Rush Limbaugh

More Right-Wing Spin on Tucson Shootings; Malkin Sees Campaign to “Criminalize Conservativism”

While Sarah Palin tries to make herself out as the real victim of the shootings in Arizona, even going so far as to compare herself to Jewish victims of “blood libels,” the right-wing echo-chamber has been busy spinning the shootings in Tucson. After Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips called Jared Lee Loughner “a liberal lunatic,” conservatives eagerly promoted his claims. NewsMax claimed that Loughner has links to “left-wing politics” since his favorite books include “‘The Communist Manifesto’ by Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf,’ and the fiction classic ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.’” The American Family Association’s news service declared the “AZ shooter a leftist, not tea party supporter,” quoting Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America who “believes there is substantial evidence to show that suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, is an angry leftist who hates America and Christianity.” The RightNetwork’s Gateway Pundit maintained that Loughner is a “Left-Winger” because he “likes watching US flags burn & favorite book is ‘Communist Manifesto,’” and WorldNetDaily said Loughner may have been influenced by a “liberal group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama.”

Rush Limbaugh even alleged that Loughner “has the full support of a major political party in this country. He's sitting there in jail; he knows what's going on. He knows that a Democrat [sic] Party -- the Democrat [sic] Party -- is attempting to find anybody but him to blame.”

But when the Right isn’t attempting to paint Loughner as a liberal, they try to demonize Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. Right-wing writer Michelle Malkin today called Dupnik “The Worst Sheriff in America” and condemned his “vulture-like exploitation of the shooting rampage.” Dupnik, who has spoken out against the role of violence and hate mongering in politics, has found himself in the crosshairs of conservative pundits and politicians. Now, Malkin seeks to blame the Sheriff for the shooting and accuses him of seeking publicity for himself and attempting to “criminalize conservatism”:

Dupnik's mouth has done more to stoke self-inflicted ire against elected government clowns than anything the right could muster against him. Had the hyper-partisan Democrat been more in tune with his job than the media airwaves, the murderous, maniacal gunman might have been stopped.

As Dupnik himself has now admitted, Loughner leveled death threats against others that were investigated by law enforcement -- and then apparently shrugged off. Locals note that Loughner's mother worked for the county and may have had some pull. Pima County College campus police reported five serious confrontations with the mentally unstable young man before he was kicked out of the school, which he decried as an unconstitutional "torture facility." Classmates said they feared for their lives. His friends say he was a pothead, a 9/11 Truther and a UFO conspiracist so kooky that even flying-objects adherents spurned him.

Despite zero evidence that Rush Limbaugh, cable news, the tea party movement or immigration enforcement activists had anything to do with Loughner's warped attack, shameless Sheriff Dupnik shows no signs of shutting up.

The worst sheriff in America is walking in the footsteps of another infamous law enforcement official who put fame, ambition and ideology above public safety: disgraced Montgomery County (Md.) Police Chief Charles Moose, the publicity-hungry Keystone Cop who grossly bungled the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002.

...

Dupnik is now following the same ill-gotten path. But decent Americans understand that he and his civilian counterparts have traveled a smear too far. Despite desperate attempts by the progressive left to pin the massacre on the "harsh tone" of its political opponents, a vast majority of Americans reject the cynical campaign to criminalize conservatism, suppress political free speech and capitalize on violent crime for electoral gain.

Right-Wing’s Dupnik Pile-On Continues

After calling for politicians and political commentators to tone down violent and hateful political rhetoric, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is now experiencing himself the force of right-wing hostility and rancor. Dupnik never suggested that the deeply disturbed shooter was directly influenced by political debate, but called into question the use of vicious rhetoric and violent imagery that has become all too commonplace in political discourse today. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country,” Dupnik said, “is getting to be outrageous.” After facing a preliminary assault yesterday, now Dupnik is facing an all-out barrage from the Right.

Drudge Report is claiming that Dupnik blamed Rush Limbaugh for the attack:

Actually, Dupnik asserted that Limbaugh “attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials,” but never blamed Limbaugh. Now Limbaugh is responding, saying, “This sheriff out there, Sheriff Dupnik, you know, this guy, he's gotta be very careful. If I were him I wouldn't say another word about this….But the sheriff is out saying that everybody but the kid's responsible for this.” Limbaugh went on to say that “He has taken the occasion of this, a law enforcement officer, to politicize it, to advance his own political agenda, which he claims he doesn't even have.” Limbaugh then implied that the Sheriff may be botching the investigation of the case in order to cover his own failure to stop the shooting:

The shooter did what he did in your community! You're in charge of keeping that community safe, Sheriff. What did you do? Was this the first time you heard about the shooter or did you have knowledge of the shooter before this? I would wager that the sheriff knew of this shooter long before this event, but the sheriff has gone ahead now with these comments, and he's given... He has given the defense a case. My guess is the sheriff wouldn't mind president shooter's acquitted. After all, it's not the shooter's fault! If you carry the sheriff's logic all the way out.

David Limbaugh, Rush’s brother and a conservative commentator, slammed Dupnik for not having “a scintilla of proof to support his slander,” Allahpundit of the popular right-wing blog HotAir called Dupnik “a ludicrous political hack and a disgrace to his office,” and Michelle Malkin dismissed him as a “pro-illegal alien amnesty sheriff.” The Heritage Foundation accused the Sheriff of using “this tragedy for political gain” and the Media Research Center was riled that Tom Brokaw “praised Sheriff Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz. for condemning political vitriol.”

Of course, any time Rush Limbaugh is on the defensive a Republican congressman must get involved. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) told the Associated Press that Dupnik is an “irresponsible” sheriff: “I don’t see any link whatsoever at this point between vitriolic discourse and someone plowing down his fellow citizens. I think frankly it's irresponsible of the sheriff to say that.” Like Limbaugh, Rep. Kingston tried to put the onus on the sheriff: “If the local jurisdiction knew about this guy, there's a question to me of this sheriff who's so quick to condemn vitriolic political discourse ... how come he missed it?”

If you would like to show your support for Sheriff Dupnik, please take a moment to sign a letter of solidarity with him against the increasing smears he is facing from the Right.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update

Although there are no announced Republican candidates for President, the race for 2012 is already underway with a number of candidates testing the waters. RightWingWatch will begin bringing you weekly updates on new speeches, events, controversies, and activities of potential 2012 contenders.

Haley Barbour

2012: Claims that his lobbyist experience will help him as President (US News & World Report, 9/14).

Civil-rights: Odd history from Barbour on Ole Miss integration (McClatchy, 9/9)

Mitch Daniels

2012: Meets with GOP fundraisers and “well-connected Republican figures” (Politico, 9/14).

Newt Gingrich

Obama: Claims that Obama represents “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview citing a D’Souza article in Forbes which says Obama’s agenda is to fulfill the dreams of his father, whom D’Souza calls a “philandering, inebriated African socialist” (WhoRunsGov, 9/12).

2010: Predicts GOP majority in House and Senate, Reid loss (CNSNews, 9/13).

Government: Floats government shutdown if GOP wins majorities (GOP12, 9/12).

Abortion: Gingrich adviser blames legal abortion for unemployment (RightWingWatch, 9/13).

Education: Scheduled to appear on Rev. Al Sharpton’s new show on education issues (Hollywood Reporter, 9/13).

Mike Huckabee

2010: Fundraises for Rob Portman and Steve Chabot in Ohio (Business Courier, 9/13).

2012: Set to address the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on economy, education, and health care (WLNS, 9/14).

Sarah Palin

2010: Holds fundraiser for Rand Paul in Louisville on Thursday (Kentucky Enquirer, 9/13); records robocalls for two Mama Grizzlies: Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire before primaries.

GOP: David Plouffe claims “Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck” lead the Republican Party. “All of these Republican candidates have to pledge allegiance to them, their intolerance and their backwards thinking” (New York Times, 9/13)

Right-wing: Says Statue of Liberty meant to be a “warning” to the US “not to go down the path of other countries that adopted socialist policies” (FireDogLake, 9/13).

Park51: Imam Rauf cites Palin for encouraging a “growing Islamophobia” (NY Daily News, 9/12).

George Pataki

New Hampshire: Tells Bedford audience that “government is intimately involved in creating the problems,” responsible for stoking the economic crisis (Union Leader, 9/13).

Health Care: Writes Op-Ed calling for repeal of Health Care Reform (USA Today, 9/13).

Tim Pawlenty

New Hampshire: Sends six staffers from leadership PAC to the Granite State (AP, 9/14)

Economy: Visits Shanghai World’s Fair, says of China: “They're not racing us to the bottom. They're racing us to the top” (Minnesota Post, 9/13).

Mitt Romney

2010: Fundraiser in the works for GA Senator Johnny Isakson (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 9/13).

Rick Santorum

2012: Calls for infusion of religion into politics, rejects JFK’s 1960 speech defending the separation of church and state (RightWingWatch, 9/13).

Obama: Claims the President is “condescending” to GOP leaders (GOP12, 9/13).

What Rush Limbaugh and Peter LaBarbera Have In Common

Last week we posted a photo of Ken Hutcherson officiating Rush Limbaugh's fourth marriage along with a quote from a recent Hutcherson column in WorldNetDaily in which he warned that God was going to unleash his judgment upon this nation unless we banned the promotion of homosexuality.

That sort of language is music to the ears of people like Peter LaBarbera, which is probably why he has tapped Hutcherson to be the keynote speaker at the next Americans for Truth banquet

Folks, we are proud and excited to announce that Pastor Ken Hutcherson will be our keynote speaker for the Americans For Truth fundraising banquet on Saturday, November 13th at the Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Hutcherson is a former NFL football player, but most importantly he is a man of God who has proven himself a faithful ambassador for his Savior, Jesus Christ. Hutcherson founded and pastors Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington (home of Microsoft), and he is one pastor who does not shy away from the cultural battle for truth.

Warning of God's Judgment, Hutcherson Wants Promotion of Homosexuality Banned

Here is Ken Hutcherson officiating at Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding:

And here is Ken Hutcherson railing against the Prop 8 ruling in WorldNetDaily, seeing it as proof that "our nation [is] embracing and celebrating this dangerous and unnatural lifestyle" and that "God will turn a nation over to judgment for sexual sin" unless we ban the promotion of homosexuality:  

The Centers For Disease Control has said and proven that the homosexual lifestyle is unhealthy and dangerous to those who participate in it ... We stand strong on the danger (albeit highly debatable) of certain foods that we suspect might be injurious to our health but turn a blind eye to homosexuality, which inarguably kills its participants.

...

Legislators around the country are considering banning sugar and fatty foods in schools, removing salt and butter from restaurants and want to control what temperature you can have in your own homes, because they fear the potential of health problems. Perhaps they should consider banning the promotion of a lifestyle that the Centers For Disease Control has determined actually causes HIV/AIDS.

Of Love and Revolution

For all the flag-waving Tea Party placards accusing the Obama administration of unconstitutional acts and treason, it seems that threats of revolution against the constitutional republic of the United States are coming mostly from the right wing – and not just from fringe militia groups.

We recently noted that Religious Right activist Chuck Colson has launched an effort to bully the Supreme Court into opposing marriage equality by threatening that a pro-equality ruling would result in “cultural Armageddon.” And we have noted the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer’s repeated warnings that the federal government’s “tyranny” will lead to “civil unrest.” Speakers at last year’s How To Take Back America conference suggested “Second Amendment” responses to health care reform and urged participants to buy more guns and ammunition. 

Now we see that the National Organization for Marriage, whose director Brian Brown has been claiming on his anti-equality road trip that it is an organization grounded in love, is picking up on the theme as NOM’s Maggie Gallagher writes in an op ed that "American politics are in a quasi-revolutionary phase": 

The people, symbolized first in the eruptions of Tea Parties, are rebelling against elites who believe they can ignore our voices and our values….

Rush Limbaugh had his finger on the truth. In the nearly half-hour speech he gave after the Proposition 8 ruling ("the American people are boiling over!"), Rush said that Walker "did not just slap down the will of 7 million voters. Those 7 million voters were put on trial -- a kangaroo court where everything was stacked against them. ... Those of you who voted for Prop 8 in California are guilty of hate crimes. You were thinking discrimination. That's what this judge has said! Truly unprecedented."

Yes, it is. We are entering into a new phase in the battle not only for marriage, but for self-government, for the legitimacy of the views and values of the Ameircan people.

This is a fight we cannot dodge, and must and will win.

Buckle down, it's going to be a ride!

Of course, this isn’t the first time a NOM leader has suggested possibly deploying a revolutionary response to judicial rulings recognizing marriage equality. When Mormon author Orson Scott Card joined NOM’s board last year, we and others drew attention to his own threats, which he made in writing in a Mormon newspaper:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn….

American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

We have our own question: why is it that the standard right-wing response to votes in Congress or court decisions that they don't like is to threaten revolution against the U.S.?

Barton On Beck, Bodyguards, and Bulletproof Vests

David Barton was on "Today's Issues" on American Family Radio yesterday, which is a program hosted by American Family Association President Tim Wildmon and AFR General Manager Marvin Sanders, discussing a range of issues, including how he managed to get hooked up with Glenn Beck.

Barton explained that God brought them together, as Beck had been praying about who he should get to teach the faith aspect of his American history lessons when two different people approached him in church and told him to read Barton's books.  Barton also reveals that Glenn Beck has a massive security detail and has to wear a bulletproof vest when out in public:

Wildmon: How'd he get your name? How did you guys get hooked up?

Barton: He said that he had read books that I had written years ago and as he was at church, really the Sunday before he made the decision, that two people came up to him and both on that day gave him some of our books and said you really need to read this stuff. And he thought that was the Lord speaking to him, in the mouth of two or three witnesses He establishes it. So that was kind of the thing that was the spur; he was praying about who should I get to present the faith aspect of this and then two people walked up to him and made the same recommendation, not knowing he was praying about it and so that's how it kind of tied together.

Wildmon and Sanders: That guy is under siege. He has replaced Rush Limbaugh as the most hated man in America. Why do you think that is David?

Barton: Just to kind of affirm what you're saying before I get to why: he asked me to go over and do a Broadway event with him ... There we were on Broadway and I reached over, we prayed together, and I reached over to give him a hug and he's wearing a bulletproof vest. I find out that that is typical for him. He doesn't go anywhere without lots of security. I think that particular night the FBI had alerted him that they had a very credible threat than an attempt would be made on him and so it was much like being with the Secret Service and the President. I think there were like 15-17 bodyguards that night, there was one at every exit. As he was up on the stage speaking, there were guys down in the front of the stage doing nothing but watching the crowd, one from each side of the stage, I mean it looked exactly like a Presidential detail and that's the kind of he and his family have to live with.

 

Ken Hutcherson Officiated Rush Limbaugh's Wedding

I guess that it shouldn't come as a surprise that the man Rush Limbaugh tapped to officiate his latest wedding was none other than militant anti-gay activist Ken Hutcherson:

The preacher who signed Limbaugh’s and wife Kathryn Rogers‘ marriage license, Washington State-based mega-church boss Ken Hutcherson, is an internationally known critic of the gay rights who believes that many of the world’s ills stem from homosexuality.

Just last year, Hutcherson came to Limbaugh's defense by claiming that Limbaugh was the victim of the "Minority Thought Pattern," which is the refusal to realize that everything great about America has been accomplished by God through white males.

All I have to say is that I sure hope that no "soft men" at Limabugh's wedding made the mistake of holding the door open for Hutcherson:

Reasonable people can disagree over whether gay marriage is a good idea. But Hutcherson goes beyond reasonable, at least to judge by the report of Seattle psychologist Valerie Tarico. … On a Sunday when Tarico was present, Hutcherson was preaching on gender roles. During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, "God hates soft men" and "God hates effeminate men." Hutcherson went on to say, "If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I'd rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end."

Hagee: Iceland Volcano Was God's Response To British Ad Ban

Last week, Rush Limbaugh said the eruption of the volcano in Iceland was "God speaking" in response to the passage of health care reform.

But John Hagee has a different explanation, saying it was God's response to the decision by Britain's Advertising Standards Authority that the Western Wall could not appear in tourism ads:

Television and radio evangelist Pastor John Hagee believes the recent eruption of the volcano in Iceland stems from Britain breaking God's covenant.

The day after Britain's Advertising Standards Authority said the Western Wall in Jerusalem could not be used in Israeli tourism ads in Britain because it is considered occupied territory, Hagee said, the volcano erupted, shutting down Britain's economy in one day.

"That's coincidence, like the flood was a coincidence. That's coincidence, like the Red Sea was coincidence. That's coincidence, like the earthquake and the Resurrection was coincidence," Hagee told about 3,200 people at Lancaster County Convention Center on Thursday night as part of John Hagee Ministries' Rally and Prophecy Seminar.

Hagee went on to warn President Obama for his treatment of Israel, saying "any country who tries to change [God's covenant with Abraham] will get the judgment of God. It's like sticking your finger in the eye of God."

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Rush Limbaugh says he'll leave the country if health care reform gets enacted.  That's pretty much the best argument I've heard to its passage.
  • Speaking of Limbaugh, remember that he is totally not racist.
  • Why am I not surprised that WorldNetDaily's financial columnist faces a $1.5 million SEC sanction?
  • Watch Ezra Klein provide a relatively simple explanation of the issues surrounding reconciliation on The Colbert Report.
  • Michele Bachmann, Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Ken Blackwell and a bunch of others are all co-authors of a Heritage Foundation book called "Indivisible: Social and Economic Foundations of American Liberty.”
  • "Do you want men dressed as women teaching your kids"? The Traditional Values Coalition sure doesn't
  • Finally, I'm going to be traveling tomorrow, so posting will be rather light and sporadic.

Monckton's Got Nothing On Huckabee

Last week, Media Matters ran this piece exposing the views of Lord Christopher Monckton:

Media Matters Action Network, our partner organization, has unearthed a 1987 American Spectator article in which Lord Christopher Monckton -- one of the right's favorite global warming deniers -- advocates requiring the entire population to undergo monthly HIV tests and forcibly quarantining "for life" those who test positive.

You would think that such views would have made Monckton a marginal figure. But apparently there are no views too extreme for the right-wing media.

On October 23, for instance, Glenn Beck said on his Fox News show that Monckton is "one of the world's foremost authorities on what the global warming hoax is really all about and what they are about to sign over in Copenhagen."

Monckton appeared as a guest throughout Beck's October 30 Fox show. Beck introduced Monckton by saying: "With me now, Lord Christopher Monckton, former adviser to British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher and climate change expert."

On October 19, Rush Limbaugh described Monckton as "a voice of sanity," saying, "The hysteria on the left on virtually everything is all over the place. So you got to hear a voice of sanity in this. Last Wednesday, St. Paul, Minnesota, during a presentation at Bethel University, a portion of remarks made by Lord Christopher Monckton regarding the United Nations' climate change treaty."

Allow me to just remind everyone that Mike Huckabee said more or less the same thing ... in 1992, which was five years after Monckton wrote his piece and four years after the federal government had distributed a pamphlet penned by then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop entitled “Understanding AIDS” which explained that the disease could not be contracted through everyday contact:

"It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population," he said. "This deadly disease, for which there is no cure, is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.

"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."

Huckabee is currently a leading contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a highly sought-after speaker, and host of a television program on Fox News.

Considering that such views didn't turn Huckabee into a marginal figure, it shouldn't come as much of a shock to see someone like Monckton hailed as a "voice of sanity" because, as Media Matters notes, there simply are "no views too extreme for the right-wing media."

UPDATE: Over at Open Left, Nick Berning points out that Monckton is not actully a "lord," nor is he a "Nobel Laureate."

An Experiment in Character Assassination

Alvin McEwen has been doing heroic work combating the relentless stream of lies about Kevin Jennings, especially the allegations that Jennings' taught "fisting" to a group of children, as Rush Limbaugh claimed yesterday, and that GLSEN was distributing copies of "The Little Black Book," a directory of gay bars.  

McEwen has repeatedly debunked these claims, in all their forms, pointing out time and again that the incidents underlying the claims involved are being completely misrepresented and that Jennings was never personally involved in any of them.

For instance, the "fisting" allegation stems from a dental dam kit distributed by Planned Parenthood at a GLSEN conference, while the "Black Book" allegation stems from a community health group which accidentally left a few copies on its table at a GLSEN conference, and which no students ever received.

And, from that, the Right has declared Jennings "a raging pervert who taught fisting ... to grade school and junior high school students."

Now let's try an experiment:

Remember last year when a vendor was selling Obama Waffles at the Values Voter Summit?

Obama Waffles

The Waffle Booth

The Family Research Council quickly issued a statement saying it "strongly condemned the tone and content of the materials" and Focus on the Family pledged to "do everything in its power to prevent another such unacceptable situation in the future."

Now imagine if we wrote about this incident by claiming "Family Research Council president Tony Perkins peddles racist paraphernalia" or "Focus on the Family's James Dobson traffics in crude racial stereotypes. " How do you think FRC, FOF, and others on the Religious Right would react?  

Do you think they'd accuse us of flagrant misrepresentation and baseless character assassination?  If so, they'd be right ... and that is exactly what they are doing to Kevin Jennings.   

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Americans for Prosperity's "Hands Off My Health Care" tour stopped at Liberty University yesterday where Jerry Falwell Jr. thanked them for taking the "time and effort to stop these crazy people."
  • Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., Founder and President of STAND , defends Rush Limbaugh from charges of racism.
  • Dick Armey backs Kay Bailey Hutchison, saying Rick Perry has accomplished nothing.
  • Norm Coleman has now been picked as a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
  • Finally, the CADC asks activists to get to work trying to keep Rifqa Bary in Florida while Tom Trento says that is Bary is sent back to Ohio, she'll be immediately packed off to a "re-education camp" in Sri Lanka .

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Raw Story: Rush Limbaugh says we need to return to segregated buses.
  • Adam Serwer: Why Can't Tom Perez Get Confirmed?
  • David Neiwert: Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity agree that the bashing of Bush was much worse than attacks on Obama
  • Think Progress: Michael Steele Criticizes Democrats For Playing The Race Card, While He Plays The Race Card.
  • Finally, from the "you couldn't make this up" file: Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas sent a letter to Washington's Metro system complaining that the taxpayer-funded subway system was unable to properly transport 9/12 protesters to the rally to protest government spending and expansion. Added bonus: Brady Brady voted against the stimulus package. It provided millions upon millions of dollars for all manner of improvements to … the D.C. Metro.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • You really should read the excerpt from the forthcoming book by former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer published in GQ.
  • Rush Limbaugh says that "in Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering."
  • TPM: Did Joe Wilson Lie About Having Been An Immigration Lawyer?
  • Everything you need to know about the Tea Party movement can be learned for Mark Williams' pathetic appearance on AC360.
  • Everything you need to know about the 9/12 rally can be learned from this ten minute video.
  • Eric Boehlert: Michelle Malkin and the anatomy of the 2 million protester lie.
  • What does Thomas Sowell's race have to do with his views on healthcare reform?
  • A movie about Charles Darwin apparently can't find a US distributor due to fears about a Religious Right backlash.
  • SPLC: FAIR Embraces Racist Founder.
  • Finally, be sure to read Jamison Foser on the dumbest media-bias claim of the day.

Texas Curriculum: Thurgood Marshall Out, Newt Gingrich In?

Back in April, the Texas Freedom Network reported that the Texas State Board of Education had named both David Barton of WallBuilders and the Rev. Peter Marshall, who suggests that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were divine punishments for tolerance of homosexuality, to its social studies curriculum “experts” panel.

When Barton and Marshall released their recommendations for changing the curriculum, they suggested, among other things, dropping mentions of both César Chavez and Thurgood Marshall.

"Review committees" are now putting together a draft of a new curriculum based on recommendations from the "expert" panel and it looks they are set to fill their history books with figures like Newt Gingrich, James Dobson, and Phyllis Schlafly:

Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks, but nothing about people or groups considered more liberal.

...

The first draft for proposed standards in "United States History Studies Since Reconstruction" says students should be expected "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority."

...

Conservatives form the largest bloc on the 15-member State Board of Education, whose partisan makeup is 10 Republicans and five Democrats.

David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the conservative leaders, figures that the current draft will pass a preliminary vote along party lines "once the napalm and smoke clear the room."

But not all conservative board members share that view.

"It is hard to believe that a majority of the writing team would approve of such wording," said Terri Leo, R-Spring. "It’s not even a representative selection of the conservative movement, and it is inappropriate."

Another board conservative, Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said he thinks that students should study both sides to "see what the differences are and be able to define those differences."

He would add James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to the list of conservatives. Others have proposed adding talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.

Mercer says he would also mention groups like the National Education Association, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood and the Texas Freedom Network so that students will be "able to identify what’s conservative ... [a]nd what is liberal in contrast."

The Acceptable Insanity of Right Wing Rhetoric

I'll be the first to admit that after nearly a decade of wallowing in the swamp of right-wing political insanity, my sense of what constitutes "acceptable" rhetoric is entirely skewed, so much so that when I see things like these sorts of absurd assertions from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission that health care reform would lead to a Nazi-like elimination of the elderly, I barely even bat an eye any more:

This is nothing less than state sponsored euthanasia. Hitler began his reign of terror by his application of the brutal, Darwinian ethic, “survival of the fittest.” He started killing the disabled and infirmed because they were considered to be a burden on the state.

Hitler rationalized the killing of innocent people in an effort to advance his fascist, national socialist agenda. In the name of doing what’s best for the good of society, Hitler trivialized human life. Ultimately millions ended up paying with their lives.

In the name of the public good, Obama and the Congress are on the same anti-Christian, pro-death path.

And the reason I don't even blink stems largely from the fact that this type of rhetoric is, in fact, perfectly acceptable to the Right - here's Rush Limbaugh yesterday:

They accuse of us being Nazis, and Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook. Now, what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany? Well, the Nazis were against big business -- they hated big business. And of course we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism. They were insanely, irrationally against pollution. They were for two years mandatory voluntary service to Germany. They had a whole bunch of make-work projects to keep people working, one of which was the Autobahn. They were against cruelty and vivisection of animals, but in the radical sense of devaluing human life, they banned smoking. They were totally against that. They were for abortion and euthanasia of the undesirables, as we all know, and they were for cradle-to-grave nationalized healthcare.

This is why I have always bristled when I hear people claim conservativism gets close to Nazism. It is liberalism that's the closest you can get to Nazism and socialism. It's all bundled up under the socialist banner. There are far more similarities between Nancy Pelosi and Adolf Hitler than between these people showing up at town halls to protest a Hitler-like policy that's being heralded like a Hitler-like logo.

As Glenn Greewald reminds us, just a few years ago when someone submitted an ad to MoveOn.org that compared President Bush to Hitler, MoveOn immediately removed the ad, everyone went completely insane.  But now you have Limbaugh, the most influential voice of the Right in the entire country, literally comparing the Democrats to the Nazis and nobody says anything because this type of rhetoric is some utterly common that it is not even considered newsworthy. 

And, on a similar note, just what exactly does Glenn Beck have to do to get himself yanked off the air?  Apparently, joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi is likewise perfectly acceptable:

I wonder what it would be like, seriously. I mean, if I could go, you know, to the speaker's shindig, wouldn't that be great? What would it -- oh, look, here she -- oh, she is -- wow -- you're so much prettier and flatter and shinier in the face than I expected. It's almost like you're two people at once.

So, Speaker Pelosi, I just wanted to -- you gonna drink your wine? Are you blind? Do those eyes not work? There you -- I want you to drink it now. Drink it. Drink it. Drink it.

I really just wanted to thank you for having me over here to wine country. You know, to be invited, I thought I had to be a major Democratic donor or a longtime friend of yours, which I'm not.

By the way, I put poison in your -- no, I -- I look forward to all the policy discussions that we're supposed to have -- you know, on health care, energy reform, and the economy.

Hey, is that Sean Penn over there? I know it cost me more than $30,000 to get in here, but hey. Hey, I think I see Ed Markey, the author of cap and trade, right over there.

Like I said, my own sense of what sort of rhetoric is "acceptable" from the Right is admittedly skewed , so much so that, quite frequently, I don't even bother posting certifiably crazy things precisely because they are so common as to not even warrant the coverage.

But even by my warped standard, this type of stuff from Limbaugh and Beck is completely insane.

And yet, at the same time, it is also perfectly acceptable. 

And that is what is really insane.

Trying to Set the Record Straight About Efforts to Try and Set the Record Straight

Earlier this week, in an attempt to rebut all the lies and misinformation being spread about health care reform, the White House asked people to send them examples of the sorts of things they are seeing so that the administration could help set the record straight:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Now, that seems pretty simple and self-explanatory, but as Steve Benen noted, nothing is simple when dealing with the Right because it is impossible "to anticipate just how paranoid some people will choose to be":

This hardly seemed controversial. There's an aggressive campaign underway to mislead Americans, and the White House wants to help set the record straight. If some especially pernicious lies are making the rounds, folks can let the White House know directly, so officials can get the truth out.

Except, that's not how the right sees it. RedState interpreted this to mean "the White House wants you to report ... anybody publicly opposing" health care reform. Soon after, Rush Limbaugh had embraced the same line, and Malkin wasn't far behind. Naturally, Drudge joined the fun.

By late yesterday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asserting that the White House wants Americans to report on each other. Today, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) appears to have completely lost his mind.

Cornyn says this practice would let the White House collect personal information about people who oppose the President.

"By requesting citizens send 'fishy' emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email, addresses, IP addresses and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House," Cornyn wrote in a letter to Obama. "You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program."

Cornyn asked Obama to cease the program immediately, or at the very least explain what the White House would do with the information it collects.

This is what politics in America in the 21st century has come to

Today, Tony Perkins released a video statement about this White House effort, suggesting that it was part of a plot "to intimidate and if possible silence their opponents":

The White House apparently subscribes to Vince Lombardi’s idea that the best defense is a good offense. The widespread opposition to the Presidents proposed takeover of health care has apparently blind sided the administration and is causing panic over the prospects the whole plan could be sacked by the American public.

As a result the White House is striking back. Macon Phillips on the White House blog wrote, “Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet.” he goes on to say that “since we cant keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help.” Phillips goes on to ask individuals to send the White House any email or health care message on the web that seems fishy.

Fishy? If there is anything fishy it is the White House wanting people to help them keep track of those who oppose the government takeover of health care. Is the White House is simply wanting to keep a scrapbook of the emails that primarily quote the President and the legislation that he is pushing, or is it possible they are simply looking to use this information to intimidate and if possible silence their opponents?

In essence, a White House effort to try and clarify right-wing misinformation and lies about health care reform has now itself become the subject of a right-wing misinformation campaign.

UPDATE: The ACLJ has now issued its own statement demanding that President Obama repudiate this "attempt to stifle the free speech of Americans" and "intimidate" conservatives:

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, today called on President Obama to repudiate comments made by his Director of New Media – comments that call on Americans to report those who make “fishy” statements about health care. The ACLJ asserts that the official White House release is an attack on free speech and designed to stifle public debate about the health care issue – including growing concerns from Americans opposed to making abortion services mandatory health benefits.

“This is a very troubling attempt to stifle the free speech of Americans who have the constitutional right to express their opinion and concerns about health care,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “This move is an attempt to intimidate those who have legitimate concerns about the health care plan. And, worse, it turns the White House into some sort of self-appointed ‘speech police’ – urging Americans to monitor and report those who engage in ‘fishy’ speech. What will the Obama Administration do with those names? Who will be ‘flagged’ next? President Obama must reject this assault on free speech. It’s not only wrong, it directly contradicts his repeated promise to conduct a more open and transparent government.”

...

“In a nutshell, the White House is asking Americans to report on their neighbors, family, and friends who disagree with the President’s policy choices on health care,” said Sekulow. “The White House is also implying that you should think twice before sending an email disagreeing with the President, since it might end up being forwarded to them. The White House email address says it all – let’s ‘flag’ those who disagree with us. This new White House reporting program strikes at the heart of the First Amendment and has no place in this important debate about health care.”

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Rush Limbaugh Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 05/07/2013, 5:39pm
Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Why Illinois' GOP chair was forced to resign. National Jewish Democratic Council: NJDC to NRA and GOP: Stand with ADL and B’nai B’rith Against Beck. Angelo Carusone @ Media Matters: On Limbaugh's Advertiser Losses, Cumulus CEO says: "The Facts Are Indisputable." Hemant Mehta @ Friendly Atheist: Christians Are Not a ‘Hated Minority.’ Warren Throckmorton: Citing historical errors, FRC leader removes David Barton’s Capitol Tour video. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 05/03/2013, 5:45pm
Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Rush Limbaugh: Where’s The ‘Tolerance’ For People Who Come Out As Bigots?  Tim Murphy @ Mother Jones: Ted Cruz Sets His Sites on a New Target: Common Core.  Matt Gertz @ Media Matters: Five Things To Know About The NRA’s New President Jim Porter.  Alex Seitz-Wald @ Salon: A march on Washington with loaded rifles.  Leah Nelson @ Hatewatch: WND and Glenn Beck Want YOU to Build an Untraceable Assault Rifle. David Edwards @ Raw Story: Fox News guest: Obama ‘encouraging’ statutory... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 03/28/2013, 5:34pm
David Weigel: A Michigan RNC Committeeman Wants You to Know the Truth About "Filthy" Homosexuality. Warren Throckmorton @ Crosswalk: Minister Speaks Out About David Barton's Justification of Destruction of Indian Tribes. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: When a persecution complex goes awry. Andrew Kirell @ Mediaite: Limbaugh Gives Up On Anti-Gay Marriage Fight: ‘This Issue Is Lost,’ ‘It Is Now Inevitable.’ Ben Dimiero & Eric Hananoki @ Media Matters: 30 Of The Most Offensive, Idiotic, And Bizarre Conservative Arguments Against... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/18/2013, 5:36pm
Michael B. Keegan @ Huffington Post: Why Was Rob Portman's Stroke of Empathy So Shocking? Tommy Christopher @ Mediaite: Fox News Runs With ‘King Obama’ Royal Food-Taster Smear. Evan McMorris-Santoro @ BuzzFeed: Pamela Geller: CPAC's Muslim Board Member Is 'Worse Than Al-Awlaki.' Alex Seitz-Wald @ Salon: Bush AG tells CPAC: “The vast majority” of Muslims want to impose Sharia law. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Hillary Clinton announces support for marriage equality. Media Matters: Limbaugh Compares Secretary Of Labor Nominee Tom... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 01/08/2013, 6:36pm
Carlos Maza @ Equality Matters: Fox Nation, Rush Limbaugh Peddle Gay Marriage-Pedophilia Link. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Crapo poised for promotion after DUI. Noah Rothman @ Mediaite: The Piers Morgan Interview Was Nothing: Watch Alex Jones’ Nine Nuttiest Moments. Rebecca Leber @ Think Progress: Gabby Giffords Launches Gun Safety Group, Calls For ‘Responsible Changes In Our Laws.’ Alvin McEwen: How They See Us: Unmasking The Religious Right War on Gay America. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 01/04/2013, 6:45pm
Joe Strupp @ Media Matters: Dick Armey Dishes On FreedomWorks’ Deals with Beck & Limbaugh.  Matthew Yglesias @ Slate: Sen. John Cornyn’s Outrageous Op-Ed on the Debt Ceiling. Alex Koppelman @ The New Yorker: The GOP’s Sandy Problem. Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Republican Congressman Claims Hammers Could Be Outlawed Under Assault Weapons Ban.  Jeremy Hooper @ Good As You: Hubristic Thomas More Law Center claim discrimination is victimized position. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/06/2012, 3:35pm
David Limbaugh in his column today defended his far more successful brother, Rush, for his daily sexist diatribes against law student Sandra Fluke, attacking his brothers critics’ “viciousness” and lack of “forgiveness”: What is a much bigger story is that the left's primary interest here is not in protecting Fluke -- in my humble opinion. Liberals are attempting to exploit this as another opportunity to destroy Rush through a calculated, organized Saul Alinsky-type community organizing campaign to pressure and intimidate his advertisers into discontinuing their... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 03/05/2012, 6:31pm
Every once in a while, Bryan Fischer comes up with some new line or analogy that he thinks is so clever that it ends up becoming the basis for a whole series of claims.  Last year, it was the idea that gays were the biggest perpetrators of hate crimes in America, which he proceeded to use as the basis for an entire series of columns. Recently, Fischer has become enamored with the idea that President Obama and the Left are instituting "secular Sharia" ... so naturally this phrase has quickly become he new favorite claim, which he broke out again today in defending Rush Limbaugh... MORE >