution’s preamble does not complicate their ideas about individual liberty. !is form of nationalism harkens back to the America first ideology of Father Coughlin. As the Confederate battle flags, witch doctor caricatures and demeaning discourse suggest, a bright white line of racism threads through this nationalism. Yet, it is not a full-fledged variety of white nationalism. It is as inchoate as it is super-patriotic. It is possibly an embryo of what it might yet become.

In this report, please note the maps (which are interactive at Each traces the geographic location of the members, the relative size of each one of the members, and provides a stunningly graphic overview of the size and scope of the Tea Party organizations. This provides the most accurate assessment to date of where each of the faction’s strength lies, and when combined with other data not included in this report could help future analysts gather information about the Tea Parties’ potential electoral impact.

All of the local groups that are not affiliated with one national network or the other are outside the scope of this report. They await further examination and analysis in the future. Similarly beyond the reach of this report are the many ancillary organizations that have contributed to the movement since its inception, including: Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, Americans for Prosperity, National Precinct Alliance and the John Birch Society. Also not included in this report was an analysis of the various national 9-12 groups. The 9-12 formations lack the same sort of national structure present in the Tea Party movement. The national 9-12 formations are important peripheral forces, but as organizational actors they do not appear to play a notable role in the internal movement infrastructure. Moreover, much of the 9-12 group momentum was co-opted by the Tea Party movement. Following the 9-12 rally in 2009 in Washington, D.C., many local 9-12 Project groups hitched up with one or more of the national Tea Party factions.

A note about the methodology and techniques used to gather the data for this report. During the past twelve months, we’ve employed a variety of investigative reporting techniques to study the Tea Parties to keep up with the expanding and ever-changing dynamic of the movement. The authors of this report read through the Tea Party literature—from movement produced books like !e Official Tea Party Handbook and Taking America Back One Tea Party at a Time, to electronic publications including emails, electronic newsletters, articles, blog posts, and tweets written by Tea Partiers. We also watched many hours of online video of Tea Partier and Tea Party events. For firsthand accounts, IREHR staff and volunteers attended Tea Party rallies, conventions, and meetings from Washington, D.C., to Washington State. We also talked with numerous Tea Party activists. 

To follow the money, the authors dug through government documents and databases, including corporate filings, IRS forms, court cases, campaign finance reports, and unemployment statistics. We utilized computer-assisted reporting to collect additional data and help make sense of it all. The authors of this report also did a thorough scan of secondary sources, including the exceptional reporting that has already been done on the Tea Parties. We also analyzed the considerable amount of polling that’s been done on the Tea Parties. It was IREHR’s goal to provide new data and analysis and to add something of use and value to the growing literature on the Tea Party movement. Upon reflection, we think the following pages do just that.

What Makes Some Republican Women Hot And Others, Well, Repulsive?

Hint: It’s not the looks.

The last couple of nights, Rachel had back-to-back Republican women on her show: The very lovely Meghan McCain and Nicolle Wallace. As a progressive made physically ill by the very sight of the repugnant Sharron Angle, I must admit Rachel was right saying “it won’t hurt a bit, I promise.” Just in case we decided to flip the channel to the ALCS and watch the Yanks get hammered by Texas. (As long as it’s not the 7th inning interregnum and they’re not playing that nauseating “God Bless America”— forget separation of church and state; how about separation of church and sports?)

So I stuck with Rachel, while Keith was probably freezing his butt off at the stadium as the hated Yankees went down 3-1 to the Texas Rangers. Countdown guest host Cenk Uygur was grateful for his rescue from the Ratigan Gulag, bubbling cleverly about his “honor” to host “the house that Keith Olbermann built.” Rachel replied tartly, now “we’ll have to live in this house,” as if on cue for our standard MSNBC graphic:

Cenk did a fine job. He seemed relieved at not having to kiss Dylan’s ass. The suits should reward him with his own show. For a progressive to participate in that conservative mole’s show and pretend to be chummy is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment, with sentence reduced to hazing by paycheck.

Anyway, back to the Republican women. Meghan at this point is the only thing that stands between Gramps McCain and the Dark Side fires of wingnut Hell. She is a testament to the aphorism that children should not be held responsible for the sins of their fathers. And she wears the wingnut gutter invective against her and her body as a badge of honor, which is very cool. Meghan said a lot of girls who endure the same kind of cruel teasing and taunts outside a political context look up to her, and she’s not about to let them down.

Nicolle Wallace worked in the Bush White House and was one of John McCain’s top campaign aides. When Sarah Palin went “rogue” on the campaign, Wallace was blamed (by the Palins) for the fallout in the media. Displaying amazing class, Wallace said “when people (the Palins) want to throw me under the bus, my belief is the most honorable thing is to lie there.” She was fatalistic about the “indignities” she suffered, noting “that’s what you sign up for.” In politics, she said, “you have to be willing to take the fall.”

Two great Republican women. Honest, intelligent, thoughtful, who can laugh at themselves and are the antithesis of the wingnut dogma, intolerance and bigotry, that is spreading like wildfire through their party. The essential difference in them versus Palin, O’Donnell, Angle and Bachmann (to name a few) in a word is: CLASS.

Here’s the interview. I think Nicolle Wallace is HOT (in the best meaning of the word) … See for yourself:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Best Political Ads, and The Ugliest

This Jerry Brown ad is BRILLIANT. Having been outspent as much as 10-1 by multimillionaire Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is trying to buy the California governorship, Brown has had to resort to creative ads like this one to stay competitive. He should run this one from now to election day. It's devastating to Whitman:

This ad targeting Republican Mark Kirk in the Illinois race for U.S. Senate is a strikingly cogent and hard-hitting argument against the undermining of our democracy by foreign money laundered through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. MoveOn = American Patriots; Tea Party = American Traitors. And MoveOn takes small contributions from real people, millions of us:

And finally, this craven, despicable, un-American Republican hit ad targeting Latinos in Nevada urging them not to vote. Simply disgusting; GOP voter suppression, circa 2010. It won't work. The Latino answer to this piece of garbage:

Republicanos son HIJOS DE LA PUTA, el partido de los perros locos, comen MIERDA Maricóns, Véte al carajo Cabróns, Bastardos, Besame el culo, Tus Chochas y Chuletas, Cagaste y saltaste en la caca y Cago en tu leche ... CALLATE porque VAMOS VOTAR!

Idiot Punditocracy Watch: Why I'll Listen to Ezra Before Taking Anything Chris Says at Face Value

In the first stop of his customary election year tour of college campuses, taking Hardball on the road, Chris Matthews alighted on the campus of the University of Louisville, in Kentucky. Surrounded by enthusiastic, mostly Conway for Senate supporters (good for them!), Matthews ended his show by asking a few questions of the students. When a young Conway supporter had the temerity to mention the public option, Chris morphed into his interrogator's role and jumped the kid. It went something like this (paraphrasing):

MATTHEWS: "When did you first hear of the PUBLIC OPTION!"

STUDENT: "Uh ... I don't know ... maybe two years ago?"

MATTHEWS: "Was it before or AFTER the campaign, Was it before or AFTER the campaign, Was it before or AFTER (!) the campaign?!?"

STUDENT (cowed by Chris's aggressive manner): "Uh ... After?"

MATTHEWS: "OK, because President Obama did NOT campaign on the public option."

Setting aside that Chris should pick on someone in his own weight category, this is yet another illustration of his obsessive hostility toward the Left, particularly the new netroots Left, which he seems to think is illegitimate, ill-informed, and unfairly critical of Obama on this issue. From Ezra Klein:
"So whether Obama used it in his speeches, his campaign purposefully pushed it to, at the least, some reporters, which is to say they worked to ensure that people knew about the public option's important role in their health-care thinking.

Obama's latest statement on this is hair-splitting at best and misleading at worst. That's even more true given how often he mentioned the public option after he got elected. And it's a good example of why the left is losing its trust in Obama."
As is often the case, Matthews is dead wrong and progressives are RIGHT in criticizing the President for abandoning the public option at the first sign of Republican opposition. Give it a rest already, Chris. Let it go.

Chris even had the gall to say he knows the Left, drawing specious parallels between what he calls the "FAR LEFT" and the "FAR RIGHT" (fascists, see below) ... Here is Matthews sharing an inside joke with fellow idiots of the punditocracy:
"I know about the left better than the right and it’s called NDC — November doesn’t count."
Really??? Wow. I guess you didn't take my challenge for Lawrence O'Donnell when he started lecturing the netroots Left on the process of "governance." Tell us, ye Einsteins of political analysis: Who would be the stronger Democratic candidate for senator from Arkansas today: Blanche Lincoln or Bill Halter?

I thought so. Maybe Chris's hostility toward the Democratic/Progressive Left harks back to the 1972 campaign, when George McGovern's grassroots insurgent leftist movement defeated his boy, crybaby Ed Muskie. If so, it seems like a long time to hold a grudge. Or maybe Chris thinks that a lot of the netroots kids — who weren't even born then — are going down the same path taken by the McGovern insurgency, and the Muskie-Clinton-Obama centrist triangulators hold the key to Democratic Party electoral success and governing majorities. Wrong on all counts, but we'll leave this discussion for another time.

Back to the future. Here is the first page of then-candidate Obama's healthcare plan, in which the public option is mentioned ("public plan"), the first of TWELVE times in the document:

Idiot Punditocracy Down: Rachel Nails 'Em, Fascism Is the Word

This is what I've been trying to say, not very artfully perhaps, as my frustration with these chattering nabobs gets the better of me. Thanks be to the deity du jour, Aqua Buddha, for the brilliant Rachel Maddow and her dead-on-target synopsis of what the midterm elections are really all about: fascism versus sanity (my words). At least Keith Olbermann had the presence of mind to call it for what it is: FASCISM. He must have slipped it past the censors, as he sometimes does.

The political euphemism is extremism, and that's okay, the suits and the punditocracy will go into cardiac arrest if "Nazi" or "fascism" is spoken in polite company/production meetings. Clueless Chris Matthews (who claims to "know" the Left) went super-parochial, and totally off-base, with a Frank Rizzo analogy. With two weeks to go, the one-man enthusiasm chasm, a certain dude with two first names, is suddenly ubiquitous on the Lean Forward ( till you jerk your head back from the snooze) network.

It's not even the thuggish behavior of Joe Miller's private security force, the black hummer leading a  gun-toting parade of overweight, overcompensating white males, or the weekend warrior "bonding" of Rich Iott  with son in the Nazi regalia of an SS unit that committed atrocities against Jews and the civilian populace on the Eastern Front. Watch their lovely recruiting vid, peeps:

The actual Wiking unit has a history as grisly as that of other Nazi divisions. In her book "The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945," Eleonore Lappin, the noted Austrian historian, writes that soldiers from the Wiking division were involved in the killing of Hungarian Jews in March and April 1945, before surrendering to American forces in Austria.

"What you often hear is that the [Wiking] division was never formally accused of anything, but that's kind of a dodge," says Prof. Rob Citino, of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas, who examined the Wiking website. "The entire German war effort in the East was a racial crusade to rid the world of 'subhumans,' Slavs were going to be enslaved in numbers of tens of millions. And of course the multimillion Jewish population of Eastern Europe was going to be exterminated altogether. That's what all these folks were doing in the East. It sends a shiver up my spine to think that people want to dress up and play SS on the weekend."

Rabbi Moshe Saks, of the Congregation B'nai Israel in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo that sits in the 9th district, [agreed.] "Any kind of reenactment or glorification of Nazi Germany, to us, would be something unacceptable and certainly in poor taste, if not offensive," he said. "I think the reaction here will be very negative. And not just among the Jewish community, but the broader community."
Asked about the sensitivity issue of his Nazi dress-up weekend war gaming, Rich Iott, Republican TEA PARTY darling in Ohio's 9th District, brushed it off as harmless reenactor boys VILL beh boyz fun & games: "[This] is something that's definitely way in the past. ... [I hope voters] take it in context and see it for what it is, an interest in World War II history. And that's strictly all." His Nazi alter ego (?) was called "Reinhard Pferdmann."

Actually, it's anything but the distant past. The Nazis flew the first jet-powered warplanes and the Americans dropped the atom bomb. The Nazis didn't invent genocide, but they perfected mass killing. Thousands of survivors of the Nazi death camps are still alive today to bear witness. So too, those who escaped Pol Pot's killing fields, and the ironically named Chinese Cultural Revolution, a grisly ménage of post-WWII exterminations.

What Rich Iott did dressing up as a Nazi (which is illegal in Germany) was frankly obscene. His "explanation" for it is absurd. But that didn't stop John Boehner from  contributing  $5,000 to his campaign, thus mainstreaming these Nazi war games. Welcome to the new Republican TEA PARTY.

And it's not even about the hideous racism of Sharron Angle, an utterly despicable woman whose casual expressions of bigotry have grown so frequent as to have inured and desensitized voters to their inappropriateness in democratic America. Extremism is the "new normal" (I love this new campaign buzzword; Chuck Todd could probably write a dictionary of them). The "new normal" is also the Beltway Media, a.k.a Idiot Punditocracy, demeanor as exposed by Rachel (above), the polished anti-Murrow style of the technocratic analyst. Given all the sound and fury coming from the Right, the assumed reaction of the connected beltway media elites is to be cool, calm, and collected. Clinical. Democrats say this. Republicans counter with that. The TEA PARTY just needs a few rough edges sanded down.

Such condescending bullshit. The ivory tower Idiot Punditocracy really doesn't get it.

When Klansman David Duke (whose failed runs for political office recall Christine O'Donnell's political trajectory) ran for governor of Louisiana, finishing second in the primary and facing a run-off against former governor Edwin Edwards — a pol saddled with corruption charges — a popular pro-Edwards bumper sticker read, "VOTE FOR THE CROOK. IT'S IMPORTANT."

Well, Mr. Duke couldn't long stay on the sidelines amid all these leaderless Teabaggers. He wants in:

Plainly, the bumper sticker for this campaign nationwide is, "VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRAT. IT'S IMPORTANT." Even if he or she happens to be a yellow dog.