Saturday, June 12, 2010

Carly Fiorina Goes On Hannity's Show To Grovel Piteously Before The Mighty Sean, Cardinal Of The American Right

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Of course, you knew as soon as you heard that open mike tape of Carly Fiorina dissing Sean Hannity, Meg Whitman and Barbara Boxer -- meow! -- that it would be only a matter of time before we'd see Fiorina on Hannity's Fox News show, purring and groveling abjectly and begging for forgiveness.

Sure enough, Fiorina was on Hannity's show last night. She tried to play the whole incident as a "compliment" -- "You're a tough interview, Sean".

Yeh, right. Anyone listening to the tape could tell that she was talking about the need for California Republicans like Whitman to distance themselves from the wingnuts like Hannity in the general election.

But it's always great for high-schadenfreude amusement value to watch these sneering conservatives grovel piteously before their masters in the right-wing media.

Rand Paul On Mountaintop Removal: "I Don’t Think Anyone’s Going To Be Missing A Hill Or Two Here And There"

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

One of the main takeaways from Rand Paul's disturbing musings on civil rights -- as well as his sturdy defense of the indefensible that is British Petroleum -- clearly was, as John put it, that he's a typical out-of-touch country-club conservative Republican -- not to mention that he likewise manages to carry on his dad's tradition of right-wing extremism.

But these also are revealing moments about the limitations of libertarianism as a political philosophy -- because it clearly demonstrates how libertarian "principle" all too often, and all too consistently, essentially gives unbridled permission to behavior and actions that are toxic to our communities and their well-being, and to our democratic institutions as a nation. Which means that libertarianism all too often is often merely used as a pseudo-principled front for the worst impulses in American society, all under the pretense of "freedom".

Well, that very limitation is also readily self-evident when it comes to Paul's position on a subject that directly affects the Kentuckians he wants to represent in the United States Senate: mountaintop-removal coal mining. This issue, perhaps more than any other, reveals Rand Paul, and all the libertarians like him, to be nothing more than the corporate tools they really are.

Here's Rand Paul in an interview from October 5, 2009, via Jeff Biggers:
PAUL: I think people out here would find that I would be a great friend to coal. Not 'cause I come to Eastern Kentucky to pander to coal, but because I believe business should be left alone from government. I think the permit process needs to be made easier from the federal level and the state level. I think we shouldn't have special taxes on their profit. I think we should have lower corporate taxes. Those who create jobs -- I would much more rather lower taxes on the coal industry so they can hire a new hundred new workers than I would say, let's tax the coal industry, send it to Washington, so that we can get a hundred new people digging a ditch that may or may not need to be dug. So yeah, I'm greatly in favor of that. I think coal's a big part of our future because we have a lot of it, still, in the United States, it's fairly readily accessible, and it's where we get most of our electricity. Coal now competes -- you may not know this, a lot of people out here know this -- but about half of our electrical needs come from coal. And it's cheaper than oil and gas, actually, for your electricity.

Q: What about mountaintop removal?

PAUL: I think whoever owns the property can do with the property as they wish, and if the coal company buys it from a private property owner and they want to do it, fine. The other thing I think is that I think coal gets a bad name, because I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it's been flattened out. As I came over here from Harlan, you've got quite a few hills. I don’t think anybody's going to be missing a hill or two here and there.

And some people like having the flat land. Some of it apparently has become quite valuable when it's become flattened. And I think they do a good job at reclaiming the land, and you know, adding back in topsoil, bringing in help. So the bottom line is, it's not just me pandering to coal. It's me believing in private property.

If they bought the property, they own the property, they can do with that property, as long as they don't pollute someone else's property. And I don't think they want to. If they dump something in the river that goes to the next property, your local judges here will stop them. But I don't think they're doing that. I think what they're doing is what they can do with property they own, and doesn't appear to me to be something the federal government should be getting involved with.
It's harder to get any more afactual and ignorant than that, when it comes to the realities. Indeed, either Paul has just swallowed coal-company lies and propaganda whole, or he's just flatly lying himself.

The facts
With 95% accuracy, analysis shows that nearly 1.2 million acres (10% of Central Appalachia) have been surface-mined for coal. It also revealed that more than 500 mountains have been severely impacted or destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. The study was completed in 2009 by Appalachian Voices based on 2008 aerial and mining permit data.
Over 89 percent of the sites identified in the survey are not being reclaimed. Heckuva job, Paulie!

Wanna see those now-missing "hill or two here or there"? Here's a map of all the hilltop mining operations in the Appalachians. The little green and yellow tabs mark the "reclaimed" sites, while the red ones are for unreclaimed ones:


And here's what a typical mountaintop-removal site looks like without "reclamation" -- this is the Hobet mine in West Virginia, seen from space:


Go here for a before-and-after look at the Hobet mine, just so you can get some perspective of the enormity of this purposeful manmade eco-disaster.

Now multiply that by five hundred, and you'll have a sense of the enormity of what has befallen people living in the Appalachians.

The NRDC's Rob Perks has more
Of the 500 mountaintop removal sites we examined, we excluded 90 from our survey due to active, ongoing mining activity. That left 410 supposedly reclaimed mine sites, for which we found that:

* 366 (89.3%) had no form of verifiable post-mining economic reclamation excluding forestry and pasture

* 26 (6.3% of total) yield some form of verifiable post-mining economic development

* Only about 4% of mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia, where the vast majority of this mining is occurring, had any post-mining economic activity.

* Virginia had the highest proportion of economic activity on its reclaimed mountaintop removal sites at 20%.

* Tennessee, which has relatively little mountaintop removal compared to the other three states, had no economic activity on the 6 sites examined in that state.

* Overall, economic activity occurs on just 6% to 11% of all reclaimed mountaintop removal sites surveyed as part of this analysis.

The so-called beneficial development projects include:

* industrial parks (4)
* oil and gas fields (3)
* golf courses (3)
* airports (2)
* municipal parks (2)
* hospital (1)
* ATV training center (1)
* county fairground (1)

In addition, commercial agriculture or farming was identified on nine sites, sometimes in conjunction with other land uses such as residential development. The post-mining land use status of all but 18 mountain locations was identified with a high level of confidence. These locations were identified as having “possible” post-mining economic land uses.

This means that some evidence of potential economic reclamation exists on these sites, such as mowed fields or improved structures, but specific land use was not clear. In some cases, it was unclear whether structures were abandoned or directly connected to former or existing mining activity on site or nearby.

What is clear is that mountaintop removal has yielded little economic development on reclaimed mine lands in Appalachia despite the abundance of landscapes with flattened topography available for industrial, commercial, or residential post-mining economic activity.
What was particularly risible was Paul's contention that if these operations polluted their neighbors, why, local judges would surely hold the polluters liable for the damages to their neighbors. Evidently, Paul knows nothing about the history of broad form deeds, which were the legal instrument used by the coal companies to obtain rights to the lands they then leveled without regard to their neighbors:

When coal companies bargained with landowners to buy mineral rights, they commonly negotiated favorable terms for themselves and did not adequately explain the terms to the largely uneducated landowners, who often did not understand the contracts. The companies paid very little for the coal, despite the fact that they reserved the right to use the land surface for coal development.

Most of the mineral rights deeds were made in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, when underground mining was common and surface mining was rare. Land owners who signed these deeds never expected that their homesteads would be turned into strip mines. Yet up until the mid-1980’s, courts in Appalachia consistently interpreted broad form deeds to permit surface mining operations even though the grantor had retained the surface rights to the land above the coal seam. Broad form deeds included language that waived mining companies’ liability for surface impacts that were “convenient or necessary” to the mining operation. Based on the turn-of-the-century mining technologies in use during that time period, this language meant that the mining company, which owned only the subsurface mineral rights, could build roads, buildings, coal waste piles, and other structures, as well as harvest timber, on the surface land to facilitate an underground mining operation.
Moreover, they could completely trash neighboring streams without regard to consequence. This is why, as Ashley Judd put it the other day, "Children in eastern Kentucky draw creeks black. They don’t know they're supposed to run clear."

John McQuaid explains
that mountaintop removal has already destroyed 1,500 miles of streams in the Appalachians:
The spread of mountaintop removal through central Appalachia in the past 15 years has given scientists the opportunity to study environmental destruction on a previously unthinkable scale: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that by 2013 a forested area the size of Delaware will have been destroyed and that more than 1,200 miles of streams have already been severely damaged. As that footprint has grown, so has the evidence, outlined in peer-reviewed scientific papers and ongoing investigations, showing that the damage is far more extensive than previously understood.
Moreover, the health impacts, particularly on children, of this form of mining are both pernicious and widespread -- and have been fully documented.

You see, this is how the real world works: wealthy interests manipulate policy at the state and federal level, and likewise manipulate the law and the courts in their favor, all while the interests of ordinary people are bulldozed. And it's all done under the supposed "principles" of libertarianism -- which really are just convenient way for corporate interests to run amok without regard to the consequences for any of their fellow citizens.

One has to suspect that Rand Paul actually is perfectly aware of this -- and just doesn't care. He has his precious "principles" to run on. He calls them "libertarian". We call him a corporate tool.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Projecting Again: Glenn Beck Says Progressives Are Planning A 'Summer Of Rage' Filled With Violence, Death And Chaos

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

The hardest part about trying to follow the increasingly eliminationist -- and dangerous -- wingnuttery of Glenn Beck, beyond the unpleasant work of actually having to watch the entirety of his Fox News shows (so you don't have to), is trying to figure out new ways of saying that he's nuts.

On yesterday's show, he really just continued his freefall into incoherent babble, attacking progressives (again) by claiming that they are planning street violence this summer in order to push President Obama to enact their nefarious agenda.

He found his "evidence" for this by culling clips and Website info on the America's Future Now conference in Washington this past week. John and I were both in attendance, and the only "radicals" we saw in attendance were the Code Pink people who invaded and harassed Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday morning. In other words, they were outsiders. Otherwise, the conference was all about mainstream progressive causes, and largely attracted people who work well with moderates.

Typically -- as he did with Anita Dunn -- he truncated the clips to distort what people actually said. This was especially egregious in this bit:
BECK: The CEO of Green for All, here she is. She's a big player in Crime Inc. She sits on the board of Emerald Cities. She spoke at this America's Future Now. Here's what she had to say when she brought up my name.

ELLIS-LAMKINS [video clip]: When Glenn Beck started talking about me, someone said, "Are you angry?" And what I said to him is, "Absolutely, we have a plot to take over this country. Absolutely we do." It's not a hidden agenda.

BECK: Nope, it's not. It's not. Nope. It's right out in the open. And she's just like you. She is. She's just like you. Yeah. She's just like the American family of the 1950s. See, this is what it is. The crazy people, the people, the people just like you, and the man. See what's happening? They do have a plot, a plan to take over the country. And the mask is coming off. But will anyone join us in this conversation out in the light of day?
Well, as Media Matters points out, Lamkin's remarks in context are very different indeed:
ELLIS-LAMKINS: And so, you know, I thought about, well, who are we? Well, we believe that a coalition of working-class white men, people of color, environmentalists, that we're capable of change. We recognize there's honor in being a coal miner in West Virginia, and we don't blame the coal miner. But we recognize that the needs of the coal miner, of the white West Virginian coal miner, and the black woman working in Chevron in Richmond, that they have the same needs, and an agenda can meet both of their needs. That's who we are.

You know, I have a -- you know, I come out of the labor a moment so I am used to people yelling at me. And so -- members, politicians -- it doesn't hurt my feelings. So when Glenn Beck started talking about me, someone said, "Are you angry? He said you want to take over the world." Like maybe we shouldn't talk about it for awhile. And what I said to him is, "Absolutely, we have a plot to take over this country. Absolutely, we do."

It's not a hidden agenda. It's an agenda that says that all people deserve equality, that white coal miners in West Virginia and black women in Richmond, California, want the same thing. What they want is for us to divide ourselves. What they want is for us to say that one is better than another. That it's immigration versus coal mining, that it's this versus that. And what we say is no, because our vision of America has all of us, not some of us. That when we think about what green is, it is green for all, not for some. That's the difference.
Yeah, that's some daaaaangerous rhetoric there, isn't it?

Beck continued by playing a video of an FBI investigator describing the genocidal views of the Weather Underground, then claiming that these '60s radicals "are the same people that are everywhere in our government and our education system."

He wrapped it up with a bizarre and utterly incoherent rant about the coming "summer of rage" that he thinks progressives are planning. He quoted Robert Borosage urging progressives to follow the example of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement by being "off the reservation" from the White House -- and then urged his audience to likewise take up the MLK mantle. Eh?

Let's just put it simply: The guy is fricking nuts.

In the meantime, while we're awaiting all that looming left-wing violence, isn't it funny that neither Glenn Beck nor anyone else in the media bothered to pay any attention to the most recent right-wing bloodshed out in West Memphis, Arkansas?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Arizona's Immigration Battle Becomes A Major Nexus For White Supremacists And The 'Mainstream'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Videographer Dennis Gilman attended last weekend's "Phoenix Rising" rally in Phoenix last weekend and made this amazing video. You really have to watch it to believe it.

My favorite moment is the woman who believes there is a "radical Islamic Mexican Catholic movement" that "has been taking over our nation and getting rid of and killing American citizens".

But notice: There are a number of familiar faces here, most notably Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russell Pearce. These are guys who show up on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC as spokesmen for SB1070, presented nominally as the "mainstream conservatives" who championed the law that they're all defending as having garnered so much popular support, etc. etc.

Of course, as we've noted previously, both Arpaio and Pearce have long histories of playing footsie with neo-Nazis and various other white supremacists and flaming hatemongers.

So it really is not a surprise to see them cavorting about and rubbing shoulders in a perfectly comfortable way with such folks at this rally.

But then, consider that the "Phoenix Rising" rally was actually organized by Barbara Coe, leader of the nativist group California Coalition for Immigration Reform, which led the fight to pass the anti-immigrant Prop 187 back in 1994. You see, CCIR has a sordid history that led to their being designated a "hate group" by the SPLC:
Vitriolic, conspiracy-minded and just plain mean, Coe routinely refers to Mexicans as "savages." She claims to have exposed a secret Mexican plan (the "Plan de Aztlan") to reconquer the American Southwest. Last May, at a "Unite to Fight" anti-immigration summit in Las Vegas, she launched the kind of defamatory rant for which she is infamous. "We are suffering robbery, rape and murder of law-abiding citizens at the hands of illegal barbarians," she warned her cowering audience, "who are cutting off heads and appendages of blind, white, disabled gringos."

More recently, she attacked the new Hispanic mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, accusing him of seeking to return Southern California to Mexico.
But the most curious thing about the former police clerk -- whose friends have said she told them she was forced from her job in 1994, after using a city-owned camera to photograph people she thought were illegal aliens -- may be her offhand comments to the Denver Post this November. In a profile of her close friend, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), the paper said Coe described speaking to and belonging to the Council of Conservative Citizens. That group, which has called blacks "a retrograde species of humanity," has long been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group -- as has Coe's own California Coalition for Immigration Reform.
Even more recently, Coe has attack the current president as well:
Barak [sic] Obama and his anti-American "czars" are taking a page from Hitler's Nazi Germany playbook - only worse, much worse. Be afraid, be very afraid!
This is precisely what Rep. Linda Sanchez was accurately describing last week:
“There’s a concerted effort behind promoting these kinds of laws on a state-by-state basis by people who have ties to white supremacy groups,” she continued “It’s been documented. It’s not mainstream politics. (Legislators) are being approached by folks, who are front organizations for white supremacist hate groups. They propose the language of these bills and get people to carry these bills in the state legislatures.”
Of course, you'll notice that the Fox News freakout over Sanchez's remarks quickly subsided and the issue quietly went away. Maybe because their researchers realized that it Sanchez was right.

Or maybe they had crews out in Arizona last weekend, and discovered the truth for themselves.
[Be sure and visit Gilman's YouTube Channel, which has lots of excellent videos in a similar vein.]

Glenn Beck's 'Overton Window' Ad: Try Not To Laugh. We Dare You.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We've mentioned Glenn Beck's upcoming book The Overton Window a little bit previously. It appears to be a dumbed-down (in an Ayn Randian way) version of The Turner Diaries, as Will Bunch found:
Bunch reported that Beck told the gathering the story depicts the rise of a citizen’s organization called the Founders Keepers, “a group of people that just won’t give up.” What follows, Beck said, is “a battle and a civil war, and life is upside-down planetwide."
Yep. Pretty much the identical plot as the novel that inspired The Order and the Oklahoma City bombing -- as well as a number of other violent far-right extremists.

Why, we can hardly await the results of Beck's novel.

Already, we get to see the trailer his crackhead team over Glenn Beck Inc. came up with.

Try not to break out in guffaws. I dare you.

No, this is not the Stephen Colbert parody. In fact, he doesn't need to make one. This is self-parody.
FWIW, this isn't Beck-written text. These are lines taken from Rudyard Kipling's poem, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings." (It's a favorite of The Derb's, too.)

Today on his radio show, after the folks at HuffPo observed that this was gobbledygook, Beck noted the early reaction to the trailer. He said the book "will drive the left insane". Really? Or will it just establish yours, Glenn?

Beck went on to explain that it's "art," and the ad gives him a chance to teach us Philistines all about artistic endeavor.


Native Kentuckian Ashley Judd On Our Other Eco-Disaster, Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining: The 'Rape Of Appalachia'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Before the matter of far-right extremism sucked me into its orbit, I was an environmental reporter for many years (indeed, I originally began reporting on militias as part of the extreme backlash against environmentalism). And I've been growing increasingly interested in -- and concerned about -- the growing issue of mountaintop-removal coal mining in the Appalachians.

As a lifetime resident of the West who grew up in Idaho, I'm all too acutely aware of the ways the resource-extraction industry wantonly destroys the natural heritage of rural people. I've witnessed firsthand destruction of the landscape -- and with it people's ways of life -- in the name of minerals and timber, all at the hands of corporate pigs who think nothing of trashing people's homes and then leaving them to clean up the mess and pick up the bill.

Anyone who's ever visited the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana knows what I mean. So when I began reading about mountaintop removal back East, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, because I could see what it truly is: strip mining on steroids.

That was what Ashley Judd called it yesterday, too, in her speech at the National Press Club (organized by the Natural Resources Defense Council). I was wrapping up some open time at the end of the America's Future Now conference and wanted to hear what she had to say. I have to admit celebrities don't normally do very well speaking out on political issues, but Judd's speech was powerful, in no small part because it was an emotional speech for this native Kentuckian:
But the ache I feel for my mountain home is now more than a bittersweet nostalgia accrued through inimitable generations of belonging. There is a searing tear, a gaping wound in the fabric of my life and the lives of all Appalachians. And it gets bigger with every Appalachian mountaintop that is blown up, every holler that is filled, every stream that is buried, every wild thing that is wantonly and recklessly killed, every ecosystem that is diminished, every job that is lost to mechanization, every family that is pitted one against the other by the state-sanctioned, federal government-supported coal industry-operated rape of Appalachia: mountaintop removal coal mining.
She went on to describe in heartfelt terms the kind of wretchedness -- the environmental devastation and job loss -- the mountaintop removal technique has brought to the Appalachians. Basically, the coal companies don't want to have to mine for the coal anymore: now they just blow up entire mountains to scoop it out with a handful of large machines.

I didn't capture it on video, but she also pointed out that the devastation is occurring on a scale similar to that being wrought by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She reads from a thought-provoking and poetic essay by Silas House titled "Sufferings":
I can’t imagine the president doing a flyover of a mountaintop removal site, or holding a press conference about it. And I’ve certainly never seen a mountain blown up on national television—not even once, much less every morning on the Today show.

Yet I would venture to say that mountaintop removal (MTR) is as devastating as the oil spill in the Gulf.

I don’t mean to compare suffering. What I’m saying is actually the opposite of comparison: they’re equally as bad, yet everyone is outraged about the spill while very few people even know about MTR.

Both the oil spill and MTR are environmental, cultural, economic, and health disasters. Both are devastating an entire way of life.

Every time someone says that more than 100 miles of shoreline has been affected by the oil spill, I want to shout that at least 1, 500 miles of waterways have been lost forever in Appalachia.

Every time I think about the spill I also think of the pollution pumping into our creeks and rivers by way of MTR. I think of all the people in the fishing industry whose jobs are threatened by the spill, and then of all the hard-working Appalachians who can’t find a good-paying job besides the mines because we live in a mono-economy created and fostered by the coal industry. I think of how the spill could affect the Gulf so badly that the region’s fishing industry could be wiped out. Immediately I think of how mountaintop removal is hurting all the industries in Appalachia, particularly timber and tourism. New economy doesn’t want to come into a place that has been turned into a war zone with pollution, constant blasting, and intimidation.
NRDC's Rob Perks has more. You can also watch the entire speech over at CSPAN.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out the NRDC's page on mountaintop removal, as well as sites like, which has (among other resources) as great endangered mountains list that gives you a rundown of the scale of what's ahead. You should also check out the work of places like Appalachian Voices.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Harry Reid's GOP Opponent Is A Fan Of The Extremist Oath Keepers. Which Raises All Kinds Of Strange Issues ...

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Harry Reid has to be delighted with the outcome of the Republican primary in Nevada. After all, the onetime frontrunner, Sue Lowden, finally drowned in a sea of chicken feathers and psychotic denials.

In her stead, the winner was Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle. And as TPM's Justin Elliott and Evan McMorris-Santoro reported this morning, Angle is also a fan of the Oath Keepers:
Back in April, Angle told TPMDC she was a member of the Oath Keepers at a press gaggle in Washington. On Monday, we decided to call Angle's campaign to confirm her relationship to the group. Angle's husband, Ted, picked up the phone.

"We support what the organization stands for," he told us. "Sharron does."

Members of Oath Keepers -- whose motto is "Not on our watch!" -- subscribe to a 10-item declaration affirming that they will not, for example, force citizens into detention camps or invade a state "that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union."

.... Angle's relationship with Oath Keepers hasn't been on the media radar, but she made a little-noticed attempt to woo the group's members at a speaking event last fall, Rhodes told TPMDC Monday.

Rhodes said the event with Angle was organized after she reached out to the Southern Nevada chapter of Oath Keepers. It was held in a clubhouse in Las Vegas. She spoke and "we asked her some pretty tough questions" -- about Hurricane Katrina, gun laws, and the Iraq War, says Rhodes.

"She's got a pretty good track record of being a pretty sincere Constitutionalist," Rhodes tells TPMDC, adding that Oath Keepers does not endorse candidates.
As Elliott and McMorris-Santoro point out, among the things the Oath Keepers believe is that high-ranking officials are secretly plotting to round up conservatives and place them in concentration camps.

But that's not all. C&L was one of the first news entities of any kind to report on the Oath Keepers, and we have a rundown on the things that they believe -- and by extension, beliefs that Angle apparently endorses:
Rhodes and Whittle are eager to portray the core of the Oath Keepers' creeds -- the "ten orders" they "will not obey" -- as involving merely ordinary rights that everyone naturally would stand up for, and in a way, that's true. But only deeply paranoid people would believe there is any reason to be concerned that these rights violations might be looming.

Here they are:
  • 1. We will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people.
  • 2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people.
  • 3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.
  • 4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.
  • 5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
  • 6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
  • 7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
  • 8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control."
  • 9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
  • 10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
You may also recall Justine Sharrock's superb in-depth report on the Oath Keepers for Mother Jones:
Oath Keepers is officially nonpartisan, in part to make it easier for active-duty soldiers to participate, but its rightward bent is undeniable, and liberals are viewed with suspicion.

At lunch, when I questioned my tablemates about the Obama-Hitler comparisons I'd heard at the conference, I got a step-by-step tutorial on how the president's socialized medicine agenda would beget a Nazi-style regime.

I learned that bringing guns to Tea Party protests was a reminder of our constitutional rights, was introduced to the notion that the founding fathers modeled their governing documents on the Bible, and debated whether being Muslim meant an inability to believe in and abide by—and thus be protected by—the Constitution. I was schooled on the treachery of the Federal Reserve and why America needs a gold standard, and at dinner one night, Nighta Davis, national organizer for the National 912 Project, explained how abortion-rights advocates are part of a eugenics program targeting Christians.
Even more potentially problematic for a would-be United States Senator is the Oath Keepers' view of the role of federal authorities -- which, it seems is taken straight from the Posse Comitatus, a white-supremacist anti-federal movement that dominated the extremist right in the 1980s:
The Oath Keepers are similar to the tea party crowd in that they often disagree what their movement represents. While bred from the libertarian spirit that courses through the West, the Oath Keepers don't have a formal structure beyond the vague principles outlined in the 10 orders.

They say the sheriff is at the top primarily because he is the highest elected law enforcement agent in the land, directly responsible to the voters, and argue the Tenth Amendment gives the voters all power not expressly given the federal government under the Constitution.

The movement has gained traction, including in dozen or more sheriff's races around the West from Orange County, Calif., to the northern border.

"It is time for the sworn protectors of liberty, the Sheriffs of these United States of America, to walk tall and stand up for our Constitution and Bill of Rights," proclaimed Larimer County, Colo., candidate Carl Bruning in his campaign literature.
Someone will have to ask Sharron Angle if she believes that her local sheriff has more real authority under the Constitution than a United States Senator.

Among other things.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Glenn Beck Crosses The Far-right Rubicon, Defends His Promotion Of Nazi Sympathizer


[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck has presented Fox News with an interesting dilemma:

Does the cable network hang onto its star tea-partying pundit with the once-stellar (but now rapidly declining) ratings, or does it now give its official imprimatur to a talk-show host who openly promotes the work of a Nazi sympathizer -- and then refuses to apologize for it or even acknowedge that his endorsement was misbegotten?

Because yesterday, faced with the insurmountable fact that he had avidly promoted the work of Hitler apologist/American fascist Elizabeth Dilling, Beck refused to back down, and in fact tried to pretend that it was somehow that fault of liberals that he had done so.

Simon Maloy at Media Matters has the whole sordid story
. Here's Beck's response:
BECK: But I'm also getting some amazing mail from the left that now says I'm a Nazi anti-Semite because I quoted a book on Friday -- it was the Red Book, or something like that. It was a who's who, who's in the communist party in 1935. Apparently, I don't know, apparently written by a Nazi sympathizer here in America. Part of the, I'm sure -- I don't know because I didn't look it up -- but I'm sure part of the Father Coughlin, social justice crowd, because this is the choice that progressives give you -- you're either a Nazi or a communist. No, I'm neither. But now -- so now I'm kind of stuck between the place where the left says that I'm a Nazi sympathizer and a Jew lover. So I guess the left can have it all, that I'm a Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer. It's a really interesting place that I don't know if anybody's ever been.
Sorry, but WTF? Beck's understanding of fascism has been so completely polluted by Jonah Goldberg's Newspeak that he is incapable of any kind of coherent understanding of what Americans fascists were all about in the 1930s and afterward.

As Maloy puts it:
First of all, you don't get to play like you don't even really remember what book you were talking about. You told everyone that you spent all of Thursday night reading it, and you were praising it to the skies on Friday as an early example of the sort of communist documentation you yourself claim to be currently undertaking: "This is a book -- and I'm a getting a ton of these -- from people who were doing what we're doing now. We now are documenting who all of these people are. Well, there were Americans in the first 50 years of this nation that took this seriously, and they documented it." I mean, really, Glenn -- you held the book in your hand as you feted it...
MM's Eric Hananoki notes that Dilling actually attended Nazi meetings in Germany.

And if you want to sample Dilling's work for yourself, the text of The Red Network can be found online.

It's really very simple: If Fox News continues to employ Glenn Beck after this, it will forever after be known as a TV network that employs an apologist and advocate for Nazism.

If so, it will have irrevocably proven itself to be not a news organization, but a propaganda organ for the worst kind of racial and ethnic hatred known to man. It's pretty close to that judgment now.