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Fascism is NOT Liberal: The Profound Dishonesty of Jonah Goldberg

Sunday, June 14, 2009

By David Neiwert

I picked up the most recent copy of National Review – the one with the strange “Sotomayor as a Buddhist” cover – while I was in D.C. because I wanted to read the piece headlined across the cover: “Jonah Goldberg on His Critics”. Brian Beutler at TPM pointedly observed: “That better be a long article.”

Actually, it’s only two pages long. So, predictably, it’s pretty short on any discussion, as is the list of critics he actually addresses by name or argument. Namely: two – David Oshinsky and Michael Tomasky. And just as predictably, he completely misrepresents their arguments, setting up little strawmen and knocking them down instead.

And as if on cue, we get the point of writing the piece in the headline: “Obama’s Playbook, In Paperback.” (I’ll add the link if and when it ever becomes available online.) Yes, you see, Barack Obama is now the leading exponent of “liberal fascism.” This, of course, is Glenn Beck’s favorite thesis these days too.

Now, I happen to be one of Goldberg’s critics who, unlike his favorite caricature of liberals as having airily dismissed his book by laughing at it and urging people, “don’t read this!”, actually spent a good deal of time addressing Goldberg and his arguments in considerable detail – including a review published by The American Prospect. Certainly, my arguments are serious ones, no matter how little Goldberg chooses to admit it. Moreover, I actually have addressed Goldberg’s thesis in my new book, The Eliminationists. No less an authority than Rick Perlstein, in blurbing the book, writes:
For over a decade, David Neiwert has been America’s canary in the coal mine – our national early-warning system on the spread of corrosive, eliminationist, right-wing hatred in our midst. His latest book is a reality-based antidote to Jonah Goldberg, notable for both its clarity and moral force.
Nonetheless, having familiarized myself with how Goldberg operates, I admit I felt only slightly chagrined at not being included on the list. I’m well aware that Goldberg considers me something of an ankle-biter – he gave up completely after I’d debunked his work for a couple of rounds’ worth of online exchange, at which point he declared victory and went home (and at which point I completely unloaded on the pile of crap that is Liberal Fascism). I didn’t expect he’d even mention me – in no small part because he can’t give a good answer to my points – and of course he didn’t.

But then, anyone who’s read Liberal Fascism already knows that intellectual honesty is not Goldberg’s strong suit. Rather the contrary....(Remainder.)


Lying Sack of Dog Mess Blames the Left for Holocaust Museum Shooting

By Ellen
News Hounds

That über-patriot [and steaming pile of dog shit] Glenn Beck and his guests wasted no time cranking out the spin machine in the wake of the shooting of the Holocaust Museum guard last week. Instead of reflecting on the obvious issue: a second instance of right-wing, extremist violence in less than two weeks, those patriots got right to their partisan points: blaming Democrats and the left. One guest even made the ludicrous suggestion that the Holocaust Museum shooter was a leftist. Beck suggested he was akin to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Notice how the first guest in the interview below, Harry Binswanger, of the Ayn Rand Institute, uses the shooting to smear President Obama as being too soft on Iran in a suggestion that the two issues are somehow connected. In his next remarks, he says the alleged shooter, a white supremacist, "is a phenomenon of the left. Because racism is a form of collectivism. The right wing is individualists." Not content to stop there, he took the next step of claiming the left led to Hitler.

Did "patriotic" Beck stop his guest from making these outrageous claims during a time of tragedy? No, he "just asked" "How did it happen" that Nazis came to be looked at as right wing?" Maybe because those extremists find their views hyper-validated by the kind of language that's common on Fox.

So Beck fanned the flames further by suggesting the shooter was somehow in sync with the Obama administration: "America, we're surrounded by people who want to control you... We have a guy in the White House right now who, if you're gonna link people to (the Museum shooter), ...let's talk about the relationship with Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright."...(Remainder.)


Gay Rights are Popular in Many Dimensions

By Andrew Gelman

Jeff Lax and Justin Phillips posted this summary of attitudes on a bunch of gay rights questions:

They did it all using multilevel regression and poststratification. And a ton of effort....(Remainder.)


Obama, DOMA and a Particularly Pertinent Precedent

By Adam B
Daily Kos

I had originally drafted, and might still post a general piece responding to the Obama/DOMA issue explaining the Department of Justice's historical obligation to defend federal statutes challenged on the basis of their constitutionality unless such an argument is clearly foreclosed by governing constitutional analysis or the statute infringes on the powers of the Executive Branch.

But as it turns out, there may be another exception to that obligation out there, and it's exceptionally on point. Back in 1990, an ambitious young acting Solicitor General maintained before the Supreme Court of the United States that the DOJ was not obligated to defend the constitutionality of what he deemed to be a discriminatory federal statute -- the type of discrimination that his President had campaigned against. He indeed argued that the statute his President had himself signed into law should be struck down as unconstitutional, urging the Court to employ a stricter level of scrutiny than what existing constitutional analysis actually required for laws of that sort.

The case was Metro Broadcasting v FCC, and if you're wondering why others have cited it in the past 24 hours without telling you the details, this may explain:

See, that young acting Solicitor General was named John Roberts, and he was making the types of arguments many of you wish Obama's DOJ had made against DOMA in order to argue against a federal preference program for minority broadcasters....(Remainder.)


Über Right-Wing Fanatic Attacks Paul Krugman, Instead of Violent Right-Wing Extremists

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

Heather at VC:
Joe Scarborough attacks Paul Krugman for his op-ed The Big Hate:
Scarborough: I’m just gonna say it. As somebody that has to sort through a lot of hate mail, a lot of hate email, a lot of viciousness. Paul Krugman’s name is attached to a lot of those emails. They use Paul Krugman as their shield for their left-wing hate. This is because Paul Krugman, like a lot of extremists on the right, they only see their side. They have a closed-minded world view. Paul Krugman uses this tragedy, uses this death to try to knock down his opponents on the right.
Unbelievable. Project much Joe?
Scarborough was attacking Paul Krugman by using the DHS report with the phony conservative line that the report was targeting our veterans. Not true. Do these conservative hacks want America to be safe? The report wasn't a partisan witch hunt, but conservatives are trying to find anything to jump on and make an issue out of. Then he goes of into la-la land when he brings Bush and Cheney into it. And by the way, there are no left wing radicals threatening to kill you, Scarborough, so your argument makes no sense.

On a separate but related matter ... I wonder why Joe didn't talk much about Dr. Tiller, either? Oh, wait. Seems Scarborough first got famous down in Florida defending an abortion-doctor killer named Michael Griffin, and it appears Joe didn't want that info dredged up. In fact, it appears that Scarborough used the murderer to get himself elected to Congress. Who knew?...(Remainder.)


President Obama Weekly Address: Health Care Reform as the Key to Our Fiscal Future


Office of the Press Secretary

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Outlines More than $300 Billion in new Medicare and Medicaid Savings

WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Barack Obama announced new Medicare and Medicaid savings proposals that will contribute more than $300 billion over 10 years to paying for health care reform, beyond the historic $635 billion down payment included in his FY 2010 Budget. The President stressed in the address that the health reform effort must be deficit neutral and that reform is a fundamental part of the solution to our long-term fiscal problems.

Please find attached a fact sheet detailing the new savings proposed by President Obama today.

The full audio of the address is HERE. The video can be viewed online at

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, June 13, 2009

Last week, I spoke to you about my commitment to work with Congress to pass health care reform this year. Today, I’d like to speak about how that effort is essential to restoring fiscal responsibility.

When it comes to the cost of health care, this much is clear: the status quo is unsustainable for families, businesses, and government. America spends nearly 50 percent more per person on health care than any other country. Health care premiums have doubled over the last decade, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs have skyrocketed, and many with preexisting conditions are denied coverage. More and more, Americans are being priced out of the care they need.

These costs are also hurting business, as some big businesses are at a competitive disadvantage with their foreign counterparts, and some small businesses are forced to cut benefits, drop coverage, or even lay off workers. Meanwhile, Medicare and Medicaid pose one of the greatest threats to our federal deficit, and could leave our children with a mountain of debt that they cannot pay.

We cannot continue down this path. I do not accept a future where Americans forego health care because they can’t pay for it, and more and more families go without coverage at all. And I don’t accept a future where American business is hurt and our government goes broke. We have a responsibility to act, and to act now. That is why I’m working with Congress to pass reform that lowers costs, improves quality and coverage, and protects consumer health care choices.

I know some question whether we can afford to act this year. But the unmistakable truth is that it would be irresponsible to not act. We can’t keep shifting a growing burden to future generations. With each passing year, health care costs consume a larger share of our nation’s spending, and contribute to yawning deficits that we cannot control. So let me be clear: health care reform is not part of the problem when it comes to our fiscal future, it is a fundamental part of the solution.

Real reform will mean reductions in our long term budget. And I have made a firm commitment that health care reform will not add to the federal deficit over the next decade. To keep that commitment, my Administration has already identified how to pay for the historic $635 billion down payment on reform detailed in our budget. This includes over $300 billion that we will save through changes like reducing Medicare overpayments to private insurers, and rooting out waste in Medicare and Medicaid.

However, any honest accounting must prepare for the fact that health care reform will require additional costs in the short term in order to reduce spending in the long-term. So today, I am announcing an additional $313 billion in savings that will rein in unnecessary spending, and increase efficiency and the quality of care – savings that will ensure that we have nearly $950 billion set aside to offset the cost of health care reform over the next ten years.

These savings will come from commonsense changes. For example – if more Americans are insured, we can cut payments that help hospitals treat patients without health insurance. If the drug makers pay their fair share, we can cut government spending on prescription drugs. And if doctors have incentives to provide the best care instead of more care, we can help Americans avoid the unnecessary hospital stays, treatments, and tests that drive up costs. For more details about these and other savings, you can visit our website:

These savings underscore the fact that securing quality, affordable health care for the American people is tied directly to insisting upon fiscal responsibility. And these savings are rooted in the same principle that must guide our broader approach to reform: we will fix what’s broken, while building upon what works. If you like your plan and your doctor, you can keep them – the only changes that you’ll see are lower costs and better health care.

For too long, we have stood by while our health care system has frayed at the seams. While there has been excuse after excuse to delay reform, the price of care has gone up for individuals, for business, and for the government. This time must be different. This is the moment when we must reform health care so that we can build a new foundation for our economy to grow; for our people to thrive; and for our country to pursue a responsible and sustainable path. Thank you.


'Emergent Church' v. Fundamentalism

Editor’s Note: Over the past few decades, Christian Evangelicalism has claimed a prominent place in American religious – and political – life, but some of its harsher elements are now being challenged by adherents to what's been called an “emergent church.”

In this guest essay – a follow-up of an earlier report about this development – the Rev. Howard Bess recounts some personal reactions to his previous article:

Three weeks ago I wrote a column about the emergent churches in America. I wrote the column as a report, not as an opinion. I credited Professor Scott McKnight of North Park University in Chicago and cited his eight characteristics of the emergent church.

By Rev. Howard Bess
Consortium News

The Emergent Church column produced the largest response that I have ever had from any of my newspaper writings. Apparently readers forwarded the column to friends, and it was posted on many blogs and internet news services.

Responses came from California to New Jersey and from Texas to Michigan. The responses were from young and old and from Caucasians to African Americans.

I am coming to an unscientific conclusion that something basic is happening on the religious scene in America.

I am choosing to share three specific responses:

John Chuchman is a retired Ford executive and a devout Roman Catholic. In retirement he has earned a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministries and gives his time as a Hospice volunteer. He is a skilled writer and in 2006 published a book entitled I Love My Church, But Oh My God!...(Remainder.)


A Word About Barack Obama and the Lawyers in Out Midst

By Joe Sudbay

I remember sitting in my Federal Courts class during my third year of law school when my professor, Mel Zarr, describing a string of cases on some issue or another, asked me why the court rulings started to change over time. I said it was because there was an election and the new conservative judges were starting to implement their judicial philosophy.

Some of my classmates (future inside-the-beltway smartypants) were appalled that I had suggested that judges were "political." I was appalled at their naivete. And I'm just as appalled at how some of our friends reacted yesterday to the Obama administration's brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Lawyers get very sanctimonious about the law, and the need to obey the law and legal precedent, above all else. But, the law can be very fluid -- and lawyers are taught in law school to find new ways to interpret words. Lawyers who craft new legal strategies and theories that sway courts are venerated in history as civil rights heroes (we even name buildings and airports after them). So, the notion that the Obama administration had only one recourse yesterday -- to file a brief in support of DOMA -- is very narrow legal thinking. Sure, the brief was a legal document, but it was also very much a political document. It had the backing of the President of the United States. And anyone who says that Republican and Democratic presidents alike don't let their politics influence their arguments before the courts is either a liar or terribly naive....(Remainder.)


GOP Activist Calls Gorilla One of Michelle Obama's 'Ancestors'

By Meteor Blades
Daily Kos

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A state Republican activist has admitted to and apologized for calling a gorilla that escaped from the Riverbanks Zoo Friday an "ancestor" of First Lady Michelle Obama.

A screen capture of the comment, made on the Internet site Facebook, was obtained by FITSNews, the website of South Carolina politico Will Folks.

The image shows a post by an aide to state Attorney General Henry McMaster describing Friday morning's gorilla escape at Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo.

Longtime SCGOP activist and former state Senate candidate Rusty DePass responded with the comment, "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless."

DePass told WIS News 10 he was talking about First Lady Michelle Obama.
And then DePass offered the rote non-apology apology:
We spoke with DePass over the phone Friday night. He said, "I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest."
Clearly in jest. Clearly. Surely. Only humorless, hypersensitive, politically correct people would make a stink over something so harmless. How could anybody be offended by a joke that DePass probably heard the first version of from his grandfather who heard it from his grandfather?...(Remainder.)


'Talk About Blood on Your Hands': Walsh Smacks Loofah O'Reilly with Jim David Adkisson-Shuts Him Up

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

God bless Joan Walsh. She finally did what I thought no one in the media was capable of doing: She shoved Bill O'Reilly's vicious words back in his face.

Or more correctly, she smacked him with the evil consequences of his reckless and irresponsible rhetoric, manifested in the case of Jim David Adkisson, the Knoxville shooter. And rather than respond, he simply shut up. If there had been more time, I expect he'd have cut her mike.

It was a thing of beauty.

Here are the lines Walsh, who was nastily attacked by O'Reilly the day before, delivered on-air last night on The O'Reilly Factor, to his face, that most of have wished someone would say someday:
Walsh: And you routinely attack, you routinely attack, people on the left, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Moore, who you think their rhetoric leads potentially to acts of violence. It never has led to one act of violence. But you've already driven that crazy guy in Knoxville last year who read your writings and then went and shot up a church and shot liberals, that's already happened once, and you don't feel any responsibility at all, now that it's happened a second time, Bill? Talk about blood on your hands.


When Desperation Gets Ugly

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly

The conservative drive to connect violent right-wing extremist James von Brunn, who murdered a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this week, to the American left continues to confound. Dave Weigel had a terrific report on this yesterday, including this gem:
"From what I can tell," explained Jonah Goldberg, the author of the 2008 bestseller "Liberal Fascism" and a writer for National Review, "his hatreds echoed the kind of stuff we hear from the Kos crowd, Chris Matthews, Andrew Sullivan et al." Goldberg called Von Brunn "objectively crazy," but argued that "his hatreds would be easier to find at an ANSWER rally than at CPAC."
Even by Goldberg standards, this is remarkable. Adam Serwer responded, "That's right. A neo-nazi who hates blacks, Jews, and thinks Obama wasn't born in the United States is going to be more at home with a group called 'ACT NOW TO STOP WAR AND END RACISM' rather than the political convention where they're selling Obama Waffles and conservative figures get applause for questioning Obama's citizenship."

I also found it interesting that Goldberg would draw a parallel between "an ANSWER rally" and the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Are they relative equals in Goldberg's estimation?

Either way, his remarks may be par for the course, but that doesn't make them any less ridiculous. James von Brunn wrote a pamphlet entitled, "Kill the Best Gentiles: A new, hard-hitting expose of the JEW CONSPIRACY to destroy the White gene-pool." He has also written that "Hilter's worse mistake" was that "he didn't gas the Jews."...(Remainder.)


Obama Approval Rating Exceeds 50% in States Containing 445 Electoral Votes

By Nate Silver

Where would Barack Obama be re-elected if an election were held today?

We can't know for sure, and it would depend on many contingencies, such as the identity of his Republican opponent. One quick-and-dirty way to assess this question, however, is to look at those states where Obama's approval rating is 50 percent or higher. Based on a compilation of public polls since February 15th, that appears to be the case in the following states:

Now, how did we come up with these numbers? We did a lot of work, that's how. First, we compiled a database of all publicly-available Obama approval and favorability numbers since February 15th, since which time Obama's approval ratings have been exceptionally steady. (Obama's disapproval ratings have increased some over this period, but we're only looking at the approval side of the coin for this exercise). A maximum of one poll was used in each state from each survey firm; this totals 88 polls in all, covering 39 of the 50 states....(Remainder.)


Man Coulter Presented As Expert In Tastefulness In Discussion About Letterman's Remarks About Palin

By Ellen
News Hounds

On Wednesday night (6/10/09), two-time voter-fraud suspect Ann Coulter was welcomed back on Hannity to reprise her role as an authority on tasteful remarks. There was no mention of the legal hot water she’s in despite Fox’s fixation on voter fraud when it seems to be Democrats or minorities involved. Instead, she was asked to “weigh in” on that meanie David Letterman who cracked a few personal jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter. After Coulter and Sean Hannity had smeared Democrats and falsely painted themselves and conservatives as being above making personal attacks, Coulter took a gratuitous slap at Michelle Obama’s dress. Hannity did not object. With video.

In his introduction, Hannity complained about the “vicious, vicious” attacks on Palin from the left. He went on to gripe that the attacks had become “increasingly personal and have even been directed at her family.” This, from the same guy who relentlessly smears Michelle Obama. And he was calling on the woman who described John Edwards as a faggot to provide what was supposed to be “fair and balanced” analysis.

Coulter, whose words were only slightly slurred during this appearance (unlike her total confusion during her catastrophic "boombox” appearance), immediately used the occasion to smear Letterman’s wife. “Now that the families are open to this, have ya seen the wife?” (Her emphasis.)There was no objection from Hannity. Ms. Tasteful went on to make the nonsensical smear, “Ummm, I think every time liberal males see a female who’s identifiable as a female, they think, they call them slutty stewardesses.”

Instead of denouncing Letterman, Coulter crowed at new opportunities for smearing. “I guess Sasha and Malia (Obama) are fair game for comedians now.”

Hannity later said, “I’ve watched you speak in public and I can’t see you going after Barack Obama’s daughters. I can’t see you going after the children of politicians.” No, "Boomie" Coulter “only” went after the widows of 9/11 victims, saying "I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much." Classy....(Remainder.)


Memo to the Right Wing: Put Up, or Shut Up!

By Sara

Dear Conservatives:

Your fellow Americans demand an answer -- and we want it now. Just one simple question:

Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war?

Just answer the question. Yes or no. Don't insult us with elisions, evasions, dithering, qualifications, or conditional answers. We need to know what your intentions are -- and we need to know NOW. People are being shot dead in the streets of America at the rate of several per month now. You may not want responsibility for this -- but the whackadoodles pulling the triggers make no bones about who put them up to this.

You did.

The assassins themselves are ratting you out. They're telling us, straight up, that they were inspired to act by the hate radio talkers that you empowered -- one of whom is now the de facto head of the Republican party. They got it from media outlets owned by your biggest donors. They got it from bloggers who receive daily talking points faxed in from the GOP. They got it from activists representing causes that would have never become causes in the first place if the issues hadn't been politically expedient for you.

Beyond that: You've already admitted your own complicity. When the Department of Homeland Security expressed their worries about right-wing extremist violence last April, practically every conservative pundit in the country went into a righteous fit. DHS never named anyone directly, so it was astonishing how many of you on the right were so quick to step up and claim that that memo was slandering you, personally and collectively. Since you were so eager to claim that that memo was all about you, now that the violence has come to pass, we're well justified in holding you to that....(Remainder.)


Boehner Believes His Own Bullshit

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had an interesting chat with ABC's George Stephanopoulos yesterday [June 11th], with the GOP leader talking a bit about the party's future.

Boehner conceded that his party has been in a "deep hole" lately. "We took it in the shorts with Bush-Cheney, the Iraq War, and by sacrificing fiscal responsibility to hold power," he said, adding that Republicans have also struggled to shake the "party of no" label.

But Boehner also talked about his optimism for the future, and his belief that he's found President Obama's weak spot.
Boehner believes it's national security. "This thing is real," he said. Watch for more tough votes on Guantanamo, interrogation memos and photos -- and a big push on the issue emerging today: the Obama Justice Department admission that some detainees have been read their Miranda rights. "I think most Americans will be appalled that we're providing Miranda rights to terrorists," Boehner predicted. "This thing is going to bubble up big."
It's certainly possible that Boehner's right, and this issue will, in fact, "bubble up big." Some of the other issues that have "bubbled up big" -- the DHS report on right-wing radicals, detainees at Guantanamo Bay -- have several things in common, including the baseless nature of the accusations, the connection to national security, the apoplexy among far-right voices on Fox News and talk radio, and the reluctance of most political reporters to acknowledge how wrong the claims are....(Remainder.)


How Much Does Religion Affect Moral Judgment

By Jesse
Rant & Reason

Is religion the primary source of people’s moral judgments?

It looks like a nation’s culture plays a larger role than religion itself. David Hume had an interesting post on last week examining data from the World Values Survey on abortion opinions between religions and between religions within a country:
All things equal there was an international tendency for Catholics to be somewhat more anti-abortion than non-Catholics, but a far better predictor of attitudes was not religion but nationality. In other words Catholic Germans resembled Protestant Germans while Catholic Chileans resembled Protestant Chileans.

But what about religion and irreligion more generally on the international level? That is, do religious and irreligious people within a nation tend to correlate in their attitudes toward abortion? Do atheists in Germany resemble religious people in Germany more than they do atheists in Nigeria?
Lo and beho[l]d, atheists in Germany DO resemble religious people in Germany more than they do atheists in Nigeria.

It turns out that there’s huge variability between nations’ views on abortion, and it’s a better predictor than religion. To put it another way: If religion were the primary source of moral judgments, the best way to guess an individual’s views on abortion would be to know that person’s religion. But country is more closely tied - it’s more helpful to know what country the person is from than his religion.

Hume doesn’t include the trendline’s equation in his blog post, but he was helpful enough to include the raw data, which I used to create my own scatterplot:



"A Perfect Storm for Disaster" Brewing With Washington's "Unprecedented" Shadow Army

As US troops and private contractors surge in Afghanistan, a new report reveals a system rife with abuse. Also, why is an executive of a major war contractor on the commission investigating contractors?

By Jeremy Scahill
Rebel Reports

I’ve been reading through the hot-off-the-presses, exciting 100+ page report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting: “At What Cost? Contingency Contracting In Iraq and Afghanistan.” There have been several good pieces that covered the Congressional hearings related to this report, so I thought I would just post some of the more important excerpts from the report. One general note: The Commission, which was created due to the diligent efforts of Senators Jim Webb and Claire McCaskill, has been doing some incredibly important work digging deep into the corruption, waste, abuse, fraud, etc of the US war contracting system. The statute that created the commission “requires the Commission to assess a number of factors related to wartime contracting, including the extent of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of wartime contracts. The Commission has the authority to hold hearings and to refer to the Attorney General any violation or potential violation of law it identifies in carrying out its duties.”

While the new report reveals some critical details about issues of waste and abuse, the general tone is very pro-contractor, which is not surprising. However, I find it disturbing that one of the members of the Commission, Dov Zakheim, is, according to his Commission bio, a current vice-president of Booz Allen Hamilton, a major defense, homeland security and intelligence contractor with a direct stake in US policy on contractors....(Remainder.)


Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS) Announces Protest of the National Education Association, Blames Recession on Abortion

By Christian
Right Wing Watch

The Pro-Life Educators and Students (PLEAS) have announced the first major anti-abortion demonstration since the killing of Dr. George Tiller. While the demonstration is nothing out of the ordinary, PLEAS isn't focusing its effort on a traditional target of anti-choice groups. Instead, they'll be protesting... the National Education Association. In a press release, Bob Pawson, a coordinator for PLEAS, announced that the group is organizing a July 2nd "prayer & picket" that will involve many different pro-life groups.

The NEA is hardly an outspoken reproductive rights group, rather an organization dedicated to advancing and improving the public school system. They devoted a mere three sentences of their 462-page handbook to "Family Planning":
The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.
Even stranger than PLEAS' choice to target the NEA are remarks made by Pawson in the press release. Pawson unveils the catalyst behind the economic recession: federal abortion policy. Oh, it's also why we don't have a cure for AIDS:
Abortion is the primary factor causing America's economic recession, said Pawson. America is suffering the consequences for killing fifty-million people who are supposed to be among us today as teachers, producers, consumers, taxpayers, leaders, inventors, and problem-solvers. It's no surprise that a nation which slaughters nearly twenty percent of its future customers, investors, and entrepreneurs also kills its own economy. Wrong moral choices have negative consequences. Evil acts generate their own punishment.


The Politics of Assassination

Inside the violent movement that spawned James von Brunn and Scott Roeder.

By Joe Conason

June 12, 2009 | Acts of madness like the killing of George Tiller and Stephen T. Johns can be too easily dismissed as the work of disturbed individuals and then subsumed in the usual rumble of recrimination between left and right. But if we are to understand the deeper implications of those acts of murder, what must be examined is their origin in the shadow world of white nationalism.

Nobody knows more about the movements that spawned the alleged gunmen than Leonard Zeskind, who has spent most of a lifetime observing, analyzing and opposing racism and anti-Semitism in America and abroad. Now he has distilled those hard and dangerous decades of work into "Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement From the Margins to the Mainstream," a magisterial new book that explains how and why racial hatred became and remains a significant political force in American society.

To Zeskind, the most recent attacks only represent the latest stage in a long wave of extremist violence dating back to the early 1980s, marked by assassinations, bombings, bank robberies and other crimes that were largely ignored by the mainstream media because they often occurred in distant rural locations. "The reason we're talking about this incident," he said "is because it happened in Washington, D.C., at the Holocaust Museum, instead of somewhere in the backwoods of Montana."...(Click for remainder.)


Meet D.C.'s Homophobic Anti-Gay Marriage Hate Merchants

An alliance between local and national activists is a test of the effectiveness of Republicans' reliance on culture-war wedge issues.

By Adam Serwer
The American Prospect

During a meeting of the Washington, D.C., Ward 8 Democrats in late May to debate a resolution urging the City Council to legalize same-sex marriage, Ward 8 Committee member Phillip Pannell accused those opposed to the resolution of being part of an outside right-wing campaign to divide the city. The City Council had just passed, by a 12 to 1 vote, a law recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, and wards across the city were considering resolutions in support of full marriage equality for District residents.

"Let's be very clear," Pannell said, addressing the audience. "Right-wing Republicans are willing to raise millions of dollars to dump it into this city to rip this community apart. They think that because this is a predominantly African American city, they can do the same kind of stuff that they did in California in terms of Prop. 8."

The Rev. Patrick Walker, head of the local Missionary Baptist Ministers Conference (MBMC) task force opposing same-sex marriage, quickly took exception to Pannell's accusation.

"I am not part of any right-wing Republican Party; I have not talked to anybody from the right-wing Republican Party, and all of these supposed monies that will be dumped into our city, we strongly oppose that," Walker said firmly. "We believe that this is a decision that should be made by the District of Columbia."

But the truth is that while the District’s marriage-equality movement is a local operation, run by groups like the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the anti-marriage-equality movement here is comprised of both local groups and outside agitators connected to national right-wing interest groups. These outside figures aren't just working within the District -- they're lobbying Congress to use its oversight authority to circumvent the City Council....(Click for remainder.)


Sarah Palin's Politics of Grievance Are Back!

By Greg Sargent
The Plum Line

You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think Sarah Palin is absolutely thrilled to be in a big fight with David Letterman over degrading things he said about her and her daughter.

She’s back in her old element. She’s practicing the politics that launched her national career — the politics of grievance and resentment. She’s an Everymom fighting back against smug coastal elites on behalf of people — and values — supposedly disdained by those elites.

In her response to Letterman’s joke about her daughter, for instance, Palin went out of her way to say that “some Hollywood/New York entertainers” don’t understand “what the rest of America understands.” She added that the target of Letterman’s jokes “could be anyone’s daughter.”

Translation: I’m not afraid to take on morally corrupt elites who disdain ordinary parents for just wanting their children to be safe.

Another example: In her interview today with MSNBC’s Matt Lauer, Palin pointed out the “double standard” between Obama’s family and her own, saying that the media heeded Obama’s warning during the campaign not to attack his family. She called him “the candidate who must be obeyed.”

Translation: He thinks he walks on water. He gets treated like he’s above us.

The parallel with the campaign isn’t perfect — she’s not defending small-town values and simple patriotism as much as defending women and girls from lascivious elites, and she’s got the support of at least one women’s group. But the echoes of her campaign persona are unmistakable. Palin is back!...(Remainder.)


Ahmadinejad Wins Stanley Cup

By Andy Borowitz
The Smirking Chimp

In what many are describing as an upset victory of unprecedented proportions, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins last night to win the 2009 Stanley Cup, Iran's Interior Ministry announced today.

According to the ministry, which Mr. Ahmadinejad runs, the Iranian hard-liner defeated the Penguins by a score of 6-0, scoring two hat tricks in the victory.

But Penguins star Evgeni Malkin immediately disputed Mr. Ahmadinejad's claim, arguing that the Iranian president did not even appear in the game.

Mr. Ahmadinejad scoffed at Mr. Malkin's charge, stating, "He's just pissed that I was named MVP."

The Iranian president took time out from celebrating his Stanley Cup win to announce that he had just been named Poet Laureate of England.

(Original Post.)


Tea Pary Group Co-Opts Communist Symbol

By Eric Kleefeld
Talking Points Memo

FreedomWorks, the conservative organization that had a big hand in the Tea Party rallies this past April, is gearing up for a new "Taxpayer March On Washington" for September 12 -- with a very interesting logo.

The intriguing thing here, as Ron Gunzburger pointed out, is that the logo makes use of left-handed fists, colored in red -- a traditional symbol all around the world for communism and militant socialism.

In an interview with TPM, FreedomWorks press secretary Adam Brandon said the group is aware of this symbol's traditional meaning. "Well, when you start working here at FreedomWorks, the first book you read is Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals. We're avid students of the political left," he said. "I've spent years living in Eastern Europe. I'm aware of of it, but I guess the symbolism we're going for is angry taxpayers as a group. So I guess the symbolism is kind of fun."...(Click for remainder.)


Reconceptualizing Atheism, Introducing "Antibelief" and "Contratheism"

By Zack Ford
ZackFord Blogs

Over at Atheist Revolution, vjack offered some discussion today about how we talk about belief and nonbelief. It’s pretty clear what atheism means to those of us who identify with it, but there are a lot of distinctions that go undocumented. For example, I think most people think that “atheism” means anybody who doesn’t believe in God. Even in The God Delusion, Dawkins suggests a spectrum of belief and unbelief that is symmetrical.

This conceptualization revolves around God, but I don’t think it illuminates the whole picture. I think atheism has been made too inclusive of a term in a way that betrays those of us who are true skeptics. Instead of just thinking of belief and unbelief, we need to also consider antibelief. This is any assertion or belief against something supernatural. I think we should refer to this (admittedly small) group as contratheists. Either assertion is lacking the merit of proof. The questions vjack posed in today’s post help illuminate this distinction.
Do you believe in God?
Atheist: No.
Contratheist: No.

Is there a God?
Atheist: I doubt it.
Contratheist: No.
This might seem subtle, but it’s an important distinction. Theism and atheism are not opposites. Theism and contratheism are opposites. Atheism is skepticism to either.

Using Dawkins’ model as a guide, I have created a new visual model that I think best shows the spectrum of belief. (Please click on it to view its full size.)

(Click for remainder.)


Disappearing Bush: WSJ Falsely Suggests Obama Admin. Took Over Fannie, Freddie, AIG

By Media Matters

A June 13 Wall Street Journal article falsely suggested that the Obama administration's policies resulted in the government takeovers of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. In fact, as the Journal itself has repeatedly noted, the Bush administration -- along with the Federal Reserve, in the case of AIG -- took over those institutions in September 2008. Moreover, the Journal distorted comments made by White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, falsely suggesting that Summers had implied the Obama administration was responsible for those takeovers.

The Journal article, which reported that Summers "defended White House economic policies against criticism that they amounted to 'a kind of back-door socialism,' " contained no references to the Bush administration whatsoever. In it, reporter Jonathan Weisman wrote that "Summers's remarks come as mainstream critics of Mr. Obama's use of government mechanisms to revamp big segments of the economy are increasingly finding their voice," subsequently adding:
While Mr. Summers's speech was billed as a prelude to next week's efforts on financial-market regulation, most of it was devoted to defending the administration's aggressive economic policies.

Those policies have seen the government take control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and insurer American International Group Inc.; take large stakes in General Motors and Citigroup; and usher Chrysler into and out of bankruptcy while shifting the balance of power between creditors and unions.

Such "extraordinary actions" were done out of necessity, not choice, Mr. Summers said. And just as history has judged Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal as saving capitalism, not destroying it, Mr. Obama's efforts eventually will be seen as pro-free market, he said.
(Click for remainder.)


On Fox, Regina Calcaterra Fights Back Against "Welfare" Demagoguery


If Gay Rights Were War Crimes, Obama Would be Our Fierce Advocate

By John Aravosis

A commenter to Joe's earlier post made an interesting observation. We heard a lot of talk yesterday from the Obama administration about how they simply had to follow the rule of law and defend DOMA, lest they be no better than the lawless Bush administration before them. It's funny, therefore, that our oh-so-ethical President felt no such fealty to the law, but rather let politics and expediency be his guide, when it came time to prosecute the war crimes of his predecessor.

Then again, Barack Obama fears the Republicans. He doesn't fear us.

(Original Post.)


Right-Wing Anti-Immigrant Hate Group Leader Arrested for Murder and Burglary

By Logan Murphy
Crooks and Liars

The nationwide surge in violence by right wing extremists has been making a lot of headlines lately, both in the blogosphere and the corporate media -- with Fox News doing its best to downplay the violence as isolated and perpetrated by lefties.

Now it appears that Shawna Forde, a rising star in the xenophobic, anti-immigrant militia movement has been arrested for her role in a home invasion that left two dead, including a 9 year old girl.
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - Pima County Sheriff's investigators have charged three people with a May 30 home invasion that left a father and 9-year-old girl dead.

Shawna Forde, Jason Eugene Bush and Albert Robert Gaxiola face murder, burglary and aggravated assault charges.

Investigators say the suspects broke into a home in Arivaca, shooting and killing 29-year old Raul Flores and his daughter Brisenia.

Investigators say Forde was the mastermind of the operation. She and Gaxiola are in the Pima county jail. Answering media questions while led out in handcuffs, both suspects denied responsibility for the deadly home invasion.

"This is a very unusual woman," said Clarence Dupnik, Pima County Sheriff. "I don't really know what goes on in her mind, but she is obviously a very evil person. If you look at her history closely, and you know what we know, she is, at best, a psychopath." Read on...
Forde, who is surrounded by numerous controversies, has been on the radars of both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League for some time now. Shawna is also supported by Jim Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minuteman Project -- who is also embroiled in controversies of his own....(Click for original.)


After These Deadly Hate Attacks, Why Aren't We Talking About Guns?

By Bill Moyers

You know by now that in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, an elderly white supremacist and anti-Semite named James W. von Brunn allegedly walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with a .22-caliber rifle and killed security guard Stephen T. Johns before being brought down himself. He's 88 years old, with a long record of hatred and paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati and a Global Zionist state. How bitter the bile that has curdled for so many decades.

You will know, too, of the recent killing, while ushering at his local church, of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country still performing late term abortions. Sadly, this case was proof that fatal violence works. His family has announced that his Wichita, Kansas, clinic will not be reopened.

You may be less familiar with the June 1st shootings in an army recruiting office in Little Rock that killed one soldier and wounded another. The suspect in question is an African-American Muslim convert who says he acted in retaliation for US military activity in the Middle East.

Soon, however, these terrible deeds will be forgotten, as are already the three policemen killed by an assault weapon in Pittsburgh; the four policemen killed in Oakland, California; the 13 people gunned down in Binghamton, New York; the 10 in an Alabama shooting spree; five in Santa Clara, California; the eight dead in a North Carolina, nursing home. All during this year alone....(Click for remainder.)


Reza Aslan Takes Chris Matthews to Task for Fear Mongering on Iran's Nuclear Program

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Reza Aslan takes Chris Matthews to task for fear mongering on Iran. Matthews seemed positively flummoxed when Aslan pointed out to him that our own intelligence agencies have said that Iran is years away from developing a nuclear weapon, and that Iran might actually have a reason to be afraid of Israel. Matthews also seemed to have a lot of trouble understanding why those in power might want to hype the threat of Iranian nukes for political purposes. Imagine that.
MATTHEWS: Reza, what good does speaking the truth do -- and he has spoken it in terms of our relationship with Iran -- do to our relationship with Iran?

ASLAN: You know, he mentioned the CIA coup of 1953, which most Americans don`t know anything about, but which, I got to tell you, is like the core event, the ur-event of the 20th century as far as Iranians are concerned. It`s their revolutionary war, civil war all wrapped up into a single thing. And to hear a president even mention it, let alone acknowledge it in that way, had a huge effect in the cafes in Iran.

Let`s face it, you know, what Iranians want, and this has been proven over and over again -- just yesterday, a poll came out from Terror Free Tomorrow showing 77 percent of Iranians wanting to open up relations with the United States. This is not just about sort of a better international relationship with America, it`s about Iran`s own domestic situation.

As you know, the economy in Iran is on the verge of collapse. You`ve got a 26 percent inflation rate, you know, 13 percent unemployment rate. They need America in a way that they haven`t before, and it seems like for the first time in many, many years, both sides, both Iran and America, are ready. You know, in the `90s, Iran wanted to talk to America. America wasn`t ready. Later on...

MATTHEWS: Reza, You know, I worry about us facing a situation that could be horrendous, which is to have to choose between living with a bomb in the hands of the Iranian mullahs or -- I mean a nuclear bomb -- or going to war with them in a way that causes hatred for another thousand years, not just a decade or two. And that scares me.

ASLAN: Neither of those are likely. Neither of those are likely scenarios.
(Click for remainder.)


Jose Padilla Can Sue John Yoo for Torture

By Bob Egelko
San Francisco Chronicle

A prisoner who says he was tortured while being held for nearly four years as a suspected terrorist can sue former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo for coming up with the legal theories that justified his alleged treatment, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White's decision marks the first time a government lawyer has been held potentially responsible for the abuse of detainees.

"Like any other government official, government lawyers are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their conduct," White said in refusing to dismiss Jose Padilla's lawsuit against Yoo.

If Padilla, now serving a 17-year prison sentence on terrorism charges, can prove his allegations, he can show that Yoo "set in motion a series of events that resulted in the deprivation of Padilla's constitutional rights," White said.

White, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, noted that Padilla's lawsuit accuses Yoo of helping to design administration policy on detention and torture, and then crafting legal opinions to justify it - stepping outside the usual role of a lawyer....(Click for remainder.)


Glenn Beck: Who? Me? Spread Baseless FEMA Concentration Camp Tinfoil Hat Theories

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Glenn Beck went on Bill O'Reilly's program last night, protesting his innocence after Paul Krugman ably limned the culpability that people like Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and other right-wing yammerers have in raising the temperature of the national discourse to the level that now violent right-wing nutcases are popping off like so much popcorn.

It was, of course, an extended exercise in frantic obfuscation, like a cat trying to cover its dung:
Beck: Well, first of all, the only people responsible for anybody's death are the people --

O'Reilly: Are the murderers.

Beck: Are the murderers.
Ah yes, the nonexistent "lone wolf" defense. Gee, I guess this means that those suicide bombers in Baghdad and Jerusalem are just "isolated incidents" too, and no one but the bombers themselves are responsible. At least in Beck's and O'Reilly's world.
O'Reilly: Well, now, Paul Krugman doesn't feel that way.

Beck: Oh, no. No. But you know what I found? Paul Krugman -- he's of course blaming you as -- well, you're the baby killer ... killer -- whatever --

O'Reilly: The assassin enabler.

Beck: Yeah. And I am, uh, I am responsible for all kinds of conspiracy theories, I think I'm also responsible for the Holocaust shooter --

O'Reilly: Well, lemme, lemme, lemme quote -- here's what Krugman said about you today. He's criticizing Fox News:
Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News’s new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news — and it gives daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration’s “totalitarian” agenda ... .
Beck: Never said that. Never said that....
(Click for remainder.)


Iran's 2009 Election Results Suggest Massive Fraud...Just Like Ohio's in 2004

By Brad Friedman
The Brad Blog

It sounds a lot like Ohio 2004. A less than popular old-line incumbent facing massive public demonstrations against him and in favor of his main progressive challenger promising reform; polls that suggest a swell of support for the challenger; unprecedented turnout on Election Day; long lines at polling places; paper ballot shortages and names missing from voter rolls; widespread rumors, concerns and evidence of voter intimidation and vote-rigging, all accompanied nonetheless by a general feeling among the populace that the incumbent has been turned out, only to learn from officials, late on Election Night, after secret vote counting, that the incumbent has been declared the winner of a second term.

The most substantive difference from Ohio 2004, however: the declared winner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is said to have defeated his main opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi by a 63% to 34% "landslide", instead of the razor-thin margin seen in Ohio (and across the popular vote in the rest of the nation). In Iran, a result of anything less than 50% + 1 for the leading candidate would have triggered a national runoff election.

The other main differences between Iran '09 and Ohio '04: New York Times is already asking "Landslide or Fraud?" this morning; in Iran, supporters of the challenger are taking to the streets; and the challenger himself has already called the election results a "fraud"...

During a late-night news conference last night, after poll hours had been extended (in some places, but not all), purportedly to accommodate the massive turnout, Moussavi told reporters: "I am the absolute winner of the election by a very large margin...It is our duty to defend people’s votes. There is no turning back."...(Click for remainder.)


Lying Sack of Dog Mess and Pudgy Coward, Goldberg, Try to Claim von Brunn was a Liberal

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Last night, Glenn Beck and Jonah Goldberg tried an exercise similar to Rush Limbaugh's, in which they tried to construct a plausible argument that James von Brunn, the Holocaust Museum shooter, was actually a "figure of the left."

They ran through the same list: He hated Bush, he hated "neocons," may have targeted the neocon Weekly Standard too, and most of all, he hated Jews.

Somehow omitted: He also hated black people, and he especially hated Obama because he believed he was controlled by Jews. (See the note he left behind.) He also hated the Federal Reserve, taxes, the United Nations, the federal government generically, admired Hitler, urged the reciminalization of miscegenation laws, and promoted The Protocols of the Seven Elders of Zion as fact. He worked at one time for Willis Carto's right-wing publishing house, Noontide Press, and used to sell copies of Carto's house organ The Spotlight.

As Mark Potok put it to Keith Olbermann:
You know, the idea, though, that somehow, you know, this shooting at the Holocaust Museum was in any remote way an artifact of the left or Obama's fault somehow, you know—I mean, it's vile beyond words and just has no basis at all in fact of any kind.
Yep. "Vile beyond words" just about covers it. Especially when it comes to Jonah Goldberg.


The Obama Haters' Silent Enablers

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

WHEN a Fox News anchor, reacting to his own network’s surging e-mail traffic, warns urgently on-camera of a rise in hate-filled, “amped up” Americans who are “taking the extra step and getting the gun out,” maybe we should listen. He has better sources in that underground than most.

The anchor was Shepard Smith, speaking after Wednesday’s mayhem at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Unlike the bloviators at his network and elsewhere on cable, Smith is famous for his highly caffeinated news-reading, not any political agenda. But very occasionally — notably during Hurricane Katrina — he hits the Howard Beale mad-as-hell wall. Joining those at Fox who routinely disregard the network’s “We report, you decide” mantra, he both reported and decided, loudly.

What he reported was this: his e-mail from viewers had “become more and more frightening” in recent months, dating back to the election season. From Wednesday alone, he “could read a hundred” messages spewing “hate that’s not based in fact,” much of it about Barack Obama and some of it sharing the museum gunman’s canard that the president was not a naturally born citizen. These are Americans “out there in a scary place,” Smith said.

Then he brought up another recent gunman: “If you’re one who believes that abortion is murder, at what point do you go out and kill someone who’s performing abortions?” An answer, he said, was provided by Dr. George Tiller’s killer. He went on: “If you are one who believes these sorts of things about the president of the United States ...” He left the rest of that chilling sentence unsaid....(Click for remainder.)



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