Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tim Pawlenty Urges CPAC-goers To Be Like Elin Woods: 'Take A Nine-iron And Smash The Window'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

There's been no shortage of ugly Obama-bashing at CPAC, of course, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty yesterday hit a real low in comparing President Obama and the "big government" Democrats to Tiger Woods:
Pawlenty: Now at this very hour, or very shortly this morning, a big event is happening in the United States of America: Tigers Woods is holding his press conference. At 11 o'clock Eastern.

Now, I think we can learn a lot from that situation. Not from Tiger, but from his wife. So, she said, 'I've had enough.' She said, 'No more.' I think we should take a page out of her playbook and take a nine iron and smash the window out of big government in this country.
Now, we understand, of course, that this was just a metaphor. Nevermind that it was a ridiculously inapt one: Unlike Tiger Woods, Obama has not broken his vows; he is in fact working largely to enact the very "big government" policies on which he campaigned and for which he was duly elected.

Progressives may have an argument with how well he is fulfilling those promises, but conservatives certainly do not.

But did anyone else notice that this was a particularly violent metaphor, one suggestive of people breaking out windows? It inspires images straight out of Kristallnacht.

Of course, like Glenn Beck, Pawlenty will no doubt claim that it was "just a metaphor." But as we observed in regard to Beck:
We understand metaphors and rhetoric at least as well as Beck does. The point ... [is] that this kind of rhetoric, employing violent metaphors, in fact has the effect of inspiring violent responses among its audiences.
It's grotesquely irresponsible -- which is what we have come to expect from movement conservatives anyway.
UPDATE: Yup, Rachel Maddow noticed.

'Oath Keepers' Chief Points To Katrina Reponse To Justify Paranoia: 'They Disarmed Americans Over Some Bad Weather'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Bill O'Reilly followed up his interview with Mark Potok about the Oath Keepers with a one-on-one interview with Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers' president and founder.

And give O'Reilly credit: He asked good questions and didn't let Rhodes get away with his usual justifications for their armed-to-the-teeth-and-paranoid worldview:
O'Reilly: OK, so full members in the Oath Keepers have to have a military or police background. Or firefighters. Now, I'm gonna read you something from your website. "We will not obey unconstitutional and thus illegal and immoral orders, such as orders to disarm the American people or place them under martial law."

Well, who's gonna try to disarm people and place them under martial law. I mean, why would that even be something you would be discussing?

Rhodes: Well, it happened as recently as Katrina. You probably have seen the videos there of the old lady being tackled in her kitchen, and disarmed of her revolver, and there was house-to-house searches for firearms. And you had the police chief declaring that no one would be allowed to have weapons, or he'd take all the guns. And he did.

So they disarmed Americans over some bad weather, as though the bad weather suspended the Second Amendment. So, that's the most recent example.
Sure, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath were just "bad weather" -- such bad weather, in fact, that the levees around New Orleans broke, flooding 80 percent of the city and killing 1,464 people. Some 90 percent of the population of southeast Louisiana was evacuated. Describing this as mere "bad weather" is like describing the Haiti earthquake as "a little shaker."

This pretty much tells you all you need to know about the Oath Keepers and their grip on reality: They're unable to distinguish between "bad weather" and a devastating natural disaster and subsequent state of emergency.

O'Reilly, to his credit, pointed out that government has long been empowered to declare such emergencies in order to preserve lives and protect public safety in dire circumstances. It seems that for Rhodes and the Oath Keepers in general, no circumstances are ever dire enough to warrant such declarations.

What Rhodes didn't say, but which the Oath Keepers have made abundantly clear elsewhere, is that they believe President Obama is planning to declare a national state of emergency after the economy collapses, which they consider a sure thing.

Rhodes -- who is on the planning committee for the big Tea Party rally planned for September 11, an event his outfit is cosponsoring -- was at least forthcoming about his group's close relationship with the Tea Party movement:
Well, I've been to a lot of Tea Party events, we've spoken at quite a few of them, and I'm on the planning committee for the one on 9/11, this next September. So, the But, uh, we like the Tea Party movement a lot, we think it's great. It's a revitalization of our core Americanism and core constitutionalism.
In general, O'Reilly did reasonably well making clear that the Oath Keepers are a disturbing phenomenon, particularly in their emphasis on recruiting members of the military and police officers -- a fact which should ring some bells among the people who loudly denounced that DHS report for its observation that far-right extremists are working hard to recruit people with military and police backgrounds. (Ahem.)

Too bad he didn't have time to explore the matter of Charles Dyer, the onetime Oath Keepers figure arrested on charges of child rape, and the Oath Keepers's eagerness to disavow him -- in spite of the fact that Dyer had represented the Oath Keepers -- with Rhodes' blessing -- at a Tea Party on July 4 in Oklahoma. Dyer was also active in forming militias in Oklahoma.

As Potok told O'Reilly earlier:
But the reality about the group is that what it's really about is the fear that martial law is about to be imposed, that Americans are about to be herded into concentration camps, that foreign troops are going to be put down on American soil. The Oath Keepers says specifically, we will not obey these orders, we will refuse orders to put Americans into concentration camps. Now, is that dangerous? It seems to me the danger is that these are men and women, in the case of police officers, who are given a real power over the rest of us, sometimes the power of life and death. They make very important decisions. And if these men and women are animated by the idea that, you know, foreign forces are about to come into this country and put us under martial law and throw us all into concentration camps, I think there is a certain danger associated with that. ... They're operating on the basis on crazy theories that may cause one of them to draw a gun one day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beck Warns Against 'Anybody Who's Calling For A Revolution': Would That Include Palin, Bachmann, And His 'Paine' Pal?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Beck sure seemed to throw a lot of his longtime pals and allies under his personal bus yesterday, while calling for his audience to eschew "violent behavior":
Beck: Get away from anybody who's calling for a revolution -- whether it's a Tea Party revolution, or a Communist revolution!
Hmmmm. Sounds like good advice, actually.

Especially considering just who we've been hearing talk about a new American "revolution". All of them, as it happens, are part of the same Tea Party crowd Beck seemingly just threw overboard. You know, the crowd he's been exhorting for the past year.

Folks like Sarah Palin:
Palin: And I am a big supporter of this movement, I believe in this movement. Got lots of friends and family in the Lower 48 who attend these events and across the country, just knowing that this is the movement, and America is ready for another revolution, and you are a part of this.
Or her wingnut-in-arms, Rep. Michele Bachmann:
At this point the American people - it's like Thomas Jefferson said, a revolution every now and then is a good thing. We are at the point, Sean, of revolution. And by that, what I mean, an orderly revolution -- where the people of this country wake up get up and make a decision that this is not going to happen on their watch. It won't be our children and grandchildren that are in debt. It is we who are in debt, we who will be bankrupting this country, inside of ten years, if we don't get a grip. And we can't let the Democrats achieve their ends any longer.
This one, by the way, received a warm on-air endorsement from Beck's Fox colleague, Sean Hannity:
Bachmann: Right now I'm a member of Congress. And I believe that my job here is to be a foreign correspondent, reporting from enemy lines. And people need to understand, this isn't a game. this isn't just a political talk show that's happening right now. This is our very freedom, and we have 230 years, a continuous link of freedom that every generation has ceded to the next generation. ...

Hannity: It's not -- you are not overstating this case, Congresswoman, and you don't need to apologize for it. And as a matter of fact, it's refreshing. And I can tell you, all around this country, on 535 of the best radio stations in this country, people are saying "Amen," "Hallelujah", "where have you been?"
And then there was the actor Bob Basso, who Beck hired to play "Thomas Paine" for one of Beck's pro-Tea Party rants. Beck hired Basso because he is fond of portraying Paine for his Birtherite rants and putting them up on YouTube, including this one -- a nativist, immigrant-bashing rant calling for a "Second American Revolution":
Basso: Join the grassroots movement of the Second American Revolution -- not of guns and violence, but of pressure, pressure, pressure. ...

Take back America now! Choose to be part of the Second American Revolution! Pressure, pressure, pressure! No presidential candidate, no political party can save you now. Only an aroused citizenry will turn this uncommon sense around. And he or she who does nothing now is helping them to destroy America!
We won't even mention the outfit that was an original sponsor of the "9-12 March on Washington" while calling for a "Second Civil War".

It's almost as if Beck is starting to turn on the very creature he created. It's all getting weirder by the day. But then, with Beck, that's pretty much what we've come to expect. "Erratic" doesn't begin to cover it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Barking Mad Beck: Obama Video Sends Glenn Into A Yowling Canine Frenzy

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

This was Glenn Beck yesterday. The video speaks for itself, really.

I suppose if he'd had to watch much more of that Obama video, he'd start foaming at the mouth.

As it was, one presumes that he went off and licked himself in a corner after the camera was off. Then tried humping the leg of the producer. Or something like that.

This is just becoming a clown act, like the Gong Show. Gong!

Huh? Since When Is Attempting To Blow Up A Federal Building NOT An Act Of Domestic Terrorism?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Fox News' anchors seemed eager to assure viewers today that the plane-crash attack on IRS offices in Austin this morning was not an act of domestic terrorism.

Oh really?

Now, it's true that Homeland Security officials originally released this statement:
“We believe there’s no nexus with criminal or terrorist activity”
They later amended this to just say "terrorist activity." Fox's Catherine Herridge also reported that Homeland Security officials had briefed President Obama on the incident, and that he had been told "this was not an act of terrorism."

So how did Fox's anchors interpret all this?

Greg Jarrett:
And the president was told this was not an act of terrorism. We have not received word, though, as to whether the F-16s are still airborne, just in case, until the Department of Homeland Security and the military is absolutely satisfied that this is the act of a single individual who used a dangerous instrumentality, to be sure, a plane, as a weapon.

And it is akin, I suppose, Megan, to, you know, somebody who gets angry at a workplace, and takes a gun, or a knife, and goes in and begins to attack people. This is unusual because instead of a gun or an automobile, it was indeed an airplane. But it has happened before.
Megyn Kelly:
Our Homeland Security contacts telling us, this does not appear to be terrorism in any way that that word is conventionally understood. We understand from officials that this is a sole, isolated act.
Well, this is true only if the conventional understanding of the word "terrorism" has now been narrowed down to mean only international terrorism and to preclude domestic terrorism altogether.

Since when, after all, is attempting to blow up a federal office as a protest against federal policies NOT an act of domestic terrorism?

You know, Timothy McVeigh used a "dangerous instrument" to kill 168 people in Oklahoma City. He too was angry at the federal government, and was converted to the belief that acts of violence was the only means possible to prevent the government from overwhelming our freedom and replacing it with tyranny. He also believed that his act of exemplary violence would inspire others to take up similar acts to stave off the threat of tyranny.

And that's exactly what Joseph Andrew Stack believed too:
I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. ... I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.
Now, some of Fox's misunderstanding may be the result of sources at Homeland Security who are being careless with how they define terrorism. Because clearly, this was not an act of international terrorism, nor a product of a larger terrorist conspiracy (thus the reference to the nexus.

Herridge moved toward making this distinction, but was never clear in her report:
Kelly: I take it that they mean terrorism in the larger sense that most of us are used to?

Herridge: They mean terrorism in that capital T way. If it does turn out to be an intentional act, that could be something entirely separate.
This too is nonsense: There are different kinds terrorism, to be certain. There's international terrorism. Then there's domestic terrorism, sometimes conducted by a larger conspiracy, and sometimes conducted by small cells like McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and lone wolves like Eric Rudolph, Scott Roeder and James Von Brunn.

All of these acts fit the FBI's twin definition of terrorism:
Domestic terrorism refers to activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. [18 U.S.C. § 2331(5)]

International terrorism
involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. These acts appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping and occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.
Joseph Andrew Stack's act this morning fits that definition too. Brian Stelter at the NYT notes that all the networks are treading around the word gingerly. Fox, meanwhile, is running hard and fast with the claim that it wasn't terrorism at all.

Which is funny, for a network that made a big deal about the Obama administration's supposed softness on terrorism.

BREAKING: Small Plane Crashes Into Government Office Building In Austin: UPDATED: 'Pilot Manifesto'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

AUSTIN, Texas - A small plane crashed Thursday into a multistory office building in Austin, causing a fire and sending black smoke billowing from the seven-story structure, officials said. At least two people were injured and a third was unaccounted for.

Federal officials said the incident did not appear to be terrorism-related but authorities were investigating whether the pilot intentionally crashed the plane, according to media reports.

Authorities were investigating whether the plane crash was related to an Austin-area house fire earlier in the day.

The plane hit the Echelon Building, which is next to a major highway in north Austin.

Fires were burning from the second through fourth floors, KXAN reported. Crews used ladder trucks and hoses to battle the blazes. Dozens of windows were blown out of the hulking black building and vehicles traveling on a nearby highway paused to look.
All the initial reports are downplaying this as an act of domestic terrorism, including ABC, which reports the following statement from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's office:
"The Secretary is aware of the situation in Austin. We do not yet know the cause of the plane crash. At this time, we have no reason to believe there is a nexus to criminal or terrorist activity. We are in the process of coordinating with state officials and other federal partners to gather more information. At this time, we will defer additional questions to local officials and the FAA," Chandler said.
However, an NTSB official just told Fox News that this was being investigated as an intentional act.

Considering that this building reportedly mostly houses IRS buildings, it seems unlikely that it was not domestic terrorism. We'll have to wait and see.

Details as they emerge.

UPDATE: The pilot has been identified as a Joseph Andrew Stack, who appears to have left the following suicide note on the Web, titled "Well Mr. Big Brother IRS Man ... take my pound of flesh and sleep well".

It's a classic right-wing extremist rant.

UPDATE2: I'm amending this. Upon giving this a more careful reading, it's clear this is actually much more complex than your typical right-wing rant; it has a lot of standard right-wing features, particularly the fetish about the IRS and the notion that taxes are inimical to freedom; but there's obviously a lot more going on there as well. I'll post more on this later.

I'm reproducing it in full below in case it disappears from the Web:
If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?

Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer... and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.
For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report ( regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (


(a) IN GENERAL - Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. - This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. - The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

· "another person" is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.
· "taxpayer" is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.
· "individual", "employee", or "worker" is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time.

I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Palin Sees No Extremism In The Tea Parties -- And Thinks The Birthers Are Just Fine

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Bill O'Reilly, predictably, saw that New York Times story pointing out how the Tea Party movement has turned into a revival of the Patriot movement as just another attempt by the librul media to "smear" the Tea Parties, and brought on Sarah Palin to talk it over last night:
O'REILLY: So Governor, you gave the keynote a couple weeks ago in Nashville for the Tea Party Convention. Did you see extremism? Do you think it's a danger to the Tea Party?

PALIN: It was an honor to be able to deliver that keynote and really connect with Tea Partiers who have a simple message. A lot of people, I guess this New York Times reporter, they just don't like that message of we being taxed enough and wanting to remind our elected officials of their constitutional limitations of big government, and just kind of get government back on the side of the people. It was an honor to connect with those people.

Didn't see the extremism that, of course, those in some of the mainstream media and some self-proclaimed elites would like the rest of America to believe is encompassing the Tea Party movement. Didn't see that.
Evidently, she missed the rousing nativist speech by Tom Tancredo calling for a "civics literacy" test for voters, or the speech by Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily promoting the Birther conspiracy theories.

Ah, but that would be because Palin doesn't consider the Birthers to be extremists. As becomes clear when O'Reilly presses her on the matter:
O'REILLY: Well, they went to Sandpoint, Idaho, [ed. note: Sandpoint is Palin's birthplace] The Times did. And then they brought in all the Nazi stuff that had been up there. And they brought in all the militia stuff, Weaver and such that had been up there.

Look, there's no doubt that The New York Times wants to brand the Tea Party as a bunch of extremist loons. There's no doubt they want to do that. But there is danger, do you agree with me, that there is danger if some Tea Party people play into that? If they do say we're getting our guns and we're going to overthrow and Obama is this and Obama is that and he isn't born here. I mean, there was a birther thing going on at the convention. You don't believe in the birther thing do you, Governor?

PALIN: No. And those wild conspiracy theories about our own government I think shouldn't have a part of the dialogue of the debate. What the debate needs to be about is the good ideas, the foundational principles that built this country into the most prosperous and healthiest and most voluntarily generous nation on earth. Safest place, too. We need to get back to those principles.

O'REILLY: But I'm unclear. I'm unclear. Do you think that the birther people should have a place at the Tea Party table? Do you think they should be a place there?

PALIN: There is always going to be an element of those who want to be a part of a movement, who have their own ideas of where the country should go or what's going on with the country.

O'REILLY: Then what do you do with those people? Do you accept them and embrace them?

PALIN: Well, one, you don't take away their First Amendment rights. And we say you cannot speak about those things or ask those questions that you want answers to. That's part of democracy at work is those…

O'REILLY: But do you see the danger that if that becomes the headline, then the mainstream American, who isn't really following it that closely says hey, you know…

PALIN: I see the danger of more of the same of the mainstream media wanting to paint Tea Partiers as radical wacko conspiracy theorists. And if we allow that to happen then, no, this grassroots movement of the people wanting their voice to be heard because there is such a disconnect between what's going on in Washington and the people that Washington is supposed to be serving.
Got that? The problem isn't with far-right extremists taking the reins of her beloved "people's" movement -- the problem is with journalists who report that phenomenon.

Joe The Plumber Claims He Was 'Taken Out Of Context' -- Then Throws McCain Under The Tea Party Express Anyway

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Sure, Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher may have seemed to have stabbed the man who made him famous in the back with his comments the other day that John McCain had "ruined my life."

But he went on Sean Hannity's show last night to explain that he was taken out of context -- he was really only talking about how the media had ruined his former life by making it impossible to go back to. "The housewife" didn't want him coming home with TV crews, he said.

But then he threw John McCain -- whose candidacy he avidly supported by going on the trail with him, while McCain cited him in every stump speech he made for a month -- right under the Tea Party Express anyway:
Wurzelbacher: Now, like I said, it gave me the opportunity to get out there and ask Americans to get educated on the facts of what's going on -- get informed about the decisions they're making and the people that they're voting in to elect them. And uh, you know, I went around with John McCain because it was the lesser of two evils, to be quite frank. Ahm, you know, I'm not afraid to say that.

John McCain exactly doesn't represent true conservatism -- he does represent the Republicans, but not true conservatism.

Hannity: Well, he certainly frustrates me -- I battled with him on campaign finance, on immigration reform, the Gang of 12, we've had a number of issues. Do you now not support him? He's up for re-election in the Senate. Are you supporting him?

Wurzelbacher: Ah, absolutely not. I mean, that's what the Tea Party movement is against. You know, John McCain is of Washington, he's a career politician, he's had plenty of -- ample opportunity to fix things and get things done, and yet here we are. I mean, he's just the face of what's going on in Washington -- and I'm not necessarily trying to pick on John McCain, I mean, we need to get rid of most of those guys that are in there that are career politicians.
Ah, nothing like conservative ethics in action: Bogus talking points before basic decency.

Tea Party Speaker Wants Sen. Patty Murray To 'Get Hung'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Well, the Tea Party folks held a "Take Back America!" rally last weekend in Asotin, Washington, which is in the far eastern reaches of the state. Stephanie Smith of KLEW-TV in Lewiston, Idaho, was there and filed this report:
"How many of you have watched the movie Lonesome Dove?," asked one speaker from the podium. "What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd. He got hung. And that's what I want to do with Patty Murray."
Violent eliminationist rhetoric like this is part and parcel of right-wing extremism, so this is simply another manifestation of the growing extremism of the Tea Party movement. After all, the Lewis and Clark Tea Party Patriots, who sponsored this gathering, are in fact a classic example of the way the Tea Party movement has become a launching pad for a revival of the Patriot movement of the '90s.

Their blog, for example, is rich with propaganda in favor of the "Sovereignty Winter Fest" (aka the "Washington State Tenth Amendment Rally") -- an event held last month in Olympia that, as Devin Burghart reported for IREHR, not only was rife with Confederate flags and far-right rhetoric, but was primarily an event aimed at bolstering the "Tenther" constitutional theories. As we've reported several times, these theories all originated with the Patriot/militia movement of the 1990s.

Of course, Sarah Palin will not find this kind of talk extremist.

[H/t First Read.]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

O'Reilly Keeps Claiming That Obama Won't Say We're At War With Al Qaeda. Of Course, He's Full Of It.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

It's hard to tell sometimes whether Bill O'Reilly is a dumbass or a liar.

F'r instance, here's his Talking Points Memo from last night, discussing John Brennan's retort to Republican critics:
Well that statement has caused major controversy. But there is no question Mr. Brennan is comparing criminal recidivism like robbers to Al Qaeda.

That's where "Talking Points" has a problem. We are in a war with the jihadists. The Obama administration does not say that, with the exception of the State of the Union, but it's the truth. And I believe truth is a powerful weapon in defeating the Islamic killers who are trying to destroy us.
Actually, President Obama himself has said it numerous times in the past several months well beyond the State of the Union address -- for instance, in his January 7 press conference on the Underwear Bomber, reproduced in the video above:

We are at war. We are at war against al Qaeda, a far-reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again. And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them.

He also referenced it in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and his January 2 radio address, and in a March 2009 address.

And Obama's far from the only one. Here's John Brennan, on August 9, 2009, explaining exactly what the administration's terminology is and why they use it:
As many have noted, the president does not describe this as a 'war on terrorism.' ... Instead, as the president has made clear, we are at war with al-Qaida, which attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al-Qaida’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy. These are the extremists we will defeat.
It's tempting to think that O'Reilly just spewed out this line, assumed it was true, and was too arrogant to have someone on his oft-touted research staff fact-check it. Because if they had, of course, they'd have found out the Obama administration quite regularly references the fact that we are at war with the "jihadists".

Of course, the fact that he has such a staff and he said it anyway kinda makes you suspect he's just lying through his teeth, doesn't it?

Getting Inside The Tea Party: At Its Core, A Revival Of The Patriot Movement Of The 1990s

[Richard Mack at a Bellevue, WA, militia organizing meeting in February 1995. Photo by David Neiwert.]
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

The more we learn about the Tea Party movement as it evolves, the more disturbing a portrait emerges: One of a right-wing populist movement animated by cultural resentments and paranoia that previously were the domain of fringe conspiracy theorists and militiamen.

There were a number of important reports on the Tea Party movement this week that underscored and confirmed something we've been reporting at C&L (similarly confirmed in that report for Newsweek) for some time: That the Tea Party movement has been overtaken by right-wing extremists of the Patriot movement.

The most important of these was David Barstow's report in the New York Times describing the movement's evolution into a revival of the Patriots:
The Tea Party movement has become a platform for conservative populist discontent, a force in Republican politics for revival, as it was in the Massachusetts Senate election, or for division. But it is also about the profound private transformation of people like Mrs. Stout, people who not long ago were not especially interested in politics, yet now say they are bracing for tyranny.

These people are part of a significant undercurrent within the Tea Party movement that has less in common with the Republican Party than with the Patriot movement, a brand of politics historically associated with libertarians, militia groups, anti-immigration advocates and those who argue for the abolition of the Federal Reserve.

Urged on by conservative commentators, waves of newly minted activists are turning to once-obscure books and Web sites and discovering a set of ideas long dismissed as the preserve of conspiracy theorists, interviews conducted across the country over several months show. In this view, Mr. Obama and many of his predecessors (including George W. Bush) have deliberately undermined the Constitution and free enterprise for the benefit of a shadowy international network of wealthy elites.

Loose alliances like Friends for Liberty are popping up in many cities, forming hybrid entities of Tea Parties and groups rooted in the Patriot ethos. These coalitions are not content with simply making the Republican Party more conservative. They have a larger goal — a political reordering that would drastically shrink the federal government and sweep away not just Mr. Obama, but much of the Republican establishment, starting with Senator John McCain.
One of the key figures in this takeover, as this story describes, has been Richard Mack, the '90s militia figure who has become a fixture on the Tea Party circuit, as we reported previously. Indeed, his December appearance in Spokane was one of the signal events in the NYT piece.

Mack, who I photographed in February 1995 while addressing a militia-organizing session in Bellevue, Washington, has been a key figure for the Patriot movement in "transmitting" its talking points and beliefs into the mainstream for a long time. But he is hardly the only Patriot figure heavily involved in the Tea Parties, as the NYT piece describes.

One of the people who sometimes accompanied me in the 1990s when I attended militia gatherings, Devin Burghart, now works for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, and he was at the National Tea Party Convention and attended its seminar. and speeches. He filed a detailed -- and revealing -- report for IREHR:
A workshop by Dr. Rick Scarborough indicated a shift taking place at the convention, transforming the focus from bailouts and deficits to the culture war. Scarborough is a former Southern Baptist pastor from Pearland, Texas, and a he heads up a corporate constellation including Vision America, Vision America Action and the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration. He has been fixture on the Christian Right for several years (Jerry Falwell published his first book).

After showing an eight minute video cataloguing his many television appearances, the jovial Scarborough told a packed room of around 215 people that the gap between “fiscal and social conservatives has got to cease.” In addition to attacking the Obama administration for its commitment to ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and supporting the inclusion of gays and lesbians into federal hate crimes protections, Scarborough warned that we "now have a government of thieves" and that we are moving towards a “collectivist” society. We have a Godly duty to defend “American exceptionalism,” he said.

Scarborough used much of his speech to launch a new campaign, called the Mandate to Save America, a project of the S.T.O.P. Obama Tyranny National Coalition.
He also attended the speech by WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, who was a 1990s Patriot movement promoter as well:
Farah spent nearly half of his speech cooking up a Biblical basis for his obsession with Obama’s birth certificate. Some didn’t like this kind of birther talk, and after Farah’s speech, Andrew Breitbart privately criticized him for it. Nevertheless, in some respects, Farah’s speech seemed to signify the convention's tipping point: marking a transformational moment as the crowd shifted from inchoate angry ranters to full-blown culture warriors.
As the NYT piece notes, when Patriots begin taking over the Tea Party, they by extension begin moving toward taking over the Republican Party -- since that is, in fact, the Tea Partiers' stated intent:
In many regions, including here in the inland Northwest, tense struggles have erupted over whether the Republican apparatus will co-opt these new coalitions or vice versa. Tea Party supporters are already singling out Republican candidates who they claim have “aided and abetted” what they call the slide to tyranny: Mark Steven Kirk, a candidate for the Senate from Illinois, for supporting global warming legislation; Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, who is seeking a Senate seat, for supporting stimulus spending; and Meg Whitman, a candidate for governor in California, for saying she was a “big fan” of Van Jones, once Mr. Obama’s “green jobs czar.”
A report from Kathleen Hennessey at the Los Angeles Times details how the Tea Partiers are now mobilizing at the local level to take over the GOP apparatus:
Conservative activists who once protested the political establishment are now flooding the lowest level of the Republican Party apparatus hoping to take over the party they once scorned -- one precinct at a time.

Across the country, tea party groups that had focused on planning rallies are educating members on how to run for GOP precinct representative positions. The representatives help elect county party leaders, who write the platform and, in some places, determine endorsements.

"That's where it all starts. That's where the process of picking candidates begins. It's not from [GOP leader] Michael Steele's office down. It's from the ground up," said Philip Glass, whose National Precinct Alliance is among the groups advocating the strategy. "The party is over for the old guard."

In Arizona and Ohio, Republican Party officials report an increase in candidates running for precinct positions, which often sit open because of a lack of interest.

In South Carolina, a coalition of tea party groups has made a formal agreement with the state GOP to urge its members to get engaged at the precinct level.

In Nevada, a group of "constitutional conservatives" working under the tea party banner has already taken control of the Republican Party in the Las Vegas area, gaining enough strength to elect six of the seven members of the county executive committee.
Last but not least, the IREHR's Leonard Zeskind, writing at HuffPo, offers some sage advice on how we should deal with the special challenge the Tea Party movement represents:
Over the next nine months, other issues--immigration reform, a possible jobs bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, climate change--will raise the ire of the Tea Parties, but it would be a mistake to regard this as an issues-based phenomenon. These are, after all, people who marched in the streets of the nation's capitol with the defining slogan "Take Our Country Back." Theirs is a cry for the restoration of a nation that does not exist. It is a "Christian nation," according to the words uttered most often. And it is a "white" nation that does not dare speaks its name. Unlike hard core white nationalists, who have deified the concept of race into a idol they worship, the whiteness of the Tea Party's imagination is assumed rather than spoken. It is "their" country they want back.

Any response to the Tea Parties must address the issue of race forthrightly. A new website,, has posted a statement on the subject that needs to be endorsed. "We reject the racism that keeps us divided. We celebrate our interdependence and our capacity to love our neighbors as ourselves." I signed the statement and urge others to do so as well. It is not necessary to agree with every paragraph in the statement, I certainly did not agree with every word or phrase. But it is important to draw a line and say that this is a United States of America for all of us, and those who want to make some kind of exclusive claim on its heritage and history and future need to be told no, its for all of us. Signing this cyberspace statement by itself will not be enough to turn the Tea party movement back. But it is one place all of us can make ourselves heard.

We also need to borrow from elements of the trade unions' response to the Tea Party's actions last August. Instead of laying down and being quiet, AFL-CIO leaders issued a statement saying, "We want your help to organize major union participation to counter the right-wing 'Tea Party Patriots.'" The unions sent pickets to a number of the town hall meeting sites in the only organized effort to respond to the Tea Parties at the local level.

One-time picket lines, while however helpful in slowing this we-want-our-country-back crowd, are just not enough to stem this Tea Party movement. Much more needs to be done.
Be sure to read it all. Because being informed is our only hope for dealing with the wingnuttery and disinformation that inevitably follows the Patriot movement and its projects.

Glenn Beck: UAH Shooter Killed Profs Because She Was A 'Left-wing Extremist'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck was really unhappy on his show today about that New York Times piece on the Tea Parties because it portrayed a movement in the thrall of 1990s militiamen -- accurately, we might add.

Though Beck didn't think so:
It's painting the Tea Party movement as a bunch of racist, militia-loving, Birther-supporting, Branch-Davidian-sympathizing, civil-war-starting whack jobs, you know what I mean?
Beck set out to demonstrate that the far more serious problem when it came to violence was the "anger" being stirred up by President Obama.

How does he prove this? By blaming the recent shooting rampage by a University of Alabama-Huntsville professor on her "far left" political beliefs:
The intellectual curiosity of the New York Times is boundless, except when they wander too far over to the left. Then they seem to get -- 'I don't want to face that, I'm getting sleepy over here on the left'.

Maybe I missed it, but I haven't seen the New York Times connect the dots from the actual violence from the left! Like the latest nutjob -- a professor from Alabama who killed three colleagues. Yes, there she is.

The Boston Herald reports
that "A family source said Amy Bishop, a mother of four children - the youngest a third-grade boy, was a far-left political extremist who was 'obsessed' with President Obama to the point of being off-putting."

It's weird. When it's a nut on the left -- isolated incident, we're still looking, we have no idea what that was. Nut on the right? Hah! 'I have no evidence that they're connected at all, but the violence is troubling parallels here to the old white teabagging hatemongers.' You know, with their walkers.
Well, it's true that Amy Bishop was a liberal Obama fan. But then, so were her victims. All three of the slain colleagues were nonwhite, and one of them had decorated his office door with Obama signs.

Beck is claiming a causal connection between Amy Bishop's "far-left" political beliefs and the shooting rampage that simply doesn't exist.

Perhaps we can leave the question of motive to eyewitnesses:
We were 12 all together (including the shooter) sitting around an oval table in a modest size conference room . There were only one door to enter/exit. The shooter was a disgruntled faculty member who didn’t get tenured after several appeals and a law suit. About 30min into the meeting, she got up suddenly, took out a gun and started shooting at each one of us. She started with the one closest to her and went down the row shooting her targets in the head. Our chairman got it the worst as he was right next to her along with two others who died almost instantly. Six people sitting in the rows perpendicular were all shot fatally or seriously wounded. The remaining 5 including myself were on the other side of the table immediately dropped to the floor. During a reload, the shooter was rushed, and we pushed her out the hall way and closed the door. Thereafter we barricaded the door and called 911.
Indeed, there's no indication whatsoever that the shootings were politically motivated. All signs indicate this was about Bishop's disgruntlement with having been refused tenure.

That's in stark contrast to the right-wing extremist violence -- especially when the angry propagandists at Fox have a hand in it.

For instance, when Scott Roeder walked into a Kansas church and shot Dr. George Tiller -- a man who had been viciously demonized by Bill O'Reilly for the better part of the three years preceding -- there was no question that he did so as a political statement, as well as for political reasons: He believes abortion is murder, and he was willing to murder to stop it.

Similarly, when Richard Poplawski shot three Pittsburgh police officers this spring, it was because he believed President Obama was conspiring to take Americans' guns away. It was a classic violent law-enforcement encounter with right-wing extremists, of which there have been no shortage for the past decade and more. Of course, it didn't hurt that Poplawski had been whipped up into this violently paranoid state by Glenn Beck, among others.

Oh, and how did Glenn Beck respond then? Why, these guys (like James Von Brunn were just plain vanilla nutjobs!

Disgusting hypocrisy, thy name is Glenn Beck.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ann Coulter Dismisses Joe Biden As A "Drunken Irishman" Who's "20 Million Times" Less Qualified Than Palin

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Of course, we're all too familiar with Ann Coulter's schtick: Say something outrageous that will get you lots of attention, then compound it by saying something even more outrageous. It's all for show.

Yesterday on Fox News' weekly Geraldo Rivera show, Coulter was true to form, calling Vice President Joe Biden a "drunken Irishman":
Coulter: It almost is kind of effective to send out this drunken Irishman to respond to Dick Cheney. It's like sending out the White House dog. It's saying, 'We so don't respect you we're sending in Joe Biden.'
Funny how Ann Coulter always manages to sound like a Know Nothing, isn't it? She is, after all, the philosophical and cultural descendant of Bill the Butcher.

Coulter also told Rivera that she thinks Sarah Palin's not running for the presidency:
Coulter: I think I can save you a lot of trouble over the next three years. I don't even think Sarah Palin's going to run, and I think it's not particularly likely that she'll be our nominee. So she's huge, she's popular, she has enormous influence. The same can be said for Oprah, the same can be said for Rush Limbaugh. And I don't know why we have to keep asking in the media, 'Is she running for president?'
Of course, neither Oprah or Limbaugh are professional politicians with a history of office-seeking.

Unlike, say, Sarah Palin, who now has no job outside of being a political celebrity -- while Oprah and Limbaugh both have lucrative day jobs. Of course she's running -- she just knows she can't announce too early.

We'll be saving this clip for the day Palin finally makes it official. Because Coulter, like so many right-wingers, has a terrific track record of being dead wrong.

But what really rankled Coulter was Joe Trippi's somewhat apt comparison of Palin to Jesse Jackson. This is more than Coulter can bear, who compulsively returns, like a dog to its vomit, to her earlier ethnic smear of Biden:
Coulter: How about comparing Joe Biden with Sarah Palin? She's twenty million times more qualified than he is.

Rivera: How do you say that? A two-year governor against a long Senate career. Anyway


Coulter: How long are we gonna pretend Biden is not just some drunken Irishman embarrassing Obama?
Yeh, that's pretty damned funny. While Joe Biden served on the Senate Foreign Relations committee for 30 years, Sarah Palin was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, where her most important policy issues involved where to place sewage-treatment plants and whether or not to pave certain roads in town, and then served two brief years as the governor of one of the smallest state electorates in the nation.

Twenty million more times, indeed.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Foxheads Wonder Why 'Liberal Media' Laugh When Right-Wingers Claim Blizzards Disprove Global Warming

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Yesterday on Fox News' News Watch program, they teased the above segment by asking the audience: "Why are the liberal media so dismissive to global warming skeptics?"

During the segment itself, host Jon Scott replayed "liberals" like Chris Matthews poking fun at various conservatives who, during the week, attempted to claim that this week's East Coast blizzards were proof that global warming is a hoax. Of course, as it so happens, that was one of the chief talking points all week long for Fox anchors.

Then Scott posed the question to Kirsten Powers:
Scott: Why is it, Kirsten, that you can't be a skeptic about global warming and do it publicly?
Powers responded with some blather about how journalists weren't skeptical enough themselves, and James "Willie Horton's Daddy" Pinkerton predictably chimed in with right-wing talking points about how global warming theory is like a religion. It took Ellis Henican to bring some sanity to the conversation, pointing out that one week of weather does not affect the science of climate, which by definition is something that occurs over many years.

We could answer Scott even more succinctly: No serious skeptic of global warming would try to argue that these storms disprove global-warming theories (as a matter of fact, they tend to confirm the existing models, as we noted previously).

The only people who would try to claim that are clowns -- partisan hacks looking to score cheap political points by promoting and playing a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of climate change.